Shelf Awareness for Thursday, February 1, 2024


Flatiron Books: The Courting of Bristol Keats: [Limited Stenciled Edge Edition] by Mary E Pearson

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Chronicle Books: Taste in Music: Eating on Tour with Indie Musicians by Luke Pyenson and Alex Beeker

Doubleday Books: Death at the Sign of the Rook: A Jackson Brodie Book by Kate Atkinson

Groundwood Books: Who We Are in Real Life by Victoria Koops

Agate Bolden: 54 Miles by Leonard Pitts Jr.

News

ABA Donating Bookselling Archives to Columbia University

The American Booksellers Association, which has given up its offices, is donating its extensive organizational and bookseller archives to Columbia University's Rare Book & Manuscript Library, part of the Columbia University Libraries system. The archives include first-edition titles on bookselling, ABA membership photos dating back to the turn of the 20th century, and historical documents about the history of bookselling in the U.S. and the ABA's work since its founding in 1900.

ABA CEO Allison K. Hill said, "Columbia has a stellar global reputation as an academic research library and a demonstrated commitment to connecting researchers with history. ABA is proud to make this contribution to Columbia's Archives and its vital work recognizing the value of the book industry and preserving the rich history of independent bookstores. This important partnership will make ABA's bookselling history accessible to our members for the first time and we hope that these materials contribute to ongoing academic and professional research about books, publishing, and bookselling."

Courtney Chartier, director of the RBML, said, "Columbia already has the country's premier collection on the publishing industry, and the ABA collection will bring an essential new facet to the story, ensuring that the voices of independent booksellers are never lost."

Kevin Schlottmann, the RBML's head of archives processing, added: "The RBML is open to the general public, and welcomes thousands of researchers from all over the world every year. Historians, literature scholars, students, and of course booksellers themselves will be able to dive into the rich history of ABA documented in this archive."

For more about the ABA's archives, see the article below by Lenora Jennings.


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Lanora Jennings on the ABA Archives

In early December last year, I found myself holding an old photograph of a group of booksellers, seated at an event, posing with a famous author. The photograph was from 1902. The author was Mark Twain. In the box were more photos: storefronts of long-gone famous bookstores, booksellers deep in conversation with Martin Luther King, Jr., booksellers standing in the Oval Office with various presidents, photographs of some of my mentors and book folk whom I admired, looking as young as I was when I met them.

Earlier, at the Heartland Fall Forum trade show, I ran into Allison Hill, CEO of the American Booksellers Association. I asked her if I could plan a visit to the ABA offices in White Plains, N.Y., to do some research in the ABA Archives for a book I am writing. She said normally I would be welcome, but that request would be complicated as the ABA was not renewing their lease in February. Everything in the office, including the archive, needed to find a new home. Allison also expressed uncertainty on where that home would be. I told her I had an idea.

Last summer, I traveled to the University of Reading, west of London, to attend the Second Annual Bookselling Research Network Conference in association with the Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing. I had the pleasure to meet some scholars who are focusing on various aspects of bookselling and bookstores. A common theme in every conversation was how difficult it was to find primary sources on historical bookstores. It is rare for a retail bookstore to consider that their papers and ephemera might have historical value and donate them to a library archive. One researcher was fortunate to find that the bookstore she was researching had just thrown more than 40 years of files and ephemera in their basement. She compared her experience with an archeological dig.

After my conversation with Allison, I reached out to my new friends and asked them to connect me to any acquisitions librarian who might be interested in housing the ABA Archive. The response was swift--many institutions responded immediately and enthusiastically. Choosing one was difficult, but the Columbia University Rare Book & Manuscript Library was the perfect fit. They were also in New York and have a world-renowned reputation for their collection on the history of the book.

I traveled to ABA headquarters in White Plains to help stage all the materials for the head archivist. I can't understate how profound and mind-blowing it was to look through these materials. Stacked in a small, empty office were about 60 boxes of materials that told the story of bookselling in America over the past 125 years. I saw every original publication of the ABA Bulletin, a newsletter sent to bookstores from 1917 to the late '50s, then sporadically after that until the 1970s. There was a photograph of all booksellers that attended every annual convention from 1902 to 1958. Someone had meticulously put together scrapbooks from all the years of the National Book Awards--the precursor to today's NBA in which booksellers voted and chose the best books of the year. I found 16mm films, VHS tapes, CD-ROMs, cassette tapes, slides--all of which I could barely determine what treasures lay within.

As I sorted, photographed, and scanned, I felt a profound sense of connection to these past booksellers. I was witnessing their struggles for fair pricing on books; the intense competition with the subscription book clubs, then department stores, then chain stores. Their conversations on ways to get customers in the store, to get people in the habit of reading, were intimately familiar. In the notes and documents, there were heated debates over policies, legal battles, forgotten great ideas, and celebrations. Their struggles and their successes mirrored my experiences as a bookseller.

On the surface, it all seemed business-focused. Yet between fighting for market share and against unfair business practices, marketing campaigns to get more readers and sell more books, and various initiatives designed to support independent bookstores was the underpinning that the job of getting books into reader's hands was important, even essential. This was a community of people who all wanted to keep the flow of ideas free of censorship, give authors a fair chance to inform, entertain, and inspire, keep their communities literate, and ensure a next generation of booksellers continued their work (while hopefully making a modest living).

The ABA Archive will eventually be available to the public to explore. Now that the ABA and Columbia have a connection, any new materials that contribute to this story can be added to the collection in perpetuity. The ABA celebrates its 125th anniversary next year. Someday 125 years from now, a curious bookseller will be able to see everything we are doing today to connect books, readers, and their own communities. They will know that they are a part of a long tradition of people who believed in the power of books to act as a cultural and political expression, to create community, and connect us all to something bigger than ourselves.

With the encouragement of the ABA, I am launching the Bookseller Oral History Project at Winter Institute in Cincinnati. Intended to collect the experiences, insights, and perspectives of current and former booksellers, the recording and interviews will preserve the voices of booksellers so that someday that same future bookseller can hear our story from the primary source. This project is currently self-funded. With the same passion that I sell books, now I am also working to preserve the voices of those who have done so much for books, readers, and the community. I hope you will join me.

If you are interested in contributing your story, you will find all the details at bookstorechronicles.org.


Spell Books Opens in Littleton, Colo.

Spell Books, an all-ages bookstore with an emphasis on hosting writing workshops, has opened in Littleton, Colo., the Littleton Independent reported.

Co-owners Corey Dahl and Amanda Boldenow opened the bookstore at 2376 W. Main St. in December and held a grand opening party for the store on January 19. The general-interest inventory includes many books that Boldenow and Dahl have read and loved, but moving forward they plan to adjust the inventory based on what their community likes to read. Alongside books, customers can find tarot card decks, journals, and candles.

The co-owners first met during an intensive writing workshop, and through Spell Books they offer creative writing workshops for both children and adults. They also host a book club, and on Mondays, the store is open by appointment for tarot card readings.

"Our idea behind this is not just to be a store where you buy a book, and then you go home and you read the book and you don't talk to anyone about the book," Dahl told the Independent. "We want this to be a place where you can come and talk to a stranger and get recommendations from them.... We want it to feel like you're browsing your best friend's bookcase."

"I think my favorite part is just knowing that I have found something that I want to do and be part of until I'm too old to do it," Boldenow added. "We're just surrounded by what we love again."


Tieshena Davis New IBPA Board Chair

Tieshena Davis

Tieshena Davis, founding publisher and CEO of Publish Your Gift, has been elected chair of the Independent Book Publishers Association board of directors, effective July 1. She will succeed Karen Pavlicin, who completes her second term as IBPA's board chair on June 30.

Davis has been a member of IBPA since 2015, a member of the board of directors since 2020, and serves on the executive committee under Pavlicin, who said, "Tie's strong business leadership experience, dedication to IBPA's mission, and passionate energy, along with her willingness to enhance her board leadership skills through a variety of service roles, has prepared her well for the chair position and earned her the confidence and full support of the board, which includes publishers from a broad spectrum of business models."

In addition to founding Publish Your Gift, Davis is an author and executive advisor at her consultancy Ekpansa, with more than 24 years of experience in strategic management, growth leadership, and training. She is also the first person of color and Black woman elected to lead the IBPA board of directors. 

Two IBPA board members will end their terms on the board along with Pavlicin at the end of the fiscal year: Victoria Sutherland, publisher of Foreword Reviews, and Annette Hobbs-Magier, owner of Magier Marketing & PR.


S&S's 100th Anniversary Celebrations

With Simon & Schuster turning 100 years old this year, the company has a slate of activities and celebrations planned to mark the anniversary.

Yesterday, S&S unveiled the Simon & Schuster 100, a collection of 100 titles chosen to "represent the breadth and depth of the company's publishing program, across genres, imprints, and borders." The list can be found on the 100th anniversary's dedicated website, which also includes a video marking the centennial, trivia, and other material, with more anniversary content to be added in the months ahead.

On April 8, S&S is hosting a celebration event called Author! Author! at the Town Hall auditorium in New York City. More than 30 S&S authors will take part in the event, including Fredrik Backman, Judy Blume, Jennifer Egan, Jason Reynolds, Jesmyn Ward, and many others. Tickets went on sale yesterday, and S&S will donate 20% of its net proceeds from ticket sales to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation.

"For one hundred years, Simon & Schuster has brought the works of thousands of authors to millions upon millions of readers worldwide," said S&S president and CEO Jonathan Karp. "Books of every kind, for every taste. Our founders, Dick Simon and Max Schuster, and their successors, have bequeathed us a legacy of entrepreneurial publishing that we are honored to carry on today. There is much to be joyful for, both in celebrating our long and glorious history, and taking from it inspiration that still today informs our efforts in service of our authors and their books."

The festivities will continue throughout the year, with more special events and content to be announced.


Obituary Note: N. Scott Momaday

N. Scott Momaday

N. Scott Momaday, "whose portrayal of a disaffected World War II veteran's journey to spiritual renewal in his novel House Made of Dawn won a Pulitzer Prize, the first for a Native American author, heralding a more prominent place in contemporary literature for Native writers," died January 24, the New York Times reported. He was 89. Momaday "also wrote critically acclaimed poetry, memoirs and essays. His explorations of identity and self-definition, of the importance of the oral tradition in literature, and of his Kiowa heritage were interwoven with reverent evocations of landscape in passages of soaring lyrical prose."

Momaday's The Way to Rainy Mountain, a book based on tales told to him by his grandmother, "drew on ethnology, history and personal recollection to reimagine the southward migration of his nomadic Kiowa forebears from the headwaters of the Yellowstone River to their ultimate home near a small rise called Rainy Mountain in Oklahoma," the Times noted. 

His other books include The Death of Sitting Bear; Earth Keeper; The Man Made of Words; The Names: A Memoir; Angle of Geese and Other Poems; The Way to Rainy Mountain; The Ancient Child; and Presence of the Sun: Stories and Poems, 1961-1991, which included 60 drawings by the author.

Native American author Sherman Alexie called Momaday "one of the primary foundations for all Native American literature" and credited his Pulitzer with bringing Native writing into the mainstream. "Momaday was a multigenre writer--poetry, fiction, nonfiction--as were nearly all the Native writers of his era," Alexie said. "I write multigenre because Momaday made it seem like it was the thing that Native American writers do. Like it was a natural part of our identity."

House Made of Dawn "was a World War II story that resonated with a generation protesting the Vietnam War," the Associated Press wrote. "In 1969, Momaday became the first Native American to win the fiction Pulitzer, and his novel helped launch a generation of authors, including Leslie Marmon Silko, James Welch and Louise Erdrich. His other admirers would range from the poet Joy Harjo, the country's first Native to be named poet laureate, to the film stars Robert Redford and Jeff Bridges."

"He was a kind of literary father for a lot of us," Harjo said. "He showed how potent and powerful language and words were in shaping our very existence."

Jennifer Civiletto, Momaday's editor at HarperCollins, observed: "Scott was an extraordinary person and an extraordinary poet and writer. He was a singular voice in American literature, and it was an honor and a privilege to work with him. His Kiowa heritage was deeply meaningful to him and he devoted much of his life to celebrating and preserving Native American culture, especially the oral tradition."

In 2007, President George W. Bush presented Momaday with a National Medal of Arts "for his writings and his work that celebrate and preserve Native American art and oral tradition." Other honors included an Academy of American Poets prize and, in 2019, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.


Notes

Image of the Day: BISG Board Gathering

The executive board of the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) met recently in Bridgewater, N.J., to review and update their organizational strategies leading up to BISG's 50th anniversary in 2026. Pictured: (l.-r.) Jason Wells (American Psychological Association), Sabbithry Persad (Firewater Media Group), Allen Johnson (Baker & Taylor), Mike Feinson (Engaged Strategies), James Miller (Barnes & Noble), Paul Gore (FADEL), Todd Carpenter (National Information Standards Organization), Kevin Spall (Scholastic), Bridget Marmion (Bridget Marmion Book Marketing), Joshua Tallent (Firebrand Technologies), Matt Kennel (Versa Press), Brian O'Leary (BISG), Benjamin Spira (Dentons), Brooke Horn (BISG), Andrea Fleck-Nisbet (Independent Book Publishers Association).

Cool idea for Valentine's Day: Kids' Board Book Drive

"Just a reminder that our Board Book Drive is going on through February 14th!" Melanie Moore, owner of the Book Bus, Cincinnati, Ohio, posted on Facebook. "I can't think of a sweeter Valentine than giving a book to a child in need. For every book you buy to donate, I’ll match the giving. Let’s get some books into the hands of kids who need them most!"


Bookstore Chairs: Tattered Cover Book Store

Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colo., posted an appreciation on Facebook to a sometimes overlooked, but important, part of the bookselling world: "Chairs. They're a big deal here at Tattered Cover. Our chairs are the perfect symbol of our ever-present values as a bookstore. Our chairs demonstrate that you, a beloved visitor and reader, will always have a place here. Much like there's a book for everyone, there will always be a chair for each and every customer who walks through our doors. Mismatched, vintage, wooden, or upholstered--there's a seat for everyone at Tattered Cover. And there always will be."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jasmine L. Holmes on Good Morning America

Tomorrow:
Good Morning America: Jasmine L. Holmes, author of Never Cast Out: How the Gospel Puts an End to the Story of Shame (B&H Books, $17.99, 9781087747163).


This Weekend on Book TV: Ijeoma Oluo on Be a Revolution

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, February 3
5 p.m. Michael Barone, author of Mental Maps of the Founders: How Geographic Imagination Guided America's Revolutionary Leaders (Encounter, $29.99, 9781641773515).

6 p.m. Cynthia A. Kierner, author of The Tory's Wife: A Woman and Her Family in Revolutionary America (University of Virginia Press, $29.95, 9780813949918).

Sunday, February 4
8 a.m. Christopher Liddell, author of Year Zero: The Five-Year Presidency (University of Virginia Press, $29.95, 9780813951133). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

10 a.m. Ijeoma Oluo, author of Be a Revolution: How Everyday People Are Fighting Oppression and Changing the World--and How You Can, Too (HarperOne, $26.99, 9780063140189).  (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

2 p.m. Thomas Swick, author of Falling into Place: A Story of Love, Poland, and the Making of a Travel Writer (‎Rowman & Littlefield, $35, 9781538181775), at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C.

4:55 p.m. Adam Welz, author of The End of Eden: Wild Nature in the Age of Climate Breakdown (‎Bloomsbury, $28.99, 9781635575224).

6:25 p.m. Lee McIntyre, author of On Disinformation: How to Fight for Truth and Protect Democracy (The MIT Press, $14.95, 9780262546300).

7:30 p.m. Free speech activist Mary Beth Tinker discusses Iowa's state law on "age-appropriate" books in public school libraries.



Books & Authors

Awards: Nero Book Category Winners

Winners have been unveiled in four categories for the inaugural Nero Book Awards, celebrating outstanding books and writers from the U.K. and Ireland. Sponsored by Caffè Nero, the prizes are run in partnership with Right to Dream, Brunel University London and the Booksellers Association. The awards were created following the end of the Costa Book Awards and should not be confused with the Nero Award, sponsored by the Wolfe Pack, the official Nero Wolfe Literary Society. This year's Nero Book Awards category winners are: 

Children's fiction: The Swifts by Beth Lincoln, illustrated by Claire Powell
Debut fiction: Close to Home by Michael Magee 
Fiction: The Bee Sting by Paul Murray 
Nonfiction: Strong Female Character by Fern Brady

From these four category winners, one book will be selected as the overall winner and recipient of the Nero Gold Prize, Book of the Year, to be named March 14 in London. Each category winner receives £5,000 (about $6,350), with the overall winner getting an additional £30,000 (about $38,090).

Nero Gold Prize judging panel chair Bernardine Evaristo said: "At a time when literature is under threat from the addictive distractions of social media and the internet, literary prizes not only celebrate individual writers and elevate careers, but draw attention to a beautiful art form that requires and rewards sustained concentration and engagement with words, other people's lives, and the imagination. The Nero Book Awards are a major new prize. I'm looking forward to chairing the Nero Gold Prize, and selecting a book from the category winners that offers readers exceptional riches, one which we judges think deserves to be honored as the overall book of the year."


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, February 6:

Burma Sahib by Paul Theroux (Mariner, $30, 9780063297548) is a novel about George Orwell's early years as a policeman in colonial Burma.

Fourteen Days: A Collaborative Novel by The Authors Guild (Harper, $32, 9780358616382) includes contributions from Margaret Atwood, Celeste Ng, Tommy Orange, John Grisham, Douglas Preston and many more.

The Ghost Orchid by Jonathan Kellerman (Ballantine, $30, 9780593497678) is book 39 in the Alex Delaware thriller series.

Tales of the Celestial Kingdom by Sue Lynn Tan and Kelly Chong (Harper Voyager, $24.99, 9780063326699) is book three in the fantasy romance Celestial Kingdom series.

The Women: A Novel by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, $30, 9781250178633) follows a woman who joins the Army Nurse Corps during the Vietnam War.

The Year of the Locust by Terry Hayes (Atria/Emily Bestler, $32, 9781668055786) is a thriller about a CIA spy in the border area of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

All This Twisted Glory by Tahereh Mafi (Harper, $19.99, 9780062972507) is the third book in this YA fantasy series based on Persian folklore.

Waverider by Kazu Kibuishi (Graphix, $14.99, 9780545828659) is the ninth and final book in the bestselling middle-grade novel series.

Imagination: A Manifesto by Ruha Benjamin (W.W. Norton, $22, 9781324020974) advocates the use of imagination in challenging oppressive systems.

Medgar and Myrlie: Medgar Evers and the Love Story That Awakened America by Joy-Ann Reid (Mariner, $30, 9780063068797) chronicles the lives of civil rights leaders Medgar and Myrlie Evers.

Countdown: The Blinding Future of Nuclear Weapons by Sarah Scoles (Bold Type Books, $30, 9781645030058) explores the current state of America's nuclear weapons and the scientists who maintain them.

On Locations: Lessons Learned from My Life on Set with The Sopranos and in the Film Industry by Mark Kamine (Steerforth, $25, 9781586423803) is a memoir by the location manager for The Sopranos.

America vs. Americans: How Capitalism Has Failed a Capitalist Nation and What We Can Do About It by Eric Wade and Phil Herel (Forefront Books, $26, 9781637632369) advocates new systems to fix capitalism's failures.

Paperbacks:
The Teacher: A Psychological Thriller by Freida McFadden (Poisoned Pen Press, $17.99, 9781728296210).

Bride by Ali Hazelwood (Berkley, $19, 9780593550403).

The Complete Beans and Grains Cookbook: A Comprehensive Guide with 450+ Recipes by America's Test Kitchen (America's Test Kitchen, $34.99, 9781954210677).

Get Signed: Find an Agent, Land a Book Deal, and Become a Published Author by Lucinda Halpern (Hay House, $16.99, 9781401975142).

The Bricks 'n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden by Stacy Ling (Ten Peaks Press, $26.99, 9780736988483).

When Grumpy Met Sunshine: A Novel by Charlotte Stein (St. Martin's Griffin, $18, 9781250867933).


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover
Poor Deer: A Novel by Claire Oshetsky (Ecco, $26.99, 9780063327665). "Poor Deer is a fantastic reminder that only we can see the burdens we carry. Oshetsky writes about the way we shape our memories of trauma, guilt, and loss in order to cope in an earnest, heartfelt way. This book will linger in the corners of my mind." --Lindsay Ryon, Books Inc., San Francisco, Calif.

You Only Call When You're in Trouble: A Novel by Stephen McCauley (Holt, $27.99, 9781250296795). "Heartwarming, charming, and funny, You Only Call When You're in Trouble has characters that will become imprinted on your heart. Stephen McCauley gives us a novel that will set the bar for your 2024 reading!" --Mary O'Malley, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, Mo.

Paperback
This Wretched Valley by Jenny Kiefer (Quirk Books, $18.99, 9781683693680). "Jenny Kiefer brilliantly pulls us into this story about a group of people who go out to discover a new cliff face to climb. But there is something very evil in the woods and it's coming for them. Incredibly absorbing, you'll be on the edge of your seat!" --Marguerite Turley, The Doylestown & Lahaska Bookshops, Doylestown, Pa.

Ages 4 to 8
I Am Money by Julia Cook and Garrett Gunderson, illus. by Josh Cleland (Sourcebooks Explore, $14.99, 9781728271262). "Wow! I don't think I've ever read a book on money for kids that states that money won't make you happier and that credit cards can be deceptive. A good look at what money is and can do, and what the different forms of money do and how they work." --René Kirkpatrick, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

Ages 8 to 12
Not Quite a Ghost by Anne Ursu (Walden Pond Press, $19.99, 9780062275158). "As Violet falls ill with symptoms no one can diagnose, she notices a shadowy figure darting behind the flowers of the old wallpaper in her room. A spooky ghost story, exploration of chronic illness, and an empowering middle grade novel." --Ellie Ray, Content Bookstore, Northfield, Minn.

Teen Readers
The Atlas of Us by Kristin Dwyer (HarperTeen, $19.99, 9780063088580). "I loved every page of Kristin Dwyer's new book. Her sharp wit bled onto the page through her characters' dialogue, and her ability to explore guilt, grief, and anger in such a tangible way was perfection. Bravo." --Jamie Clark, The Briar Patch, Bangor, Me.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: The Blue Mimes: Poems

The Blue Mimes: Poems by Sara Daniele Rivera (Graywolf Press, $17 paperback, 72p., 9781644452790, April 2, 2024)

Winner of the Academy of American Poets First Book Award, Cuban Peruvian poet Sara Daniele Rivera uses language with artistry in The Blue Mimes, moving from English to Spanish with a lovely musicality. The collection of 27 poems opens with an epigraph in Spanish from Alejandra Pizarnik's "La noche de Santiago." The English translation reads, "Close a wound a bell cannot. A bell cannot close a wound," and this reflexive structure reveals much about Rivera's work. She, too, will play with beginnings and endings and inverted repetitions, especially in "Telephone Game," which begins with "I spoke. You. Sound converted and delivered./ We smiled and spoke." At the midpoint, a couplet of lines both begin "Mimic me:" with the second line repeating the first line in Spanish. From there, the poem rewinds, fully in Spanish, and concludes with, "Una luz convertida se entrega en mi cuerpo. Yo hablo. Tú./ Hablamos y sonreímos." More than just a clever trick, this poem reveals a sense of longing, especially with the shift from past tense to present.

A few pages earlier, in the prose poem "Abrigar," Rivera writes, "A line is drawn forward and backward in time. When I wear his coat it leaves my arms numb. Grief makes contact impossible." Grief holds this collection together: personal grief over the loss of loved ones, as well as collective grief over Covid-19 and lockdowns, and over political crises such as the attack on the U.S. Capitol or the separation of children from their families at the border.

In the acknowledgments, Rivera thanks her dad, even though it is his death that colors this lyrical and searching collection. She recalls how her father, who taught her to draw, insisted that it is "the movement, the searching, that matters." In that searching, she tells him, "I... felt you with me, behind every word." Line drawings by Rivera and her father divide the sections, animating Rivera's poems as they dance between grief and healing.

The book's final poem, "Fields Anointed with Poppies," explores the way loss can live in a person, opening with, "I never thought of my body/ as a shrine, but now/ I feel the truth of its doors:/ I carry the archeology of you." It also lives in words: "Hasta tenemos dos idiomas para decirlo: we have/ two languages with which to approximate one pain." Despite the pain, the final line--"And a road continues into open space"--is hopeful and, like this collection, full of life. --Sara Beth West, freelance reviewer and librarian

Shelf Talker: This collection of 27 poems is bursting with sound and light, even as it reckons with a multitude of griefs, both personal and public.


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