Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, March 5, 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.


Grand Opening for Kindred and Co. in Post Falls, Idaho

Kindred and Co., a 14,000-square-foot bookstore that serves craft coffee and includes a bistro, hosted its grand-opening celebration last week at 851 E. 4th Ave. in Post Falls, Idaho, the Spokesman-Review reported, adding that co-owners Elizabeth Harrison and Selinna Maesau created the space to connect people.

"There's something so special that can happen over a good cup of coffee or a shared plate with friends," Harrison said. "That's what we wanted to bring to Northern Idaho."

Maesau, who will manage the business, had previously told the Spokesman-Review that bookshelves will hold around 20,000 titles, comprise 8,000 square feet of the building and span two floors. The other 6,000 square feet is dedicated to the bistro, seating, a conservatory, and a community room that can be reserved for events.

"Every aspect of Kindred was intentionally and thoughtfully created with connection in mind," Maesau noted. 

Harrison and Maesau have been best friends since they were 15 and share a love for traveling, where they find inspiration for their bistro menu, which features sandwiches, salads and shareable items such as charcuterie boards. The shop's rooftop deck will hold outdoor seating for the bistro until the business's second year of operation, when the owners hope to turn it into event space.

When they travel, the business partners make it a point to visit bookstores--partly because of their vested interest in them and to conduct research. "We wanted to take everything that we liked from other bookstores and make it our own," Harrison has said.

"Whether a booklover or coffee-connoisseur, goddess or guest, we invite you to enrich your mind and spirit with other kindred souls while you eat, read, sip, shop, and explore the vibrant energy at K&Co.," the bookshop says on its website.

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BincTank Inaugural Cohort Announced

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation has announced the 12 entrepreneurs who will make up the inaugural cohort for BincTank. Launched last summer, BincTank is a business incubator program designed to increase equity in bookstore ownership by supporting entrepreneurs from historically underrepresented communities.

The cohort members are:

  • Courtney Bledsoe, who will soon open a bookstore in Chicago, Ill.
  • Aysia Brown, who recently opened Protagonist Black in Fontana, Calif.
  • Diana Dominguez, who recently opened Más Libritos Bookstore in Springdale, Ark.
  • Robert Eckman, who plans to open a bookstore in Belleville, Ill.
  • Alma Guzman, who plans to open a bookmobile in southeast Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Gwendolyn Henderson, who recently opened Black English Bookstore in Tampa, Fla.
  • Kenya Kirkman, who intends to open a bookstore in Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Ashley Mireles-Guerrero, who plans to open a bookstore in Fresno, Calif.
  • Angie Nixon, who recently opened Café Resistance Bookstore in Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Ciona Rouse, who plans to open a bookstore in Nashville, Tenn.
  • Jay Williams, who opened Next Chapter Books in Detroit, Mich., last year.
  • Kevin Zambrano, who plans to open a bookstore in Brooklyn, N.Y.

"We are so proud to support this first group of entrepreneurs dedicated to opening bookstores in their community," said Binc executive director Pam French. "They share our commitment to and passion for closing the diversity gap in bookstore ownership, and we can’t wait to visit their stores."

Ken White, BincTank program manager, said: "These applicants bring a great diversity of experience, skills and background to BincTank from community organizing, bookselling and politics to working in the publishing industry, teaching and writing books. They come from across the country in communities large and small, and their enthusiasm is contagious. Together we will work to increase the number of BIPOC-owned bookstores."

Bookseller Oral History Project Finds Home at University of Iowa Library

The Bookseller Oral History Project, which collects interviews with current and former booksellers about their historical experiences, insights, and perspectives, will be part of a new initiative to build an archive on the history of bookselling at the University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections and Archive. The Project's audio files and transcripts will eventually be available to researchers and the public.

The University of Iowa Library Special Collections is expanding its archive with a focus on the history of bookselling. Beginning with the Bookseller Oral History Project, the Library seeks donations of papers and other materials that document and preserve the history of booksellers and bookstores. Prairie Lights Books, Iowa City, Iowa, and Rainy Day Books, Fairway, Kan., are making the first contributions, committing to donate more than 40 years of materials to the collection. Other independent bookstores, past and present, are encouraged to participate.

What can be donated:

  • Documents, ledgers, handwritten or typed documentation of business practices
  • Correspondence
  • Bookstore marketing materials (newsletters, print ads, flyers, posters, brochures, bookmarks, etc.)
  • Print media articles only if they are pertinent to the bookstore.
  • Digital material, including spreadsheets, e-mail, etc.
  • Photographs, print or digital
  • Other media, including audio, video

The University of Iowa is home to the Center for the Book and the Library's special collections has an extensive archive on the history of the book, which includes records from the Iowa City Book Festival, Torch Press Book Shop, as well as papers and manuscripts from numerous Iowa Writers' Workshop alumni.

For more information, contact Lanora Jennings, director of the Bookseller Oral History Project, or J. Eric Ensley, MLS, PhD, curator of Rare Books & Maps, Special Collections & Archives, University of Iowa.

Obituary Note: Ramona Fradon

Ramona Fradon

Ramona Fradon, "who in a long career as a comic book artist added to the mythology of Aquaman and helped create the eccentric superhero Metamorpho," died February 24, the New York Times reported. She was 97. Fradon was most closely associated with the DC Comics undersea hero Aquaman, whose adventures she drew from 1951 to 1963 in more than 100 issues.

"She wasn't daunted by the all-male industry" because she was doing what she loved, said Amy Fradon, her daughter. "She drew right up to last week. I gave her agent her last seven drawings, and when I took them outside, she said, 'Those are the last, those are the last seven.' "

Fradon's version of Aquaman, a character who first appeared in 1941, "modernized him for new readers and gave him the chiseled good looks of a movie star," the Times noted. In a 2018 Vulture, interview she said, "When I was drawing him back in the '50s, he was nice and wholesome, with a nice haircut and pink cheeks. I had a crush on him."

She worked with many writers on Aquaman, whose stories were one of several features in the anthology series Adventure Comics. She also drew the cover for a special 2021 comic celebrating the 80th anniversary of Aquaman's first adventure. 

Fradon was originally assigned to draw Aquaman by editor Murray Boltinoff after she had drawn two Adventure stories starring the character Shining Knight. "He said I had a simple style, which was good for children, and Aquaman was aimed at young readers," she recalled in an interview with Howard Chaykin for the 2014 book The Art of Ramona Fradon.

In 1964, Fradon worked with editor George Kashdan and writer Bob Haney to create Metamorpho, who made his debut in The Brave and the Bold No. 5, along with a supporting cast that included his love interest, Sapphire Stagg; her father, Simon Stagg; and his Neanderthal servant, Java, the Times wrote. 

"The beautiful, willful and sexy Sapphire Stagg was Moi, or didn't I wish," Fradon said. 

She also worked on Super Friends and Plastic Man. Fradon had been semiretired since 1995, but continued to sell occasional drawings and do work for fans on commission. On January 3, Catskill Comics, which represented her, announced her official retirement. 


Image of the Day: SIBA's March Madness Kickoff

The team from M. Judson Booksellers, Greenville, S.C., presented at the kickoff event for SIBA's March Madness, a series of one-day gatherings at nine SIBA bookstores that feature bookseller education, author luncheons, networking, and idea sharing. Pictured: (from l.) Beth Brown Ables, marketing manager; Susan Williams, educator and large order liaison; event manager Alyssa Fikse; buyer Ashley Warlick; owner June Wilcox.

Reading Group Choices' Most Popular February Books

The most popular book club titles at Reading Group Choices in February were The Heiress by Rachel Hawkins (St. Martin's Press) and The Women by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press).

Personnel Changes at the Morrow Group; Running Press

At Morrow Group:

Maureen Cole has been promoted to executive director of publicity. She joined HarperCollins in 2016.

Allison Carney has been promoted to senior director of marketing. She joined the Morrow Group in February 2022.


At Running Press:

Kara Thornton has been promoted to director of publicity.

Rebecca Matheson has been promoted to marketing and publicity manager, Running Press Kids.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Julia Boorstin on the Today Show

Daily Show: Yuval Noah Harari, author of Unstoppable Us: Volume 2: Why the World Isn't Fair! (Bright Matter Books, $24.99, 9780593711521).

Good Morning America: William Li, author of Eat to Beat Your Diet: Burn Fat, Heal Your Metabolism, and Live Longer (Balance, $30, 9781538753903).

Today Show: Julia Boorstin, author of When Women Lead: What They Achieve, Why They Succeed, and How We Can Learn from Them (Avid Reader Press, $19.99, 9781982168223).

Movies: Arthur the King

Arthur the King, adapted from Mikael Lindnord's 2017 memoir Arthur: The Dog Who Crossed a Jungle to Find a Home, hits theaters March 15. The Lionsgate film stars Mark Wahlberg and Simu Liu. Check out a new featurette on the making of the movie here.

Directed by Simon Cellan Jones from a screenplay by Michael Brandt, the film's cast also includes Juliet Rylance, Nathalie Emmanuel, Ali Suliman, Bear Grylls, and Paul Guilfoyle

The movie's logline: "Over the course of ten days and 435 miles, an unbreakable bond is forged between pro adventure racer Michael Light (Wahlberg) and a scrappy street dog companion dubbed Arthur. Based on an incredible true story, Arthur the King follows Light, desperate for one last chance to win, as he convinces a sponsor to back him and a team of athletes (Liu, Emmanuel, Suliman) for the Adventure Racing World Championship in the Dominican Republic. As the team is pushed to their outer limits of endurance in the race, Arthur redefines what victory, loyalty and friendship truly mean."

Books & Authors

Awards: Audie Winners; Republic of Consciousness U.K. Shortlist

Surrender, written and narrated by Bono (Penguin Random House Audio) won the Audiobook of the Year Award at the 2024 Audie Awards, organized by the Audio Publishers Association and celebrated at a gala event last night in Los Angeles.

In two new categories, replacing the Best Male Narrator and Best Female Narrator categories, Billie Fulford-Brown was awarded the Best Fiction Narrator Award for Hazel Gaynor's The Last Lifeboat (Penguin Random House Audio), and Dion Graham won Best Non-Fiction Narrator Award for Jonathan Eig's King: A Life (Macmillan Audio). To see the winners in all 26 categories, click here.


A shortlist has been released for the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses in the U.K. and Ireland. Each of the shortlisted titles gets an additional £1,000 (about $1,270) to the £500 (about $635) the longlisted books received. The winner will be announced at Foyles Charing Cross Road on April 17 and, as its reward, "will enjoy the glory," the organizers said. This year's shortlisted publishers are:

Boiler House Press for Out of Earth by Sheyla Smanioto, translated by Laura Garmeson & Sophie Lewis
Cassava Republic for Avenues by Train by Farai Mudzingwa
Charco Press for Of Cattle and Men by Ana Paula Maia, translated by Zoë Perry
Scotland Street Press for The Zekameron by Maxim Znak, translated by Jim & Ella Dingley
Tilted Axis Press for The End of August by Yu Miri, translated by Morgan Giles

Book Review

Review: Can't Spell Treason Without Tea

Can't Spell Treason Without Tea by Rebecca Thorne (Bramble, $19.99 paperback, 352p., 9781250333292, May 7, 2024)

Rebecca Thorne's Can't Spell Treason Without Tea marks an exciting new entry in the cozy fantasy genre, as a Queensguard and the Mage of Ages attempt to build a quiet, peaceful life together after years of adventures and dangers have kept them apart.

Reyna is one of the queen's guards, descended from a long line of palace guards who protect their sovereign with honor. But the queen's "quirks"--a too-kind euphemism for her bent toward cruelty and wickedness--have worn thin on Reyna's sense of duty, and she longs for a quieter life in the country with her girlfriend, Kianthe. "You like tea. I like books. Let's open a shop somewhere remote and forget the world exists," begs Kianthe, who just so happens to be the Arcandor, designated by the Stone of Seeing as a conduit, "channeling its immense magic into smaller spells that benefited the world at large." Simply put, neither can run off and leave their lives behind--until one day, Reyna does exactly that, and Kianthe decides to join her.

The pair end up settling in a far-off town, where they encounter leaders disputing land ownership, learn of increasing threats of dragon attacks, and take over a decrepit barn most likely owned by bandits who may or may not return to reclaim it. In other words, it's the perfect spot to open New Leaf Tomes and Tea, so dubbed by the ever-punny Kianthe ("New leaf? Tea leaves? Turning over a new leaf? A leaf of a book?" she smirks). But the outside world continues to intrude on their dream: spies of the queen are hunting Reyna, wanted for treason after fleeing the queen's employ; plus, there is the "required mediation" of the Arcandor any time magical creatures cross human boundaries--like the dragon attacks on their new hometown, to name but one.

The adventure (evil queens, inexplicable dragon attacks, politically minded mages) of Can't Spell Treason Without Tea is tempered by the inherently cozy setting of New Leaf Tomes and Tea, filled with magical plants, walls of books, the scent of scones, and the quiet sounds of tea preparation. Thorne finds a perfect balance between the workings of a suspenseful fantasy novel and delightfully commonplace descriptions of a cozy, quiet life. In this, Can't Spell Treason Without Tea is reminiscent of Travis Baldree's much-beloved Legends and Lattes (indeed, Thorne credits Baldree's novel as inspiration in her acknowledgements). With a planned sequel in the works, Can't Spell Treason Without Tea is sure to appeal to fans of Baldree's work, as well as any fantasy lover keen to imagine the inner lives of adventurers, whether they be actively adventuring or sitting at home with a book and a nice, hot cup of tea. --Kerry McHugh, freelance writer

Shelf Talker: An exciting new voice in the cozy fantasy genre, as a Queensguard and a mage attempt to build a life far from adventure and danger in favor of a quiet life running a tea and bookshop together.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The Teacher by Freida McFadden
2. Visions of Flesh and Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
3. Saving 6 by Chloe Walsh
4. Twisted Love by Ana Huang
5. Twisted Games by Ana Huang
6. The Secret Fiancée by Catharina Maura
7. The Reason I Married Him by Meghan Quinn
8. The Pucking Wrong Date by C.R. Jane
9. Where's Molly by H.D. Carlton
10. Pretty Rings and Broken Things by Kat Singleton

[Many thanks to!]

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