Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 15, 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.


Another Bookstore Bomb Threat in Utah

Mosaics, the Provo, Utah, bookstore, café, event, and queer community space that opened last October, was the target of a bomb threat on Saturday morning, as reported by multiple local news media. Police were notified and went to the store, where they found "no bombs or suspicious packages" and said that the investigation is continuing.

The threat was sent in an e-mail to several news organizations at about 9 a.m., shortly before a scheduled drag queen storytime was to take place. According to the Daily Herald, the message called the booksellers "degenerates" and "groomers... acting out your sexual (fantasies) upon our children sheathed under the false guise of tolerance and inclusivity.... We will not stand idly by as the next generation of children are preyed upon and corrupted, we will stop you and we will kill you." The message ended saying that "bombs will go off" at Mosaics.

Drag artist Tara Lipsyncki, who owns the store with her husband, told ABC 4 News that the store has been threatened before and said, "To those that keep doing these threats, you are threatening children. You are the villain. You are taking public resources--with the police and everyone else--and squandering it. So you are the problem and you need to address that with yourself and stop projecting it on the rest of us."

And she told the Daily Herald, "I need to make sure that my family--both my biological family and physical family, and my chosen family of my employees and the community that I've built in the store--I need to make sure they're safe."

The store posted on Facebook: "Thank you ABC 4 News for coming to Provo to speak to us. Mosaics will be issuing a stronger statement in the next few days. In the meantime, we ask Provo Police Department to take this threat seriously and pursue an active and meaningful investigation to find the individual(s) responsible."

Last September, the King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City cancelled a drag queen storytime after a pair of bomb threats. That event would have starred Lipsyncki.

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Clevo Books, Cleveland, Ohio, Relocating

Clevo Books, the bricks-and-mortar bookstore opened in 2022 by the independent publisher of the same name, is moving to a new location this month, Cleve Scene reported.

Owner Cathryn Siegal-Bergman is taking Clevo Books from its previous home in the Euclid Arcades in downtown Cleveland to a 3,000-square-foot space at 1030 Euclid Ave, a distance of about three blocks. Siegal-Bergman plans to use the additional space to add a wine bar and expand the store's book and nonbook selections.

Siegal-Bergman told Scene that Clevo Books had outgrown its original home, and at the same time, the Arcades had started to suffer from vacating tenants and declining foot traffic due to new management. The new space, which used to be a Rise Nation studio, "seems to be ideal. It gives us new room to grow into."

The store carries titles from Clevo Books along with titles from other publishers, with an emphasis on women authors in translation. Siegal-Bergman plans to have the move complete and the store open for business in time for Independent Bookstore Day.

Well Red Opening Third Location in Auburn, Ala.

Well Red, a bookstore, coffee shop, and wine bar in Auburn, Ala., will open a third location, to be called The Fox, that will focus exclusively on coffee. The Auburn Plainsman owners Richard and Crystal Tomasello launched the original Well Red on Opelika Road in June 2020, and announced last September they were adding a second location, on Donahue Drive, which has an anticipated opening date in June. They are aiming to open The Fox, at 124 Tichenor Ave., later this month. 

Owners Crystal and Richard Tomasello

When Maddie Corbeau decided to close The Coffee Cat, she said she contacted Well Red "because I couldn't imagine a better fit in this space. I know them very well. Richard and Crystal are good friends of mine, and we worked together a little bit in the beginning of the dream stages of Well Red, because we have the same favorite bookstore and cafe in Asheville, North Carolina."

Richard Tomasello added: "We've always loved this place. Maddie helped us actually. She consulted with us on the coffee side of things and buying equipment and training and all for this place. We've known her for years and you know, she really helped Well Red in the beginning, so we've always had a great relationship with her."

The Fox will be a departure from their original coffee and bookstore model. Instead of selling books, the new shop is focusing on promotion of its coffees, teas and pastries. Tomasello explained that they want to distinguish the shop from the other two Well Red locations, and since there is already a downtown bookstore, Auburn Oil Co. Booksellers, The Fox will not sell new books, nor will it serve beer and wine. 

"We're still working out the hours and things like that, because the Coffee Cat did late nights. And you know, that is something completely different than I think anybody else coffee-wise is doing in town," he said. "We've had some of their regulars approach us [who] tried to pitch us on keeping those hours going."

Obituary Note: Robert MacNeil

Robert MacNeil

Robert MacNeil, the Canadian-born journalist and author "who delivered sober evening newscasts for more than two decades on PBS" as co-anchor with Jim Lehrer (who died in 2020) of The MacNeil/Lehrer Report, later expanded as The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, died April 12, the New York Times reported. He was 93.

MacNeil attended Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where a Canadian Broadcasting Corp. producer saw him in a school production of Othello and hired him to act in CBC radio productions and eventually a daily radio soap opera. MacNeil dropped out of college to pursue stage acting full time, but decided that he was better suited to be a playwright. He returned to school at Carleton University in Ottawa, while working as a national radio announcer for the CBC and then for the CBC's new television service, where he also hosted a children's program. After graduating, he moved to England to write plays, but quickly turned to journalism to make money. 

MacNeil spent time at NBC News early in his career before joining the fledgling Public Broadcasting Service in 1971. "He brought with him a news sensibility honed at the BBC, where he had worked in the interim, and became a key figure in shaping U.S. public television's in-depth and evenhanded approach to news coverage," the Times wrote, adding that "a pairing with Lehrer in 1973 to cover the Senate Watergate hearings for PBS was unpopular with the operators of many local public stations, who thought the prime-time broadcasts weren't appropriate evening fare. But the two men's serious demeanor was a hit with viewers, and the broadcasts won an Emmy Award and eventually launched an enduring collaboration."

MacNeil became an American citizen in 1997 and was made an officer in the Order of Canada the same year. He reflected on his life as a dual citizen in a 2003 memoir, Looking for My Country: Finding Myself in America. His other books include The People Machine (1968), The Right Place at the Right Time (1982), and four novels--Burden of Desire (1992), The Voyage (1995), Breaking News (1998), and Portrait of Julia (2013). 

He was a co-author, with Robert McCrum, of The Story of English, a companion volume to the 1986 BBC-PBS television series he hosted; and he wrote its 2005 sequel, Do You Speak American? 

In interviews for the Archive of American Television in 2000 and 2001, he was asked how he wanted to be remembered. "Television has changed journalism, utterly, not just for television, but for print and everybody else," he said. "It's changed the whole culture and ethos of journalism. And to have been able hold the line--perhaps Canute-like--against a tide that's going to engulf us all in the end, for a few years, has been a source of gratification to me."

PBS noted: "Through the years, Robin insisted on the importance of including the arts in the NewsHour's reporting. He regularly talked with writers and other artists in this country and abroad."

He also chaired the board of the MacDowell Colony (now known as MacDowell), the retreat for artists, writers, and musicians in Peterborough, N.H., from 1993 to 2010. During MacDowell's centennial celebration in 2007, MacNeil told Jeffrey Brown: "The real importance of art is that it is the greatest expression of American ideal of freedom. Artists are intellectually and creatively freer than anybody."  


Image of the Day: Spring Book Group Mixer at Bookshop Santa Cruz

Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif., hosted a Spring Book Group Mixer--its first since 2019. The store reported, "We have so much fun selecting and pitching titles we think our customers will love, and (whether in a book group or solo), they always leave happy, too." Pictured: (l.-r.) Melinda Powers, head buyer; Casey Coonerty Protti, owner; Lindsay Taylor, web manager and head of romance section; Jax Caldwell-Dunn, general manager and backlist buyer.

Bookstore Encounter: Amanda Gorman at Colgate

Kate Reynolds, general book buyer at Colgate Bookstore, Hamilton, N.Y., shared this recent delightful encounter:

"Amanda Gorman was at Colgate University for our Global Leaders lecture series this past weekend. The University Events office organized the event, and there was no booksigning in the deal.... We figured we'd still sell lots of her books, and wanted to promote the talk, so we did a window and table display....

"[On Friday] someone walks up to me, and it's Amanda Gorman, in a Colgate winter hat she'd been given, a puffy jacket and a backpack. She was walking all around town incognito, saw her books in the window, stopped in and asked if we wanted her to sign them. We grabbed a chair and set her up in the middle of the sales floor, and she signed everything we had. She was just so lovely to everyone. She had a long talk with a 10ish-year-old about writing poetry, and dealing with life. She complimented our Poetry Month display, and was a joy to be around."

Pictured: Gorman (center) with Kate Reynolds (l.), general book buyer, and staff member Lisa Kenyon.

Personnel Changes at the Collective Book Studio; Sourcebooks

Elisabeth Saake has been named associate publisher of the Collective Book Studio. She was formerly director of operations and acquisitions and is co-author of one of the Studio's bestselling titles, Houseplants and Their F*cked-Up Thoughts.


At Sourcebooks:

Sophie Kossakowski has been promoted to sales and marketing manager, international.

Cristina Arreola has been promoted to associate director of publicity and marketing, Sourcebooks Landmark.

Mandy Chahal has been promoted to senior manager of publicity and marketing, Poisoned Pen Press.

Tianna Kelly has been promoted to marketing coordinator, Bloom Books and Casablanca.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Salman Rushdie on Colbert's Late Show, GMA, CBS Mornings

Good Morning America: Alexa von Tobel, author of Money Matters: A Guide to Saving, Spending, and Everything in Between (Rebel Girls, $12.99, 9798889640301).

Also on GMA: Salman Rushdie, author of Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder (Random House, $28, 9780593730249). He will also appear tonight on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and tomorrow on CBS Mornings.

Today Show: Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781982108663).

Also on Today: Emma Straub and Susan Straub, authors of Gaga Mistake Day (Rocky Pond Books, $18.99, 9780593529461).

Drew Barrymore Show: Valerie Bertinelli, author of Indulge: Delicious and Decadent Dishes to Enjoy and Share (Harvest, $35, 9780063244726).

Jennifer Hudson Show: Jason Tartick, author of Talk Money to Me: The 8 Essential Financial Questions to Discuss With Your Partner (HarperCollins, $29.99, 9781400226900).

Today Show: George Takei, author of My Lost Freedom: A Japanese American World War II Story (Crown, $19.99, 9780593566350). He will also appear on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Kelly Clarkson Show: Alice Randall, author of My Black Country: A Journey Through Country Music's Black Past, Present, and Future (Atria/Black Privilege Publishing, $28.99, 9781668018408).

The View: Keith Boykin, author of Why Does Everything Have to Be About Race?: 25 Arguments That Won't Go Away (Bold Type, $30, 9781541703315).

Movies: Young Woman and the Sea

A trailer has been released for Young Woman and the Sea, based on Glenn Stout's nonfiction book Young Woman and the Sea: How Trudy Ederle Conquered the English Channel and Inspired the World. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop, Pirates of the Caribbean) described the project as "his highest testing movie ever," IndieWire reported.

Directed by Joachim Rønning and written by Jeff Nathanson, Young Woman and the Sea stars Daisy Ridley, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Stephen Graham, Kim Bodnia, Christopher Eccleston, and Glenn Fleshler. The movie will be released in select theaters May 31. 

Books & Authors

Awards: Astrid Lindgren Memorial Winner 

The 5 million Swedish Kronor (about $459,735) 2024 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award has gone to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, which "encourages reading and promote literacy by securing access to good literature for First Nations children of Australia," the prize organizers wrote. "The organization works in 427 First Nations Communities all over the Australian continent. ILF emphasizes the importance of First Nations children finding themselves, their culture and their languages reflected in the books they read."

The jury commented: "With curiosity and respect, Indigenous Literacy Foundation works with reading and storytelling among First Nations children in Australia. In close collaboration with Communities, they highlight the value of all people's own languages and stories. By spreading books and stimulating reading, storytelling and creativity, Indigenous Literacy Foundation builds the desire to read and fosters pride, self-confidence and a sense of belonging. Every child has the right to their language and their stories."

Book Review

Review: Bear

Bear by Julia Phillips (Hogarth, $28 hardcover, 304p., 9780525520436, June 25, 2024)

With Bear, National Book Award finalist Julia Phillips (Disappearing Earth) crafts her own version of a Grimm fairy tale, which she quotes in the epigraph. Despite its singsong familiarity, the close of this passage--"and when he growled they laughed"--establishes an unnerving tone: comforting yet threaded with an undercurrent of menace. In lieu of the Snow-white and Rose-red of the original story, Bear introduces readers to Sam and her older sister, Elena. Where Sam rages against their lot--financial precarity, missed opportunities, and the looming certainty of their young mother's death--Elena faces it all with a calming strength, one that Sam relies on entirely.

Born 13 months apart, the sisters have shared everything, including the terror of their mother's last boyfriend and a dream one day to sell their ramshackle house and escape the oppressive nature of their life on Washington's San Juan Island. That shared dreaming gives Sam something to hope for, a way out. Now, as their mother's illness lingers and they grapple with the aftereffects of the pandemic lockdowns, "they had less time to whisper about what would be. They needed to dedicate their days to what was. But Sam still dreamed." For Sam, almost everything is temporary, including her job at the food counter on the ferry and her relationship with coworker Ben. Elena is her only constant, their sisterhood "the one bond that would last their whole lives." But everything changes the day a bear shows up at their door.

To say more about what happens would spoil the taut brilliance of Phillips's narrative. Bear is the kind of story that keeps readers up late into the night, gulping down the last pages with urgency and a fierce sense of protection for these sisters and their hope "that they would make it through terrifying things, that they would be able to leave with no scars other than the ones they already had." But trauma endures, and life, Sam knows, "was made up of tiny unremarkable griefs." She rails against the injustice of "the whole world, which was twisted and threatening and completely unfair, which demanded that Sam defend herself but never gave her any of what she needed to try." The book's single word title reminds readers of the creature that threatens, of course, but also of all the things women are forced to bear, even those that feel most unbearable. --Sara Beth West, freelance reviewer and librarian

Shelf Talker: Bear is a fast-moving river--smooth on the surface but churning underneath--and sisters Sam and Elena are caught in its inexorable current as they wrestle with conflicting hopes for the future.

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