Shelf Awareness for Thursday, April 18, 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.


New Owners for Page 2 Books in Burien, Wash.

Kathy Knowlton and Stephen Feldman are the new owners of Page 2 Books in Burien, Wash. The Seattle Times reported that when longtime customer Feldman mentioned to now former owner Jenny Cole that he had fantasized about owning a bookstore, Cole had replied, "Well, you can just buy everything here and it's yours." Although she had been thinking about selling Page 2, she hadn't seriously pursued any potential buyers until then. 

Feldman was surprised, though he brought the prospect of buying Page 2 home to his wife, Kathy Knowlton, "with the expectation that she would say, 'What, are you crazy?' " he recalled. 

Confirming that in their marriage, "I'm in charge of throwing the cold water" on Feldman's big ideas, Knowlton said that when she heard the concept of buying her beloved neighborhood bookstore, "I never threw it." 

In her decade-long tenure as owner of Page 2 Books, Cole "has re-imagined the bookstore from the ground up. She transitioned it from the used bookstore it had been since its founding in 1989 to a mix of new and used books, and fostered a vibrant book club program," the Times wrote.

Feldman and Knowlton have no previous bookselling experience, but they did have one key requirement during the negotiation process. "One of the things that attracted us to the place are the people," Knowlton said. "The staff are a treasure, and we aren't really in a position to run it day-to-day." Early in the process of buying the bookstore, Feldman told Anna Griffiths, who has been manager at Page 2 for the past year, "If you don't come with it, we're not buying it." Griffiths stayed, as did all five of Page 2's booksellers when the ownership transitioned over Easter weekend.

No immediate changes are planned for the bookstore, though in the future Page 2 might explore some of Griffiths's ideas, like a "Page 2 Go Books" van that could bring the store on the road to community events. For now, however, the shop is carrying on with one major edict in mind: "The people who work here make the difference," Feldman said. "Otherwise, it's just another bookstore."

In a Facebook post introducing themselves earlier this month, the new owners noted: "Thank you, Jenny, for making such a success out of Burien's Page 2 Books! We hope to continue that tradition. In fact, continuity is the key plan so far (like you back in the day we have no prior retail experience--that's good, right?)."

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Bazoo Books, Sedalia, Mo., Under New Ownership 

Bazoo Books, formerly Reader's World, hosted an open house last weekend in the State Fair Shopping Center at 1400 S. Limit, Suite 7, Sedalia, Mo. KSIS reported that new owner Carrie Lysell "took over the 1,000-square-foot business on January 1. (The old location in the shopping center was 4,700 square feet.) This is the third business she has owned, the first being a heating & cooling company, and then State Beauty Supply here in Sedalia." 

"I came to Sedalia to manage State Beauty Supply. My brother owned it, and then after six years, I bought it. But then I sold it in 2022," Lysell recalled. "I was happily retired, until I walked into the bookstore (as a customer).... When the bookstore was for sale the first time, I was so tempted when Matt (Petree) bought it. But I still had State Beauty, and there was no way that was going to happen."

When she learned in October that Reader's World was struggling, Lysell said she went home and made a long list regarding the bookstore's potential "because I love books.... my biggest weaknesses are books and plants."

She ultimately made suggestions for initial renovations to the property, and asked Petree to remain as manager with her as the business owner. "Matt needed to stay, because I don't want a job. I'm going to do it as long as it's fun. Once the weather gets nice, I'm in the garden," she said.

Lysell added that "one of the first things we did here was build the inventory and get ahead of the new releases, because this new release shelf had three books in it when I first came in. And you can't be in business if you don't have what people want. And February was a big month for them. So finally, we're getting ahead of the curve.... This is a fun place. I love it.... I'm committed to this being successful and it being a destination and a huge part of the community."

Word on the Street Moves in Marlborough, Mass.

Word on the Street in Marlborough, Mass., has moved from 109 Main St. to 162 Main St., the Community Advocate reported.

Owner Alyson Cox, who founded Word on the Street in 2020, closed the bookstore on March 21 and reopened it in the new space on April 5. It is double the size of the previous location, and, per the Advocate, will feature "more shelving, an accessible bathroom, a gift-wrapping station, and... storage."

Cox will host a grand opening celebration for the store's new home on Independent Bookstore Day. The festivities will include a storytime session with Marlborough Mayor J. Christian Dumais as well as a trivia contest for adults.

Carrie Bloxson Promoted to Senior V-P, Culture and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Hachette

Carrie Bloxson

Carrie Bloxson has been promoted to the newly created position of senior v-p, culture and diversity, equity, and inclusion at Hachette Book Group and Hachette UK. She joined Hachette Book Group in 2021 as v-p, diversity and inclusion. Earlier, she was v-p of marketing at HarperCollins and has more than 20 years of experience as a marketing strategist.

David Shelley, CEO of Hachette Book Group and Hachette UK, said: "Carrie's leadership in DEI is unparalleled, and her strategic vision and empathy have made an enormous impact at Hachette Book Group. Over the past three years, she has spearheaded remarkable progress, fostering an environment of trust and engagement across our company. Her expanded role reflects our commitment to leveraging expertise and best practices between the U.S. and U.K. and advancing our Changing the Story pillar, the aim of which is for our publishing and our organization to mirror the diversity of the readers we serve. At a time when DEI efforts are receding in many industries, Carrie's elevation underscores our unwavering dedication to this work."

Bloxson called her new role "a testament to HBG and Hachette UK's dedication to making DEI a central pillar of our corporate ethos. Since joining HBG, I have been continually inspired by the commitment of our teams to embrace and champion DEI values, and I am excited to further this journey across our U.K. and U.S. organization, reinforcing our mission to Changing the Story and amplifying voices that need to be heard. I am committed to positive change that not only enhances our workplace but also enriches the literary landscape with diverse voices and perspectives."


Image of the Day: SRO for J. Dana Trent at Quail Ridge

Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, N.C., welcomed more than 200 people for the launch of J. Dana Trent's memoir, Between Two Trailers (Convergent). Trent was in conversation with Barbara Brown Taylor (both are at the bottom of the photo).

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kwame Alexander on the Kelly Clarkson Show

CBS Mornings: Renée Fleming, author of Music and Mind: Harnessing the Arts for Health and Wellness (Viking, $36, 9780593653197).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Kwame Alexander, author of This Is the Honey: An Anthology of Contemporary Black Poets (Little, Brown, $35, 9780316417525).

This Weekend on Book TV: Sarah McCammon on The Exvangelicals

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, April 20
3 p.m. Manisha Sinha, author of The Rise and Fall of the Second American Republic: Reconstruction, 1860-1920 (‎Liveright, $39.99, 9781631498442).

4:05 p.m. Harold Holzer, author of Brought Forth on This Continent: Abraham Lincoln and American Immigration (Dutton, $35, 9780451489012).

Sunday, April 21
8 a.m. Christopher Rufo, author of America's Cultural Revolution (Broadside, $32, 9780063227538). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

9:05 a.m. Sarah McCammon, author of The Exvangelicals: Loving, Living, and Leaving the White Evangelical Church (St. Martin's Press, $30, 9781250284471), at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 9:05 p.m.)

10 a.m. Eddie Glaude Jr., author of We Are the Leaders We Have Been Looking For (Harvard University Press, $24.95, 9780674737600). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

2 p.m. Mickey Huff, editor of Project Censored's State of the Free Press 2024 (Seven Stories Press, $18.95, 9781644213322), at Avid Reader Bookstore in Davis, Calif.

3:30 p.m. Amitav Ghosh, author of Smoke and Ashes: Opium's Hidden Histories (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $32, 9780374602925).

4:45 p.m. Frank McCourt Jr., co-author of Our Biggest Fight: Reclaiming Liberty, Humanity, and Dignity in the Digital Age (Crown, $28, 9780593728512).

5:30 p.m. Colum McCann and Diane Foley, authors of American Mother (Etruscan Press, $25.99, 9798985882452), at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C.

6:50 p.m. Senators Laphonza Butler and Tina Smith speak on the Senate floor against book bans in libraries and schools.

Books & Authors

Awards: Publishing Triangle Winners; Donner Shortlist

Winners were announced last night for the 2024 Publishing Triangle Awards, honoring the best LGBTQ+ books published in 2023. The winners:

The Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBTQ+ Fiction, administered in conjunction with the Ferro-Grumley Foundation: Pomegranate by Helen Elaine Lee (Atria Books)
The Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction: And Then He Sang a Lullaby by Ani Kayode Somtochukwu (Grove Atlantic)
The Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction: Suffering Sappho!: Lesbian Camp in American Popular Culture by Barbara Jane Brickman (Rutgers University Press)
The Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction: Kids on the Street: Queer Kinship and Religion in San Francisco's Tenderloin by Joseph Plaster (Duke University Press)
The Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry: Have You Been Long Enough at Table by Leslie Sainz (Tin House)
The Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry: Trace Evidence by Charif Shanahan (Tin House)
The Leslie Feinberg Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Literature: Girlfriends by Emily Zhou (LittlePuss Press)
The Joseph Hansen Award for LGBTQ+ Crime Writing: Transitory by J.M. Redmann (Bold Strokes Books)
The Jacqueline Woodson Award for LGBTQ+ Young Adult and Children's Literature: Salma Writes a Book by Danny Ramadan (Annick Press)

Previously announced honorees in special award categories were also honored and included:

Kris Kleindienst, owner of Left Bank Books in St. Louis, Mo., who was given the Michele Karlsberg Leadership Award, which honors "contributions to LGBTQ literature by those who are not primarily writers, such as editors, agents, booksellers, and institutions, and is funded with the support of Michele Karlsberg, head of the eponymous marketing and publicity firm with an emphasis on members of the LGBTQ+ writing community."

Emily Drabinski, president of the American Library Association, who was presented with the 2024 Publishing Triangle Torchbearer Award, given to "organizations or individuals who strive to awaken, encourage, and support a love of reading, or to stimulate an interest in and an appreciation of LGBTQ literature."

Dorothy Allison, recipient of the Publishing Triangle's Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Hilary Zaid, winner of the Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award and the author of Forget I Told You This: A Novel (Zero Street Books, 2023) and Paper Is White (Bywater Books, 2018).


The Donner Canadian Foundation has released a shortlist for the Donner Prize, recognizing "the best public policy book by a Canadian." The winner, who will be announced May 8 at a gala dinner in Toronto, receives C$60,000 (about US$43,405), with each of the finalists getting C$7,500 (about US$5,425). This year's shortlisted titles are:

The Legal Singularity: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Law Radically Better by Abdi Aidid and Benjamin Alarie 
Pandemic Panic: How Canadian Government Responses to COVID-19 Changed Civil Liberties Forever by Joanna Baron and Christine Van Geyn 
Who Owns Outer Space? International Law, Astrophysics, and the Sustainable Development of Space by Michael Byers and Aaron Boley 
The Privacy Fallacy: Harm and Power in the Information Economy by Ignacio Cofone 
Wrongfully Convicted: Guilty Pleas, Imagined Crimes, and What Canada Must Do to Safeguard Justice by Kent Roach 

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, April 23:

Ocean's Godori: A Novel by Elaine U. Cho (Zando/Hillman Grad Books, $28, 9781638930594) is a Korean space opera about a disgraced pilot--by Shelf Awareness's own Elaine U. Cho!

All That Happiness Is: Some Words on What Matters by Adam Gopnik (Liveright, $17.99, 9781324094852) is about finding satisfaction from self-guided accomplishments.

Funny Story by Emily Henry (Berkley, $29, 9780593441282) is a romance about a couple connected by their ex partners.

Extinction: A Novel by Douglas Preston (Forge, $29.99, 9780765317704) is a thriller about a Colorado resort featuring resurrected woolly mammoths.

The Paris Novel by Ruth Reichl (Random House, $29, 9780812996302) follows a woman traveling in 1980s Paris.

Lost Birds: A Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito Novel by Anne Hillerman (Harper, $30, 9780063344785) is book 27 in a Native American mystery series begun by Tony Hillerman.

The Backyard Bird Chronicles by Amy Tan (Knopf, $35, 9780593536131) is an illustrated foray into birding.

Shakespeare: The Man Who Pays the Rent by Judi Dench and Brendan O'Hea (St. Martin's Press, $32, 9781250325778) is a conversation with the legendary actress about her seven decades of playing Shakespeare roles.

The Everything War: Amazon's Ruthless Quest to Own the World and Remake Corporate Power by Dana Mattioli (Little, Brown, $32.50, 9780316269773) reveals Amazon's attempts toward economic and political dominance.

Darling Girls: A Novel by Sally Hepworth (St. Martin's Press, $29, 9781250284525) follows adult foster sisters reunited by their foster mother's secrets.

Blood Justice by Terry J. Benton-Walker (Tor Teen, $19.99, 9781250825957) continues the story of young New Orleans magical royalty begun in Blood Debts.

Homebody by Theo Parish (HarperAlley, $18.99, 9780063319585) is a YA graphic novel memoir about a nonbinary person finding home in their own body.

Le Sud: Recipes from Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur by Rebekah Peppler and Joann Pai (Chronicle, $35, 9781797219530) is a culinary guide to the South of France.

The Guarantee: Inside the Fight for America's Next Economy by Natalie Foster and Angela Garbes (The New Press, $28.99, 9781620978467) imagines the U.S. with guaranteed economic security for everyone.

A Light in the Darkness: The Music and Life of Joaquín Rodrigo by Javier Suárez-Pajares and Walter Aaron Clark (W.W. Norton, $45, 9781324004455) is the biography of a blind Spanish composer.

The Wild Lavender Bookshop by Jodi Thomas (Zebra, $17.95, 9781420155105).

Torn Asunder: A Maine Clambake Mystery Book 12 by Barbara Ross (Kensington Cozies, $8.99, 9781496735737).

The Flower Sisters by Michelle Collins Anderson (A John Scognamiglio Book, $17.95, 9781496748287).

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World by Bettany Hughes (Vintage, $20, 9780593686157).

The Rival by Maisey Yates (Canary Street Press, $9.99, 9781335006271).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

Like Happiness: A Novel by Ursula Villarreal-Moura (Celadon, $28, 9781250882837). "With fantastic prose and a compelling story and protagonist, Like Happiness grabbed my attention from page one and never let go. I cannot wait to follow Ursula Villarreal-Moura's career; I know I will eagerly read anything she writes!" --Christine Bollow, Loyalty Bookstores, Washington, D.C.

Worry: A Novel by Alexandra Tanner (Scribner, $27, 9781668018613). "Insidious millennial malaise and the exhaustion of performative activism are contrasted through the story of two sisters who overstay their welcome in one another's orbit. The dialogue will split you, gut you, and stitch you back up again." --Kyle Rea, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Paperback: An Indies Introduce Title
Women! In! Peril!: Stories by Jessie Ren Marshall (Bloomsbury, $17.99, 9781639732272). "Women! In! Peril! is a sharply written, eclectically bizarre collection that starts with a bang and ends in tender tears, and everything in-between. A fantastic debut from an author to watch out for!" --Jessie Wright, Copper Dog Books, Beverly, Mass.

Ages 2 to 6
The Cat Who Couldn't Be Bothered by Jack Kurland (Frances Lincoln Children's Books, $18.99, 9780711287457). "What a cute and adorable cat with a message about feelings and honesty. Children love cats and they are a great messenger for teaching lessons. We can all relate to this cat!" --Clark Buckmaster, The Taleless Dog, Booksellers, Berea, Ky.

Ages 8 to 12
Next Stop: A Graphic Novel by Debbie Fong (Random House Graphic, $13.99, 9780593425183). "Next Stop is an endearing graphic novel that made me laugh out loud on one page, then tear up on the next. Fong's ability to discuss grief and loss without sacrificing charm makes Next Stop a must read for children and adults." --Dominic Smith, Underbrush Books, Rogers, Ark.

Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
How the Boogeyman Became a Poet by Tony Keith, Jr. (Katherine Tegen, $19.99, 9780063296008). "This affirming memoir in verse walks the reader through the beautiful journey of being honest with yourself and fostering community. This book is for anyone trying to put the puzzle pieces of life together, but feel like they are missing just one piece." --Maryan Liban, Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers, Columbus, Ohio

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The Lion Women of Tehran

The Lion Women of Tehran by Marjan Kamali (Gallery Books, $28.99 hardcover, 336p., 9781668036587, July 2, 2024)

Marjan Kamali's gorgeous, gripping third novel, The Lion Women of Tehran, paints a layered portrait of female friendship, unexpected cultural shifts, and second chances. In 1950s Tehran, seven-year-old Ellie is devastated and blindsided by her father's death, which forces Ellie and her mother to move to a smaller house across town. Although Ellie's mother, mired in her grief and pride, hardly leaves the house, Ellie longs to make friends. On the first day of her new school, she meets Homa, a confident, bubbly local girl, and they become fast friends, spending hours together and dreaming of their futures, when they will become "lion women": bold, courageous, and successful.

Despite Ellie's mother's criticism of the "lower types," the girls' friendship flourishes, until Ellie and her mother make another unexpected move. Growing into a popular teenager, Ellie nearly forgets about Homa, until the day her former best friend appears at Ellie's posh high school. Although initially torn between her concern for appearances and her deep bond with Homa, Ellie soon rekindles their friendship. Side by side, they grow into young adults.

Kamali (The Stationery Shop, Together Tea) sensitively portrays the complex bond between Ellie and Homa: two young women of differing social classes, temperaments, and ambitions. Kamali provides a nuanced look at the experiences of young women under the Shah's regime through their social circle. They adore each other, and Ellie secretly envies Homa's confidence and her supportive parents, but they struggle to understand one another's decisions. Although Ellie is intelligent, she becomes mainly preoccupied with finding a husband during their university years, while Homa, always politically active, insists she will never marry. As the political landscape in Iran shifts rapidly, Ellie worries for Homa and her radical ideas, but neither of them can imagine how the country's political climate will shape the rest of their lives.

Narrated mostly by Ellie, The Lion Women of Tehran takes readers from the streets of Tehran to 1970s Manhattan, where Ellie and her husband eventually make their home. Homa narrates several brief sections where what's left unsaid is as powerful as what's spelled out. Ellie's years in New York capture the challenges of the Muslim-American immigrant experience and the push-pull of exile from a volatile place; Kamali also deftly explores the subtleties of Ellie's fraught but close-knit relationship with her mother. Ellie and Homa's eventual reunion is as complicated and beautiful as their friendship itself; Kamali is unwilling to give her characters the easy way out, but their stories, despite the pain, always bend toward hope.

Insightful, compassionate, and grounded in historical detail, The Lion Women of Tehran is an evocation of a country upended and a tribute to the ways deep friendships shape our lives. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Marjan Kamali's evocative third novel portrays a deep, complex female friendship against the backdrop of political turmoil in Iran.

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