Also published on this date: Thursday April 25, 2024: Maximum Shelf: That Librarian

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, April 25, 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 Re-opening for Denver's The Bookies in New Location

The Bookies bookstore, Denver, Colo., will reopen in its new location at 2085 S. Holly St. on April 27, Independent Bookstore Day, with a grand re-opening celebration. The bookstore has been closed since December 24, 2023, while completing a remodel of the new location. 

The Bookies was founded in 1971 by the late Sue Lubeck, who died in 2021. Ryan and Nicole Sullivan purchased the bookstore in 2021 in hopes of creating a sustainable future for the beloved community resource. They also owned BookBar, which closed in January 2023.

Upon acquiring the Bookies, the Sullivans began searching for a stand-alone investment property with more visibility and financial security than the previous location offered. It took nearly two years to find the right building with enough space to merchandise the Bookies' inventory without getting too far away from its long-time, supportive community. They purchased a building from Lehrer's Fireplace and Patio Outlet in May 2023 and have since been working to transform the space into a large but cozy bookstore.

"This building checked all of the boxes for us," said Nicole Sullivan. "It is centrally located in Denver only two miles from the previous Bookies location. It is roughly the same size as our former retail space but with options for future growth and/or tenants. Best of all, the Lehrer family let us keep a couple of their gorgeous fireplaces. I love the cozy industrial aesthetic of the building with its high ceilings and natural light."

In addition to the 7,000 square feet of retail, there is also plenty of back office space for the company's community fulfillment efforts. Store manager Krista Carlton said, "The Bookies has long been a trusted book source for schools, partners, events, and our increasingly popular teacher registry program in which we facilitate a community supported effort to fill teachers' classrooms with the books they need." 

Additionally, the building has a 2,000-square-foot warehouse and a second-floor studio space that currently houses Grand Master Yoon's World Tae Kwon Do College.
The new store will feature green carpeting, the original custom-built shelving and fixtures, and teacher and educator supplies, as well as a focus on children's literature. There will also be a dedicated meeting room for book clubs, community meetings, and workshops; seating throughout the store for meeting, reading, and studying; a complimentary coffee bar; and two fireplace lounges. The Bookies plans to make use of its open, modular layout to host more events and literary programming.

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The Dragon Wagon Book Bus Hitting the Road on IBD

On Independent Bookstore Day, the pop-up children's bookstore the Dragon Wagon will unveil its new book bus with a trip through New York State's Delaware County, the Daily Star reported.

Owners Bill Hancock and Tracey West will spend IBD taking the bus from Hancock to Stamford, with stops along the way. They will have plenty of children's books for sale, from board and picture books to YA titles, and every child who visits the Dragon Wagon will be able to choose one book to take home for free. West told the Star she chooses inventory based on children's interests, and she prioritizes titles that reflect their lives and show them new perspectives of the world.

The Dragon Wagon is built out of a 1979 Dodge B300 and features an awning base on one of its sides, dragon decals, and a purple and green paint job. Four different shops worked on it.

West and Hancock founded the Dragon Wagon in 2023 after a librarian told West, who is the author of the Dragon Masters book series, that there were no children's bookstores in all of Delaware County. They decided to go with a mobile bookstore instead of a bricks-and-mortar store so they could reach as many county residents as possible.

Last year, they set up shop at six events in Delaware County, giving away around 450 titles and selling "about as many."

Following the IBD debut, Hancock and West have seven events lined up for the summer so far.

Zandbroz Variety in Fargo, S.Dak., to Close

Zandbroz Variety in Fargo, N.Dak., will close in June after 33 years in business. The Star Tribune reported that while a buyer "could end up taking helm of the century-old Broadway building and operating a retailer there under a different name, the Danz family--Greg, Renee and daughter Josie--is ending their involvement in the iconic store." 

Brothers Jeff and Greg Danz opened their first location in Sioux Falls, S.Dak., in 1989, which remains open. The Fargo store opened in the former Leeby's grocery store and for many years included a coffee shop and eatery in the back called Dakota Soda, which later converted into a space to sell used books. As a bookstore, Zandbroz has been known for stocking regional and lesser-known authors while offering a venue for readings and music, the Star Tribune noted.

"The last few years have been our best ever, and I'd rather go out on top while things are good than any other way," said Greg Danz. "We feel really good about what we've accomplished. The first person I told from Minneapolis was Louise Erdrich; she's a good friend of the store," though he added that he couldn't convince her to open a Fargo outpost of Birchbark Books to take Zandbroz's place.

In a detailed post on Facebook, the family wrote, in part: "Zandbroz has always focused on people. Over the years, we have been blessed with dozens of incredible co-workers, too many to start naming, who we embraced as part of our family. Even though they have moved on, they remain life-long friends, and we take pride in their successes, hopefully inspired by their time at Zandbroz. The other group of incredible people is each of you who have supported us over the years. Our customers have become our sweet community of friends and enriched our tight-knit family. We feel a deep attachment to and appreciation for those we affectionately refer to as Zandbrozians.... You are responsible for all we have achieved, and we hope that you will remember us fondly and carry the Zandbroz mission of community and love with you."

New B&N Stores Opening May 1 in Iowa & Ga.

B&N coming soon to Dawsonville, Ga.

Barnes & Noble is opening new locations in Dawsonville, Ga., and Dubuque, Iowa, on May 1.

The Dawsonville store will reside in a space in the Dawson Marketplace at 136 Marketplace Parkway and will feature B&N's new store design. On May 1, the bookstore will officially open with a ribbon cutting and signing featuring authors Terri Parlato (All the Dark Places), Vanessa Riley (Queen of Exiles), and Valerie Burns (A Cup of Flour, A Pinch of Death).

The Dubuque store will be located in the Ashbury Plaza shopping center in a space that formerly housed a Pier 1. It will open May 1 with a ribbbon cutting and signing featuring author Heather Gudenkauf (Everyone Is Watching).

B&N opened more stores in 2023 than it had in the previous 15 years combined. In 2024, it plans to open more than 50 new stores.

Obituary Note: Helen Vendler

Helen Vendler

Helen Vendler, one of the leading poetry critics in the U.S., "with a reputation-making power that derived from her fine-grained, impassioned readings, expressed in crystalline prose in the New Yorker and other publications," died April 23, the New York Times reported. She was 90. In an era dominated by post-structuralist and politically influenced literary criticism, Vendler, who taught at Harvard for more than 30 years, "adhered to the old-fashioned method of close reading, going methodically line by line, word by word, to expose a poem's inner workings and emotional roots."

"Vendler has done perhaps more than any other living critic to shape--I might almost say 'create'--our understanding of poetry in English," poet and critic Joel Brouwer wrote in 2015 in the New York Times Book Review, adding, "Were it not for Harold Bloom, the 'perhaps' would be unnecessary."

Bloom once said of Vendler: "She is a remarkably agile and gifted close reader. I think there isn't anyone in the country who can read syntax in poems as well as she can."

She offered fresh interpretations of George Herbert, Wallace Stevens, Seamus Heaney, the Keats of the odes and the Shakespeare of the sonnets--all 154 of them, analyzed in a thick volume, The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets (1997), which poet Richard Howard called "the most intricately inquiring and ingeniously responding study of these poems yet to be undertaken."

Vendler was the poetry critic for the New Yorker from 1978 to 1996, a frequent judge for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and a nominator for the MacArthur Foundation's "genius" awards. She devoted her attention to the poets she loved, in a lifelong engagement with the branch of literature she called, in the introduction to her essay collection Part of Nature, Part of Us: Modern American Poets (1980), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism, "the one form of writing that is to me the most immediate, natural and accessible," the Times wrote.

In 1959, Vendler became the first woman to be offered an instructorship in Harvard's English department, a year before she received her doctorate, having submitted a dissertation on William Butler Yeats that was published in 1963 as Yeats's 'Vision' and the Later Plays. After leaving Harvard she taught at Cornell, Haverford, Swarthmore, and Smith. She began teaching at Boston University in 1966 and joined the English department at Harvard as a full professor in 1985.

"The base of poetry in the emotions was tacitly ignored in scholarship and criticism: and yet I felt one couldn't understand the way a poem evolves without acknowledging that base," she wrote in her introduction to the essay collection The Ocean, the Bird and the Scholar (2015). "If there was any conscious drive in me to alter the field of criticism as I encountered it, it was to insert into the analysis of lyric an analysis of its motivating emotions and convictions, and to demonstrate their stylistic results."

Two early works--On Extended Wings: Wallace Stevens' Longer Poems (1969) and The Poetry of George Herbert (1975)--established Vendler as an important critical voice. Her essays and reviews were gathered in The Music of What Happens: Poems, Poets, Critics (1988); Soul Says: On Recent Poetry (1996); and other collections.

Her many studies include The Breaking of Style: Hopkins, Heaney, Graham (1995), The Given and the Made: Strategies of Poetic Redefinition (1995), and Last Looks, Last Books: Stevens, Plath, Lowell, Bishop, Merrill (2010).

In 2004, the National Endowment for the Humanities named her a Jefferson Lecturer, the highest honor the federal government bestows on a scholar of the humanities. In her interview with the Paris Review, Vendler compressed her critical method into seven words: "I write to explain things to myself."

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and Harvard colleague Jorie Graham, who had barely heard of Vendler when she reviewed Graham's earliest work for the New York Times in the 1980s, told the Boston Globe: "Helen understood that all poets needed what she did so they could take the next step.... I encountered the most lucid account of what I was doing that I could ever hope for. She certainly taught me right away that there was more to a poem than I could fathom on my own."


Image of the Day: The Historic 1666 Route of the Patawomeck Women Tour

This week, to celebrate the publication of 1666: A Novel, about the march Patawomeck women were forced to take in 1666 after colonists in what became Virginia massacred their men, author and tribal member Lora Chilton has been holding events at bookstores and other locations, many along the route, in what she calls the Historic 1666 Route of the Patawomeck Women Tour. (Sold into slavery, the women were shipped to Barbados; two of them eventually escaped and made their way back to their homeland, which is why the tribe is in existence today.) Reaction to the tour has been striking, with attendance of 90 and more at events and books selling out. Sibylline Press founder and publisher Vicki DeArmon called 1666: A Novel the press's "first bonafide homerun title." In photo: Chilton with Patawomeck Tribe Chief Charles Bullock at the Patawomeck Museum and Cultural Center in Fredericksburg, Va.

Personnel Changes at HarperCollins Children's Books

Matt Maguda has joined HarperCollins Children's Books as marketing & publicity associate. He was previously a marketing assistant at Oxford University Press.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: John Green on Fresh Air

Today Show: Emily Henry, author of Funny Story (Berkley, $29, 9780593441282).

Good Morning America: Sharon Brous, author of The Amen Effect: Ancient Wisdom to Mend Our Broken Hearts and World (Avery, $29, 9780593543313).

Drew Barrymore Show: Matthew Hussey, author of Love Life: How to Raise Your Standards, Find Your Person, and Live Happily (No Matter What) (Harper, $28.99, 9780063294387).

Live with Kelly and Mark: Stacy Ling, author of The Bricks 'n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden (Ten Peaks Press, $26.99, 9780736988483).

Tamron Hall: Rinny Perkins, author of Not Everyone Is Going to Like You: Thoughts From a Former People Pleaser (Kokila, $17.99, 9780593325520).

Fresh Air: John Green, author of Turtles All the Way Down (Penguin Books, $14.99, 9780525555377).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Henry Louis Gates Jr., author of The Black Box: Writing the Race (Penguin Press, $30, 9780593299784).

This Weekend on Book TV: Susan Page on The Rulebreaker

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 27
9:30 a.m. Talmage Boston, author of How the Best Did It: Leadership Lessons From Our Top Presidents (Post Hill Press, $32, 9781637586976), at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Saturday at 9:30 p.m.)

10:25 a.m. Stacy Schiff, author of A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America (Holt, $22.99, 9780805080094). (Re-airs Saturday at 10:25 p.m.)

2 p.m. Howell Raines, author of Silent Cavalry: How Union Soldiers from Alabama Helped Sherman Burn Atlanta--and Then Got Written Out of History (Crown, $36, 9780593137758).

4:50 p.m. Antonia Hylton, author of Madness: Race and Insanity in a Jim Crow Asylum (Legacy Lit, $30, 9781538723692), at Politics and Prose.

Sunday, April 28
8 a.m. Alexander Ward, author of The Internationalists: The Fight to Restore American Foreign Policy After Trump (Portfolio, $32, 9780593539071), at People's Book in Takoma Park, Md. (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

8:55 a.m. Timothy P. Carney, author of Family Unfriendly: How Our Culture Made Raising Kids Much Harder Than It Needs to Be (Harper, $29.99, 9780063236462). (Re-airs Sunday at 8:55 p.m.)

10 a.m. Susan Page, author of The Rulebreaker: The Life and Times of Barbara Walters (Simon & Schuster, $30.99, 9781982197926). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

2 p.m. David Finkel, author of An American Dreamer: Life in a Divided Country (Random House, $32, 9780593597064).

3:15 p.m. Barbara McQuade, author of Attack from Within: How Disinformation Is Sabotaging America (Seven Stories Press, $35, 9781644213636).

4:30 p.m. César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, author of Welcome the Wretched: In Defense of the "Criminal Alien" (The New Press, $27.99, 9781620977798).

5:30 p.m. Michael Kimmage, author of Collisions: The Origins of the War in Ukraine and the New Global Instability (Oxford University Press, $29.99, 9780197751794), at Politics and Prose.

6:30 p.m. Matthew Kroenig and Dan Negrea, authors of We Win, They Lose: Republican Foreign Policy and the New Cold War (Republic Book Publishers, $29.95, 9781645720928).

7:30 Publishing industry analyst Brenna Connor discusses "sales trends and bestsellers in the first quarter of 2024, as well as predictions for the remainder of the year."

Books & Authors

Awards: Republic of Consciousness U.K./Ireland Winner; Women's Fiction Shortlist

Charco Press's Of Cattle and Men by Brazilian author Ana Paula Maia, translated by Zoë Perry, won the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses in the U.K. and Ireland, the Guardian reported. Judge Sana Goyal called the book a "gut-punch of a novel," and judge Rebecca Abrams described Of Cattle and Men as "understated, mesmerizing and unflinching," and "both a tightly focused, utterly gripping human story and a devastating universal parable for our times." Judge Declan O'Driscoll said the novel's "unresolved nature leaves an indelible impression on the reader, making it an exceptionally powerful piece of literature."

A special mention was given to Out of Earth by Sheyla Smanioto, translated by Laura Garmeson and Sophie Lewis (Boiler House Press), which was praised by Abrams for its "irresistible power and passion" and its "stunning portrayal of love and violence" across four generations of Brazilian women.

The longlisted presses received £500 each. The shortlisted presses received an additional £1,000, each to be split up with 75% going to the press and 25% going to the author and translator. The Republic of Consciousness Foundation was set up to support small presses in the U.K. and Ireland. Since it was established eight years ago, it has distributed over £110,000 in prize money to more than 30 small presses.


The shortlist has been selected for the £30,000 (about $37,400) 2024 Women's Prize for Fiction, championing "ambitious, inspiring and thought-provoking novels written by women in English." The winner will be announced on June 13.

The shortlist:
The Wren, the Wren by Anne Enright
Restless Dolly Maunder by Kate Grenville
River East, River West by Aube Rey Lescure
Soldier Sailor by Claire Kilroy
Enter Ghost by Isabella Hammad
Brotherless Night by V.V. Ganeshananthan

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected titles appearing next Tuesday, April 30:

The Demon of Unrest: A Saga of Hubris, Heartbreak, and Heroism at the Dawn of the Civil War by Erik Larson (Crown, $35, 9780385348744) chronicles the five months between Lincoln's election and the attack on Fort Sumter.

Only the Brave: A Novel by Danielle Steel (Delacorte, $29, 9780593498439) follows the daughter of a Berlin surgeon resisting the Nazis during World War II.

When You See My Mother, Ask Her to Dance: Poems by Joan Baez (David R. Godine, $25.95, 9781567928013) is the folk musician and activist's autobiographical poetry collection.

The Age of Grievance by Frank Bruni (Avid Reader Press, $28.99, 9781668016435) criticizes a culture of blaming and complaining.

Home Is Where the Bodies Are by Jeneva Rose (Blackstone, $27.99, 9798212182843) is a thriller about adult siblings uncovering a family secret after their mother's death.

Real Americans: A Novel by Rachel Khong (Knopf, $29, 9780593537251) follows three generations of an Asian American family.

Oracle by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Tor Nightfire, $29.99, 9781250759580) investigates a shipwreck on dry land that's making people disappear.

Puppy Brain: How Our Dogs Learn, Think, and Love by Kerry Nichols (Celadon, $30, 9781250867919) is a guide to raising happy and healthy dogs.

Profiles in Mental Health Courage by Patrick J. Kennedy and Stephen Fried (Dutton, $30, 9780593471760) shares stories from Americans battling various addictions and other mental illness.

The New Menopause: Navigating Your Path Through Hormonal Change with Purpose, Power, and Facts by Dr. Mary Claire Haver (Rodale, $28, 9780593796252) posits that "menopause is inevitable, but suffering through it is not."

Sound the Gong by Joan He (Roaring Brook, $19.99, 9781250855367) is the final book in the YA Kingdom of Three series.

Putting Balloons on a Wall Is Not a Book by Michael James Schneider (Penguin Workshop, $12.99, 9780593662250) is a children's gift book by balloon-word artist and Instagrammer, @blcksmth.

Blotter: The Untold Story of an Acid Medium by Erik Davis (The MIT Press, $32.95, 9780262048507).

King of Sloth by Ana Huang (Bloom Books, $17.99, 9781728289755).

Within Arm's Reach: A Novel by Ann Napolitano (Dial Press, $17.99, 9780593732496).

Truly, Madly, Deeply: A Novel by Alexandria Bellefleur (Avon, $18.99, 9780063258532).

Happy Medium by Sarah Adler (Berkley, $18, 9780593547816).

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:

A Short Walk Through a Wide World: A Novel by Douglas Westerbeke (Avid Reader Press, $28.99, 9781668026069). "A Short Walk Through a Wide World is an epic novel charting the adventurous journey of one woman trying to outrun a mysterious curse. Douglas Westerbeke's debut captures the imagination. A dazzling read!" --Linda Kass, Gramercy Books, Bexley, Ohio

A Good Happy Girl: A Novel by Marissa Higgins (Catapult, $27, 9781646221974). "Higgins' debut is a pull on the cigarette you shouldn't be having, the shot of adrenaline you get when you wake up through the daze of a hangover and remember your bad dreams. A Good Happy Girl is a pitch-perfect entry into the lesbian canon." --Gaby Iori, Epilogue: Books Chocolate Brews, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Rainbow Black: A Novel by Maggie Thrash (Harper Perennial, $18.99, 9780063286870). "The setting: 1980s New Hampshire, a society roiled by suppressed memories. The characters: two young teens, parents convicted of child abuse arising from these memories. Maggie Thrash does not shy away in this compelling story." --Willard Williams, Balin Books, Nashua, N.H.

Ages 4 to 8
Spider in the Well by Jess Hannigan (Katherine Tegen Books, $19.99, 9780063289475). "Everyone in this book is so devious and I loved every page! Spider in the Well is absolutely delightful, with a fable-like feeling, awesome illustrations, and characters both silly and sly. Love!" --Julia DeVarti, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Ages 8 to 12: An Indies Introduce Title
Continental Drifter by Kathy MacLeod (First Second, $14.99, 9781250813749). "This is a wonderful story about looking inside yourself and trying to put yourself in others' shoes, even those you think you know the best. And the artwork of blueberry pie, red curry, and more will have your mouth watering!" --Paul Swydan, The Silver Unicorn Bookstore, Acton, Mass.

Teen Readers
Your Blood, My Bones by Kelly Andrew (Scholastic, $19.99, 9781338885071). "A spellbinding journey into the depths of loyalty, fate, and the shadows that lurk within us all. Andrew's tale is as enchanting as it is chilling, and will leave readers eagerly anticipating what shadows may unfold next in Wyatt and Peter's entangled destiny." --Jessie Fischer, The Book Nook, Saranac Lake, N.Y.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Welcome to Glorious Tuga

Welcome to Glorious Tuga by Francesca Segal (Ecco, $28.99 hardcover, 336p., 9780063360457, July 2, 2024)

Francesca Segal's cozy third novel, Welcome to Glorious Tuga, is the first in a trilogy set on a fictional South Atlantic island, and reflects on belonging through a conservationist's search for her father.

A British overseas territory and "the world's most remote inhabited island," Tuga de Ora seems more English than England itself, preserving wholesome 1950s culture: a red phone box, Cliff Richard on the radio, photographs of Queen Elizabeth II on display, and widespread disapproval of profanity. Yet there is a mixed heritage resulting from the island's early settlement: Sephardic Jews, British and Dutch sailors, enslaved Nigerians, and Eastern European refugees. Such influences are seen in islanders' surnames and Hebrew or Ladino slang; there is also a moshav (farming collective). Cross this with the tropical lassitude of jungle, beaches, bougainvillea, and extreme heat, and Tuga is truly one-of-a-kind.

Segal (The Awkward Age) opens the novel with a dichotomy that holds true for her two protagonists: "Islands are places you flee to, or places from which you flee." Charlotte Walker, a 29-year-old herpetologist, has been granted a year-long fellowship to study endangered Tugan gold coin tortoises. But she also is grasping onto the slimmest hope of finding her father, whom her mother said was "from the absolute ends of the earth." On the boat to Tuga, the seasick Charlotte meets Dan Zekri, who's returning after 15 years in London to take over as the island's chief medical officer.

Charlotte may be FFA ("Folk From Away"), but most are quick to make her feel at home. Besides tortoise tracking, she puts her veterinary training to use by lambing and treating pets--but also finds herself delivering a eulogy for a piglet and rescuing library manuscripts from a silverfish infestation. Islanders are almost more suspicious of Dan, resisting his health initiatives such as a "Couch to 5K" program. Sparks fly between these two, but several things hinder a fling--not least the arrival of Dan's physiotherapist fiancée, Katie.

Segal lovingly develops her quirky ensemble cast. Among the memorable characters are Taxi, the island's driver and radio announcer; Garrick, the pompous minister; Levi, the bartender at the Rockhopper pub--and Charlotte's lecherous landlord; Betsey, the cafe owner; and half-feral Annie and Alex, 11-year-old best friends raised like siblings.

Everyone knows each other in this small community, and the character interactions here are delightful. This gently tragicomic book is the first in a trilogy, so readers can look forward to more Tugan adventure and romance. --Rebecca Foster, freelance reviewer, proofreader and blogger at Bookish Beck

Shelf Talker: Set on a remote tropical island like no other, this cozy, romantic novel dramatizes a year of studying tortoises and investigating a paternity mystery.

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