An interview with Olivia Veveiros of Green Apple Books

1. What’s your favorite area of your bookstore?

The zine section!!! (I am biased since I do curate them) It’s also conveniently tucked in a nook near the manga, DND books and graphic novels, which are all my favorite things to flip through on a slow day. 

2. What’s the coolest book cover that you like to have facing out on the shelves?

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix! I love any campy book cover that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The VHS tape with all the 80s hairdos and aesthetics is just perfect and totally encapsulates that novel.

3. If you had a staff pick for a recent new release, what would it be? Backlist pick?

My coworkers are probably sick of hearing me talk about New Animal by Ella Baxter and Nudes by Elle Nash (unintentional name similarity). Both underrated books from small presses. If you love interesting, flawed women and complicated mother/daughter dynamics, these are a must. If you get anything from this convo it’s to read those!

Backlist: Kafka on the Shore by Murakami. It’s dreamy, weird, beautifully written. If you haven’t read this one yet, get a copy now!

4. Do you have a strange customer story?

Not a specific story, but people come into Green Apple clearly on a first tinder date. If you think booksellers can’t tell you’re on a first date, trust me, we know, and we’ve seen some very awkward and bad ones that I’m sure were ghosted. 

5. What author have you been starstruck to meet, or have you gotten to host a fun virtualevent?

Would have to be John Waters. He came in quietly just to sign our copies of Liarmouth and we chatted about art and celebrity gossip. It was great but hard not to completely fangirl.

6. What are some misconceptions people have about working in a bookstore?

Probably that it’s pretty easy work. It’s labor intensive. Moving boxes and stacks of books up and down sets of stairs and being on your feet all day is quite the workout. It’s definitely not as romantic as people want it to be. 

7. What is your least favorite bookstore task? Favorite part about working in a bookstore?

It’s so minor and only happens twice a week but I despise taking out the trash bins. My favorite part is recommending books, writing shelf talkers and curating cute displays!

8. Can you recommend an underrated readalike book for one of the store’s top titles?

We sell a ton of Sally Rooney and Ottessa Mosfegh (like most bookstores) but an underrated title that fans of them would love is Edge Case by YZ Chin!

Olivia Veveiros is a bookseller/remainder assistant at Green Apple Books in San Francisco.

Book pairings for Maggie Rogers songs

Nothing gets me quite in my feels like a great Maggie Rogers song, and I’ve loved everything I’ve heard off of her new album, Surrender, coming out July 29. To celebrate, we paired some books with our favorite songs!

“I found myself when I was going everywhere”

Back In My Body – This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub

On the eve of her 40th birthday, Alice’s life isn’t terrible. She likes her job, even if it isn’t exactly the one she expected. She’s happy with her apartment, her romantic status, her independence, and she adores her lifelong best friend. But her father is ailing, and it feels to her as if something is missing. When she wakes up the next morning she finds herself back in 1996, reliving her 16th birthday. But it isn’t just her adolescent body that shocks her, or seeing her high school crush, it’s her dad: the vital, charming, 40-something version of her father with whom she is reunited. Now armed with a new perspective on her own life and his, some past events take on new meaning. Is there anything that she would change if she could?

“I never loved you fully in the way I could”

Fallingwater – Red At the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives—even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.

“It all works out in the end
Wherever you go, that’s where I am”

That’s Where I Am – People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has an insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together. Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

“Can’t hide what you desire once you’re on it
Can’t fake what you can’t break up with, ooh”

Want Want – Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock ‘n’ roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things. Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road. Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

“I was walking through icy streams
That took my breath away…
And I walked off an old me”

Alaska – The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E. Smith

Right after the sudden death of her mother, and just before the launch of her high-stakes sophomore album, Greta James falls apart on stage. The footage quickly goes viral and she stops playing, her career suddenly in jeopardy—the kind of jeopardy her father, Conrad, has always predicted. Months later, Greta—still heartbroken and very much adrift—reluctantly agrees to accompany Conrad on the Alaskan cruise her parents had booked to celebrate their fortieth anniversary. It could be their last chance to heal old wounds in the wake of shared loss.

“Would you hear me out
If I told you I was terrified for days?
Thought I was gonna break”

Light On – Must Love Books by Shauna Robinson

When Nora landed an editorial assistant position at Parsons Press, it was her first step towards The Dream Job. But after five years of lunch orders, finicky authors, and per my last emails, Nora has come to one grand conclusion: Dream Jobs do not exist. With her life spiraling, Nora gets hit with even worse news. Parsons is cutting her already unlivable salary. Unable to afford her rent and without even the novels she once loved as a comfort, Nora decides to moonlight for a rival publisher to make ends meet…and maybe poach some Parsons’ authors along the way.

“If I was who I was before
Then I’d be waiting at your door
But I cannot confess I am the same”

Give A Little – The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

“And every time our fingers touched
I felt like it would be too much
And too little to hang on to”

Say It – We Do What We Do In the Dark by Michelle Hart

Mallory is a freshman in college when she sees her for the first time at the university’s gym, immediately entranced by this elegant, older person, whom she later learns is married and works at the school. Before long, they begin a clandestine affair. The woman absolutely consumes Mallory, who is still reeling from her mother’s death a few months earlier. Mallory retreats from the rest of the world and into a relationship with this melancholy, elusive woman she admires so much yet who can never be fully hers. Years after the affair has ended, Mallory must decide whether to stay safely in this isolation, this constructed loneliness, or to step fully into the world and confront what the woman meant to her, for better or worse.

“So many things that I still wanna say
And if devotion is a river, then I’m floating away”

Love You For A Long Time – Normal People by Sally Rooney

Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation—awkward but electrifying—something life changing begins. A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together.

“The knife of insight tore its way in me
A brash collision without sympathy”

The Knife – Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Luz “Little Light” Lopez, a tea leaf reader and laundress, is left to fend for herself after her older brother, Diego, a snake charmer and factory worker, is run out of town by a violent white mob. As Luz navigates 1930s Denver, she begins to have visions that transport her to her Indigenous homeland in the nearby Lost Territory. Luz recollects her ancestors’ origins, how her family flourished, and how they were threatened. She bears witness to the sinister forces that have devastated her people and their homelands for generations. In the end, it is up to Luz to save her family stories from disappearing into oblivion.

“ ‘Cause people change overnight
Things get strange, but I’m alright”

Overnight – These Impossible Things by Salma El-Wardany

It’s always been Malak, Kees, and Jenna against the world. Since childhood, under the watchful eyes of their parents, aunties and uncles, they’ve learned to live their own lives alongside the expectations of being good Muslim women. Malak wants the dream: for her partner, community, and faith to coexist happily, and she wants this so much she’s willing to break her own heart to get it. Kees is in love with Harry, a white Catholic man who her parents can never know about. Jenna is the life of the party, always ready for new pleasures, even though she’s plagued by a loneliness she can’t shake. But as their college years come to a close, one night changes everything when harsh truths are revealed.

“Take me through this wild time
Stay with me through all of time”

On + Off – Seven Days In June by Tia Williams

Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling erotica writer who is feeling pressed from all sides. Shane Hall is a reclusive, enigmatic, award-winning novelist, who, to everyone’s surprise, shows up in New York. When Shane and Eva meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly, raising not only their buried traumas, but the eyebrows of the Black literati. What no one knows is that fifteen years earlier, teenage Eva and Shane spent one crazy, torrid week madly in love. While they may be pretending not to know each other, they can’t deny their chemistry—or the fact that they’ve been secretly writing to each other in their books through the years.

“Oh, I could feel the darkness
Wrapping all its arms in mine
Oh, I could feel the world was turning”

Past Life – Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the black-skied Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness, he uncovers a series of lives upended: The exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.

“Feeling all I’ve ever known
Fall away and letting go
Oh come out of the darkness”

Retrograde – Circe by Madeline Miller

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.
Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

Books to help you embrace the millenial grandma aesthetic

We are all about the millennial coastal grandma aesthetic that’s become popular recently, and we have some book recommendations featuring older protagonists to help you embrace your new way of life! Now, not all of these books feature a “coast” per se, however they would all be perfect to sit and read by the shore in your oversized sweater, linen pants and sun hat. They all carry a theme of re-discovering the richness life has to offer in the golden years. Enjoy!

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over–and see everything anew.

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago.

Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors—until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.

Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late.

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. A disorganized cutlery drawer ranks high on her list of unforgivable sins. She is not one to judge others—no matter how ill-mannered, unkempt, or morally suspect they might be. It’s just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention.

But hidden inside the socially awkward, fussy busybody is a woman who has more imagination, bigger dreams, and a warmer heart that anyone around her realizes. When Britt-Marie walks out on her cheating husband and has to fend for herself in the miserable backwater town of Borg—of which the kindest thing one can say is that it has a road going through it—she finds work as the caretaker of a soon-to-be demolished recreation center. The fastidious Britt-Marie soon finds herself being drawn into the daily doings of her fellow citizens, an odd assortment of miscreants, drunkards, layabouts. Most alarming of all, she’s given the impossible task of leading the supremely untalented children’s soccer team to victory. In this small town of misfits, can Britt-Marie find a place where she truly belongs?

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning a letter arrives, addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl, from a woman he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. But before Harold mails off a quick reply, a chance encounter convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. In his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold Fry embarks on an urgent quest. Determined to walk six hundred miles to the hospice, Harold believes that as long as he walks, Queenie will live. 

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some long-overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen. So they decide to try a two-month swap. Eileen will live in London and look for love. She’ll take Leena’s flat, and learn all about casual dating, swiping right, and city neighbors. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire: Eileen’s sweet cottage and garden, her idyllic, quiet village, and her little neighborhood projects. But stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Dava Shashtri’s Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti

Dava Shastri, one of the world’s wealthiest women, has always lived with her sterling reputation in mind. A brain cancer diagnosis at the age of seventy, however, changes everything, and Dava decides to take her death—like all matters of her life—into her own hands. Summoning her four adult children to her private island, she discloses shocking news: in addition to having a terminal illness, she has arranged for the news of her death to break early, so she can read her obituaries. As someone who dedicated her life to the arts and the empowerment of women, Dava expects to read articles lauding her philanthropic work. Instead, her “death” reveals two devastating secrets, truths she thought she had buried forever.

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle

In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship, and fulfillment. But it’s a lie. In reality, Hubert’s days are all the same, dragging on without him seeing a single soul. Until he receives some good news—good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on. The news that his daughter is coming for a visit. Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out. 

An Elderly Lady Is Up To No Good by Helene Tursten

Ever since her darling father’s untimely death when she was only eighteen, Maud has lived in the family’s spacious apartment in downtown Gothenburg rent-free, thanks to a minor clause in a hastily negotiated contract. That was how Maud learned that good things can come from tragedy. Now in her late eighties, Maud contents herself with traveling the world and surfing the net from the comfort of her father’s ancient armchair. It’s a solitary existence, and she likes it that way. Over the course of her adventures–or misadventures— this little bold lady will handle a crisis with a local celebrity who has her eyes on Maud’s apartment, foil the engagement of her long-ago lover, and dispose of some pesky neighbors. But when the local authorities are called to investigate a dead body found in Maud’s apartment, will Maud finally become a suspect?

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

She took 1930s New York by storm, working her way up writing copy for R.H. Macy’s to become the highest paid advertising woman in the country. It was a job that, she says, “in some ways saved my life, and in other ways ruined it.”

Now it’s the last night of 1984 and Lillian, 85 years old but just as sharp and savvy as ever, is on her way to a party. It’s chilly enough out for her mink coat and Manhattan is grittier now–her son keeps warning her about a subway vigilante on the prowl–but the quick-tongued poetess has never been one to scare easily. On a walk that takes her over 10 miles around the city, she meets bartenders, bodega clerks, security guards, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be, while reviewing a life of excitement and adversity, passion and heartbreak, illuminating all the ways New York has changed–and has not.

Mr. Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo

Barrington Jedidiah Walker is seventy-four and leads a double life. Born and bred in Antigua, he’s lived in Hackney, London, for years. A flamboyant, wise-cracking character with a dapper taste in retro suits and a fondness for Shakespeare, Barrington is a husband, father, grandfather—and also secretly gay, lovers with his childhood friend, Morris. His deeply religious and disappointed wife, Carmel, thinks he sleeps with other women. When their marriage goes into meltdown, Barrington wants to divorce Carmel and live with Morris, but after a lifetime of fear and deception, will he manage to break away? 

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

When retired Major Pettigrew strikes up an unlikely friendship with Mrs. Ali, the Pakistani village shopkeeper, he is drawn out of his regimented world and forced to confront the realities of life in the twenty-first century. Brought together by a shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship on the cusp of blossoming into something more. But although the Major was actually born in Lahore, and Mrs. Ali was born in Cambridge, village society insists on embracing him as the quintessential local and her as a permanent foreigner. The Major has always taken special pride in the village, but will he be forced to choose between the place he calls home and a future with Mrs. Ali?

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

He is a brilliant math Professor with a peculiar problem—ever since a traumatic head injury, he has lived with only eighty minutes of short-term memory. She is an astute young Housekeeper—with a ten-year-old son—who is hired to care for the Professor. And every morning, as the Professor and the Housekeeper are introduced to each other anew, a strange and beautiful relationship blossoms between them. Though he cannot hold memories for long (his brain is like a tape that begins to erase itself every eighty minutes), the Professor’s mind is still alive with elegant equations from the past. And the numbers, in all of their articulate order, reveal a sheltering and poetic world to both the Housekeeper and her young son. 

Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller

Sheldon Horowitz—widowed, impatient, impertinent—has grudgingly agreed to leave New York and move in with his granddaughter, Rhea, and her new husband, Lars, in Norway—a country of blue and ice with one thousand Jews, not one of them a former Marine sniper in the Korean War turned watch repairman. Not until now, anyway.

Home alone one morning, Sheldon witnesses a dispute between the woman who lives upstairs and an aggressive stranger. When events turn dire, Sheldon seizes and shields the neighbor’s young son from the violence, and they flee the scene. As Sheldon and the boy look for a safe haven in an alien world, past and present weave together, forcing them ever forward to a wrenching moment of truth.

The One In A Million Boy by Monica Wood

The story of your life never starts at the beginning. Don’t they teach you anything at school? So says 104-year-old Ona to the 11-year-old boy who’s been sent to help her out every Saturday morning. As he refills the bird feeders and tidies the garden shed, Ona tells him about her long life, from first love to second chances. Soon she’s confessing secrets she has kept hidden for decades. One Saturday, the boy doesn’t show up. Ona starts to think he’s not so special after all, but then his father arrives on her doorstep, determined to finish his son’s good deed. The boy’s mother is not so far behind. Ona is set to discover that the world can surprise us at any age, and that sometimes sharing a loss is the only way to find ourselves again.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse. As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life—sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. 

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves the Thursday Murder Club. When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case. 

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden. But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met.

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he’s still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn’t interested (and he’d like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash, some unpleasant criminals, a friendly hot-dog stand operator, and an elephant (not to mention a death by elephant).

Books to read if you can’t wait for Thor: Love and Thunder

I am anxiously awaiting the release of Thor: Love and Thunder, and I don’t think I’m alone in that. Here are some books to read if you’re looking forward to the movie, or if you’ve seen it and want something similar. Forewarning, these are mostly based on the third movie, Ragnarok, because it’s my favorite one – the pairing of Chris Hemsworth + Taika Watiti + Tessa Thompson is impeccable. 

If you watch Thor for the colorful fun, try Once & Future by A. R. Capetta and Cory McCarthy: When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind. No pressure.

If you watch Thor for snarky gods, try Small Gods by Terry Pratchett: Lost in the chill deeps of space between the galaxies, it sails on forever, a flat, circular world carried on the back of a giant turtle– Discworld –a land where the unexpected can be expected. Where the strangest things happen to the nicest people. Like Brutha, a simple lad who only wants to tend his melon patch. Until one day he hears the voice of a god calling his name. A small god, to be sure. But bossy as Hell.

If you watch Thor for the “it’s the end of the world, what comes next” vibes, try The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: It’s an ordinary Thursday morning for Arthur Dent . . . until his house gets demolished. The Earth follows shortly after to make way for a new hyperspace express route, and Arthur’s best friend has just announced that he’s an alien.

After that, things get much, much worse. With just a towel, a small yellow fish, and a book, Arthur has to navigate through a very hostile universe in the company of a gang of unreliable aliens. 

If you watch Thor for the message that home is where you make it, try Record Of A Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers: The Exodus Fleet is a living relic, the birthplace of many, yet a place few outsiders have ever visited. While the Exodans take great pride in their original community and traditions, their culture has been influenced by others beyond their bulkheads. As many Exodans leave for alien cities or terrestrial colonies, those who remain are left to ponder their own lives and futures: What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination? Why remain in space when there are habitable worlds available to live? What is the price of sustaining their carefully balanced way of life–and is it worth saving at all?

If you watch Thor for Valkyrie’s disaster bisexual energy, try Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer: Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy, even leaving behind the Kingship and her uncle, the emperor, for a life of exploring.

But when her dying uncle announces a crownchase — a search for the royal seal hidden in the empire that will determine the next ruler — Alyssa is thrust into her greatest, most dangerous adventure yet.

If you watch Thor for the found family connections Thor makes with the Avengers, try Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko: Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. 

If you watch Thor for the fantastical world, try A Master of Djinn by P Djèlí Clark: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer. So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world forty years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.

If you watch Thor for badass ladies, try The Devil You Know by Kit Rocha: Maya has had a price on her head from the day she escaped the TechCorps. Genetically engineered for genius and trained for revolution, there’s only one thing she can’t do–forget. Gray has finally broken free of the Protectorate, but he can’t escape the time bomb in his head. His body is rejecting his modifications, and his months are numbered. When Maya’s team uncovers an operation trading in genetically enhanced children, she’ll do anything to stop them. 

If you watch Thor for the tender hero who misses his moms, try The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin: Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle with cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother’s death and her family’s bloody history.

If you watch Thor for the glorious weirdness, try Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir: Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service. Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

And if you watch Thor for …Loki, try The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris: This brilliant first-person narrative tells the story of Loki’s recruitment from the underworld of Chaos, his many exploits on behalf of his one-eyed master, Odin, through to his eventual betrayal of the gods and the fall of Asgard itself.

Tips to consider when setting up bookstore events

Some authors don’t look forward to events – too many people, too much talking about themselves and their work. While others can’t wait for their launch party – it’s a chance to visit with all the people in their circle and meet potential new readers!

Regardless of what kind of author you are, events can be a great way to celebrate your book and all of the years of hard work you and a whole slew of other people put into it. Here are a few things to keep in mind when setting up author events at bookstores.

Business first

While most bookstores love to host events, they are ultimately a business. Staffing an event, whether virtual or in-person, takes hard work and money, so try not to be offended if they aren’t able to work you into the schedule.

Bringing an audience

The event coordinator may ask you if you have a network of family and friends in the area who are able to attend. This is for your benefit, as well as theirs. They (understandably) want to sell books, but more than that, they want your event to be a success for you! Having an event and expecting the bookstore to provide the audience won’t get you too far.

Don’t forget to promote your event on social media, and feel free to ask the bookstore if they do this as well. You can ask friends and family to share your posts to increase your chances of having more people show up, as well.

That being said, if you do host an event and only a few people show up, don’t despair. This gives you an opportunity to connect with readers in a more personal way that you’ll likely remember for a long time.

Inviting other authors

Partnering with other authors can be a great idea. This can cut down on nerves because the focus isn’t entirely on you, and an “in conversation event” is generally a more attractive prospect for bookstores. You can even think outside the “author” box, especially if you write nonfiction – an expert in the field that you are writing about could make for fascinating back and forth. Plus, the other speaker is likely to draw even more people to the event!

Multiple events

Be cautious about setting up several events in the same area: Will you be able to draw a good-sized crowd to both events? If you do feel like you can pull it off, having a different topic discussed at each event is a good idea. That way you don’t feel like you’re giving a speech but rather engaging in a topic with that audience.

Above all, try to enjoy this part of your author journey – it’s something that not all authors get to do, and events can be something that both you and readers will remember for years!

For more tips on different kinds of events to consider, check out this blog post:

Books on the Bob’s Burgers character TBRs

I have been watching Bob’s Burgers for almost a decade, and I’m so excited that there’s finally going to be a movie! To celebrate, I made a list of the books I think each character would enjoy.

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake – Bob loves gardening, and he frequently gets overly involved in hobbies, so I think he’d enjoy this deep dive into mushrooms.

Taste by Stanley Tucci – I can see Bob listening to this one as he cooks and taking inspiration for new burgers of the day.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Robert M. Pirsig – He’d try several times to start this one, but once he finally gets into it, he won’t be able to put down this classic about fatherhood.

Chocolat by Joanne Harris – A book about a mom who runs a chocolate shop? Linda’s all in.

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan – Linda will definitely try to get the family to take up mahjong after reading this book about mothers and daughters.

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall – Linda lives for a good romance once, and she’s extra into this one because it involves a baking competition!

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion – Tina has a very intense fascination with zombies and this book is right up her alley.

Kiss and Tell by Adib Khorram – Just like every other preteen girl, Tina loves boy bands.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – Tina can definitely relate to being in love with several boys at once, and doing embarrassing things to get them to notice her.

Stand Up, Yumi Chung by Jessica Kim – Gene loves being the center of attention and making people laugh.

Sarai Saves the Music by Sarai Gonzalez and Monica Brown – Always in possession of his trusty keyboard, Gene is making up a soundtrack to his own life.

Summer of A Thousand Pies by Margaret Dilloway – The title of this book sounds like a perfect summer project for Gene.

Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega – Despite being the youngest Belcher kid, Louise is often the leader of a gang of kids looking for trouble.

The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao – A book about a girl warrior in charge of an army of dragons is basically a “how to” list for Louise.

Tristan Strong Punches A Hole in the Sky: The Graphic Novel by Kwame Mbalia – The graphic novel is perfect for a younger kid who still loves pictures, and Louise would appreciate Gum Baby’s snark.

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey – Teddy isn’t ashamed to read romance, especially not one that involves a handywoman.

The Guncle by Steven Rowley – “Uncle” Teddy can always be counted on to take care of the Belcher kids in an emergency.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg – A book about loyal friends and a diner is very applicable to Teddy’s personality.

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett – A family named the Mortons that run a funeral home? Enough said.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders – It feels like Mort would enjoy this book focused on the in-between of life and death.

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe – It’s perfect for a man who is more comfortable with death than most other people.

An interview with Julia DeVarti of Books Are Magic

What’s your favorite area of your bookstore?

I love working at the register with our bag of dog treats right under it. All the dogs who have visited before know exactly where to go, and I love getting to say hi to all the four-legged friends who come by!

What’s the coolest book cover that you like to have facing out on the shelves?

I’m loving the current trend of covers with splashy multicolored art on them. The Startup Wife, Detransition Baby, and The Last Suspicious Holdout are all covers that come to mind especially.

If you had a staff pick for a recent new release, what would it be? Backlist pick?

My newest staff pick is a recent release called Open by Rachel Krantz, and it’s a fascinating look at polyamory. The writing style is so interesting because it’s a “reported memoir” that blends journalistic research with personal narrative. It was such a thought-provoking read, and I’m very excited to feature it on our staff picks shelf! A backlist book I recently chose as a staff pick is The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi. It’s sort of like a decolonial National Treasure for YA readers, and it’s an absolute favorite of mine!

What author have you been starstruck to meet, or have you gotten to host a fun virtual event?

I’m on our events team here, so I’ve been lucky to meet and work with a lot of phenomenal authors! I was definitely starstruck to meet Mira Jacob when we hosted her, since I’m a huge fan of her book Good Talk, and I loved meeting Jane Pek as well. And we’ve got a few really incredible authors lined up for events this summer that I am so pumped to meet, but I can’t say more than that just yet!

What are some misconceptions people have about working in a bookstore?

I think a lot of people have the idea that working in a bookstore means reading all day, but I pretty much never have time to read at work! I’m either plugging away at office work upstairs, down on the floor helping to shelve and ring customers up, or setting up and hosting an event. I’ll also say that I don’t think a lot of people know just how connected indie bookstores are to the rest of the publishing world. I’m constantly in touch with folks in marketing, publicity, or sales, and of course, so many authors as well. It’s something I really love about working at Books Are Magic — getting to be a part of the wider book ecosystem!

What is your least favorite bookstore task? Favorite part about working in a bookstore?

I don’t love having to remind customers to keep their masks on… You’d think this far into the pandemic everyone would have the hang of it by now, but I find myself having the mask conversation almost daily, unfortunately. But there are many things I love about working in the bookstore too! I think Books Are Magic has the most incredible staff, and it’s such a joy to get to work with everyone else on the team. We’ve also really been building up our TikTok presence lately, and it’s been a great way for us to get to be silly together. I’m new to making TikTok videos, but it’s quickly become a favorite store activity for me! And the last favorite I’ll name for now is getting to see the excitement of a first-time author on the event circuit. There’s a twinkle in their eyes and always such a warm energy in the room. It’s just so special to be a part of welcoming a new book into the world, and I’m really grateful that I get to do it so often as part of the events team.

Can you recommend an underrated readalike book for one of the store’s top titles?

We sell a lot of The Body Keeps the Score, and I’d recommend What My Bones Know to anyone looking for something similar. It’s a memoir about the impacts of complex trauma that draws on the author’s own experiences, and she also dives into the impacts of trauma on the immigrant community in her hometown. The author, Stephanie Foo, has come by the store to sign copies a few times, and she’s so lovely!

Julia DeVarti is a Events & Marketing Associate at Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, NY.

Celebrate spring with these floral book covers

One of the things I love most about spring is being reminded that flowers exist and seeing them every time I turn my head. This seems to be a trend in book covers lately as well, with florals blooming on many new releases – here are some of my favorite recent designs.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan: A captivating debut fantasy inspired by the legend of the Chinese moon goddess, Chang’e. A young woman’s quest to free her mother pits her against the most powerful immortal in the realm and sets her on a dangerous path – where choices come with deadly consequences, and she risks losing more than her heart.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender: A revelatory YA novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix. E Harrow: In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo: A mythic love story set in Trinidad, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo’s radiant debut introduces two unforgettable outsiders brought together by their connection with the dead.

Sense and Second-Degree Murder by Tirzah Price: In this second book of the Jane Austen Murder Mystery series, Tirzah Price takes readers for another fun, murderous romp through one of Austen’s beloved novels.

Still Life by Sarah Winman: A captivating, bighearted, richly tapestried story of people brought together by love, war, art, flood, and the ghost of E. M. Forster, by the celebrated author of Tin Man.

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo: A dazzling novel in prose about a girl with talent, pride, and a drive to feed the soul that keeps her fire burning bright.

This Wicked Fate by Kalynn Baron: Would you tempt even the most dangerous fate to save the ones you love? Briseis has one chance to save her mother, but she’ll need to do the impossible: find the last fragment of the deadly Absyrtus Heart.

Cazadora by Romina Garber: Romina Garber weaves together Argentine folklore and what it means to be undocumented in a timely, intimate, and emotionally powerful narrative.

If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim: An emotionally riveting debut novel about war, family, and forbidden love–the unforgettable saga of two ill-fated lovers in Korea and the heartbreaking choices they’re forced to make in the years surrounding the civil war that still haunts us today.

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh: Deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland for generations. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them with death and despair. In an attempt to appease him, each year a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s bride, in the hopes that one day the “true bride” will be chosen and end the suffering.

The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West: In this story of hope, resilience and unexpected love, a young mother finds refuge and friendship at a boarding house in 1960s Memphis, Tennessee.

A Prayer For the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers: After touring the rural areas of Panga, Sibling Dex (a Tea Monk of some renown) and Mosscap (a robot sent on a quest to determine what humanity really needs) turn their attention to the villages and cities of the little moon they call home.

A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin: For Ning, the only thing worse than losing her mother is knowing that it’s her own fault. She was the one who unknowingly brewed the poison tea that killed her – the poison tea that now threatens to also take her sister, Shu. When Ning hears of a competition, she travels to the imperial city to compete. The winner will receive a favor from the princess, which may be Ning’s only chance to save her sister’s life.

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner: Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.

The Four Humors by Mina Seckin: This wry and visceral debut novel follows a young Turkish-American woman who, rather than grieving her father’s untimely death, seeks treatment for a stubborn headache and grows obsessed with a centuries-old theory of medicine.

Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean: When Japanese-American Izumi Tanaka learned her father was the Crown Prince of Japan, she became a princess overnight. Her parents have even rekindled their college romance and are engaged. Izumi’s life is a Tokyo dream come true. Only… Her parents’ engagement hits a brick wall. And on top of it all, her bodyguard turned boyfriend makes a shocking decision about their relationship.

The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller: A fascinating whodunit set in a lush, gothic world of secrets and magic – where a dying emperor charges his favorite concubine with solving his own murder, and preventing the culprit, which undoubtedly is one of his three terrible sons, from taking control of an empire.

Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies by Tara Schuster: By the time she was in her late twenties, Tara Schuster was a rising TV executive. By all appearances, she had mastered being a grown-up. But beneath that veneer of success, she was a chronically anxious, self-medicating mess. This is the story of Tara’s path to re-parenting herself and becoming a “ninja of self-love.”

Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez: A lush, enchanting standalone fantasy inspired by medieval Spain, filled with romance, adventure and just the right amount of danger.

An interview with Aron Spellane of Solid State Books

1. What’s your favorite area of your bookstore?

I try to read in every section, but I always come back to the general fiction section, where most of my favorite authors are shelved. Every time I shelve or alphabetize in that section, I find a new gem to add to my to be read pile.

2. What’s the coolest book cover that you like to have facing out on the shelves?

There are so many great ones, but I really enjoy the cover of Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James, as well as the recently released sequel, Moon Witch, Spider King.

3. If you had a staff pick for a recent new release, what would it be? Backlist pick?

My favorite recent release is a graphic novel from January called The Short While by Jeremy Sorese, a book that explores falling in and out of love, dance cults, post-internet culture, and joyful queerness. My go to backlist pick is always What is Not Yours is Not Yours, a short story collection by Helen Oyeyemi that inspired me to be a bookseller.

4. Do you have a strange customer story?

Every bookseller has that classic, “I forgot the title and the author, but it was red, and I think I saw it here last month…” story, but I recently had to do a little sleuthing for someone who found a recipe for mushroom risotto in the Washington Post’s Food section and was trying to find the cookbook from whence it came.

5. What author have you been starstruck to meet, or have you gotten to host a fun virtual event?

Meeting Jeannette Winterson was a trip. I hosted an event with her for her book Frankissstein. She is tinier and louder than you might expect, but it felt a little bit like meeting royalty.

6. What are some misconceptions people have about working in a bookstore?

I think a lot of people think it is a chill job with a lot of downtime for reading, and let me tell you, that has never been the case for me.

7. What is your least favorite bookstore task? Favorite part about working in a bookstore?

I want to say that my favorite task, like all booksellers, is talking to people about books, and that’s certainly true. But I not-so-secretly adore getting to receive book shipments into our inventory. I feel much more connected to what is coming through our doors and what we are choosing to sell, and I think it makes me a better bookseller since I have a more intimate knowledge of the books on our shelves, since I touch each one as it arrives. My least favorite part is kicking people out when we’re closing. If someone has a way to do that without it being awkward for everyone involved, please let me know.

8. Can you recommend an underrated readalike book for one of the store’s top titles?

For everyone reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Talking with Strangers right now, I recommend Intimacies by Katie Kitamura, one of my favorite fiction books of last year. I think Gladwell’s insights pair extremely well with Kitamura’s prose and deep characterization, and the lessons learned from each will stay with you long after you finish.

Aron Spellane is a bookseller at Solid State Books in Washington, D.C.

An interview with Donna Paz Kaufman of Story and Song Bookstore

1. What’s your favorite area of your bookstore?

It depends on my needs, but I always feel calm, supported, and grounded when I’m in the corner we call “Our Lives”. The sections we’ve grouped there are Personal Growth, Wellness and Faith. Plus, you’ll find handmade beaded jewelry from women who volunteer to create gorgeous pieces and donate the proceeds to local charities. The whole area is filled with good energy on many levels!

2. What’s the coolest book cover that you like to have facing out on the shelves?

I Am Woman, I Am Invincible, I Am Tired…

3. If you had a staff pick for a recent new release, what would it be? Backlist pick?

Fresh Water for Flowers: I was so intrigued by what became a runaway bestseller in Europe during Covid that I just had to read this book and put it on top of my reading pile. The novel is beautifully written with an uplifting ending. There’s so much to discuss – this makes for an excellent selection for book groups.
For backlist, The Storyteller’s Secret is my go-to for someone who wants a well-written story that is engaging and transports you to another life and another country. Set in the U.S. and India, this story is about healing and growing and embracing life. This didn’t get a whole lot of attention when it was published, but is one to savor and read with a nice hot cup of tea.

4. Do you have a strange customer story?

I think all of us booksellers have a cast of characters among our customers and we have ours too. One is beloved and always cheerful and loud. One of her comments is a keeper: “I just love coming in here. It always smells like books and Sunday supper!”

5. What author have you been starstruck to meet, or have you gotten to host a fun virtual event?

After reading “Florida” and “Matrix”, I was so very happy to meet and interview Lauren Groff. We hosted a literary luncheon for her during the pandemic and she drove from Gainesville for a small, vaccinated group. She’s smart, funny, authentic, and such a great writer.

6. What are some misconceptions people have about working in a bookstore?

By far the biggest one is you’ll have time to read. We are always so busy that there is never a day we leave when everything that needed to get done is crossed off the “To Do” list.
Sadly, I think we are always working to counteract the idea that booksellers are smarter than the customer. We try to break those barriers immediately when we greet each customer with kindness and a smile.

7. What is your least favorite bookstore task? Favorite part about working in a bookstore?

I am least fond of bookkeeping. My favorite part is enjoying an event right along with our customers. We often host author events with a talk-show setting where someone on staff facilitates a conversation. How lovely it is to hold these conversations with an author and our community. This isn’t work; it’s a calling.

8. Can you recommend an underrated readalike book for one of the store’s top titles?

If you liked The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi, read The Storyteller’s Secret by Sejal Badani.

Donna Paz Kaufman is the co-founder and owner of Story and Song Bookstore in Fernandina Beach, Florida.