Also published on this date: Wednesday, October 28, 2015: Maximum Shelf: Ashley Bell

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Penguin Press: Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith

Graphix: Dog Man and Cat Kid (Dog Man #4) by Dav Pilkey

Ecco Press: Varina by Charles Frazier

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Small Walt by Elizabeth Verdick and Marc Rosenthal

News

'Books Are My Bag' 2015 Sales Up 30% in U.K.

Sales were up by an average of 30% in bookshops that showed gains during this year's Books Are My Bag celebration, making 2015 the "most successful" year ever for the campaign, according to the Booksellers Association, which surveyed members taking part in the October 8-10 campaign. The Bookseller reported that the "results suggest the U.K. and Ireland event to highlight bookshops on the high street is further penetrating the public's conscious, three years after it was founded."

"Bookshops have sparkled over the last couple of weeks, reminding shoppers that they offer experiences that can't be bought online," BA CEO Tim Godfray said. "From in store activities and exclusive giveaways to meeting authors and sharing recommendations, books lovers, authors and publishers across the country have joined forces to celebrate bookshops. The result is more sales and more people visiting bookshops, and we couldn't be more thrilled."

For the three-day period, 60% of booksellers reported foot traffic was up, with 63% saying sales were up. Sales were up by an average of 30% for those who saw an increase, while foot traffic was up 22.5%.


Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: The Land Beyond by Leon McCarron


Goldsmith to Head RH Beginner Books, Dr. Seuss Program

Cathy Goldsmith (photo: Mike Meskin)

Cathy Goldsmith has been named to the newly created position of president and publisher of Random House's Beginner Books line and Dr. Seuss publishing program. She has been a member of the Random House staff for 38 years, mostly recently as v-p, associate publishing director, and art director for the Random House, Golden Books and Doubleday Young Readers imprints. During the last decades of his career, she worked directly with Ted Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) and helped him complete Oh, the Places You'll Go!, the last book he published during his lifetime. She was also the creative force behind this past summer's publication of the newly discovered Dr. Seuss book, What Pet Should I Get?

Goldsmith follows in the career steps of Geisel: he was president of Beginner Books at Random House from 1957 until his death in 1991. She remembers when he hand-delivered his completed books to the Random House office and read them aloud to staff gathered together in a conference room.

A longtime contributor to the growth of the Dr. Seuss brand and to the development of the Random House publishing program, Goldsmith will continue to extend the legacy of the Dr. Seuss books and build the Beginner Book/Bright and Early brands, which Geisel founded, by acquiring new books and refreshing the backlist.


Trinity University Press: Arte Kids - Bilingual Board Books


Shelf Awareness Seeks Advertising Sales Executive

Don't miss this opportunity!

Shelf Awareness seeks an advertising sales executive who will sell our book marketing solutions to advertisers and be the company's principal face-to-face customer contact. The ad sales executive will help the Shelf Awareness sales staff expand relationships with customers and potential customers through outreach to marketing and ad/promo professionals involved in each stage of the advertising decision-making process.

The job involves frequent customer visits and regular correspondence, acting as an advisor to customers and gathering feedback for us on trends, product effectiveness and strategy.

The location is flexible, but we have strong preference for a candidate in either the Seattle or New York metropolitan area. This position requires a minimum of 20% travel, possibly including overseas trips.

For more information about the position and qualifications, see our Job Board.


Thomas Nelson: Perennials by Julie Cantrell


Obituary Note: Philip Joseph

Philip Joseph, who co-founded U.K. bookshop chain Books Etc. with his son, Richard Joseph, has died, the Bookseller reported. He was 94. In 1951, Joseph founded the Exclusive Books chain in South Africa, which now includes about 50 bookshops. After relocating to the U.K., he then founded Books Etc. with his son in 1981, opening more than 40 stores before selling the company to Borders in 1997.

"I'm not a literary person; I wish I was," he told the Bookseller in a 2000 interview. "But if a bookshop, or any shop, is not run on sound business principles, it is doomed to fail. I became knowledgeable about books and the whole process of publishing and bookselling because I had to. It's not that difficult to pick up. But just because someone comes to you with a profound knowledge of 19th-century literature, that doesn't make them a good bookseller."


Quirk Books: My Lady's Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris


Notes

Image of the Day: Jewish Noir

At Book Soup in Hollywood, Calif., last week, (l.-r.) Michael J. Cooper, Gary Phillips, Travis Richardson, M. Dante, Stephen Jay Schwartz, Wendy Hornsby and editor/writer Kenneth Wishnia prove you don't have to be Jewish to love (and write) Jewish Noir (PM Press).

Happy 100th Birthday to Bookseller Lila Weller

Lila Weller

Congratulations to Lila Weller, perhaps the oldest working bookseller alive, who celebrated her 100th birthday on Sunday. Weller's husband was Sam Weller, who took over the Salt Lake City, Utah, bookstore founded by his father, Gustav Weller, and built it into the nationally recognized store called Sam Weller's Books. In 2012, the store moved to its current location, in Trolley Square, and changed its name to Weller Book Works. Today it's owned by Tony Weller, Sam and Lila's son, and Catherine Weller, Tony's wife.

Catherine wrote that Sunday's celebration, "on [Lila's] actual birthday, was attended by customers, friends, current and former staff, and family. Lila fractured her hip a few weeks ago but is at home now and undergoing physical therapy so she can return to work in a week or two."


Booksellers as Elected Officials: 'A Natural Fit'

Noting that indie booksellers "have a long history of taking their civic involvement beyond the walls of their bookstores," Bookselling This Week profiled five ABA members who currently serve as elected officials.

Dan Chartrand

I think in some ways booksellers are uniquely suited to working in government as elected officials," said Dan Chartrand, owner of Water Street Bookstore, Exeter, N.H. "It makes sense that a lot of booksellers have done it. They've always gone about bringing great progressive change to the communities they live in. Government is literally what we all agree to do together with our tax dollars. The more you can tie government to community development, the better it runs, and the more confident people are that government is working."

Becky Anderson, co-owner of three Anderson's Bookshop locations in Illinois, observed that "booksellers possess a quality of fairness and open-mindedness, when you think about all the demographics that live within any particular city or town. There are the books that we sell and the ideas we sell within these books, but there are also all the people we sell these books to: they come from all walks of life. I think that, as a group, our mindset is that we're fair. We look at the injustices."

Thomas Lowry, owner of Lowry's Books, Three Rivers, Mich., believes "everyone should give back to their community in whatever way they are comfortable with. This is a way I feel I give back.... I have experience managing people, managing inventory, managing cash flow; I have to deal with a certain amount of risk or loss. I would really encourage other booksellers to try it. It's a way we can all give back, and the positives far outweigh the negatives."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Simon Winchester on Diane Rehm

Today on Fresh Air: Dr. Vincent DeVita, author of The Death of Cancer: After Fifty Years on the Front Lines of Medicine, a Pioneering Oncologist Reveals Why the War on Cancer Is Winnable--and How We Can Get There (Sarah Crichton Books, $28, 9780374135607).

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Today on NPR's On Point: Clay Shirky, author of Little Rice: Smartphones, Xiaomi, and the Chinese Dream (Columbia Global Reports, $12.99, 9780990976325).

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Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Nathan Lane and Devlin Elliott, authors of Naughty Mabel (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781481430227). They will also appear on the View.

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Tomorrow on Diane Rehm: Simon Winchester, author of Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World's Superpowers (Harper, $28.99, 9780062315410).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Here & Now: Ed Caesar, author of Two Hours: The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781451685848).

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Tomorrow on the Steve Harvey Show: Rachael Ray, author of Everyone Is Italian on Sunday (Atria, $39.99, 9781476766072).

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Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Patricia Cornwell, author of Depraved Heart: A Scarpetta Novel (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062325402).

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Tomorrow night on a repeat of the Daily Show: Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau, $24, 9780812993547).


Movie: Warner Bros. to Film Cecelia Ahern's Teen Debut

If society deems you "flawed," you are branded with an "F" tattoo and forced to live as a second-class citizen. Such is the reality reflected in Flawed (Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan), bestselling author Cecelia Ahern's YA debut, slated for publication on April 5, 2016. Flawed has just been optioned by Warner Bros., and Wendy Finerman (Forrest GumpThe Devil Wears Prada) and Michelle Chydzik (The Wedding Date) have signed on to produce the film. Finerman and Ahern have a longstanding relationship that began when Finerman produced the movie PS, I Love You. "We have always been a huge fans of Cecelia's work and we are thrilled to be able to help bring Flawed to the big screen," said Finerman. 


TV: This Is Why You're Single

Tracey Baird and Krysia Plonka of Thank You, Brain! Productions are developing a television series based on the book This Is Why You're Single by Laura Lane and Angela Spera (December 1, Adams Media). The book is a collection of modern-day dating fables--from meeting a private investigator for a background check on your date to friends staging an intervention for your hopeless case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)--and the morals Lane and Spera provide for each situation.

"When we read the book, we just laughed through the whole thing," said Plonka. "It's not only such a different take on the modern dating world but it's also told from the point of view of two really funny, strong yet vulnerable women. The descriptive quality of their storytelling make it a perfect vehicle for television. That, and it's funny as sh*t! That they'd also be playing the on-camera roles of these sometimes outrageous, sometimes very grounded women is truly the icing on the cake."

Lane and Spera noted that they "are thrilled to be working with the exceptionally talented Krysia and Tracey--and not just because we have a built-in partiality to hilarious female duos."



Books & Authors

Awards: British Fantasy; Portico Literature

Winners of this year's British Fantasy Awards were announced last weekend at FantasyCon 2015 in Nottingham. You can find the complete list of winners here.

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Four poetry collections have made the fiction category shortlist for the Portico Prize for Literature, which is awarded biennially "to the highest quality books set wholly or mainly in the North of England," the Bookseller reported. Winners in the fiction and nonfiction categories, which will be announced November 26, receive £10,000 (about $15,288) each. You can find the complete Portico Prize shortlists here.


Book Brahmin: Catherine McKenzie

photo: Robert Galbraith

Catherine McKenzie practices law in Montreal, where she was born and raised. She is an an avid skier and runner, and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. Her previous novels are Spin, Arranged, Forgotten and Hidden. Her fifth novel, Smoke, was recently published by Lake Union Press.

On your nightstand now:

There are too many books to name on my nightstand right now! I guess I need to get on that. But my next read will be The Sisters of Shiloh by Kathy Hepinstall and Becky Hepinstall Hilliker--two sisters who wrote the book together about two sisters who pretend to be men to fight in the civil war. I'm already fascinated.

Favorite book when you were a child:

It's a tie between the Anne of Green Gables books and the Little House books. I've read each of them so many times (I'm talking the whole series here) that I've had to buy new sets.

Your top five authors:

Such a tough question, but if I have to name just five I would name:

  1. Jane Austen
  2. Nick Hornby
  3. John Green
  4. Agatha Christie
  5. J.K. Rowling

Book you've faked reading:

The last two Donna Tartt novels. (Sorry, Donna! At least I bought them in hardcover!) I loved, loved, loved The Secret History, but was unable to finish either The Goldfinch or The Little Friend.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison. You must read this book! It's the story of a track coach who is (falsely?) accused of hitting a student, and so much more than that. It made me laugh, cry and want to be a better writer.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Wonder by R.J. Palacio, but the inside was fantastic! One of the best books I've read in the last couple of years.

Book that changed your life:

I have to mention three here: A Million Little Pieces by James Frey (I read it when I was writing my first novel and it fueled my desire to write), The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (a masterpiece to aspire to as a contemporary novelist) and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (a masterpiece of the imagination that I fear I'll never achieve).

Favorite line from a book:

"I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once." --from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Which character you most relate to:

Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables. We look like one another, and I talked, talked, talked, talked the way she did as a kid. And perhaps still do.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

All of the above? ;-)

How you have time to be a writer and still practice law:

J.K. Rowling gave me a Time-Turner.


Book Review

Children's Review: Mother Bruce

Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins (Disney/Hyperion, $17.99 hardcover, 48p., ages 3-7, 9781484730881, November 24, 2015)

Mother Goose, rather, Mother Bruce, is the laugh-out-loud funny story of a grouchy bear who reluctantly becomes the guardian of four goslings, when all he wanted to do was eat them.

"Bruce was a bear who lived all by himself. He was a grump." Bruce doesn't like sunny days, rain or even cute little animals. The one thing he does like is eggs and, after stealing them from various birds, he cooks them into "fancy recipes that he found on the internet," such as "hard-boiled goose eggs drizzled with honey-salmon sauce." The ingredients for this dish are fairly easy to procure. Heading out into the wilds with his shopping cart, Bruce catches a few salmon in the river, collects honey from a local beehive (supporting local business) and grabs Mrs. Goose by the neck to inquire if her eggs are "free-range organic."

Back at home in his grass-covered bear mound (complete with hinged wooden door), Bruce puts on his chef's hat and prepares to hard-boil the eggs on the wood stove. But when he goes out to fetch kindling, he returns to an "unwelcome surprise." The four eggs on the stove have hatched into goslings, and they are all crying "MAMA!" This won't do. He scoops up the little geese and heads back to Mrs. Goose to see about her return policy--but she's flown south early. No matter how many times Bruce tells the baby geese he is not their mother, the wee waddlers continue to trail him: "Goslings always/ follow their mother,/ even if SHE/ is a HE and/ HE is a bear."

Bruce gives in. He does his best to raise the annoying baby geese--even getting them a wading pool, painting with them, feeding them in high chairs and napping with them. Scowling, he watches them grow from stubborn teenage geese (with bad posture and headphones) into boring adult geese. As the weather turns cold, Bruce, still eager for their departure and a much-needed long winter nap, explains migration to them, flapping his arms like wings. They don't listen, they just don winter hats and coats and stare at him with big eyes. Bruce even builds a slingshot system and attempts to launch them south. As a last resort, he decides they all should migrate, by bus, to Miami for the winter and, sure enough, that's where they land, on the beach in Hawaiian shirts, sipping lemonade with cocktail umbrellas.

Ryan T. Higgins's illustrations are extraordinary. The dark purple bear with his perpetually furrowed brow contrasts delightfully with the irresistibly cute yellow goslings who ignore his surliness and crawl and tumble all over him. The inky line work for the fur and feathers, flora and fauna is wonderfully intricate, and many of the subtly textured, full-bleed landscapes are breathtaking, whether they show the soft early morning sunlight spilling into the woods where the trees cast shadows or a gorgeous Miami beach, water sparkling. In the end, a baby sea turtle hatches on the sand and inches up to one of the geese. "Mama?"

Mother Bruce never cracks a smile as he dutifully raises his new family, but young readers won't be able to hold back. --Karin Snelson, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: Mother Bruce, not Mother Goose, is a bear who reluctantly raises four goslings in this hilarious, artful picture book with a nod to foodies great and small.


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