Shelf Awareness for Thursday, December 17, 2015


Mira Books: The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

Workman Publishing: Flow

Center Street: Death Need Not Be Fatal by Malachy McCourt and Brian McDonald

RosettaBooks: Gratitude in Low Voices: A Memoir by Dawit Gebremichael Habte

Doubleday Books: Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

Walden Pond Press: York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby

Quotation of the Day

Bookseller: 'A Person Whose Value Is Beyond Measure'

Carol Easter and Kevin Sampsell

"Anyone who loves books and places books into readers' hands is a person whose value is beyond measure. Our position--as recommenders, taste-makers, readers, sellers, book displayers, etc.--is important to culture. Heck, it's important to the whole world! It's maybe the most important thing I do in my life. When I meet people outside of work and they ask what I do, I don't start off by saying I'm a writer or publisher or collage artist or whatever. I always start by saying, 'I work at Powell's.' "

--Kevin Sampsell was one of two booksellers (Carol Easter was the other) from Powell's Books, Portland, Ore., who received a James Patterson holiday bonus this week. This is from a thank-you note posted on his blog.

ECW Press: The Dhow House by Jean McNeil


News

Amazon Books: After a Month, Still Many Questions

In recent weeks, some publishers have been receiving cheery notes from "the Amazon Books curators"--the buyers for Amazon's bricks-and-mortar store that opened a month ago in Seattle, Wash.--saying that they're looking forward to "building a relationship." The relationship will include the bookstore buyers attending list presentations "with our Amazon.com partners," and publishers providing review copies and other materials for the buyers.

Strikingly, for a store that stocks only 5,000-6,000 titles, many of which are determined by their popularity on Amazon.com, the buyers say that because "a big part of our selection is aimed at discovery, we are enthusiastic about putting great backlist and midlist titles in front of customers. So please let us know if you have any such books you think we should consider."

The letter about joint buyer meetings brings up an issue that many have wondered about, particularly considering that book prices are the same in the bookstore and online: Is Amazon Books getting its stock from Amazon.com, which gets extra terms unavailable to most bricks-and-mortar retailers? Are books being bought non-returnable by Amazon.com but being returned by Amazon Books to Amazon.com? How, if at all, is a distinction made between the two businesses--and how will that be handled at meetings in which the bookstore buyers participate?

(In a letter to members last month, ABA CEO Oren Teicher alluded to some of these concerns, writing, "ABA member bookstores can rest assured that your trade association will continue to remind publishers and other vendors about their obligations under antitrust laws, especially regarding their need to ensure that inventory purchased under one set of terms is not commingled and transferred to another class of business. That remains a bedrock principle that everyone must abide by, and ABA will not be shy in raising this matter with all suppliers.")

And, in fact, how will the buyers meet with smaller publishers, who may have "great backlist and midlist titles," but often have limited or no access to Amazon.com buyers and/or have to pay for access? A number of smaller publishers have complained that they can't speak to a live person at Amazon--will the bookstore buyers get to sit in on a publisher-client process that resembles an automated phone menu?

And another question: Are the four buyers--which seems like a lot for the current Amazon Books--laying the foundation for other Amazon bricks-and-mortar stores? (And it's painful to contemplate that because of Amazon's stratospheric stock valuation--which has nothing to do with books--these stores will never have to make money or otherwise follow the rules of business that govern other bricks-and-mortar stores.)

We've also heard that Amazon is recruiting at least one person with book event experience, which can only worry Seattle indies, who have built up impressive author event programs over the years.

And in the strangest news to come out of Amazon Books, the store took part in Small Business Saturday: University Village retailers participating in the event placed balloons in front of their stores. Balloons were spotted outside Amazon Books. We can hear Jeff Bezos's guffaw from here.


DK Publishing: Out of the Box by Jemma Westing


Hatter's Hideaway Opens in Houston, Mo.

Laura Lockhart (l.) and Amber Lange (photo: Doug Davison/Houston Herald)

On Black Friday, mother and daughter Laura Lockhart and Amber Lange opened Hatter's Hideaway Books and Gifts in Houston, Mo., the Houston Herald reported. The store offers new books and locally made crafts and jewelry.

"I've always wanted a book store and I'm a huge reader," Lange, who is a high school English teacher, said. "And my family--they're all crafters."

The paper described Hatter's Hideaway as featuring "multiple areas where guests can relax and hang out on comfortable furniture, and free wi-fi and access to electricity are both offered. The store is stocked with many titles for all ages, especially kids, teens and young adults."

"This is a great place to just sit down and make yourself comfortable," Lange commented. "We would love for kids to come here after school and study, and just hang out. It's a nice place to just settle."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Touch by Courtney Maum


New Owner for the Book Bin in Onley, Va.

The Book Bin, which was put up for sale last spring by Mary Smolinski and Susan Tyler, has a new owner. The Delmarva Daily Times reported that earlier this month, "customers who attended the annual open house at the Book Bin were given the opportunity to meet" Philip Wilson, who is purchasing the bookstore and will officially take over in January.

Wilson said the Book Bin "ticked all of my boxes in many, many ways," including the fact that it is not located near a large chain, national bookstore; it is the right size for serving the local community and customers traveling up and down Route 13; and it sells coffee, "which makes bookstores more comfortable for customers."

"Being comfortable is very important. It builds loyalty and ultimately also builds sales as well," Wilson noted. He also cited the successful teamwork Tyler and Smolinski had cultivated with their full-time and part-time employees, referring to staff as the "gold of the business."

E.A. McMath, who founded the bookstore in 1982 with Joanna Synder and first hired Smolinski when she was in high school, "is happy the business she started 35 years ago will keep its doors opened," the Daily Times wrote.

"I am just thrilled Philip is taking over so it doesn't close," she said.


Soho Crime: The Second Day of the Renaissance (Inspector Trotti #6) by Timothy Williams


Florida's Copperfish Books Swimming Downtown

After being located "off the beaten path" for three years, Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, Fla., is moving to a larger space in the heart of downtown, owners Cathy Graham and Serena Wyckoff announced. In the new location, Copperfish Books will have a private parking lot and be next to Tiki's Boutique, Hipnotique, Pomegranate & Fig and the Sea Grape Gallery. The store plans to open in the new spot March 1; it will remain open in its current spot until then.

The future home of Copperfish Books

"We've needed more space for quite a while," Graham said. "Between our growing inventory and often high attendance at our events--over 50 people at some--it's been clear that a move was inevitable." The new space is about 30% bigger and offers amenities that will provide more comfort as well as flexibility. It's about half a mile from the current location.

Wyckoff added, "Downtown Punta Gorda needs more shopping options, and we hope to give residents and visitors another reason to head to our awesome downtown." The bookstore will continue to carry new, used, and antique books, and plans to expand its selection of greeting cards and gifts. The store also has a booth in Alley Cat Antiques in Arcadia, Fla.

The new address will be 103 W. Marion Avenue, Punta Gorda, Fla. 33950.


Spiegel & Grau: Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown


Book Council of Australia 'Scrapped'

One year after former Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the formation of the Book Council of Australia, the program has been scrapped as the government's Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook reported $52.5 million in cuts from the Communications and Arts Portfolio, including $6 million for the organization. The Sydney Morning Herald noted that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Arts Minister Mitch Fifield "made no mention of the planned cuts at the Prime Minister's Literary Awards on Monday night."

In a statement Tuesday, Fifield said he "will be consulting widely with the literary community about alternative sector-led mechanisms for representation and promotion. I thank those who had indicated their willingness to serve on the Council, particularly Louise Adler AM, who had agreed to be chair, and the many people who have generously shared their views on Australian writing and reading."

The Australian reported that Adler "hit out at the 'very disappointing decision' and suggested the government was 'less than wholehearted' about Australia's literary culture."

For its part, the Australian Booksellers Association said it is "profoundly disappointed" and "strongly supports the creation of a Book Council to address common issues within the book industry, including ensuring an efficient supply chain that meets the challenges of an increasingly digitized and global environment; and that ensures that Australian writers and readers connect."


Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: The Greatest Story Ever Told--So Far: Why Are We Here? by Lawrence M. Krauss


BEA 2016: Children's Author Breakfast Speakers Announced

Jamie Lee Curtis

Golden Globe-winning actress and bestselling author Jamie Lee Curtis will be the master of ceremonies at this year's BookExpo America Children's Author Breakfast, where she will introduce Sabaa Tahir, Gene Luen Yang and Dav Pilkey. The event is scheduled for Friday, May 13 at the McCormick Center in Chicago.

Curtis will talk about her forthcoming book This Is Me: A Story of Who We Are and Where We Came From (Workman, September 16), then introduce Tahir, author of An Amber in the Ashes (Razorbill) and the forthcoming A Torch Against the Night (Razorbill, August 30); Yang, author of American Born Chinese (First Second Books) and the forthcoming Secret Coders: Secrets & Sequences; and Pilkey, author of Captain Underpants (Scholastic) and the forthcoming Dog Man.


Obituary Note: Stephen Michael Jadick

Steve Jadick

Stephen Michael Jadick, who worked in sales and marketing for a variety of publishers for more than 40 years, died last Thursday after a long illness. He was 62.

Jadick worked for Viking Penguin, Blackwell North America, Reed Elsevier, Morning Light Press, Cornell University Press and, for the past six years, at Tuttle Publishing, where he was sales manager, key accounts, export sales and subsidiary rights. He was a lifelong student of philosophy and world religions, and had a great love of science fiction, comic books, mysteries and film.

Memorial services will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 23, at Wallingford-Aldous Funeral Home, 187 North Main St., Wallingford, Vt. Memorial contributions may be made to Light on the Hill, 209 Blake Hill Road, Van Etten, N.Y. 14889.



Notes

Personnel Changes at PRH, Diamond

Alyssa Awe is being promoted to v-p, strategic operations & projects, Penguin Random House. She has been v-p, integration director, North America and played an important role in "unifying and harmonizing Penguin Random House U.S., both operationally and organizationally," COO Nihar Malaviya said.

Awe will continue to oversee the Strategic Projects Group and take on a variety of new responsibilities.

---

Nicholas Sinisi has joined Diamond Book Distributors as sales manager, primarily responsible for managing independent bookstores, Hastings, Bookazine and special sales. He was formerly publisher services & development manager and independent store sales manager at Midpoint Trade Books. He joined Midpoint in 2012 as national account manager for Barnes & Noble, Baker & Taylor and Bookazine. Earlier he was a buyer and senior buyer at Barnes & Noble.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jeff Kinney on Today

Today:
Today Show: Jeff Kinney, author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid #10: Old School (Abrams, $13.95, 9781419717017).

Fresh Air: David S. Cohen and Krysten Connon, authors of Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism (Oxford University Press, $29.95, 9780199377558).


Movies: Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them

"This could be the very definition of 'teaser,' " Deadline Hollywood noted in featuring the first look at Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the debut screenplay from J.K. Rowling "that extends her and Warner Brothers' lucrative franchise." In the teaser, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) opens his case "just a smidge." The film, directed by David Yates, is set for a November 18, 2016 release.


This Weekend on Book TV: The American Book Awards

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, December 19
4:15 p.m. The 36th annual American Book Awards, presented by the Before Columbus Foundation at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco. (Re-airs Monday at 4 a.m.)

7 p.m. Winston Groom, author of The Generals: Patton, MacArthur, Marshall, and the Winning of World War II (National Geographic, $30, 9781426215490), at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 9:30 a.m.)

8 p.m. Julie Checkoway, author of The Three-Year Swim Club: The Untold Story of Maui's Sugar Ditch Kids and Their Quest for Olympic Glory (Grand Central, $27, 9781455523443), at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, Calif. (Re-airs Sunday at 3:15 p.m.)

9 p.m. L. Douglas Wilder, author of Son of Virginia: A Life in America's Political Arena (Lyons Press, $26.95, 9781493010837). (Re-airs Sunday at 1:30 p.m.)

10 p.m. Michael Marmot, author of The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World (Bloomsbury, $28, 9781632860781). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Alison Bass, author of Getting Screwed: Sex Workers and the Law (ForeEdge, $29.95, 9781611686340), at Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse in Baltimore, Md.

Sunday, December 20
12 a.m. John Kelly, author of Never Surrender: Winston Churchill and Britain's Decision to Fight Nazi Germany in the Fateful Summer of 1940 (Scribner, $30, 9781476727974), at Oblong Books and Music in Millerton, N.Y. (Re-airs Sunday at 4 p.m.)

8:15 a.m. Ted Rall, author of Snowden (Seven Stories Press, $16.95, 9781609806354). (Re-airs Sunday at 7:45 p.m.)

1 p.m. Menzie D. Chinn, co-author of Lost Decades: The Making of America's Debt Crisis and the Long Recovery (Norton, $17.95, 9780393344103). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

6 p.m. Bill Yenne, author of Operation Long Jump: Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Greatest Assassination Plot in History (Regnery History, $29.99, 9781621573463).

7 p.m. Premilla Nadasen, author of Household Workers Unite: The Untold Story of African American Women Who Built a Movement (Beacon Press, $27.95, 9780807014509), at Book Culture Bookstore in New York City.

10 p.m. Shane White, author of Prince of Darkness: The Untold Story of Jeremiah G. Hamilton, Wall Street's First Black Millionaire (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250070562).


Books & Authors

Two 'Presidential' Books, with a Trump Twist

Published last month, Donald Trump's Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again (Threshold Editions) is the typical issues book released by presidential candidates. But Trump's idiosyncrasies, love them or hate them, have also spawned some very unofficial publications.

This past Tuesday, Post Hill Press gave Trump's colorful candidacy a creative spin with the release of The Trump Coloring Book by M.G. Anthony (dist. by Simon & Schuster, $11.99, 9781682610282). This adult coloring book features 50 humorous black-and-white scenes, from Trump playing Battleship with Kim Jong-Un to Trump's smirking mug plastered on the side of Mt. Rushmore. The book has been covered by CNN and other major media outlets, and is nearing a reprint after a 30,000-copy initial run.

Quotations from Chairman Trump, edited by Carol Pogash (RosettaBooks, dist. by Ingram Publisher Services, $14.99, 9780795348211), collects Trump quotes into a little red book styled after Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, which may be the most printed book in history. The Donald's own words satirize himself, with gems like: "It has not been easy for me; and you know I started off in Brooklyn, my father gave me a small loan of a million dollars." Or: "The Bible means a lot to me but I don't want to get into specific verses."

"Every day Donald Trump finds someone else to ridicule," said Pogash, the book's editor, who is also a journalist. "By framing his quotes, Mr. Trump becomes the target of his own ridicule. The book pricks the helium out of the man with the yellow hair."

An e-book of Quotations from Chairman Trump is available now, and the hardcover will be released January 26. RosettaBooks is planning publicity outreach across the political spectrum and an initial print run of 7,500, with expected 10,000-copy reprints.

The Trump campaign has thus far refrained from commenting on either title. --Tobias Mutter


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

Hardcover
Time of Departure: A Novel by Douglas Schofield (Minotaur, $24.99, 9781250072757). "Claire Talbot has a lot to prove in the misogynistic legal world in which she has immersed herself, but she puts it all on the line when Marcus Hastings enters her life with an old case that stirs an ominous feeling in the pit of Claire's stomach. Though the string of missing girls occurred before she was born, Claire senses a familiarity with the case, and with Marcus, that she can't explain. What begins with an ambitious young female prosecutor, a mysterious cold case, and an intriguing ex-cop who knows too much about both ends in a series of twists that readers won't see coming." --Rachel Kelley, Sunriver Books, Sunriver, Ore.

His Right Hand by Mette Ivie Harrison (Soho Crime, $26.95, 9781616956103). "In this riveting and compassionate mystery, beloved counselor Carl Ashby is found dead at church, leaving the Mormon community devastated. But when Linda and Kurt Wallheim learn that Carl was originally a female the news turns their world inside out, directing their focus away from the bigger issues at hand. In a community that is so set with its gender roles, can the Wallheims look past that to discover who killed Carl and why?" --Rachael Drummond, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, Mich.

Paperback
Tightrope by Simon Mawer (Other Press, $15.95, 9781590517239). "Picking up where he left off in Trapeze, Mawer reacquaints readers with Marian Sutro, whose role with the WWII Special Operations Executive resulted in interrogation, incarceration, and the brutalities of a concentration camp. Returning to London, Sutro attempts to put her life back together, but players from her past reemerge, leading her down the familiar paths of deceit and deception, this time within the shifting landscape of the Cold War. Mawer brilliantly blends fact and fiction, and what results is a gripping tale of suspense, intrigue, and espionage that will keep readers up late into the night." --Anderson McKean, Page and Palette, Fairhope, Ala.

For Ages 4 to 8
Frederick's Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by London Ladd (Jump at the Sun, $17.99, 9781423114383). "Frederick's Journey is full of important stories and heart-wrenching illustrations. Following the life and adventures of Frederick Douglass, outspoken advocate for freedom and equality, readers will feel that this is more than just another history lesson, but rather a stirring reminder of what life was like for slaves in the United States. This book, weaving Douglass' own words with those of Rappaport, will inspire and provide hope to all readers." --Janice Tripp, Whistle-Stop Mercantile, Douglas, Wyo.

For Ages 9 to 12: Revisit & Rediscover
London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd (Yearling, $7.99, 9780385751841). "Salim boards the London Eye observational wheel but is nowhere to be found when the ride ends. His cousins, Ted and Kat, strive to solve his disappearance while the adults around them fear the worst. The sleuths' best asset turns out to be Ted's atypical mind. An empathic look at autism and lots of ring-true family dynamics combine in this happily perplexing mystery by beloved British author Dowd." --Carol Muller, Hicklebee's Children's Books, San Jose, Calif.

For Teen Readers
Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood (Running Press, $9.95, 9780762458400). "With characters who are believable and a female lead who is compelling, Elwood has penned a captivating debut. The House of Fane is in trouble, but Asa, the youngest daughter of the House, thinks she knows how to save it. She just has to marry Eagle, the heir apparent to the throne. There's only one problem--he is her sister's fiancé. I can't wait for the next book in this new series!" --Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, Wash.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles, appearing next Tuesday, December 22:

Stop & Drop Diet: Lose Up to 5 Lbs. in 5 Days by Liz Vaccariello (Reader's Digest, $25.99, 9781621452607) gives eating tips for rapid weight loss.

Paperback:
Fodor's Chicago (Full-color Travel Guide) (Fodor's, $19.99, 9781101878538).

Movie:
The Revenant, based on the novel by Michael Punke, opens December 25. Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman) directs the story of a 19th-century frontiersman (Leonardo DiCaprio) left for dead after a bear attack. A movie tie-in (Picador, $16, 9781250101198) is available.


Book Review

Review: The Longest Night

The Longest Night by Andria Williams (Random House, $27 hardcover, 9780812997743, January 12, 2016)

In January 1961, an early army nuclear reactor west of Idaho Falls exploded, killing three operators in what is the only United States nuclear accident with immediate fatalities. Feeding off this little-known piece of history for her first novel, Andria Williams builds a nuanced story of marriage, military life, fledgling nuclear technology and small-town habits during this time of transition from the placid 1950s to the turbulent '60s. Set in the suburbs of Idaho Falls and within the restricted reactor compound 40 miles away, The Longest Night captures the details of an era when Soviet missiles were the country's greatest fear, and the stay-at-home mom/breadwinner dad family was society's norm.

Paul Collier joined the army at 16 and married the rambunctious San Diego beauty Nat at age 20. With two young daughters, they move to a nondescript ranch house in Idaho Falls where Paul begins a new tour in the army's nuclear energy program. His assignment is to monitor and maintain an aging prototype reactor. The product of a "graphed and gridded army life, with all its specifics and regulations and endless acronyms and isolated bases," he doesn't complain despite the obvious borderline condition of the reactor. He's all army: "His job was simply to do his job... keep the machine running, keep the feedwater valves pumping and the rod drive seal from leaking and the pressure from getting too high or too low."

Balancing the stress of Paul's growing safety concerns and conflict with his commanding officer Mitch, Williams describes the strains on Nat and the military wives left at home to shuffle preschoolers to playgrounds, keep house and gossip among themselves about the unpredictability of military life. They reluctantly accept their roles, knowing that "men were the providers and the doers and the protectors of everything--finances, morals, property--and yet there was something off about them." Nonetheless, the wives meticulously arrange dinner parties and barbecues even though money is tight and meatloaf is the potluck default dinner.

Just as Nat becomes pregnant again, Paul's frustration boils over. He confronts Mitch about safety at the reactor, and in retaliation, Mitch redeploys him for six months to a defense reactor base in Greenland. Restless and alone with two young kids and one on the way, Nat befriends a local rancher who rescues her when her car breaks down. Not only grateful, she also becomes obsessively attracted to his easy-going attention and cowboy good looks. Rumors make their way to Paul, who on his return to Idaho Falls grows more taciturn and moody as the reactor continues to hiccup and his marriage frays. Something's got to give. With confident ease Williams addresses these tensions of work and family, and brings The Longest Night to an uneasy conclusion. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: Andria Williams's first novel evocatively captures the social and marital tensions of the early 1960s, inside a military community during the birth of nuclear power.


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