Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 26, 2016

St. Martin's Press: How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson

St. Martin's Press: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Katherine Tegen Books: Denis Ever After by Tony Abbott

Atlantic Monthly Press: The Temptation of Forgiveness: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery by Donna Leon

Clarion Books: I Got It! by David Wiesner

Liveright Publishing Corporation: The Honey Farm by Harriet Alida Lye

Ballantine Books: All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin


New Owner for Open Books: A Poem Emporium

Open Books: A Poem Emporium, which was put up for sale in March, has a new owner, the Seattle Review of Books reported. John Marshall, co-owner of the store with Christine Deavel, announced the decision in an e-mail to customers:

"We are exceedingly happy to announce that the next owner of Open Books: A Poem Emporium will be Billie Swift. She has been an avid customer for years, has a sharp and inquiring mind, and is a truly engaging soul. We cannot imagine a better person to be entrusted with the future of Open Books. The actual change in ownership will take place at the end of August, but Ms. Swift will be a fixture in and around the store from now until then. Of course, we'll have a celebratory ceremony/party near the date of transfer, and we'll count on your presence then, either in body or spirit. Between now and then, you'll have ample opportunity to see us all (including on occasion Christine, who does the bookkeeping and pops in now and then). Please know that the store you love is still here and will go on, with your continued care and support. The amazing journey continues!"

Disney-Hyperion: Little Do We Know by Tamara Ireland Stone

The Rabbit Hole Launches Crowdfunding Campaign

The Rabbit Hole, Kansas City, Mo., has launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $150,000. Last month, co-owners Pete Cowdin and Deb Pettid described how they would be transitioning from their children's bookstore, the Reading Reptile, into "the world's first ExploraStorium."

On Indiegogo, the Rabbit Hole is described as "a visionary nonprofit center for the children's book chartered to create new and extraordinary encounters with literature that will revitalize the culture of reading for generations to come.... With your help, we can open up new worlds and create greater access to literature by building a new kind of portal that embraces readers and non-readers alike, and provides a new way for children and adults to rediscover the joy and wonder of books, together."

Crooked Lane Books: Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

UConn Close to Signing B&N; UCI Irvine to Outsource Store

The University of Connecticut, which recently announced that it will outsource the UConn Co-op, is close to signing a contract with Barnes & Noble Education that will include opening a store in downtown Hartford in walking distance of the university's new campus on Front Street that opens next year, the Hartford Courant reported. The main campus of the university, and site of the Co-op, is in Storrs. B&N would contribute $1 million to the Hartford bookstore's development.

Trustees are expected to vote on a contract with B&N tomorrow. [In a story yesterday about the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill outsourcing its bookstore operations, we erroneously noted that UConn had decided on Follett. Our apologies!]

"You have these great institutions in the city, fabulous theater, the oldest public museum in the country, the Wadsworth," said UConn president Susan Herbst. "Not to have an exciting, professional, big, really thriving bookstore was kind of a hole in the city that we think this will fill."

Details about the proposed B&N contract show why it is attracted to outsourcing: according to the Courant, "the university would receive a commission of 17.5% on sales up to $20 million; 19% on sales between $20 million to $25 million; and 20% on sales over $25 million. Patrick Nevins, a UConn attorney, said the bookstore now generates about $20 million in sales--that translates to about $3.8 million in commission."


In a similar situation across the country, the University of California at Irvine has decided to outsource the Hill, its longtime campus bookstore, according to New University, the school newspaper.

Despite a campaign to keep the store as is that included a petition signed by nearly 2,000 people, the school will select a company by the end of the month for a seven-year contract, it announced. The school had said it was considering outsourcing early last month and has interviewed three companies, presumably including B&N and Follett.

Owlkids Books: A Fire Truck for Chuck by Annika Dunklee, illustrated by Cathon / Crackerjack Jack by Bowman Wilker, illustrated by Marie-Ève Tremblay

American Writers Museum to Open in Chicago in 2017

The American Writers Museum, the first in the United States to focus exclusively on American writers, "past and present," will open in March 2017 in downtown Chicago, Ill. Located at 180 North Michigan Avenue, the museum expects to draw up to 120,000 visitors each year and is working with more than 50 authors' homes and museums around the country to build its exhibitions. Among the planned attractions are re-creations of writers' homes and fictional locales (including Tara, Cannery Row and the House of Seven Gables), interactive exhibits about writers' lives and methodologies (including "travels" with Jack Kerouac and John Steinbeck, for example), and ample space for film screenings, talks, readings and presentations. The museum aims to hold exhibitions on a range of subjects.

Roberta Rubin, the former longtime owner of the Book Stall at Chestnut Court in Winnetka, Ill., is co-chairman of the museum's board of directors.

More information about the American Writers Museum can be found here.

Amulet Books: Every Shiny Thing by Cordelia Jensen and Laurie Morrison


Image of the Day: Milk and Honey

Rupi Kaur, author of the poetry collection Milk and Honey, recently attracted 600 fans to two events at the Booksmith, San Francisco--and similarly sized crowds at other events in Washington, D.C., and Toronto. A photographer and writer who lives in Toronto, Kaur writes poetry about survival, violence, abuse, love, loss and femininity. Originally self-published in late 2014, this collection, her first book, was picked up and published late last year by Andrews McMeel. Milk and Honey has resonated with many women in the U.S. and Canada; it's topped poetry lists for many months, and is a lovely National Poetry Month treat.

Oxmoor House: The Minimalist Kitchen: 100 Wholesome Recipes, Essential Tools, and Efficient Techniques by Melissa Coleman

Barcelona Booksellers 'Reinvent Themselves to Survive'

Bookstores in Barcelona, "the Spanish-language world's publishing capital, are remaking themselves as cultural centers that offer concerts, classes and hard to find books to draw customers," AFP reported (via ArtDaily).

"We had to change. Either we reinvented ourselves or it was really impossible to stay open," said Montserrat Serrano, owner of the +Bernat bookstore, which moved to a larger location six years ago so it could include a cafeteria that offers a daily menu and cooking classes, and is also used to hold conferences, debates about cinema, language classes, concerts and even board game tournaments. "You end up converting the bookstore into a meeting place, there is a lot of movement and you build customer loyalty."

The number of bookstores in Spain fell from 7,074 in 2008 to 5,864 in 2013, AFP noted. Antonio Daura, head of the Association of Booksellers in Catalonia, said, "The crisis has been long, persistent and deep. But there have been entrepreneurs, people who have opened shops with a very specialized focus and small size."

"There was an economic crisis, but not a cultural crisis," said Abel Cutillas, owner of Calders bookshop. "Very interesting publishers have emerged, very appealing authors, books are being translated and republished that have lots of quality. The success of a bookstore is surviving and at the moment we are doing that."

Xavier Vidal, who opened Nollegiu in 2013, added: "If I sit in the bookstore and wait for people to come, I can die. I have to make them come, spread my passion for reading."

Bookshop Chalkboard of the Day: #ShakespeareSaturday

From the Facebook page of the Bookshop Kibworth in England on #ShakespeareSaturday: "Happy 400th Deathday William Shakespeare! Free fancy #‎bardabag canvas bag from The Bookshop Kibworth today when you buy a book*. *£2 if you don't." The bookstore's chalkboard shared the Bard's Sonnet 98, which begins:

From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dress'd in all his trim
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing,
That heavy Saturn laugh'd and leap'd with him.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Steve Case and The Third Wave

Tavis Smiley: Connie Rice, author of Power Concedes Nothing: The Unfinished Fight for Social Justice in America (Scribner, $18, 9781416544739).

Bloomberg West: Steve Case, author of The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur's Vision of the Future (Simon & Schuster, $26.95, 9781501132582).

Diane Rehm: readers review My Name Is Lucy Barton: A Novel By Elizabeth Strout (Random House, $26, 9781400067695).

Charlie Rose: Phil Knight, author of Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike (Scribner, $29, 9781501135910). He will also appear on Fox's On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.

Daily Show: McKay Coppins, author of The Wilderness: Deep Inside the Republican Party's Combative, Contentious, Chaotic Quest to Take Back the White House (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316327411).

Movies: Monument 14; My Mother, My Son

Sandy Widyanata will direct Monument 14, the first film in a series based on the trilogy by Emmy Laybourne, Variety reported. The script was adapted by Laybourne and writer/director Brad Peyton (San Andreas). Aron Warner and Andrew Adamson will produce via their Strange Weather Films banner.

"We're thrilled to have Sandy on board for the launch of this fantastic franchise," Warner said. "Monument 14 is visceral and grounded and Sandy brings the right sensibility to the table."


Oscar winner Irwin Winkler (Rocky, Raging Bull) will co-write (with Jose Ruisanchez) and direct a film based on Dwayne J. Clark's 2012 memoir My Mother, My Son, "centering on Clark, an entrepreneur in the senior living industry, whose mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and became a resident of one of his memory-care communities," Deadline reported. Randall Emmett, George Furla and Winkler are producing.

"We knew this was a story that needed to be told and with Irwin and Jose adapting the screenplay and Irwin directing, it behooved us to commit to it as well," Emmett said.

"It's not easy to share the most difficult moments of your life on the big screen, but with this partnership, I believe my story will be told with a passionate sense of purpose that I hope will inspire millions and let them know they are not alone," said Clark.

Books & Authors

Awards: Wellcome; Restless Books New Immigrant Writing

Suzanne O'Sullivan's It's All in Your Head won the £30,000 (about $43,485) Wellcome Book Prize, which celebrates books "that engage with some aspect of medicine, health or illness, showcasing the breadth and depth of our encounters with medicine through exceptional works of fiction and nonfiction."

Chair of judges Joan Bakewell said the winning title "is a truly impressive book, chosen for its many virtues. Suzanne O'Sullivan is a consultant neurologist and her first-hand accounts of diagnosing her patients offer new insights into the relationship between the body and the mind. The fact that society divides them into two medical disciplines--the physical and the mental--is being increasingly challenged. O'Sullivan's book brings to light important examples of how the two inter-relate."


Finalists have been announced for the inaugural Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, honoring first-generation residents of the United States who have not previously published a work of fiction with a U.S. publishing house. The winner, who will be announced in early May, receives a $10,000 advance and publication by Restless Books in print and digital editions. The finalists are:

The Alexandria You Are Losing by Yasser Yehia El-Sayed
The End of Peril, the End of Enmity, the End of Strife, A Haven by Thirii Myint
Heartland by Ana Simo
Intersections by Yong Takahashi
Temporary People by Deepak Unnikrishnan

Bookseller Recommends: A None's Story

Carol Price Spurling, owner and manager of BookPeople of Moscow, Moscow, Idaho, offers a ringing endorsement of a new book by a writer with a bookselling background who works on Sundays at BookPeople:

Corinna Nicolaou, author of A None's Story: Searching for Meaning Inside Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam (9780231173940, just published by Columbia University Press), was raised with absolutely no religion whatsoever. As an adult she remains a "none," as in, "religious affiliation: none." She is the spiritual equivalent of a political undecided, and a member of an ever-growing group in our society.

Take note: nones are not necessarily atheist or agnostic. Perhaps as a result of her lack of religious upbringing, Nicolaou is refreshingly curious about spirituality and faith. She incorporates spiritual practice into her life deliberately--from all four of the traditions mentioned in her subtitle.

An experienced journalist and writer, Nicolaou began the project that became her book in the wake of the events of 9/11. Her old private personal pain, in the context of this new social turmoil, created in her a deep need for healing, clarity, and understanding. She turned to religion, partly to understand her new husband's Jewish background. But in reading widely on the subject of religion, she was surprised by how little she found that satisfied her need for objective, factual guidance and comparison. Very few accepted "experts" on religion seem to have made an effort to actually try any of them out. Nicolaou bravely steps into this breach.

Published by an academic press, A None's Story is intelligent and well-researched but has no academic pretensions whatsoever. First and foremost a memoir, Nicolaou's quest to find inner peace through in-depth participation in Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam is not only informative in a remarkably even-handed and clear-headed way, but also compelling, inspiring, insightful, moving, and often funny.

For a stranger, entering into an established group for the purpose of worshipping God demands a lot of inner strength. So it is hard to imagine that Nicolaou, a bright spark of a writer, could ever have personal demons to overcome. How wonderful for us that she tames them by writing a book that could, I think, heal almost the entire world, if only the entire world could read it.

Book Review

Review: Valiant Ambition

Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick (Viking, $30 hardcover, 9780525426783, May 10, 2016)

The name "Benedict Arnold" is synonymous with "traitor" today, but it wasn't always. Before Arnold began selling crucial information to the British military during the American Revolution, he was a charismatic general, a colleague of George Washington and a staunch believer in the colonists' cause. Nathaniel Philbrick (Bunker Hill; In the Heart of the Sea) delves into the uncertain early years of the war and traces Arnold's journey from hero to turncoat in Valiant Ambition.

Philbrick is known for his vivid, compelling explorations of crucial episodes in American history. Valiant Ambition covers more ground--physical and temporal--than some of his earlier books, dealing with a four-year span (1776-1780). The narrative draws together detailed accounts of several battles, the constantly shifting politics of both the American and British military commands, the infighting and debate among members of the Continental Congress and the roles played by Arnold and his commander-in-chief, George Washington.

Philbrick plunges readers into the chaos of a new, untried country, whose military leaders struggled to unite the groups of inexperienced militiamen under their command. As the colonial army battled the British army in the dense forests of upstate New York, the Continental Congress remained in Philadelphia, arguing about finance, foreign policy and other issues. Bold and impatient, Arnold longed to capitalize on his past battlefield successes, but grew frustrated when he was passed over repeatedly for promotion.

The sheer number of personalities, battle tactics and other details threatens to bog down the narrative at first, but Philbrick's account picks up speed once Arnold begins trading secrets with the British. A cast of colorful supporting characters, such as Arnold's co-conspirator Major John André and colonial soldier Joseph Plumb Martin (who exhibits a Forrest Gump-like talent for ubiquity), rounds out the drama.

After more than 200 years of telling and retelling, Arnold's story and the players in it are often reduced to simple, almost mythical archetypes. But Philbrick treats his subjects with respect, painting complex portraits of historical figures who were real--and flawed--people. The fluctuating landscapes of loyalty and betrayal, the constant tug of self-interest and the question of how best to govern a new nation provide nuance and depth. (Philbrick's depiction of the Continental Congress as "stuck in the old familiar rut of partisanship and indecision" may ring uncomfortably familiar today.) Though Arnold did in fact betray his comrades, Philbrick's account sheds new light on his motivations and the struggles faced by the leaders and citizens of a brand-new nation. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Historian Nathaniel Philbrick paints a complex, nuanced portrait of Benedict Arnold and the early days of the American Revolution.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Stuck-Up Suit by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward
2. Now That I've Found You (The Sullivans Book 15) by Bella Andre
3. The Player by Kresley Cole
4. Bounty (Colorado Mountain Series Book 7) by Kristen Ashley
5. Slow & Steady by Kendall Ryan
6. Right by Jana Aston
7. Once Upon a Dream by Mary Balogh and Grace Burrowes
8. Wyoming Wildflowers Trilogy Boxed Set by Patricia McLinn
9. Forever Rockers (The Rocker Series Book 12) by Terri Anne Browning
10. Your Captivating Love (The Bennett Family Book 2) by Layla Hagen

[Many thanks to!]

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