Also published on this date: Monday, April 17, 2017: Kids Maximum Shelf: Orphan Island

Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 17, 2017


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

Editors' Note

Regulator Bookshop: 'Part of My Very Heart Work'

"Hi, I just wanted to let you know what true hope you bring to my life in all the amazing authors, books, events, and reviews of current and especially local, engaging works! I bow to every one of you who supports this amazing shop. A shop which is part school, part news updates, part of my very heart work every day! Thank you for great stuff!"

--A customer in an e-mail to the Regulator Bookshop, Durham, N.C.

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


News

AAP Sales: Trade Up 10.2% in November

In November, total net book sales rose 1.7%, to $1.068 billion, compared to November 2015, and represented sales of 1,207 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers. For the first 11 months of the year, total net book sales fell 5.7%, to $13.035 billion. 
 
During November, trade sales rose 10.2% over the same period a year earlier, and were a positive change from the previous month's 7.5% drop compared to October 2015. Adult trade books rose 6.8%; children's/YA jumped 16.2%; and religious books were up 21.7% overall. The jump in trade sales may have been in part a reaction to the conclusion of the presidential campaign.
 
Total net book sales in November were dragged down by poor performances in the K-12, higher ed and professional categories. Print and audiobook formats continued to grow during the year, while e-books declined.
 
 

Trinity University Press: Arte Kids - Bilingual Board Books


Content Bookstore, Northfield, Minn., Moving and Expanding

Founded two and a half years ago, Content Bookstore, Northfield, Minn., is expanding into a larger new space across the hall from its current one in the Shops at 314 Division Street and will celebrate with a grand opening party on Independent Bookstore Day, April 29.

Owner Jessica Peterson White commented: "When we opened the shop, we knew this was a community that would enthusiastically support an indie bookstore. We didn't know quite how enthusiastic our customers would be! We already find we need more space to support our robust events schedule, to expand our offerings for kids and families, and to continue to cultivate the cozy, relaxed atmosphere and lovingly curated selection our readers appreciate."

The new location is about 30% larger and will result in "a huge increase" in shelf space.

Peterson White added that IBD has "always been a favorite celebration at the store, and this year it will feel extra special." The day's events include a celebratory happy hour at 4 p.m.


Thomas Nelson: Perennials by Julie Cantrell


PRH Launches #ProjectReadathon Million Minutes

Penguin Random House has launched the #ProjectReadathon Million Minutes campaign, which gives readers the chance to help children in local communities throughout North America.

Starting today and continuing through this coming Sunday, April 23--which is UNESCO's World Book and Copyright Day, as well as World Book Night in the U.K. and St. Jordi Day in Spain--readers can visit readwell.penguinrandomhouse.com, where they can read free, timed excerpts from Penguin Random House books and authors. The more they read, the more books Penguin Random House will donate, up to 300,000 books, to Save the Children literacy programs, which aim to help young students in need in the U.S., Canada and Mexico to grow from learning to read to reading to learn.

For example, reading a 20-minute excerpt results in a five-book donation; spend an hour reading and PRH will donate 20 books. Each excerpt on the platform notes how many minutes will be added and how many books will be donated through the campaign.

Contributing partners in the #ProjectReadathon Million Minutes campaign are Charity Miles and Tab for a Cause, two organizations that enable consumers to give back through everyday activities. Users are invited to add minutes to the project through their platforms as well as PRH's. 


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


Obituary Note: Donald Weiser

Donald Weiser, owner for many years of the Samuel Weiser Bookstore and Samuel Weiser publishing company, died last Wednesday, Red Wheel/Weiser/Conari announced. He was 89 and was involved in other ventures, too, including the Nicolas-Hays line, Weiser Antiquarian Books and Ibis Press.

As a young man, Weiser worked with his father, Samuel Weiser, who in New York City in 1926 founded the bookstore. It quickly became a major esoteric bookstore that attracted people from around the world, including such customers as Harry Houdini, Karl Germer, Harry Smith, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Jimmy Page, Patti Smith, Barbara Somerfield and Madame de Saltzmann. The store moved four times and grew even more in the '60s and '70s as many people embraced Eastern religions, occult and New Age thought. Because of rising rents, the store closed in the early 1990s.

Samuel Weiser publishing grew out of the bookstore and was incorporated in 1957. It first published several reprints of pamphlets that the Weisers realized were too important to remain solely as rare books. Under Donald Weiser's leadership, Samuel Weiser, Inc. grew to publish more than 1,000 titles and become a highly regarded esoteric publishing house. In 2000, it was sold to Red Wheel/Weiser.

After moving to Maine in 1981, Weiser focused on his publishing and distribution efforts, including the Nicholas-Hays line, Weiser Antiquarian Books, and eventually Ibis Press, which has published some 150 esoteric literature titles. He was also involved in the 1990s with the Watkins bookstore in London.

A celebration of Donald Weiser's life will be held eventually in New York City.


Notes

Actor Josh Charles Loves NYC's Strand Bookstore:

Actor Josh Charles (The Good Wife, Norman) was the subject of the most recent "Sunday Routine" segment in the New York Times, and he expressed his love for a certain legendary Manhattan bookseller: "We may go to the Strand. They have story times. I think the Strand is the greatest bookstore in the history of bookstores. Such a great staff, such a great variety of books."


Personnel Changes at National Book Foundation; Chronicle

Sherrie Young has left her position as director of marketing and special projects at the National Book Foundation. She may be reached via e-mail.

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Eden Sugay has joined Chronicle Books as trade show coordinator. She was formerly a gift sales and support representative at Ingram.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Alec Baldwin on Colbert's Late Show

Today:
CBS This Morning: David McCullough, author of The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781501174216).

Fresh Air: David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385534246).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Chris Hayes, author of A Colony in a Nation (Norton, $26.95, 9780393254228).

Late Night with Seth Meyers repeat: J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (Harper, $27.99, 9780062300546).

Tomorrow:
The View: Charlamagne Tha God, author of Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It (Touchstone, $25.99, 9781501145308). He will also appear on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Also on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Alec Baldwin, author of Nevertheless: A Memoir (Harper, $28.99, 9780062409706).

Tonight Show: Senator Elizabeth Warren, author of This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class (Metropolitan Books, $28, 9781250120618).


Books & Authors

Awards: CrimeMaster Distinguished Achievement; Doug Wright

Tess Gerritsen has won the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance's inaugural CrimeMaster Award for Distinguished Achievement, which will be presented this Friday, April 21, on the eve of the 2017 Maine Crime Wave in Portland. The Alliance noted that Gerritsen's books have been published in 40 countries, sold more than 30 million copies, and the hit TV series Rizzoli & Isles is based on her suspense novels. She is also "a famously generous and supportive member of the literary community, as well as the larger Maine community."

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Finalists have been named for the Doug Wright Awards, which "recognize the best work and most promising talent in Canadian comics." You can see the 16 comic creators and works nominated in three categories here. In addition, Katherine Collins, author and artist of Neil the Horse Comics and Stories, was named this year’s inductee to the Giants of the North, the Canadian cartoonist hall of fame. The Doug Wright winners will be announced during the Toronto Comics Arts Festival, May 13-14.


Book Review

Review: States of Motion

States of Motion by Laura Hulthen Thomas (Wayne State University Press, $18.99 paperback, 328p., 9780814343142, May 15, 2017)

Someday there will be shelves full of books purporting to explain the economic and cultural currents that helped elect Donald Trump in 2016. But of equal importance will be fiction that illuminates the struggles of those who live in Trump country. University of Michigan creative writing teacher Laura Hulthen Thomas's debut short story collection, States of Motion, could be one of the early entries in that genre. Set in southeastern Michigan in the aftermath of 9/11 and the Great Recession, these eight stories offer a portrait gallery of lives touched by some of the forces that triggered a political earthquake in the United States.

While Thomas's characters have risen from the bottom rungs of the socioeconomic ladder, in most cases something--job loss, divorce or another personal crisis--has stalled their ascent. Emblematic of that stagnation are the protagonists of "Adult Crowding" and "An Uneven Recovery." In the first, Jerrell, a construction manager turned driving instructor by the economic downturn, struggles with the burden of a mother in the latter stages of dementia. In the other, after her husband's architectural clients disappear and she loses her job as a bookkeeper for a real estate developer, Gina Arnold agrees to tend to her next-door neighbors' two elderly cats while their owners leave on vacation.

But Thomas is interested in more than the arrested economic mobility of her characters. Several of these stories vibrate with skillfully portrayed sexual tension. In "Reasonable Fear," a small-town police officer battles with both the stress of his job and his wife's infatuation with a neighbor who works to rid their house of a bat infestation. Marlin, retired and now spending his days painting watercolors and passing the time at his son's failing diner, struggles to suppress his attraction to his daughter-in-law in "The Lavinia Nude." The collection's title story reveals an affair between a school custodian and the mother of student, and is exceptional for its shocking ending.

In an impressive demonstration of technique, Thomas seamlessly links "The Warding Charm" and "Lab Will Care," the stories that bookend the collection. The opener, somewhat opaque in isolation, alludes to childhood sexual abuse in the life of its protagonist, Emily. It's not until the final story that the depth of that violation is made clear when she faces her abuser. It's an effective device that will impel readers to return to the first story to read it with fresh eyes.

There's nothing flashy or startling about Laura Hulthen Thomas's short fiction, but her sturdily constructed stories will appeal to a wide group of thoughtful readers. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Laura Hulthen Thomas's debut short story collection portrays a group of Michigan residents whose lives have been stunted by economic hardship.


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