Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Flatiron Books: Oliver Loving by Stefan Merrill Block

Scholastic Press: All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

Riverhead Books: My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

Barron's Educational Series: Dear Dinosaur: With Real Letters to Read! by Chae Strathie, illustrated by Nicola O'Byrne

Timber Press: Saving Tarboo Creek: One Family's Quest to Heal the Land by Scott Freeman

News

Bookstore Sales Down 3% in February

February bookstore sales fell 3%, to $744 million, compared to February 2016, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. This is the third monthly drop in a row. For the first two months of the year, bookstore sales have fallen 3.6%, to $2.3 billion, compared to the first two months of 2016.

Total retail sales in February rose 1.5%, to $419.7 billion. For the year to date, total retail sales have risen 3.4%, to $814.5 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing a general line of new books. These establishments may also sell stationery and related items, second-hand books, and magazines."


Conari Press: Swimming with Elephants: My Unexpected Pilgrimage from Physician to Healer by Sarah Bamford Seidelmann


B&N, Austin Peay State U. Opening Downtown Bookstore

As a key part of its 10-year strategic plan to create "a vibrant downtown for a traditional college town experience" in Clarksville, Tenn., Austin Peay State University will open a 13,000-square-foot retail bookstore and coffee shop at the corner of College and Fourth streets that will be run by Barnes & Noble Education, which will soon replace Follett as the university's bookstore operator. B&N will provide "an initial design concept for the newly renovated space, but those designs will likely change as the process moves forward. The company also plans to be in the new location by the Fall 2018 semester, but that date could change."

"This aligns perfectly with our strategic plan's mission of supporting Austin Peay students, while also being a partner in the growth of the city of Clarksville," said Derek van der Merwe, APSU v-p for advancement, communication and strategic initiatives.

The Follett agreement ends June 30. Tammy Silva, manager of APSU's Auxiliary Support Services, said, "I will be working with Follett, Barnes & Noble and other departments in this transfer process in the upcoming weeks to help ensure a smooth transition in contractors operating our campus bookstore on the Clarksville campus and at the Fort Campbell Education Center."


Avery Publishing Group: The End of Alzheimer's: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline by Dale Bredesen


More Plans for Indie Bookstore Day 2017

Independent Bookstore Day 2017 is less than two weeks away, and plans for April 29 continue to roll in.

Twelve independent bookstores in North Carolina are getting IBD festivities started early with the April Bookshop Challenge. During the month, customers can pick up a Bookstore Field Guide at any of the dozen N.C. stores that make up the Independent Bookstores of Piedmont North Carolina (IBOP*NC). Customers can then visit each store to get their field guides stamped and win prizes. Those who visit two participating stores by April 29 will receive an IBOP*NC button, while those who visit four stores will receive a custom wooden bookmark. Eight stamps will earn an IBOP*NC tote bag, and anyone who visits all 12 before IBD can either have their name put in a book by a North Carolina author or be a bookseller for a day at the store of their choice.

Governor Tom Wolf has officially declared April 29 to be Indie Bookstore Day in the state of Pennsylvania. The proclamation came after poet and writer Elliott batTzedek filled out a form on the governor's website while planning some IBD activities in Philadelphia. According to Eileen Dengler, executive director of the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association, batTzedek was pleasantly surprised to see the request go through and has offered to e-mail the official form and seal to booksellers in the state.

For the second year, booksellers in Minnesota are celebrating IBD with the Twin Cities Bookstore Passport. Last year, more than 120 people visited five or more stores and 80 people visited all 10 participating stores. This year, 18 stores will be involved. Each passport stamp that a customer collects will serve as a coupon for that store on a later date, and customers who visit multiple stores will have a chance to win prizes. People who collect all 18 stamps will be entered to win the "grand prize literary pack," which has a value of more than $850.

At Short Stories Bookshop in Madison, N.J., Indie Bookstore Day will be the official first day for new store manager Rachel Kempster Barry, and Robert H. Conley, mayor of Madison, will kick off the day's festivities with a storytime session. After that, there will be an Alice in Wonderland Tea Party featuring a make-your-own pocketwatch craft station, and a talk and signing with illustrator Scott Campbell (Xo, Ox: A Love Story). That evening, a bookstore party will put a cap on the IBD celebrations.

In Hardwick, Vt., on IBD, the Galaxy Bookshop will feature the new paperback edition of Ronald Rice's My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop (in which the store appears, in an essay by Howard Frank Mosher), and customers will be encouraged to share their bookstore memories on a roll of paper to be displayed in the store afterward. And from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., authors Kurt Staudter and Adam Krakowski will stop by the store to discuss their book, Vermont Beer: History of a Brewing Revolution.

At Left Bank Books in St. Louis, Mo., the party will begin at 11 a.m. with storytime session featuring a surprise celebrity author. Plans for the rest of the day include a Small Press Expo, a guided tour of the store, a special hour-long used book sale, a showcase of rare and collectible books, a teen mixer, a literary cocktail hour, an author event power hour featuring four local authors, and finally a special meeting of Left Bank's horror reading group in a secret spooky location.

Bookshop Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz, Calif., will host the Potter vs. Skywalker Battle of the Fandoms on IBD. From 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., customers can use the bookshop's photobooth to score points for their preferred fandom by sharing their photos on social media with the hashtags #fanbattle, #ibdbsc, and either #teamhogwarts or #teamstarwars. Bookshop Santa Cruz will have costumes and supplies available for both teams, and fans are encouraged to bring their own. The winner will be announced during the store's annual literary trivia contest that night. Other events that day will include an hour-long event devoted to Santa Cruz history, a bookish art project, and more.

And last but not least, at Village Books in Fairhaven and Lynden, Wash., customers can expect treats, prizes, games and giveaways at both locations, and shoppers who visit both stores on the 29th can fill out a Two-Store Passport and be entered to win a $50 shopping spree. Meanwhile, author Tom Robbins will drop by the Fairhaven store at 4 p.m. to read his My Bookstore essay about Village Books. --Alex Mutter


Soho Teen: No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear


BISG on 'the Evolution of Delivery'

This Friday, April 21, the Book Industry Study Group hosts a day-long event called "The Evolution of Delivery: Getting More Content to More Readers." Leigh Watson Healy (Outsell), Bharat Anand (author of The Content Trap), Ashleigh Gardner (Wattpad), David Walter (Nielsen Bookscan), Michelle Cobb (Audiobook Pubishers Association) Katie Palencsar (Unbound Concepts), Eli Neiburger (Ann Arbor District Library) and others will discuss trends in delivery and discoverability across formats, channels and business models. The first of this year's three Making Information Pay events, "The Evolution of Delivery" takes place at the Harvard Club in Midtown Manhattan, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Shelf Awareness readers can register for free using the code "SHELF."


She Writes Press: Things Unsaid by Diana Y. Paul


Notes

Cool Idea of the Day: A CSA for Books

In part to help the store during the off season and help in the transition, Samantha Haskell, the new owner of Blue Hill Books, Blue Hill, Maine, has introduced a program that resembles community-supported agriculture (CSA) operations. Called the community-supported bookseller, the program allows customers to pay for a year's or quarter's worth of books upfront, ranging from $250 to $1,000. "I've been pleased to see the response," Haskell told Mainebiz. "It works for customers: It simplifies their ability to come in for books. And it's a great way for people to feel like they can support the store during this transition: A lot of people are attached to this business, and a lot of people have asked how they could help. So it's a win-win."


Road Trip: '15 Literary Destinations in Austin'

Calling the Texas capital "a book-lovers paradise," Bustle featured "15 literary destinations in Austin to visit on a bookish tour of the Lone Star State." Highlighted spots included BookPeople ("Austin's hub for all things literary"), Malvern Books ("the perfect place to discover your new favorite author"), Fifth Dimension Books ("friendly store is always fun to check out") and BookWoman ("Austin's premiere feminist bookstore").



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Julian Lennon on the View

Tomorrow:
CBS This Morning: Jeremiah Tower, author of Start the Fire: How I Began a Food Revolution in America (Anthony Bourdain/Ecco, $17.99, 9780062498434).

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

Also on the View: Julian Lennon, co-author of Touch the Earth (Sky Pony Press, $17.99, 9781510720831).

Marketplace: Amy Goldstein, author of Janesville: An American Story (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781501102233).

Dr. Oz: Charlamagne Tha God, author of Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It (Touchstone, $25.99, 9781501145308).


Movies: Needle in a Timestack; Goodbye Christopher Robin

John Ridley (Showtime's Guerrilla) will write and direct the film adaptation of Needle in a Timestack, based on a short story by Robert Silverberg, Variety reported. Vince Gerardis (Game of Thrones) and Matt Kennedy will executive produce. Zanne Devine and David Thwaites will oversee the  project for Miramax.

Ridley won the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay for 12 Years a Slave. His other film credits include Ben Hur, Undercover Brother, U Turn, Three Kings, Red Tails and Jimi: All Is by My Side, which he also directed.

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Fox Searchlight has scheduled Goodbye Christopher Robin, starring Domnhall Gleeson as British author and Winnie the Pooh creator A.A. Milne, "for an awards-season release date of November 10," Variety reported. The cast also includes Margot Robbie, Will Tilston and Kelly Macdonald. Simon Curtis directed from a script by Frank Cottrell and Simon Vaughan.


Books & Authors

Awards: Albertine Finalists; Books for a Better Life

Finalists have been announced for the Albertine Prize, which is presented by Van Cleef & Arpels and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and recognizes "American readers' favorite work of contemporary Francophone fiction, while encouraging the discovery of new literary voices, translated and published in the U.S. in the past year." The finalists, voted on by readers, are:

Bardo or Not Bardo by Antoine Volodine, translated by J.T. Mahany (Open Letter)
Eve Out of Her Ruins by Ananda Devi, translated by Jeffrey Zuckerman (Deep Vellum)
The Heart: A Novel by Maylis de Kerangal, translated by Sam Taylor (Picador)

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Winners of the Books for a Better Life Awards, sponsored by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, are:

Childcare/Parenting: Untangled by Lisa Damour (Ballantine)
Cookbook: Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore by Anna Thomas (Norton)
First Book: Between Breaths by Elizabeth Vargas (Grand Central)
Green: The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben (Greystone Books)
Inspirational Memoir: Marrow by Elizabeth Lesser (Harper Wave)
Motivational: Grit by Angela Duckworth (Scribner)
Psychology: Emotional Agility by Susan David (Avery)
Relationships: Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein (Harper)
Spiritual: The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams (Avery)
Wellness: The End of Dieting by Joel Fuhrman (HarperOne)


Book Review

Review: Chemistry

Chemistry by Weike Wang (Knopf, $24.95 hardcover, 224p., 9781524731748, May 23, 2017)

Weike Wang's beguiling first novel, Chemistry, opens with a marriage proposal from the narrator's attentive boyfriend, Eric: "Ask me again tomorrow, she says, and he says, that's not how this works." They met in a prestigious chemistry Ph.D. program in Boston. Eric is focused and insightful, leading his lab team to success; the narrator's best efforts fail and fail again. The only child of driven, judgmental Chinese immigrants who settled in Detroit with nothing, she isn't allowed to fail. Frustrated to the point of anguish, she smashes her lab beakers and exits the program. So begins the funny, idiosyncratic story of a young woman with big brains, big family baggage and a wonderfully fresh voice sorting out a world of science, language, dogs, counseling therapy, a BFF and her baby, SAT tutoring, Boston weather, cases of wine, TV cooking shows--and piecing together the right chemistry in her life. But life's not a laboratory: "The circulatory system is a closed system, which means nothing goes in and nothing comes out. The first rule of chem lab is never heat a closed system or it will explode."

With an undergraduate chemistry degree and a public health Ph.D. underway, Wang has no lack of over-bleached lab coats in her closet. Her narrator spices her daily ups and downs with a little bit of science here, a Chinese language oddity there, shrink-talk and a running stream of observations about parents and child- and dog-rearing. "How do you predict things like angst and risky behavior...? We've mapped the entire human genome but don't know what most of it says." And, "Theorems are only theorems because they have never been proven wrong, but they have also never been proven right. It's all a great big loophole." How about one for moms: "What my mother lacks in vision, she makes up for in hindsight." And an answer for her shrink: "I don't have demons, I say, I have students and a dog."

But her coping and sorting is not just about being clever--Wang has an astute feel for the deep, scary uncertainties of a young, talented woman trying to shake off a demanding family and a derailed career and relationship. Her unnamed narrator doesn't run from the big stuff, although she can't seem to help herself from catching it in metaphor: "The atomic difference between diamond and graphite is nothing." Perhaps her efforts to understand her parents' past and extraordinary immigrant experience give her the most helpful perspective as her mother tries to teach her simple Chinese language history: "Two Shanghainese words: Ma zi. Ah zi. One means sock and the other means shoe. I could never get them straight." Chemistry is full of surprises--its many digressions congealing to yield an impressive literary blend. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: With wry observation and witty distraction, the narrator of Weike Wang's first novel is a Chinese immigrant daughter and a scientist trying to sort things out.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:
 
1. Easy Magic (The Boudreaux Series Volume 5) by Kristen Proby
2. Sweeter Than Ever by Bella Andre
3. The Castle by Skye Warren
4. Ends Here (Road to Nowhere Volume 2) by M. Robinson
5. Say I'm Yours by Corinne Michaels
6. Fatal Fortune by Leighann Dobbs
7. Lynchpin by Shannon Mayer
8. Ray of Time by E.L. Todd
9. Silent Child by Sarah A. Denzil
10. The Gravity of Us (The Elements Series Volume 4) by Brittainy Cherry
 
[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]

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