Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, June 7, 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

Quotation of the Day

'How to Feel About Amazon Bookstores'

"And while Amazon's model will certainly continue to appeal to a subset of readers and bookstore customers, the market for independent bookstores is growing, thanks in no small part to distaste for the canned culture of algorithmically derived recommendations. Some customers will always prefer to buy their goods from people they know and recognize, people in their community, people whose passion they support. Passion for books, that is, not for market share.

"I'm the first to admit that I wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to independent bookstores. But if I'm going to take them off, it'll be because a human being that I know and trust convinces me to, not because my e-commerce shopping cart recommends it."

--Robert Martin, director of operations for the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, in a piece for Medium headlined "How to Feel About Amazon Bookstores"

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


News

APA: In 2016, Audiobook Sales Up 18.2%, Unit Sales Jump 33.9%

Audiobook sales in 2016 rose 18.2%, to $2.1 billion, and unit sales jumped 33.9%, according to the Audio Publishers Association's annual sales and consumer studies, conducted respectively by Management Practice and Edison Research. This marks the third year in a row that audiobooks sales have grown by nearly 20%.

The APA attributed audio growth to an expanding listening audience: 24% of Americans (more than 67 million people) have completed at least one audiobook in the last year, a 22% increase over the 2015.

Among other findings:

  • More listeners use smartphones most often to listen to audiobooks than ever before (29% in 2017 vs. 22% in 2015).
  • Nearly half (48%) of frequent audiobook listeners are under 35.
  • Audiobook listeners read or listened to an average of 15 books in the last year.
  • More than a quarter (27% of respondents) said borrowing from a library/library website was very important for discovering new audiobooks.
  • A majority of audiobook listening is done at home (57%), followed by in the car (32%).
  • 68% of frequent listeners do housework while listening to audiobooks, followed by baking (65%), exercise (56%) and crafting (36%).
  • The top three reasons people enjoy listening to audiobooks are: 1) they can do other things while listening; 2) audiobooks are portable so people can listen wherever they are; and 3) they enjoy being read to.
  • The most popular genres last year were mysteries/thrillers/suspense, science fiction/fantasy and romance.
  • 19% of all listeners used voice-enabled wireless speakers (such as Amazon Echo or Google Home) to listen to an audiobook in the last year, and for frequent listeners, that rises to 30%.

Trinity University Press: Arte Kids - Bilingual Board Books


BookExpo 2017: Celebration of Bookselling

At last week's Celebration of Bookselling luncheon, many E.B. White Read-Aloud and Indies Choice Book Awards honor and winning authors appeared and spoke:

Susan Hood, author of Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay (S&S Books for Young Readers), an E.B. White Read-Aloud Picture Book honor book: "Thank you to all booksellers for all you do to help spread the word about these amazing kids and for all you do to change a life one book at a time."

Julie Fogliano, author of When Green Becomes Tomatoes (Roaring Brook Press), an E.B. White Read-Aloud Picture Book honor book: "As a former bookseller, I'm particularly grateful for this honor because I really understand the joy of finding those really special books that you just can't wait to sell like crazy. For me, those books were always kind of quiet books, quirky books, books that might not jump off the shelf into someone's hands."

Yaa Gyasi, winner of the Indies Choice Adult Debut Book of the Year (photo: Bookweb)

Carson Ellis, author of Du Iz Tak? (Candlewick), the E.B. White Read-Aloud Picture Book winner: "Independent booksellers mean the world to me. As an author and illustrator, also as a reader, certainly as a mother, you guys make my world go 'round."

Leslie Connor, author of All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook (Katherine Tegen Books), an E.B. White Read-Aloud Middle Reader honor book: "Thank you for letting 11-year-old Perry T. Cook into your ear and thanks so much for handing it out to your patrons and for supporting all the books that authors write, for finding little gems."

Richard Peck, author of The Best Man (Dial Books), an E.B. White Read-Aloud Middle Reader honor book: "I hope The Best Man finds its way into classrooms and conversations there, but in schools where it doesn't, I hope it finds its way onto the shelves of the bookstore. Thank you for the support. Thank you for what you do for young readers every day."

Adam Gidwitz, author of The Inquisitor's Tale (Dutton Books for Young Readers), an E.B. White Read-Aloud Middle Reader honor book: "What you do in your bookstores is so crucial in bringing the lifestyles, the ideas, the ideals, of different kinds of people to young people who wouldn't get the chance to see them. I challenge you to think if there's a school or neighborhood in your area that doesn't have access to these ideas, to these books, to these authors, either because they don't have the resources or because the adults in that community are trying to keep you out, and see if you could push your way into that community through handshaking and smiling as they say inane, stupid things to you, and do whatever you have to do to get those books into those kids' hands."

Kelly Barnhill, author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon (Algonquin Young Readers), the E.B. White Read-Aloud Middle Reader winner: "I really appreciate the work that you do on behalf of books, on behalf of writers, on behalf of the literary community, and in fostering deep conversations and important relationships between readers and text."

Kevin Henkes, author of Kitten's First Full Moon (Greenwillow Books), a Picture Book Hall of Fame inductee: via video he drew a picture of a dozing Kitten thinking, "Thank you, booksellers!"

Ruta Sepetys, winner of the Indies Choice Young Adult Book of the Year
(photo: Bookweb)

Ruta Sepetys, author of Salt to the Sea (Philomel Books), Indies Choice Young Adult Book of the Year: "I cannot do this without you: I sincerely doubt that teen readers come running into your store saying, 'Give me a book about refugees from East Prussia on a ship that's torpedoed by the Soviets!'... We walk beside [refugees] for 300 pages, feeling their fear, and suddenly a statistic becomes a human being. It's in that moment of connection that our heart hopefully opens and we feel called to do something. In that way, you are not just booksellers. You are lamplighters of hope and empathy and change."

Dava Sobel, author of The Glass Universe (Viking), Indies Choice Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year honor book: "I am a product of the independent booksellers. I want to thank you all, however belatedly, for aggressively handselling Longitude, which is what brought me to this party."

Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees (Greystone Books), Indies Choice Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year: "I was very surprised about the success of this book [in the North American market], and I think the key was the independent booksellers."

Amor Towles, author of A Gentleman in Moscow (Viking), Indies Choice Adult Fiction Book of the Year honor book: "I know without a doubt that A Gentleman in Moscow reaching its audience began with and depended upon the people in this room. Thank you very much for your confidence in the book."

Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad (Doubleday), Indies Choice Adult Fiction Book of the Year: "You guys have been so supportive over the last 18 years. We love you booksellers and the sales force at Penguin Random House. Thank you for being with me from the very beginning with The Intuitionist."

Yaa Gyasi, author of Homegoing (Knopf), Indies Choice Adult Debut Book of the Year: "I grew up in a town of about 200,000 in Alabama that didn't have an independent bookstore. I truly felt the loss of that, especially when I went to Iowa City and basically lived in the café at Prairie Lights Books. It was there in my second home/office that I came to realize that independent bookstores can act as a kind of sanctuary for the soul."

Marla Frazee, Indie Champion Award nominee: "I love independent bookstores because of everything that they do to make life worth living: the randomness, quirkiness, friendliness, occasional charming grouchiness, diversity, loyalty, political discourse, delayed gratification, fascinating localities, kids reading on the floor, comfy chairs to sit in, stockroom chaos, tiny bathrooms, messy bulletin boards, bookstore pets, and certainly great coffee."

Gene Luen Yang (photo: Bookweb)

Gene Luen Yang, Indie Champion Award nominee: "All of you are out there building community around stories. You're running author visits. You're running book clubs and reading groups. You all are providing the glue that a community can use to create some sort of cohesion."

Louise Erdrich, Indie Champion Award winner: "In Europe, independent bookstores flourish because books are treated as cultural treasures. Books enjoy price protection. If they can do it in Germany and France, we should be able to do it here.... While it may seem far-fetched to talk about price protecting books right now, actually the thing to do is what we're already doing, just being ourselves: eccentric, idea-crazy, customer-loving, flower box-planting, community serving, and shelf-talker-writing people... Thank you for your commitment to providing many different sources of information, your joy and delight in children, and providing places where there is an exuberant free flow of words and thoughts and stories."


Thomas Nelson: Perennials by Julie Cantrell


McLemore/Hollern & Associates Merges into Southeastern Book Travelers

Sal McLemore and Larry Hollern of McLemore/Hollern & Associates have merged into Southeastern Book Travelers, expanding Southeastern's coverage to Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. Southeastern continues to cover Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

"Sal and Larry are seasoned professionals, and it is my honor to serve as their new principal," said Chip Mercer, owner of Southeastern Book Travelers. "I view Sal and Larry as the gift with purchase of our merger, and we are excited to include the South West to our territory. Bringing the two groups together under one umbrella will strengthen our position to provide coverage for our publishers and establish long term continuity as well." A majority of publishers have been represented by both groups in the two territories, he added.

All payables, accounting and operations will be consolidated to the office of Southeastern Book Travelers in Birmingham, Ala.


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


Amazon Adding Warehouses in Georgia, California

Amazon has announced plans for a new 850,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Jefferson, Ga., that will create 1,000 new full-time jobs. The company currently has more than 1,500 full-time employees at its existing facilities in the state.

Governor Nathan Deal called the news "a great day in Georgia," and Jefferson Mayor Roy Plott said, "We feel extremely fortunate for the investment and jobs that Amazon brings to our community."

Amazon is also planning to open its first fulfillment center in Fresno, Calif. The 855,000-square-foot facility is the company's fifth in the state's Central Valley. Amazon also operates warehouses in San Bernardino, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Rialto, Eastvale and Newark.

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand said, "We look forward to their fulfillment team joining our rapidly growing business community and building on the positive momentum that is energizing our economy."


Obituary Note: Carla Poesio

Carla Poesio, one of the founders of the Bologna Children's Book Fair, died last month, the Bookseller reported. The fair, which attracts more than 1,300 exhibitors from around 80 countries, opened in 1963. Poesia contributed to a book celebrating its semicentennial, Bologna: Fifty Years of Children's Books from All Over the World.

"For over 50 years her work, her suggestions and skills--always up-to-date--were a huge help for our event, open to every new trend and aspect of the children's books from across the world," said a spokesperson for the fair. "It's a terrible loss for the Bologna Children's Book Fair, that owes her so much, even its birth as a show. Carla contributed to the research about international publishing, suggested by Renato Giunti [fellow founder and publisher], who recognized in the city of Bologna a centerpoint for the foundations of a fair, a space for professionals and artists alike."


Notes

Image of the Day: Book Group Speed Dating

On Friday afternoon at BookExpo, ReadingGroupGuides.com hosted its sixth annual Book Group Speed Dating. Representatives from 24 publishers (pictured above) shared selections and book group news from their publishing houses in a speed-dating format designed to give booksellers, librarians and book group leaders an inside look at what book groups will want to know for fall and winter.


'50 Unique Independent Bookstores You Need to Visit'

Culture Trip highlighted "50 unique independent bookstores you need to visit in every U.S. state," noting that across the country indies "are having a comeback. Often combining bookselling with a cafe or bar, these stores will usually stock rare presses and obscure publishers, alongside classics and bestsellers. [The picks] are no exception, but also have that little something extra which makes them stand out from the rest."



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Mike Tyson on Conan

Tomorrow:
The View: Michael Bloomberg, co-author of Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250142078).

Conan: Mike Tyson, co-author of Iron Ambition: My Life with Cus D'Amato (Blue Rider, $28, 9780399177033).


Books & Authors

Awards: Dayne Ogilvie Prize

Kai Cheng Thom won the CA$4,000 (about $2,975) Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers, administered by the Writers' Trust of Canada to recognize "literary promise from an emerging writer who is part of Canada's LGBTQ community."

The judges said Thom's novel Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars is "a delicious and fabulist refashioning of a trans memoir as fiction. It is a cacophonous coming-of-age story and a genre-breaking refusal of the idea that the only stories trans people have to tell are their autobiographies. Her poems in A Place Called No Homeland are jelly-tender, tough as knives. They ride the borderland into and through trauma, relationships, love, and power, and carry us out deepened and changed over to the other side. Thom's work is sheer joyful exuberance, creativity, and talent."


Reading with... Jessie Chaffee

photo: Heather Waraksa

Jessie Chaffee is the author of the debut novel Florence in Ecstasy (Unnamed Press, May 16, 2017). She received a Fulbright Grant to complete the novel and was the writer-in-residence at Florence University of the Arts. Her writing has appeared in the Rumpus, Slice, Bluestem, Global City Review and Sigh Press, among other places. She lives in New York City, where she is an editor at Words Without Borders.

On your nightstand now:

I have a few ever-growing stacks, but closest at hand right now: A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women by Siri Hustvedt. What I most appreciate is that she allows readers to learn along with her as her own beliefs shift, and--like the mind-body issues she's exploring--her writing is both academic and personal, intellectual and felt. Two books I'm late to reading and am loving: The Other One by Hasanthika Sirisena and We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge. And two recent releases: Abandon Me, gorgeous, haunting essays by Melissa Febos about family history, addiction, love and loss; and Lisa Ko's debut novel, The Leavers, a beautiful and complex depiction of an immigrant family's experience in the U.S. In translation, I'm reading The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector. And for poetry, Alice Notley's mythically minded Certain Magical Acts, which also digs into some great mind-body questions: "I am someone who couldn't find her place, because/ I saw the coordinates had tumbled. My body/ coheres, but I'm not there."

Favorite books when you were a child:

Anything and everything, but especially mysteries and books with child sleuths: Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, the Encyclopedia Brown books by Donald J. Sobol, all of Carolyn Keene's Nancy Drew mysteries and, emulating my grandmother, (large print editions of) Phyllis Whitney thrillers. Also, books about runaway duos creating new worlds--E.L. Konigsburg's From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Katherine Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia. In adolescence, doomed love stories--Manuel Puig's Kiss of the Spider Woman and Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights.

Your top five authors:

I gravitate toward writers whose work is candid, psychologically engrossing, and visceral: Jean Rhys, Marguerite Duras, Claire Messud, Roxane Gay, Siri Hustvedt.

Book you've faked reading:

I got hooked on Proust in college thanks to two courses I took with a beloved professor. I don't think I made it through every volume of In Search of Lost Time in the first course, but I did by the end of the second one, and it was well worth it--his attempt to capture a full life in all its contradictions is brilliant.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Ferrante Fever is going strong when it come to the Neopolitan series, but I most love Elena Ferrante's earlier novels, and I will put The Days of Abandonment into the hands of anyone who will take it. She fully immerses you in the raw pain and rage of her protagonist, who is grappling with the dissolution of her marriage, motherhood, loneliness and her now-absurd universe.

Book you've bought for the cover:

It's hard for me to resist any book that Archipelago publishes. Their beautifully produced, irregularly sized, French-flapped volumes of literature in translation are works of art--and so are the stories they contain. One of my favorites (bought for the cover and the title) is Dominique Fabre's The Waitress Was New, translated by Jordan Stump.

Book you hid from your parents:

Both of my parents work with and love books--my mother is a literary agent and my father is a writer and philosophy professor. So I was fortunate to grow up with lots of books around, and because our New York apartment was small, they were always close at hand. I can't remember anything being off-limits. The only time I hid books was when I was very young and was supposed to be sleeping, but was reading instead (I didn't realize that the massive pile under my pillow gave me away).

Book that changed your life:

I always knew that I wanted to write, but Jean Rhys's Good Morning, Midnight taught me what I wanted to write and how I wanted to write it.

It is a consuming psychological portrait of a woman being destroyed by alcohol, the ghosts of her past and a cruel society. Many writers have depicted altered states with great success, but I don't know anyone who makes you feel it in quite the way Jean Rhys does. Her work is feminist, experimental and contemporary, even 80 years after its creation.

Favorite line from a book:

"In the darkness of my mobile prison I could make out one by one, as if from the depths of my exhaustion, all the familiar sounds of a town I loved and of a certain time of day when I used to feel happy." --Albert Camus's The Stranger. This moment, the visceral recollection of the past and the recognition of one's changed state and self, slayed me on the first reading, and it still does.

Five books you'll never part with:

My dog-eared copy of Wuthering Heights--a major highlight in adolescence was a trip to England during which I traipsed through the storm-ridden moors in Brontë territory, reciting passages to my (very patient) high school boyfriend.

Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time, which made me realize I wasn't alone in my wish to contain in language what is impossible to contain.

Claire Messud's The Woman Upstairs. Her protagonist Nora's rage, frustration and desire gripped me from the first page--she's one of my favorite contemporary characters.

Angela of Foligno: Complete Works--I spent a lot of time with the writing of the Italian saints while researching Florence in Ecstasy, and especially with St. Angela's intense, passionate memoirs and letters.

Finally, Homer's The Odyssey, because he did all of it--everything--millennia ago.

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

Marguerite Duras's The Lover. Such a slim volume, but filled with wisdom about storytelling, memory and identity. A favorite passage that I wish I could experience reading again for the first time: "I acquired a drinker's face before I drank. Drink only confirmed it. The space existed in me. I knew it the same as other people, but, strangely, in advance. Just as the space existed in me for desire."


Book Review

Children's Review: Now

Now by Antoinette Portis (Roaring Brook Press, $17.99 hardcover, 32p., ages 3-6, 9781626721371, July 11, 2017)

In the world of young children, what is right in front of them most often dictates their preferences: "This is my favorite cloud/ because it's the one I am watching." Throughout a day, a child's favorite friends, colors, foods and books may change based simply on what they can see or hear or touch at that exact moment. Author and illustrator Antoinette Portis (Wait; The Red Hat; Not a Box, winner of a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award) uses this adorable tendency as the basis for her picture book Now.

The book's narrator, a lively little girl, shares her favorite things with readers: a breeze, a hole, a tooth, a hug. Her delightful bouquet of cherished choices blooms into rich sensations through the child's wonder and awe as well as Portis's vibrant illustrations (using, intriguingly, sumi ink, brush and bamboo stick), connecting the girl to the world around her. She basks in it all: "This is my favorite smell. This is my favorite bird. And this is my favorite song/ because it is the one I am singing." The colors of nature blend into her clothing: the blue of the rain reflected in her raincoat, the orange of a tabby cat matches her pajamas. Portis's strong, solid brush strokes elicit the simplicity of childhood--everything stable and certain with little room for shades in any ideas or colors.

Simplicity does not extend to imagination or exploration, however. The little girl tromps in the mud, takes time to watch the clouds and delights in the taste of an apple, all experiences that seem to lose their luster with age. But through the pages of this inspiring book, both young and old are enticed to slow down, to find and appreciate what surrounds them here in the present.

Now is a story that invites discussion between an adult reader and a child audience. It's a conversation that ignites analytical readers: identifying shapes and colors; sharing thoughts on sights, sounds and smells; and, of course, selecting one's own favorites, which are likely to change with each subsequent read.

Portis has crafted an endearing story of the small adventures found in the marvels of ordinary objects and everyday experiences. Identifying with her narrator doesn't require an understanding of specific environments, certain life experiences or an unusual cultural sense; Portis uses the universal connections among her young audience members: digging in the earth, examining the sky, feeling the breeze. No special tools required, just innocent reverence for the miracles of the planet. Through the kaleidoscope of her brilliant colors and realistic images as well as her enchanting selection of treasures, Portis invites adult and child to share in a love of nature and self, to accentuate the positives as they search out their favorites and to appreciate the time they spend together doing it all. Sweet, charming and destined to be a favorite. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Shelf Talker: Kindling a host of sensations through words and images, a young girl takes readers on a bold and brilliantly colorful grand tour of some of her favorite things.


The Bestsellers

Top Libro.fm Audiobooks in May

The bestselling Libro.fm audiobooks at independent bookstore locations during May:

Fiction:

1. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)
3. The Underground Railroad (Oprah's Book Club) by Colson Whitehead (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny (Macmillan Audio)
6. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (Penguin Random House Audio)
7. American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)
8. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Penguin Random House Audio)
9. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Simon & Schuster Audio)
10. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (HarperCollins)

Nonfiction:

1. Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance (HarperCollins)
4. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. The Book of Joy by Douglas Carlton Abrams, Dalai Lama, and Desmond Tutu (Penguin Random House Audio)
6. The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell by W. Kamau Bell (Penguin Random House Audio)
7. Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen (Simon & Schuster Audio)
9. Hallelujah Anyway by Anne Lamott (Penguin Random House Audio)
10. Washington by Ron Chernow (Penguin Random House Audio)


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