Shelf Awareness for Monday, July 15, 2013

Hanover Square Press: Before the Coffee Gets Cold series by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Del Rey Books: The Book of Elsewhere by Keeanu Reeves and China Miéville

St. Martin's Press: You'll Never Believe Me: A Life of Lies, Second Tries, and Other Stuff I Should Only Tell My Therapist by St. Martin's Press

Watkins Publishing: A Feminist's Guide to ADHD: How Women Can Thrive and Find Focus in a World Built for Men by Janina Maschke

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

W. W. Norton & Company: Still Life by Katherine Packert Burke

Shadow Mountain: A Kingdom to Claim by Sian Ann Bessey


New Owner for Quail Ridge Books & Music

Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, N.C., has a new owner. On Friday, Nancy Olson, who founded the bookshop in 1984 and put it up for sale last November, introduced Lisa Robie Poole, who is buying the business and "wants to preserve the qualities that have made it one of the region's most successful and beloved independent bookstores," the News & Observer reported. The sale officially takes place July 31, and Poole will begin working mid-August. The Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates handled the sale of the store.

"I think that the Olsons have created something wonderful here, iconic," said Poole (in red in photo). "It's very well-known locally and nationally, and I can't imagine coming in here and trying to do something different with that."

Three parties were interested in purchasing the store, but Olson cited Poole's personality and their instant rapport as deciding factors: "Look at the smile. I liked her personally. I liked her demeanor, just down-to-earth. She didn't try to be a smart aleck or prove that she knew everything or whatever. I just knew we would get along real well."

Olson is staying at Quail Ridge for the first three months as an adviser, and will be available as a consultant after that if needed.  

"I'm going to get to know this bookstore top to bottom and all the folks that run it with the help of Nancy," Poole said. "I'll work really hard. I'm a good people person, so I hope that I'll be the friendly face when you walk in the door." Poole is a Raleigh native with two children; her husband is CEO of Waste Industries. (She grew up in the same neighborhood where David Sedaris grew up.)

For her part, Olson has plans: "I'm going to read like the devil. I will have so much more time to read, and I'm happy about that."

Quail Ridge has helped launch the careers for many North Carolina writers, including Lee Smith, Kaye Gibbons, Jill McCorkle and Charles Frazier. (The store has sold 6,000 copies of Frazier's Cold Mountain.) In 2001, Quail Ridge won an award trifecta: the Publishers Weekly Bookseller of the Year award, the Pannell Award for Excellence in Children's Bookselling and the Haslam Award for Excellence in Bookselling.

W. W. Norton & Company: Still Life by Katherine Packert Burke

Strike Out: Rowling Wrote The Cuckoo's Calling

The author of The Cuckoo's Calling, published by Mulholland Books on April 30, turns out to be J.K. Rowling, who used the pseudonym Robert Galbraith for the book, revealed yesterday by the Sunday Times in London.

Little, Brown confirmed that Rowling is Galbraith--which was supposedly a pseudonym for a retired British military investigator. A reprint of the book that is underway will add this phrase in the author biography: "Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling."

The Cuckoo's Calling stars Cormoran Strike, a private investigator who lost a leg in Afghanistan. Strike's life is falling apart personally and professionally when he gets a case involving a supermodel--nicknamed Cuckoo by her friends--who fell to her death, ruled a suicide by police. But her brother doesn't believe it.

Not surprisingly, the book, which was well received critically--some considered it an unusually good debut--but not sold particularly strongly, jumped yesterday to No. 1 on Barnes& and Amazon and is out of stock. Noting that the London Times had been tipped off to the truth of Galbraith's identity via tweets from an account that no longer exists, the New York Times said, "It is, of course, possible that the anonymous tweets were part of a sneaky campaign by the publisher to get the story out... Ms. Rowling now stands to make a lot of money from this new book, and so do the publishers. One interesting aspect of the whole story is how Little, Brown essentially colluded in keeping a secret that caused it, at least until now, to forgo possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue."

In a her only comment on the situation, Rowling said, "I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer, because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience. It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name."

Little, Brown publisher Reagan Arthur commented: "We are pleased and proud to have published The Cuckoo's Calling, and we're delighted by the response it has received from readers, reviewers and fellow writers. We are really looking forward to publishing the second book in the Strike series next summer."

Another Rowling post-Harry Potter book, The Casual Vacancy, has sold more than a million copies in North America despite mixed reviews. It is appearing in paperback next week.

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Remember You Will Die by Eden Robins

Book House, Rocky Hill, Mo., Closer to Moving

Good news for the Book House, Rock Hill, Mo., whose building will be torn down by its owner to build a storage facility: Book House owner Michelle Barron has "a preliminary agreement" to move into "an abandoned Newberry's discount store" with nearly 6,000 square feet of space, three miles away in nearby Maplewood, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Although Barron has stopped paying rent on her current location and is facing eviction by the end of the month, the developer has indicated he may be lenient because Barron has found a new space, where Barron hopes to open in October. Barron said the withheld rent reflected the cost of improvements she made to the building since purchasing the store in 1986.

Obituary Note: Gaéten Soucy

"Beloved and acclaimed Quebec novelist" Gaétan Soucy, author of four novels "known for their inventive wordplay, fractured narratives, and Gothic themes," died last week, Quillblog reported. He was 54.


Image of the Day: BOO! Skylight's 'Ghost Story'

From the Tumblr for Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif.: "During our move last week we discovered the old sign letters from Chatterton's Book Shop, the original bookstore in our space. I was very excited to discover that BOO fits perfectly into the front panel of our new window.

"Chatterton's was in our space at 1818 N. Vermont, where our main store still resides. The new window is in our new space, 1814 N. Vermont. Come visit, it isn't at all scary!"

Route 3 Ruminations: Carr on B&N and Amazon

With the headline, "Why Barnes & Noble Is Good for Amazon," New York Times "Media Equation" columnist David Carr offers some solid observations on bookselling and the importance of bricks-and-mortar stores to publishing. He credits B&N with having "aggressively innovated" at a time "when legacy media companies are derided for letting the future overtake them"--and for coming up with "an excellent reading device that drew critical praise and, initially, buyers." He also notes that strength of B&N's underlying bookselling business, which continues to generate impressive amounts of cash despite sales slumps.

As for his thesis, without using the word showrooming, he circles around the subject, writing, "After Borders called it quits two years ago this week, Barnes & Noble became the last big chain where publishers could get the exposure for their books that allows readers to discover them, and to sell all manner of books big and small that are still part of the foundation of the industry… Bookstores offer discoverability, not just the latest Dan Brown or Carl Hiaasen book on the front table, but sometimes treasures deep in the stacks, a long tail of midlist authors and specialty books. Even as the book business consolidates, the physical object displayed in an actual place will continue to be an important part of the ecosystem."

Then the column, which has a subhead reading "Bookstores as lands of discovery, even for readers of e-books," ends on a grim note as he concludes a visit to a B&N on Route 3 in Clifton, N.J. Knocking much of what he had extolled initially in the column, he puts an especially sour spin on some of the people he observed earlier interacting with books and each other in ways that are impossible online--and suggests that Amazon is the ultimate beneficiary: "On the way out of the store, I saw the father and daughter who were arguing over the Gatsby cover. They had bought neither, but they probably settled on which one they were going to buy on Amazon."

Actually if they're like some of us, they probably had several copies at home--some well worn and some in pristine condition--which is a very different issue. Or maybe they were headed to nearby Watchung Booksellers, to check out the great displays or ask a real live knowledgeable bookseller for recommendations.

Michele Crim Promoted at Ten Speed

Michele Crim has been promoted to senior director of marketing at Ten Speed Press. She has been director of marketing and earlier was senior director of marketing at National Book Network and marketing director at PGW.

Bookseller's Weather Forecast: Rainy, with a Chance of Reading

"Wet weather perfect for rainy reading days indoors" was the headline for a report from Augusta, Ga., TV station WAGT-26, which interviewed David Hutchison, co-owner of the Book Tavern.

"I think that kind of escape is always fun when it rains," he said. "Not everybody feels this way, but I know some people when it rains, they feel gloomy, right? Like the sky gets dark, gets black, gets gloomy. If you crack open a good novel, suddenly you're transported.... I suppose there's all kinds of things that you could do indoors, like sit and stare at the wall, but somehow opening a book, taking a magical journey to some other place or learning about something new seems like a better use of your time."

IPG Adds Publishers

Independent Publishers Group, its Trafalgar Square Publishing division and Small Press United subsidiary have announced the following new publisher clients:

  • Effective September 1, IPG's general trade distribution program will distribute all titles from Minedition, a picture book publisher founded in 2008 by Michael Neugebauer.
  • Effective January 1, Trafalgar will distribution Caffeine Nights Publishing, Kent, England, a four-year-old publisher of crime and horror fiction.
  • Effective January 1, Trafalgar will distribute Double-Barrelled Books, London, a new specialist arts publisher founded by lifestyle book and magazine writers and editors Caroline Clifton- Mogg and Meredith Etherington-Smith. The press will focus on applied arts, style and design.
  • Effective January 1, Trafalgar will distribute Freight Books, Glasgow, Scotland, a new house that will publish works by established writers, debuts, short story collections, forgotten classics and occasional novels-in-translation. Its sister publication, Gutter, focuses on new writing.
  • Effective January 1, Trafalgar will distribute Korero Press, which specializes in kustom kulture, street art, erotica and horror titles featuring emerging talent and artists from around the world.
  • Effective January 1, Trafalgar will distribute Methuen & Co., founded in 1889, which publishes fiction and a range of nonfiction, especially history and military history, sports, current affairs, travel and biography. In 2014, Methuen will celebrate 125 years with a range of commemorative publications.
  • Effective January 1, Trafalgar will distribute Macmillan Marketing Services, which represents many U.K. children's publishers, including Laburnum Press, Meg and Lucy Books and Tulip Books.
  • Small Press United is distributing the Food Nanny--Liz Edmunds--for her follow-up to The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner; Gutter Books, a publisher of classic pulp and hard-boiled fiction; Lucky Bamboo Crafts, celebrating Chinese culture; and Publishing Syndicate, with titles ranging from humor anthology to young adult LGBT fiction.
  • Effective January 1, IPG's Spanish distribution arm will distribute three Spanish-language publishers from Barcelona, Spain: Ediciones Contra a publisher of nonfiction music, sports, and film titles; Ediciones Alpha Decay, which publishes Spanish translations of classic works of fiction; and Ediciones Oblicuas, which focuses on contemporary literature from authors in Spain and Latin America.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Daniel Silve on Today

This morning on CBS This Morning: Karen Mack, co-author of Freud's Mistress (Amy Einhorn/Putnam, $25.95, 9780399163074).


Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Reza Aslan, author of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (Random House, $27, 9781400069224).


Tonight on the Colbert Report: Jeremy Scahill, author of Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield (Nation, $29.99, 9781568586717).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Daniel Silva, author of The English Girl: A Novel (Harper, $27.99, 9780062073167).


Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Matthew Berry, author of Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who's Lived It (Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594486258).


Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Mark Leibovich, author of This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral--Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!--in America's Gilded Capital (Blue Rider, $27.95, 9780399161308).


Tomorrow on NPR's All Things Considered: Tom Kizzia, author of Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier (Crown, $25, 9780307587824).


Tomorrow on Ellen: Patti Mallette, co-author of Nowhere But Up: The Story of Justin Bieber's Mom (Revell, $21.99, 9780800721893).

Movies: Gone Girl; Seventh Son

Ben Affleck will star in David Fincher's Gone Girl, adapted from the novel by Gillian Flynn. Indiewire reported that "Affleck is a pretty fine choice... and an interesting one. It appears he's jumping at the chance to work with Fincher, even if it means crowding his own calendar.... And by the way, it appears that Natalie Portman, Charlize Theron and Emily Blunt are being eyed for female lead."


The first trailer has been released for Seventh Son, "the CG-filled adaptation of Joseph Delaney's the Wardstone Chronicle books," reported, noting that "Jeff Bridges battles his old Lebowski lady friend Julianne Moore in the fantasy actioner." Directed by Oscar nominee Sergei Bodrov (Mongol), the film hits 2D and 3D screens January 17, 2014.

Books & Authors

Awards: International Thriller; U.K.'s Book Illustration Competition

Winners of the 2013 International Thrillers Awards, sponsored by International Thriller Writers, are:

Hardcover Novel: Spilled Blood by Brian Freeman (Silver Oak)
Paperback Original: Lake Country by Sean Doolittle (Bantam)
First Novel: The 500 by Matthew Quirk (Reagan Arthur Books)
E-Book Original Novel: Blind Faith by C.J. Lyons (Minotaur Books)
YA Novel: False Memory by Dan Krokos (Hyperion Books CH)
Short Story: "Lost Things" by John Rector (Thomas & Mercer)
Thrillermaster Award: Anne Rice
Silver Bullet Award: Steve Berry


The Folio Society and the House of Illustration announced that Finn Dean won the U.K.'s annual £4,500 (about US$6,796) Book Illustration Competition for his work on Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. The Bookseller reported that Dean "was selected from 500 entrants, with his art now forming a commission for a new Folio Society edition of Huxley's book" that will be released in September, with a fresh introduction by Ursula K. Le Guin.

Book Review

Review: The Color Master

The Color Master: Stories by Aimee Bender (Doubleday, $25.95 hardcover, 9780385534895, August 13, 2013)

Aimee Bender (The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake) is back with a collection of stories filled with magical realism and imbued with the stuff of fairy tales.

The collection is uneven, which means that there is likely something here for every taste. If you prefer a straightforward story with a narrative arc and a conclusion at its conclusion, try "The Doctor and the Rabbi." The Rabbi is a woman, teacherly and expressive; the Doctor is a literalist by his own admission. Their conversation seems to be circular, going nowhere, but it most assuredly does: "He could feel it, just feel it, the glimmer of something he did not understand." That something will doubtless bring them together again and again. A discussion about prayer midway through this story is purely wonderful.

If you are willing to follow Bender into the mystical, there are several choices. "The Color Master" is a retelling of the first part of the Charles Perrault tale "Donkeyskin," which has echoes of "Cinderella." In this version, however, the king wants to marry his daughter. The tailors who create beautiful dresses for the princess finally encourage her to get away. "Soon after the Princess got the third dress, she left town," the Color Master says. "The rest I do not know. The rest of the story--known, I'm told, as 'Donkeyskin'--is hers."

In "Tiger Mending," one of two sisters is an expert seamstress pressed into service to sew tigers back together when they appear bloodied and ragged; how they got that way is the crux of the story. "Lemonade" is a heartrending story about adolescent girls at a mall, set in Southern California at its bitchy best. "The Red Ribbon" has a wife negotiating a price with her husband for every sexual act and finding that she can't go back to an ordinary sex life. The poignant ending finds them both "on their way to leaving already, that this conversation was only a walking through a door already open...."

Each story is a wonder in its own right. Bender's imagination stops at nothing, no matter how fantastical. Occasionally, her language is jarring: lofty, literary and eloquent in one sentence, then raunchy and low in the next. It is sometimes hard to discern when the stories take place--it could be centuries ago or yesterday--which adds to their appeal. In both style and content, Bender's stories are filled with fancy and mystery; some are fairy tales for grownups, some morality plays, all of them captivating and worth reading more than once. --Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: A collection of stories, some filled with magic and mystery and some prosaic and down to earth; all written with energy and imagination.

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