Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Harper Perennial: The Paris Model by Alexandra Joel

Algonquin Young Readers: Skunk and Badger (Skunk and Badger 1) by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Andrews McMeel Publishing: How to Draw a Reindeer and Other Christmas Creatures with Simple Shapes in 5 Steps by Lulu Mayo

Houghton Mifflin: No Place for Monsters by Kory Merritt

News

B&N Second Quarter: Sales Down 8%, Net Income Jumps

In the second quarter ended October 26, consolidated revenues at Barnes & Noble fell 8%, to $1.7 billion, and net income more than doubled, to $13.2 million.

Michael P. Huseby, president of Barnes & Noble and CEO of Nook Media, commented: "During the second quarter, Barnes & Noble grew earnings through improved margins and reduced expenses, while also completing another successful College rush season."

At Barnes & Noble trade stores and B&N.com, sales fell 7.5%, to $921 million, which the company attributed to "a comparable store sales decrease of 4.9% for the quarter, store closures and lower online sales." Sales of "core" products--i.e., excluding Nooks--at stores open at least a year fell 3.7% because of "lower store traffic and comparisons to the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy a year ago."

B&N College sales fell 4.6%, to $738 million. Sales at College stores open at least a year fell 3.6%, mainly because of "a higher mix of lower priced used textbook rentals and lower textbook sales, partially offset by higher general merchandise sales."

Sales of Nook content, devices and accessories dropped 32.2%, to $109 million. Digital content sales decreased 21.2%, to $57 million, because of "lower average selling prices and lower device unit sales." Device and accessories sales fell 41.3%, to $51 million, because of "lower unit selling volume and lower average selling prices."

Huseby added that B&N is optimistic about the rest of the year, saying, "The company is focused on executing its plans for the holiday season and our booksellers are prepared to welcome holiday shoppers and recommend thoughtful gift ideas for everyone on their list. We have a terrific book title line-up this holiday season, a leading assortment of educational Toys & Games and a full selection of Nook devices, including our recently released new Nook GlowLight."


University of California Press: Smoke But No Fire: Convicting the Innocent of Crimes That Never Happened by Jessica S. Henry


New Owners for Open Door, Schenectady, N.Y.

Janet Hutchison is selling the Open Door Bookstore & Gift Gallery, Schenectady, N.Y., to a "consortium of community members," the Times Union reported. A year ago, she had announced her intention to sell the store and retire. A former librarian, Hutchison began working at the store in 1982 and bought it in 1992. She told the paper that there will be a transition period and that she and her husband will then "remain on in an advisory capacity for a while."


GLOW: Houghton Mifflin: How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World's Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs by Guy Raz


Indies First Travels North of the Border

This Saturday, Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge, Ont., will be one of several Canadian independent bookstores participating in the Indies First initiative. On November 30, Terry Fallis, author of The Best Laid Plans, Ted Barris, author of The Great Escape: A Canadian Story, YA author Vikki Vansickle and actor and columnist Neil Crone will visit the store during the Yellow Pages Group's "Shop the Neighbourhood" campaign (Canada's equivalent to Small Business Saturday).

After reading Sherman Alexie's original proposal for Small Business Saturday earlier this fall, Shelley Macbeth, the owner of Blue Heron Books, reached out to local authors and contacted the Canadian Booksellers Association. The idea generated a lot of interest from both booksellers and authors, but there wasn't quite enough time to organize and implement a nationwide plan. This year, Blue Heron Books and a handful of others, including Ella Minnow Children's Books in Toronto, will test the waters in hopes of a much bigger program next fall.

"My hat's really off to Sherman Alexie and all the authors in the U.S. supporting it," said Macbeth. "Had [Canadian authors] known in sufficient time here, I'm sure they would have backed it. What author wouldn't go out to support indies after that gauntlet is thrown down?" --Alex Mutter


Atheneum Books for Young Readers: Tune It Out by Jamie Summer


Facing Closure, Food for Thought Launches Fundraiser

Food for Thought Books, Amherst, Mass., is facing potential closure and has launched an indiegogo campaign to raise $38,000, "a thousand for every year we've been open and a thousand for the year to come," by the end of 2013.

"Despite all our efforts it has come to pass that we no longer have sufficient finances to keep Food for Thought Books open. Without a drastic change in circumstance and situation, we will be closing by the end of the year 2013," the bookstore wrote in a message to customers. "If we can do so, we will be able to get to a more sustainable space for the future."

Citing the primary issue as "financial debt incurred by the massive drop in textbook sales over the past couple years--a legacy we are still trying to leave behind," Food For Thought Books noted: "Maybe it is time to call it a day. We've been around for a good run: 37 years is no small thing. But really, we're not going to go down without one last effort, one last try.... We think Food for Thought Books is worth it."

The bookstore has reached an agreement with its landlord to reduce store space by half, but must wait until after the holiday season to close up to four weeks for reconstruction. "During this time we will still need to be paying all our regular expenses. With where we are at right now, there is no way we can do this, no way we can keep going for that long without any income to support us. So, what we need is support," Food for Thought wrote.


University Press of Kentucky: The Redshirt (University Press of Kentucky New Poetry & Prose) by Corey Sobel


Bidding Begins Today for Holiday Children's Book Art Auction

The Holiday Children's Book Art Auction, which features more than 70 pieces of art created for children's books, will start today on eBay at noon, Eastern time. The auction proceeds will benefit the free speech rights of kids and features original works and high-quality prints by artists and illustrators, including Eric Carle, Chris Raschka, Judy Schachner, Bob Staake, Tom Lichtenheld, and Alexandra Boiger. The auction ends December 3.

The holiday auction is the online version of the auction that is held during BookExpo America and is sponsored by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. It benefits the Kids' Right to Read Project and Banned Books Week.


Notes

Image of the Day: Dinner with Emma Donoghue

The redhead at the center of this photograph is author Emma Donoghue--an indie handselling favorite going back to Slammerkin, published by Harcourt in 2001. Last week, Donoghue came to San Francisco with Little, Brown editor-in-chief Judy Clain (pictured, right next to Donoghue) for a dinner to celebrate the galleys for her forthcoming novel, Frog Music (April 2014). Most booksellers in attendance agreed that Donoghue--who is also working on the screenplay for her most recent bestseller, Room--is the kind of author who seems to reinvent herself, along with a different fictional world, in each book.

L.-r: Judith Milton, Book Shop Santa Cruz, John Evans, Diesel, and Luisa Smith, Book Passage, got into the spirit of Frog Music, Emma Donoghue's forthcoming novel, with a dinner that included frog's legs.

For Frog Music, Donoghue explored 1870s San Francisco and the unexplained real-life murder of a young woman named Jenny Bonnet. The author created her friend Blanche Beunon, a French burlesque dancer, to piece together what happened among the free-love bohemians, millionaires, paupers, jealous men and icy women who occupied the boomtown that was the City by the Bay.

"This book was really written out of city envy," confessed Donoghue, who was born in Ireland and lives in Canada with her family. Frog Music is infused with the tastes and sounds of the times, and so the booksellers were treated to French music and food--even frogs' legs, for the adventurous. Clain was excited to share part of a blurb that Darin Strauss (Chang and Eng and Half a Life) offered for Frog Music, in which he said that Donoghue "shows more than range, she shows genius." --Bridget Kinsella


Happy 25th Birthday, Galaxy Bookshop!

The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, Vt., is celebrating its 25th anniversary this coming Sunday, December 1, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a customer appreciation sale, cake, prizes and authors David Budbill, Natalie Kinsey-Warnock and Howard Frank Mosher who, as part of Indies First, are joining the staff for the day as guest booksellers. The store is also collecting "memories and stories from our customers about the Galaxy Bookshop's part in your lives over the years."


Eightbar: Baltimore's 'Best Bar in a Bookstore'

photo: Kaitlin Newman/Baltimore Sun

"Pretty sure that we're the only bar in a bookstore in the city, but it's still awfully nice to be mentioned among these lists of great Baltimore bars!" Atomic Books noted on its Facebook page, referring to Eightbar's recognition as "best bar in a bookstore" by readers of the Baltimore Sun, which wrote: "With a smart selection of wine and beer, the new back bottle shop at Hampden's Atomic Books complements the store, from its aesthetics to its attitude."


Chuck Robinson New Director of LIBRIS Indemnity

Chuck Robinson, co-owner of Village Books & Paper Dreams, Bellingham, Wash., has been appointed director of the LIBRIS Indemnity Company, which was formed in 1997 by the American Booksellers Association to provide affordable business insurance to its members. LIBRIS provides insurance for nearly 350 indies across the U.S.


S&S to Distribute Victory Belt Publishing

Effective February 8, Simon & Schuster will handle worldwide sales and distribution for all new and backlist titles of Victory Belt Publishing.

Founded in 2006 by author Erich Krauss, Victory Belt Publishing, Las Vegas, Nev., is publishes books on health and fitness, concentrating on the Paleo lifestyle and CrossFit. The company's titles include The Paleo Solution, Practical Paleo, It Starts With Food, Against All Grain and Dark World.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Hill Harper on Arsenio Hall

Tomorrow on NPR's On Point: Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism (Simon & Schuster, $40, 9781416547860).

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Tomorrow on the View: Kay Robertson, author of Miss Kay's Duck Commander Kitchen: Faith, Family, and Food--Bringing Our Home to Your Table (Howard, $22.99, 9781476745121).

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Tomorrow on the Arsenio Hall Show: Hill Harper, author of Letters to an Incarcerated Brother (Gotham, $27.50, 9781592407248).

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Thursday on a repeat of KCRW's Bookworm: Joan Didion, author of Blue Nights (Vintage, $15, 9780307387387). As the show put it: "After the deaths of husband, John Gregory Dunne, and her daughter, Quintana, Joan Didion wrote Blue Nights, the most personal and poetic book of her impressive career. We talk about aging, death and the act of complete surrender that this devastating book required."

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Thursday on a repeat of NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings (Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594488399).

Also on Diane Rehm: Dan Jones, author of The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England (Viking, $36, 9780670026654).

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Thursday night on Coast to Coast: Brenda Knight, author of Grateful Table: Blessings, Prayers and Graces for the Daily Meal (Viva Editions, $15.95, 9781936740567).


TV: Knifeman

AMC has ordered a pilot episode of Knifeman, scripted by Rolin Jones (United States of Tara, Friday Night Lights) and inspired by Wendy Moore's John Hunter biography The Knife Man: Blood, Body Snatching and the Birth of Modern Surgery, the Hollywood Reporter wrote, noting that the pilot will be produced by AMC Studios in 2014 for series consideration in 2015.



Books & Authors

Awards: Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize

Colin McAdam won the $25,000 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, which "recognizes Canadian writers of exceptional talent for the year's best novel or short-story collection," for A Beautiful Truth. The jury commented: "In prose both strange and startling, Colin McAdam asks what, if anything, separates the human from the animal; he answers with heartbreaking honesty. This is the kind of book you finish just to pick back up again, if only to figure out how he pulled it off."


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcovers
The Circle of Thirteen: A Novel by William Petrocelli (Turner Publishing, $26.95, 9781620454145). "What if women ruled the world? In his futuristic thriller, Petrocelli answers that question with a 2082 scenario involving governments run by women worldwide that are threatened by a male-ruled movement named Patria. Julia, the head of security, is worried about the increasing threats even as she is assaulted by memories of violence in her own past. The social and environmental currents that created the future Petrocelli posits, both for good and ill, are all too probable in a book with an intriguing premise and a wonderful cast of strong and head-strong women." --Betsy Burton, the King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah

The Two Hotel Francforts: A Novel by David Leavitt (Bloomsbury, $25, 9781596910423). "Lisbon in the summer of 1940 is crowded with refugees fleeing the Nazi invasion. Two couples meet in a cafe, each having reluctantly abandoned France and their carefully crafted expat lives. While awaiting the SS Manhattan, which will transport them, the lucky ones with U.S. passports, back to America, they become unlikely fast friends. Alarmingly, soon after, a scheme that pits three against one results in tragedy. Sexually charged and full of intrigue, this novel is a masterful study of the secrets and desires that bring people together and then hold them like prisoners." --Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colo.

Paperback
Magnificence: A Novel by Lydia Millet (Norton, $15.95, 9780393346855). "Susan is a serial adulterer whose life is shattered by her husband's sudden death. As she struggles to maintain a healthy relationship with her grown, paraplegic daughter, she unexpectedly inherits a mansion from a distant relative who had filled the magnificent house with stuffed and mounted animals from around the world. The novel explores the many forms that loss can take--a loved one's death when it is too late to make amends; a daughter's loss of a life filled with possibilities if not for her accident; the slow deterioration of personality in the elderly with dementia; and the loss of animals in the wild to extinction.  At once funny and touching." --Karen Vail, Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, Mass.

For Ages 9 to 12
Battling Boy by Paul Pope (First Second, $15.99, 9781596431454). "Battling Boy rocks! Pope has masterfully pulled together elements of comic book superheroes, mythology, and coming-of-age stories to create what will be the favorite book of the year for many. Battling Boy is cast off to another dimension by his father, a powerful warrior who speaks in dramatic soliloquies, to test his mettle in a world besieged by monsters. With an instantly loveable character that approaches danger with unabashedly ignorant enthusiasm, Battling Boy introduces a new superhero that is sure to become a classic!" --Patrick Nelson, Mrs. Nelson's Toy & Book Shop, La Verne, Calif.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, December 3:

Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Retribution by Eric Van Lustbader (Grand Central, $28, 9781455550951) posthumously continues Ludlum's Jason Bourne series.

Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York's Legendary Chelsea Hotel by Sherill Tippins (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780618726349) explores the hotel where generations of artists and others have lived.

The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life by Rick Warren, Daniel Amen and Mark Hyman (Zondervan, $24.99, 9780310344292) is a theologically based diet plan.

In the Night of Time by Antonio Muñoz Molina, translated by Edith Grossman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780547547848) follows an architect fleeing the Spanish Civil War.

The Apartment: A Novel by Greg Baxter (Twelve, $24, 9781455574780) centers on an American searching for an apartment in a European city.

Supervolcano: Things Fall Apart by Harry Turtledove (Roc Hardcover, $26.95, 9780451465689) takes place in the aftermath of a Yellowstone supervolcano eruption.

Communion Town: A City in Ten Chapters by Sam Thompson (Bloomsbury, $25, 9781620401651) creates a fictional city through several genres of short stories.

The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left by Yuval Levin (Basic, $27.99, 9780465050970) traces the origin of the country's political dichotomy.


Book Review

Review: Leaving the Sea: Stories

Leaving the Sea: Stories by Ben Marcus (Knopf, $25.95 hardcover, 9780307379382, January 7, 2014)

As a short story writer, Ben Marcus (The Age of Wire and String) tends toward the enigmatic, the abstract. As one of his characters, who lives in a cave, says in "My Views on the Darkness," the sixth story in Leaving the Sea, "There's no need to cripple our thinking with specificity."

Marcus's second story collection brings together 15 stories, divided, like chapters, into six numbered parts. One section includes two brief stories (more like reflections, really), both structured as questions with answers, while the title story, just six pages long, is mostly a single sentence, a man's rambling, disquieting disquisition on his impending madness. The tone lightens up with "I Can Say Many Nice Things," where Fleming, a cantankerous, unfunny writer teaches a writing class on a cruise ship in an airless room without a clock. One of his students hasn't shown up, and there's a rumor going around that someone has jumped off the ship....

"The Dark Arts" finds despondent Julian living in a men's hostel in Germany. He there's for a new medical approach, "draining untold dollars' worth of questionable medicine" into himself in hopes of a cure for his rare autoimmune disorder. He's also waiting for his girlfriend to visit. "The Moors" finds Thomas the Dead following a female colleague around the laboratory where they work while his ill wife is at home, plugged into a machine. At night, he lies next to her, perfectly still, listening to her breathing "so hard it hurts."

"Watching Mysteries with My Mother" is about a son waiting for his mother to die. They watch PBS mysteries together and the son tells us that he has "chronically abandoned her, each time at the height of an ever-increasing danger." At the end, she survives. Grief is postponed, yet again.

Marcus's stories are not quite experimental, yet neither are they "traditional" (in the general sense of the term--beginning, middle, end). They straddle both. They are nothing if not intense. They are opaque, elliptical. They go on, Beckett-like. Each finds its own form on its own terms. He's always looking for a new way to tell an old story. As he has written elsewhere, stories "seek personal residence within a reader." They should take over the reader's imagination, as these do. --Tom Lavoie

Shelf Talker: A Ben Marcus short story is something different, something vague and unsettling in which the language itself, perhaps, is the main character.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. Billionaire Bad Boys of Romance by Various
2. Have No Shame by Melissa Foster
3. Dangerous Attraction Boxed Set by Various
4. Infinite Possibilities by Lisa Renee Jones
5. The Elf on the Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda B. Bell
6. Unraveled Box Set: Billionaires, Bikers and Bad Boys by Various
7. Trouble by Samantha Towle
8. Jake Undone by Penelope Ward
9. Broken by Kelly Elliott
10. All the Pretty Lies by M. Leighton

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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