Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Tender Beasts by Liselle Sambury

Scholastic Press: Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Alan Gratz

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Peachtree Publishers: King & Kayla and the Case of the Downstairs Ghost (King & Kayla) by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers

Doubleday Books: The Husbands by Holly Gramazio

Quotation of the Day

'The Best Thing About This Place...'


"The best thing about this place is that it has more and more books."

--A typed note from Max, age 5, to Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Holiday House: The Five Impossible Tasks of Eden Smith by Tom Llewellyn; The Selkie's Daughter by Linda Crotta Brennan


Barnes & Noble: SEC Probe Repercussions Continue

After analysts downplayed the SEC investigation of accounting problems at Barnes & Noble, the company's stock rose 1.8%, to $14.69, yesterday. Still, that represented only a small part of B&N's 12% drop in share price on Friday, when news spread about the SEC move.

At the same time, several more law firms specializing in "shareholder lawsuits" announced that they are investigating B&N and seeking information about the accounting problems. The firms include Pomerantz Grossman Hufford Dahlstrom & Gross, Johnson & Weaver, Holzer Holzer & Fistel, Ryan & Maniskas, Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman, Morgan & Morgan and the Law Offices of Howard G. Smith.

Amistad Press: The Survivors of the Clotilda: The Lost Stories of the Last Captives of the American Slave Trade by Hannah Durkin

Ken Fultz New General Manager of Bookmasters

Ken Fultz has been named general manager of Bookmasters. He was formerly v-p of operations at Thomson-Shore and earlier worked 33 years at the Mazer Corporation, most recently as v-p and general manager of its printing services division.

Fultz will work closely with David Hetherington, Baker & Taylor's v-p of academic library and higher education merchandising/publisher services, to continue to strengthen the strategic partnership that was formed between Bookmasters and Baker & Taylor this past July. Both companies are owned by private equity firm Castle Harlan.

Kaylie Jones Books: A Collective of Authors

"It's one thing to have no control over your own destiny as a writer, but I've had so many students with really wonderful books fail to find publishers," said Kaylie Jones, author of Lies My Mother Never Told Me, daughter of author James Jones, creative writing teacher in MFA programs at Wilkes University and Long Island University for more than two decades--and now head of Kaylie Jones Books, an author collective and imprint of Akashic Books in Brooklyn, N.Y.

"It got to the point where I started to feel that my profession was pointless," explained Jones. "Very often, books just come down to a question of 'how do we sell this?' So many of my students have been told by publishers 'we love it, but we don't know how to sell it.' I started thinking, why would anyone spend this much time helping other writers hone their craft when it's virtually impossible for them to get their voices heard?"

Last October, after Jones woke up one morning feeling particularly frustrated by the plight of many of her students and colleagues, who typically write artistic, literary novels not deemed commercially viable, she called one of her MFA students and her bosses, asking if they'd help her if she started an imprint. The answers were emphatic yeses. Then Jones called Johnny Temple, editor-in-chief and founder of Akashic Books, and asked if she could start an imprint. Temple called her back two hours later, saying yes.

"They backed me 100%. It was life changing," recalled Jones, who was given total freedom to run the imprint however she chose. From the outset, Jones's plan was to make a collective; all of the imprint's authors would be involved in a "grassroots way" at all levels of publication, including acquisition and editing. The idea, Jones explained, was that no decision would be made solely by a single person. At present, the collective consists of seven writers, and any writer who publishes with Kaylie Jones Books in the future will become part of the collective. Beyond the collective, Jones has one official employee, several graduate interns and many generous volunteers.

"The most amazing thing is all the help I've gotten from so many different people," said Jones, citing the willingness of colleagues, students, friends and other writers to help out. "These writers are willing to do anything and everything they can for each other. Editing, readings, workshops, book trailers, anything."

Submissions are open to all authors, emerging or established, and Jones looks to publish anything, novel or memoir, that is "beautifully written, beautifully structured and courageous in what it does." The imprint's flagship title, Laurie Lowenstein's debut novel Unmentionables, is set to be published in January. The novel, set in 1917 on the Chautauqua education circuit in rural Illinois, has so far generated a great response: advance reviews have been positive, the book was chosen as a Midwest Connections pick for January by the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, and the American Library Association invited Lowenstein to its Midwinter Conference to be featured in its debut novelists spotlight.

Also in the pipeline are the novels Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night by Barbara J. Taylor and The Love Book by Nina Solomon, along with the memoir Starve the Vulture: One Man's Mythology by Jason Carney. Ostensibly, the books don't have much in common: two of the imprint's first four titles are historical fiction. Another is a literary women's novel, and the last is a memoir by a performance poet and former drug addict. Commented Jones: "I'm not an expert in historical fiction. Or memoir. Nothing about these books could you say look like me. They're just beautifully written and say something about the world."

Further down the road is an all e-book line, which would allow for the speedier publication of "playful, fun, weird, alternative stuff." The plan is to publish two or three physical books per year as Jones and others work to get the imprint and e-book line up and running.

"I would be happy to do a thousand books a year," Jones remarked. "But we're just starting out, so we don't want to get overwhelmed." --Alex Mutter

Obituary Note: Ida Pollock

Romance novelist Ida Pollock, who wrote more than 120 books and was "believed to be the world's oldest romantic novelist," died December 3, the Associated Press reported. She was 105. Her 124th and 125th novels are scheduled for publication next year.


Image of the Day: America's Cup Moors at Watermark

Watermark owner Patti Pattee with the Auld Mug.

Watermark Book Company, Anacortes, Wash., hosted an event last Friday that featured the America's Cup--the actual trophy--which was chaperoned by two white-gloved security guards and several other people, including Julian Guthrie, author of The Billionaire and the Mechanic; Norbert Bajurin, commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club in San Francisco and the "mechanic" of the book title; and Mark Turner, the Anacortes builder of America's Cup winner Larry Ellison's two Oracle catamarans.

Owner Patti Pattee wrote: "Hundreds of people braved the cold to see the 'Auld Mug' and we sold quite a few copies of the book. It was a real coup for us and came about through the efforts of Nicole Holbert, owner of a local restaurant (Cafe Adrift), who is married to Mark Turner and is a dedicated Watermark supporter. Our little store may never have been so crowded, but it was a spectacular and ultimately very enjoyable event--and the Cup was a sparkling guest!"

Top photo: Golden Gate Yacht Club Commodore Norbert Bajurin (left) and author Julian Guthrie with the America's Cup, at Watermark Book Company.

Annie Philbrick on 'Staying Alive in a Digital World'

Author Mark Rubinstein interviewed Annie Philbrick, co-owner of Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn., who offers "insight about her strategies for surviving, and, in fact, thriving, and talks about the state of retail bookselling today" in a Huffington Post piece headlined "Staying Alive in a Digital World: A Talk with an Indie Bookstore Owner." Among our favorite responses:

On a more general level, what do you see as the future of retail bookselling?
Here in Mystic, we're sort of an anchor store in the middle of town. When we expanded into the space next door, the entire town was excited about it. People came into the store and congratulated us. It was very heartwarming.

Then you see the future for your brick-and-mortar retail bookstore as a bright one.
Yes. I think so. Mystic is a destination for many people. And many of them realize that within that destination is a wonderful, independent bookstore. That pertains to local customers and those who are travelling. Even people with e-readers sometimes want a real book. They will say: "I want a real book to give as a gift," or, "I just want a real book to read, to hold in my hand."

I don't have a crystal ball, and there's no doubt the rise of e-books has had an impact. They're not going to go away, and we do have a partnership that works. It's very hard work to do what we do, but we do it because we're passionate about books and love what we're doing.

Durham Shopping: 'Goodbye Amazon, Hello Regulator Bookshop'

In a Durham News column called "Goodbye Amazon, Hello Ninth Street," a resident promoted some of the city's local businesses, including the Regulator Bookshop.

Melissa Rooney wrote, "Last year, I gave Amazon far more business than I'd intended. This year, I am fully committed to two rules: 1) Quality not Quantity; and 2) Local Only."

She continued: "I recently spent a couple mornings on Ninth Street, reminding myself how easy it is to shop local in Durham. The first was with my kids (9, 10 and 3 years old), and we spent the entire morning in the children's section of the Regulator book store (the kids now want to purchase Regulator gift cards as birthday gifts, so their friends can have the same experience). The second time, I went by myself."

Personnel Changes at Quirk Books, Ingram

Effective immediately, Moneka Hewlett has been promoted to v-p of sales at Quirk Books. She joined Quirk in 2011 as senior sales director. Previously, she was senior director of publishing sales at VIZ Media.

"Moneka has relentlessly pushed for Quirk's books to get the retail visibility and sales opportunities they deserve," said company president Brett Cohen. "Her experience has proven to be invaluable as Quirk navigates the evolving retail landscape."


Ingram Content Group has announced the following appointments:

  • Leah Rex has been promoted to director of client relations, Ingram Publisher Services. Rex formerly was director of acquisitions, full-service distribution at Ingram Publisher Services. (Rex will succeed Karen Cross, v-p, client relations for Ingram Publisher Services, who will retire in January.)
  • Gonzalo Ferreyra has joined Ingram Publisher Services as director of acquisitions, full-service distribution. Ferreyra has 24 years of experience in the book industry; he's worked at Weldon Owen Publishing, Viz Media, Ten Speed Press and Borders Group.
  • Carter Holliday has been appointed director of acquisitions, third-party logistics and Ingram Content Group Services. He was formerly with Ingram's Lightning Source.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Elizabeth Gilbert on Colbert

This morning on Imus in the Morning: Margaret Wrinkle, author of Wash (Grove Press, $16, 9780802122032).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Ylvis (aka Vegard and Bård Ylvisåker), authors of What Does the Fox Say? (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9781481422239).


Tomorrow on the Rachael Ray Show: Rachael Ray, author of Week in a Day (Atria, $24.99, 9781451659757).


Tomorrow co-hosting the View: Trista Sutter, author of Happily Ever After: The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart (Da Capo Lifelong Books, $24.99, 9780738216652).


Tomorrow on A&E's Duck Dynasty Christmas Special: Kay Robertson, co-author of Miss Kay's Duck Commander Kitchen: Faith, Family, and Food--Bringing Our Home to Your Table (Howard hardcover, $29.99, 9781476763200; paperback $22.99, 9781476745121).


Tomorrow on Piers Morgan Tonight: Matthew Lysiak, author of Newtown: An American Tragedy (Gallery, $25.99, 9781476753744).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Reza Aslan, author of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (Random House, $27, 9781400069224).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Elizabeth Gilbert, author of The Signature of All Things: A Novel (Viking, $28.95, 9780670024858).

Movie: The Railway Man

The first clip has appeared for Railway Man, based on Eric Lomax's Railway Man: A POW's Searing Account of War on Brutality and Forgiveness, reported. The film, starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth, opens on January 1 in the U.K. and later in 2014 in the U.S.

Books & Authors

Awards: Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Winner

The winner of the 2013 Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Award, sponsored by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, is Eve Feldman, author of such works as Billy and Milly, Short and Silly! (Putnam) and Dog Crazy (Tambourine).

Honor grants went to:

Verla Kay, author of Civil War Drummer Boy (Putnam) and Hornbooks and Inkwells (Putnam), among other titles.
Deborah Lynn Jacobs, author of the YA novels Choices (Roaring Brook Press) and Powers (Square Fish).

This grant gives $3,000 to mid-list authors to honor their contribution and help raise awareness about their current works-in-progress. The grant was created and is funded by children's book author Jane Yolen.

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories From History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie (Quirk Books, $19.95, 9781594746444). "Everyone knows that princesses are lovely beings who live fairy-tale lives. Unless, of course, they are real people. Then it's a bit messier. McRobbie has written a fascinating account of real princesses who didn't live happily ever after. Starting in antiquity, she describes the legend that has surrounded each princess, and then attempts to ascertain the truth of what the princess was really like and the reality of her situation. This book is a thought-provoking addition to feminist literature." --Janice Hunsch, Kaleidosaurus Books, Fishers, Ind.

Chickens in the Road: An Adventure in Ordinary Splendor by Suzanne McMinn (HarperOne, $28.99, 9780062223708). "All those interested in sustainable agriculture, living off-the-grid, dwelling in yurts, organic farming, backyard foraging, beekeeping, cheesemaking, etc., will love this inspiring memoir. It's also a great gift for rural-wannabes, as it's filled with the details and dialogues of McMinn's challenging pursuit of a natural lifestyle." --Susan Thurin, Bookends on Main, Menomonie, Wis.

Stop Here: A Novel by Beverly Gologorsky (Seven Stories Press, $16.95, 9781609805043). "A seemingly unassuming little novel with a huge heart, Stop Here captures you from page one. Gologorsky, the author of The Things We Do to Make It Home, once again expertly portrays the impact of war on the lives of working class families. I got so involved in the lives of the characters working at Murray's Diner that when my basset hound chewed up the last 25 pages of the manuscript, I had to call my sales rep to get another copy ASAP!" --Flossie McNabb, Union Avenue Books, Knoxville, Tenn.

For Ages 4 to 8
The Blessing Cup by Patricia Polacco (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9781442450479). "If you loved Polacco's The Keeping Quilt, you'll feel the same way about this sequel. Repeating the artistic format and tender storytelling of the first book, Polacco shares the history of the quilt's journey to the United States. Her family struggled mightily against the terrors and prejudices of pre-World War I Russia, but somehow managed to make it to America. The strength of both a family and its story shines in this book. Definitely a classic!"-- Margaret Brennan Neville, the King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Apple Tree Yard

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty (Sarah Crichton/Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26 hardcover, 9780374105679, January 14, 2014)

Louise Doughty's Apple Tree Yard is a reverse-suspense novel in which a respected English geneticist and married mother of two looks back, mid-trial, at how she ended up in the dock at the Old Bailey. Yvonne Carmichael shares her legal peril with the first man who tempted her to cheat on her husband. He's an enigmatic government employee, also married, whose name and exact job title were happily mysterious to Yvonne until a trauma transformed the nature of their dalliance from naughty to incriminating. Although Yvonne's husband remains in her corner, Doughty has her heroine address her interior ruminations to her lover, complete with the frissons of their risqué trysts in atmospheric corners of London.

The prologue hints at the seriousness of Yvonne's dilemma by dramatizing the crux of her testimony without specifying the full gravity of her criminal charges. The first chapter jumps back to the inauguration of her affair, and then proceeds chronologically through its aftermath. The last third of the novel reprises and resolves, for better or worse, the prologue's courtroom drama; these trial scenes are among the best in the book. American readers need not fret about understanding the British legal system--Doughty provides swift sub judice explications alongside her astute depiction of bewigged barristers and their sly interrogation techniques.

Doughty makes much of her narrator's scientific background and the complex layers of dysfunction in her family life. She also has Yvonne make worldly comments of self-protective cynicism and deliver genetic-flavored pronouncements on human behavior. If Yvonne's observations occasionally sound more layperson than Watson & Crick, it's a minor lapse in tone more than mitigated by the novel's headlong pace and expertly seeded premonitions of disaster.

Several themes in Apple Tree Yard elevate its racy thriller profile. DNA struts throughout the text in hereditary and research guises, and two separate turns of the plot hinge upon the threat of forensic analysis. A defense barrister summarizes a study of primate altruism under stress that functions as a morality metaphor for several characters' choices.

Apple Tree Yard raises the question of how guilt should be assigned when multiple vectors trigger an event. Yvonne's recounting of the implosion of her affair and her view of the motivations of the men in her life constructs an intriguing network of responsibility. It's the reader, not the jury, who hears enough evidence to decide who is guilty, who is innocent and who is gallant. --Holloway McCandless

Shelf Talker: A titillating, suspenseful and thought-provoking novel about a London affair gone awry.

The Bestsellers

Top Book Club Picks in November

The following were the most popular book club books during November based on votes from more than 100,000 book club readers from more than 39,000 book clubs registered at

1. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam)
2. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (Morrow)
3. The Light Between Oceans: A Novel by M.L. Stedman (Scribner)
4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Knopf)
5. The Kitchen House: A Novel by Kathleen Grissom (Touchstone)
6. And the Mountains Echoed: A Novel by (Riverhead)
7. Me Before You: A Novel by Jojo Moyes (Viking)
8. Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel by Maria Semple (Little, Brown)
9. The Language of Flowers: A Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (Ballantine)
10. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Anchor)

Rising Stars:

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (Morrow)
The Round House by Louise Erdrich (Harper Perennial)

[Many thanks to!]

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