Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Flatiron Books: The Courting of Bristol Keats: [Limited Stenciled Edge Edition] by Mary E Pearson

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Chronicle Books: Taste in Music: Eating on Tour with Indie Musicians by Luke Pyenson and Alex Beeker

Doubleday Books: Death at the Sign of the Rook: A Jackson Brodie Book by Kate Atkinson

Groundwood Books: Who We Are in Real Life by Victoria Koops

Agate Bolden: 54 Miles by Leonard Pitts Jr.


Powell's Remodeling Begins Monday

The project to remodel parts of Powell's Books flagship store in Portland, Ore., begins next Monday and will continue for about six months. Announced last May, the project will remodel the building housing the Green and Blue Rooms, making structural and cosmetic changes and additions that include a new entrance, a new roof, energy-efficient windows, fresh exterior paint, additional skylights and new lighting. The rooms will have a new layout, as well as a look and feel that "both respects the history and retains the spirit of Powell's."

During the project, the Green and Blue Rooms will be closed, and books currently housed in those areas will be temporarily moved to other locations in the building. The store will continue normal operations throughout the project.

CEO Miriam Sontz commented: "After months of careful planning and preparation for this upgrade, it's exciting to have the remodel project underway. We have been very conscientious about maintaining the high level of service and selection we normally offer our customers, and we're confident that visitors will be able to enjoy the Powell's experience as usual."

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New Amazon Low: Trying to Steal Customers Outside Indie Store

Yesterday during rush at the University of Washington, Seattle, showed some amazing nerve: in front of the University Bookstore's store in the Husky Union Building (HUB), Amazon employees set up a display urging students to sign up for Amazon Student, a free program for six months offering two-day shipping and special deals (and then segues to Amazon Prime).

HUB store manager Jonathan Day described the scene: "As the day progressed, I watched as very friendly college-age Amazon representatives approached student after student, inquiring whether they had already purchased their textbooks and informing them that they could save hundreds by shopping through Amazon Student. Peak activity was at 12:30, when they held a raffle, giving away several Kindle Fires. The crowd filled the hallway and stairwell, while the Amazon representatives called out winning numbers over a bullhorn."

B&N's Former Flagship Store in Manhattan Closes

Barnes & Noble's former flagship location at 105 Fifth Avenue at 18th Street in Manhattan has been shuttered, Gothamist reported. Company spokesperson Mary Ellen Keating said the store closed at the end of the day Monday: "The store sold primarily textbooks, and had a large selection of trade. Trade business has largely been transferred to our nearby Union Square store, now by far our largest volume store in the country."

The closure marks the end of an era: the bookstore was the "original" Barnes & Noble, which chairman Len Riggio bought in 1971.

English-Language Bookstore Opens in Monaco

BOMO--for Book Boutique of Monaco--opened at the beginning of the month and is, it said, the only independent English-language bookstore in the Principality of Monaco.

Located in the La Condamine neighborhood, just between Place d'Armes and the Port, the 60 square meter (about 645 square feet) store has a reading area dedicated for children, a large selection of cookbooks and classic literature, as well as all the latest bestsellers from the U.S. and U.K. The store is also the home of luxury books from French publisher Assouline, including the Impossible Collection, consisting in part of Cars, Fashion, Jewelry, Arabian Horses and Beken of Cowes.

BOMO plans to hold a busy schedule of readings, writing events and storytellings. A Grand Opening celebration will be held this month.

Founder and owner Siri Khalsa called BOMO "much more than a bookstore--it is a place where people can come together, explore new ideas and have a sense of community. For centuries, local bookstores around the world have been centers of culture, conversation, and intellectual exploration--we want to reproduce that feeling here in Monaco."

Khalsa, a native of New York, is a graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and has worked extensively in the private, public and charity sectors. Her plan for BOMO was a finalist in Monaco's Jeune Chambre Economique 2013 business plan competition.

BOMO is located at 3, Avenue du Port, 98000 Monaco and may be reached at 377 97 77 94 73 or More information on Facebook.

Amazon U.K. Raises 'Super Saver Delivery' Minimum

Effective yesterday, Amazon U.K. altered the qualification terms for Super Saver delivery, raising the minimum order on all items to £10 (about US$16.40) for free shipping. The Bookseller reported that the online retailer "previously introduced the £10 minimum order fee for free delivery to all its other products in July, but excluded books, music, film and games from the qualifying items."

Although the decision may be an attempt by Amazon to encourage customers to sign up for Amazon Prime service (£49 per year), the change in terms "is likely to delight independent booksellers, who have previously felt at a competitive disadvantage to Amazon which has previously offered entirely free delivery on books with no minimum order, giving customers less reason to visit shops," the Bookseller wrote.

In October, Amazon raised its minimum order for Free Super Saver Shipping in the U.S. to $35 from $25.

Chicago Review Press Buys Academy Chicago Publishers

Chicago Review Press, Inc., the parent company of Chicago Review Press and Independent Publishers Group, has acquired Academy Chicago Publishers. Jordan and Anita Miller, who founded Academy Chicago in 1975, will continue as editors-at-large for Chicago Review Press for the next two years.

Chicago Review Press will immediately begin publishing 15 to 20 new titles annually under the Academy Chicago Publishers imprint. (Academy Chicago has published some 300 books.) The titles will include some original fiction, which marks the first time Chicago Review Press will publish original fiction.

Chicago Review Press's publicity department will promote Academy Chicago titles, and IPG will distribute all Academy Chicago titles.

"Our two companies have always been strong independent publishers with a passion for quality," Cynthia Sherry, publisher of Chicago Review Press, said. "Academy Chicago Publishers has a terrific line of fiction, particularly mysteries which will be a great new addition to our list."

Arsonists Torch Lebanese Library


The Saeh Library (Traveler's Library) in Tripoli, Lebanon, was torched last Friday by arsonists, resulting in a fire that destroyed as much as two-thirds of the building's 80,000 books and manuscripts. Jacket Copy reported the incident occurred "after claims that [the library's] founder, Father Ibrahim Sarouja, a Greek Orthodox priest, had written an anti-Islamic online article and that anti-Islamic materials had been found in the library.... A source told Agence France-Presse that the reports were unfounded; a protest against the priest had been planned and called off--and then the fire followed."


Image of the Day: DIESEL's Pajama Party


DIESEL's store in Larkspur, Calif., which opened in July, hosted a pajama party last Friday, January 3, and invited Mac Barnett, whose new book is Extra Yarn, to read. Barnett told the kids, who partook of plenty of milk and cookies, that he always wears his pajamas, so he was glad not to have to put on real pants for the event, which is the first of the store's monthly Kids' Pajama Party Series.

Bookseller Video of the Day: 'Books? Books. BOOKS!'

The Doylestown Bookshop, Doylestown, Pa., "is battling the competition with a series of amusing YouTube videos," the Philadelphia Business Journal reported, noting that the store has just released its third video created by bookseller Sean Curran and titled "Books? Books. BOOKS!" The video series is one of many ways that the store's new owner Glenda Childs has encouraged the use of social media to connect with patrons.

"It's not a secret--we can't compete with Amazon or the big-box stores on price," Curran said. "What we lack in pricing we make up for in community. My daughter comes in the store. I use an iPad, but when people talk about the death of Main Street, it's only if we allow it. We appreciate books and having a book in hand. We offer customer service. Even on the Kindle commercials now, they talk about how you can talk to a human being. We want something more out of a sales experience."

Curran added that the idea for the videos "hit me at two in the morning. We'd been doing e-mail marketing and had an active presence on Facebook and Twitter and our website. But a lot was text based. Since I have a knack for video, editing and improv, I went to Glenda. She was fully supportive."

Left Bank Books Takes the Cake

"We won! You voted us into the Stl250 Cakeway to the West Top 50," Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo., announced on its Facebook page yesterday, adding: "We will soon be the proud owners of a four-foot-tall, fiberglass birthday cake!"

The city is marking its 250th birthday this year, and Stl250, which is serving "as the master of ceremonies for the 2014 celebration," announced the 50 St. Louis-area sites selected by the public as Cakeway to the West winners. They will each receive the fiberglass birthday cakes, custom decorated by local artists.

Cool Idea of the Day: Bookstore Sales Help Homeless Shelter

From the Facebook page of Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.: "This weekend, January 11 and 12th, we'll be donating 20% of all sales to Shelters of Saratoga, Inc. Our friends at Piper Boutique will be doing the same. Please consider shopping here--and there--to help support this important organization."

Jessica Bromberg Joining Quercus Publishing

Effective January 13, Jessica Bromberg is joining Quercus Publishing as associate director of publicity. She has been publicity manager at Grand Central Publishing, where she managed their Forever and Forever Yours imprints. She also was publicity manager at Little Brown Books for Young Readers.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: James Carville & Mary Matalin on Morning Joe

This morning on Morning Joe: James Carville and Mary Matalin, authors of Love & War: Twenty Years, Three Presidents, Two Daughters and One Louisiana Home (Blue Rider, $28.95, 9780399167249).

Also on Morning Joe: Dick Wolf, author of The Execution: A Jeremy Fisk Novel (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062064851).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: James McCourt, author of Lasting City: The Anatomy of Nostalgia (Liveright, $26.95, 9780871404589). As the show put it: "James McCourt's novelistic memoir was written following a deathbed order issued by his late mother--'tell everything.' But Lasting City is a far from typical tell-all, as McCourt assumes a hypnotic voice, more poetic than linear, to collage together vignettes of personal and queer community history in the New York City of mid-century. McCourt speaks about his extraordinary memoir, and finding a way to write the rhythms of fading and failing memory."

TV: Justified's Tribute to Elmore Leonard

The fifth season of FX network's hit series Justified opened last night with a brief tribute to Elmore Leonard, whose short story, "Fire in the Hole," inspired the show with which the author "experienced a love affair of sorts," the Detroit Free Press reported. The 90-second tribute is part of a longer piece that will eventually be part of the Season 5 DVD and include interviews with cast members and others who worked with Leonard, plus readings from his novels.

If Leonard, who died last August, liked Justified, "the show liked him more. Series creator Graham Yost was such a Leonard fan that he made WWED (What Would Elmore Do) the guidepost for the writers," the Free Press wrote.

"There's an old saw that you should never meet your heroes, and that applies, but not in Elmore's case. He was just fun to hang out with and had a great attitude about life and work and writing," said Yost, adding that this year, "There's a certain degree that there's a switchover from 'We hope Elmore likes this episode' to 'This is in memory of Elmore.' We hope that... we're, in his memory, doing the best we can to make him happy."

Timothy Olyphant, who plays Raylan Givens on the show, said, "What I was always aware of was the tone, the humor, the ease with which he told stories or made jokes without acknowledging them. He just had the timing. He was not unlike his books."

Movies: Midnight Rider

William Hurt will play Gregg Allman in Midnight Rider, an adaptation of Allman's memoir My Cross to Bear, according to the Hollywood Reporter, which noted that the project "already has Tyson Ritter, the lead singer-songwriter of pop-rock band The All-American Rejects, playing a young Allman, with Wyatt Russell portraying Duane Allman." Randall Miller will direct the movie, which he scripted with Jody Savin

"William Hurt actually helped start Randy's career years ago," said Savin. "He made an anonymous monetary donation to Randy's AFI thesis film. And when his identity was revealed, he even agreed to do the voiceover on the film." Production on Midnight Rider is scheduled to begin next month in Savannah, Ga.

Books & Authors

Book Brahmin: Snorri Kristjansson

Snorri Kristjansson is an Icelander, a writer and a teacher, with a background in acting, music and stand-up comedy. Swords of Good Men, his first novel, was published by Jo Fletcher/Quercus on January 7, 2014.

On your nightstand now:

The Troupe by gentleman/scholar Robert Jackson Bennett and Red Seas Under Red Skies by gentleman/bastard Scott Lynch, which I am reading as a bedtime story for the Wife.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren always had a special place in my heart. She had her priorities straight--eat candy, lift horses.

Your top five authors:

I'll read anything by Patrick Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence and Robert Harris, but the list is so, so long. I am really looking forward to the book+time-to-read-it bundle (coming from Amazon in 2019, delivered by nano-bot).

Book you've faked reading:

Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. It was for university, and I just couldn't. I am not a bonnet-fancier.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and The City's Son by Tom Pollock. There are more, too--I can get a little eye-blazing about books I love.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself springs to mind. Dat feel. Also, the first chapter was called "The End."

Book that changed your life:

There have been so many. Loving Pedro Infante by Denise Chavez. I was made to read it at uni and I did so, huffing and grumbling. It was a girly book, I said. It wasn't interesting, I said. And then, after a bit, I shut up and read. It opened my ears to other voices, and made me a smarter, better person.

Favorite line from a book:

“It was the patient, cut-flower sound of a man who is waiting to die." --Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind. I carried that book with me from the U.K. to Japan and back.

Your favorite bad guy:

At the moment: Honorous Jorg Ancrath (from the Thorns trilogy by Mark Lawrence), with a tip of the cap to Inquisitor Glokta (Joe Abercrombie's FirstLaw trilogy) and Shakespeare's Iago (Othello).

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

Legend by David Gemmell. I know the young'uns throw the word around these days to describe everything from cups of coffee to awkward escalator rides, but that book is truly epic. It has its own horn section. It should be read on a mountain.

Book Review

Children's Review: A Snicker of Magic

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd (Scholastic Press, $16.99 hardcover, 320p., ages 8-12, 9780545552707, February 25, 2014)

Sixth-grader Felicity Juniper Pickle knows her first name means "wondrous joy," but these days she just feels tuckered out--tired of jumping ship, lonely for a friend and hungry for a real home. "Storms and sevens" always trigger her superstitious mother's sudden departures, so Felicity and her little sister, Frannie Jo, have already lived in six different states. As the weary trio drives their dilapidated old van into their mother's hometown of Midnight Gulch, Tenn., Felicity has a glimmer of hope that this might be their last stop.

Rumor has it that Midnight Gulch was a magical mountain town, but most agree the magic vanished decades ago with the feuding magicians known as the Brothers Threadbare. All this mystery and history sets Felicity ablaze with curiosity and she dives into the town's secrets with the help of the "weirdly wonderful" green-eyed Jonah Pickett, a boy in a wheelchair who may be her first friend ever. Does she, the frequently tongue-tied "Queen of Dorkville," have some of that town magic in her veins... even if only a leftover "snicker"? Is her family--is she--somehow the cursed party in a long-dead witch's cryptic riddle? Sometimes Felicity finds answers in the sky. A "word collector" and "poem catcher," she sees words everywhere; sometimes she even hears them buzz or hum. The stars spell out "wonder," and the word "believe" drips down the window like "melted sunshine." Felicity starts to realize that magic does still live in the citizens of Midnight Gulch--her mother's "know-how" is painting, her uncle Boone's is seeing musical notes as colors, her friend Jonah's is knowing how to fix people. Dr. Zook's Famous Ice Cream Factory adds a Willy Wonka touch to the enchanted town: the factory is owned by a friendly, mansion-dwelling millionaire and produces 45 marvelous flavors, including "Blackberry Sunrise" that dredges up memories, both sweet and sour.

Felicity's passion and knack for words shapes the book. As flurries of words appear to her, she scribbles them in her blue notebook or on her shoe, and they are scattered throughout the story to "shimmer-shining" effect. This buoyant, soul-satisfying debut novel is a synesthetic, "fine as frog hair" story of love, hope and magic told in poetry, banjo chords, curling smoke and pounding hearts. --Karin Snelson

Shelf Talker: In this spellbinding debut novel set in Tennessee, Felicity Juniper Pickle sees magic in the people around her, and her world view is curiously contagious.

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