Shelf Awareness for Monday, May 5, 2014

Margaret K. McElderry Books: A Door in the Dark by Scott Reintgen

Berkley Books: The Comeback Summer by Ali Brady

Dundurn Press: Chasing the Black Eagle by Bruce Geddes

Zonderkidz: The Smallest Spot of a Dot: The Little Ways We're Different, the Big Ways We're the Same by Linsey Davis, illustrated by Lucy Fleming

St. Martin's Press: Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

W by Wattpad Books: Hazel Fine Sings Along by Katie Wicks

St. Martin's Press: The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop


First California Bookstore Day a Rousing Success

Jumping for joy: CBD at The Book Seller, Grass Valley.

At 2 p.m. on Saturday--about halfway through the first California Bookstore Day, Hut Landon, executive director of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association--asked participating stores if they had surpassed sales from the comparable Saturday a year earlier. The answer was a resounding yes.

"Given all that the bookstores did to make the day special, I would have called the event a success in any case," Landon said. "But we always wanted California Bookstore Day to create more sales, and early feedback from close to 20 stores has been phenomenal. Stores were up 20%, 50%, 100% and more."

Andrea Vuleta, executive director of the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association, had similar news, saying she was impressed by the variety of events and all the buzz Saturday about CBD on Facebook and Twitter. "I would love it to be a financial success," said Vuleta, "but the traffic in the stores and the buzz was stupendous."

Customers waiting for Hicklebee's in San Jose to open

As store managers and staff slowly reported in over the weekend, the consensus was that overall sales exceeded most of the stores' expectations--and many stores sold out of the specialty limited-edition items created for the event just hours after opening.

"We sold out of Neil Gaiman by 10:30 a.m., and everything else has sold really well," said Allison Hill, CEO of Vroman's and Book Soup in Pasadena and West Hollywood. "I heard several people say they had never been to our stores before, and talked to a few folks who were making a day of it and had visited Vroman's, Skylight and Book Soup--which made me happy."

At Skylight Books in Los Angeles, manager Steven Salardino said the store surpassed previous year's sales between 2-3 p.m. "Fun surpassed at 10:15 a.m.!" he added.

YA authors Alyson Noel, Margaret Stohl and Kimberly Derting at Mysterious Galaxy, Redondo Beach

"We blew past last year at 12:15 p.m.," reported Luan Stauss, owner of Laurel Bookstore in Oakland. At {pages} in Manhattan Beach, owner Margot Farris said the store almost tripled last year's sales. "So cool to have a line out the door before the store opened," she said.

"We doubled our sales from last year--which was a big day!" said Amy Thomas, owner of Pegasus Books, which has two locations in Berkeley and one in Oakland and which began celebrating its 45th anniversary on Saturday. Mysterious Galaxy reported a great day at both its San Diego and Redondo Beach stores. In San Diego, it gave the customer who put the store past its sales benchmark a special teddy bear sporting the California Bookstore Day logo.

Brian Selznick at Warwick's in La Jolla.

Books Inc. operates 10 stores in the San Francisco Bay Area and planned different CBD events for its locations. Ingrid Nystrom, manager of Books Inc. in Laurel Village, called the day a success, noting a 50% increase of sales over last year in her store. "Above all, it was a conversation," she said. "There was a woman who picked up a book, took a picture, put the book back down, started to walk away and noticed my CBD T-shirt. She said, 'Oh, that's right, that's today. Well, then, I'd better buy the book from you.' If this helps people who are so inclined to repeat that throughout the year, it was completely worth it."

Customers lining up to pay at Diesel.

At Green Apple Books in San Francisco--the store that brought the idea of California Bookstore Day to the NCIBA--co-owner Pete Mulvihill said the event was "nuts, in a good way" for staff, authors and customers. "We haven't had a day like that [in sales] that was not within seven days of Christmas," he said. "Our customers are already saying they can't wait to see what we come up with for next year." 

Whether California Bookstore Day becomes an annual event or even goes national has yet to be decided. But Hill at Vroman's summed up the sentiment of many participants in the inaugural event when she exclaimed: "We're already talking about ways to make it better next year!" --Bridget Kinsella

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Welcome to the World by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Origins Books to Open in Tracy, Calif.

Katherine Fayad plans to open Origins Books by the end of June at 33 W. 10th St. in Tracy, Calif. "Fayad's passion for reading and motivation from her friends and sister, an independent author, propelled her to pursue a dream of owning her own business," the Tracy Press reported, adding that she was inspired last December when city manager Leon Churchill expressed hope that a new bookstore would replace the closed Barnes & Noble.

"My sister's boyfriend saw the article in the paper from the city calling for an independent bookstore and he sent it to me and I called (the city) that day," Fayad said. "I got the ball rolling and I didn't really stop moving."

She hopes to serve "a new species" of reader, those who like both e-books and traditional printed copies. "They need some place to go that's local, that knows what they want or can get what they want," she observed. "It was a shame when Barnes & Noble closed, but I like the small community idea and I think the city itself will really thrive on having that."

William Morrow & Company: A Death in Denmark: The First Gabriel Præst Novel by Amulya Malladi

Alamosa Books in Albuquerque to Close

Alamosa Books, Albuquerque, N.Mex., will close at the end of July. Co-owner Elizabeth Anker told the Journal the children's bookstore "had long struggled to make it.... Even as the store made regular sales gains--at least until this spring--it never was quite enough." Alamosa occupies 8,000 square feet between its existing location and a nearby "Reading Room" that opened in 2013 for young adult and adult fiction.

"We have not received the level of support from our community necessary to support a bookstore," Anker said. "In four years we had exactly four months wherein we did not have to spend personal funds to pay store bills." While acknowledging that the economy was partly to blame, she also cited having no author tours come through from February to May as having a "devastating impact--especially for a business that used special events to lure customers who could buy cheaper books from box stores and online competitors," the Journal wrote.

"We were hurt not so much by competition with Amazon's product as by a Web sales culture in which people do not have to go to places to shop and everything is devalued extravagantly," she added.

Parallax Press: Radical Love: From Separation to Connection with the Earth, Each Other, and Ourselves by Satish Kumar

All-Star Cast for BEA Children's Book Art Auction & Reception

A cast of leading authors and illustrators "will show off their other talents" in a variety show to be held May 28 during the Children's Book Art Auction and Reception at BookExpo America.  

Shannon Hale and Michael Buckley are the organizers and emcees for the the Slushpile Family Circus, an entertainment and comedy show featuring a cast that includes Jarrett J. Krosoczka, the auction's honorary chair, David Levithan, Jon Scieszka, Pseudonymous Bosch, Melissa de la Cruz, Brandon Mull, Jason Reynolds, Scott Westerfeld, Libba Bray, Tom Angleberger, Maryrose Wood, Jennifer Holm, Paul Zelinsky and Melissa Guion. Hale and Buckley are also promising a "mysterious guest star."

Memorial Service for Erica Kochman Warshal Set for Thursday

This Thursday, May 8, Abrams is hosting a memorial service to celebrate the life of Erica Kochman Warshal, Abrams's director of national accounts, who died suddenly on March 31 at the age of 31. The service will held at 5 p.m. at the Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W. 17th St. in New York City and is open to all.

Obituary Note: Tadeusz Różewicz

Polish author Tadeusz Różewicz, whose work "bears witness to the worst of the 20th century without surrendering its human sympathy," died April 24, the Guardian reported. He was 92. His "eye was merciless but the poems are full of human sympathy," George Szirtes wrote in the Guardian, citing a line from one of Różewicz's poems: "Childhood is like that blurred face on a gold coin that rings clear."


Image of the Day: Washington's 'Real Seat of Power'

In a satirical film clip produced by HBO and screened at Saturday night's White House Correspondents' Dinner, fictional U.S. Vice President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus from the HBO series Veep) and nonfictional Vice President Joe Biden decide to skip the dinner and set off on a wild D.C. adventure that includes a stop at what Biden dubs "the real seat of power" in Washington (at the 3:28 mark in the video). Sneaking into the editor-in-chief's office, whose door reads "Amazon The Washington Post" (the paper is owned personally by CEO Jeff Bezos), they proceed to "write any headline we want" for the next day's edition.

Happy 35th Birthday, Volumes of Pleasure Bookshoppe!

Congratulations to Volumes of Pleasure Bookshoppe, Los Osos, Calif., which celebrated its 35th anniversary on Saturday in conjunction with California Bookstore Day, the San Luis Obispo Tribune-News reported.

Owner Carroll Leslie, who bought the 2,000-square-feet store in 1992 with the late Barbara Strauss, said that sales hit a peak in 2004, then fell deeply after the financial crisis of 2009, but have slowly crawled back to about 30% off the peak.

"Every day someone comes in and either discovers our store, and what a gem it is, or says, 'Oh I hope you never leave,' " Leslie told the paper. "That's what keeps us going."

Weekend Edition Highlights Posman Books' Growth

NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday looked at Posman Books' expansion in Manhattan, whose high commercial rents have thwarted other booksellers. The bookstore company, which has stores in Grand Central Terminal, Rockefeller Center and the Chelsea Market, next year will open in Brookfield Place, the former World Financial Center. Posman v-p Robert Fader said, "In five years' time there will be more Posman Books in Manhattan than there will be Barnes & Nobles."

Shelf Awareness's own John Mutter was quoted several times; he emphasized that Posman stores are geared to their different markets and noted the importance of offering sidelines, holding events, working with book groups and more. "There was an idea in the past that if you had a lot of really good books and put them on the shelves, people would come," he said. "And most booksellers recognize that that doesn't work anymore."

Personnel Changes at Bookmasters

Gary Koesters has been named v-p of manufacturing and distribution of Bookmasters. He has spent 15 years of his 30-year career in print manufacturing and most recently worked for Cenveo, at its commercial printing and packaging location in Sidney, Ohio.

Midpoint Distributing Essential Publishing

Effective immediately, Midpoint Trade Books is the distributor for Essential Publishing Inc., North Palm Beach, Fla., which specializes in "customized, high-quality, eco-friendly books" focusing on natural and environmental health, wellness and sustainable living. Titles include Anti-Arthritis, Anti-Inflammation Cookbook: Healing Through Natural Foods by Gary Null, Ph.D., and The Palm Beach Pain Relief System: A Drug-free, Clinically-proven, Natural Approach to Healing Chronic Pain, Arthritis and Injuries by Daniel I. Nuchovich, M.D.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Mariano Rivera Closes on the Daily Show

This morning on the Today Show: Candy Spelling, author of Candy at Last (Wiley, $25.95, 9781118409503).


This morning on Good Morning America: Rick Springfield, author of Magnificent Vibration: A Novel (Touchstone, $24.99, 9781476758909). He will also appear tomorrow on Michael and Kelly.


This morning on CBS This Morning: Anne Geddes, author of Anne Geddes Little Blessings (Sourcebooks, $14.99, 9781402298189). She will also appear on Katie.

Also on CBS This Morning: Christopher Buckley, author of But Enough About You: Essays (Simon & Schuster, $27.50, 9781476749518). He will also appear tomorrow on Morning Joe.


This morning on Fox & Friends: Sam Parnia, co-author of Erasing Death: The Science That Is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death (HarperOne, $14.99, 9780062080615).

Also on Fox & Friends: Jase Robertson, co-author of Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Fowl (Howard, $25.99, 9781476763538).


Today on the View: Robin Roberts, co-author of Everybody's Got Something (Grand Central, $27, 9781455578450).

Also on the View: Ben Ford, co-author of Taming the Feast: Ben Ford's Field Guide to Adventurous Cooking (Atria, $34.99, 9781476706399).


Today on CBS's the Talk: Susan Feniger, co-author of Susan Feniger's Street Food: Irresistibly Crispy, Creamy, Crunchy, Spicy, Sticky, Sweet Recipes (Clarkson Potter, $27.50, 9780307952585).


Today on MSNBC's the Cycle: Annabelle Gurwitch, author of I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50 (Blue Rider, $25.95, 9780399166181).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Ed Catmull, co-author of Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration (Random House, $28, 9780812993011).


Tonight on the Daily Show: Mariano Rivera, author of The Closer (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316400732).


Tonight on the Colbert Report: Edward O. Wilson, author of A Window on Eternity: A Biologist's Walk Through Gorongosa National Park (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781476747415). He will also appear on NPR's On Point and Charlie Rose.


Tonight on Conan: Ziggy Marley, author of I Love You Too (Akashic Books, $15.95, 9781617753107). He will also appear on today on Tavis Smiley and tomorrow on CBS's Arsenio Hall Show.


Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Farnoosh Torabi, author of When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women (Hudson Street, $25.95, 9781594632167).


Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Lynne Cheney, author of James Madison: A Life Reconsidered (Viking, $36, 9780670025190). She will also appear on the O'Reilly Factor.


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Sophia Amoruso, author of #GIRLBOSS (Portfolio, $26.95, 9780399169274).

Also on Good Morning America: Jason Priestley, author of Jason Priestley: A Memoir (HarperOne, $26.99, 9780062247582). He will also appear on the View and CBS's Entertainment Tonight.


Tomorrow on the View: Jenny McCarthy, author of Stirring the Pot: My Recipe for Getting What You Want Out of Life (Ballantine, $26, 9780553390865).


Tomorrow on Ellen: Alison Sweeney, author of The Star Attraction (Hyperion, $14.99, 9781401311049).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Marlo Thomas, author of It Ain't Over... Till It's Over: Reinventing Your Life--and Realizing Your Dreams--Anytime, at Any Age (Atria, $27, 9781476739915).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Peter Schuck, author of Why Government Fails So Often: And How It Can Do Better (Princeton University Press, $27.95, 9780691161624).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Bette Midler, author of A View from a Broad (Simon & Schuster, $29.99, 9781476773551).

TV: Outlander

The Starz network unveiled a full trailer and new images for Outlander, its upcoming series adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's novels. reported that the project, starring Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe, premieres this summer.

Books & Authors

Awards: Ondaatje Prize; RBC Bronwen Wallace

Finalists have been named for the £10,000 (US$ 16,890) RSL Ondaatje Prize, which honors "a book of the highest literary merit--fiction, nonfiction or poetry--evoking the spirit of a place." The winner will be announced on May 19. This year's shortlisted titles are:

The Blind Man's Garden by Nadeem Aslam
Badgerlands by Patrick Barkham
Spirit House by Mark Dapin
This Boy by Alan Johnson
Field Notes From a Hidden City by Esther Johnson
Four Fields by Tim Dee


The Writers' Trust of Canada has announced finalists for the $5,000 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, which is presented to writers under the age of 35 who are unpublished in book form and alternates each year between poetry and short fiction. This year's short story finalists are Montreal playwright Leah Jane Esau, Victoria Conservatory of Music faculty member and pianist Erin Frances Fisher, and Montreal/Toronto freelance writer Jakub Stachurski. The winner will be announced May 27 in Toronto.

Book Review

Review: Fourth of July Creek

Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson (Ecco, $26.99 hardcover, 9780062286444, May 27, 2014)

Firmly rooted in the remote Yaak River Valley of northwest Montana during the Reagan administration, Smith Henderson's robust first novel centers on Pete Snow, a dedicated Department of Family Services officer, and his caseload of broken families and displaced children. Among the "twitchy and dysarthric" kids, "newly suicided fathers and their wreckage" and mothers with "shifting partners and adversaries and errant unattached freaks" stands Jeremiah Pearl, a survivalist and paranoid fanatic. Although Pearl and his family have taken to the land and holed up in scattered wilderness camps with their guns and Bibles, his 11-year-old son, Ben, is referred to Snow when he wanders down from the mountains and is discovered sick and lost on the local school playground. With an epic sweep, Fourth of July Creek is the story of Snow's dogged attempts to "save" Ben, and Pearl's equally stubborn refusal to surrender his family to a society of "poisons and toxicants... entrapment, fiat currency, lawyers." It is also the story of Snow's scattered but sincere attempts to save himself from his own broken marriage and deal with his runaway teenage daughter, his alcoholism, his unpredictable brother wanted for assaulting his parole officer. As Pearl's paranoia increases and Snow's personal life unravels, violence escalates and Henderson's tale branches into a full-blown saga of modern American disconnection and extremism.

A 2011 Pushcart Prize winner and Pen Emerging Writers Award nominee, Henderson homes in on the U.S.'s dark side--from the outwardly majestic national forests of the American West where Pearl's isolated family confronts ATF and FBI agents, to the drugs and prostitution streets of Seattle and Indianapolis, where Snow's daughter scrambles to survive in a world without a family of her own. As Snow slowly wins his way into Pearl's world, he realizes that "Pearl is Snow is himself is everyone." He sees his own failure: "We did not love our child enough... I go into homes all the time and I save children... and I didn't save my own daughter."

If self-knowledge were enough, Snow might find redemption and even reunion with his daughter; but Henderson doesn't let us off the hook so easily. His aptly named novel might not be the country we want to see, but it is the one he convincingly shows us that we have. The U.S., and particularly the West, is "peopled with old Scots and Germans who stiffly stood in their canvas and gingham, in wind-blasted straw hair and dun hats like people hewn from wood... yet many had come to novel ends, death by dynamite by rope by fevers by horse by broken hearts by suicide." In this remarkable first novel, modern America is a hard place that only kindness and empathy can make easier. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: In a sweeping novel of one Montana man's personal struggles and another's political paranoia, Smith Henderson's debut uncovers the dark side of modern life.

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