Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 16, 2014

Atheneum Books: Bulldozer's Christmas Dig by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann

St. Martin's Press: The Christie Affair by Nina De Gramont

Soho Crime: My Annihilation by Fuminori Nakamura, translated by Sam Bett

Candlewick Press: Hello, Little Fish!: A Mirror Book by Lucy Cousins

Merriam-Webster Kids: Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day: 366 Elevating Utterances to Stretch Your Cranium and Tickle Your Humerus by Merriam-Webster

Other Press: Lemon by Yeo-Sun Kwon, translated by Janet Hong

Ballantine Books: The Maid by Nita Prose


Happy Bloomsday!

Today is Bloomsday, and festivities worldwide celebrate Leopold Bloom's day-long journey around Dublin in Ulysses and the life and work of James Joyce. You can check out the James Joyce Centre for news from Ireland and beyond. Here are a few more choice Bloomsday tidbits:

To celebrate publication of Kevin Birmingham's The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses, Penguin created a James Joyce Trivia Sweepstakes, featuring an online trivia quiz. One example: "Ulysses was originally published under the imprint of Sylvia Beach's bookshop. What was the bookshop's name?"

In an interview with the Washington Post, Maya Lang, whose new novel, The Sixteenth of June, is set in Philadelphia and "takes place in a single day involving a funeral and an annual Bloomsday party," told Ron Charles: "Happily, I'll be celebrating Bloomsday at the Strand Bookstore in New York City, where I'll be in conversation with author David Gilbert."

"Bloomsday on Broadway" hits the Big Apple tonight, where Symphony Space's "33rd annual ode to the language, life, and love in James Joyce's work centers on his short story collection Dubliners to celebrate the book's 100th anniversary." The event will feature readings by Cynthia Nixon, Malachy McCourt, Kelli O'Hara and Colum McCann.

In addition to the expected widespread use of the hashtag #Bloomsday, today's social media celebrations will also include #UlyssesPic from Liberate Ulysses and its "new Bloomsday project to bring James Joyce's Ulysses to life in the 'selfie' age."

House of Anansi Press: Out of the Sun: On Race and Storytelling by Esi Edugyan

BEA 2015: Two and a Half Days Followed by Two-Day BookCon

Next year's BookExpo America will run for two and a half days--the first day is the short day--followed by two full days of BookCon, the new consumer book show that made its debut last month at BEA, with no overlap of the two shows, according to Steve Rosato, BEA show director. The BEA show floor will open at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27, and continue until the end of the day on Friday, May 29. BookCon will be held on Saturday and Sunday, May 30 and 31. BEA and BookCon will take place again at the Javits Center in New York. 

The shift of the half day is highly unusual: for as long as we can remember, BEA and its predecessor, the ABA show, started in the morning, and any partial days were at the end.

On his blog, the BEAN, Rosato acknowledged that the new schedule may create "some challenges with the conference program schedule and set up time, but this makes BEA a more compact event without cutting significant time." He also emphasized that BEA is not being significantly shortened--it will run for 21 hours compared to this year's 22 hours--and said the show is always better attended and "more compelling" when held on weekdays. In addition, having BookCon immediately follow BEA allows "the companies vested in BookCon to staff properly and save on T&E by reducing some personnel," Rosato said.

Although some people have seen BookCon as "a big money grab," Rosato said, the inaugural BookCon last month "barely broke even" because of "the additional investment needed for a separate ticketing system, separate website and dedicated app and additional marketing plan, additional costs for security and cleaning.... The expectation is it will be a profitable event going forward, but only if we deliver a great experience for fans and a valuable investment for publishers."

In addressing complaints from "power readers" who apparently missed the experience they had of being able to be on the BEA trade show floor, Rosato said, "We recognize BookCon is a very different experience and that was intentional in order to draw consumers that are not thinking of or buying books. We understand you are different and you have a value that is incredibly important to the publishing ecosystem. Please be patient with us and let us continue to sift through the feedback so we can find a way that lets us blend the events for this distinct group without upsetting the balance for BEA's trade activity."

GLOW: Clarion Books: The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman

Foyles Opens 'Bookshop of the Future'

Christopher Foyle and Hilary Mantel

"If God had been a bookseller, he could have done no better than welcoming you to this temple of words," Hilary Mantel (now Dame Hilary) told the crowd gathered at Foyles bookshop in London last Friday evening. The novelist did the honors during the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the official opening of the new flagship store at 107 Charing Cross Road.

Book lovers packed into the light-filled atrium, lined the staircases on either side and peered down from glass balconies on the floors above as Mantel and owner Christopher Foyle formally introduced the new space--billed as the bookshop for the 21st century--with a champagne toast.

Foyles has had a presence on Charing Cross Road since 1906, with the last 85 years spent in a locale several doors down from the new flagship. The previous store was spread out on five floors over several buildings and had become inefficient and uneconomical to manage, explained Foyle during the grand opening celebration. He joked that customers sometimes became lost in the warren of aisles and had to be rescued by police dogs.

The revamped Foyles is in a building that previously housed the Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design. Although the interior has been completely renovated, some notable features from the structure's art school days remain, such as high ceilings and abundant windows that give the store a bright, airy feel.

While the amount of retail space (37,000 square feet) and number of different titles stocked (200,000) is comparable to that of the previous store, the look is dramatically different. When searching for inspiration for the store's esthetic, Sion Hamilton, retail operations director, thought of places like the Tate Modern and the Chicago Institute of Art.

"Galleries are places where there is a lot of information being absorbed, there's a lot of looking," he said. "It's not unlike a bookshop, but often there is more energy. I hope and I think we've created that feel here because if it's an interesting visual space and it's pleasant to shop in and you find new things, then you'll come back."

Encompassing eight levels, the layout flows around the atrium and incorporates multiple mezzanines as well as a 200-seat auditorium, a gallery and a café. In a nod to the building's former occupants, art books have prime space near the store's entrance, while fiction is located on a mezzanine adjacent to the ground floor. Each floor has a different feel, including the science and history section, which is more evocative of a traditional bookstore and a quiet zone for customers seeking solitude.

The many custom details include long, lectern-style display spaces with spot lighting that draws the eye to the books set on them. Another unusual feature is the oversize, vintage-looking murals, near the elevator banks, which commemorate moments in the history of Foyles, such as a literary luncheon series that launched in 1930 and hosted famed guests (John Lennon among them) and the war years, when the store remained open for business.

Some of the flagship's features are the result of suggestions made during workshops Foyles held in early 2013, when customers and book industry representatives were invited to contribute to the design. An idea that resulted from a brainstorming session is a search function that allows customers easily to find a particular book. After accessing the store's wi-fi and searching for the title, they're shown on a map where in the store it can be found and how to get there.

A cheer erupted during a workshop when someone suggested having a conveyer belt with books on it running throughout the store, a twist on the ones found in some sushi restaurants that wind past tables and allow customers to select their fare. Although the conveyer belt didn't come to pass, it helped inspire the diagonal placement of books on the walls along the store's stairways.

Ultimately, the beautifully designed and curated bookshop is "a place where discovery is possible," said Hamilton. "We always say that discovery is something that happens to the customer, you can't force it on them, but we've tried to create a space that people want to come in and explore." --Shannon McKenna Schmidt

Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association: We're throwing a bookselling party and you're invited!

Amazon: Warehouse Deaths; Smartphone Strategy

Advertisement for Amazon warehouse workers.

The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration division is investigating a death that took place in Amazon's Carlisle, Pa., warehouse on June 1, when a woman operating a motorized pallet jack was pinned when the jack crashed into shelving, according to the AP (via the San Francisco Chronicle).

OSHA just announced fines in another Amazon warehouse death, which took place in December, when a worker was crushed after "getting caught between a conveyor system while sorting packages" at Amazon's Avenel, N.J., warehouse, Bloomberg said.

The contractor responsible for the sorting operation and four temp agencies were fined $6,000 for not doing hazard assessments of the warehouse, the Harrisburg Patriot-News wrote. Amazon was not cited and said in a statement: "Any accident that occurs in a facility is one too many and we take these matters seriously."


photo: Techcrunch

In other Amazon news, many observers are predicting that a major Amazon press conference scheduled for Wednesday will be the setting for the unveiling of the company's first smartphone, through which Amazon "aims to close any remaining gap between the impulse to buy and the completed act," as the New York Times put it.

The Times quoted Rebecca Lieb, an analyst with the Altimeter Group, as saying, "If consumers adopt Amazon's phones--and that's a big 'if,' considering they love their iPhones and love their Android devices--it can then consolidate e-readers into smartphones, just like cameras and music players have been consolidated. The Kindle is going to be front and center on this device."

She predicted that if the smartphone is successful, "there could conceivably be more battles with suppliers, who will have to balance their fear of Amazon with their desire to sell more product."

Oddly, people invited to the press conference received a copy of Mr. Pine's Purple House by Leonard P. Kessler (Purple House Press)--a children's book about a man who makes his house distinct from the others on his block by painting it purple--with a note from CEO Jeff Bezos saying, "We're excited that you'll be joining us next week in Seattle. Enclosed is my favorite childhood book--Mr. Pine's Purple House. I think you'll agree that the world is a better place when things are a little bit different. See you soon."

Berkley Books: 30 Things I Love about Myself by Radhika Sanghani

For Sale: Monte Cristo Bookstore in New London, Conn.

Two years after opening the Monte Cristo Bookshop, New London, Conn., owners Christopher and Gina Jones have put their business up for sale so they can pursue other career interests. The Day reported Christopher announced on his personal Facebook page that the store "will either have to change ownership or close by the end of summer. We will be talking to prospective new owners in the next few months."

Noting that the bookstore made a profit last year, but proceeds were not enough to provide financial support for the couple, he said, "A lot of people will be very sad if this store closes. I'd say we definitely gave it a go the best that anyone could.... The store is very popular. We have a lot of regular customers."

Artemesia Publishing, LLC: The Last Professional by Ed Davis, illustrated by Colin Elgie


Image of the Day: Tripp to San Francisco

Last week author Ben Tripp helped a group of Bay Area booksellers transform the Ferry Building in San Francisco into the Faerie Building as they celebrated his forthcoming novel The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, his Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides (Starscape/Tor Teen, Oct.), the first in a trilogy of magical adventures set in 18th-century England.

Front row, from left: Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Books Inc.; author Ben Tripp; Susan Kunhardt, Book Passage; Angela Mann, Kepler's; Diane Donovan, Children's Bookwatch; Margaret Simpson, Diesel; sales rep Gigi Reinheimer; Liza Groen Trombi, Locus. Back row from left: Bill Donovan, Children's Bookwatch; Clay Kallam, Contra Costa Times; Hut Landon, NCIBA; Ann Seaton, Hicklebee's; Michele Bellah, Copperfield's; Patty Garcia, Tor. --Bridget Kinsella

Sterling: Dracula: Deluxe Edition by Bram Stoker, illustrated by Edward Gorey

Books & Books: 'Bookstores Can Always Stay Relevant'

In a lengthy Independent Publisher profile of Books & Books, which has seven locations, including one in the Cayman Islands, owner and founder Mitchell Kaplan offered advice to other bookstore owners who might expand: consolidate what can be consolidated and keep control over each store's operations, while making sure that each store feels different from the others and has stock that represents that community. He said, as Independent Publisher put it: "Bookstore owners should give each store manager some autonomy to acquire books that they believe in and encourage them to create a sense of ownership among the staff."

The piece recounts what led Kaplan into bookselling ("As I found myself in the bookstores of Washington, D.C., more than I visited the law library, I left law school with the specific plan to open a bookstore"), Books & Books' steady growth, Kaplan's participation in Miami Book Fair International, the development of Books & Books Press and more.

"I think bookstores can always stay relevant; no matter what happens in culture I believe there will always be a need for great, good places," Kaplan said. "And, ultimately, that's what inspires me the most."

Personnel Changes at Abrams, February Media

In the Abrams sales department:

Jessica Cullen has been promoted to national account manager.
Charlotte Dutton has been promoted to sales coordinator, special markets.
Danielle Cantarella has been promoted to sales coordinator.


Julianne Lewis has joined February Media, the book publicity and marketing agency, as publicist. She formerly was with the South Carolina Book Festival and earlier worked in marketing at the University of South Carolina Press and in public relations at the National Literacy Trust in London.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jennifer Weiner on Today

Today on Rachel Maddow: discussion of The Last Magazine by the late journalist Michael Hastings (Blue Rider, $26.95, 9780399169946). The novel will also be discussed tomorrow on Morning Joe and All In with Chris Hayes.


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


Today on CNN's the Lead with Jake Tapper: Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, authors of All the President's Men (Simon & Schuster, $17, 9781476770512).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Jennifer Weiner, author of All Fall Down: A Novel (Atria, $26.99, 9781451617788).


Tomorrow on the View: Jenny Mollen, author of I Like You Just the Way I Am: Stories About Me and Some Other People (St. Martin's Press, $24.99, 9781250041685).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Peter Finn and Petra Couvée, author of The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle over a Forbidden Book (Pantheon, $26.95, 9780307908001).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Carol Leifer, author of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying (Quirk Books, $19.95, 9781594746772).


Tomorrow on Bloomberg's Street Smart: Zhena Muzyka, author of Life by the Cup: Ingredients for a Purpose-Filled Life of Bottomless Happiness and Limitless Success (Atria, $25, 9781476759609). He will also appear on Fox Business's Lou Dobbs Tonight.


Tomorrow on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360: Marion Barry Jr., co-author of Mayor for Life: The Incredible Story of Marion Barry, Jr. (Strebor Books, $25, 9781593095055).


Tomorrow on a CNN Town Hall event with Christiane Amanpour: Hillary Rodham Clinton, author of Hard Choices (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781476751443).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Daniel Schulman, author of Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty (Grand Central, $30, 9781455518739).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: David Boies and Theodore B. Olson, authors of Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality (Viking, $28.95, 9780670015962).

Movies: Mudbloods

"The bludgers, quaffle, and golden snitches come to life" from the pages of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels in the documentary film Mudbloods, "which tracks the resilient underdogs of the UCLA Quidditch team as they battle their way to the Fifth Annual Quidditch World Cup in New York City," reported. Directed by Farzad Sangari, this chronicle of the collegiate "version of the high-flying sport" Harry Potter plays in J.K. Rowling's novels, will premiere at AFI DOCS June 21 before opening digitally and in limited release this fall.

Books & Authors

Awards: Frank O'Connor Short Story, Sunburst Shortlists

A shortlist has been announced for the €25,000 (US$33,900) Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. The winner will be honored during the Cork International Short Story Festival this September in Ireland. This year's shortlisted O'Connor titles are:

Young Skins by Colin Barrett (Ireland)
All the Rage by A.L. Kennedy (U.K.)
Redeployment by Phil Klay (U.S.)
Leaving the Sea by Ben Marcus (U.S.)
Bark by Lori Moore (U.S.)
The Isle of Youth by Laura Van Den Berg (U.S.)


Shortlists for the Sunburst Awards, sponsored by the Sunburst Award Society and honoring "excellence in Canadian literature of the fantastic," have been announced and can be seen here. Winners will be chosen in the fall.

Book Review

Review: The Queen of the Tearling

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (Harper, $26.99 hardcover, 9780062290366, July 8, 2014)

Debut novelist Erika Johansen kicks off her career with the first installment in an epic series sure to enthrall adult and teenage readers alike. Her hybrid world blends dystopia with high fantasy for an unforgettable adventure.

Since childhood, Kelsea Raleigh has known she would grow up to take her deceased mother's place as Queen of the Tearling. Raised in solitude by a trusted couple, Kelsea is collected on her 19th birthday by Lazarus, a Queen's Guard better known to his friends and enemies as the Mace because of his weapon of choice. Lazarus and his men warn Kelsea that every Tearling queen lives with a target on her back, and the proof comes when the group is attacked by assassins on their journey to the Tearling capital.

Kelsea and Lazarus are half-rescued, half-kidnapped by the Fetch, a masked outlaw with an interest in Tearling politics who releases them only after assuring himself of Kelsea's worthiness as a queen. Although drawn to the Machiavellian bandit, Kelsea soon has other problems to worry about when she reaches her new home. Her uncle, the Regent, would rather see her dead than lose control of the throne, and one of her trusted guards may be a traitor. Worse still, she learns that her mother brokered peace with the hostile country of Mortmesne and its ruler, an ageless and evil sorceress known only as the Red Queen, by offering tithes of slaves chosen from the general population by lottery. Kelsea's only hope lies in the mysterious power of two sapphire necklaces passed down through her family, if she can learn to control them in time to avert disaster. In the fires of treachery, terror and mortal peril, Kelsea must forge herself into her people's sword and shield.

Johansen eschews the popular technology-heavy dystopian future in favor of a feudal society in which our modern medicine and machines are literally things of the past; Kelsea's people know such technology existed but have lost the means to re-create any of it. The return of serfdom and slavery in a world whose founder intended to create a utopia speaks to the darker side of human nature, but Kelsea's naïve bravery and love for her people give hope to the optimist in all of us. Perfect for fans of Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns trilogy or Melina Marchetta's Lumatere Chronicles, Kelsea's coming-of-age journey will have strong YA crossover appeal, but any reader who appreciates a whirlwind of swords and sorcery with a heavy dash of political intrigue will fall in love with this young queen. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: A blend of high fantasy and dystopia, this debut novel about a young queen taking the throne in perilous times is already in development as a film starring Emma Watson.

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