Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Flatiron Books: The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Nti-Asare-Tubbs

Candlewick Press: In the Half Room by Carson Ellis

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Kondo & Kezumi Visit Giant Island by David Goodner, illustrated by Andrea Tsurumi

Candlewick Press: A Polar Bear in the Snow by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Shawn Harris

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Shadow Mountain: The Paper Daughters of Chinatown by Heather B Moore

Quotation of the Day

'Why Indie Bookstores Are on the Rise Again'

"Independent bookstores never had to answer to the dictates of public markets. Many of their proprietors understood, intuitively and from conversations with customers, that a well-curated selection--an inventory of old and new books--was their primary and maybe only competitive advantage.... And while indies cannot compete with Amazon's inventory, Amazon evidently cannot supplant indies as shopping and social experiences.

"The independent stores will never be more than a niche business of modest sales and very modest profitability. But the same is true for many small businesses, which makes them no less vital.... The independents, meanwhile, offer something neither Amazon nor the chains can: attention to the quirky needs of their customer base. For the Upper West Side and thousands of other neighborhoods, those stores have turned out to be irreplaceable."

--Zachary Karabell in a Slate piece headlined "Why Indie Bookstores Are on the Rise Again"

Sharjah Book Authority: Publishers Conference, November 1st - 3rd 2020


More on B&N: Wall Street Likes Results, Book Strength

Wall Street approved of Barnes & Noble's first quarter results, which included a 7% drop in sales but a nearly two-thirds cut in the net loss. Yesterday, when the Dow dropped 0.6%, B&N stock rose 3.7%, to $24.09.

In a conference call with analysts, Mitch Klipper, CEO of the B&N Retail Group, said he was "extremely happy" with the general bookselling division's performance, pointing to a decline in sales at stores open at least a year of 0.4%. This is in line, he said, "with the improved trends we have experienced during the second half of fiscal 2014. We remain encouraged by these underlying trends, which continued to show a moderation of the physical book sales decline."

He added that the division benefited from "the continued growth of our juvenile book business and the improving trends of the adult trade business, both of which have benefited from movie tie-ins such as Frozen, Divergent and Gone Girl. We also continued to see our sales lift as a result of Amazon's dispute with Hachette. Additionally, our toys and games business continued to outperform growing 19.5%."

Klipper said that B&N is "excited about the title lineup that will lead us in to the holiday season, including Edge of Eternity, the final book in Ken Follett's epic Century trilogy, the as-of-yet untitled biography by George W. Bush of his father, George H.W. Bush, Bill O'Reilly's Killing Patton and John Grisham's Gray Mountain, to name a few."

The three-week Get Pop-Cultured campaign this summer, a nationwide celebration of popular entertainment that included Batman Day and a James Patterson Day, also helped, he said, to drive "traffic, sales and new customers to our stores and reinforced Barnes & Noble as an entertainment destination."

So far, B&N's partnership with Google to offer same-day delivery service through Google Shopping Express in New York City, West Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area is available in eight stores. Klipper said B&N hopes "to expand concurrently with Google's expansion plans" and has "received encouraging feedback from early users."

The launch of the new website,, originally planned for this summer, has been delayed and won't be ready before the holidays. "Completion is taking longer than anticipated and the holiday season is too an important time to test a new system," Klipper said. "We do expect to launch the website later this fiscal year."

B&N closed three general stores during the quarter, opened 22 college stores and closed 17 college stores.

University of Minnesota Press: My Life in the Purple Kingdom by Brownmark and Cynthia M Uhrich

New Owners for Brockport's Lift Bridge Book Shop

Lift Bridge Book Shop, Brockport, N.Y., "is making moves for a big transition in the coming months," the Stylus reported. The bookstore, which was founded 42 years ago by Archie and Pat Kutz, is being sold to former employees John Bonczyk and Cody Steffen, who approached the Lutzes about taking over the store last December after it was put on the market. They will officially become owners January 1.

"Basically, I started this store in 1972 and [it's] gotten to the point both my wife and I are looking to move on and do something different," Kutz said, adding that they "found some people who were interested but they really weren't. Then two young fellows who are former employees, John and Cody, have stepped forward."

Steffen, who worked at Lift Bridge for four years, had been away for a year. "I missed it here in Brockport and in the store itself," he said. "I think it will be rewarding, I'm enjoying it so far."

Bonczyk worked for two years at the bookshop while pursuing an accounting degree at the College at Brockport. "Before when I was here, I was just working here in the store and not really seeing behind the scenes of what actually needs to be done financially to keep the store afloat," he recalled. "After getting my degree and going through all the accounting classes and business classes, I had more of a comfortable understanding of what the numbers mean. At the end of the day, business decisions need to be made not of what I think's going to happen but what I know should be happening supported by the numbers."

Steffen noted that for the time being, "we're concentrating on just getting comfortable and getting confident and doing everything they've been doing for years and then branching out into new stuff.... We want people to know it's a fun place people can come to."

Storey Publishing: Wake Up Grateful: The Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted by Kristi Nelson

Amazon: Government Patronage; First N.C. Distribution Center

An editorial in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, headlined "Amazon Loves Government," explored the online retailer's battle with Hachette, as well as the support it has received from the U.S. Department of Justice and district court Judge Denise Cote in the agency pricing conflict.

"Amazon can claim a consumer interest in lower prices. But prices aren't the only measure of consumer benefit, especially if lower prices discourage new investment in quality and innovation and consumer choice," the Journal wrote. "Publishers are literary venture capital firms that finance writing and research that may not pay off for years if it ever does. They deserve some influence over how intellectual property is distributed.... What is clear is that Amazon ought to stop claiming to be a tribune of the market when its chief patron is government."

Amazon plans to open a 222,500-square-foot distribution center in Concord, N.C., in November, the Business Journal reported, citing "sources with knowledge of the project" and noting that job listings have already been published for positions needed to staff the facility. Located at Concord Airport Business Park, the warehouse would be Amazon's first in the state.

KidsBuzz for the Week of 09.28.20

Rick Wolff Joins HMH to Launch Business Book Line

Effective September 15, Rick Wolff will become a senior executive editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, where he is launching a new line of business books that will publish approximately 10-15 titles per year.

"I have long wanted to expand our business publishing here at HMH, and Rick is the perfect person to lead that effort. His experience is unparalleled, and his track record speaks for itself," said Bruce Nichols, senior v-p and publisher of HMH's general interest group.

Prior to joining HMH, Wolff was founder, editor-in-chief and publisher of Warner Business books and then the Business Plus imprint at Grand Central. He acquired and edited more than 50 New York Times, Wall Street Journal or BusinessWeek bestselling business books by notable authors in the field, including Robert Kiyosaki, Hank Paulson, Jack Welch, Ted Turner, Mike Krzyzewski, Capt. Mike Abrashoff, Donald T. Phillips, Alexis Ohanian, Jeff Benedict, Dr. Robert Cialdini and Dr. Robert Sutton.

"I couldn't be more delighted to join HMH and to establish a first-rate business list here" said Wolff, "I'm looking forward to hitting the ground running and to start acquiring titles right away."

California Bookstores: Opt-into CALIBA's Fall Email Marketing Campaign - Free to You!

Astoria's Enigma Bookstore's New Retail Model

In May, Enigma Bookstore announced plans to close and search for a new location in Astoria, Queens, after less than a year in business. On Facebook Monday, Claire LaPlaca, co-owner with Hugh Brammer, said Enigma has decided to change its business model.

"Going forward, we are closing the retail aspect of the business, the actual store, and expanding the events to various venues in the N.Y. area," she wrote. "We have been most successful with events and quite frankly, it is what Hugh and I prefer. The physical bookstore will close late September after the last event. We then will be having numerous other events in the next couple of months at various locations. We of course will have many in Astoria as this is Enigma's birthplace. But will be bringing the love of books, specifically genre fiction, to many other areas."

Rick Riordan Presents: City of the Plague God by Sarwat Chadda

National Book Foundation Honoring Ursula K. Le Guin

The National Book Foundation is awarding its 2014 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, which recognizes "individuals who have made an exceptional impact on this country’s literary heritage," to Ursula K. Le Guin. Neil Gaiman will present the award to her November 19 at the National Book Awards Ceremony in New York City.

NBF executive director Harold Augenbraum said Le Guin "has had an extraordinary impact on several generations of readers and, particularly, writers in the United States and around the world. She has shown how great writing will obliterate the antiquated--and never really valid--line between popular and literary art. Her influence will be felt for decades to come."

Obituary Note: Graham Joyce

British author Graham Joyce, "who won a string of British Fantasy Awards for his acclaimed, genre-defying novels," died yesterday, the Leicester Mercury reported. He was 59. In a tribute, io9 wrote that Joyce "was a monumental writer in the fantasy genre. His humane, intense writing was like a masterclass in how to put story first, and he knew how to write people, with all our blind spots and our hopeful mistakes." His most recent book was The Year of the Ladybird (2013), which was released in the U.S. this year under the title The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit.

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Do Right by Me
by Valerie I. Harrison and
Kathryn Peach D'Angelo

GLOW: Temple University Press: Do Right by Me: Learning to Raise Black Children in White Spaces by Valerie I. Harrison and Kathryn Peach D'AngeloAn essential guide for non-Black parents and caregivers by authors with authority and first-hand experience, Do Right by Me: Learning to Raise Black Children in White Spaces arrived at a fortuitous time for Ryan Mulligan, editor at Temple University Press: "I couldn't find the book I was looking for: an orientation to raising a Black child in America for someone who hadn't grown up with the experiences, networks and knowledge that most Black parents bring to the task. And then Val and Katie reached out." Mulligan and his publishing team were "blown away by the authors' honesty, friendship and message." Presenting a brutally honest assessment of the ways in which the justice and education systems often work against Black children, Do Right by Me offers bold, uplifting strategies for helping them develop the awareness, resources and resilience to thrive. --Shahina Piyarali

(Temple University Press, $20 paperback, 9781439919958,
November 27, 2020)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported



Image of the Day: New Cannon Beach Book Co. Owners

Maureen Dooley-Sroufe and Deb Mersereau, two long-time employees of Cannon Beach Book Company in Cannon Beach, Ore., have purchased the store following the death of Valerie Ryan, who founded the store in 1980. They held a celebration at the store this week and said, "What a beginning! We are overwhelmed by the love and support (and beautiful flowers!) from our family, friends, and community--thank you for making Day One so spectacular! We look forward to carrying on the good name of Cannon Beach Book Company with pride and spirit!"

Politics & Prose Presents: The Writers' Cottage

Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C., has launched the Writers' Cottage in Ashland, Va., a new initiative in which the bookseller will host individual writers who are looking for a quiet retreat as well as those who would like to participate in author-led workshops.

P&P describes the Writers' Cottage as "a beautiful Craftsman-style bungalow... only 90 miles from D.C. and easily accessible by either car or train, is a charming getaway equipped with everything that you need for writing and relaxing. The cottage has a kitchen, dining room, bedroom, writing room, and a fenced garden (well-behaved dogs are welcome). You will also have access to wi-fi and a printer. Ashland is a historic railway town with scenic streets and is the perfect destination for a week away."

Three options are available at the Writers' Cottage:

  1. Enjoy a week of writing, reading, and relaxing while staying at the peaceful Writers' Cottage in Ashland.
  2. Take your writing to the next level with a week of one-on-one editorial guidance from author Phyllis Theroux while staying at the Writers' Cottage.
  3. The Writers' Cottage and the Henry Clay Inn will host week-long writing workshops, the first led by author Howard Norman.

Read On. Get On. Coalition Tackles U.K. 'Reading Crisis'

A Read On. Get On. campaign has been launched to address a "reading crisis" among British children and "to create a nation of strong readers by supporting parents to read with young children for ten minutes a day, to build a coalition of the influential organizations to support the mission, and urge political parties to support the target of helping all children read well by 2025," the Bookseller reported.

Participating organizations include Save the Children, Booktrust, the Publishers Association, National Association of Head Teachers, Beanstalk, the Reading Agency, Teach First, the National Literacy Trust, I CAN, HarperCollins, Achievement for All and the Fair Education Alliance. They joined forces "after research found that by 2015, 1.5 million children in the U.K. will have reached the age of 11 unable to read well," the Bookseller wrote. Disadvantaged children were affected most, with "four in 10 not reading well by the age of 11, double the rate of their better off peers."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ken Burns on NPR's Diane Rehm Show

Today on Sirius XM's the Maggie Linton Show and Leiberman Live: Dr. Yamma Brown, co-author of Cold Sweat: My Father James Brown and Me (Chicago Review Press, $24.95, 9781883052850).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Ken Burns, co-author of The Roosevelts: An Intimate History (Knopf, $60, 9780307700230).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Joyce Carol Oates, editor of Prison Noir (Akashic Books, $15.95, 9781617752391). As the show put it: "This week, we speak with Joyce Carol Oates about Prison Noir, a collection of stories written by incarcerated individuals in the United States prison system. Edited by Oates, this is one in a series of noir anthologies put out by Akashic, whose motto is the 'reverse-gentrification of the literary world.' Can these stories be read as literature? Our discussion divides between the shocking realism of the stories, the process of procuring them, and what Oates has experienced as a teacher at San Quentin."


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Lonn Taylor, co-author of The Star-Spangled Banner: The Making of an American Icon (Smithsonian, $29.95, 9780060885625).

TV: Flowers In the Attic Series

The third and fourth installments of Lifetime's Flowers in the Attic series, based on V.C. Andrews's novels, are headed to the small screen. reported that If There Be Thorns has been greenlighted and Seeds of Yesterday is "about to get the official go-ahead shortly," with Jason Lewis (Sex and the City) set for both films, which will be written by Andrew Cochran and Darren Stein, respectively. Shooting on If There Be Thorns, directed by Nancy Savoca, is slated to begin next month in Vancouver.

Books & Authors

Awards: Polari First Book; NSW Premier's History

The shortlist has been announced for the £1,000 (US$1,610) Polari First Book Prize, which honors a debut work that "explores the LGBT experience and is open to any work of poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction published in the U.K. in English." This year, for the first time, the shortlisted books will be displayed at major WH Smiths Travel outlets across the U.K. The winner will be announced October 8 in London. The Polari First Book Prize shortlisted works are:

I Am Nobody's Nigger by Dean Atta
Petite Mort by Beatrice Hitchman
Fairytales for Lost Children by Diriye Osman
God's Other Children: A London Memoir by Vernal W. Scott
The Rubbish Lesbian by Sarah Westwood


Winners were named for the New South Wales Premier's History Awards, which total $75,000 in prize money. Books+Publishing reported that the awards included an Australian Military History Prize to commemorate the centenary of World War I by acknowledging "the work of historians in interpreting and understanding our nation's involvement in the First World War." The commemorative medal was awarded to Mike Carlton for First Victory. You can find the other New South Wales Premier's History Award winners here.

Book Brahmin: Gregory Maguire

photo: Andy Newman

Gregory Maguire is perhaps best known as the author of the novel Wicked, the further exploration of the Land of Oz and the basis of the smash-hit Broadway musical. With Egg & Spoon (Candlewick, September), he places folktale star Baba Yaga in Tsarist Russia where two teenage girls meet: one very wealthy, the other poverty-stricken. Maguire and his family live in Massachusetts.

On your nightstand now:

The Late Scholar, a Lord Peter Wimsey novel by Jill Paton Walsh; The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt; and Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Hard to decide, because as a child you change every two months. But the stand-out book for showing me what literary atmosphere means was L.M. Boston's The Children of Green Knowe. I read it in second or third grade--the earliest full-length novel I can remember reading.

Your top five authors:

Well, today, here is how they present themselves to my asking mind:

Emily Dickinson
T.H. White
Maurice Sendak
E.M. Forster
John Updike

Book you've faked reading:

Hmmm. That's not my way. About books I haven't read, I remain silent, though I concede that might be construed as faking. Most books I've been silent on I later went on to read. Mann's The Magic Mountain is one that leaps to mind that I have never yet read, though have listened to vigorous discussions of and nodded my head with interest.

Book you are an evangelist for:

Unleaving, a late 1970s young adult novel by Jill Paton Walsh. Also Towers of Trebizond, a late 1950s adult novel by Rose Macauley.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Most recently, W.G. Sebald's A Place in the Country.

Book that changed your life:

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. I have been keeping a spy journal for 47 years, ever since I read it.

Favorite line from a book:

I am not sure this is verbatim, and it's two lines, but close enough. From James's Portrait of a Lady, spoken by Henrietta Stackpole, I think: "You know I'm deeply human, Isabel; I always was." I can hear the young Maggie Smith delivering this with a condescension and a self-satisfied smack of the lips, or Tina Fey, or Carol Burnett, and knocking it out of the park.

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

Perhaps Alice in Wonderland, because once a reader has finished and mapped out the unmappable dream, it is impossible to experience again freshly the sense of lostness and the fright of inconsequentiality that that book introduced into the reading experience--presaging, in my view, the Lost Generation's experiments by a half century.

Favorite books outside my comfort zone:

Third Rail by Rory Flynn, an urban/suburban Boston crime novel.

Favorite reason to buy books I already own:

Books published in England, generally a little cheaper in production detail, nonetheless have a useful foreignness to them (different standards of leading, of page design, different typefaces) that highlights the extreme pleasure inherent in leaning toward a book, to make its foreignness familiar.

Book Review

YA Review: Glory O'Brien's History of the Future

Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King (Little, Brown, $18 hardcover, 320p., ages 13-up, 9780316222723, October 14, 2014)

In her latest novel, A.S. King (Reality Boy) turns her piercing gaze on consumerism and feminism, as well as family secrets and depression.

One night in a rural town, two high school seniors find a petrified bat. When it crumbles to dust, Glory and Ellie decide to mix it with a beer and drink it down. Why? In the eternal rationale of youth: Why not? The next morning, they wake up to find that they can see the past and future of anyone they look at.

Glory's mother killed herself when Glory was very young, and Glory and her father have never so much as talked about it. Her father has retreated into his work, and Glory has made do with her one friend, Ellie, who lives across the street at a hippie compound. As graduation nears, Ellie and Glory are growing farther apart, and Glory is plagued by fears that she'll end up just like her mother. Then she drinks the bat and finds her mother's journals in her home's old dark room, and everything changes.

As she begins to understand her mother's depression better, Glory also starts to understand herself. She watches Ellie throw herself at one boy after another, seeking the validation she doesn't get from her parents, and Glory starts to look at the expectations society sets for teenage girls, and to be thankful for the way her father raised her. As the secrets buried in her parents' past come to light, the confusions of her current life begin to clear up. And as she has vision after vision of the past and future, Glory sees a grim future in which women are not only banned from working, but kidnapped and controlled by a crazed rogue government.

Glory is a wry, occasionally acerbic narrator, exhibiting the balance of truth-telling and blindness so common to smart teens. In trademark King style, the chapters alternate between daily life and troubled future, despair and humor, rage and acceptance. On the surface, Glory O'Brien's History of the Future is two novels: one about a girl struggling to come to terms with her mother's suicide, and one about a future, war-torn America. King's skillful interweaving shows how these two stories play off one another: without the assurance of a future, Glory may never move forward herself. Whatever that future looks like, it exists--and Glory's ability to see a future, any future, is what ultimately helps her heal. --Jenn Northington, events manager at WORD bookstore

Shelf Talker: When Glory O'Brien accidentally gains the power to see the future, she can finally confront the trauma in her past.

KidsBuzz: Vesuvian Books: 7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner
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