Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Algonquin Young Readers: the Beautiful Game by Yamile Saied Méndez

Berkley Books: Books that will sweep you off your feet! Enter Giveaway!

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber


Scuppernong Books Adds Three New Co-owners

Scuppernong Books, the bookstore and wine bar in Greensboro, N.C., that opened in December 2013, has added three new owners, the Triad Business Journal reported.

"Downtown boosters Dave and Deb White and Scuppernong staffer Kira Larson" are the new co-owners, joining Brian Lampkin, Gregory Grieve and Steve Mitchell. Lampkin told the Journal: "To do this right, and do this well, we'll need to invest quite a bit of money into our inventory. That's largely what we're doing with the new investment."

Blackstone Publishing: Rogue Community College: A Liberty House Novel by David R Slayton

NAIBA Fall Conference: 'New Sense of Togetherness'

The New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association held its annual Fall Conference in Arlington, Va., this past weekend, welcoming 166 booksellers and more than 250 authors and publishers. It began Friday afternoon with a tour of iconic Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C., where co-owners Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine welcomed fellow NAIBA members before the visiting booksellers broke up into groups for tours of the store and a reception.

At a preview dinner that evening, Simon & Schuster field rep Tim Hepp called the fall conference an "annual reunion of sorts," with a new sense of togetherness brought on in part by rallying around Hachette during the company's ongoing standoff with Amazon. "I think it's safe to say that NAIBA is proud to support Hachette as long as this battle is to be waged," he said.

David Baldacci signs for booksellers at NAIBA.

Following with the conference's theme of discovery, four authors spoke about their recent and upcoming books: Bryan Stevenson, the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, talked about his experience as a lawyer and his book Just Mercy; illustrator Marla Frazee spoke about the creation of her new picture book, The Farmer and the Clown; Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan discussed her love for The Great Gatsby and her book So We Read On; and Malcolm Brooks recounted how books "literally saved my life" and explained his writing process for his debut novel, Painted Horses.

The conference resumed the next morning with an author breakfast featuring David Baldacci (The Finisher), Mac Barnett (The Terrible Two), Richard Blanco (The Prince of los Cocuyos) and Marisa de los Santos (The Precious One). Said Baldacci to the booksellers in attendance: "If the book industry has a heart, and I think it does, you're it."

At the conference's keynote panel, "Internet and Technology: The Good & The Bad," Franklin Foer, journalist and editor of the New Republic, discussed trends in technology and society and their implications for independent bookstores with Andrew Keen, author of the upcoming book The Internet Is Not the Answer. Keen said there was "tremendous creativity and vitality in the independent bookstore," and asserted that one of the "ironies of the Internet is that it's created more value for the physical." As things become increasingly digital, he said, the physical will have more and more value. In addition, bookstores offer real serendipity, a physical, personal meeting place, and booksellers can rebuild the culture of trust that the "Internet has undermined."

Mac Barnett after breakfast.

Speaking about Amazon, Foer called it a "great shame" that journalists and politicians are both seemingly unable or unwilling to "call a monopoly a monopoly." Any company, he added, that deliberately lowers prices to the point that it can't turn a profit "has clear monopolistic pretensions." And in the broader cultural conversation, those pretensions remain "bizarrely unstated."

At NAIBA's annual Book of the Year awards banquet that evening, the top prize for fiction went to Jhumpa Lahiri for The Lowland, while Roz Chast's Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant won the nonfiction prize. Joe Ginis of Workman Publishing received the Helmuth Sales Rep of the Year award, while Michael Fortney, a bookseller at Chester County Book Company, West Chester, Pa., won the Joe Drabyak Handseller of the Year Award. --Alex Mutter

BA Conference: Bookshops Still the 'Very Best Route to Market'

A pair of timely quotes emerged from the Booksellers Association of the U.K. and Ireland's Conference yesterday, as reported by the Bookseller:

BA president Tim Walker said bookshops "are still the very best places to discover books. In this modern bookselling era of p-books and e-books, the world has not ended for bookshops as many predicted. Yes it is tough, but print book sales through bookshops are still strong and whilst it is easy to become distracted by the allure of digital media, we must maintain publishers' and authors' focus on the fact that booksellers and bookshops are still their very best route to market.... We should reiterate our belief that booksellers believe in freedom, diversity, partnership and a profitable book industry for all."

And in his keynote speech, comedian David Mitchell observed that Amazon already has "an enormous technological edge but apparently that isn't enough. They also have to have a rapacious near-monopoly."

He also compared the online retailer to art (and boxing... and a disease): "Like any really important work of art, it is bound to upset a few people. Just as Banksy causes collateral damage to the neatness of walls, so Amazon's masterpiece is a defacement of the public purse.... This shows an impish wit and a dark insight. What elevates Amazon's activity is the fact that Amazon applied for government grants. The elegance of that corporate choice is like the ambiguity of the Mona Lisa smile, Mike Tyson's punch or the adaptability of the malaria virus. There is no point in criticizing anybody or anything that can do that, they can only be admired or destroyed....

"I understand the changes in work and business patterns that have been caused by the Internet are irreversible. Still, it is amazing that Amazon, in an act of dazzling contempt, has managed to persuade the Treasury actually to pump water into the rising sea."

Booklynn: A Bookseller Begins Her Journey

I first met Lynn Rosen in 2012 at BookExpo America. At the time, she was the editorial director for Book Business magazine, a position she took on after a long career in book publishing as an editor, a literary agent and an educator. Lynn recently told me about a new path her publishing career is following: along with her husband, she is about to open a bookstore in her small suburban Philadelphia town. Happily for us, she will write an occasional column for Shelf Awareness about the experience of becoming a bookseller. The first installment follows. --John Mutter

Lynn Rosen

There is a story I like to tell about something that happened when I was a young editor at Ballantine Books. I was presenting my first book at an in-house sales meeting in the big Random House conference room, and I was nervous, to say the least. The book I presented was by written by a high school teacher about his many moving experiences with his students, and I spoke of how readers would be touched by these stories. When I finished, one of the senior sales managers looked at me across the conference room table and asked: "What shelf is it going to go on in the bookstore?"

I was flummoxed. This was a question I had not anticipated, for I had never thought about the books I acquired in those terms. And yet this was to become one of the most important questions ever asked of me in my publishing career. What the question really meant, I came to realize, was: how was a reader going to find the book? As publishing expert Judith Appelbaum recently said to me in an interview for Publishing Perspectives, the route from publisher to reader is "risky and dicey and full of potholes."

I've been working in the book publishing industry for a long time, from my very first job in college and professional publishing as an editorial assistant at the now-defunct Pergamon Press, to my time as an editor at Ballantine and other houses (Running Press, Peter Pauper Press) and eight years running my own literary agency, Leap First. I have also taught publishing. I began my work as an educator teaching a graduate publishing class at Drexel University on how to write a book proposal, and for three years I was the program director for graduate publishing at Rosemont College. I have also written several books and cover publishing for several industry trade publications.

Through it all, in my work helping authors write books, doing my own writing, and teaching, that question posed to me all those years ago has stayed with me, the question of how the reader finds the book. So compelled was I to learn more about the answer to this question, that when I was living in Park Slope running my literary agency and Barnes & Noble announced it would open its first Brooklyn store there, I signed on as a bookseller. I worked with others before the store opened to receive boxes and boxes of new books and to unpack and shelve them. I was there when the first customers arrived, those eager to shop, and those eager to protest B&N opening so close to beloved local indie Community Books.

I stayed and I worked, learning that the job of bookseller is one of lifting and carrying, shelving and alphabetizing. I learned to keep a stock of clean tissues for the sneezing that the dusty shelves stimulated. I learned to help shore up the local author who was frustrated because the B&N computer system had allocated her lesbian mystery series to the Women's Studies section. Soon, I was promoted to work at the info desk, where I loved helping customers find books and recommending new ones. I learned well how important it is to know what shelf a book will go on.

In 2002, my husband, Evan Schwartz, and I moved our family to my hometown of Philadelphia. In 2011, I launched Open Book, through which I create and run book discussion classes and author events. Last year, Evan (himself a former bookstore manager of both branches of the Bookbridge near Binghamton, N.Y.) and I decided to add a bookselling element to Open Book. Since I was recommending books that my students were purchasing on my recommendation, why not sell them ourselves? I applied for a sales & use tax number in Pennsylvania, and opened an account with Baker & Taylor.

When the nearest bookstore, B&N in Jenkintown, closed, we felt it was time to grow. We pitched the local food co-op on giving us space for the occasional pop-up bookstore, which was well-received by the community. And now, after over a year of off-site and mobile bookselling, we are taking the next step.

The front of the store where Open Book will reside.

Early next month, we plan to open a small bricks-and-mortar Open Book bookstore in our suburban town of Elkins Park, Pa. We've been invited to use space within an existing store. The proprietress of the long-time local business the Frame House is sub-leasing us 300 square feet in the front of her shop. It's a great small way, we think, to get a start bookselling in a community in which we live and are already actively involved.

And now, there is quite a lot to do. We've just joined ABA as new members. We have a lawyer friend helping us turn Open Book from a sole proprietorship into an LLC. We've gotten some quotes on insurance. We need to come up with enough money to purchase fixtures and our starter inventory (what we have so far for the pop-up numbers in the hundreds--we know we will need thousands of new books, even for this small space), and we're considering a crowdsourcing campaign. And we are working on our business plan, and are rather stumped by the part where you need to estimate potential income. We'd love advice on how to do that!

I thank you in advance for welcoming me into this vital and important community of booksellers who are readers of Shelf Awareness. I in turn welcome you to reach out to me at with any ideas and suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you!

Obituary Notes: Steve Cogil Casari, Jim Deva

Stephen L. Cogil Casari, founder of the Tattered Cover bookstore and involved in the book world in a variety of ways for decades, died on September 15. He was 66. (Known in the business as Steve Cogil, he took his wife's surname when he married.)

He began his career at the Old Corner Bookstore in Boston. In 1971, he founded the Tattered Cover, which he sold to Joyce Meskis in 1974. He later worked at the American Booksellers Association, where he had a regular column in American Bookseller magazine, was a contributor to ABA Newswire and taught at many ABA Bookseller Schools. At Ingram, he created the wholesaler's ROSI program, and also ran and owned the Book Market regional chain of bookstores (later sold to Walden). In addition, he was a consultant to independent bookstores and museums, a book agent and a book packager.

Friends in the book business and elsewhere remember Steve as a great storyteller, for his wise professional counsel, and his love of Maine and its coast.


Jim Deva, co-founder of Little Sister's Book & Art Emporium and "a leader in Vancouver's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community," died Sunday, CBC News reported. He was 65. Deva "became a advocate for free speech as he fought censorship all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada," CBC News wrote.

In a statement, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson praised Deva as "an inspiration to Vancouver and all Canadians, and his irrepressible courage and tireless advocacy for equal rights and free expression played an enormous role in shaping the city that Vancouver is today.... His counsel will be sorely missed by all of us at City Hall, but his legacy will continue to inspire our work together to keep building a safer, prouder, more inclusive, and more equal Vancouver."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
A Forty Year Kiss
by Nickolas Butler
GLOW: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler is a passionate, emotionally complex love story that probes tender places within the heart and soul. When 60-somethings Charlie and Vivian--married then divorced in their 20s--reunite after four decades, they are swept up by the very best of what their romantic relationship once offered. "Anyone who has ever thought about what might have been will find this book fascinating," says Shana Drehs, senior editorial director at Sourcebooks Landmark. "The story is a brilliant exploration of a second chance at love, always realistic but never saccharine." As Charlie and Vivian build a bridge from past to present, their enduring love paving over potholes, Butler (Shotgun Lovesongs) raises questions about how life changes people--or does it?--and delivers another heartening, unforgettable novel. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

(Sourcebooks Landmark, $27.99 Hardcover, 9781464221248, 
February 4, 2025)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Saving Chizi, the Orphaned Black Rhino

On Sunday, more than 300 people attended a launch party hosted by Diane's Books in Greenwich, Conn., and TUSK USA for Chizi's Tale: The True Story of an Orphaned Black Rhino by Jack Jones, illustrated by Jacqui Taylor (Keras). Jones is is a Connecticut high school senior; every summer since he was a child, he has traveled to Africa, where he learned the importance of preserving and protecting nature. His book tells the story of Chizi, an orphaned black rhino rescued by a wildlife park manager and his family. Jones is donating 100% of the proceeds from the sales of the book to TUSK, an environmental charity.

Pictured are the Wenham family, who saved Chizi, illustrator Jacqui Taylor (in red), Ellen O'Connell of TUSK, and Jack Jones at the podium.

Credit: Ann Billingsley Photo

'Treasure-Hunting' at Indie Bookstores

From Bookselling This Week's recent Indies Introduce Debut Author Q&A with Caitlin Doughty, author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory (Norton):  

When you travel, do you stop at bookstores? Any particular indies make a lasting impression?
Any place I travel, if there's a cemetery, an antique store, or a bookstore, I'm there. Preferably all three. Antique-book stores also welcome. Just last week my boyfriend and I were at a small antique/book store in Oelwien, Iowa, called Turkey Bottom Haven (not kidding), and he found me a book on headhunting. There is nothing better than treasure-hunting finds like that. At home in L.A., it's all about Skylight Books and the Last Bookstore.

Perseus Restructures International Sales and Rights

Perseus Books Group is restructuring its international sales and rights businesses, which group v-p Carolyn M. Savarese called "a significant area of growth in the publishing industry."

The company is creating the position of v-p of international sales and marketing, which will be based in New York and report to Savarese. A search is being conducted to fill the job. George Banbury will continue to lead the company's London office staff and report to the new v-p.

The company is creating a new department, international operations & communications, which will be headed by Agustina Casal. She continues to be a key member of the Faber Factory JV team and the Constellation vendor strategy team.

Isabelle Bleecker and Jennifer Thompson are both being promoted to v-p, international rights.

Chitra Bopardikar, v-p of international sales and business development, is leaving the company to pursue new interests. She joined Perseus in 2007. Savarese thanked her for "her leadership, hard work, dedication to our authors and publishers, and her many contributions to the business over the years."

Audio Trailer of the Day: The Graveyard Book

The trailer for this full-cast audio edition of Newbery Award winning The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (HarperAudio) features excerpts from each cast member.

The Ninth Annual Eric Carle Honors

The celebration of the ninth annual Carle Honors, held Thursday night at Guastavino's in New York City and hosted by the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, honored true innovators in the field of children's books.

Angela and Tony DiTerlizzi served as joint emcees again this year, knowing when to lighten up the tone and when to be respectful. In a tribute to Nick Clark, chief curator of the Eric Carle Museum since its opening, who will retire at the end of the year, the pair riffed on The Very Hungry Caterpillar, with Clark's visage superimposed on the caterpillar hero, eating his way through a parade of characters sprung from Dr. Seuss, William Steig, Maurice Sendak, Ezra Jack Keats, Leo Lionni, "a pair of Provensons" and more. Clark thanked the audience and quoted author-artist William Joyce: "It was like getting paid to go to recess."

Henrietta Smith (r.) with fellow CSK Award committee member and friend Rita Auerbach.

In Angela DiTerlizzi's introduction for Dr. Henrietta Smith in the Mentor category, she spoke of Smith's education at Madame C.J. Riley's Elocution School in Harlem, which Smith reported, "taught her to read with feeling." She went on to edit four editions of The Coretta Scott King Award Books: From Vision to Reality (published by the American Library Association), and won the 2008 Association for Library Service to Children's (ALSC) Distinguished Service Award and the 2011 Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award. The audience gave her a standing ovation.

"How many of you knew Augusta Baker?" Dr. Smith asked the crowd as she accepted her award, referring to the storied librarian who mentored her in the Countee Cullen Branch of the New York Public Library. "Augusta Baker taught us storytelling. Now they teach it online. I'm going to keep trying to help books and children come together."

Dr. Perri Klass with her husband, NYU history professor Larry Wolff

Dr. Perri Klass and Brian Gallagher accepted the Angel Award for their work with the 5,000 program sites in their Reach Out and Read program. They serve one-third of all children in poverty, and have distributed more than 6.5 million books. "This summer, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced that literacy promotion is an essential component of primary care," said Gallagher, executive director of the program. Pediatrician and national medical director Dr. Perri Klass demonstrated what she carries into a well-child visit: a stethoscope and a carefully chosen picture book. "I tell parents, they'll love the book because it comes from your voice, while they're in your arms, on your lap."

Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman

"Comics! They're not just for grown-ups anymore!" said Angela DiTerlizzi, quoting the honoree in the Bridge category, Françoise Mouly. The founder of TOON Books and art director of the New Yorker said, "Establishing comics for kids has been an uphill battle. You're testimony that it can be done." Mouly added, "All my life I've been doing what I love." Each week, she gets to make a "cartoon at the center of the cultural dialogue." She thanked her husband and collaborator, Art Spiegelman, who "supports everything I do" and the teachers and librarians who "bucked the trend and put comics in the hands of kids."

Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney, who'd paid tribute to his longtime editor Phyllis Fogelman as Mentor at last year's Eric Carle Honors, received the honor for Artist. "I've been here pretty much all along," he said, referring to the gala awards evening. "Good to see you guys." Pinkney described the call he received from Eric Carle's studio when the Eric Carle Museum was just an idea. They asked Pinkney if he had anything to contribute to a museum that would be dedicated to the artwork of children's book illustrators. "I thought of a time in the 1960s when I was waiting to deliver art for a textbook. Each piece was 3 inches by 4 inches. I was looking at the walls where N.C. Wyeth's artwork was on display for one of the classic adventure tales for which he was so well known. They measured 3 feet by 4 feet. I thought of what it would be like to have original art in a museum just for children."

Jerry Pinkney with wife Gloria Pinkney (l.) and Megan Tingley, publisher of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Jerry Pinkney with wife Gloria Pinkney (l.) and Megan Tingley, publisher of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

He joked about how when he was a child, "bookmaking meant something else." Here was a museum whose mission would offer the rich experience of seeing art up close that otherwise might go unnoticed. "The Carle gives children the opportunity to make art, surrounded by art," said Pinkney. As the creator of more than 100 titles, Pinkney said, "My goal is to tickle the senses and nurture a world of discovery." He paid tribute to Henrietta Smith, "my dear friend, honored for your teaching and constant presence on the CSK Task Force" and to Eric Carle, "for your bold vision that's made this possible." --Jennifer M. Brown

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Cosby on Colbert

Tonight on MSNBC's Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell: Charles M. Blow, author of Fire Shut Up in My Bones (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544228047). Tomorrow he will be on Morning Joe, Fresh Air and the Cycle.


Tomorrow morning on Morning Joe: Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781451697384).


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: readers review The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (Vintage, $14, 9780307278449).


Tomorrow on the View: Stephen King, author of Revival: A Novel (Scribner, $30, 9781476770383).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Gail Sheehy, author of Daring: My Passages: A Memoir (Morrow, $29.99, 9780062291691).


Tomorrow night on Jimmy Kimmel: Lara Spencer, author of Flea Market Fabulous: Designing Gorgeous Rooms with Vintage Treasures (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $25.95, 9781617690952).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Bill Cosby, subject of Cosby: His Life and Times by Mark Whitaker (Simon & Schuster, $29.99, 9781451697971).

TV: The Commissar’s Report

HBO has put in development The Commissar's Report, a series based on author-writer-director Martyn Burke's 1984 Cold War satire, reported. Burke will adapt his novel, writing the pilot script.

Books & Authors

Awards: Banff Mountain Book Competition

The Banff Centre has announced category finalists for the Banff Mountain Book Competition. Category winners will named in October, with the grand prize winner honored November 6 at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, Banff, Alberta.

Book Review

Review: The Zone of Interest

The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis (Knopf, $26.95 hardcover, 9780385353496, September 30, 2014)

The title of Martin Amis's urgent and brilliant Zone of Interest refers primarily to its Nazi concentration-camp setting, which he featured in 1991's Time's Arrow. It also refers to a fable about a king whose magic mirror reflected the viewer's soul, a mirror no one could look at without turning away. The concentration camp becomes that mirror, and this novel tells the story of the men and women reflected in its glass.

Golo Thomsen is a well-connected German officer and enthusiastic womanizer who falls for Hannah, newly arrived to join her alcoholic and increasingly dissipated husband, Paul Doll, the camp commandant. Golo's affections, while largely unrequited, serve as a through line for the larger story. Golo and Paul take turns narrating the events with a third man, a Polish prisoner named Szmul. Forced into the role of camp undertaker in exchange for better rations, Szmul clings to the blind hope of delaying his own fate as he bears witness to the horrors surrounding him. In different ways, each narrator reveals the texture of everyday life in Nazi Germany while satirizing the profligate excesses among those in its highest ranks.

Alarmed by news of an impending military collapse on the Eastern Front and convinced that Hannah and Golo are having an affair, Paul becomes more paranoid, more fervent and more misguided in his ambitions. He terrorizes Szmul and forces him into a scheme to exact revenge on Hannah, who cannot hide her horrified contempt. Golo plays the part of an impeccable Nazi officer and keeps his personal reactions publicly concealed. They are revealed only through the sardonic bite of his observations and in small, revealing descriptions of things like Hannah's "unpatriotic brown eyes." Szmul's sections lack the satirical edge found in the others and are the most interior and heartbreaking. He dreams of his wife and children. He accepts the ambiguity of the moral compromises he's made to stay alive. He hopes that, at the end, he will not have lost his urge to kill.

In his astounding afterword, Amis (Money; Yellow Dog) tackles the question of how to explain Nazi sympathizers--and whether explanation is even possible in the face of their incomprehensible hatred. He concludes that Hitler, sensing defeat by 1941, declared war on the U.S. in an act of suicidal aggression to ensure that Germany's inevitable defeat would be as complete and disastrous as possible. Hitler's hatred, then, turned inward as much as outward, at those he tried to exterminate. In the novel, Paul captures this dual nature of hatred particularly well. Golo and Hannah may not be able to find love with each other when that love emerged from such horror, but their affections are genuine, which is no small thing.

The Zone of Interest is mordant, crystalline and passionate, clearly conveying the irrationality of hate. It loses none of its art despite using art to drive an ethical argument. It is Amis at his finest. --Jeanette Zwart, freelance writer and reviewer

Shelf Talker: Amis revisits the setting of his Time's Arrow in this intricate and unforgettable look at life in a Nazi concentration camp, taking on questions of the nature of evil and the possibility of hope.

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