Shelf Awareness for Thursday, January 8, 2015

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Editor by Steven Rowley

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Five Feet Apart by Rachel Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis

Ballantine Books: Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly

Central Avenue Publishing: Pickle's Progress by Marcia Butler

Bitter Lemon Press: Evil Things by Katja Ivar

Delacorte Press: Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

Editors' Note

Nous Sommes Charlie

Shelf Awareness wishes to express our deep sadness and outrage about the murder yesterday in Paris of 12 people, including many staff members of Charlie Hebdo and two police officers, apparently because of the satirical weekly's lampooning of Islam, one of its many targets.

Sadly, this kind of terror is not a new phenomenon. Only a few issues ago, we ran several reminiscences about the fear in the U.S. that followed the Ayatollah Khomenei's 1989 fatwa on Salman Rushdie because of The Satanic Verses--threats were made across the country against the publisher and against bookstores that continued to sell the novel, and firebombs were thrown at Cody's Books and a Waldenbooks. And, of course, there were terrible assaults elsewhere in the world: the book's Japanese translator was killed, and attacks were made on its Italian translator and Norwegian publisher.

We agree with the statement of the National Coalition Against Censorship, which said in part, that it condemns "these hideous and barbaric attacks, which represent a chilling and extreme assault on freedom of speech. The failure to stand up for free expression emboldens those who seek to attack and undermine it." The statement has been endorsed by, among others, the American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers, the Association of American University Presses, the American Library Association, American Booksellers for Free Expression, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the Freedom to Read Foundation.

Oxford University Press: Armies of Deliverance: A New History of the Civil War by Elizabeth R. Varon


Holiday Hum: Booksellers Take Stock, Part 2

With New Year's Day and the torrid holiday shopping season behind them, booksellers around the country are able to look back on the past several weeks and assess in full: for many booksellers it was a happy holiday season.

Casey Coonerty Protti, owner of Bookshop Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz, Calif., called the season "tremendous": a very strong November led into an even stronger December, and the bookstore was up 10.8% over this period last year.

Among the store's biggest sellers were Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See, Randall Munroe's What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, and Anne Lamott's newest book, Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace. Ocean: A Photicular Book, written by Dan Kainen, was a strong seller as a gift item for both kids and adults.

Like many other booksellers, Protti had trouble getting Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Hector Tobar back in stock after it was announced as the inaugural pick for NPR's Morning Edition Book Club. "It was disappointing that we couldn't fulfill all the requests," said Protti. Just before Christmas, however, a new shipment of Deep Down Dark arrived. "We called it a 'Christmas Miracle.' "

This holiday season, Protti said, the store sold a variety of books across a wide range of genres. "It really came down to staff recommendations; it was exciting," she continued. "I really feel like this holiday demonstrated the beauty of indie handselling."

At Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Va., owner Kelly Justice reported that sales were up in December and for the last quarter of the year. In fact, the store was up for the whole year "pretty consistently." A big increase in the store's online sales was a major contributing factor--signed hardcover books sold well, especially in December.

Being Mortal was a big seller, as was Sean Brock's cookbook Heritage. "That was a spectacular performance for us," said Justice of the cookbook. "We couldn't keep it in."

S.C. Gwynne's biography of Stonewall Jackson, Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson, and Billy Idol's autobiography, Dancing with Myself, sold briskly, and were paired together in a display. Justice commented: "I think that display sold a lot of both books."

Justice had the most trouble keeping The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition, illustrated by Andrea Dezso and translated by Jack Zipes, in stock. "It was more spotty than anything," said Justice. "We would get a big clump in, and they'd all go. It was a question of me wondering when demand would stop."

Despite being up this holiday season, Justice noticed that the end of the year was not quite the "big finish" that it used to be. "It's becoming more even throughout the rest of the year," she said. "I think this is due to a lot of people doing holiday shopping online, and there are more local and neighborhood circumstances. Yearly our sales are increasing, but our actual December sales are not trending up."

Joan Grenier, co-owner of the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, Mass., reported that her store's trade books operation was up for the year (textbooks, which the store also sells, were down). The holiday season was particularly strong for children's books, which have been doing very well all year.

The Odyssey was "lucky" to keep All the Light We Cannot See in stock, fiction buyer Emily Crowe said: Doerr's book was the store's biggest fiction seller for both the holiday season and the year, and Odyssey's staff was able to stay just ahead of demand. For nonfiction, The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore and Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande were strong holiday sellers. Among children's books, Outside by Deirdre Gill and The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak were some of the season's best performers.

The season's biggest surprise, Crowe reported, was Julie Schumacher's novel Dear Committee Members. "We had not sold any during the year, and all of a sudden in December we couldn't keep it stock," she said. "It was on a couple of year-end best lists, and we're in a college town, and it's set in academia. Could be it just finally caught on."

Odyssey Bookshop kept up its event schedule until December 14, when children's author Mo Willems visited the store. "If you ask me, I think I would do more events later in the year," said Grenier. "But I think I would try to do things that weren't totally disruptive to the store."

This year, Grenier added, it seemed that more people made a point of talking about shopping local. "You keep hearing people say, 'I love to shop local, it's so nice to be here,' " she said. "And people are still surprised that we gift wrap for free, even though we've been doing it for 51 years."

At Rainy Day Books in Fairway, Kan., chief operations officer Roger Doeren and founder and president Vivien Jennings reported a good year and strong holiday season. The three days leading up to Christmas, in fact, set sales records for the nearly 40-year-old store.

The store's two bestselling fiction titles were We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride and A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. The bestselling nonfiction titles were Jim Gaffigan's Food: A Love Story and John Cleese's So, Anyway...; Rainy Day Books had signed hardcover copies of both titles. A selection of local titles, including KU 150: 150 Years of the University of Kansas by Monroe Dodd, Mizzou 175: The Remarkable Story of Missouri's Flagship University by Brian Burnes and a memoir entitled The Pulse of Hope, by Dr. William Reed, sold surprisingly well.

Rainy Day Books sold more gift cards this holiday season than in past years, and for the first time ever, Doeren and Jennings decided to package the gift cards in "gift card presenters" (right), which worked especially well for books that were out of print or on re-order. The presenters included the gift card as well as the cover image of a particular book.

"It made it a little more personal," Jennings explained. "It showed that you had a particular book in mind for that person."

Throughout the shopping season, Jennings and Doeren had trouble getting both Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Pogue's Basics: Essential Tips and Shortcuts (That No One Bothers to Tell You) for Simplifying the Technology in Your Life by David Pogue back in stock. Deep Down Dark, What If? and All the Light We Cannot See were also intermittently unavailable. Despite those difficulties, they both reported that the store seemed better stocked and better supplied than last holiday season.

This year, they said that there were more "residuals" than ever from store events--that is, shoppers who discovered the store through a major author event and then became regular customers. There was, Doeren recounted, a "definite increase in expressed appreciation for the value of our experience, knowledge, service and commitment to the community." --Alex Mutter

Ecco Press: White Elephant by Julie Langsdorf

Bath, Maine: One Store Closes, Another Store Opens

In the space of several weeks, Bath, Maine, is losing a bookstore and gaining a bookstore. The Bath Book Shop, owned by Connie Butson, is closing at the end of the month. Butson is selling fixtures and inventory to Julie and Mike Shea, who are opening the Mustard Seed Bookstore on February 16 in a space near the Bath Book Shop.

The Mustard Seed Bookstore will offer books, music, wrapping paper, stationery, greeting cards and gifts, and serve tea and baked goods made in Bath by Starlight Café, the Forecaster wrote.

The Mustard Seed's website recounts that Julie Shea, "an educator for more than two decades," had dreamed for years of owning a bookstore. "Naturally, it was a book that would help make her dream come true. Julie read The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson and followed the directive to write down and 'circle' her dream on paper and in prayer. She hoped she and her husband, Mike, would be able to open a bookstore in Bath within the next four years and in less than two years. The Mustard Seed Bookstore was established."

Mustard Seed owner Julie Shea (l.) with associate  Susan Shipley

The Sheas' friends Mark and Susan Shipley have also "helped with organizing and designing the store and its website, developing the tea shop, and handling public relations," Shea told the Forecaster.

She added: "People will be coming into the store and seeing thousands of titles of books, but we also believe that every single person in life has a story to tell.... We want to be able to be the place where that can happen."

The Bath Book Shop opened in 1999. On Facebook, Connie Butson wrote about the store's impending closing: "It's been a blessing to have been part of the downtown Bath. If you haven't heard, I have a buyer for the bookshop and will be here until the end of January. I'm so glad there will still be a bookshop, and I'm looking forward to some days off."

The Mustard Seed Bookstore is located at 74 Front St., Bath, Maine 04530.

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Pomegranate Books Adding Café Zola

Noting that ever since Kathleen Jewell opened Pomegranate Books, Wilmington, N.C., a decade ago, she has envisioned adding a café, the Greater Wilmington Business Journal reported that by the middle of this month that dream will be realized with the opening of Café Zola.

"I love the idea of having a cup of coffee or tea while browsing a bookstore," said Jewell, whose daughter Adrian and son-in-law Manol Georgieff are involved with the new venture.  

"It's really the culmination of two dreams. We're really excited to partner with Kathleen on the café," said Georgieff, who designed and will manage the café, with Adrian providing input on coffee, tea and pastry selections.

Jewell and Georgieff are also considering applying for a beer and wine permit in the coming months, the Business Journal wrote.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Fifty Things That Aren't My Fault: Essays from the Grown-Up Years by Cathy Guisewite

BINC: New Board President, Member

Lori Tucker-Sullivan has been elected president of the Book Industry Charitable Foundation's board of directors, and Ken White of Books Inc., San Francisco, Calif., is now a board member.

Tucker-Sullivan, who is the executive director of the Independent Booksellers Consortium, joined BINC's board in August 2012. She is a former board member of Washtenaw Literacy and a founding board member of the Ann Arbor Book Festival.
White has more than two decades of book industry experience, including many years of independent bookselling as well as five years as a director of the board for the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association. He also served for six years as an American Booksellers Association board member.

Obituary Note: Michele Serros

Michele Serros, who "gained influence as a novelist and performer with mainstream appeal" and was "known for her irreverent observations about life as a Chicana growing up in Southern California," died Sunday, KPCC reported. She was 48. Her books include Chicana Falsa: And Other Stories of Death, Identity & Oxnard; How to Be a Chicana Role Model and Honey Blonde Chica.

In the Los Angeles Times, David Ulin observed: "She wrote out of her own experience, her own identity, shying away from none of it, revealing all. She was funny and discomforting--often in the space of the same piece."


Literati Bookstore: 'A Few Favorite Moments from 2014'

Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich., shared "a few favorite moments from 2014" on its blog, including these "kind quotes from customers":

I was helping a woman last month with her book selections, and when I walked her out of the store, she turned to me and said, "I've never been here, but I'll be back. This just feels... it just feels like Ann Arbor." Something about that comment, about that particular woman, a woman who had lived in Ann Arbor for 30-some years... I don't know. It just really made me happy.

Another moment came when a customer came in and said, "I got a tattoo of something I saw on your typewriter." She showed me her arm, explained the story, and we re-enacted the scene and the tattoo of the word "love." We have all sorts of great anecdotes from our public typewriter, but a tattoo? Definitely my favorite.

Personnel Changes at Rizzoli, Blue Rider Press

At Rizzoli International Publications:

John Deen has been promoted to trade sales director. He was formerly sales manager. He started at Rizzoli Bookstores in 1995 and has worked at Rizzoli Publications since 1999.

Sarah Carstens has joined the company as client publisher sales manager and will work with client publishers, including Flammarion, Skira, Hardie Grant, Marsilio and Gagosian. She has worked at Te Neues, Antique Collectors' Club, Abrams and as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble.


At Blue Rider Press:

Brian Ulicky has been promoted to associate director of publicity. He was formerly assistant director and joined the press in 2011 after seven years at Simon & Schuster.

Eliza Rosenberry has been promoted to senior publicist. She was previously publicist and started as an assistant for Blue Rider in 2011 after an internship at Viking.

Thursday Throwdowns: Two Debates About Amazon Next Week

Next week, just a few hours apart, two panels in organized by separate groups are debating Amazon's role in publishing. Both are being held in New York City.

Digital Book World, which takes place Tues.-Thurs., January 13-15, is holding a panel called "Should Amazon be Constrained and Can They Be?" Author and New Yorker media writer Ken Auletta will moderate; panel members are author Barry Eisler, a consistent defender of Amazon, New York magazine journalist Annie Lowrey and Barry Lynn of the New America Foundation, who has advocated that Amazon be investigated for antitrust violations. The panel takes place at 4-4:50 p.m. at the New York Hilton at 1335 Avenue of the Americas in New York City.

DBW described the panel this way: "The recent very public tussle between Amazon, the world's leading book retailer, and Hachette, one of the top publishers, demonstrated the disruptive power of a bookseller that sells around half the books. In the process of the dispute, ultimately settled by agreement between the parties right after Amazon had negotiated an apparently similar deal with Hachette rival Simon & Schuster, there was a spate of advocacy both for and against the retail giant. On the two extremes, we have constituencies that believe Amazon has engaged in abusive monopolistic (or monopsonistic) behavior and should be regulated in some way and, on the other side, believers that Amazon constitutes an inevitable and possibly desirable disruption in book publishing's historic ways of doing business. Regardless of its impact on publishing's incumbents, the question arises: is Amazon too big for the good for democracy and the free flow of information?"

At 6:45 p.m. the same evening, Thursday, January 15, at the Kaufman Center, 129 W. 67th St., in New York City (reception starts at 5:45 p.m.), Intelligence Squared is considering the proposition that "Amazon is the reader's friend." Arguing for the motion are author Joe Konrath and Matthew Yglesias, executive editor of Vox. Arguing against are author, lawyer and former Authors Guild president Scott Turow and Franklin Foer, until recently editor of the New Republic.

As the organization described it: "In late 2014, Amazon and the publishing house Hachette settled a months-long dispute over who should set the price for e-books. In Amazon's view, lower prices mean more sales and more readers, and that benefits everyone. But for publishers, the price of an e-book must reflect the investment made, from the author’s advance to a book’s production. The conflict, resolved for now, has only raised more questions about the value of books, Amazon's business practices, and the role of publishers. Is book publishing an oligopoly, a dinosaur in need of disruption? Is Amazon, which accounts for 41% of all new book and 67% of all e-book sales, a monopoly? Who is doing right by readers and the future of books?"

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Herbie Hancock on Tavis Smiley

Tomorrow on MSNBC's the Cycle: Nicholas Carlson, author of Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! (Twelve, $30, 9781455556618).


Tomorrow on a repeat of Tavis Smiley: Herbie Hancock, co-author of Herbie Hancock: Possibilities (Viking, $29.95, 9780670014712).

This Weekend on Book TV: Nicholas Wapshott

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, January 10
12 p.m. A panel discussion on James Burnham's Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism (Encounter, $17.99, 9781594037832).

7 p.m. Staughton Lynd, author of Doing History from the Bottom Up: On E.P. Thompson, Howard Zinn, and Rebuilding the Labor Movement from Below (Haymarket, $17, 9781608463886).

8:15 p.m. Karen Masterson, author of The Malaria Project: The U.S. Government's Secret Mission to Find a Miracle Cure (NAL, $26.95, 9780451467324). (Re-airs Sunday at 1:25 p.m. and Monday at 1:25 a.m.)

9 p.m. Michael Zantovsky, author of Havel: A Life (Grove Press, $30, 9780802123152), at Politics & Prose Bookstore with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

10 p.m. Cass R. Sunstein, co-author of Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter (Harvard Business Review Press, $27, 9781422122990). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Nicholas Wapshott, author of The Sphinx: Franklin Roosevelt, the Isolationists, and the Road to World War II (Norton, $27.95, 9780393088885). (Re-airs Monday at 6:15 a.m.)

Sunday, January 11
1 p.m. Lester Spence, author of Stare in the Darkness: The Limits of Hip-hop and Black Politics (University of Minnesota Press, $22.50, 9780816669882). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

4:30 p.m. Timothy Sandefur, author of The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty (Cato Institute, $24.95, 9781939709035).

7:45 p.m. Gay Talese, author of The Bridge: The Building of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (Bloomsbury, $35, 9781620406663).

10 p.m. Richard Bernstein, author of China 1945: Mao's Revolution and America's Fateful Choice (Knopf, $30, 9780307595881), at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.

11 p.m. W. Joseph Campbell, author of 1995: The Year the Future Began (University of California Press, $27.95, 9780520273993).

Books & Authors

Awards: PNBA Winners

The winners of the 2015 Pacific Northwest Book Awards, sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, are:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Scribner)
A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus: Menus and Stories by Renee Erickson (Sasquatch Books)
If Not for This by Pete Fromm (Red Hen Press)
Falling from Horses by Molly Gloss (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Jackaby by William Ritter (Algonquin Young Readers)
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton (Candlewick Press)

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins (Picador, $20, 9781250050397). "Slip into a black and white world where order reigns supreme and all untidiness must be eradicated. Dave lives a nondescript life in Here, until the day an untamable beard sprouts from his chin. Could the beard be a maleficent portal to There? Collins gently addresses the tangles of human existence in this playful graphic fable, perfect for fans of Edward Gorey and Roald Dahl." --Rhianna Walton, Powell's Books, Portland, Ore.

The Final Silence by Stuart Neville (Soho Crime, $26.95, 9781616955489). "Rea Carlisle inherited a house from an uncle she never knew. In it was a locked room, and when she forced open the door what she found terrified her--a book detailing the murders of a variety of people over a period of many years. After attempts to investigate were thwarted by her father, Rea reached out to the only policeman she knew, disgraced inspector Jack Lennon. When Lennon arrived, he found Rea dead, and he quickly became the number one suspect in her murder. What follows is a harrowing investigation that pulls down Rea's father, a local politician with ties to the IRA--ties that lead directly to a serial killer who will keep killing until he gets what he wants." --Janice Hunsche, Kaleidosaurus Books, Metamora, Ind.

The Deliverence of Evil by Roberto Costantini (Quercus, $14.99, 9781623658946). "Masterfully delivering a mystery that explores modern Italian history, the complexities of relationships, and the depths of evil, Costantini's The Deliverance of Evil is an intriguing thrill ride. Commissario Michele Balistreri, once young and impulsive, now older and haunted, must investigate a series of twisted killings and their connections to an evil from years ago. Costantini has created both an unforgettable, complex character in Balistreri and a mystery that never stops surprising the reader." --Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, Calif.

For Teen Readers
The Walled City by Ryan Graudin (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $18, 9780316405058). "Based on a real place, Graudin's novel weaves a fast-paced and ruthless world together with hope and the beauty of the human spirit. If readers are expecting just another adventure or thriller, they need to think again; this book deals with a real issue--human trafficking--with skillful writing, strong voices, and well-developed characters. Please read this important book!" --Caitlin Ek, Mrs. Nelson's Book Fair Company, Pomona, Calif.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, January 13:

Cold Cold Heart by Tami Hoag (Dutton, $27.95, 9780525954545) follows a TV reporter who survived a serial killer.

Savage Park: A Meditation on Play, Space, and Risk for Americans Who Are Nervous, Distracted, and Afraid to Die by Amy Fusselman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $21, 9780544303003) explores an adventure park in Tokyo where children can take risks.

American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone by Marco Rubio (Sentinel, $27.95, 9781595231130) is the conservative senator's manifesto.


A Bone to Pick, based on the book by Charlaine Harris, premieres on the Hallmark Channel Sunday, January 11 at 9 p.m. Hallmark is also adapting Harris's Real Murders.

Still Alice, based on the novel by Lisa Genova, opens January 16. Julianne Moore stars as a professor diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease.

Paddington, based on the Paddington Bear children's series by Michael Bond, opens January 16.

Book Review

Review: Publishing: A Writer's Memoir

Publishing: A Writer's Memoir by Gail Godwin (Bloomsbury , $25 hardcover, 9781620408247, January 13, 2015)

Gail Godwin is the author of 14 novels, as well as story collections, nonfiction and memoir, now including Publishing: A Writer's Memoir, which she calls a "meditation on publishing." In vaguely chronological fashion, she recounts her experiences with the industry; toward the end, she reflects upon earlier times.

Godwin begins with her years as an aspiring writer. Knowing well her mother's progress from collegiate playwright to journalist to author of magazine romance stories, she is plagued by a hunger for publication and success (which presumably come together). She writes about failed marriages, fiction workshops and teachers who were encouraging and helpful (as well as those who weren't), rejection and, finally, the book that sold: The Perfectionists, published in 1970. Several poignant chapters cover the "dance" between an author and an editor, with vignettes of each of Godwin's dance partners over the years, several of whom she lost to unexpected deaths.

At points, her tone becomes elegiac, but Publishing is often funny and joyful as well. In a series of anecdotes, Godwin muses on book tours (the question of funding, author escorts, how long a reading modern audiences will tolerate, the new practice of hiring facilitators to help authors along in public appearances) and the value of bad book reviews. She profiles wonderful, helpful, joy-bringing people, and though she humorously describes the less-pleasant people she has encountered, she graciously avoids naming names. These entertaining, elegant, knowing recollections are accompanied by beautifully simple and appropriate black-and-white line drawings by Godwin's friend Frances Halsband, which subtly add to the reader's experience.

While her accounts of writing and publishing are fascinating and amusing, Godwin's central strength is in her utterly charming personality: wise, occasionally self-deprecating and quietly playful. As promised, Publishing is not a history of the industry nor an instructive manual for the next generation of aspiring writers. It's simply one woman's well-told memories, peopled by appealing characters, sketched with wit. Stories about family, travel, love and life make this a book not only for fans of memoir, or dedicated readers, writers, editors and publishers, but for anyone who has pursued a dream or appreciates those who do. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: In a winning voice, novelist Gail Godwin shares her experiences in publishing, which are alternately humorous and moving.

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