Also published on this date: Wednesday, March 18, 2015: Maximum Shelf: Legend

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, March 18, 2015

University of Texas Press: Grief Is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating Loss by Lisa Keefauver

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!

Berkley Books: The Hitchcock Hotel by Stephanie Wrobel

Queen Mab Media: Get Our Brand Toolkit

Ballantine Books: Gather Me: A Memoir in Praise of the Books That Saved Me by Glory Edim

Ace Books: Rewitched by Lucy Jane Wood

Graywolf Press: We're Alone: Essays by Edwidge Danticat

St. Martin's Press: Runaway Train: Or, the Story of My Life So Far by Erin Roberts with Sam Kashner


B&N's New Bags Feature Classics' First Pages

Barnes & Noble has redesigned its shopping bags to feature the text of the first pages of classic books such as Moby Dick, The Wizard of Oz, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Alice in Wonderland, according to Ad Age's Creativity, which commented: "The designs are meant to promote Barnes & Noble as a physical destination that provides a tactile shopping experience--part of which is the act of leaving with a shopping bag."

"The bag serves as advertisement and reminder of the bookstore and thus is an essential part of the brand's communications," Sagi Haviv, a partner at Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, the design firm that created the bags, commented. "However, this new shopping bag series does more than promote the brand itself; it reflects the love of books and itself provides a book experience--you can even start reading them on the way home."

B&N will begin distributing bags to its stores this month.

BINC: Click to Apply to the Macmillan Booksellers Professional Development Scholarships

Denver's BookBar Plans for Expansion

BookBar in Denver, Colo., plans to expand in time for its second anniversary on May 30. The expansion will give the store an additional 750 square feet and provide access to the building's backyard and patio.

"When we opened the store, we ended up purchasing the entire building," explained owner Nicole Sullivan. The building includes an 1896 home that was turned into two apartments and a retail space that was added in 1948. The store currently resides in that 1948 add-on, and with the expansion will move also into the downstairs apartment. "The best thing about the building was that it gave us room to grow incrementally, rather than take on too much at the beginning."

The expansion will bring the store's square footage up to approximately 2,250, and a good portion of the added retail space will go to expanding the store's small but thriving children's section. Currently, the store sells predominantly literary fiction, nonfiction and book club books and serves wine, coffee and a selection of finger foods.

Access to the building's backyard also will allow Sullivan to create sidewalk seating on the north side of the property and add patio seating. She also plans to grow herbs and vegetables in the building's existing garden to use for the hors d'oeuvres menu.

"We'll have an outdoor lounge, and a big community table," added Sullivan, who looks forward to having that space available for book club meetings and author events. "There's also going to be a fire pit. I'm pretty excited about that as well."

Before opening BookBar in 2013, Sullivan had had no experience in bookselling but did have some retail and restaurant experience, along with a background in finance. The idea to have a bookstore that also served wine was one that had long been in the back of her mind. When a bookstore that had existed in her current location began the process of closing down in 2012, she said, everything sort of "fell into place."

She hadn't initially planned to open a business, but she found herself driven to keep a bookstore in the neighborhood, which is a designated arts district full of restaurants, shops and art galleries. Initially she talked to the owners of the previous store about some kind of partnership to help it stay in business. After it became clear that they had to close, though, she went ahead and bought the store.

"I felt there just has to be a bookstore here," Sullivan remarked.

One of her big goals in designing the look and feel of the store, Sullivan said, was trying to recreate the book club experience. "What I kept in mind was that feeling of going into somebody else's apartment for your book club," she continued. The seating is conducive to having groups sit down and talk, and the menu is also structured around that idea. It's easy for groups to order a bunch of little things, and it's all finger food, so there's no silverware necessary. "The idea was also that you can hold a book with one hand and eat with the other."

Sullivan also took pains to make sure that the store didn't feel like a bookstore and a bar had simply been stitched together. In a similar vein, she also made sure that all seven of her employees can handsell a book as easily as they can talk about wine.

"At first I thought it might be hard to find people who could work behind the bar and also be really passionate book lovers," she said. "But in a city, it's surprisingly easy. I mean, who doesn't like wine and who doesn't like books? It's been easy to bring in great staff."

Even though she has yet to break ground on the first expansion, Sullivan also has plans for using the remaining upstairs apartment. Once the dust settles on the downstairs renovations, she'd like to open the upstairs apartment as something of an author bed and breakfast. It would give Sullivan and her staff a lot more flexibility with hosting authors, and at some point down the road she'd like to experiment with an author-in-residence program.

The idea, Sullivan said, struck while she was chatting to one of her employees about the expansion. "We thought, we should just keep that apartment for us. Or even better, for authors to crash." --Alex Mutter

Watkins Publishing: Fall Into Folklore! ARCS Available On Request

Florida's Bookmark It Wines, Dines and Moves

In another books and wine story, one-year-old Bookmark It, Orlando, Fla., is running a Wine & Sign author event from 6-8 p.m. every Friday this month and continuing into April. The store will "spill out" onto the balcony for the events, which feature local authors and free wine.

A recent Bookmark It Wine & Sign event.

Owner Kim Britt said the series was designed to support "our new late-night hours on Friday and Saturday night until 8 p.m. and have been very well attended by authors' friends and fans as well as delivered new folks to the shop!" The first two Wine & Sign events resulted in sales equal to or greater to the entire day's sales--and covered the wine expense, she said.

The first event on March 6 featured Nathan Holic, author of Things I Don't See and Fraternity Man, and on March 13, Nicole Speropolous, author of the new cookbook The Little Chocolate Paleo, appeared.

This Friday, the event features Bob Brigham, author of Math Is Murder and Murder by the Numbers, and on March 27, David Bornstein, author of Me and E: A Baseball Odyssey and The Good Word: A Decade of Jewish Thought and Chutzpah, will be the guest.

On April 1, the store is moving within the East End Market from its current 140 square feet to "a whopping" 205 square feet, Britt said. Friday, April 3, will be the ribbon cutting for the new location. In honor of National Poetry Month, that evening's Wine & Sign event will feature three local poets. BookMark It opened exactly a year ago.

California's Granada Books Launches Fund-raising Campaign

Granada Books, Santa Barbara, Calif., is seeking to raise $50,000 to stay open and "help bridge our operations through financial stability." The store has launched a "Save Granada Books" crowdfunding campaign.

The store said it has been "a community bookstore from the very beginning" and "worked very hard to become a gathering place for ideas, inspiration, and most importantly, where you can come in and walk among the books."

Granada noted that it has "numerous upcoming community events we hope to be able to keep, including Bookstore Day in May, Where's Waldo in July, Poetry Zone every month, along with author signings, music, and story times....

"From the bottom of our hearts and to the moon and back, we thank you for your support and love and for all possibilities.  We love being your community bookstore and hope we can continue providing books for everyone to enjoy for years to come."

Granada Books was founded in 2013 by Emmett McDonough, a retired corporate executive, and Sharon Hoshida, former director of the Women's Center at UC-Santa Barbara and a community activist.

In Connecticut, Bookseller David Gronbach Running for Mayor

David Gronbach

Continuing a long tradition of booksellers running for elected office in their towns, David Gronbach, co-owner of Bank Street Book Nook, is running for mayor of New Milford, Conn., the News Times reported. Gronbach, like his wife and bookstore co-owner Vanessa Gronbach, is a lawyer.

Gronbach is running as a Democrat against Republican incumbent Pat Murphy and told the newspaper that becoming involved in a campaign to keep a local school open was "a real catalyst for me to run for office. We attended all of the Pettibone [School] hearings and it seemed the administration wasn't listening to residents' desire to keep the school open nor their concerns. That opened my eyes that a change is needed in this town."


Image of the Day: Graywolf Press at the Strand

Strand Bookstore, New York City, hosted an "Evening with Graywolf Press"; Graywolf publisher Fiona McCrae (r.) spoke with authors Leslie Jamison (l.) and Sarah Manguso (c.) about their recently published works (The Empathy Exams and Ongoingness, respectively) and discussed Graywolf's upcoming nonfiction list.

L.A. Spoof: Fake Jackets for Real Books

Uh oh. Someone with the handle ObviousPlant claims to have printed up several humorous fake book jackets and placed them on real books in a West Hollywood, Calif., bookstore, LAist reported. One possible target: Book Soup.

Among the titles: So Your Son Is a Centaur: Coping with Your Child's Confusing Life Choices, Learn to... Dress Yourself! and The Beginner's Guide to Human Sacrifice: A Step-by-Step Guide to Satanic Death Rituals.

ObviousPlant has done similar stunts previously, including adding some sections to his local Barnes & Noble; changing wine recommendations in a liquor store; and advertising a fictitious amusement park on a Hollywood Boulevard travel kiosk.

Book Trailer of the Day: The Poser

The Poser by Jacob Rubin (Viking), a novel about the adventures of Giovanni Bernini, the World's Greatest Impressionist, a man whose bizarre talent catapults him from small-town obscurity to widespread fame.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Tim Gunn on Tonight

Today on Fresh Air: Daniel Genie, author of 1046, a memoir Penguin will publish later this year about the 1,046 books the author read during 10 years in prison for armed robbery.


Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Travis Thrasher, author of Do You Believe?: A Novel (Howard Books, $14.99, 9781501111983).


Tomorrow on Bravo's What What Happens Live: Nick Cannon, author of Neon Aliens Ate My Homework: And Other Poems (Scholastic, $14.99, 9780545722810).


Tomorrow night on the Tonight Show: Tim Gunn, author of Tim Gunn: The Natty Professor: A Master Class on Mentoring, Motivating, and Making It Work! (Gallery Books, $25, 9781476780061).

TV: My Promised Land

HBO will adapt Ari Shavit's My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, into a documentary film, reported. Dan Setton is directing.

HBO CEO and chairman Richard Plepler said the book "left me awestruck and as moved as I've been maybe ever. When I first approached him, I said to Ari that I've waited my whole adult life to find this book."

Shavit commented: "Keeping [the film] complex and balanced while keeping it powerful and emotional is a challenge, but it's exciting."

Books & Authors

Awards: PEN Literary Longlists; Shaughnessy Cohen

Longlists have been announced for the 2015 PEN Literary Awards. Shortlists will be released April 15 and winners named May 13.


The Writers' Trust of Canada announced that Joseph Heath's Enlightenment 2.0: Restoring Sanity to Our Politics, Our Economy and Our Lives won this year's $25,000 (about $19,550) Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, which recognizes "a book of literary nonfiction that captures a political subject of relevance to Canadian readers and has the potential to shape or influence thinking on Canadian political life."

Book Brahmin: Robin Blake

photo: Julian Calder

Robin Blake is the author of the Cragg and Fidelis series of historical mysteries, about the 18th-century coroner of Preston, Titus Cragg, and his friend Dr. Luke Fidelis. The latest, The Hidden Man, was just published by Minotaur in the U.S. and in the U.K. by Constable, under the title The Scrivener.

On your nightstand now:

The Death of Ivan Illych by Leo Tolstoy, in a new translation by Nicolas Pasternak Slater.

Favorite book when you were a child:

There were many favorites. Two that spring to mind are The Borrowers by Mary Norton and, a little later on, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. I vividly remember being captivated by the under-floor world of the inches-high Borrowers, and their clever adaptations of human stuff for their own uses. I found it heartbreaking that they were a practically extinct species. Of Holmes, my heart still beats a bit faster when I recall the line "The game's afoot!"

Your top five authors:

This is hard! For a top three, how about the infinitely clever James Joyce; George Orwell for his non-negotiable common sense; and Evelyn Waugh for being so seriously funny? Then William Makepeace Thackeray: I think Vanity Fair is one of the greatest novels in English. My favorite American writer might be Kurt Vonnegut. That's five. Tomorrow I might give an entirely different list, but I am pretty sure Joyce would be on it.

Book you've faked reading:

I don't do this. There are so many great books that it's impossible to read them all. So why pretend?

Book you're an evangelist for:

A Demon in My View by Ruth Rendell. A short and very creepy psychological gripper, which ought to be regarded as a classic.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Intimacy by Jean-Paul Sartre. I was about 14. The cover showed the back view of a nude girl in soft focus. I wasn't really ready for the stories however.

Book that changed your life:

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. I've read many autobiographical novels but few as powerful as Joyce's account of growing up in late 19th-century Dublin. I don't know if the book actually changed me, but it did feel like that because I was 15 and, like every mid-teenager, going through all sorts of momentous changes in experience, belief and general outlook.

Favorite line from a book:

For obvious reasons, the best single lines are from poetry. You want something that says it all in a minimum of words. Quite hard to beat as a soft expression of a hard truth is Ernest Dowson's: "They are not long, the days of wine and roses."

W.B. Yeats's definition of sexual unhappiness strikes a bit harder: "It is terrible to desire and not possess, and terrible to possess and not desire."

Joyce's prayer in Finnegans Wake is a delightful twisting of words: "Loud, heap miseries upon us, yet entwine our arts with laughters low!"

Which character you most relate to:

When I was very young, that would be Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit, who makes foolish decisions and by a whisker's breadth escapes the consequences. Nowadays, I identify with Wilkie Collins's all too fallible narrator in The Moonstone, Gabriel Betteridge, who wonders "whether the gentlemen who make a business and a living out of writing books ever find their own selves getting in the way of their subjects, like me?"

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

When people tell me they haven't read a book that I admire, I say, "Lucky you!" I remember with special pleasure discovering certain novel sequences, in which characters meet and part and meet again in different circumstances over three, four, five or even 12 volumes. The Great Fortune is the first of Olivia Manning's Balkan trilogy, which continued in the equally brilliant Levant trilogy. I would love to be embarking on them for the first time.

What period is your favorite for historical fiction?

The trouble with novels set in the past is the remoter that past, the more the writer makes up, and the more anachronisms (things that wouldn't happen or words that wouldn't be used) creep in. For me, the Georgian period, which I write about, is special because the first novels about everyday life were written in that era. If you really know the novels and how novelists wrote at the time, you're less likely to go anachronistically astray. On the other hand you have to strike a balance in the use of period and modern English. In this sense, the most successful recent fiction set in the Georgian world may be the long series of fine novels by Patrick O'Brian, about the sailor Jack Aubrey and the surgeon/spy Stephen Maturin, written between 1969 and 1999.

Book Review

Children's Review: The Grasshopper and the Ants

The Grasshopper & the Ants by Jerry Pinkney (Little, Brown , $18 hardcover, 40p., ages 4-8, 9780316400817, April 7, 2015)

Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney's (The Lion and the Mouse) translucent, sumptuous watercolors pay tribute to the seasons, from sunlight dancing on a pond in the spring to a barren winter landscape, in a retelling that extols the virtues of planning ahead as well as living in the moment.

The author-artist introduces the central debate of the famous Aesop fable in the first spread, teeming with ants, flowers and greenery. "Why work so hard?" sings Grasshopper to the Ants. "It's spring and time to go fishing." He casts his line, nattily dressed in a red checked vest, straw hat and blue polka-dotted bow tie, seated on a drum. We sense that Grasshopper would gladly share his catch in thanks for the Ants' company. "No time to relax," the Ants reply.

In summer, the Ants wear acorn tops like hats and flower petals like bonnets. Grasshopper invites the Ants to dance and sing, and admires how the autumn leaves "twirl and glide," but the Ants keep on, rolling walnuts and bringing leaves to store. With each new view of the Grasshopper, Pinkney reveals another instrument of the one-insect band. For the autumn spread, Grasshopper plays banjo with his first set of legs, an accordion with the second set, and carries his drum set on his back. His summons to "Look at this wonderful mountain of leaves. Come play!" will resonate with young readers. They'll discover a ladybug, spider and monarch hidden in the illustration, though nary an Ant in sight.

Grasshopper alone witnesses the beauty of the first snow. "Come see!" he cries to an empty landscape and nearly bare branches. His expansive wings make for a magnificent snow angel, and for his "snow-hopper," he assembles twigs as appendages, articulated to mimic his own limbs. Pinkney's ingenious use of nature's provisions supply Grasshopper with helicopter maple seeds for snowshoes on his hind legs, as he heads to the Ants' abode to beg for entry. Pinkney exploits the horizontal expanse of the spread to convey the laborious journey.

A cutaway view depicts a thriving underground colony, where the wise and kind Queen Ant offers Grasshopper tea and refuge. They dance and sing to a stream of notes from Grasshopper's accordion and an Ant playing banjo, while the queen sits on the drum. The endpapers indicate that, come spring, Grasshopper helps the Ants with their provisions.

Without judgment, Pinkney shows that neither extreme pays off--all play or all work. The combination of preparation and enjoying the present makes life worthwhile. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: The Caldecott Medalist provides a twist to the classic Aesop tale, suggesting that a life of contentment combines both work and play.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The 20/20 Diet by Phil McGraw
2. The Man Who Left by Theresa Weir
3. Falling For My Best Friend's Brother by J. S. Cooper and Helen Cooper
4. Complete Submission (The Submission Series Books 1-8) by CD Reiss
5. Needing Moore Series Boxed Set by Julie A. Richman
6. The Deal (Off Campus Book 1) by Elle Kennedy
7. Darkness Series Boxed Set (Books 1-4) by K.F. Breene
8. The Hurricane by R.J. Prescott
9. Beneath This Ink by Meghan March
10. Trace: Part 3 by Deborah Bladon

[Many thanks to!]

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