Shelf Awareness for Thursday, July 16, 2015

Random House Studio: Remember by Joy Harjo, illustrated by Michaela Goade

Oxford University Press, USA: Spring Reads

Chronicle Books: Tap! Tap! Tap!: Dance! Dance! Dance! by Hervé Tullet

Minotaur Books: The Golden Gate by Amy Chua

Charlesbridge Publishing: Glitter Everywhere by Chris Barton, illustrated by Chaaya Prabhat


Bookstore Sales Up 0.9% in May

May bookstore sales rose 0.9%, to $776 million, compared to May 2014, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. This was the third consecutive month that bookstore sales increased over the comparable month last year. For the year to date, bookstore sales are still off slightly compared to the first five months of 2014, down 0.3%, to $4.193 billion.

Total retail sales in May rose 0.7%, to $461.9 billion. For the year to date, total retail sales have risen 1.8%, to $2,124.2 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing a general line of new books. These establishments may also sell stationery and related items, second-hand books, and magazines."

Candlewick Press (MA): Have You Seen My Invisible Dinosaur? by Helen Yoon

New Co-Owner for Island Books in Wash.

Effective July 1, Roger and Nancy Page "officially passed the torch" to Laurie Raisys, who has become a co-owner of Island Books, Mercer Island, Wash. Calling the change "musical chairs, not a curtain call or a revolution," Roger Page wrote on the store's website that Raisys "is a longtime Mercer Islander who has the warmth, creativity, integrity and confidence that the store needs to carry it far into the future. She also has our trust and affection. We have signed on to stay and will be working for her, just trading hats. She will wear the hat decorated with the joys, dreams, and challenges of ownership. Nancy and I will be in bookseller caps, trying to entertain the masses and do right by you."

Noting that the decision was a matter of timing, Page wrote: "We had no intention of closing the store. We were in the second of the three best years of its over 40-year history. We were busy every day. I'd had over 30 stimulating years since I started as a gift wrapper, and the last 15 years with Nancy working beside me in the shop were just plain fun.... Time on our lease was dwindling; we were getting grayer; our kids had left the nest. We could manage a few more years of traveling over hill and dale from Ballard, but not forever. So we began to ask two questions: What would it take to create new chapters for our story? And what kind of person should we find to help write those chapters?"

Page advised "members of our beloved community, old friends and new faces alike" to "celebrate the continuation of our shared legacy. We can't thank you enough for the years of goodwill and generosity. Looking forward to swapping more stories."

Correction: Laurie Raisys is the new owner of Island Books, Mercer Island, Wash. We mistakenly reported that she would be co-owner with Roger and Nancy Page, but Roger clarified that the bookstore actually now has "a new owner with a couple of caring employees."

Zibby Books: Super Bloom by Megan Tady

Pop-Up Bookshop Opens in NYC's South Street Seaport

Aaron Hicklin, editor-in-chief of Out magazine, has opened One Grand, a temporary pop-up bookshop in Whisper Editions at 6 Fulton Street in Manhattan's South Street Seaport, Jeremiah's Vanishing New York reported.

The shop is organized around a question--"If you were on a desert island for the rest of your life, what 10 books would you take?"--and the recommenders include Tilda Swinton, Justin Vivian Bond, Edmund White, Michael Cunningham and Penny Arcade.

"This is 'curated' bookselling for sure," JVNY noted, "but if you can get over that, you might enjoy the way each shelf appears as its own desert island of the person's favorites. Most made interesting choices."

GLOW: Avid Reader Press: My Name Is Iris by Brando Skyhorse

Simon & Schuster Expanding Main Warehouse

Simon & Schuster is expanding its Riverside Distribution Center in Delran, N.J., by 200,000 square feet, with construction beginning this month and expected to be completed by the end of the year. The facility is S&S's primary warehouse, distribution and customer service center for its North American operations, shipping books to retail, wholesale and specialty accounts for both Simon & Schuster and its distribution clients. S&S has more than 40 distribution clients, including Andrews McMeel Publishing, Baen, Baseball America, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Franklin Covey, Gallup, Meadowbrook Press, Merck, Reader's Digest, Regan Arts, Tuttle Publishing, Viz Media and Weldon Owen.

In addition to greater storage and title capacity, the expanded facility and state-of-the-art equipment will contribute to improved flow of incoming and outgoing inventory, resulting in faster turnaround time for customer orders and a reduction in traffic on streets in the warehouse vicinity. The addition's high bay/high density design will allow the company to double its pallet storage capacity.

"Distribution clients have always been a major component of our business strategy, and with this expansion of our Riverside facility we are committing significant resources to growing our family of clients, and to maintaining best-in-class service for our existing clients," said Carolyn Reidy, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster. "We have had a long and happy residency in Delran, and are pleased to have worked in conjunction with the Town of Delran and Burlington County to launch this exciting new phase in our relationship with the southern New Jersey community."

Biff Donovan Wins NEIBA's Saul Gilman Award

Biff Donovan

Congratulations to Biff Donovan of Penguin Young Readers, who is the winner of the 2015 Saul Gilman Award, sponsored by the New England Independent Booksellers Association and given for "outstanding service as a sales representative to New England independent bookstores."

Donovan began his book career at Lauriat's, where he was an assistant manager and then manager at several Lauriat's stores in the Boston area. Some 35 years ago, he became a rep at NAL, which eventually became NAL/Dutton, then Penguin, then Penguin Putnam and now Penguin Random House. Over time, he shifted from selling adult trade to children's books.


Amazon Prime Day Meets 'Co-op Day', Priceless Tweets

"Two Stores. One Day. No Clicks. Read With Us." Yesterday, in response to Amazon's Prime Day, the Seminary Co-op Bookstores (Seminary Co-op and 57th Street Books) in Chicago ran a "Co-op Day" promotion:

What is Co-op Day?
On Co-op Day, everyone saves 1% on everything in-stock at the Seminary Co-op and 57th Street Books, including hardcover and paperback books.

When is Co-op Day?
Every day is Co-op Day because every day we invite you to Read With Us, to make unforeseen connections while browsing at the speed of your choice, to engage in meaningful or -less conversation with other human beings. The bookstore is a vital social and intellectual nexus, a site where ideas are presented, exchanged, and challenged gently without judgement.


In other Prime Day news, by mid-day yesterday, Greg Greeley, v-p, Amazon Prime, had announced that "Prime Day peak order rates have already surpassed 2014 Black Friday."

The New York Times, however, wrote that the "reaction online at the halfway mark has been less than effusive, with the Twitter hashtag #PrimeDayFail gaining traction Wednesday alongside complaints of lackluster merchandise, paltry discounts and all-around disappointment."

And Forbes noted that "many customers didn’t seem to be enthused with the selection of goods or price cuts and took to social media to express their dismay. In response, Amazon got defensive, uncharacteristically releasing an update during the sale to partially illustrate Prime Day’s impact, while characteristically shielding some figures to make it unclear of just how successful the event has been."

Buzzfeed featured a priceless collection of Prime Day social media posts, including: "For me, Prime Day is still about family." And this equally priceless Downton Abbey reference: "#PrimeDay is the Lady Edith of sales."

Odyssey Bookshop's #2015AFundraisingOdyssey

Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass., has launched the #2015AFundraisingOdyssey, an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for a new computer system. "Please help the Odyssey continue to provide top-notch customer service through upgraded computer systems," the bookseller noted on its fundraising campaign page. "Our technology--in-store sales system; computer network, and even our public wireless system--is aging. Much of our hardware is more than ten years old and we've been limping along for some time. It's time to upgrade and we need your help!"

Main Street Books: A 'Real Old School Bookstore'

Main Street Books was highlighted as one of the "10 things to see, do and eat on a three-block stroll through Davidson [N.C.]" by Charlotte Agenda, which noted that "everything about a real old school bookstore screams, 'PUT DOWN YOUR TECHNOLOGY.' This one is in an old general store and has been here since the 80s."

Main Street was purchased recently by Mary Barone and Ada Fitzgerald.

Strand Bookstore Redesigns, 'Deshelves'

"My daughter is doing it," Fred Bass, legendary co-owner of the Strand bookstore in Manhattan, told the New Yorker to explain how Nancy Bass Wyden is attempting "the most recent of many waves of modernization that have taken place at the store since 2001, when the family bought the building that the store occupies, at 828 Broadway."

Strand recently hired a design company for advice regarding "what customers want now and in the future," said store manager Eddie Sutton.

In addition to trading "the bag check for video cameras and plainclothes security," moving the book-buying counter from the front to the back of the store and creating "two well-signed information desks on the first floor," the big change "was the deshelving, which replaced twenty-two shelving units from the back of the first floor with nine modular tables," the New Yorker wrote, adding: "The new open area is four hundred and forty square feet, roughly the size of a studio apartment."

Personnel Changes at Microcosm, Alex Adsett

At Microcosm:

Thea Kuticka has joined the company as sales director. She has more than a dozen years of experience in publishing, including seven years as business development director at Dark Horse Comics.

Taylor Hurley has been promoted to publicity manager. Hurley joined the company a year ago as an intern and was quickly hired as an editor.


Martin Shaw, a longtime staffer--mostly recently books division manager--at Readings in Melbourne, Australia, is joining the literary agency Alex Adsett Publishing Services and will specialize in literary fiction and creative nonfiction. He will be based in Europe. Adsett praised Shaw's "outstanding reputation in the book industry, his renown for helping to break out new literary voices, and his sound commercial instincts" and said that Shaw will also "explore more fully international opportunities for our authors as their careers develop."

Shaw has also founded Bookdesk Literary Services and will act as a sub-agent and represent several Australian independent publishers at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair and in the future.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Gronk on CBS This Morning

This morning on CBS This Morning: Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success (Holt, $27, 9781627791779).


Today on Fresh Air: Judd Apatow, author of Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy (Random House, $27, 9780812997576).


Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Rob Gronkowski, co-author of It's Good to Be Gronk (Jeter Publishing/Gallery, $26, 9781476754802).


Tomorrow on MSNBC's the Cycle: Molly Knight, author of The Best Team Money Can Buy: The Los Angeles Dodgers' Wild Struggle to Build a Baseball Powerhouse (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781476776293). She will also appear on CBS Sports Radio's Doug Gottlieb Show.

This Weekend on Book TV: Harlem Book Fair

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, July 18
11 a.m. Live coverage from the 17th annual Harlem Book Fair in New York City. (Re-airs Sunday at 1:15 a.m.)

7:30 p.m. John Marquez, author of Black-Brown Solidarity: Racial Politics in the New Gulf South (University of Texas Press, $25, 9781477302163). (Re-airs Sunday at 1 p.m. and Monday at 1 a.m.)

8 p.m. Gretchen Carlson, author of Getting Real (Viking, $28.95, 9780525427452).

9 p.m. Jonathan Kozol, author of The Theft of Memory: Losing My Father, One Day at a Time (Crown, $26, 9780804140973).

10 p.m. Andrea Mays, author of The Millionaire and the Bard: Henry Folger's Obsessive Hunt for Shakespeare's First Folio (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781439118238). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Martin Greenfield, author of Measure of a Man: From Auschwitz Survivor to Presidents' Tailor (Regnery, $27.99, 9781621572664). (Re-airs Sunday at 2 p.m.)

Sunday, July 19
6:30 p.m. Thomas Burr and Matt Canham, authors of Mormon Rivals: The Romneys, the Huntsmans and the Pursuit of Power (Salt Lake Tribune, $16.99, 9780986224522).

7:45 p.m. Ginger Adams Otis, author of Firefight: The Century-Long Battle to Integrate New York's Bravest (St. Martin's Press, $28, 9781137280015), at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, N.Y.

10 p.m. Ann Coulter, author of Adios, America (Regnery, $27.99, 9781621572671).

11 p.m. Guy Lawson, author of Arms and the Dudes: How Three Stoners from Miami Beach Became the Most Unlikely Gunrunners in History (Simon & Schuster, $27.95, 9781451667592).

Books & Authors

Awards: Eisner Comic Winners; Blackwell's Book of Year

The winners of the 2015 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, presented during Comic Con in San Diego, can be seen here.


U.K. bookseller Blackwell's named The Establishment: And How They Get Away with It by Owen Jones (published in the U.S. by Melville House) as its 2015 Book of the Year. The Bookseller noted that the "company's employees were asked to vote for their winner from a shortlist of six," including Atul Gawande's Being Mortal, Emma Healey's Elizabeth Is Missing, The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami and Helen McDonald's H Is For Hawk.

"Across Blackwell's, we have experienced booksellers in our shops around the country who spend every day making recommendations to customers of the best books to meet their needs and interests," said Gareth Hardy, head of commercial at Blackwell's. "Few people, therefore, are in a better position to assess the best of the best available to readers today. In The Establishment, Jones provides a fantastic expose into the unseen think-tanks and media moguls that shape modern political debate and has become a consistently a sound voice in an increasingly confusing world."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, July 21:

The Tournament by Matthew Reilly (Gallery, $26, 9781476749549) is a historical thriller about a chess tournament in 1556 Istanbul, featuring a young Queen Elizabeth I.

Selp-Helf by Miranda Sings (Gallery, $22.99, 9781501117947) offers parody advice from a YouTube star.

River Runs Deep by Jennifer Bradbury (Atheneum, $16.99, 9781442468245) is a young adult novel about a boy who encounters escaped slaves while fighting a case of consumption in a cave.

Return to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz (Disney-Hyperion, $17.99, 9781423181736) is a young adult horror/thriller.

In paperback:
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert (Gallery, $16, 9781501100710).

Paper Towns, based on the novel by John Green, opens July 24.

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 Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins (Crown, $26, 9780553418606). "Mindblowing, outrageous, and visionary, this is without question the best fantasy I have read in many moons! Hawkins has penned a tale that both opens the reader up to new perceptions of the universe, its creation, and ascendency, and gives the adage 'absolute power corrupts absolutely' an entirely singular meaning. He has imagined characters who are simultaneously loveable and despicable and presents them in a way that is both terrifying and darkly funny. Whether or not fantasy is your genre of choice, The Library at Mount Char will amaze you!" --Lynn Riggs, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, Wis.

As Night Falls: A Novel by Jenny Milchman (Ballantine, $26, 9780553394818). "If you want to experience a great psychological thriller, you must read As Night Falls. Sandy has tried to leave her past behind and start a new life, but it comes crashing in on her in a vicious way. Two convicts break into her house, and that is just the beginning of the terror as Sandy must try to face the past and save her family. I could not put this book down!" --Melissa Wade, Vero Beach Book Center, Vero Beach, Fla.

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk: A Novel by Kelli Estes (Sourcebooks Landmark, $14.99, 9781492608332). "In 1886, a young Chinese woman is forced out of the only home she has ever known in Seattle. Liu Mei Lin must overcome prejudices and terror while struggling to keep the traditional beliefs that are close to her heart. On contemporary Orcas Island, Inara deals with an overbearing father who will throw up every roadblock he can to get her to do what he wants. As Inara prepares to turn a family home into a hotel, she finds an embroidered silk sleeve hidden below a stair step. Wanting to learn more about the sleeve and the figures depicted on it, she begins a search to find out more about the woman who made it. This story is compelling, heart-wrenching, and an absolutely beautiful read." --Debbie Buck, Vintage Books, Vancouver, Wash.

For Teen Readers
Conviction by Kelly Gilbert (Disney-Hyperion, $17.99, 9781423197386). "Wow! The pressure of the situation that 17-year-old Braden finds himself in when his father is arrested for murder and Braden is the crucial witness builds and builds throughout the novel as the author slowly reveals what really happened that night. My heart is still bleeding for Braden, days after finishing Conviction, which I highly recommend for both adults and teens." --Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, S.C.

Anything Could Happen by Will Walton (Push, $17.99, 9780545709545). "The reason books like this need to be written is to remind us that everyone deserves to be loved unconditionally. The character of Tretch is your brother, your son, your favorite co-worker, your nephew. He is one of the most kind, true, genuine teenage boys you'll ever meet. It takes great courage to be honest, and Walton's main character realizes that being truly honest opens you up to being loved. When you read Anything Could Happen, you'll hold your breath, your heart will break, and you'll wish you could see Tretch's dance moves!" --Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga.

For Ages 9 to 12
Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones, illustrated by Katie Kath (Knopf, $16.99, 9780385755528). "Sophie Brown inherits her uncle's unusual chickens when her family inherits his farm. What makes these chickens unusual, you ask? Super speed, telepathy, and invisibility, among other traits. If that isn't enough to deal with, someone is trying to steal Sophie's new feathered friends. This whimsically illustrated diverse book is told in the format of letters to Sophie's abuela and her late uncle. Fans of Roald Dahl and Beverly Cleary will love this thrill-a-minute tale of rural adventure." --Sarah Sawyers-Lovett, Big Blue Marble Bookstore, Philadelphia, Pa.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Kitchens of the Great Midwest

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal (Pamela Dorman/Penguin, $25 hardcover, 9780525429142, July 28, 2015)

What we eat shapes our lives. While we often place the focus on how our present eating habits affect our overall health, the foods of our childhood have a deep impact on our psyches, perhaps none more so than whichever regional cuisine we grow up eating. Food lays the framework for J. Ryan Stradal's Kitchens of the Great Midwest, a debut novel reflecting his Minnesotan roots and featuring a collection of characters who exhibit the stalwart natures, deep traditions and lovable quirks native to the American Midwest.

Who is the elusive, near-mystical chef Eva Thorvald? The answer lies in every restaurant, recipe box and loving heart of the Midwestern family and friends who touched her life. The minute Eva arrived in the world, she became Lars Thorvald's greatest passion. Her father immediately wanted to share his second greatest passion of great food and fresh ingredients with his tiny daughter, but soon learned the appalling truth--toothless babies should not eat braised pork shoulder, even if pureed. Eva's mother, however, found parenthood stifling and left, expressing a conviction that an absent mother would serve Eva better than a disinterested one. Following another family tragedy, Eva grows into a bullied child who raises hellishly hot habanero peppers in her closet, a self-possessed teenager already gaining notice for her "once-in-a-lifetime palate" and, finally, an ingénue chef with bold new ideas.

Although a novel in terms of plot chronology and character intersection, the structure of the work is closer to a short story collection. The protagonist of only one chapter, Eva dances in and out of the narrative like a will-o'-the-wisp seen mainly through the eyes of others, and the latter half finds her appearing only at critical moments. Stradal uses this tactic of distance to make Eva seem larger than life, enough of a celebrity that she need only make cameo appearances in her own story. Besides, Stradal has more of the Midwest to showcase than Eva alone can provide. Only Pat, devout Lutheran widow, can serve as entry ticket to the high-stakes drama of the county fair bakeoff. Eva may buy locally sourced venison, but first Jordy, an alcoholic forced to watch his terminally ill mother slip away, takes us deer hunting on an opening weekend filled with unexpected pathos. Finally, the perspective of a near stranger from Eva's past provides our gateway to the extravagance of her crowning achievement, a series of famously over-the-top pop-up dinner parties with $5,000-a-plate price tags and innovative locations like an anchored boat on the edge of a waterfall. Complete with recipes for wild rice casserole and peanut butter bars, Stradal cooks up a boisterous yet authentic story of America's Heartland. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: Promising young chef Eva Thorvald, her family and friends find strength in good and bad times through Midwestern cuisine.

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