Shelf Awareness for Friday, July 17, 2015


Harper Perennial: The Paris Model by Alexandra Joel

Algonquin Young Readers: Skunk and Badger (Skunk and Badger 1) by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Andrews McMeel Publishing: How to Draw a Reindeer and Other Christmas Creatures with Simple Shapes in 5 Steps by Lulu Mayo

Houghton Mifflin: No Place for Monsters by Kory Merritt

Quotation of the Day

'...and a Roller Derby Rink'

"Each staff member would have an entire shelf to feature their staff picks/ideal shelf. We would have a writing room and an introvert's lounge for silent reading....  a champagne bar with a fireplace, cozy reading chairs and a game space.... On the roof, we would have a garden reading area. Our children's castle would be big, with rooms to explore and secret passageways. We would have a roller derby rink."

--Elliott Bay manager Justus Joseph, describing her infinite bookstore, in "Interview with a Bookstore" at Lithub.

University of California Press: Smoke But No Fire: Convicting the Innocent of Crimes That Never Happened by Jessica S. Henry


News

Rizzoli Bookstore to Reopen July 27

Rizzoli Bookstore, which had to leave its elegant space on W. 57th Street last year, will reopen July 27 in its new home at 1133 Broadway (at 26th Street) in New York City's NoMad neighborhood.

On the store's website, Rizzoli noted: "Just three blocks north of the bustling cultural heart of Madison Square Park, Rizzoli Bookstore looks forward to joining this vibrant environment which is host to high end retailers like Eataly, and Marimekko; restaurants including 11 Madison Park, The Breslin, and SD 26; and hotels like Ace, NoMad, and the hotly anticipated Ian Schrager hotel, Edition, slated for a 2015 opening."


GLOW: Houghton Mifflin: How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World's Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs by Guy Raz


AAP Sales: Down 3.7% in March

In March, total net book sales fell 3.7%, to $517.1 million, compared to March 2014, representing sales of 1,210 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers. For the year to date, total net sales are down 6.6%, to $2.223 billion.
 
Among highlights: the major categories with substantial sales gains were adult books, up 12%, to $355.8 million, and professional books, also up 12%, to $39.1 million. The biggest drags on sales were higher ed course materials, down 22.5%, to -$121.9 million (on heavy returns); children's/YA, down 19.1%, to $100.6 million; and religious presses, down 12.9%, to $36.5 million.
 
For the year to date, total trade paperback sales are up 8.6%, to 442.9 million, trade hardbacks are down 6.7%, to $463 million, and trade e-book sales are down 7.5%, to $374.1 million.
 
Sales by categories in March:
 

Atheneum Books for Young Readers: Tune It Out by Jamie Summer


Bound & Loose Leaf Opens in New Richmond, Ohio

Bound & Loose Leaf, a tea room and bookshop, has opened in New Richmond, Ohio, offering "a wide selection of domestic and imported teas, gourmet sandwiches, fresh soups and salads," as well as new and used books, the Clermont Sun reported. The business, which opened July 4, is owned and operated by Cecilia Krusling and her daughters, Jamie and Regina.

"Everyone that I've talked to in New Richmond is really excited that we're here," said Regina. "People have had nothing but positive things to say. The community here is really warm and welcoming." She added that "from the beginning, selling books was part of our business plan."


University Press of Kentucky: The Redshirt (University Press of Kentucky New Poetry & Prose) by Corey Sobel


Cleveland's Guide to Kulchur Looks to Expand

Guide to Kulchur, "Gordon Square's bookstore and zinemaking co-op" in Cleveland, Ohio, has launched a crowdfunding campaign "to transform from an LLC to a Worker-Owned Cooperative and to purchase equipment necessary to become a fully functioning publishing house," Scene reported.

"The core of our expansion plan involves purchasing a higher quality, more automated binder that will be able to produce 350 books per hour, seven times our previous capacity," Guide to Kulchur noted on its Indiegogo page, adding: "We are working with community partners to move to a new storefront in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood with approximately 3,000 square feet of first floor retail and production space."


U.K.'s Daunt Books Launches New Websites

London bookshop chain Daunt Books has launched a pair of new websites dedicated to its bookselling and publishing divisions. The Bookseller reported that the websites "were designed and built by the company's booksellers, with employees from each Daunt shop contributing, led by Patrick Power and Rosanna Lyttelton from the Marylebone branch. Staff from all six shops will write the website blogs."

Daunt Books publisher Laura Macaulay noted that the goal of the platforms is to give customers a "lovingly curated online experience that recreates a visit to one of our London bookshops.... All our titles are inspired by the Daunt Books shops and the exciting atmosphere of discovery to be found in a good bookshop, and with a growing list, it was time for our own website."


Arizona Judge Blocks 'Nude Photos Law'

Last Friday, a federal judge in Phoenix "permanently blocked Arizona officials from enforcing a 2014 law restricting the display of nude pictures in books, newspapers, magazines, and on the Internet," Bookselling This Week reported. The judge approved a jointly agreed upon settlement between the Arizona attorney general and a coalition of Arizona booksellers, book and newspaper publishers, librarians and photographers, who had filed a lawsuit challenging the law.

"This is a complete victory for publishers, booksellers, librarians, photographers, and others against an unconstitutional law," said Media Coalition executive director David Horowitz, whose members include plaintiffs in the suit. "Now they won’t have to worry about being charged with a felony for offering newsworthy and artistic images."

BTW noted that five bookstores were plaintiffs in the case: Antigone Books in Tucson; Bookmans in Tucson, Phoenix, Mesa and Flagstaff; Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe and Phoenix; Copper News Book Store in Ajo; and Mostly Books in Tucson. The American Booksellers for Free Expression was also a plaintiff.

"Booksellers played an important role in this case by demonstrating to the judge the broad range of titles that would be affected by the law," said ABFE director Chris Finan. "They showed great courage in defending First Amendment rights."


Notes

Image of the Day: Bill Clinton Goes Book Shopping

The Strand, New York City, was pleasantly surprised yesterday morning by a visit from former president and noted book lover Bill Clinton, who browsed through fiction, history and new bestsellers. He picked up titles by Atul Gawande, Ace Atkins and Elizabeth Mitchell, and was even kind enough to take photos with fans after his shopping trip. Photo by Whitney Hu, Strand marketing manager.


Happy 30th, The Little Read Book!

Congratulations to the Little Read Book, Wauwatosa, Wis., which celebrated its 30th anniversary this week. Wauwatosa Now reported that owner Linda Burg's business has expanded over the decades, with the first four years spent at a much smaller location before moving to the current, much larger space on State Street.

"We were once selling to young adults and their families," Burg said. "Now those young adults we once sold to have grandchildren we sell to. I've been so busy day-to-day, but if I stop and think about it, staying in business for 30 years is an accomplishment."

She added: "We are an alternative to big superstores. We are hands-on as far as reading goes. Someone can walk in and ask questions, and if one of us doesn't have the answer, then they go to one of the other booksellers because we all don't read the same things. If there is something not on the shelf that someone came in for, we will break our backs to get it for you."


Punta Gorda's Copperfish Books: 'Charming & Comfy'

Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, Fla., is "a charming and comfy place for those who want books--new, used, and antique and collectible--as well as greeting cards and gifts," Florida Weekly reported, noting that co-owners Cathy Graham and Serena Wyckoff, who sold books online for seven years before opening a bricks-and-mortar location three years ago, "have been living happily ever."

"Our biggest challenge was planning and trying to figure out if it would be viable," said Graham. "We spent well over a year planning and educating ourselves and cranking the numbers before we pulled the switch."

"Fortunately, this success story doesn't yet have an end," Florida Weekly wrote.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Paul Greenberg on Fresh Air

This morning Morning Edition: Christina McDowell, author of After Perfect: A Daughter's Memoir (Gallery, $25, 9781476785325).

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Today on Fresh Air: Paul Greenberg, author of American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood (Penguin Books, $17, 9780143127437).

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Tomorrow on All Things Considered: Stephen Buchmann, author of The Reason for Flowers: Their History, Culture, Biology, and How They Change Our Lives (Scribner, $26, 9781476755526).


Movies: Brain on Fire; Fantastic Beasts

Broad Green Pictures will team up with Charlize Theron's Denver & Delilah and Foundation Features to produce and finance Brain on Fire, based on Susannah Cahalan's bestselling memoir, Deadline.com reported. Chloë Grace Moretz is playing the lead role in the film, which is directed by Gerard Barrett (Glassland). Also starring are Jenny Slate and Thomas Mann. Principal photography begins July 13 in Vancouver, with the film set for release in 2016.

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Dan Fogler will play Jacob in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the film adaptation of J.K. Rowling's book, which is being directed by David Yates, Deadline.com reported. Fogler joins a cast that includes Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller and Alison Sudol.


Books & Authors

Awards: Theakstons Crime Winner; Ngaio Marsh Shortlist

Sarah Hilary won the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award for Someone Else's Skin, the Bookseller reported. Prize organizers praised the novel as a "compelling first thriller" that is "superbly disturbing, twisty and tricksy." In addition to a £3,000 (about $4,690) cash prize, Hilary receives a handmade oak cask provided by Theakstons Old Peculier.

A special presentation was also made to Sara Paretsky, who won the sixth Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award.

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The shortlist has been announced for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel, which recognizes "the best crime, mystery or thriller novel written by a New Zealand citizen or resident," Booksellers NZ reported. The winner will be named in September. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Five Minutes Alone by Paul Cleave
The Petticoat Men by Barbara Ewing
Swimming in the Dark by Paddy Richardson
The Children's Pond by Tina Shaw
Fallout by Paul Thomas


Book Brahmin: Linda Rosenkrantz

photo: Christopher Finch

Linda Rosenkrantz is the author of several books of fiction and nonfiction, including Telegram, a history of telegraphic communication, and her memoir, My Life as a List: 207 Things About My (Bronx) Childhood, and is co-author of Gone Hollywood: The Movie Colony in the Golden Age. She was also the founding editor of Auction magazine, a long-time syndicated columnist and a founder of the popular baby-naming site Nameberry.com. Rosenkrantz was born in New York City and lives in Los Angeles. On July 7, 2015, the New York Review Books republished her 1968 novel Talk.

On your nightstand now:

On my nightstand right now--both wooden and virtual: Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín, Almost No Memory by Lydia Davis, Dear Life by Alice Munro, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, Traveling Sprinkler by Nicholson Baker, Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart (almost finished, as is Lena Dunham's Not That Kind of Girl).

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf--aka "Ferdinand the Bull." As a painfully shy child, I so much identified with the big bull that preferred to sit on the sidelines under a tree and smell the flowers rather than fight--the observer rather than the participant. Later I loved a book of short stories called Here We Are, which introduced me to the writing of people like Katherine Anne Porter, Irwin Shaw, Sinclair Lewis and William Saroyan, which still bears the splash-watermarks from my reading it over and over again at the age of 11 on the dock at Camp Jekoce (when I probably should have been in the lake).

Your top five authors:

A very mixed bag if I had to pick just five: Italo Svevo, Nathanael West, Barbara Pym, Alan Bennett--and if poets come under this category--William Butler Yeats.

Book you've faked reading:

I've never tried to conceal the fact that I haven't read Moby-Dick or Finnegans Wake.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Currently it's Roz Chast's searingly real and honest Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?. And for dog lovers, the heartbreaking Timbuktu by Paul Auster.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I'm immediately drawn to any memoir with a childhood snapshot of the author on the cover. Also, I must say that covers are so much more appealing and better designed now than they used to be; I would hate for some of my earlier books to be judged by their hideous covers.

Book that changed your life:

I spent several months in my early 20s living in the hills above Florence with two dear friends; it was a time of discovery, trying to figure out who we were and where we were headed in life. Two books that were very important to me during that time were The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing and Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, as well as the now neglected novels of Gertrude Stein.

Favorite line from a book:

"She was so deeply embedded in my consciousness that for the first year of school I seem to have believed that each of my teachers was my mother in disguise." --opening line of Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth. This is not solely for its literary merit, but for the way it resonated with me personally. (If that isn't TMI.)

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

Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne, for the wild ride and sheer delight in encountering Sterne's riotous, bawdy humor and playful experiments with language and form. (And there's some hilarious stuff in it that relates to my day job--writing about the influence of one's name.)


Book Review

Review: Circling the Sun

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain (Ballantine Books, $28 hardcover, 9780345534187, July 28, 2015)

Growing up in Kenya on her father's horse farm, the young Beryl Markham was able to make her own rules: exploring the farm's rugged terrain, becoming an expert horsewoman, befriending the Kipsigis natives who worked for and with her father. But when Beryl becomes a teenager, her father's business faces financial ruin and she is left to fend for herself. Fiercely independent yet unsure of social conventions, Beryl falls into a series of disastrous romantic and professional relationships. In her third novel, Circling the Sun, Paula McLain explores the complexities of Beryl's life and traces her journey from young girl to horse trainer to world-renowned aviatrix.

McLain's skill at blending fact and fiction, which dazzled readers in The Paris Wife, is on full display in Circling the Sun. Drawing on Markham's memoir West with the Night and other historical sources, McLain paints a lushly colored portrait of 1920s Kenya. An untamed land full of enigmatic natives and European expatriates hungry for a fresh start, Kenya provides Beryl's father and eventually Beryl herself with a canvas big enough for their dreams. Beryl narrates her own story, and her love for Kenya's wild landscapes, as well as her deep loneliness, comes through on every page.

Gradually finding some success as a horse trainer and breeder, Beryl falls in with the Happy Valley set, a group of glittering, bored English aristocrats and other expats who switch lovers as easily as they do cocktails. A complicated love triangle with big game hunter Denys Finch Hatton and his longtime paramour, Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke (who under the pen name Isak Dinesen wrote Out of Africa), has a deep effect on Beryl's professional and personal life.

McLain deftly highlights the contrast between Beryl's friends in Kenya--determined to defy convention if it kills them--and Beryl's own yearning for a place to belong, inside or outside the confines of social expectations. Though Beryl has built an unconventional life, she becomes restless and dissatisfied with horse training and tangled relationships. The advent of air travel, and the opportunity to earn her pilot's license, offer Beryl a chance at both escape and transformation.

"Searching out something important and going astray look exactly the same for a while," Denys tells Beryl. In prose as luminous as the African skies, McLain charts Beryl's journey of self-discovery: searching, stumbling, getting back up and eventually soaring. Heartbreaking and defiantly hopeful--like Beryl herself--Circling the Sun is a masterful story of hardship, courage and love. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Paula McLain's masterful third novel tells the story of Beryl Markham, a fiercely unconventional horse trainer, aviatrix in 1920s Kenya and author of West with the Night.


Ooops

Island Books Owner Clarification

Laurie Raisys is the new owner of Island Books, Mercer Island, Wash. Yesterday, 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."


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Are Smaller Conferences Better?

Last week, I shared reactions from some of the booksellers who attended June's BookManager Academy in Kelowna, British Columbia. There were two other questions I asked them, including: Do you think these smaller conferences are more useful to you as a bookseller than the traditional--if apparently fading--model of the mega-conference?

"I think the giant trade shows were very useful in several respects (e.g., opportunity to see publishers we wouldn't ordinarily see, such as academic or regional presses, to meet the 'big name' authors and to see book-related sidelines), but are probably, in the long run, no longer cost effective either for us or the publishers," Jim Schmidt of Galiano Island Books, Galiano Island, B.C., observed. "The regional book fairs, though, still play a critical role in informing the bookseller about what's new and hot as well as creating the opportunity to nurture and grow the bookseller/publisher community. The American Booksellers Association Winter Institute is without doubt the best educational opportunity, bar none, for booksellers, even non-U.S. booksellers and I have no doubt it will continue to thrive."

Attendees at BookManager Academy talking shop during a houseboat tour of Lake Okanagan

"I do think these smaller conferences are more useful than mega-conferences like BookExpo," replied Tiffany Harlan of Grass Roots Books & Music, Corvallis, Ore. "The large conferences can be overwhelming and don't offer the same opportunities to explore topics in depth and, more importantly, to connect with other individual booksellers. The more intimate social events at BookManager Academy (including a wonderful houseboat tour of Lake Okanagan sponsored by HarperCollins) provided valuable time to network and expand on ideas brought up during the education sessions."

Joy McLean of Cafe Books, Canmore, Alberta, said she prefers the BMA format "to a mega-conference where I think I would consider myself a small voice in a huge crowd. I wouldn't feel comfortable speaking up in that environment and I fear the louder voices would come from the larger indies rather than the smaller or unknown, but nevertheless important, stores who may be just as worthy and successful."

Smaller events like BMA "are much more useful," according to Melissa Bourdon-King of Mabel's Fables Bookstore in Toronto. "The focus topics were able to be more targeted and specific to my needs as an independent bookseller, and I did not feel lost in a crowd, I felt part of something exciting, something developing, something powerful."

Robert Moore of Oregon Books & Games, Grants Pass, Ore., agreed that "smaller is better because of the interaction and learning opportunities. BookExpo America is an event, not a learning venue."

Cathy Jesson of Black Bond Books, Surrey, B.C., also said "smaller conferences are better. I love the Winter Institute. I did attend BookExpo--in many ways I felt that was a tipping point show. I did not run into too many booksellers--more bloggers (not sure how these are qualified, as seemed an enormous group) and lots of librarians. There seemed little place at BEA for interaction."

Jessica Walker of Munro's Books, Victoria, B.C., "hasn't been able to go to BookExpo for a few years because of scheduling conflicts, but I think I've got much more out of the last two Winter Institutes that I attended. That said, BookExpo provides a good snapshot of the industry from the publishing side."

Noting that he had "attended the Winter Institute in Seattle a year or so ago and found that also to be very practically oriented, much more valuable than a show that is mainly display," Garry MacGregor of Volume One Bookstore, Duncan, B.C., said "the BookManager event was of the same ilk, the difference being that it was smaller, so the networking opportunities created more of a cohesive group."

BMA "was all about making connections," noted Barbara Pope of the Mulberry Bush Book Store, Parksville, B.C. "Ever since the demise of the Canadian Booksellers Association quite a few years ago now, there hasn't been an opportunity for indie booksellers from across Canada to come together, to share professional development learning, best practices, new ideas, industry concerns and connections with each other and our publishers. BMA provided this much needed opportunity.

"Some of us who met at BMA talked (only informally at this stage) about the need for a new Canada-wide alliance so that we would, once again, have a Canadian voice to represent Canadian independent bookselling across the country and internationally. It is very much needed. Obviously, all Canadian indie booksellers would be very much part of any new alliance, if it ever becomes a reality. It's only a dream right now, of course. Nevertheless, BMA was an excellent picture of what could be achieved in the future."

Next week, booksellers answer the question: Having had the opportunity to spend a few days at BMA among so many other independent booksellers, what was your sense of the "indie mood" (for lack of a better phrase) overall? --Robert Gray, contributing editor (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)


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