Shelf Awareness for Monday, December 7, 2015

William Morrow & Company: The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

Shadow Mountain: The Witch in the Woods: Volume 1 (Grimmworld) by Michaelbrent Collings

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Indiana University Press: The Grim Reader: A Pharmacist's Guide to Putting Your Characters in Peril by Miffie Seideman

St. Martin's Press: Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder by Kerryn Mayne


The Printed Garden Bookstore Opens in Sandy, Utah

Aaron Cance

Aaron Cance, a former bookseller at the King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah, "is striking out on his own" to open the Printed Garden in Sandy, Bookselling This Week reported. The 2,000-square-foot space in the Union Square shopping plaza will offer a mix of new and used books. "I call it a self-service family bookstore," he said. "I've got all the usual categories as well as what I think will make it unique, particularly in Salt Lake City."

Cance, who has worked in bookselling for 18 years, noted that opening a bookstore "was always the plan, and I'm at the point now where it was time to do it, if I was going to do it, so I pulled the trigger.... As a new business owner, I'm going into it with all the optimism in the world and all the pessimism at the same time. But there is no way I would rather spend the next 20 years than running an indie bookstore."

He also cited "the steadfast support" of King's English owners Betsy Burton and Anne Holman. "I'm hoping to harness that energy inspired by Betsy, who is heavily involved in the Local First movement here, to rally the indie stores in our plaza and try to collaborate with everyone for their mutual benefit to see if we can market the plaza as a community."

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland

At Diversion Books: New Publisher, New Division

Jamie Levine

Effective January 4, Jaime Levine will become publisher of Diversion Books. She was formerly an executive editor at Grand Central Publishing and at Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press.

At the same time, Diversion's v-p and editorial director Mary Cummings is becoming v-p and director of business development. She will work closely with Levine and continue to acquire for Diversion Books, but will primarily focus on leading a new division, Diversion Distribution Services, which includes the EverAfter Romance brand, providing self-published authors with access to traditional print sales and distribution.

At Grand Central, in the science fiction and fantasy imprint, Levine's list included Octavia Butler, Jacqueline Carey, and David and Leigh Eddings. Later, she moved into mainstream commercial fiction with an emphasis on bestselling thriller franchises including the joint novels of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child as well as the estate of Robert Ludlum.

Levine commented: "I've been deeply impressed with Diversion's rapid growth from intelligent e-book start-up to publisher of compelling original books in all formats. Their marriage of digital and print is key. I'm excited to expand the breadth and depth of what Diversion Books offers its authors and readers." Founded in 2010, the company publishes about 60 titles a year and has a backlist of 1,000 titles.

Scott Waxman, Diversion CEO and co-founder, commented: "Jaime is the right person to run with what we have built at Diversion Books. What began as a way to maximize digital rights for backlist has evolved into a full-fledged publisher in all formats, looking for great books and publishing them to as wide an audience as possible. While we continue to innovate in digital, we place an emphasis on the best that traditional publishing can offer, and Jaime gives us that."

Chronicle Books: Life Wants You Dead: A Calm, Rational, and Totally Legit Guide to Scaring Yourself Safe by Evan Waite, Illustrated by Paula Searing

Better World Books Opening Third Warehouse

Better World Books, which since 2002 has raised $21 million, donated 18 million books and reused or recycled almost 200 million books all to support literacy, libraries and education, is opening a third distribution center, in Reno, Nev. The organization has distribution centers in Mishawaka, Ind., and Dunfermline, U.K. The new DC will have 140,000 square feet of space.

Dustin Holland, v-p of global sales and marketing for Better World Books, said that the expansion will "create more jobs, raise more literacy funding, increase book donations, and deliver a better customer experience for our clients and customers in the region."

Christine Pfleckl, v-p of logistics and operations for Better World Books, said, "I'm looking forward to having a distribution footprint on the West Coast. We've been warmly welcomed by the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, the Washoe County School System and the Washoe County Library System, some of whom are current clients of Better World Books. This is a great opportunity to better serve our customers as well as make an impact locally on the West Coast."

Better World Books has more than 5,000 clients and partners. A percentage of each of the organization's sales supports a library or literacy initiative and for every book purchased on, the company donates one.

GLOW: Tundra Books: We Are Definitely Human by X. Fang

Deep Vellum Books to Open in Dallas This Week

Ever since he moved to Dallas, Tex., from North Carolina to start Deep Vellum Publishing two and a half years ago, Will Evans has planned to open a bookstore. The independent publishing house, though, came first: Deep Vellum published its first translated work of literature in December 2014, and has published 10 translated books altogether in its first year. Now, Evans is getting ready to open Deep Vellum Books, an independent bookstore and cultural center specializing in independent presses, in the city's Deep Ellum neighborhood.

Will Evans

"When I moved to Dallas, there wasn't a single independent bookstore that sold new books," recalled Evans. At the time, Dallas didn't have very much of a literary scene, and promoting a vibrant literary culture in the city was one of his goals for creating Deep Vellum Publishing. Since then, an independent bookstore called the Wild Detectives opened in Dallas's Oak Cliff neighborhood, and now Evans is finally about to open a store of his own. "As part of my mission I knew I'd have to open a bookstore."

Deep Vellum Books will be a 900-square-foot bookstore that sells new titles published by small presses, with an emphasis on translation. Evans expects to stock around 1,500 titles initially, and the inventory will include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, chapbooks, literary journals and zines, as well as some Spanish-language books. Deep Vellum Books will also have a bar with a small selection of beer and wine, along with coffee and possibly some snacks. And though they'll share the same building, Deep Vellum Books will be a separate LLC from the publishing house, which is a 501c3 nonprofit. The former will also carry titles published by the latter.

"We're in a neighborhood of bars and coffee shops; we don't want to compete in that world," said Evans. "We want it to complement what we do, not specialize in it. We want to be a bookstore that happens to sell some drinks."

Evans intends to hire a manager and several booksellers to run the store, and envisions nightly events being Deep Vellum Books's "bread and butter." On the literary side, the store will host book clubs, translation and writing workshops, performance literature events--in which actors read poetry and prose--and launch events for new books from Deep Vellum Publishing. Evans would also like to start some sort of writer- and translator-in-residence program, though he has yet to iron out the details. On the non-literary side, Evans wants to host live music, art shows and film screenings.

Evans is also looking to expand Deep Vellum Publishing's educational programs, which have included bookmaking classes and writing workshops with local high schools and universities. Partnerships with some other nonprofits in the area, he said, are also in the works.

The launch party for Deep Vellum Books, featuring drinks and snacks, is scheduled for this Wednesday, December 9. The event schedule will really kick off, though, on January 5, with a Deep Vellum Book Club event featuring Sergio Waisman, translator of Ricardo Piglia's Target in the Night, which Deep Vellum published in November, and a grand opening is tentatively planned for sometime in February. And though Evans won't be running the store day to day, he plans to have a big role.

He added: "the bookstore is definitely my baby." --Alex Mutter

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

Obituary Note: William McIlvanney

Scottish author William McIlvanney, who wrote the Laidlaw trilogy and many other works set in Glasgow, including Docherty, The Big Man and The Kiln, died December 5, the Guardian reported. He was 79. An award-winning writer, his honors included the Whitbread Prize, the Crime Writers' Association's Silver Dagger, the Saltire Award and the Glasgow Herald People's Prize.

Alan Taylor, editor of the Scottish Review of Books, observed that "to label Willie a 'crime writer' or 'the godfather of Tartan Noir' is to seriously underestimate him. His true peers were not alumni of the American hard-boiled school, such as Chandler and Hammett, but the likes of Gogol and Dostoevsky, Zola and Céline. He wrote about hard times and tough people--so-called 'big men' and trauchled women--dealing with the fallout of unemployment, poverty and ignorance."


Image of the Day: BookBar's BookBed B&B

 Authors Maura Weiler (Contrition) and Cynthia Swanson (The Bookseller) both stayed recently at Denver's BookBed b&b, located above the BookBar bookstore, and snapped a photo of them reading each others' books with a glass of wine. The b&b features book-themed art and decor throughout, breakfast delivered to the room and full amenities (kitchen, bath, laundry), as well as a private entrance and balcony overlooking the garden patio.

"For literature lovers, BookBed, conveniently located above BookBar, is something straight out of a fairy tale," 5280 magazine reported, adding that owner Nicole Sullivan's "loving attention to detail that will make BookBed a destination for out-of-town literature nerds and staycationing bookworms alike. She chose a palette of gray, black, and white to evoke the look of pages; a chalkboard wall in the kitchen will host signatures from the authors who've stayed. Book-themed art abounds, and shelves will be stocked with Indie Next List tomes guests can enjoy with that coffee on the balcony or take home with them (it works like a hotel minibar--whatever you take simply gets added to your tab)."

'Dream Job': Jarek Steele, Bookseller

Work Theory interviewed Jarek Steele, co-owner of Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo., for its "Dream Job" series. Among our favorite exchanges:

Jarek Steele

The Best: Tell us, what's the best part of your job?
Today I got a phone call from a closeted transgender person who came to the dedication of the country's first transgender memorial garden--a project I was largely responsible for. This person called because they were able to admit after 65 years that they were transgender because of the communication and inspiration of that garden. This job, this community, this store and my position in all of them allowed me to do that. I can define what I do and what this bookstore does and it can only be limited by a deficit in imagination.

The Stink: Tell us, what's part of the job that you really wish were different?
I wish I didn't have to convince people that bookstores and other locally owned businesses were worth the effort to stop shopping at Amazon. I wish I didn't have to explain why that's important. I wish I could pay my staff what they're worth.

Who is someone you look up to for career inspiration?
My partner, Kris Kleindienst.  She's worked here since 1976 and is hands down the smartest person in the room.

What is your advice to people who are interested in a similar career?
Expect to not be rich. Expect many days when you don't think your business will last. Expect to defend its existence. Prepare for overwhelming support from those who get what you do. Prepare to work with people who are smarter than you are, and seize the moment to learn from them.

Indies Recommend 'Books Retailers Should Read in 2016'

The National Retail Federation asked three independent booksellers to recommend "books retailers should read in 2016":

Marlene England, co-owner of Curious Iguana, Frederick, Md., touted Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown ("perfect for those of us who feel 'motion sickness instead of momentum' ") and the upcoming Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends by Martin Lindstrom.

Steve Bercu, owner of BookPeople, Austin, Tex., gave high marks to Paco Underhill's Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping and The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain ("about a bookseller in Paris who found a purse, solved a mystery and fell in love with the owner").

Lizz Taylor, owner of Poor Richard's Books, Frankfort, Ken., said, "Working in retail means constant people contact, and we don't get to choose the mood of our customers. Dealing with them requires great calm and tact.... Anne Lamott has written a book describing the simplest prayer: Help, Thanks, Wow. Ask for help when you need it, be grateful and thankful for the smallest benefit and see the awesome 'wow' in something every day. You will find you have more energy and patience with your customers, yourself and your family at the end of the day."

Personnel Changes at HarperCollins, Insight Editions

Effective immediately, David Wolfson, senior v-p, international sales, at HarperCollins U.S., will assume the additional role of open market leader for both HarperCollins U.S. and HarperCollins U.K., assuming global responsibility for sales for English-language books in open market territories. The company said that "global demand for our authors' books in English language continues to expand and we are making this change to better serve this growing market."


Lauren Kretzschmar has been promoted to publicist at Insight Editions.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Rick Moody on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Rick Moody, author of Hotels of North America (Little, Brown, $25, 9780316178556).

Sirius XM's Michael Smerconish Show: Karl Rove, author of The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters (Simon & Schuster, $32.50, 9781476752952).

Dr. Oz: Ben Pollinger, author of School of Fish (Gallery, $35, 9781451665130).

Watch What Happens Live: Beth Stern, author of Yoda Gets a Buddy (Aladdin, $17.99, 9781481469692).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Shaquille O'Neal, author of Little Shaq (Bloomsbury, $9.99, 9781619637214).

CBS This Morning: Christopher Buckley, author of The Relic Master: A Novel (Simon & Schuster, $26.95, 9781501125751). He will also appear on CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper and Sirius XM's Stand Up! with Pete Dominick.

Wendy Williams: Joan Collins, author of The St. Tropez Lonely Hearts Club (Constable, $15, 9781472122940). She will also appear on Watch What Happens Live.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: George Saunders, author of The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip (Random House, $22, 9780812989632).

Movies: Opening Belle; The Stars My Destination

Warner Bros. "is moving ahead with Reese Witherspoon's Wall Street comedy Opening Belle, tapping Matthew Aldrich [The Ballad of Pablo Escobar] to adapt Maureen Sherry Klinsky's upcoming novel," Variety reported. The book, which will be published by Simon & Schuster next year, is "loosely based on Klinsky's real-life experience working as a managing director at Bear Stearns."


David DiGilio will write the script for The Stars My Destination, the "in-development adaptation of Alfred Bester's mindbending 1956 science fiction novel," reported, noting that "the book was an enormous influence on subsequent sci-fi, including just for one example, '90s cult classic TV series Babylon 5." Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kong: Skull Island) is directing.

TV: Cardinal

Billy Campbell (The Killing) and Karine Vanasse (Revenge) have been cast as leads in Canadian network CTV's six-part one-hour drama series Cardinal (working title), reported, adding that the project is being adapted from Giles Blunt's novel Forty Words for Sorrow, the first of the John Cardinal Mysteries series. Cardinal will premiere as part of the network's 2016/17 schedule, with production beginning in February.

Books & Authors

Awards: WH Smith Book of the Year

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins was named WH Smith's Book of the Year. The Bookseller reported that the British chain "selected the book from the year's bestsellers and from titles which it viewed to have 'ultimately taken the market by storm.' "

Alastair Aldous, WH Smith trading controller for books, described the novel as "such a fantastic read. It has definitely been my favorite book of the year and it is no secret that our customers have loved it as well."

Book Review

Review: The Core of the Sun

The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo, trans. by Lola Rogers (Black Cat/Grove Press, $16 trade paper, 9780802124647, January 5, 2016)

Readers who think they're over the dystopia trend are about to find themselves proven wrong by so-called "queen of Finnish Weird," novelist Johanna Sinisalo (Troll: A Love Story). In the outstanding Core of the Sun, she depicts a country strangled by a patriarchal government claiming zealously to care about its citizens' health.

In an alternate timeline, the modern-day Finnish people live under the power of a eusistocracy--a form of government wherein decisions hinge on the health and safety of the people. Tobacco and alcohol no longer exist within Finnish borders. Only the antioxidant-rich dark form of chocolate is legal without a prescription. The most recent prohibition concerns capsaicin, the chemical that gives chili peppers their heat. By law, pepper consumption or possession is treated as a drug offense. Vanna, a young woman, hides her capsaicin addiction, but constantly looks for her next fix, the only way to dull the pain of losing Manna, her younger sister.

The addiction is far from Vanna's only secret. For decades, Finland has worked at creating its perfect breed of domesticated women: obedient, uniform in appearance, childlike, focused solely on making a home and pleasing a husband. Called eloi or femiwomen, only these ideal specimens may reproduce. Vanna's sister is an eloi, but Vanna only looks like one. Really she is a morlock, an independent woman with as much sense and desire for knowledge as any man; morlocks are also called neuterwomen because the law requires their sterilization. Taught by her grandmother to pass as eloi in order to avoid becoming a social pariah, Vanna moves in society with the help of partner Jare, who poses as her boyfriend in exchange for help with his chili-dealing operation. But while Jare socks away money in hopes of escaping Finland, Vanna cannot leave until she solves the mystery of Manna's disappearance.

Told through Vanna's and Jare's eyes, the alternating narratives offer supporting details from textbook excerpts and dictionary entries explaining the evolution of the eusistocracy and the domestication of women, as well as essays from eloi college and magazine excerpts, illustrating the desired obedience and dimwittedness of the femiwoman. At times it reads a bit like Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale with a sense of humor; a PSA on chili pepper addiction from a recovering addict is particularly hilarious, while marriage-minded deodorant ads and rewritten fairy tales will elicit laughs with a bitter aftertaste. This perfect execution of utopia gone awry lays out a sound contrast for Vanna's unconditional love for her sister, expressed in letters Manna may never see. A testament to the power of the human soul to escape oppression and a smirking social commentary, The Core of the Sun is one deliciously spicy package. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: This sly Finnish import imagines a society in which women have been selectively bred for domestication and chili peppers are considered an addictive substance.

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