Shelf Awareness for Thursday, December 10, 2015

Holiday House: Ros Demir Is Not the One by Leyla Brittan

HarperAlley: I Shall Never Fall In Love by Hari Conner

W. W. Norton & Company to Sell and Distribute Yale University Press and Harvard University Press

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine

Quotation of the Day

'When I Got Locked Up, Books Became Magic'

"Before I got incarcerated, I read for pleasure, and I read because it was a duty. I just loved books. When I got locked up, I think books became magic. Books weren't really magic when I was a child. They were just something that I enjoyed reading and I thought it was important, but when I got locked up, it became magic. It became a means to an end. Before I went to prison, school was where I got educated, and I didn't really think of the books that I read as adding to my education per se. I just thought that this is what you do like as a human being in the world. I thought that stories were great. But once I got locked up, books became the site of magic. They became the way in which I experienced the world. But more importantly I think they became the way in which I learned about what it means to be human and to be flawed and to want things that you can't have."

--Reginald Dwayne Betts, author of the new poetry collection Bastards of the Reagan Era (Four Way), speaking on Tuesday on Fresh Air.

 Treasure Books, Inc.: There's Treasure Inside by Jon Collins-Black


Quail Ridge Books to Relocate

In the spring of 2016, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, N.C., will move to a new location, in North Hills Shopping Center. Current plans call for the bookstore to vacate Ridgewood Shopping Center in mid-March and open in the Lassiter District area of North Hills by the beginning of April.

Quail Ridge's current location.

In a post on Quail Ridge's website, owner Lisa Poole wrote: "We worked diligently for over a year to reach a mutually acceptable lease renewal in our current location, but we were unable to come to an agreement. While we are sad to leave this neighborhood, we are also very excited to be moving to North Hills and for the opportunities that location will offer. We won't be moving far away and we hope each of you will make the move with us. We have plans to open a beautiful store there and have every intention of keeping the heart, soul, and DNA of Quail Ridge Books alive and well at North Hills."

Nancy Olson, the bookstore's founder, said, "I'm so pleased that the Quail Ridge Books' tradition of quality books and great service will continue in an exciting new space. This is a great opportunity for growing the store's customer base of passionate readers."

Poole, who purchased the bookstore in 2013, told WNCN: "We got a really good offer from North Hills. And they wooed us. And we decided it was the best thing for us to do."

John Kane, CEO of Kane Realty Corporation, said, "We are ecstatic to have Quail Ridge Books open at North Hills. It is a great community staple and we believe it will do well in this location."

The Triangle Business Journal reported that the 7,530-square-foot North Hills space is smaller than the 9,400 square feet Quail Ridge occupies at Ridgewood, which might require some changes in the number of titles carried in certain subject areas, but Poole emphasized that the move will not mean cutbacks for its popular children's book department: "Carol Moyer, who's been running our children's section for 27 years, is tickled pink to be able to create a new, cool children's section. It's going to be a lot of fun."

Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!

E-Books Sales Growing--but Outside Major Publishers?

Although e-book sales have plateaued or declined for most major publishers in the U.S. and U.K. in the past few years, e-book sales are growing for other publishers and especially self-publishers, Gareth Cuddy, founder and CEO of Vearsa, argued last week, the Bookseller reported. At the FutureBook Conference in London on December 4, Cuddy said a "huge, untracked shadow industry" of indie authors meant e-book sales were growing overall, despite the illusion of a plateau created by the higher prices and dwindling market share of traditional publishers.

According to Cuddy, an analysis of the top 10,000 e-books published in May 2015 showed that 27% of them, at an average price of $8.22, came from the top five traditional publishers, while 73%, at an average of $4.58, came from other sources. A similar survey in November 2015 showed just 18% came from the top five and the average price had risen to $9.47. The cost of the other 82% fell to $4.57. Also, e-book sales grew faster outside of Amazon and Apple at retailers like Scribd, Google, Chegg and Baker & Taylor.

"The e-book demand remains but the playing field has shifted," Cuddy said. "Growth is possible but requires the right strategy."

Also on the panel, called "Who's Afraid of the E-book Plateau? Understanding the new consumer," Jo Henry of Nielson said Nielsen's Books and Consumer Survey indicated e-book sales had dropped 3% from 2014 to 2015. Though, as Cuddy pointed out, "[t]he plateau affects mainly tier one publishers. Other markets and non top-tier retailers have much stronger growth."

Self-published e-books make up 10%–15% of Kobo sales, according to Kobo's Dave Anderson. To reward the voracious 10% of readers who account for 50% of Kobo sales, the company recently launched its Kobo Super Points program, to which 30,000 customers have already subscribed.

Higher Self Bookstore Moves... Across the Street

Jeff and Jo Currier, owners of Higher Self Bookstore in Traverse City, Mich., will host a grand re-opening celebration Saturday at the shop's new location, not far from its former space. The Record Eagle reported that the Curriers "bought the business and last week moved it across the street to 313 E. Front St. The new space offers a view of the bay both in the retail showroom and in an adjacent classroom. The couple opened a similar store, Ways to Wellness, in Midland five years ago. They recently discovered that Higher Self was for sale and jumped on the opportunity to expand."

"It was just such a natural fit, an extension of what we were doing downstate," said Jeff Currier.

Obituary Notes: Amir Aczel; John Trudell

Science writer Amir Aczel, "who took readers on a mathematical mystery tour" in Fermat's Last Theorem "and went on to write more than a dozen popular books on intriguing scientific ideas and discoveries," died November 26, the New York Times reported. He was 65. Aczel "parlayed the success of Fermat's Last Theorem into books on the discovery of the compass, the probability of life on other planets, the discovery of the Higgs boson (sometimes referred to as the God particle) and the history of the numeral zero," the Times wrote. His most recent book was Finding Zero: A Mathematician's Odyssey to Uncover the Origins of Numbers.


Poet, actor, spoken-word artist and activist John Trudell, "who spoke for American Indian protesters during the 1969 Alcatraz Island occupation and later headed the American Indian Movement," died Tuesday, the Associated Press (via US News & World Report) reported. He was 69. Trudell "was a prolific poet, combining spoken words and music on more than a dozen albums." His latest, Wazi’s Dream, was released this year. The New York Times noted that he "published several volumes of poetry, including Stickman and Lines From a Mined Mind, often writing in protest of corporate power and government oppression."


Image of the Day: Wimpy Kid Wraps Up World Wandering

The Wimpy Kid Word Tour 2015 wrapped up in Riga, Latvia, today after 14 other cities--Rio de Janeiro, New York, Tokyo, Beijing, Sydney, Boston, Madrid, London, Portugal, Frankfurt, Athens, Turkey, Bucharest and Amsterdam. Videos of the stops can be seen at

In the picture at right, taken at the national library in Riga: (l.-r.) videographer Ben Kahn; Jason Wells, executive director of Abrams children's marketing and publicity; Jeff Kinney; videographer John Sikes; Wimpy Kid employees Anna Cesary and Shaelyn Germain; and Abrams chief marketing Officer Steve Tager.

POTUS, FLOTUS Picks: Favorite Books of 2015

President Obama shopped at Upshur Books recently. (photo: Reuters/Mike Theiler)

In an interview with People magazine, Barack and Michelle Obama shared their picks for favorite books of 2015. The president chose Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (Riverhead), while the first lady picked Elizabeth Alexander's memoir The Light of the World (Grand Central). For the record, President Obama's favorite movie was The Martian, adapted from the novel by Andy Weir (Broadway Books).

'Behind the Scenes Look': King's Books in Tacoma

sweet pea Flaherty and Atticus

Noting that cats and books have always been a good mix, SouthSound Talk reported that at King's Books in Tacoma, Wash., "the feline employees have been around even longer than the store's current owner, sweet pea Flaherty. The jet-black and regal Atticus has a legitimate fan following and a reputation that's as sterling and remarkable as the bookstore that he calls home. Described as the reigning monarch of King's, Atticus and company live year-round in the book shop."

A lover of cats, good books and kung fu, Flaherty is "Tacoma's most iconic fixture in the South Sound literary scene.... Today he is an extraordinary event coordinator and the sole proprietor of an indie bookstore that ranks frequently among the most beloved bookstores in all of Western Washington," SouthSound Talk wrote.

"I grew up in bookstores and libraries," Flaherty said, "and I always wanted to work in one. It wasn't until I moved out here and someone was like, 'You should go to one of the regional bookselling conventions,' that I really started to consider it. I went to that year's conference just to go to the conference, and I slowly realized, 'Oh, I'm actually a bookseller.' When the previous owners decided that they were done, it just sort of made sense to take over the bookstore."

He noted that the shop's events "have grown in partnership with local businesses, smaller and national publishers. It's all collaborative, and it's a lot of work but that's what gets people in and gets people excited, and even if they miss it they'll come in and say, 'I heard you had this event,' and, you know, word gets around."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: David Gregory on Meredith Vieira

Meredith Vieira: David Gregory, author of How's Your Faith?: An Unlikely Spiritual Journey (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781451651607).

A repeat of the Late Late Show with James Corden: Nathan Lane, co-author of Naughty Mabel (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781481430227).

Movies: The BFG; Macbeth

Disney has released the first teaser for Steven Spielberg's film adaptation of Roald Dahl's The BFG. Vanity Fair reported that in the clip, "we meet Sophie (newcomer Ruby Barnhill), who takes us through the rules for witching hour--which, contrary to popular belief, she says, falls at 3 a.m.... And we get the first look at Mark Rylance--or at least a sizable part of him--as the titular Big Friendly Giant. The cast also includes Bill Hader, Jemaine Clement, Penelope Wilton and Rebecca Hall. The BFG opens domestically July 1, with the international rollout starting in late June.


Showcasing a new clip from Justin Kurzel's adaptation of Macbeth, Variety wrote that viewers "may know how the story unfolds from here, but you've likely never seen it with as much atmospheric beauty as in this take on the tale." The "bloody and intense" film, starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, opens this weekend.

This Weekend on Book TV: Brian Kilmeade

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, December 12
5 p.m. Robert Pollin, author of Greening the Global Economy (MIT Press, $22.95, 9780262028233), and Joseph Romm, author of Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, $16.95, 9780190250171). (Re-airs Monday at 6 a.m.)

6:30 p.m. Brian Kilmeade, co-author of Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History (Sentinel, $27.95, 9781591848066). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

7:30 p.m. Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, authors of Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Dey Street, $19.99, 9780062415837). (Re-airs Sunday at 10:45 a.m.)

10 p.m. Theresa Brown, author of The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients' Lives (Algonquin, $24.95, 9781616203207). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Deepa Iyer, author of We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future (The New Press, $25.95, 9781620970140), at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 4 p.m.)

Sunday, December 13
12:30 a.m. Dinesh D'Souza, author of Stealing America: What My Experience with Criminal Gangs Taught Me about Obama, Hillary, and the Democratic Party (Broadside, $29.99, 9780062366719). (Re-airs Sunday at 1:30 p.m.)

8:15 a.m. Jennifer Lawless, co-author of Running from Office: Why Young Americans are Turned Off to Politics (Oxford University Press, $21.95, 9780199397655). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

2:45 p.m. David Brock, author of Killing the Messenger: The Right-Wing Plot to Derail Hillary and Hijack Your Government (Twelve, $28, 9781455533763). (Re-airs Monday at 1:30 a.m.)

5:15 p.m. David Pietrusza, author of 1932: The Rise of Hitler and FDR--Two Tales of Politics, Betrayal, and Unlikely Destiny (Lyons Press, $32.95, 9780762793020).

7 p.m. G. Wayne Miller, author of Car Crazy: The Battle for Supremacy between Ford and Olds and the Dawn of the Automobile Age (PublicAffairs, $27.99, 9781610395519).

7:45 p.m. Lawrence Lessig, author of Republic, Lost: The Corruption of Equality and the Steps to End It (Twelve, $30, 9781455537013).

Books & Authors

Awards: Center for Fiction Debut; Grammy Nominations

Viet Thanh Nguyen won the Center for Fiction's $10,000 First Novel Prize for The Sympathizer (Grove Press). Judges were Siri Hustvedt, Ann Packer, Akhil Sharma and 2014 First Novel Prize winner Tiphanie Yanique, who made the presentation Tuesday at the Center for Fiction's annual benefit and awards dinner in New York City. Daniel Halpern, publisher and president of Ecco, was presented with the 2015 Maxwell E. Perkins Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Field of Fiction, which had been previously announced.


Among the nominations for the Grammy Awards, which will be held February 16, are some book-related ones. In the Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audiobooks & Storytelling) category:

Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbø, read by Patti Smith (Random House Audio)
Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments and Assorted Hijinks by Dick Cavett (Macmillan Audio)
A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety by Jimmy Carter (S&S Audio)
Patience and Sarah by Isabel Miller, read by Janis Ian and Jean Smart (Audible Studios)
Yes Please by Amy Poehler, read with various artists (HarperAudio)

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Appearing next Tuesday, December 15:

The Bone Labyrinth: A Sigma Force Novel by James Rollins (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062381644) is the 10th entry in the Sigma Force thriller series.

The Trump Coloring Book by M.G. Anthony (Post Hill Press, $11.99, 9781682610282).

Sword Art Online 6: Phantom Bullet by Reki Kawahara (Yen On, $13, 9780316296458).

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:

Postmark Bayou Chene: A Novel by Gwen Roland (LSU Press, $25.95, 9780807161449). "As if a near-dead dog towed by an empty skiff wasn't enough to rattle the village of Bayou Chene, a misdirected letter returns, dragging a host of secrets in its wake. In the ensuing fracas, three young friends find out that the perils of their swamp are tame compared to the vagaries of the human heart--territory more dangerous than a wad of cottonmouths in high water. Roland's ear for dialogue and eye for detail bring the vanished community of Bayou Chene and the realities of love and loss on the river back to life in a well-crafted, bittersweet tribute." --Christine Curry, A Novel Experience, Zebulon, Ga.

Made to Kill: A Novel by Adam Christopher (Tor, $24.99, 9780765379184). "Meet Raymond Electromatic, private detective turned assassin. Oh, and he's also the world's last robot. It's just another day in 1965 Hollywood and business as usual for Ray and his boss, Ada. That is, until a mysterious woman shows up with a duffel bag full of unmarked gold bars and a request. Unable to pass up all that money, Ray takes the case. Soon, Ray discovers that this is no regular 'find him and assassinate him' kind of job. Made to Kill brings back noir with a stylish new twist in this captivating tale for people of all makes and models!" --Jennifer Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.

The Country of Ice Cream Star: A Novel by Sandra Newman (Ecco, $16.99, 9780062227119). "Newman drops the reader into a small tribe of scavengers, hunting and thieving out a meager survival in the woods of Massachusetts, approximately 80 years after an unnamed plague has wiped out most of the U.S. population. The world Newman creates is original, richly detailed, and compellingly realized, including the patois in which the story is told. At turns violent, romantic, funny, and touching, The Country of Ice Cream Star wraps an exploration of power, American institutions, race, and human nature into a ripping, twisting, and turning post-apocalyptic tale that is epic in scope and achievement." --Matt Nixon, the Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis, Tenn.

For Ages 3 to 5
Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins (Disney-Hyperion, $17.99, 9781484730881). "Bruce, a grumpy bear who lives alone, is about to boil free-range, organic eggs for a special recipe he found on the Internet when he discovers that the eggs have hatched and are crying, 'Mama!' When he tries to return them to Mrs. Goose, he finds that she has flown south. What does a curmudgeon bear do with four baby goslings? Not what you would imagine! The vision and cleverness of Higgins and his delightful illustrations have produced an outrageously funny picture book that will make even the grumpiest readers laugh." --Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, Minn.

For Ages 9 to 12
A Year in the Life of a Complete and Total Genius by Stacey Matson (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $15.99, 9781492620747). "Arthur Bean is sure that he can write a brilliant, award-winning novel--just as soon as he gets an idea. With lots of warmth, humor, and sly wit, Canadian author Matson introduces readers to one of the funniest characters to ever cross the pages of middle-grade literature. With his story told through a series of e-mails, journal entries, and memos, Arthur Bean is a unique new voice not soon to be forgotten. My fingers are crossed for a sequel!" --Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, Minn.

For Teen Readers: Revisit & Rediscover
My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger (Speak, $8.99, 9780142413432). "Three high school seniors are given an assignment to reflect on their favorite times in high school and My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger is the funny, thoughtful, and oh-so-sweet product. Alejandra, T.C., and Augie tell their stories in alternating chapters, remembering school musicals, baseball games, Mary Poppins, social activism, and the year they made a little boy's dream come true."  --Diane Capriola, Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, Ga.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Shame and Wonder

Shame and Wonder: Essays by David Searcy (Random House, $26 hardcover, 9780812993943, January 5, 2016)

David Searcy's essay collection, Shame and Wonder, opens with a piece based on what he calls a "strange, opaque and mysterious tale" his dental hygienist shares with him about coyote attacks on her father's West Texas ranch. That characterization is an apt one for the 21 artfully crafted, if occasionally discursive, essays that compose this book.

Though Searcy's not shy about sharing slices of personal history, he often comes at them obliquely. A Texas native and resident of Dallas, Searcy, author of the novel Ordinary Horror, excels at capturing the peculiar character of his home state, where having a "look around is what there is to do out here." Over the course of the book, we learn that he grew up in the 1950s and "never lived very far from anywhere else I've lived." One of the most affecting pieces of memoir is the elegiac reminiscence "How to Color the Grass," in which he returns to his renovated elementary school and experiences again the "potent emptiness of childhood."

Science, and particularly astronomy, is one of Searcy's preoccupations. In "Mad Science," he contrasts the efforts of his more accomplished youthful companions, including one who tested rockets in his backyard, with his own feeble attempt to turn his mother's 78 rpm record player into a seismograph. "Love in Space," in turn, draws on his childhood memories of TV shows like Tom Corbett, Space Cadet to elucidate what he calls his "special understanding with regard to outer space." 

One of the most entertaining pieces in Shame and Wonder takes Searcy far from his Texas roots. "Santa in Anatolia" is the account of a trip to Turkey, sponsored by something called the Gülen Movement, with his girlfriend Nancy. Blocked in his effort to finish a novel titled Santa Claus, he hopes the journey to the land where the legends of Saint Nicholas originated will provide the inspiration he needs to complete it. Though that apparently never happened, the essay reveals Searcy as a perceptive and entertaining travel writer.

It's not unusual for one of David Searcy's essays to end up some distance from its starting point. But anyone willing to follow him on these meandering journeys will be rewarded with some fine writing and insights from the fertile mind of a careful observer whose thoughts might just strike their own sparks of memory and recognition for sympathetic readers. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: In the 21 essays of Shame and Wonder, David Searcy reflects on his Texas roots and life in his native state.

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