Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, December 16, 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

Quotation of the Day

Kobo's Tamblyn: 'The Reader's Wants Are So Fundamental'

"We now have four ways to sell a book: bricks-and-mortar, print online, audiobook, e-book. None of them are going anywhere. And each of them gives us a nearly infinite list of options to answer the question 'What should I read next?' But from now on, when I feel like I'm being too much of a scientist, or a stalker or a needy boyfriend, I'll ask how readers want to read. The reader's wants are so fundamental, so basic, that they sometimes get lost. They are hard to quantify and obstinately resistant to analysis. But if we answer them well, we earn the right to the reader's attention, we elbow out all of the other media that is crowding in, we get to keep doing what we love to do. And so do they."

--Michael Tamblyn, CEO of Rakuten Kobo, in a speech delivered at the FutureBook Conference in London December 4

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland


Patterson Bonus Reactions: Surprise, Excitement, Gratitude

James Patterson

Yesterday, 87 independent bookstore employees in the U.S. were notified they would be receiving bonuses ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 as part of James Patterson's bookseller bonus program. The initiative distributed $250,000 to deserving staff members, including several we contacted who shared what the bonus means to them and how they might be spending their surprise holiday gift.

Melissa Oates of Fiction Addiction, Greenville, S.C., recalled the moment when she learned she had been named a bonus recipient: "Mostly, I was very excited. I think if I hadn't been seated and buckled in the car (as a passenger, of course) when I read the notification e-mail, I would likely have started jumping up and down. I am thinking I will use the money to take my family on a vacation. This is an extremely generous way that Mr. Patterson has chosen to support independent bookstores and booksellers, and I'm very grateful to him."

Chris Linendoll

"I am incredibly excited about winning, and it still hasn't really sunk in yet," said Chris Linendoll of Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, N.Y. "I am so humbled that someone recognized me for being deserving of such a generous award. I love bookstores, and have worked at one or another for most of my adult life. Finding unique titles to recommend to customers, setting up displays, and just generally keeping the store looking good genuinely makes me happy. As for my plans for the bonus, my daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease earlier this month, so I need to go through and completely overhaul the grocery situation in my house. That poor girl has been through so many tests and doctor visits lately, I'm glad I'll be able I get her exactly the toys she wants for Christmas! Also, I'll be buying myself a lot of cheese."

Corie Hiroto of Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, Calif., noted that she was "so extremely touched and honored to even be nominated at all, let alone be rewarded. I want to be the person to say 'I have no idea what I'm going to do with this money,' but the reality is I have lingering bills in the background that most of this will be applied to. However, although my family and I decided we would have a 'Bob Cratchit Christmas' with very few gifts this year, I am feeling very Christmas day Scrooge and can bring the turkey into my family that's twice the size of Tiny Tim!... I guess in short my bonus will be going towards presents for my family, paying off the last bit of my car loan (which will be in itself a huge celebration) and other bills. "

Johanna Albrecht

At Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C., Johanna Albrecht said: "First and foremost I would like to thank James Patterson and the ABA for arranging this program--it is so touching to be honored this way and I'm exceedingly grateful. I was surprised and delighted when I got the news--and immediately bought myself some books I'd been holding out on since this is supposed to be the season you buy for others and not yourself.... I have some good friends (also booksellers) who live on the other side of the country from me, and I'm excited that I finally have the means to splurge on a trip to visit them. Those are the first things that came to my mind when I thought of spending this bonus, but I certainly have other wants and needs."

Describing herself as "extremely proud, a bit surprised and massively grateful," Clare Doornbos of Diesel, A Bookstore, Larkspur, Calif., opted for what she called "award ceremony style" to comment on her bonus: "I'd like to thank James Patterson, everyone who took the time to nominate me, Tracy Wynne for teaching me about children's books and John Evans and Alison Reid for encouraging me to pursue (most of) my crazy community and event ideas in their store. My plan is to plow this money back into the job I love: 10% will go to the bookstore's Giving Tree campaign to supply new books to a local elementary school's underfunded library. I'll use the rest to attend the Children's Institute in Florida next year. It is an honor to be recognized by customers and colleagues. It's quite the holiday gift to know I'm appreciated by them."

Alex Meriwether

Alex W. Meriwether, marketing & events manager at Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass., called the bonus "a huge, pleasant, humbling surprise, and wow, very cool. It's just honestly so great seeing so many hard-working booksellers--all of them so dedicated to keeping their stores thriving--having their dedication honored. I'm just so impressed at all of the different ways over the years James Patterson is reminding the world that bookstores are important. And that we all owe a great debt to our booksellers, schools, libraries, and anyone who points out a book and says 'read this.' "

Calling it "such an honor," Stefanie Kiper Schmidt, events coordinator at Water Street Bookstore, Exeter, N.H., said, "I couldn't stop smiling when I got the e-mail." Water Street Bookstore owner Dan Chartrand and perhaps "one of our lovely sales reps" nominated her. She also praised James Patterson. ("What a mensch he is!") As for how she'll spend the bonus, she added, "I'm the proud owner of a fairly shabby Cape built in the 1930s, so I think the money will go into our house fix-up fund."

sweet pea Flaherty

sweet pea Flaherty, the owner of King's Books in Tacoma, Wash., said he plans to use the money for "only sexy things, like dental work and shoes without holes in them." Flaherty learned he would receive one of the bonuses last week, but had to keep it a secret until yesterday. Receiving such a bonus, he added, was "really awesome and a little unbelieveable. I think we, as independent booksellers, put a lot of effort into our craft with little financial compensation. So it's really amazing Patterson recognized this and rewarded it."

Daniel Goldin, owner of Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis., is paying it forward with his Patterson bonus. "I actually did add it on to the bonus I was giving out to booksellers this Friday," he said. "So in the spirit of regifting, I rebonused the bonus."

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

For Sale: The Bookloft in Great Barrington, Mass.

"Have you ever dreamed of owning a bookstore...?" asked Eric and Ev Wilska, co-owners of the Bookloft, Great Barrington, Mass., in an announcement yesterday that their bookshop, which opened in 1974, is for sale. They noted that "with our kids far-flung and our first grandchild on the way, with enormous gratitude for 42 rewarding years of bookselling, and with many life dreams still unrealized (many of them involving the reading, writing, creating and selling of books)," the "bittersweet decision" was made that it was time to sell.

"It is our intention to find a new owner who will not only carry on with all that's made the Bookloft a beloved literary destination in the Berkshires, but who will also bring to it new energy, experience and ideas," the Wilskas wrote. "The essential building blocks for success are already in place: a loyal customer base, a smart, experienced, dedicated staff, the technology tools that allow us to remain current and relevant, and a warm, welcoming environment. In addition, we're willing to work with new owners to ensure a smooth transition.

"All it will take is someone who is passionate about books and all that they represent, someone who genuinely enjoys interacting with people and wants to see their literary needs well-served, someone with enough good judgment and business sense to lead a team of top-notch booksellers."

For more information, contact the Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates at 904-277-2664 or by e-mail at

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

Ingram Buys

Ingram Content Group has bought, a service that allows publishers, retailers and authors to sell and fulfill print and digital books directly to readers via their websites, blogs and social networks.

"The addition of addresses our customers' growing desire to connect more directly with their readers," Marcus Woodburn, v-p, digital products, Ingram Content Group, said. " extends the sales network of anyone with a web presence--whether a publisher, author or bookseller--and will provide the ability to sell content worldwide."

Through Flyer, the company's marketing platform, publishers, authors and booksellers can promote e-books and print books with a direct link to buy while taking advantage of Ingram's global distribution network. Publishers have a tool for promoting titles to their customers that ties back to their own or other storefronts. Sellers will have access to the full inventory of Ingram's e-book and print-on-demand catalogue, as well as the inventory at Ingram distribution centers in the U.S.

"We're delighted to be able to marry's diverse marketplace model with the enormous reach of Ingram," Ron Martinez, founder and CEO of, said. "As a fully integrated, trusted Ingram service built to scale, we now have an unparalleled opportunity to work with publishers, retailers, media companies and others to grow a vast new network of consumers."

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

Waterstones Opens Tottenham Court Road Store

Last Friday, the "largest Waterstones branch to be opened in London in a decade began trading... featuring a bar, cinema and mezzanine level," the Bookseller reported.

Noting that the three-story space has a "retro" appeal playing to the nearby Soho and British Film Institute crowd, the Bookseller highlighted the shop's "crisp wooden floors on the ground level giving way to exposed industrial concrete in the basement, where the bar and pop up cinema are situated, seating around 60 people."

Luke Taylor, retail manager for London, commented: "We wanted to create a special space that felt quite different. The BFI head office is just around the corner, so we have looked at how to incorporate that crowd and pull them in, and the result is books and film together in this store."

The new store is an apt symbol of the chain's resurgence. In a Slate piece headlined "Big-Box Bookstores Don't Have to Die," Stephen Heyman explored the comeback of Waterstones under James Daunt's leadership, noting: "While Barnes & Noble devolves from a bookstore into a thing store, Waterstones, the biggest bookstore chain in Britain, is plotting an entirely different course. In 2011, the company--choked with debt and facing the same existential threat from Amazon and e-books as B&N--nearly declared bankruptcy. Today, however, Waterstones isn't closing shops but opening a raft of them, both big-box (in suburban shopping centers) and pint-size (in train stations). It has accomplished a stunning turnaround under the leadership of its managing director, James Daunt, who just announced Waterstones' first annual profit since the financial crisis. How he pulled that off is a long story, involving old-fashioned business cunning, the largesse of a mysterious Russian oligarch and some unexpected faith in the instincts of his booksellers."

Obituary Notes: Arthur T. Hadley; Carl L. Jolley

Journalist and author Arthur T. Hadley, who "learned about the armed forces firsthand as a decorated soldier in World War II and later as a consultant to think tanks and to the Joint Chiefs of Staff," and whose books "critiqued America's military preparedness during the Cold War," died November 25, the New York Times reported. He was 91. His books included The Straw Giant--Triumph and Failure: America's Armed Forces, a Report From the Field; The Nation's Safety and Arms Control; and Heads or Tails: A Life of Random Luck and Risky Choices.


Carl L. Jolley, a longtime Penguin Group (USA) distribution executive who retired in 2009 as v-p, corporate director, distribution, died on Monday at his home in Pennsylvania. He was 70.

For more than 30 years, Jolley worked at Penguin, where he was, the company said, "a friend, colleague and mentor to many." He was instrumental in the planning, construction and operation of Penguin's distribution center in Pittston, Pa., as well as the modernization and reorganization of distribution centers in Kirkwood, N.Y., and Rugby, England.

Memorial contributions may be made to the ALS Association, 321 Norristown Road, Suite 260, Ambler, Pa. 19002; the Geisinger Health System Foundation Neuromuscular Disease Fund, 100 North Academy Avenue, Danville, Pa. 17822; or to any charity.


Image of the Day: A Shocking Read at Killer Nashville

John Gilstrap, author of the the Jonathan Grave thriller series and a guest of honor at this fall's Killer Nashville Writers' Conference, was clearly shocked as he read Killer Nashville Noir: Cold-Blooded, a new anthology edited by Killer Nashville founder Clay Stafford that was launched during the event.

Highlights of the Killer Nashville Writers' Conference included Michael F. Stewart being named winner of the Claymore Award for his novel The Boy Who Swallows Flies, as well as the announcement of Silver Falchion Award winners in several categories.

Another highlight was the Dupin Detective Award, which went to Bobbi Blake as the attendee who, "through superior sleuthing skills, solves Killer Nashville's most popular annual feature, the Crime Scene. Staged by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the crime scene is an adaptation of real crime scenes the TBI has encountered."

At Home with Chuck & Dee Robinson

Chuck and Dee Robinson, co-owners of Village Books & Paper Dreams in Bellingham, Wash., "always wanted to live above the store," and about 10 years ago they turned their dream into reality, WhatcomTalk reported in featuring a tour of the Robinsons' 1,600-square-foot condo "with its spacious entryway, open living room/dining room/kitchen, three bedrooms, two baths, laundry room and wrap-around patio overlooking the Village Green."

"People often mentioned downsizing when we moved here, but really, our last house was 1,400 square feet, so we actually upsized a little," said Dee.

Although staff have avoided surprise drop-ins, the Robinsons do contend with the occasional stray shopper. "It's unusual, but we have had people walk in the door looking for, say, the mystery section, which is on the second floor of the bookstore," Chuck noted. "We've had staff people on the lowest floor say, 'Go to the third floor,' meaning the second floor of the store, but if you're in the elevator and push 3, it's going to come up here."

He also observed: "Some people ask why, when we live above a bookstore, we have so many books. And, well, a big part of the reason we own a bookstore is that we love them!"

Holiday Video: 'And to All a Good Book'

Last week, Pan Macmillan launched its first online Christmas TV advertising campaign with the message "there is no better gift to give than a book." The Bookseller reported that the commercial spot "features 'key' Christmas titles wrapped-up as presents. A narrator speaks phrases adapted from 'Twas the Night Before Christmas,' such as saying 'Happy Christmas for all and to all a good book' as the presents 'come alive' and unwrap themselves to reveal highlighted titles from the Pan Macmillan range, while classic Pan Macmillan titles look on from the shelves."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Mary-Louise Parker on the View

The View: Mary-Louise Parker, author of Dear Mr. You (Scribner, $25, 9781501107832).

The Meredith Vieira Show: Andy Cohen, author of The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year (St. Martin's Griffin, $15.99, 9781250078506).

TV: NOS4A2; Fall on Your Knees

AMC has put in development NOS4A2, based on the bestselling novel by Joe Hill. Deadline Hollywood reported that a "search is underway for a writer to pen the adaptation, which is being produced by Michael Eisner's Tornante TV (BoJack Horseman) and AMC Studios."


Ann-Marie MacDonald's 1996 novel Fall on Your Knees will be adapted into a four-part CBC miniseries. Quillblog reported that Flashpoint producer Sharon Mustos "acquired the TV option last year through her eponymous company,, and has partnered with Toronto's Shaftesbury Films, known for its book-to-film and -TV adaptations." Screenwriter Adriana Maggs will adapt the novel, which won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for best first book, was a Giller Prize finalist and a 2002 Oprah's Book Club pick.

Movies: High-Rise

"After earning some of the strongest reviews for a premiere out of the Toronto International Film Festival, and screening to similar positive buzz at the London Film Festival," Ben Wheatley's High-Rise, based on J.G. Ballard's 1975 novel, "finally has a teaser trailer that takes the word 'tease' very, very seriously," Indiewire reported. The movie, which will be released next year, stars Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans and Elisabeth Moss.

Books & Authors

Midwest Connections January Picks

From the Midwest Booksellers Association, three recent Midwest Connections Picks. Under this marketing program, the association and member stores promote booksellers' handselling favorites that have a strong Midwest regional appeal:

The Do-Right by Lisa Sandlin (Cinco Puntos Press, $16.95, 9781941026199). "Delpha Wade killed a man who was raping her. Wanted to kill the other one too, but he got away. Now, after fourteen years in prison, she's out. It's 1973, and nobody's rushing to hire a parolee. Persistence and smarts land her a secretarial job with Tom Phelan, an ex-roughneck turned neophyte private eye.... The novel's conclusion is classic noir, full of surprise, excitement and karmic justice."

Angels of the Underground: The American Women who Resisted the Japanese in the Philippines in World War II by Theresa Kaminski (Oxford University Press, $27.95 9780199928248). "An impressive work of scholarship grounded in archival research, FBI documents and memoirs, Angels of the Underground illuminates the complex political dimensions of the occupied Philippines and its importance to the war effort in the Pacific."

The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie (Putnam, $27, 9780399174568). "An explosive thriller debut introducing Peter Ash, a veteran still struggling with the demons of war, who finds that the skills he learned there can't easily be left behind... Suspenseful and thrilling, and introducing a fantastic new hero, The Drifter is an exciting novel from a new voice in crime fiction.

Book Brahmin: Martine Leavitt

photo: Candace Fisher

Martine Leavitt is the author of 10 novels for young readers, most recently Calvin (a novel about a teenager who thinks he is Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes, come to life), chosen by Shelf Awareness as one of the Best Books of 2015. My Book of Life by Angel was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and winner of the Canadian Library Association's Young Adult Book of the Year Award. Her other titles include Keturah and Lord Death, finalist for the National Book Award; Tom Finder, winner of the Mr. Christie's Book Award; and Heck Superhero, finalist for the Governor General's Award. Leavitt teaches creative writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts. 

On your nightstand now:

I have only one book on my nightstand at a time or they begin to feel like they're ganging up on me. I also delete books from my e-reader as soon as I've read them and send them to live in the clouds. The book I'm reading now is the sequel to The Good Earth, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932. I read it as a teenager and just recently learned that Buck wrote sequels.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The book that made me fall in love with books in second grade was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I liked that the main character was an ugly, horrid little girl just like me.

Your top five authors:

Jane Austen, Ursula K. Le Guin, Marilynne Robinson, Bill Bryson and Shakespeare.

I chose these authors because I've read everything they've written, or close to.

Book you've faked reading:

Middlemarch by George Eliot. I read and loved all the family and romantic parts and skipped all the political stuff.

Books you're an evangelist for:

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Old Filth by Jane Gardam
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

None of these books need me to evangelize them, of course, because they are all famous. But I evangelize away anyway.

Book you've bought for the cover:

A more relevant question for me would be, "How many perfectly wonderful books have you never read because the cover frightened you away?" I'm afraid of books at the best of times, but covers, even pretty ones, can make them that much scarier.

Book you hid from your parents:

My parents let me read anything and everything. No wonder I'm afraid of books.

Book that changed your life:

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, and not only because I became so engrossed in it that I neglected to show up for my 12th grade final exams. I chose this one among many because it made me want to be a writer. 

Favorite line from a book:

"But he first thought that he would knock very loudly just to make quite sure... and while he waited for Piglet not to answer, he jumped up and down to keep warm, and a hum came suddenly into his head, which seemed to him a Good Hum, such as is Hummed Hopefully to Others." --from The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne. This is one of many perfect sentences in that book that make me want to lick my e-reader.

Five books you'll never part with:

My Calvin and Hobbes collection
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks, edited by Elizabeth Alexander
Little House on the Prairie books--annual must-reads when you are a SAD sufferer

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

Holes by Louis Sachar. It is so intricately plotted that subsequent readings cannot replicate the delight of seeing all the pieces fall together sweetly at the end.

Book Review

Children's Review: Some Kind of Courage

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart (Scholastic Press, $16.99 hardcover, 240p., ages 8-12, 9780545665773, January 26, 2016)

Joseph Johnson may be only 12 years old, but he "ain't no boy." He's lost his mother and sister to typhoid fever, his father to a wagon accident, and his beloved pony, Sarah, to a conniving "old cuss" who sold her to a horse dealer. Indeed, "sadness can be a storm that's easy to get lost in." But Sarah is all Joseph has left in the world, and he is determined to get his pony back, even if he has to take on a raging grizzly, white-water rapids and a cold-blooded murderer to do it. Even if it means resisting the temptation of a warm hearth and a new family. Joseph joins forces with a Chinese boy named Ah-Kee who is on his own mysterious odyssey--he speaks no English, so can't tell Joseph what, or whom, he's looking for. The two boys set out on what seems at times like a wild goose chase, tracking down Joseph's pony from Wenatchee to Yakima, Washington.

Dan Gemeinhart (The Honest Truth) packs nonstop thrills, chills and spills into Some Kind of Courage. Set in 1890, in the post-Gold Rush American West, the novel captures a real and dramatic era, a time of horse thieves and gunslingers, and a time when Chinese laborers were often despised and persecuted. But this is more than just a frontier adventure. Joseph is a heartbreakingly endearing protagonist and the perfect young Wild West hero: gruff and true to his values, with a tender heart that keeps him from toughening completely. He walks through the world with his honorable parents' voices in his head at every turn: "If there's something that's got to be done," his father would say, "then the thing to do is just to buckle down and do it as best you can."

Joseph's relationship with Ah-Kee is one of the finest and most unusual friendships in middle-grade literature. The boys speak to each other, each in his own language, and somehow, without ever comprehending a word the other is saying, they understand everything. Although they are each alone in the world, facing unimaginable hardships, Joseph and Ah-Kee manage to be boys together occasionally--whooping after shooting rapids, laughing at each other's milder misfortunes and even providing a shoulder to cry on when needed.

Joseph's courage and cowboy spirit--and his rhythmic, nice-and-easy first-person voice--will keep both avid and reluctant readers turning pages as fast as they can, and fans of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet and Dogsong or Jean Craighead George's My Side of the Mountain will love the suspenseful survival aspects of the boys' perilous journey across Washington State. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: In this stunning, poignant Wild West adventure, a 12-year-old orphaned boy battles bears, river rapids and frontier outlaws to retrieve his stolen pony.

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