Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Little Brown and Company: Wolf at the Table by Adam Rapp

Tor Nightfire: Ghost Station by S.A. Barnes

Severn River Publishing: Covert Action (Command and Control #5) by J.R. Olson and David Bruns

Scholastic Press: Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Alan Gratz

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Peachtree Publishers: King & Kayla and the Case of the Downstairs Ghost (King & Kayla) by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers


Vending Machine to Exchange Presents for Books

German trade publisher Bastei Lübbe and book retailer Hugendubel "have invented a vending machine where consumers can dump a present and exchange it at the touch of a button for a book," the Bookseller reported. The device will be set up December 28 outside the Hugendubel branch in a Munich shopping center, followed by appearances in Ingolstadt and Nuremberg. Bastei Lübbe is supplying seven frontlist titles by bestselling authors for the campaign, and all the unwanted presents will be donated to local charities.

University of California Press: The Accidental Ecosystem: People and Wildlife in American Cities by Peter S. Alagona

Holiday Sales: Tidings of Joy

With only three days to go until Christmas Day, independent booksellers around the country are nearing the end of the frantic holiday shopping season--and most report selling a range of titles plus some strong and unusual sidelines, few problems obtaining hot sellers, and overall, business is meeting or beyond expectations.

Casey Coonerty Protti, the owner of Bookshop Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz, Calif., said that the holiday rush is indeed on, with the store full of customers and four or five registers regularly in full swing. And a busy season got even busier, she said, on the Saturday before Christmas. Among the titles that are flying out the door are Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend, Helen Macdonald's H Is for Hawk, Lily King's Euphoria, Jonathan Franzen's Purity and The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery. For children's books, the Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone Illustrated Edition is going fast. Two nonfiction titles with "obvious California appeal," Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan and Jerry on Jerry: The Unpublished Jerry Garcia Interviews by Dennis McNally and Trixie Garcia, are proving quite popular as well.

Among nonbook items, Bookshop Santa Cruz is still "riding the wave of sock sales." Adult coloring books remain popular, and Modern Moose Kids Clocks have sold out almost as soon as they go on the shelves. Compared to last year, Protti said, her toy department's sales are up 50%, and overall, her store is up 5% in December and still climbing.

"Thanksgiving weekend was fairly slow for us, so I was a little worried, but December has proven that to be a blip in the long-term pattern of growth we've seen over the last few years," she continued. "What people are buying is really broad this year."

Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books, with stores in South Florida, the Cayman Islands and Southampton Beach, N.Y., shared a similar observation, noting that "again this year, no one title is dominating, which is always good for stores like ours, where a broad selection is our strength."

In addition to titles that are selling well nationally, like Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and The Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsberg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, books by local authors and with a local focus are moving well. Edwidge Danticat's Untwine and Mama's Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation are both selling, as are George Merrick, Son of the South Wind: Visionary Creator of Coral Gables by Arva Moore Parks and Unseen Cuba by Marius Jovaisa.

During the holiday season, Kaplan added, Books & Books' "commitment to a full selection of books about art, architecture, photography and design really pays off." They sell very well as gift items, and "price doesn't seem to be an object." So far, Kaplan's stores are slightly up compared to last year's holiday season, and he noticed an uptick in online sales throughout 2015.

For Katie Capaldi, the owner of Between the Covers in Harbor Springs, Mich., the holiday season began on November 15, when the Harbor Springs downtown hosted its annual Ladies' Night Out. Since then, the store has kept up a "pretty breakneck pace" through Thanksgiving and up to Christmas, with sales "significantly up" since last year.

Capaldi's bestselling book of the season has been Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way by Lars Mytting. Between the Covers cross-promoted the book with a local outdoor store that sells handcrafted and imported axes, and the book took off. Plus, Capaldi said, "It's just a really beautiful, practical and thoughtful book." Other strong sellers have included Gratitude by Oliver Sacks, Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words by Randall Munroe, the Lumberjanes graphic novels by Grace Ellis and The Revenant by Michael Punke.

The only sidelines that Capaldi stocks are journals, stationery, postcards and greeting cards, and though they sell well year round they always see a bump in the holidays. Shinola journals and planners are selling, as are Slingshot planners and Rx Letterpress cards. Capaldi is particularly excited, though, about a line of temporary literary tattoos from Love & Lion made exclusively for Between the Covers.

Asked about broader changes over the last few holiday seasons, Capaldi answered: "Our staff has definitely witnessed a major decline in chatter about the demise of the written word, the end of bookstores and ordering on Amazon. We knew readers were smart!"

According to Mark Laframboise, buyer at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C., the store is full of people and "it feels like Christmas," despite unseasonably warm weather in much of the Northeast. Between the World and Me continues to sell "like crazy," and Mary Beard's SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome is exceeding expectations. Laframboise noted that this year's category of sports books seems pretty weak compared to last year's, though it's hard to pinpoint titles that have underperformed. Politics & Prose also hasn't had any major problems getting books back in stock, though titles like H Is for Hawk and The Door by Magda Szabó, which have been out for most of the year but were named to many best-of-the-year lists, have at times been difficult to stock.

Along with "lots and lots" of holiday cards, many nonbook items are selling well, including DC Home T-shirts, woolen socks, blank books and, surprisingly, lip balm. P&P's last in-store author event of the year was on December 8 with Ray Lewis, retired Baltimore Ravens linebacker and current TV personality; Lewis's memoir, I Feel Like Going On: Life, Game, and Glory came out in October.

Compared to the last few holiday seasons, Laframboise added, this season feels very similar, and P&P's numbers are similar. Aside from an early Hanukkah getting things going for the store this year, he said, there's not that much different from years past.

At King's Books in Tacoma, Wash., owner sweet pea Flaherty reported that this holiday season has been busier than year's past, and the store has seen a greater number of special orders.

"I think locally we've built a reputation as a place people can find cool gifts for the holidays and get things we don't have in quickly," said Flaherty. His store's staff picks have been selling particularly well, including The Soul of an Octopus, Between the World and Me, M Train by Patti Smith, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson and the cookbook Vegetarian India: A Journey Through the Best of Indian Home Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey.

Recently Flaherty has had trouble restocking some titles, including the art book Soviet Bus Stops by Christopher Herwig, Cabin Porn: Inspiration for Your Quiet Place Somewhere by Zach Klein and Steven Leckart, The Notorious RBG and the Illustrated Harry Potter. But on the whole, Flaherty said, most things have been easily available. Among nonbook items, meanwhile, the game Paper Sumo has been a favorite for both staff members and customers. T-shirts and salt blends from a local craftsperson have also done very well.

"We're definitely up this year," said Flaherty. "We are busier, there are more special orders. This could be because of the year or that we're just more on the ball this year. Several of our customers do all their holiday shopping here, which is great." --Alex Mutter

Largest Bookstore in Düsseldorf Closing

The Stern-Verlag bookstore, the largest bookstore in Düsseldorf, Germany, is closing on March 31, the Rheinische Post confirmed. Some 113 jobs will be lost. The store was founded in 1900.

Owner Klaus Janssen, 80 and grandson of the founder, said that the 54,000-square-foot operation had become financially untenable. In particular, the store's various sections and mezzanines were conducive to sales but were expensive to operate. If the store were to be rebuilt in a more economical way, he said, it would take two years. Online competition and the opening of two bricks-and-mortar competitors, Mayersche and Thalia, in Düsseldorf, had also hurt business.

The branch bookstore at Heine University will also close. Janssen plans to continue the store's mail-order operation.

New Grant Program Aims to Revive 'Essential' OP Books

The National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation are offering more than $700,000 in new grants that will "give a second life" to selected out-of-print books and turn them into free e-books. Grants from the new Humanities Open Book Program will allow publishers to "identify great humanities books, secure all appropriate rights, and make them available for free, forever, under a Creative Commons license." See a list of the first 10 grant recipients here.

NEH chairman William D. Adams said the initial projects "will put important out-of-print books into the hands of the public, widening access to the ideas and information they contain, and inspiring readers, teachers, and students to use them in exciting new ways."

Earl Lewis, president of the Mellon Foundation, added: "Through modern technology, these titles can be far more accessible than they are today. These books represent an untapped resource for scholars, teachers, students and members of the public, many of whom turn to the Internet as their first stop when looking for information."


Image of the Day: Busman's Holiday for ABA's Oren Teicher

{pages} a bookstore in Manhattan Beach, Calif., had ABA CEO Oren Teicher as a guest bookseller last week for four days. In addition to his book recommending and bookselling duties, Teicher met with a group of downtown Manhattan Beach independent business owners, members of the City Council and the city manager to discuss localism and how indies contribute to the viability and vitality of downtowns across the country. Teicher handsold many copies of Erik Larson's Deadwake and Rinker Buck's The Oregon Trail.

'Holiday Tips from Greater Boston Booksellers'

"Just about everyone, no matter how tech-enamored or word-weary, appreciates receiving a book as a holiday gift," observed the Boston Globe, which asked local booksellers "which titles have been flying off their shelves'' and whether they had any "special recommendations for hidden gems." Bookish gift advice came from Mary Cotton of Newtonville Books, Sarah Rettger of Porter Square Books, Jane Stiles of Wellesley Books, Kate Layte of Papercuts J.P. and Katherine Fergason of Harvard Book Store.

Rizzoli Bookstore One of 'Best New Stores in NYC 2015'

Architectural Digest named Rizzoli Bookstore one of the 10 Best New Stores in NYC 2015, noting: "When book publisher Rizzoli shuttered its fantastically old-school midtown shop, book lovers across town mourned the loss. But to much relief, its new location 30 blocks south proved to be just as crowd pleasing as its predecessor. Designed by AD100 architecture firm Ike Kligerman Barkley, the shop is bedecked in custom Fornasetti wallpaper murals, black-and-white stone floors, and bookcases salvaged from the original 57th Street location."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Burt Reynolds on Access Hollywood

Access Hollywood: Burt Reynolds, co-author of But Enough About Me: A Memoir (Putnam, $27.95, 9780399173547). He will be on the show tomorrow, too.

The View repeat: Ben Carson, author of One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future (Sentinel, $25.95, 9781595231123).

The Talk repeat: Dick Van Dyke, author of Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging (Weinstein Books, $25.99, 9781602862968).

Last Call with Carson Daly repeat: Neil Strauss, author of The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships (Dey Street, $29.99, 9780060898762).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Michael Lewis, author of The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine (Norton, $15.95, 9780393353150).

Diane Rehm repeat: Deborah Voigt, author of Call Me Debbie: True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva (Harper, $27.99, 9780062118271).

Also on Diane Rehm: readers review All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Scribner, $27, 9781476746586).

Wendy Williams repeat: Joan Collins, author of The St. Tropez Lonely Hearts Club (Constable, $15, 9781472122940).

TV: Madoff; Beowulf

A teaser clip has been released for Madoff, the ABC miniseries based on reports by ABC News chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross as well as his book, The Madoff Chronicles: Inside the Secret World of Bernie and Ruth, Deadline Hollywood reported. The project, directed by Raymond De Felitta and starring Richard Dreyfuss, Blythe Danner, Tom Lipinski, Danny Deferrari and Lyne Renee, premieres February 3.


Esquire Network has released a trailer for Beowulf, the adaptation that stars Kieran Bew, William Hurt and Joanne Whalley, who "come together in a new retelling of the epic legend, where a haunted warrior finds new foes beyond the Mudborn and within his kinsmen." Beowulf premieres January 23.

On Stage: Harry Potter & the Cursed Child

The three lead actors have been announced for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, "the West End play that's been referred to as the eighth part of the series," Deadline Hollywood reported. The cast includes Jamie Parker as an older version of Harry, Noma Dumezweni as Hermione Granger and Paul Thornley as Ron Weasley. The play will open at the Palace Theatre next summer, "unfolding in two parts, which are intended to be seen in order on the same day (matinee and evening), or on two consecutive evenings." Previews start June 7.

Parker is currently playing Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls at the Savoy Theatre, while Dumezweni has the title role in Linda at the Royal Court Theatre. Thornley played the role of Dodge in London Road at the National and reprised it in the film version.

"I'm so excited with the choice of casting," Rowling said. "I can't wait to see Jamie, Noma and Paul bring the adult Harry, Hermione and Ron to life on stage next summer."

Pottermore offered a peek at the play's synopsis: "It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

"While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places."

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Soon

Selected hardcover titles appearing during the next two weeks:

The Werewolf of Bamberg by Oliver Pötzsch, translated by Lee Chadeayne (Mariner, $18, 9780544610941) is the fifth entry in the historical fiction/mystery Hangman's Daughter series (December 29).

Been There, Done That: Family Wisdom For Modern Times by Al Roker, Deborah Roberts and Laura Morton (NAL, $27, 9780451466365) shares stories from Al Roker and his wife (January 5).

Fresh Start: The New You Begins Today by Joel Osteen (FaithWords, $24, 9781455591527) gives religious advice (December 29).

Fat-Burning Machine: The 12-Week Diet by Mike Berland and Gale Bernhardt (Regan Arts, $26.95, 9781942872504) gives weight loss advice (December 29).

After She's Gone by Lisa Jackson (Kensington, $26, 9781617734656) is book three in the West Coast thriller series (December 29).

Murder Most Malicious by Alyssa Maxwell (Kensington, $25, 9781617738302) is the first entry in the Lady and Lady's Maid Mystery series (December 29).

Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen (Tor, $25.99, 9780765377029) takes place in the far future, in a galaxy populated by anthropomorphic animals (December 29).

Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9780544526709) is a gothic ghost story about two women as orphaned children and road tripping adults (January 5).

What Your Financial Advisor Isn’t Telling You: The 10 Essential Truths You Need to Know About Your Money by Liz Davidson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544602304) explains financial jargon and investment risks (January 5).

Paperbacks (appearing December 29):
Choked Up (A Maisie McGrane Mystery) by Janey Mack (Kensington, $15, 9781617736926).

Fat Dad, Fat Kid: One Father and Son's Journey to Take Power Away from the "F-Word" by Shay Butler and Gavin Butler (Atria/Keywords Press, $16.99, 9781476792316).

Pet Friendly by Sue Pethick (Kensington, $15, 9781617738425).

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:

A Wild Swan: And Other Tales by Michael Cunningham, illustrated by Yuko Shimizu (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $23, 9780374290252). "The author of The Hours gives us a modern take on classic fairy tales, from a sympathetic Rumpelstiltskin to a jaded but content Steadfast Tin Soldier. Cunningham is not shy with his characters: he strips away sentimentality like an old Band-Aid, tearing through the romanticism that these tales usually inspire. Each story is less a retelling and more an unflinching dissection of human nature--our base needs and urges, our raw fears and joys. Shimizu's haunting illustrations give the book a classic feel, and make it a perfect addition to any fairy tale lover's collection." --Jennifer Oleinik, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

Paradise City: A Novel by Elizabeth Day (Bloomsbury, $27, 9781620408360). "When I was young, one of my favorite toys was my dollhouse. It looked just like a regular house from the front, but the back was open with all the rooms exposed. That's what Paradise City reminded me of, with each chapter narrated by a different character, all inscrutable to the people around them, but giving the reader glimpses into their inner lives. Every character is richly detailed and Day's clear, sharp prose had me relating to their every feeling from wild, unexpected happiness to deep, thudding sadness. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a book this much!" --Lauren Peugh, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Ariz.

Oh the Moon: Stories From the Tortured Mind of Charlyne Yi by Charlyne Yi (Harper Perennial, $16.99, 9780062363299). "Yi's debut book of illustrated stories snagged my heart from the start and left it shaken, squeezed, and full. Her deceptively simple narratives and sketched illustrations reminiscent of Shel Silverstein shift the mood smoothly from surreal to touching to utterly charming. Highly recommended for daydreamers, artists, and lovers of life!" --Whitney Spotts, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, Mich.

For Ages 4 to 8: Revisit & Rediscover
The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis (Putnam Books for Young Readers/Penguin, $16.99, 9780399231162). "Jacqueline Woodson's gem of a picture book tells of the fence that runs through town, dividing the white side from the black side. Two young girls, Annie and Clover, whose yards are back-to-back, watch each other through the fence. Both were told by their mamas not to cross over to the other side, but no one told them not to sit on top of the fence. One day they dare to climb up and sit together, with the hope that 'someday somebody's going to come along and knock this old fence down.'" --Sharon Hearn, Children's Book World, Los Angeles, Calif.

For Ages 9 to 12
Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye: A Novel by Tania del Rio, illustrated by Will Staehle (Quirk Books, 9781594748035, $16.99). "Warren the 13th's family has been running the Warren Hotel for generations--13, in fact. The latest caretaker has some added challenges as the hotel has fallen on hard times, and Warren's guardian has married the sinister Annaconda, who is bent on discovering the magic All-Seeing Eye that is rumored to be hidden somewhere in the hotel. The somber setting is captured perfectly by Staehle's illustrations, which are reminiscent of Tim Burton, and del Rio creates subtle subversions of stock characters that will appeal to older readers, while the twists, puzzles, and action will keep young readers turning pages until the book's splashy ending." --Paul Boers, Salem Book Bin East, Salem, Ore.

For Teen Readers
Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray (HarperTeen, $17.99, 9780062278999). "In this sequel to A Thousand Pieces of You, Marguerite's life has been turned upside down since her parents' invention of the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes. Marguerite is wanted by Triad, an evil corporation headed by Wyatt Conly, who wants to use Marguerite's innate ability to cross alternate dimensions for his own purposes. To that end, Conly has splintered the soul of Paul, Marguerite's boyfriend, and scattered the pieces throughout the multi-verse. Can Marguerite rescue Paul in time? These are excellent books, thrilling and full of original, thought-provoking twists and turns. I look forward to the concluding volume in the trilogy." --Krys Toutois, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, Mich.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The Winter Girl

The Winter Girl by Matt Marinovich (Doubleday, $24.95 hardcover, 9780385539975, January 19, 2016)

Matt Marinovich's The Winter Girl is a brief, chilling story of boredom's path to crime and secrets uncovered.

Scott and Elise have decamped from New York City to the Hamptons, where they are staying at Elise's father Victor's house in unaccustomed splendor while he dies in the hospital of cancer. Their lives have been put on hold as Elise spends her days visiting with Victor and Scott mopes around the house, drinking Victor's liquor cabinet dry. His career as a photographer has fallen off, although he still takes his camera out to the lake some days. His marriage to Elise is failing, for reasons that are more a natural drift than explicitly detailed. As Scott tells it, "Slowly, we've stolen the best parts of each other, carted ourselves away." It is winter; the backdrop to Scott's malaise is stark.

In his boredom, Scott starts watching the house next door, which clearly has been emptied for the winter. Every night he watches the light switch off on its timer at 11 p.m. He grows a little obsessed, so the next move is clear: while Elise is at the hospital one day, he breaks in, just to have a look around. "I felt like a suburban astronaut, exploring an abandoned home in which the crew had gone missing." This is exciting, thrillingly illicit, and he brings Elise in for the fun, which has the perhaps surprising effect of reviving their passion. It also starts a string of increasingly criminal and disturbing thoughts and actions, and begins to unravel a long-guarded tangle of secrets. Just as tension has begun to build, Victor announces he will return home to die. But he seems to be getting stronger, not weaker. Questions pile up. What is really happening to Victor? And what is in the house next door?

Told in Scott's first-person perspective, The Winter Girl offers strengths in its unsettling tone and moody, atmospheric setting. The events Scott relates become a little surreal in his off-hand telling; the reader is challenged to buy into his perspective, or stand back and try to see matters in a calmer light. Marinovich (Strange Skies) offers an unnerving and entertaining story. However, as the revelations mount, their pacing feels a bit rushed: the stakes rise steeply enough as to be a little jarring. On the whole, though, the experience is exhilarating, if a little leeway is allowed for accelerating surprises. And the dramatic denouement leaves the reader eager for more. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: At a borrowed home in the Hamptons, a couple pulling away from one another are drawn toward the house next door--and its secrets.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The 20/20 Diet by Phil McGraw
2. Seducing Simon by Maya Banks
3. The Elf on the Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda B. Bell
4. Guinness World Records 2016 by Guinness World Records
5. Iniquity (The Premonition Series Volume 5) by Amy A Bartol
6. Bad Boy's Baby by Sosie Frost
7. Five Nights at Freddy's: The Silver Eyes by Scott Cawthon, Kira Breed-Wrisley
8. Six by Hilary Storm
9. Pretend You're Mine by Lucy Score
10. The Nova Chronicles: Books 1-5 by S.J. Bryant

[Many thanks to!]

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