Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Tender Beasts by Liselle Sambury

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

Doubleday Books: The Husbands by Holly Gramazio

Editors' Note

Happy Holidays!

In honor of Christmas, New Year's, Kwanzaa and the Winter Solstice, this is the last issue of Shelf Awareness Pro for the year. We'll see you again on Monday, January 4, 2016!

Holiday House: The Five Impossible Tasks of Eden Smith by Tom Llewellyn; The Selkie's Daughter by Linda Crotta Brennan

Quotation of the Day

Handselling 'the Right Book'

hut landon"As independent bookstores head into their peak selling season--that is, the 10 days before Christmas--people are asking, 'So what's the Big Book this year?' And, happily for independent bookstores, there is no one such book. Indies specialize in selling the right book to the right person, which means that their bestseller lists at this time of year reflect the varied interests of their customers and of the region where they are located.... For independent booksellers, it's not the Big Book that counts; it's the Right Book. Whether the book is for loved ones, for friends and colleagues or for yourself, the goal of these booksellers is to help you find volumes of pleasure for everyone on your list."

--Hut Landon, the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association executive director who is retiring soon, in a post on his blog Hut's Place

Amistad Press: The Survivors of the Clotilda: The Lost Stories of the Last Captives of the American Slave Trade by Hannah Durkin


Ferlinghetti, Katzenberger Win Rittenhouse Award

Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Elaine Katzenberger have won the 2016 Jack D. Rittenhouse Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by PubWest. PubWest board president Katie Burke called the two "quintessential devotees to the culture of the book." They will accept the award at PubWest's 2016 conference February 4-6, 2016, in Santa Fe, N.Mex.

Ferlinghetti has written poetry, translation, fiction, theater, art criticism, film narration and essays. In 1953, he co-founded City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, Calif., and in 1955, he founded City Lights Publishers.

Katzenberger is executive director and publisher of City Lights Books and program director for the City Lights Foundation. She was hired at the store in 1987 as a bookseller, began her editorial apprenticeship at the press, and in 2007 took on her present roles.

Rosenfeld Named NYPL's V-P of Public Programs

Fay Rosenfeld

Fay Rosenfeld has been named v-p of public programs at the New York Public Library, effective January 11. Prior to joining the NYPL, Rosenfeld was senior director of programs and COO of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College, an institution she helped launch.

"Fay is an exciting  addition to the New York Public Library, which will benefit tremendously from her expertise and extensive experience in the worlds of programming and public engagement as we continue to grow and broaden this important facet of our work," said NYPL chief external relations officer Carrie Welch.

Rosenfeld commented: "As a lifelong library lover, I am excited to join the wonderful team at The New York Public Library, and look forward to working with staff across the system to enhance the excellent programming that already exists, and develop new strategies, partnerships and programs that will engage a wide variety of audiences across New York City and beyond."

ABA Winter Institute: WI11, the App

The American Booksellers Association has partnered with CrowdCompass by Cvent to build a WI11 app, "which is aimed at making the Winter Institute experience even more valuable for booksellers, publishers and other sponsors, speakers and guests," Bookselling This Week reported. More information about the app will be available after New Year's Day.

Obituary Note: Charles F. Harris

Editor and publisher Charles F. Harris, who "pushed commercial and academic presses to embrace black writers, explore black issues and court black readers," died on December 16, the New York Times reported. He was 81. Harris began his publishing career at Doubleday & Company in the mid-1950s, and moved to Random House in the late 1960s. From the early 1970s until the mid-1980s, he was the chief executive of Howard University Press, "the first black university press in the country, where he published about 100 books, most in the social sciences and the humanities," the Times noted. In 1986, Harris founded Amistad Press, which he sold to HarperCollins in 1999 while remaining editorial director of the imprint until 2003.


Image of the Day: Stories of Christmases Gone By

McIntyre's Books, Pittsboro, N.C., hosted its 25th annual holiday event with Donald Davis, the dean of American storytelling, in the Fearrington Barn. The event drew a standing-room-only crowd last Saturday and Sunday, as Davis entertained with his wry and folksy tales of Christmases gone by. For admission, cans of food and cash donations were collected for the Chatham County food pantry (CORA). McIntyre's reported that this year's event marked a sharp increase in donations, with 1,626 pounds of food and more than $900 collected.

Indie Photo Ops: Christmas Week on the Sales Floor

From all reports, independent bookstores have been packed with customers as Christmas Day approaches, yet many booksellers have still been able to take a moment and document the seasonal rush for their social media fans. You never know what you might see on indie sales floors this time of year:

At Magers & Quinn

Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Minneapolis, Minn.: "The register line is classic #panicsaturday. Thank you EVERYONE for your support for local business! #shoplocal."

Books & Books, Coral Gables, Fla.: "A moment of true love spotted amongst the shelves of Books & Books! Congratulations to @dngmz and his new fiancée!"

Green Apple Books & Music, San Francisco, Calif.: " 'Excuse me, how much is this dog?' 'I don't know, let me look it up in Booklog.' We are sold out of this particular dog--jk, he's a customer's!--but we have lots of other things in stock!... Let us help you pick a present: we're both practiced & excited to help."

Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, N.J.: "Wrapping allows us to express our creativity on a major level."

Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass.: "Whether you need to stop crying or keep crying after A LITTLE LIFE, we've got you covered. Just #askabookseller!"

Elliott Bay Book Co., Seattle, Wash.: "Bookseller Graham has a brief business meeting with Wells, bookseller Jamie's baby."

At Bear Pond Books

Bear Pond Books, Montpelier, Vt.: "Christmas Sweater Day 2015!"

Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, Miss.: "Don't miss today's plethora of signings! #lemuriaevents #christmasatlemuria."

Oblong Books & Music, Rhinebeck, N.Y.: "Surprise carolers! #christmas #rhinebeck."

University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.: "The Viols are here playing holiday music from 6-7pm. Come get your last few gifts and listen to music with us!"

Holiday Bookselling Tales: Gerry's List; The $50 Bill

In e-mail newsletters, some indie booksellers have been sharing their best wishes for the holiday season, as well as special moments:

Parnassus Books, Nashville Tenn.: "Every December, we get an email from a man named Gerry Byrne, who lives in Arizona. It's a pages-long list of more than a dozen family members--his wife, his children, an ever-growing number of grandchildren, plus in-laws--as well as notes about books he thinks they might like. We consider everyone's interests and kids' ages, add to the list, then pull together a custom pile of books for each person before shipping the presents out west. Our whole staff gets caught up for several days in the excitement of creating an entire family's Christmas surprise. It has become an annual tradition. (read more about Gerry's List)

McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, Mich. "I have to share the magic of Downtown Petoskey with you this week. We came in one morning to find that our till was $50 short from the previous day, but there was a note that explained why. A customer came into the store and said that we forgot to make correct change and that we owed her $50. Very quickly, our bookseller gave the customer $50 out of the till. We wanted to correct our mistake. However, when we came up short at the end of the day, we realized that we hadn't made a mistake after all. While we were recounting the money the next morning and trying to make sure that the $50 was actually missing from that transaction and not something else, the customer came back into the store, and asked if our money was off last night. (read more about the $50 bill)

The Flying Pig & The SheepOver

The Flying Pig Bookstore, Shelburne, Vt., "made the CBS Evening News, thanks to Sweet Pea the sheep," the bookseller tweeted yesterday, referring to a news feature this week about John and Jennifer Churchman, who turned popular Facebook updates about their sheep into 4,000 self-published copies of The SheepOver. Then John "went to nearby bookstore the Flying Pig to see if he could drum up any interest."

"I've been in this business a long time and I had never seen anything quite like it," said store owner Elizabeth Bluemle. "There's nothing with this collage photographic style that I've seen in the children's book world. So I think it's groundbreaking."

After Bluemle blogged a review, agent Brenda Bowen reacted, and "three weeks later, the Churchmans had a three-book, mid-six figure deal with one of the world's biggest publishers," Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, CBS Evening News reported.

"I don't know the degree of rareness that I can get down to. I mean it's granular level rare," said Bowen.

Flying Pig's website later shared the retail aftershock of the news segment: "After the CBS Evening News piece, demand has skyrocketed and books are going fast. We're fulfilling orders first come, first served. We will get your books to you as quickly as possible. We can't guarantee any mail orders arriving in time for Christmas. (Think of the book as a delightful extra surprise after all the other presents have been opened!)"

'From Bookseller to Bestseller'

The Horn Book magazine spoke with several booksellers-turned-book-creators and discovered that "the lessons they learned from their time working at bookstores range widely, from the highly conceptual to the very practical. But everyone agrees that a central benefit stems from having ready access to many great children's books."

Brian Selznick shared his quest to get a job at Eeyore's Books for Children in New York City ("It's very easy to draw a line from Eeyore's to everything I've done since."), while Nick Bruel worked at Manhattan's Books of Wonder and became immersed in "this rich history of illustration. Your job is to get as many books as possible into the hands of children. To do that, you have to read a lot of children's books. You have to figure out what works and why."

The Books of Wonder mafia: George O’Connor, Julie Fogliano, Neal Porter (editor), Philip and Erin Stead, Nick Bruel with daughter Izzy, store manager Jennifer Lavonier. (Photo: Carina Vocisano/Horn Book)

Two-time Newbery Medal winner Kate DiCamillo worked at the Bookmen in Minneapolis early in her career ("I read a lot on the job. Is that terrible to say? I did. I read one miraculous book after another.") and at Half Price Books ("Working [at those two places] gave me permission, hope, inspiration, an education.")

Peter Glassman, co-founder of Books of Wonder as well as an author, said that although he doesn't set out to hire talented writers and illustrators, the most important qualification for a potential bookseller is "an ability to communicate a love of books. If you can't sell books, we have to close the store."

Several authors and illustrators interviewed "mentioned the benefit of knowing the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that goes into bookselling," Horn Book noted. "While working on the Books of Wonder website and newsletter and on the sales floor, Jason Chin learned the nuts and bolts of how bookstores operate. Among other things, 'I understand when I go to an event now that I should always thank the booksellers. It's a lot of work.' "

Northeast Publishers Rep Ray Chateauneuf Retiring

Ray Chateauneuf

Ray Chateauneuf, an independent rep with Northeast Publishers Reps, is retiring at the end of this year.

Chateauneuf started his career in the book industry in 1973 as book operations manager at Holyoke News. In 1984, he became a sales rep for Pearson Technology Group, rising to the position of national accounts manager. In 2007, he became a sales rep for Simon & Schuster, and in 2009 he joined Northeast Publishers Reps as an independent commission rep, covering much of New England and the Hudson Valley in New York.

Northeast Publishers Reps called him "an invaluable member of our team, always on the lookout for new business and never fearful of making the always difficult cold call. Amazingly, Ray never lost his enthusiasm for selling, even after over 40 years in the business."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jesse Eisenberg on Conan

Tuesday, December 29:
Conan repeat: Jesse Eisenberg, author of Bream Gives Me Hiccups (Grove Press, $26, 9780802124043).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Doris Kearns Goodwin, author, most recently, of The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism (Simon & Schuster, $22, 9781416547877).

Wednesday, December 30:
Live with Kelly and Michael repeat: Shay Mitchell, co-author of Bliss: A Novel (St. Martin's Press, $25.99, 9781250075680).

Friday, January 1:
CBS This Morning: Daniel Hashimoto and Mandy Richardville, authors of Action Movie Kid (Atria/Keywords Press, $14.99, 9781476799896).

Wendy Williams repeat: Christie Brinkley, author of Timeless Beauty: Over 100 Tips, Secrets, and Shortcuts to Looking Great (Grand Central Life & Style, $30, 9781455587940), and Nancy Fuller, author of Farmhouse Rules: Simple, Seasonal Meals for the Whole Family (Grand Central, $30, 9781455531059).

Live with Kelly and Michael: Bill O'Reilly, co-author of Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency (Holt, $30, 9781627792417), and Wendy Bazilian, co-author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean: 300 Real Foods and Recipes for Lifelong Health and Lasting Weight Loss (Rodale, $21.99, 9781623365288).

Saturday, January 2:
CBS Radio's Weekend Roundup: Dr. David B. Agus, author of The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781476712109).

Sunday, January 3:
NPR's Weekend Edition: Eric Weiner, author of The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World's Most Creative Places from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley (Simon & Schuster, $26.95, 9781451691658).

The Shannara Chronicles on MTV

Seattle SF/fantasy authors turned out for the Shannara premiere: Peter Orullian, Robin Hobb, Jason Hough, Greg Bear, Todd Lockwood, Terry Brooks and Donald McQuinn.

The Shannara Chronicles, based on the epic fantasy series by Terry Brooks, premieres on MTV January 5. The first season is 10 episodes, covering events from The Elfstones of Shannara, which is now available as a tie-in edition (Del Rey, $15, 9781101965603). This is the first work in Brooks's 40-year career to be  adapted for film or television. In addition to dozens of titles in the Shannara Chronicles, Brooks is also the author of the Landover series and several movie novelizations. The show's cast includes Austin Butler, Poppy Drayton, Manu Bennett and John Rhys-Davies.

The Experience Music Project (EMP) Museum in Seattle is screening the first two episodes of the series, along with an exhibit of props from the show.

TV: Dickensian

"Ever wondered what Miss Havisham and Fagin would talk about over a pint?" CBC Books reported that "Dickens fans in the U.K. may well find out when a new 20-part BBC TV series, Dickensian, premieres on Boxing Day." The project features about 30 of the author's "iconic, most loved (and, in some cases, most reviled) characters on the same Victorian London street--with the Old Curiosity Shop sitting next to the Three Cripples Pub, Bill Sykes' favorite watering hole."

Actor Stephen Rea, who plays Inspector Bucket from Bleak House, called Dickensian "the most beautiful reworking of the world of Dickens that you could ever imagine." And CBC Books pleaded: "But please, sirs, could we have it on this side of the pond?"

This Weekend on Book TV: David Maraniss

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 26
1:45 p.m. Alyssa Katz, author of The Influence Machine: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Capture of American Life (Spiegel & Grau, $28, 9780812993288). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

7 p.m. A panel discussion on William F. Buckley's 50-year-old New York City mayoral campaign. (Re-airs Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and Monday at 6:15 a.m.)

8:45 p.m. T.J. Stiles, author of Custer's Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America (Knopf, $30, 9780307592644). (Re-airs Monday at 1:30 a.m.)

10 p.m. Darcy Olsen, author of The Right to Try: How the Federal Government Prevents Americans from Getting the Lifesaving Treatments They Need (Harper, $26.99, 9780062407528). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

Sunday, December 27
8:15 a.m. Sonia Purnell, author of Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill (Viking, $30, 9780525429777). (Re-airs Sunday at 11:15 p.m.)

1 p.m. Jordan Ellenberg, author of How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking (Penguin, $17, 9780143127536). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

8 p.m. David Maraniss, author of Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story (Simon & Schuster, $32.50, 9781476748382). (Re-airs Monday at 4 a.m.)

Books & Authors

Book Brahmin: Lesley Lee Francis

photo: Paul Fetters

Lesley Lee Francis is the granddaughter of Robert Frost. She received her A.B. degree from Radcliffe College and her Ph.D. in Romance Languages from Duke University. She became a professor of Spanish language, literature and history, and ran a summer program in Spain. Retired from the professional staff of the American Association of University Professors in Washington, D.C., she continues teaching and writing and helps organize the annual Frost Symposium. Dr. Francis has lectured and published extensively on her grandfather, including her biographical study, Robert Frost: An Adventure in Poetry, 1900-1918 (Transaction Publishers). She lives in Arlington, Va.; her three daughters and six grandchildren live nearby. Her new book, You Come Too: My Journey with Robert Frost, is available from the University of Virginia Press (December 3, 2015).

On your nightstand now:

Dead Wake by Erik Larson.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Grimms' Fairy Tales.

Your favorite authors:

Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy, Miguel de Cervantes and Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Book you've faked reading:

Ulysses by James Joyce.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Holy Bible (King James Version).

Book you hid from your parents:

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.

Book that changed your life:

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

Favorite line from a book:

"I am the master of my fate:/ I am the captain of my soul" --William Ernest Henley's Invictus

Five books you'll never part with:

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes; Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky; The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy; Dubliners by James Joyce; The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer.

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

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.

Three of your favorite poems:

"Evangeline" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "Intimations of Immortality" by William Wordsworth and "Iris by Night" by Robert Frost.

Book Review

YA Review: The Dark Days Club

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman (Viking, $18.99 hardcover, 496p., ages 14-up, 9780670785476, January 26, 2016)

Preparing for one's society debut is stressful for any young English woman of the Regency era, but 18-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall is more nervous than most. Her late mother, Lady Catherine, was a notorious traitor to King George III; her dreadful, misogynistic uncle is eager to marry off his tainted niece quickly; and her body has been flooded by an "unseemly vigor" that makes it even harder than usual to concentrate on the work of finding a husband.

That heightened energy and other powers--such as an unnatural dexterity and the ability to read facial expressions accurately--recently have become more bothersome to Lady Helen, leaving her to feel she's inherited some of that "bad blood" from her allegedly fiendish mother. It is the Earl of Carlston, her disgraced distant cousin, a "handsome but repellent" man with "dark shark eyes," who tells her the truth about who and what she is. She is a Reclaimer, just as her mother was, one of eight in England who has the talents to identify and destroy Deceivers, the thousands of supernatural, tentacled creatures who disguise themselves, colonize human bodies "at all levels of society" and harvest the life-force of humans to survive.

This revelation is terrifying for Helen, who knows her "duty is to marry, not fight demons": "Her whole world had shifted beneath her feet. What had once been solid ground was now a chasm of endless questions and fear." Soon, Helen is pulled into the work of the Dark Days Club (a shadow group to the city detectives called the Bow Street Runners) that fights Deceivers. Life as she knows it will never be "safe and happy and normal" again, and any future she might have imagined with the amiable Duke of Selburn who is courting her suddenly feels untenable, particularly since she finds herself reluctantly, powerfully attracted to her fellow Reclaimer Lord Carlston. Ultimately, Helen must choose between a life of excitement and danger, or the more settled life she was groomed for.

Australian author Alison Goodman (Eon; Eona) has already proven her talent for world-building in several beloved fantasy novels, and in The Dark Days Club, she brings the same meticulous craft to her exploration of the historical and the supernatural. Her vivid descriptions of the clothing, society and conversation of 1812 London would perfectly recall Georgette Heyer, if Heyer had written dark fantasy. The blossoming of romance in the book is like a happy surprise wrapped up in a beautiful box, and will no doubt thrill adult fans of Regency romances as much as it will teens. Though the romance is tamer than, say, Sarah MacLean's books, it still smolders. Lady Helen's adventure has just begun, and as it ends with the hint of grave danger to come, readers will be eager for the next installment. --Stephanie Anderson, assistant director for public services, Darien Library (Conn.)

Shelf Talker: Alison Goodman's spectacular young adult novel set in the 19th-century court of England's King George III will delight fantasy readers and fans of Regency romance alike.

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