Also published on this date: Wednesday, February 3, 2016: Kids' Maximum Shelf: Hour of the Bees

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, February 3, 2016

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


Amazon Books Expansion Likely, but Not Hundreds

Amazon's bookstore in Seattle.

An offhand comment yesterday by Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of General Growth Properties, a real estate investment trust that owns and manages 120 shopping malls around the country, threw the book business into a frenzy. In a conference call with analysts, while noting that some e-commerce companies are opening bricks-and-mortar outlets, Mathrani said, "You've got Amazon opening brick-and-mortar bookstores, and their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400."

First reported by the Wall Street Journal, which noted that Mathrani "could have potentially spoken with Amazon's real-estate executives about their plans," the one-line comment spread across the Internet and caused Barnes & Noble stock to drop more than 2%, to below $8 a share, in after-hours trading. B&N had already fallen 5.4%, to $8.09, during a bad day on Wall Street.

Mathrani had no further comment, and, true to style, neither did Amazon. The online retailer opened its first bricks-and-mortar bookshop in Seattle last November. Gizmodo reported that anonymous Amazon sources, in a non-denial denial, "are somewhat angry about the reports, which come from a non-Amazon CEO, and are calling the entire story (this one included) 'misleading.' "

Shelf Awareness has heard from knowledgeable people in the industry that Amazon is likely considering opening more Amazon Books stores, but that it aims to open a dozen or so stores in the next year or two, not hundreds. Presumably they would be flagship stores that, like Amazon's Seattle store, showcase a range of Amazon electronic products, including the Kindle and Fire, as well as books.

Still, speculation raged in news reports and social media. The New York Times had a more thoughtful story, which included comments from Shelf Awareness editor-in-chief John Mutter.

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

Wernersbach Named Texas Book Festival Literary Director

Julie Wernersbach
(photo: Sarah Bork Hamilton Photography)

Julie Wernersbach, who has been marketing director for BookPeople in Austin for the past five years, was named literary director of the Texas Book Festival. She will begin her new job later this month. In its announcement, the festival said: "We can't wait to start working with Julie, and anticipate great things for the 2016 Festival, and for ongoing literacy outreach all over Texas."

At BookPeople, Wernersbach plans more than 300 author events each year and oversees public relations, marketing, website and social media strategies. Previously, she worked as a publicist and events coordinator for Book Revue in Huntington, N.Y. Wernersbach is also the author of Vegan Survival Guide to Austin and Swimming Holes of Texas (to be published by the University of Texas Press in 2017).

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

The Feathered Bone: Entertainment and Advocacy

When Julie Cantrell appears at the Livingston Parish Courthouse in Livingston, La., on February 27 at 10 a.m., it won't be to take the witness stand or join a jury pool. She'll be talking about her new novel, The Feathered Bone (Thomas Nelson), as part of a panel to raise awareness about human trafficking.

Julie Cantrell

In The Feathered Bone, New Orleans' atmospheric French Quarter turns into a place of dread when 12-year-old Sarah Broussard vanishes there during a school field trip. The devastating incident drives the narrative, as her friends and family cope with guilt and loss. Woven into the storyline are diary entries written by Sarah, who has fallen victim to human traffickers and forced into the sex trade.

Others appearing on the panel with Cantrell include Emily Morrow Chenevert of Trafficking Hope, an organization dedicated to combating human trafficking; Livingston Parish sheriff Jason Ard; and a representative from the Louisiana State Police human trafficking task force.

Hosting the event, which will include a post-panel reading and signing by Cantrell, is Cavalier House Books, an independent bookstore in Denham Springs. Co-owner Michelle Cavalier helped mastermind the idea for the panel, inspired in part by ones she has attended at industry trade shows. More free-form and entertaining than a standard press conference or lecture, she noted, "it's a perfect fit for this book that blends a fictional story with raising awareness of a very important contemporary issue."

The intent of the panel is to increase the public's understanding of human trafficking--its causes and risks, how to recognize red flags and warning signs, particularly regarding minors susceptible to being lured into the sex trade, what to do if trafficking is suspected, and ways to support the rescue and recovery efforts taking place in Livingston Parish.

Louisiana's coastal location, as well as its interstate between Florida and Texas, make it a prime location for human trafficking. "Many residents don't realize this is happening in their back yard. Most of us maintain an 'it would never happen to us' attitude when, in truth, it happens every day to someone's child, mother, brother, neighbor, classmate," said Cantrell. She spent two years researching and writing The Feathered Bone, her first book set in her home state of Louisiana. Her previous novels, Into the Free and When Mountains Move, take place in Mississippi--where she currently lives--and Colorado.

For Trafficking Hope, a novel like The Feathered Bone can further the organization's outreach efforts. The compelling and authentic characters take the issue beyond headlines and statistics and humanize it for readers. "I truly believe that as people understand the details of what these women and children walk through, they have no choice but to get involved and do something about it," explained Chenevert. "This book can have a huge impact as people read it and share it with others."

The Feathered Bone is the Livingston Parish Library's inaugural selection for its community program "Livingston Parish Reads Together." In addition to the topic of human trafficking, Sarah Colombo, head of adult services at the Library, expects the book's local setting and themes like marriage and healthy relationships, Louisiana culture and the effects of Hurricane Katrina to resonate among area residents and encourage conversation. Various events related to the novel are taking place throughout the year. In October all of the library's adult book clubs across five branches will read and discuss The Feathered Bone, followed the next month by the Livingston Parish Book Festival at which Cantrell is the keynote speaker.

Writing a novel about child endangerment and exploitation was challenging for Cantrell, particularly as a mother. But it's her treatment of the topic that impressed Cavalier, in particular the amount of emotion conveyed in the story and the emphasis on Sarah's innocence and faith. "Authors describing abuse and degradation often fall into the trap of too much description, dragging their readers through the worst of humanity in a way that is mostly gratuitous and unnecessary," said Cavalier, who is hand selling the novel to customers. "One of the beauties of The Feathered Bone is that Julie is able to convey the best and worst of humanity through the voice of a young girl." --Shannon McKenna Schmidt

Booksellers Association Launches 'Shakespeare Saturday'

To help mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death, the Booksellers Association of the U.K. and Ireland has created Shakespeare Saturday, a "Books Are My Bag-tinged bookshop day." On April 23, which is also World Book Night, "the world's media will be focused on Shakespeare and Shakespeare Saturday is designed to give booksellers a piece of the action." Bookshop activity will be heavily promoted by the BA on social media using the hash tag #bardabag. The BA is also producing "The Bard Is My Bag" tote bags and T-shirts, as well as providing resource ideas for booksellers.

Obituary Notes: Lee Soper; Intizar Hussain

Lee Soper

Lee Soper, manager of the University Book Store, Seattle, Wash., from 1977 to 1993, died yesterday, on the eve of his 92nd birthday, after a brief illness.

Shelf Awareness's Marilyn Dahl, who worked at University Book Store during Soper's tenure, said that "Mr. Books" was "one of the greatest of the greats in bookselling. He was my first book boss, my mentor, father figure, and dear, dear friend. I learned a lot about books, about taste, and about life from him. Raise a glass to him tonight."

Soper began his book career at the Walla Walla Bookshop, where he worked from 1952-1958. His first term at University Book Store ran from 1959-1969, then he established the Raymar Northwest Book Company before returning to University Book Store as manager in 1977.

Soper was a founder of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association in 1960, a member of the board of the American Booksellers Association, a judge and advisor for the Governor's Writers Awards, on the advisory board of the University of Washington Press and a founding member of the Willard Espy Literary Foundation, now called the Espy Foundation.

Information about a memorial service will come soon.


Intizar Hussain, a novelist, columnist and story writer who received numerous awards from the governments of Pakistan, India and UAE, died February 2. He was 92. The Daily Times reported that Hussain "developed a unique prose style and is known for his nostalgia for older places and phenomena." The Express Tribune noted that in 2013, Hussain became "the first Pakistani and the first Urdu writer ever to be nominated" for the Man Booker International Prize.


Image of the Day: A Voice from La Jolla

Fans packed into Warwick's in La Jolla, Calif., to celebrate the launch of Neal Griffin's second novel, A Voice from the Field (Forge). Griffin is a 25-year veteran police officer, and his debut thriller, Benefit of the Doubt, was a Los Angeles Times bestseller.

Cool Idea of the Day: Romance Authors, Perks & Corks

Tonight, Savoy Bookstore & Café, which opens later this month in Westerly, R.I., is helping Perks & Corks celebrate its 15th anniversary by partnering for a "Night of Romance," featuring authors Megan Frampton, Eloisa James, Sarah MacLean and Maya Rodale. "Cocktails and books will be available for purchase, and anyone who buys a book will be entered in a giveaway for a romance-themed gift basket," the Westerly Sun noted.

"We are so excited to host a fun romance event right before Valentine's Day, and the authors who are coming are some of the best," said Elissa Englund, event coordinator for both Bank Square Books and Savoy Bookshop and Café. "Perks is such a cool venue. With their huge and delicious selection of martinis, I felt like the combination makes Perks the perfect place to host this event. It's the perfect place to connect bookworms with lovers of romance."

A Dallas 'Literary Renaissance Is Upon Us'

Will Evans

In a piece headlined "The People Making Us a Well-Read City," Dallas Innovates spoke with some of the city's leading book people, including Deep Vellum Publishing founder Will Evans, who said, "There was a huge gap here even just two and a half years ago. It's happened really fast that Dallas has started to feel like a literary city." He attributed a substantial amount of the change to independent bookstores like the Wild Detectives, which was launched in early 2014 by Javier Garcia del Moral and Paco Vique; and Serj Books, owned by Anne Holcomb and John Walsh. Deep Vellum plans to open its own store, Deep Vellum Books, soon.

"Where do you go to see people who are into the same stuff as you, if you're into writing--which is a solitary activity--or reading--which is also a solitary activity? Now you have bookstores, and suddenly Dallas feels more literary," Evans said. "When the Wild Detectives opened, Dallas went from nothing on the literary map to being a place--it gave us a sense of place, purpose, and community."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Michael Strahan on Colbert's Late Show

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Michael Strahan, co-author of Wake Up Happy: The Dream Big, Win Big Guide to Transforming Your Life (Atria/37 INK, $26.99, 9781476775685).

Movies: The Clasp; The Sandcastle Empire

Sloane Crosley will write a big-screen adaptation of her debut novel The Clasp for Universal, the Hollywood Reporter wrote. Oscar-nominated producer Helen Estabrook (Whiplash) is producing the film.


Leonardo DiCaprio and his Appian Way Productions will produce a film version of Kayla Olson's The Sandcastle Empire for Paramount Pictures, which optioned the upcoming YA novel. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that while "some could argue that the post-apocalyptic scene may be played out to a certain extent, the book is said to lean heavily into environmental themes, and it's those themes that attracted DiCaprio to the manuscript."

Books & Authors

Awards: PEN Literary Shortlists; Ernest J. Gaines Winner

Shortlists have been announced for the 2016 PEN Literary Awards, which include the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction ($25,000), PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay ($10,000), PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award ($10,000), PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction ($10,000), PEN Open Book Award ($5,000), PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000), PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000), PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000) and PEN Translation Prize ($3,000).

Winners will named March 1, with the exception of the debut fiction, essay and science categories, as well as Open Book and the PEN/Fusion Emerging Writers Prize, which will be named April 11 at PEN's Literary Awards Ceremony in New York City. You can view the complete shortlists here.


T. Geronimo Johnson won the $10,000 Ernest J. Gaines Award, which "serves to inspire and recognize rising African-American fiction writers of excellence at a national level," for his book Welcome to Braggsville, which was praised as "a literary coming-of-age novel for a new generation."

Book Brahmin: Janice Y.K. Lee

photo: Xue Tan

Janice Y.K. Lee was born and raised in Hong Kong. Of Korean descent, she moved to the U.S. when she was 15, and graduated from Harvard College with a degree in English and American Literature and Language. A former editor at Elle, she moved to Hong Kong in 2005 with her husband, where they lived with their four children until recently moving back to New York City. Her debut novel was The Piano Teacher. The Expatriates is her second novel and is published by Viking (January 12, 2016).

On your nightstand now:

ARCs of authors who were at regional bookseller events with me: Be Frank with Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson, a sprightly and delightful comic novel set in L.A.; The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, a really wonderful, engaging tale about a dysfunctional family; The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie, which I haven't started yet but I know from trusted sources I'm going to love it. Also, City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg, which I know is great but is a commitment, and I want to begin it when I have a long stretch of time!

Favorite book when you were a child:

All of Gerald Durrell's books, but it started with My Family and Other Animals. I love the extreme cultural cross-pollination that began when a Korean girl born and raised in Hong Kong read about a British family that moved to Corfu. I was obsessed with Gerald Durrell and kept writing to him to see if I could go work at his zoo in Jersey, although I didn't even really like animals.

Your top five authors:

Lorrie Moore, Mona Simpson, Michael Cunningham, Amy Bloom, Elizabeth McCracken.

Book you've faked reading:


Books you're an evangelist for:

Rebecca Lee's book of short stories, Bobcat and Other Stories: mordant, potent pills. Also, Poison by Kathryn Harrison, a dizzyingly atmospheric historical tale. And The Dangerous Husband by Jane Shapiro, a wonderful, biting satire about a clumsy spouse.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I don't think I've ever bought a book for the cover!

Book you hid from your parents:

Scruples by Judith Krantz, a glorious, glitzy, page turner. Taught me about the all-important subjects of shopping and sex.

Book that changed your life:

The story that changed my life was "White Angel" by Michael Cunningham. (It eventually became the novel A Home at the End of the World, but I first encountered it as a story in the New Yorker.) I hadn't known that words could be combined like that, full of pirouettes and fireworks and life. It was dizzying and intoxicating. I was at boarding school at the time and still remember getting the New Yorker in my P.O. box, reading that story and wandering around, somehow thrilled and energized and vibrating from the power of language. It cemented in me my desire to become a writer. It gave me a bar to reach for.

Favorite line from a book:

So hard to pick. One that has always stayed with me for its musicality and simplicity is the first line from Ha Jin's masterpiece, Waiting: "Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu." That one line exemplifies the entire book's elegance to me.

Five books you'll never part with:

To be honest, I'm a little hampered by the fact that I'm in temporary housing and all of my books are in storage. I usually have my favorites on a shelf next to me. But here goes:

A Home at the End of the World by Michael Cunningham
Birds of America by Lorrie Moore
The Giant's House by Elizabeth McCracken
Love Invents Us by Amy Bloom
Anywhere but Here by Mona Simpson

The thing that all these books have in common was that I read them in my teens and 20s, my most formative years. They are the books that shaped the nascent writer and showed me what was possible with language.

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

Lolita. I read this in college for a class and was electrified by it. It was a visceral experience: I was in the library and opened the book. Then I was gone. The magic of language!

Love Is in the Air: A Picture-Book Roundup

The trials and tribulations of Valentine's Day begin early enough in life, and we certainly wouldn't want to traumatize children unnecessarily. We're simply using the approach of February 14 as an excuse to showcase five picture books that celebrate love and friendship, whether parent-child, boy-girl, monster-friend or hedgehog-hedgehog. If you missed Shelf's feature on which charming children's titles booksellers recommend for adults to give other adults on Valentine's Day, you can find it here. Enjoy!

For Babies and Toddlers
One More Tickle!: Guess How Much I Love You Puppet Book by Sam McBratney, illus. by Anita Jeram (Candlewick, $17.99, board book, 9780763688196, 12p., ages 0-3, February 9, 2016)
Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare, characters from the tried-and-true Guess How Much I Love You, are back in One More Tickle!, an oversized board book with a deliciously soft, long-eared rabbit puppet that pops up through the center of it, ready to tickle a wee, giggling reader. "Are you ticklish?" asked Little Nutbrown Hare. "Can I tickle your ears and see?" "You can try," said Big Nutbrown Hare. "Tickle, tickle, tickle!"(This is the grownup's cue to tickle kids who like tickling.) Noses, chins, underarms (eek) and toes are next, followed by a goodnight kiss.

Love Monster and the Last Chocolate by Rachel Bright (FSG, $17.99, hardcover, 9780374346904, 32p., ages 2-4, December 15, 2015)
First there was British author-illustrator Rachel Bright's Love Monster, then Love Monster and the Perfect Present. Now, the scruffy, bug-eyed Love Monster is back from vacation, only to find a mysterious purple box on his doorstep. Chocolates! He salivates as he imagines what tasty flavors might be inside: Walnut Whippy, Cherry Cloud or Double Toffee Diamond. Should he share them with his friends? Yes, he should. Bright achieves her wonderfully rough textures with a solar-etching technique, using UV light to make printer plates. This tasty read-aloud morsel has just the right amount of sweetness.

For Preschoolers
Hedgehugs by Steve Wilson & Lucy Tapper (Holt, $16.99, hardcover 9781627794046, 32p. ages 3-5, December 15, 2015)
How do you hug a hedgehog? Carefully. Hedgehugs features two hedgehogs, Horace and red-bowed Hattie, who are best friends and want to hug each other, but can't: "They are just too spiky!" They roll in the snow in the winter (too cold), squeeze into logs in the spring (too bumpy), stick strawberries on their spikes in the summer (too sticky), and try leaf barriers in the fall (too scratchy). Nothing works until they slip into a couple of socks they find on a clothesline... and that feels just right. (It's suggested that this is where all those single socks go when they go missing.) The cute, mixed-pattern collage-style art suits this cozy guide to hugging while spiky.

The Red Hat by David Teague, illus. by Antoinette Portis (Disney-Hyperion, $16.99, hardcover, 9781423134114, 40p., ages 4-6, December 8, 2015)
Billy Hightower lives on top of the world's tallest building, above even the clouds, with only the wind for company. (The wind is illustrated on every spread with wavy lines in a pleasingly glinting sheen.) Then one day a girl in a red hat appears on a nearby building. Billy tries to shout to her, and to send her notes via paper airplane and kite... he even tries to fly to her using a blanket, but the wind thwarts his every effort--almost. Antoinette Portis's (Wait) artful illustrations--mostly blue, white and black with strategic pops of red--make readers feel the power of the wind, and the artist's marvelously varied perspectives on the city are suitably dizzying. Boy meets girl for a happy ending... or, actually, a beginning.

For Romantics of All Ages
Madame Eiffel: The Love Story of the Eiffel Tower by Alice Brière-Haquet, trans. by Noelia Hobeika, illus. by Csil (Little Gestalten, $19.95, hardcover, 9783899557558, 32p., ages 4-adult, November 1, 2015)
This French picture book, one of the New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2015, is a fairy tale of sorts, a valentine to Paris's Eiffel Tower. The story begins: "Eiffel is a happy engineer; young, successful, and in love." His wife, Cathy, the "prettiest girl in Paris," has a thirst for life and, with intricate thin black lines, the opening spread shows the cooing couple in a hot-air balloon over the city. When Cathy gets sick, it seems there is no hope... until Eiffel builds a tower, the tower, for her. When she sees the glorious Eiffel Tower, "Cathy's cheeks turn rosy,/ her eyes sparkle again."

--Karin Snelson, children's & YA editor, Shelf Awareness

The Bestsellers

Top Book Club Picks in January

The following were the most popular book club books during January based on votes from more than 120,000 book club readers from more than 39,000 book clubs registered at

1. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
2. All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr
3. A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman
4. The Girl on the Train: A Novel by Paula Hawkins
5. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
6. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin
7. Ordinary Grace: A Novel by William Kent Krueger
8. Circling the Sun: A Novel by Paula McLain
9. Go Set a Watchman: A Novel by Harper Lee
10. Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

[Many thanks to!]

Powered by: Xtenit