Shelf Awareness for Monday, March 7, 2016

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

Henry Holt & Company: Mihi Ever After (Mihi Ever After #1) by Tae Keller, illustrated by Geraldine Rodríguez

Berkley Books: River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer

Oxford University Press, USA: The World According to Proust by Joshua Landy

Chronicle Chroma: Bob Willoughby: A Cinematic Life by Bob Willoughby

Charlesbridge Publishing: Forever Cousins by Laurel Goodluck, illustrated by Jonathan Nelson

Tor Teen: The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

Editors' Note

Welcome, Genevieve Iverson!

Genevieve Iverson

Shelf Awareness is very happy to announce that Genevieve Iverson has joined the staff as sales & marketing assistant. She formerly was a marketing and publicity intern at Sasquatch Books and earlier worked at several magazines in the Pacific Northwest. She has a B.A. in journalism/public relations and creative writing from Western Washington University. Genevieve will be working in our Seattle office.

Scribe Us: Our Members Be Unlimited: A Comic about Workers and Their Unions by Sam Wallman


Amazon Opening Second Bookstore, in San Diego

photo: San Diego Union-Tribune

Amazon is opening its second bricks-and-mortar bookstore this summer in San Diego, Calif., the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Amazon opened Amazon Books in November in Seattle, Wash.

Signage at the San Diego store's site reads in part, "Coming this summer--Amazon Books." Amazon spokesperson Sarah Gelman said, "We are excited to be bringing Amazon Books to the University Towne Center Mall in San Diego and we are currently hiring store managers and associates. Stay tuned for additional details down the road."

In early February, Amazon posted job ads online for Amazon Books managers, booksellers and device enthusiasts in the San Diego area, the first sign it was opening a second store. (Those ads were noticed the same week that Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of General Growth Properties, said in a conference call with analysts that Amazon planned to open 300-400 bookstores, an amount that appears grossly exaggerated.)

As the Union-Tribune noted, "Westfield UTC is an upscale, outdoor shopping mall that matches the style and retailers of University Village, the Seattle-area mall where Amazon opened its first bookstore." As in Seattle, the mall has an Apple Store. Other shops include Nordstrom and Tesla Motors. Westfield UTC is near La Jolla and close to the University of California, San Diego campus.

Flyaway Books: The Coat by Séverine Vidal, illustrated by Louis Thomas

Short Stories in Madison, N.J., Makes a Move

Short Stories Community Book Hub, Madison, N.J., will be moving across the street, to a larger space in the historic James Building. "The new space is more open and 2,000 square feet," owner Barb Short said. "It hasn't been available for 30 years, and it opened up just as our lease was expiring and the rent at our existing location would be increasing, so while certainly another leap of faith as we establish and work to sustain ourselves as a new bookshop, a rare and wonderful opportunity for us all around!" With the help of a Kickstarter campaign, the store originally opened in September 2014 in a narrow 1,400-square-foot space.

The new layout will have Short Stories' bookshop in the front and a larger, flexible community space and art gallery in the elevated rear section, allowing for both small and large gatherings when the store hosts author readings, musicians, book clubs and other classes and events.

Short said, "We plan to preserve and relocate every bit of our thoughtfully conceived, lovingly Kickstarted and cozy, warm book hub--including all of its sections and dedications--with just a little extra room for it all in an incredible new home."

Built in 1899, the James Building is a historic landmark, an Eclectic Revival style building that has roots as a cultural center. You can see a video of Short signing the lease in her new space here.

PNBA Holiday Catalog 2022

The Ripped Bodice Bookstore Opens in Los Angeles

The Ripped Bodice romance-only bookstore opened Friday in the Culver City neighborhood of Los Angeles. The venture, launched by sisters and co-owners Bea and Leah Koch, "was made possible by a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, which raised $90,000 in its first month," L.A. Magazine reported, adding that "the shop doesn't just embrace the romance novel genre; it is explicitly out to break down the stigma associated with the books: a common misconception is that erotica, a sub-genre of romance novels otherwise known as 'smut,' is the norm."

"Romance novels do not generally have a great reputation and historically, we have not been great as a country about being open to female sexuality," said Leah Koch.

The Hollywood Reporter noted that the Ripped Bodice "is not your mother's bookstore. It is not your father's or your brother's bookstore either or like anyone's bookstore for that matter: it's a romance-only bookstore.... To the uninitiated the breadth of romance novels is surprising."

"The store isn't in alphabetical order," Koch said. "It's actually split up into sub-genres [video section tours available on Twitter]. We've got a wide variety of romance books. We've got a YA section and an NA [new adult] section--books for adults 18 to 25. And we've got a separate section for paranormal and erotica." Other sub-genres include suspense, cowboy, Christmas, inspirational, historical and LGBTQ.

Asked about what motivates them run a brick-and-mortar bookstore, they "explain it's the love of creative space and they have no worries about the future of their business," the Hollywood Reporter wrote.

"There is pressure," Bea Koch conceded. "But it's kind of this wonderful responsibility to have this special thing. There's something about being in a space drinking wine and chatting about your books that is so comforting and that's what we want to provide."

Pat Conroy Dies at Age 70

Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini and The Lords of Discipline, among many other books, and a writer beloved by booksellers, died on Friday. He was 70 and had pancreatic cancer.

Conroy's "tortured family life and the scenic marshlands of coastal South Carolina served as unending sources of inspiration for his fiction," the New York Times wrote. His novels and memoirs "captivated readers with their openly emotional tone, lurid family stories and lush prose that often reached its most affecting, lyrical pitch when evoking the wetlands around Beaufort, S.C."

Many of his novels were made into blockbuster films, most notably, in 1991, The Prince of Tides, directed by Barbra Streisand (who had a major role in the movie) and starring Nick Nolte as Tom Wingo, the novel's protagonist.

On February 15, in a Facebook post, Conroy announced that he had pancreatic cancer, writing:

Hey out there,

I celebrated my 70th birthday in October and realized that I've spent my whole writing life trying to find out who I am and I don't believe I've even come close. It was in Beaufort in sight of a river's sinuous turn, and the movements of its dolphin-proud tides that I began to discover myself and where my life began at fifteen.

I have recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. With the help of the wonderful people at M.D. Anderson I intend to fight it hard. I am grateful to all my beloved readers, my friends and my family for their prayers. I owe you a novel and I intend to deliver it.

Much love,
Pat Conroy

Many booksellers have wonderful stories to tell about Conroy. Only last week, the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance renamed its annual book award program in Conroy's honor. On that occasion, SIBA executive director Wanda Jewell said that Conroy "has been a force for good in the world of southern books and literature and we want to acknowledge that. He has not just written some of our favorite books, he has been incredibly generous in his support of readers, of booksellers, and of other writers. The world of southern literature is a rich place today because of the encouragement he extends to new authors and the commitment he has always shown towards the southern literary community."

SIBA noted that it was "a regular occurrence for [Conroy] to show up at their doors with each new book, often signing copies for customers for hours and hours. On one now legendary occasion he signed books for eight hours straight, and the store arranged to have a masseuse on hand to help with writer's cramp." Jewell commented: "Pat Conroy is a storemaker, a writer whose single visit can make the difference to a bookstore's year end bottom line."

Jane Friedman, co-founder and CEO of Open Road Integrated Media, noted: "I admired Pat Conroy from afar for so, so many years. So, you can imagine my glee when he embraced the idea of e-books and became one of Open Road's first authors in 2010. He experimented with us; he cheered us on; he believed in us."

She added: "Pat holds a special place in my heart, but it was his heart that was the biggest of all. He was fun and generous, and everyone who worked with him fell under his spell.  His spirit lives on in everyone who knew him and in everyone who has read or will ever read his books."

Patty Berg, director of retail marketing at Crown Publishing Group, remembered an appearance by Conroy at the Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt., where she was director of marketing in the late '90s. "We had a capacity crowd at a large venue, and he told a story about one of his very first times at a bookselling conference. He was seated at an autographing table next to the one for Irving Stone. A relative unknown at the time, there was nobody in Pat's line while the line for Irving Stone wound all through the hall. Realizing he had some time on his hands, he got up and went over to help Mr. Stone open the books to make it easier for him to sign. He was gracious, kind, and generous to everyone who stood in the long line after our event. And he is gone too soon."

In his latest post on his blog Classics Rock!, which explores the intersection of books and popular music, Larry Hughes wrote about songs inspired by Conroy's work, particularly Jimmy Buffett's "The Prince of Tides," from his 1988 album Hot Water.

Hughes wrote in part: "Buffett's song is largely a lament about the development and commercialization of Dafuskie Island [where Conroy spent a year teaching, which he wrote about in The Water Is Wide]. The recording opens and closes with Buffett reading passages directly from Conroy's novel. The lyrics namecheck the Wingo family (African drums are silent and the Wingos are poets at last), and Buffett alludes to the dedication from Savannah's poetry volume with the refrain: Now I realize who killed the Prince of Tides.

"Near the end, the song segues into a version of "Save the Last Dance for Me," co-written by Doc Pomus, who along with Conroy is acknowledged in Buffett's dedication. The last line of the song, before the concluding passage from The Prince of Tides, is: And beach music, beach music, beach music just plays on."

Conroy was apparently pleased with the song, telling the Fayetteville Observer: "It gave me status with my children, for about eight hours."


Image of the Day: Wines Between the Lines

"Wines Between the Lines" is a book & wine club started by former bookseller Judi Baxter at Rudy's--A Cooks' Paradise, a kitchen store in Twin Falls, Idaho, where she works part time. Readers gathered at the store to discuss Joanne Harris's Chocolat while sipping on a flight of four French wines and enjoying French cheese, chocolate and other sweets. The club will meet once a month; in March the book is The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes. The evening was a resounding success, reported Baxter, who owned Judi's Bookstore, in Twin Falls, for years and is a former president of the Association of Booksellers for Children: "A great time was had by all, and this book lover had her soul fed in the best way: talking about books!"

Southland Books: 'Preserve Tradition Amid Changing Times'

In an article headlined "East Maryville Blues: Businesses on the scruffier side of town seek to preserve tradition amid changing times," the Daily Times focused on several local businesses in the Tennessee town that signify "the beginnings of an East Maryville revitalization," including Southland Books & Cafe, which is primarily a used book shop but also carries "a choice selection of new titles and ones that we find difficult to keep in stock."

Owner Lisa Misosky "is often found at the counter, holding court with regulars who stop in for conversation as much as they do a used paperback," the Daily Times wrote. "On a chalkboard behind her is a emphatic statement: 'Sometimes your attitude will determine whether we want your books,' a declarative that neatly sums up the quirky, colorful and sassy feel of this side of town."

"We may not have sidewalks all the way down Broadway, but folks on this end of town are a whole lot more real," said Misosky. "You've got a lot of people who have invested in this area and all have active businesses; this is the only end of Maryville where you have predominantly small businesses. West Maryville is all chain stores and corporations, with the rare independent business in there somewhere. The biggest challenge is getting people from West Maryville to shop in East Maryville."

Bookstore Marriage Proposal of the Day: The Strand

Posted on Facebook Saturday by the Strand bookstore in New York City: "We were super excited to help Shmuel propose to Bailey. It took place in our Philosophy section where the couple had their first date. #swoon."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Padma Lakshmi on Today

Fresh Air: Adam Cohen, author of Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck (Penguin Press, $28, 9781594204180).

Diane Rehm: Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (Crown, $28, 9780553447439).

The View: Nancy Jo Sales, author of American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers (Knopf, $26.95, 9780385353922).

Rachael Ray: Laura Prepon, co-author of The Stash Plan: Your 21-Day Guide to Shed Weight, Feel Great, and Take Charge of Your Health (Touchstone, $26, 9781501123092).

Hannity: Lawrence B. Lindsey, author of Conspiracies of the Ruling Class: How to Break Their Grip Forever (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781501144233). He will also appear tomorrow on Fox & Friends and Fox Radio's Tom Sullivan Show and Laura Ingraham Show.

Late Late Show with James Corden: David Walliams, author of Demon Dentist (HarperCollins, $16.99, 9780062417046).

Today Show: Kim Baker, author of The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan (Anchor, $15.95, 9780307477385). She will also appear on Watch What Happens Live.

Also on Today: Padma Lakshmi, author of Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir (Ecco, $26.99, 9780062202611).

Diane Rehm: Jane Bryant Quinn, author of How to Make Your Money Last: The Indispensable Retirement Guide (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781476743769).

Live with Kelly and Michael: Maria Menounos, author of The EveryGirl's Guide to Cooking (Zinc Ink, $22, 9780804177146).

TV: Soldier Girls; American Lion

Emmy-winning actress/executive producer Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep, Seinfeld) "is taking on another project for HBO" by co-executive producing the miniseries Soldier Girls, based on Helen Thorpe's book Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War, Deadline reported. Black List scribe and former soldier Nicole Riegel will write the adaptation and serve as co-producer.


Phillip Noyce (Clear and Present Danger, Patriot Games) "is concluding a deal to direct multiple episodes" of American Lion, the six-hour HBO miniseries event adapted from Jon Meacham's Pulitzer-Prize winning book American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, Deadline reported. The project is expected to begin filming in October, with Sean Penn starring as Jackson.

Movies: Middle School

A trailer has been released for Middle School, based on James Patterson's bestselling novel Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life. Entertainment Weekly reported that although it "is full of young actors playing wacky preteens, the movie also features a cast of well-liked grownups like Lauren Graham, Rob Riggle, Adam Pally and Retta.... But Andy Daly takes on perhaps the biggest (adult) role: The Review star plays Rafe's nemesis, the high school principal obsessed with his own strict book of rules."

"This book came along and I found it's a better version of the movies that I've been making," said director Steve Carr (Dr. Doolittle 2, Daddy Day Care), who was ready to take a break from family films. "Finding my way back from where I was trying to get away from was a big takeaway of making this movie for me." Middle School hits theaters October 7.

Books & Authors

Awards: Yale Younger Poets Winner

Airea D. Matthews won the 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition for her manuscript simulacra, which be will published by Yale University Press in April 2017. Winners of the series also receive one of the five writing fellowships offered at the James Merrill House in Stonington, Conn.

Book Review

Review: The Stopped Heart

The Stopped Heart by Julie Myerson (Harper Perennial, $15.99 paperback, 9780062409324, March 29, 2016)

Set in the quiet English countryside, Julie Myerson's The Stopped Heart is a creepy story filled with ghosts from the distant and near pasts, and the psychological twists and turns that accompany massive grief. In the present, Mary Coles and her husband, Graham, have endured a terrible blow and moved to the country to put their former life behind them. The cottage they purchase has been vacant for years, but still has many of the old fixtures and features: a steep, narrow staircase from the kitchen to the upstairs, a scrubbed-pine table, an old stone trough and water pump in the front yard, a white wrought-iron bench under an apple tree, along with a huge, overgrown garden full of fruit trees and flowers. It's in this new spot that Graham hopes Mary can overcome her grief and begin to show an interest in living again--and in him. Left alone much of the time, though, Mary begins to sense something is not quite right with the house and property as she intuits and then sees snatches of people moving through the same space she occupies.

Readers also learn the history of the cottage and become acquainted with the many members of the family who lived there more than 150 years before Mary and Graham move in. There are eight children, including Eliza, who is the narrator for these sections of the book.

Eliza introduces the redheaded stranger who arrived on the night of a terrible storm. Struck by a fallen tree, he isn't supposed to live, but he does, and stays with the family, working in the fields and with the animals on the farm. The younger children instantly accept the young man, but Eliza has her doubts about him.

Myerson rapidly interweaves both the present and the past, jumping from one subplot to the other within paragraphs. This can be slightly confusing and a bit irritating as the tension from one scene is often cut short when she moves into the other storyline. However, the juxtaposition of both past and present are blended well, with high drama on both fronts as readers learn about the tragic events in Mary's life and what happened to Eliza and her family. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

Shelf Talker: A haunted cottage in the English countryside is the setting for a psychological ghost story full of violence and tragedy.

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