Shelf Awareness for Thursday, July 28, 2016


Minotaur Books: The Last Tourist (Milo Weaver #4) by Olen Steinhauer

Arcadia Publishing - Click Here For Your Kit!

St. Martin's Press: A Hundred Suns by Karin Tanabe

Hamilcar Publications: Jacobs Beach: The Mob, the Garden and the Golden Age of Boxing by Kevin Mitchell

New Harbinger Publications: Be Mighty: A Woman's Guide to Liberation from Anxiety, Worry, and Stress Using Mindfulness and Acceptance by Jill A. Stoddard

Little Brown Books For Young Readers: Please Don't Eat Me by Liz Climo

Grand Central Publishing: Qualityland by Marc-Uwe Kling

News

Main Point Books Opens New Location in Wayne, Pa.

Main Point Books, which announced in May that it would be moving from Bryn Mawr to Wayne, Pa., is opening today in its new location at 116 North Wayne Avenue, "just in time for Harry Potter," said owner Cathy Fiebach. The new store is about 25% larger than the previous location, allowing for an expanded children's book section, the Main Line Suburban reported.


"This is a great community for a bookstore," said Fiebach. "Wayne has that feeling of a town center.... People come to bookstores when they have leisure time. We're the perfect spot to hang out a little while, to spend a half hour down time between dinner and a movie.... Being here is as good as being in the mall and the rents are a lot cheaper."

Growing up in New York City, Fiebach "loved" the Corner Book Store on the Upper East Side, Main Line Suburban wrote. Fiebach has an MBA from Wharton and worked in marketing, brand management and at Friends' Central School before opening Main Point Books in 2013, which she called "my midlife crisis."


Nimbus Publishing: The Big Dig by Lisa Harrington


Nora Flaherty New Head of Macmillan Distribution

Nora Flaherty

Nora Flaherty has been promoted to v-p, client publisher sales and distribution, at Macmillan. She has been part of the company's distribution group for the past 14 years, most recently as v-p, client publisher services. In her expanded role, she will oversee the entire third-party distribution area including sales, operations, business development and distribution.

As Alison Lazarus, president of sales at Macmillan, put it, Flaherty was the "right hand in our distribution business" to Patti Hughes, the former v-p, distribution sales and special markets, who died on June 12.


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Take Note: The Moleskine Café Opens in Milan

Moleskin has launched its first Moleskine Café, on Corso Garibaldi 65, at the heart of the Brera Design District in Milan, Italy. The goal is to offer "a brand new format... that mixes elements of the café, art gallery, store and library," according to the company, which added: "A contemporary reinterpretation of the idea of the café littéraire, it is a new space that supplies energy to boost creativity as well as moments of deep thinking and relaxation, according to the company, which has its corporate headquarters in the city." Moleskin also noted that the new format "is ready to be replicated in global cities worldwide."


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Obituary Note: James Alan McPherson

James Alan McPherson, the essayist and first black writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, for Elbow Room, a 1978 story collection, died yesterday. He was 72.

McPherson grew up in the segregated South and was, as the New York Times wrote, "an avid comic book reader until he discovered what he called the colored branch of the Carnegie Public Library in Savannah." In Going Up to Atlanta, a memoir, McPherson commented: "At first the words, without pictures, were a mystery. But then, suddenly, they all began to march across the page. They gave up their secret meanings, spoke of other worlds, made me know that pain was a part of other peoples' lives. After a while, I could read faster and faster and faster. After a while, I no longer believed in the world in which I lived."

McPherson graduated from Morris Brown College, a traditionally black school in Atlanta, Harvard Law School and then the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa, where he became a professor. While in law school, he won an Atlantic magazine contest with his short story "Gold Coast," which was included in his first collection, Hue and Cry.

The New York Times wrote that author Suketu Mehta, who was mentored by McPherson, said that his essays "belong to the humanist tradition of American letters: an anger at the economic and racial injustices of the country, coupled with a constant appreciation for the way community forms out of unlikely alliances, such as between poor Southern blacks and Southern whites."

McPherson won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1972 and a MacArthur "genius award" in 1981.


Higher Minimum Wages: Booksellers Prepare, Part 4

Shelf Awareness continues a multi-part series on how booksellers are reacting to a range of laws boosting the minimum wage that have been enacted in various states and municipalities around the country. Last week and this week, we examined how booksellers in California, Washington, D.C., and New York are dealing with new state and local wage requirements. Today, in our last installment of this series, we talk with booksellers in Seattle, Wash.

In Seattle, the current minimum wage for employees who are not receiving benefits at companies with fewer than 500 employees is $12 per hour. For employees at companies with fewer than 500 employees who are receiving benefits, the wage is $10.50 per hour. For the former group, the wage will reach $15 per hour by January 1, 2019, while the latter will arrive at that level by January 1, 2021. Once employers reach $15 per hour, the wage will increase each year by a percentage pegged to the Consumer Price Index.

At University Book Store, which has three locations within Seattle proper and four in surrounding municipalities, payroll costs have increased by nearly 6% in the last fiscal year. According to Pam Cady, manager of the general book department, and Lara Konick, chief of retail operations, this is the result not only of raising wages at the bottom of the pay scale but also of raising wages for those who were already "ahead of the curve." Employees at UBS locations outside the city are being paid commensurate to those in the Seattle.

"The cities surrounding us are looking at Seattle and will probably be heading in that direction soon," said Cady. Tracking pay location by location would be more complicated than it's worth, she added, and asking employees outside of Seattle to be paid less for the same amount of work simply wouldn't be fair.

Konick, meanwhile, said she was very concerned about the effects that wage compression might have on staff. Wages are being forced up from the bottom by minimum wage increases, she explained, but given books' extremely thin margins, there is effectively a ceiling. As a result, wages are being compressed toward the middle. For example, by next January, she noted, a starting cashier will make $13 per hour, which is what some people who have been working at UBS for five or six years are currently earning. Said Konick: "There becomes less and less incentive for anyone to stay for a long period of time."

Cady and Konick hope to avoid layoffs, and are looking for ways to work more efficiently and effectively, as well as to leverage things the store is already doing without significantly increasing payroll. For example, UBS already does a small amount of business-to-business sales. Although growing that area would take time and effort, it could have a potentially high sales impact with a low payroll consequences. A new inventory management system is also in the works.

Konick also noted that removing prices from books might work to the disadvantage of bookstores. She explained: "If there were no prices on books, the perceived value would be whatever the lowest price [customers] could find is."

"On a day-to-day basis, we're figuring it out so far," said Cady. "People are not leaving. There have been challenges for years."

In the first six months of 2016, sales at Seattle's Elliott Bay Book Company have risen more than 10%. Peter Aaron, the owner of the store, cautioned that there is no way to know if there's a causative relationship between the sales increase and the minimum wage increase or if it's simply a coincidence, but he emphasized that so far, he has seen no negative financial consequences of the higher minimum wage.

In order to maintain "fairness and proportionality" between those who have been at the store for a long time and those who are just walking in the door, Elliott Bay has raised employee pay "up and down the line," Aaron said. The costs associated with these increases are not insignificant, but the store is taking it one year at a time.

One possible negative consequence that the store has seen--though Aaron also stressed that a causative relationship with the wage increase can't be shown--is that it has lately been difficult to hire new staff. Aaron suggested that this may be a result of Seattle's strong economy.

"It's a cyclical thing," Aaron said. "There are times when the overall economy is not doing that well and all kinds of people are looking to work for the kinds of wages that a bookstore can afford to pay. And there are times when things are booming and it's hard to hire people."

While Aaron said he hoped that publishers might unveil programs that help bookstore profitability, he was strongly against the idea of removing prices from books. With book pricing, he said, there is only pressure from the bottom. Publisher-set prices maintain some order. Without them, he said, it's "just chaos."

On the whole, Aaron was extremely supportive of raising the minimum wage. "Based on my experience it looks like a win-win. I think it's a great thing." --Alex Mutter


Notes

Image of the Day: Bacon4Bacon

photo: Erin Barker

Celebrated actor Kevin Bacon made an appearance at Hooray for Books! in Alexandria, Va., last weekend to read aloud from the comical picture book Everyone Loves Bacon by Kelly DiPucchio (FSG). Here he stands beside the title's illustrator, Eric Wight, who drew along as Bacon read to the crowd.


Bluebird Books, Hutchinson, Kan., Small Business of the Month

Congratulations to Bluebird Books, Hutchinson, Kan., which the Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce named Small Business of the Month for July.

The Hutchinson News noted that since Melanie Green opened it in 2012, Bluebird Books has doubled in size, its employment has tripled, and the business, which now includes a small cafe, "has drawn regional and national accolades."


GBO Picks The Trap

The German Book Office in New York City has chosen The Trap by Melanie Raabe, translated by Imogen Taylor (Grand Central, $26, 9781455592920), as its July Pick of the Month.

The GBO described the book this way: "Successful novelist Linda Conrads has not left her house for more than a decade. She is haunted by the past: twelve years ago, she found her younger sister stabbed to death, lying in a pool of blood. The murder case was never solved. Traumatized, Linda seals herself off from society; the only means left to communicate to the outside world is her writing. When she recognizes her sister's murderer on TV--it is a renowned journalist--she sets an irresistible 'literary' trap: she writes a novel about her sister's death and invites him home for an exclusive interview."

Melanie Raabe, born in 1981, studied media and literature before becoming a magazine editor, freelance journalist, writer and stage actor. The Trap is her debut novel.

Imogen Taylor works in Berlin as a freelance translator and academic. Her translation of Momente der Klarheit by Jackie Thomae received the 2016 Goethe-Institut Award for New Translations.


IPG Adds Five Publishers

Independent Publishers Group and its subsidiaries have added five publishers.

Distributed by IPG:
Bucket Fillers, a Michigan publisher founded in 2006 that specializes in books about "bucket filling," a sort of extended self-help and happiness metaphor for young children, schools and communities. Effective June 1, 2016.

Mosaic Press, a Canadian publisher that has released more than 500 books in literature, the arts, social studies and international studies since 1975. Effective January 1, 2017.

Distributed by IPG's Trafalgar Square subsidiary:
Amberley Publishing, a U.K. publisher founded in 2008 that specializes in books about local history, general history, military history, transportation, industry and sports. Effective January 1, 2017.

Distributed by IPG's Academic and Professional Publishing:
Little Island Press, a U.K. publisher with three hardcover collectible poetry series--Budding New Poets, Memento and Transits. Effective October 1, 2016.

Distributed by IPG's Art Stock Books:
Pucci Publishing, a Costa Rican publisher of wildlife and landscape photography books. Effective January 1, 2017.


Personnel Changes at HMH Books for Young Readers

Tara Shanahan has joined HMH Books for Young Readers as senior publicity manager. She was previously senior publicist at Penguin Young Readers.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Penn Jillette on Real Time with Bill Maher

Tomorrow:
Fox Radio's Kilmeade & Friends: Jonah Berger, author of Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior (Simon & Schuster, $26.99, 9781476759692).

Tavis Smiley: Sam Polk, author of For the Love of Money: A Memoir (Scribner, $25, 9781476785981).

Real Time with Bill Maher: Penn Jillette, author of Presto!: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781501140181).


TV: Sherlock; The Handmaid's Tale

A first look trailer for Season 4 of the BBC/PBS Masterpiece hit series Sherlock was unveiled during Comic-Con last week that "promises that 'everything they know will be tested' and teases an intense, surprisingly action-heavy fourth season that seems closer to John le Carré than Arthur Conan Doyle," Deadline reported.

At a panel featuring actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Amanda Abbington--as well as co-creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat and producer Sue Vertue--Benedict, Abbington and Gatiss agreed "that this season will be the darkest thing the showrunners have ever written for the show--'a real emotional roller coaster,' said Cumberbatch, but, Gatiss added, 'with jokes.' "

---

Samira Wiley (Orange Is the New Black) has joined the cast of The Handmaid's Tale, Hulu's adaptation of Margaret Atwood's novel, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The 10-episode drama stars Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men). Bruce Miller (The 100) wrote the script and will executive produce with Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears, Warren Littlefield and Ilene Chaiken. Atwood is a consulting producer on the project, which was previously adapted as a feature film in 1990 starring Natasha Richardson, Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall. The Handmaid's Tale will premiere in 2017.


This Weekend on Book TV: The Harlem Book Fair

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, July 30
12 p.m. Coverage from the 18th annual Harlem Book Fair in New York City, which took place on July 16. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

4:20 p.m. Stephen Budiansky, author of Code Warriors: NSA's Codebreakers and the Secret Intelligence War Against the Soviet Union (Knopf, $30, 9780385352666), at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Monday at 2 a.m.)

7:15 p.m. Governor John Hickenlooper, co-author of The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics (Penguin Press, $30, 9781101981672). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

8:45 p.m. Mychal Smith, author of Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: A Young Black Man's Education (Nation Books, $24, 9781568585284). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 a.m.)

10 p.m. Eric Fair, author of Consequence: A Memoir (Holt, $26, 9781627795135). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

Sunday, July 31
4:15 p.m. Shawn Otto, author of The War on Science: Who's Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It (Milkweed Editions, $20, 9781571313539). (Re-airs Monday at 6 a.m.)

6:15 p.m. Jeremy Scahill, Glenn Greenwald and other staff members from the Intercept read from The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government's Secret Drone Warfare Program (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781501144134). (Re-airs Monday at 4 a.m.)

10 p.m. Nigel Hamilton, author of Commander in Chief: FDR's Battle with Churchill, 1943 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780544279117), at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass.



Books & Authors

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover
Miss Jane: A Novel by Brad Watson (Norton, $25.95, 9780393241730). "At first, I was uncomfortable reading about the life Jane Chisolm has to lead due to a genital birth defect and assumed that I would be sad for her throughout the book, but this is so beautifully written and unsentimental in its depiction of Jane's quiet strength and courageous acceptance of her life that I fell in love with her quite quickly. While all the supporting characters have their own peculiarities, they are tender and endearing to Jane and that helped me to understand how she endured and was loved so fully. Everyone should read this extraordinary book and feel, as I did, the joy of this remarkable woman." --Nancy Banks, City Stacks Books and Coffee, Denver, Colo.

If I Forget You: A Novel by Thomas Christopher Greene (Thomas Dunne, $24.99, 9781250072788). "Twenty years ago, Margo and Henry fell in love, lost each other to a fierce misunderstanding, and went their separate ways--to marriages, children, and a second-best kind of happiness. Now, a chance encounter holds out hope for reconciliation and the joy of true love. Greene tells this story by jumping back and forth in time and between narrators, while readers wonder 'will they or won't they?' Read this one for the story and the superb style. One of the best books I have read this year." --Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, Wash.

Paperback
Look: Poems by Solmaz Sharif (Graywolf Press, $16, 9781555977443). "Sharif's first poetry collection tells the story of the punishing legacy that enduring warfare can have on a family. She expertly utilizes language lifted from the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms to demonstrate how we have sanitized the language of warfare into something more benign and seemingly less deadly. The essential task of poetry is to engender empathy and to speak truth to power; to that end, Look succeeds in spades." --Matt Keliher, SubText: A Bookstore, St. Paul, Minn.

For Ages 4 to 8
Tell Me a Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler (Chronicle, $16.99, 9781452119373). "Finally, a kids' book that is tailor-made for the millennial parent--an age demographic that is not only accepting of body art but also celebrates the stories of the body as canvas and fosters appreciation for the art form. There is often a deeply personal story behind each tattoo and that legacy is highlighted with McGhee's gentle words and Wheeler's tender illustrations. As the hip father in the book recounts his tattoos' meanings to his curious young son, a well-rounded life full of love is told through ink." --Julie Oliver, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass.

For Ages 9 to 12
When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin (Dial, $16.99, 9780803738164). "When outsider Ben Coffin discovers Flip, an abandoned dog, and finds a friend in Halley, the librarian's daughter, he finally begins to feel like he belongs in his own life. When tragedy strikes and Ben's life threatens to fall apart, Flip proves that friendship--and love--can take many forms. This book can only be described as tail-thumping, dog-kisses-all-over-your-face good!" --Clara Martin, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, Miss.

For Teen Readers
Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan (Knopf, $17.99, 9780553524840). "Julia lives in Spira City, where magic and even folklore are punishable by death, and she loves her edgy life as a thief and a spy. Her mother was a witch, drowned in the river as part of the frequent Cleansing ceremonies, so Julia stays away from magic. Except that she does have a special skill that comes in handy while thieving: Julia can make herself almost unseen. This is the first book in a new trilogy and I look forward to more of Julia's adventures as this epic story continues." --Clare Doornbos, DIESEL: A Bookstore, Larkspur, Calif.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, August 2:

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One & Two by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany (Arthur A. Levine, $29.99, 9781338099133) is the script of a play that takes place 19 years after the last Harry Potter book. (July 31.)

Bullseye by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316407083) is the ninth thriller featuring Detective Michael Bennett. (August 1.)

The Making of Donald Trump by David Cay Johnston (Melville House, $24.99, 9781612196329) is an in-depth look at the Republican presidential nominee from a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter.

To the Bright Edge of the World: A Novel by Eowyn Ivey (Little, Brown, $26, 9780316242851) follows an 1885 expedition into interior Alaska.

The Beauty of Darkness: The Remnant Chronicles: Book Three by Mary E. Pearson (Holt, $17.99, 9780805099256) concludes the Remnant Chronicles series.

Avalanche: A Love Story by Julia Leigh (Norton, $23.95, 9780393292763) is a woman's account of her journey through fertility treatments.

Please Enjoy Your Happiness: A Memoir by Paul Brinkley-Rogers (Touchstone, $25, 9781501151255) chronicles a love affair between the author, then a U.S. Navy sailor, and an older Japanese woman in 1959.

Liars: How Progressives Exploit Our Fears for Power and Control by Glenn Beck (Threshold Editions, $27, 9781476798851) is the latest from the right-wing radio host.

Paperback:
It Ends with Us: A Novel by Colleen Hoover (Atria, $16, 9781501110368).


Book Review

Review: Curioddity

Curioddity by Paul Jenkins (St. Martin's Press, $26.99 hardcover, 320p., 9781250026156, August 30, 2016)

In Wil Morgan's life, ordinary events in a dull environment are the norm. His job as a private investigator specializing in divorce and insurance fraud gives him little joy or money to pay his bills. The people he interacts with on a daily basis do nothing to make his life more memorable. And for years, he's lied to his father about his work, telling him he's an accountant, which only adds to the gloom in Wil's life. On his daily trudge to work, past the giant billboard of Marcus James, "national TV personality of no apparent talent who nevertheless possessed the ability to persuade millions of people to part with something useful in exchange for something useless, usually in three or four easy payments," Wil's only moments of pleasure are when he allows himself to reminisce about his childhood and his mother, who was able to show him the magic in everything. But Melinda Morgan died when Wil was 10, and with her died Wil's ability to see the world in a different light. That is, until Mr. Dinsdale, curator of the Curioddity Museum, appears in his office to hire him to search for a box of levity (the opposite of gravity) that has gone missing from its exhibit in the museum. Wil accidentally discovers the box in a junk shop, landing a first date with the eccentric proprietress at the same time, before quickly moving on to solve another case at the museum. Over the course of just a week's time, Wil discovers far more than he ever imagined as he sleuths his way through a new and intriguing existence.

Known for his graphic novels and video game storylines, Paul Jenkins has written a droll debut mystery full of odds and ends, moving crates, perpetual motion machines and a host of other items that look like junk only to those who don't know how to un-look at the world. And as a delightful poke at modern technology, Jenkins includes a Lemon brand cell phone, which responds to voice recognition through an erratic and problematic operating system named SARA. Rather like a pinball machine--where the game starts out slowly at first, as the ball arcs to the top of the playing field, before dropping into any number of potential avenues for play--Jenkin's story quickly amps up into a pell-mell scramble to save the Curioddity Museum from going under, courtesy of the twisted business practices of the conniving Marcus James. Quirky to the core and full of wordplay, Curioddity examines the mysteriousness and magic inherent in life that many may have forgotten exists in a world full of technical gadgets, regulations and network shopping channels. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

Shelf Talker: Curioddity is an offbeat, magical detective story that blends elements of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere with Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore.


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