Shelf Awareness for Monday, August 8, 2016

Storey Publishing: The Universe in Verse: 15 Portals to Wonder Through Science & Poetry by Maria Popova

Tommy Nelson: You'll Always Have a Friend: What to Do When the Lonelies Come by Emily Ley, Illustrated by Romina Galotta

Jimmy Patterson: Amir and the Jinn Princess by M T Khan

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout


Let's Play Books! in Emmaus, Pa., Moving, Expanding

Let's Play's current location

In September, Let's Play Books!, the children's bookstore in Emmaus, Pa., that opened three years ago, is moving two blocks into space that is three times the size of its current location. The move will allow Let's Play Books! to increase its inventory of books, stationery, gifts and toys.

The new store has three levels. The first floor will include general-interest adult section, stationery and gifts, and a large room dedicated to children. The second floor will have middle grade and Young Adult books, as well as a dedicated activity space. The new store also will have a true receiving area, staff break room and private administrative office. Since the store's founding, the Hess family home has served as the main location for storage.

"In order to take the business to a sustainable level, we need room to expand and increase our productivity," said owner Kirsten Hess. "We love the current shop, but we have to do the same work two or three times just to function. We need space off the floor for operations and events, but right now we have exactly one room!"

The store will launch a fundraising campaign to help with the expansion costs--for furniture, display racks, rugs, as well as computer and software needs and increased inventory. Details will be available on the Let's Play Books! website August 20. The new store will host a grand re-launch celebration September 22-25.

Weldon Owen: The Gay Icon's Guide to Life by Michael Joosten, Illustrated by Peter Emerich

Marcus Books Plans Return to San Francisco

Marcus Books on Fillmore St. in San Francisco closed in 2014. (photo: San Francisco Bay View)

Marcus Books, the black bookstore that had to close its San Francisco, Calif., location in 2014, is planning to open a bookstore in the first floor lobby of the African American Arts and Culture Complex in the Fillmore District, according to San Francisco Bay View.

The bookstore and the AAACC will hold an event on Tuesday, August 16, at which they will share their plans with the community, display a prototype and discuss programs. The event will feature Mohammed Soriano-Bilal, director of the AAACC, and Karen Johnson, co-owner of Marcus Books.

The AAACC is an arts and cultural organization whose mission for decades has been to empower the community through Afrocentric education via programs of artistic and cultural expression and a broad range of mediums.

Marcus Books, which has operated a bookstore in Oakland since 1960, lost ownership of its San Francisco building and, after a protracted fight that began in 2013, was evicted by the building's new owners.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Quarto Buys becker&mayer Assets

Quarto Publishing Group USA has purchased the publishing assets of book packager becker&mayer from the McEvoy Group, continuing a buying spree that this year has included Burgess Lea Press, Harvard Common Press and Whitehorse Press. The deal, for $9.8 million and other considerations, includes becker&mayer's SmartLab book-plus and toy business. becker&mayer, whose headquarters are in Bellevue, Wash., will now become Quarto's fifth U.S. "creative hub."

The Quarto Group, whose headquarters are in London, said that the acquisition is "consistent with Quarto's stated strategy to grow both organically and by acquisition, and will further enhance the Group's offering in both adult and children's publishing, particularly in the USA. Approximately 50% of becker&mayer's business, including SmartLab, is categorised as children's publishing, which increases Quarto's children's publishing revenues by close to 30%. The acquisition means that Quarto's U.S. revenue will account for circa 45% of total group revenues. The SmartLab business will be re-engineered to include an emphasis on producing book-plus products that maximise the reach of Quarto's sales channels worldwide."

Marcus E. Leaver, Quarto Group CEO, commented: "We have a close working relationship with becker&mayer and we admire their people, creativity and specialist knowledge. We approached them because we have long felt that they would make a good cultural and strategic fit."

Jack Jensen, president of the McEvoy Group, which also owns Chronicle Books, Princeton Architectural Press and Galison/Mudpuppy, said: "becker&mayer has been a cherished McEvoy Group asset over the past 11 years. As we looked to the future, we became convinced that the extensive customer base and global market reach of the Quarto Group was perfectly positioned to help becker&mayer reach the next level of growth."

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

Antitrust Unit Raids Amazon Japan

Japan's Fair Trade Commission has raided the offices of Amazon Japan "on suspicion of pressuring retailers to offer products [on Amazon] on more favourable conditions than on rival sites," Reuters reported, quoting the Nikkei business daily. There was no indication when the raid took place.

The Wall Street Journal said that a spokesperson for the Fair Trade Commission confirmed the Nikkei report, adding, "Provisions in the country's antimonopoly act prohibit a company from unreasonably restraining trade of other companies with which it has a business relationship."

Shelf Awareness Seeks Publishing Assistant

Shelf Awareness is seeking a publishing assistant to work in our Seattle, Wash., office.

This is a great opportunity for a highly motivated, detail-oriented person to join a team that is passionate about bookselling, the publishing industry and books.

Responsibilities include e-mail newsletter ad trafficking with our book industry advertisers; direct work with the newsletter CMS; physically managing book galley receiving, handling and shipping to book reviewers; and other administrative tasks.

The ideal candidate is meticulous, methodical and able to juggle multiple daily deadlines; clear and precise in e-mail and phone communications; familiar with U.S. publishers and their imprints; diligent yet easy going; comfortable with new and changing technology and happy working with a small, dynamic company. Bookstore and/or publishing experience required.

Compensation will be commensurate with experience. Free books, however, will be unlimited. Please send cover letter and résumé to

Obituary Note: Mel Hurtig

Edmonton bookseller, activist and publisher Mel Hurtig, whose "book empire expanded from bookselling to publishing," died August 3, CBC News reported. He was 84. Hurtig opened an independent bookstore with $500 in 1956, and by 1972 operated three highly successful stores in the city. His publishing company, Hurtig Publishing, produced several significant titles, including The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Describing the encyclopedia as a "mammoth" project, Hurtig's friend and Calgary Herald political columnist Don Braid said, "It took the work of hundreds and hundreds of people across the country writing about little articles about their fields of expertise to bring this thing together. There were times, by Mel's own telling, where it looked like it might not even be possible to publish it. Yet, he did it. He did it by sheer force of will from his little publishing house in Edmonton. And it was, and remains, the single greatest publishing feat in the history of Canadian publishing."

Hurtig's books include The Arrogant Autocrat: Stephen Harper's Takeover of Canada; The Truth About Canada: Some Important, Some Astonishing & Some Truly Appalling Things All Canadians Should Know About Our Country; The Vanishing Country: Is It Too Late to Save Canada?; and Rushing to Armageddon: The Shocking Truth about Canada, Missile Defence & Star Wars.


Image of the Day: Black and McCain at the Strand

Michael Ian Black appeared at the Strand in New York City for A Child's First Book of Trump (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers). The event was moderated by his good friend Meghan McCain, a columnist, Fox News Channel host, author and daughter of Senator John McCain.

'13 of Our Favorite Feminist Bookstores in the U.S.'

"Honestly though, what's better than a bookstore? The question sounds rhetorical, but there's a legitimate answer, and that's a feminist bookstore," Bust magazine noted in showcasing "13 of our favorite feminist bookstores in the U.S.," adding that "bookstores are one of society's only redeeming qualities."

Gulliver's Books: 'Best Bookstore in Fairbanks'


Gulliver's Books was voted the best bookstore in Fairbanks, Alaska, "continuing the store's long tradition of pleasing its customers," the News-Miner reported, adding that the bookseller "has been a Fairbanks staple since the 1980s. In 2015, the store celebrated its 30th year of operation during its third year under new ownership." Christy and Bryan Wiskeman, who purchased the store from Dave Hollingsworth in 2012, were inspired to take on the challenge after years as loyal customers, and they credit much of the store's success to the community and their staff.

"We're a team," Christy said. "It takes the whole team to make this place run, and so we work together as a team, and we figure out where different people fit within the scheme of that team, and I think that helps people feel comfortable. They have a place here. It's not just a job where they're punching a time clock. There are things that they're responsible for and they can take pride in. I think in some ways we become a bit of an extended family."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Colson Whitehead on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad (Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385542364).

Diane Rehm: Maureen Sherry, author of Opening Belle: A Novel (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781501110627).

All Things Considered: Elizabeth Greenwood, author of Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781476739335).

Meredith Vieira rerun: Bethenny Frankel, author of I Suck at Relationships So You Don't Have to: 10 Rules for Not Screwing Up Your Happily Ever After (Touchstone, $16, 9781451667424).

Also on Meredith Vieira: Drew and Jonathan Scott, authors of Dream Home: The Property Brothers' Ultimate Guide to Finding & Fixing Your Perfect House (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780544715677).

Watch What Happens Live: Terry Dubrow, co-author of Dr. and Mrs. Guinea Pig Present The Only Guide You'll Ever Need to the Best Anti-Aging Treatments (Ghost Mountain Books, $26, 9781939457554).

Tavis Smiley: Patti Smith, author of M Train (Vintage, $16, 9781101910160).

Morning Joe: James Andrew Miller, author of Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency (Custom House, $32.50, 9780062441379).

Diane Rehm: Jessie Burton, author of The Muse: A Novel (Ecco, $27.99, 9780062409928).

Live with Kelly: David B. Agus, author of The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781476712109).

TV: Wild Cards; McMafia

Universal Cable Productions has acquired the rights to adapt George R.R. Martin's Wild Cards series of anthologies and mosaic novels for television. In his LiveJournal "Not A Blog" Saturday, Martin wrote that development "will begin immediately on what we hope will be the first of several interlocking series." Melinda M. Snodgrass, Martin's "assistant editor and right-hand man on Wild Cards since its inception, the creator of Dr. Tachyon, Double Helix and Franny Black, and a seasoned television writer/producer" is an executive producer on the project, along with Gregory Noveck of RED, Slow Learner and SyFy Films.

The first volume of the Wild Cards series was published in 1986 and "22 volumes have been published to date, with a 23rd (High Stakes) scheduled for hardcover release later this month, and three more in the works," Martin noted, adding that "generations of writers, from bold new voices to visionary grand masters, have contributed to the Wild Cards universe over the past three decades.... Which stories will be adapted? Which characters will be featured? Hard to say at this early stage."

Martin won't be working on the series because his development deal is exclusive to HBO, "and I am writing The Winds of WInter, as I believe most of you will recall... but I have every confidence in Melinda Snodgrass and Gregory Noveck. They know and love the Wild Cards universe almost as well as I do, and I think they will do a terrific job."


James Norton (Grantchester, War & Peace, Happy Valley) has been cast as the lead in BBC One's upcoming event series McMafia, which was inspired by Misha Glenny's bestselling book. Deadline reported that "the hard-hitting look at global crime and its far reaching influence is created by Hossein Amini (Drive) and James Watkins (The Woman In Black)." Watkins will direct all eight episodes. The writing team also includes David Farr (The Night Manager), Peter Harness (Doctor Who, Wallander) and Laurence Coriat (Wonderland, Me Without You). Cuba Pictures is producing.

Books & Authors

Awards: Wainwright Golden Beer

Amy Liptrot won the a £5,000 (about $6,535) Wainwright Golden Beer Prize, which "seeks to reward the best writing on the outdoors, nature and U.K.-based travel writing," for The Outrun. Chair of judges Dame Fiona Reynolds said The Outrun "is brave and searingly honest. Profoundly contrasting London's underbelly and Orkney's wild, windy and remote harshness, Amy discovers herself and her route to freedom through nature, including through its harshness, grit and honesty. She writes bravely, unsettlingly and with a self-revelatory exposure that can shock; but she also writes beautifully. Amy's is an unforgettable voice: she did not seek nature but nature sought her, and her spare, lyrical prose is both powerful and tender."

Book Review

Review: Lady Cop Makes Trouble

Lady Cop Makes Trouble by Amy Stewart (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26 hardcover, 320p., 9780544409941, September 6, 2016)

Being a woman in law enforcement has always carried a particular set of challenges. In her 2015 novel, Girl Waits with Gun, Amy Stewart illuminated those challenges based on the real-life career of Constance Kopp, a tall, outspoken, multilingual woman who (almost by accident) became one of the first female deputy sheriffs in the U.S. Furious when local businessman Henry Kaufman tried to take financial advantage of her family, Constance helped Sheriff Dan Heath of Bergen County, N.J., bring Kaufman and his gang of thugs to justice. In Lady Cop Makes Trouble, Constance returns in another early 20th-century adventure, chasing fugitives, serving as jail matron for Bergen County and trying to watch over her two younger sisters, one of whom is harboring dreams of a career on the stage.

Stewart hits another bull's-eye with Constance's first-person narration, giving readers a sharp-eyed, pragmatic, dryly witty protagonist to root for. As the deputy continues her work while awaiting her official badge and status, Stewart shines a light on the tricky balance of being a professional woman in 1915. Constance relishes her job and does it well enough to be taken seriously, but she and Sheriff Heath must try not to offend the board of freeholders, who control the finances of the sheriff's department. Unlike another policewoman in nearby Paterson, Constance works for pay, and she sees herself as a law enforcement official rather than a motherly presence at the jail. The trick, as Stewart notes, is getting everyone else to see that, too.

When Baron von Matthesius, a slippery inmate accused of "serious charges" (on which the sheriff refuses to elaborate), escapes from the local hospital during a thunderstorm, Constance is disgraced and out of a job. Sheriff Heath, too, is called on the carpet for letting the Baron escape. Determined to track down the fugitive (and discover the true nature of those serious charges), Constance heads to New York City, chasing clues all over Manhattan and barely making it back home in time for her sister Fleurette's play performance. Meanwhile, her other sister, Norma, takes occasional breaks from her work training pigeons (to what end, no one is exactly sure) and offers acerbic and sometimes helpful advice.

While Constance is clearly the star of Stewart's narrative, the minor characters (including a lady reporter and an enigmatic Italian woman jailed for shooting a man) are also well drawn. Sheriff Heath, an honorable man juggling his demanding job and sullen, dissatisfied wife, is also a compelling character. The fast-paced action, wry dialogue and Constance's reflections on her chosen career combine to make Lady Cop Makes Trouble a highly satisfying adventure. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Amy Stewart serves up another rip-roaring historical adventure in her second novel featuring Constance Kopp, pioneering female deputy sheriff.

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