Shelf Awareness for Thursday, August 11, 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


New Harry Potter Sells More Than 4 Million Copies Worldwide

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne has sold more than 3.3 million copies in the U.S. and Canada since its publication on July 31, Scholastic reported yesterday. The book sold 2 million copies in its first two days on the market.

The new Harry Potter book has also sold some 850,000 copies in the U.K., and 212,000 copies in Australia, according to Nielsen BookScan Australia (via the Sydney Morning Herald). In New Zealand, the book had the highest first week of sales for a book since Nielsen BookScan began reporting there, Booksellers New Zealand said.

In country after country, the book took over the No. 1 spot on bestseller lists, and sales of other Harry Potter titles rose substantially, too. Even in France, the English-language version of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two sold more than 36,000 copies, enough for it to land at the top of the GFK/Livres Hebdo list, according to Agence France-Presse. It was also the first time a play had been in the top 20. (The French edition of the book will appear October 14.)

Ellie Berger, president of Scholastic Trade, commented: "We are delighted to see the sustained enthusiasm for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two, which has also sparked more interest in the seven previously published Harry Potter books."

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

Narberth Bookshop: Ellen Trachtenberg's Community-centric Ideal

"I really want to create a forward-thinking, community-centric bookstore," said Ellen Trachtenberg, who has worked in the book industry in various capacities, including as a bookseller, for some 26 years. This October, she'll fulfill a decades-long dream by opening her own independent bookstore in Narberth, Pa., called Narberth Bookshop. "I've wanted to open a store personally because I think I have a good sense of the way an indie can succeed."

Ellen Trachtenberg

Narberth Bookshop will be an 1,100-square-foot, general-interest bookstore located at 221 Haverford Avenue. Though Trachtenberg has considered stocking used books, the inventory will be all new for the immediate future, with a focus on adult fiction and nonfiction. The store will carry a selection of frontlist titles--not an encyclopedic inventory but books that either Trachtenberg or one of her staff members can personally recommend.

"If people see the store as more literary and very selective, then I will have accomplished what I'm trying to do," said Trachtenberg. "I want to have a really good, wide range of titles, but not necessarily have every classic."

She also plans to feature books that are not commonly read as e-books, including cookbooks, gardening, art and design, and photography. On the store's front table, Trachtenberg plans to create quickly rotating displays reflecting new releases, current events, the current season and more. She hopes that more often than not, when a customer walks into the store, he or she will find a new front display. And though the store will have a "gorgeous but tiny" selection of children's books, they won't be a major focus of Narberth Bookshop, in part because there are already two great children's bookstores nearby. "It's not my intention to step on their business," said Trachtenberg. "I want to be working with my sister bookstores, not against."

At opening, Narberth Bookshop will also stock around 15-20 magazine titles along with a selection of greeting cards. As for other non-book products, Trachtenberg plans to have two broad categories: gift items that promote sustainability and help people reduce waste in their lives, and gifts for readers, which could even include covers for e-readers. Said Trachtenberg: "I'm not at war with e-books. I'm trying to support people reading in whatever format they choose."

The future site of Narberth Bookshop

When Trachtenberg first announced on social media that she'll be opening a store in Narberth, the response was great, with thousands of "likes" and hundreds of comments within just 24 hours. One of the most common questions, Trachtenberg recalled, was whether the store would serve coffee. It's something that she's looking into, but the store's space is limited and there are already three places to buy coffee on the same block. "I don't want to step on that business, either," she commented. "I think I'd rather partner with them."

She added that she's more interested in the possibility of selling some pre-packaged food and beverage items, but plans to work on that after the store opens in the fall.

During her time in the book industry, Trachtenberg worked as a bookseller at several places. But it was her time at Three Lives & Company in New York City that inspired her the most.

"I consider Three Lives to be my ideal and where my ideas about bookselling were formed," said Trachtenberg. At Three Lives, she continued, "handselling seemed like an art," and it was clear to her that the things Three Lives did really well could never be replicated by an algorithm.

In fact, Trachtenberg has wanted to open a bookstore of her own since leaving Three Lives & Company, but until now the timing never felt quite right. She left New York at a time when Barnes & Noble and Borders were expanding aggressively, and decided to defer. Not too long afterward, Amazon came on the scene, and that, too, didn't seem like the right time.

Trachtenberg said that now feels like the right moment. "I hear from friends and family how much they missed the atmosphere a good indie bookstore provides, the sensory experience you can have at the best indie bookstores," she said. And on a personal level, she didn't want to defer the choice any longer. "It seemed like, do it now or don't do it."

Narberth Bookshop will have a soft opening sometime in mid- to late October, with a grand opening party set for the first Saturday of November. Her tentative plan for the party is an all-day open house with snacks, giveaways and a rotating list of authors doing signings and readings. Until then, Trachtenberg will be busy hiring two to three staff members, finalizing her opening day inventory, planning the store's events program, and completing renovations for the shop, which used to be a pool supply store.

"I'm trying to be extremely intentional," Trachtenberg said. "Opening in Narberth is part of that intention. The community has been vocally wanting a bookstore for quite some time. The hope is to earn their loyalty by becoming a real center of the neighborhood." --Alex Mutter

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Fundraising for Georgia Bookseller Hospitalized After a Stroke

Philip Butler and Gretl

Phillip Butler, a bookseller at Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, Ga., for the last nine years (and owner of Gretl, the bookstore dog) was hospitalized in July because of a stroke and has "overwhelming" medical bills, the store reported. Friends and customers are asked to donate either at the store, where all sidewalk book sales will go to Butler, or through a GoFundMe campaign launched by Butler's partner, Harley Gould. Already nearly $2,000 has been raised toward the $10,000 goal. The store will also pass along get-well cards.

The store added: "We want him to know just how much we care as well as how much the community cares for and misses him. Thank you for any help and understanding and thank you for being our customers as well as our friends."

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

Obituary Note: Nick Jones

Nick Jones, who spent 35 years working in the publishing industry and "retired less than two months ago as managing director of Christian publisher Lion Hudson," died August 4, the Bookseller reported. He was 55. Prior to becoming head of Lion Hudson in 2014, Jones was managing director of Angus Hudson, and became deputy managing director of Lion Hudson when the two companies merged in 2003.


Image of the Day: In the Not Quite Dark

The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles hosted Dana Johnson for the launch of her story collection In the Not Quite Dark (Counterpoint). Many Counterpoint/Soft Skull authors came out to support her. Pictured: Nastashia Deon, Victoria Patterson, David Francis, Dana Johnson, Tara Ison and Bernadette Murphy.

Porter Square's Booksellympics; Chronicle's #BookOlympics

Immersing themselves in the spirit of the Games, the staff at Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass., shared pics from some of the key events in their Summer Booksellympics on Twitter, including the "delicate precision of Sand-Free Beach Reading," the "grueling War & Peace relay," the "grace, the poise, the style of Rhythmic Bookwrapping" and "our final event of the day. (Unless I think of something else) Synchronized Shelving."


Let the puns begin. In other bookish Olympic news, on Wednesday Chronicle Books tweeted: "Alright everyone. It's time for #BookOlympics. We'll start it off with... A Racewalk to Remember."

AtlasBooks Adds Christian Focus Publications

AtlasBooks, the distribution division of Bookmasters, is handling sales and distribution in North America for Christian Focus Publications.

Founded in the early 1970s, Christian Focus Publications is an evangelical publisher in Scotland that has 1,300 active titles and publishes 50 new titles a year under its four imprints, Christian Focus, CF4K, Christian Heritage and Mentor. Categories include Biblical studies, biographies, fiction, theology and doctrine, Christian life, church life, children's, and youth.

Personnel Changes at Crown

At Crown:

Lisa Erickson returns to the Crown Publishing Group as associate director of marketing, Crown, Hogarth, Broadway and Tim Duggan Books.

Alaina Waagner recently joined the Crown Marketing Department as marketing manager, Crown, Hogarth, Broadway and Tim Duggan Books.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: David Duchovny on Ellen

Fox's Hollywood Today Live: Penn Jillette, author of Presto!: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781501140181).

Ellen: David Duchovny, author of Bucky F*cking Dent: A Novel (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26, 9780374110420).

This Weekend on Book TV: Dana Loesch on Flyover Nation

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, August 13
7 p.m. Linda Greenhouse, author of The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781476732503), at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

9 p.m. Clara Bingham, author of Witness to the Revolution: Radicals, Resisters, Vets, Hippies, and the Year America Lost Its Mind and Found Its Soul (Random House, $30, 9780812993189), at Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, Mass. (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

10 p.m. Dana Loesch, author of Flyover Nation: You Can't Run a Country You've Never Been To (Sentinel, $27, 9780399563881). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Brooke Hauser, author of Enter Helen: The Invention of Helen Gurley Brown and the Rise of the Modern Single Woman (Harper, $28.99, 9780062342669). (Re-airs Sunday at 2:45 p.m.)

Books & Authors

Awards: Mark Twain American Voice

T.C. Boyle has won the inaugural $25,000 Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award for his novel, The Harder They Come (Ecco). The prize is sponsored by the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Conn. Boyle will be honored at a ceremony on September 26 at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse at Lincoln Center in New York City. The $250,000 prize has been donated by author David Baldacci, a trustee of the Mark Twain House & Museum.

The runners up were Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson and The First Bad Man by Miranda July; Johnson and July will each receive $1,000.

The judges wrote: "Mark Twain once said, 'On the whole, it is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.' All three novels presented to us by the nominating committee certainly deserve honors, and each in its own way embodies  Mark Twain's uniquely American voice ... and his disgust with lies of silent assertion. All three of these novels speak fearlessly and loudly and in distinct voices that Mark Twain would have recognized and applauded as American. We applaud all the finalists, but unanimously agree that T.C. Boyle's The Harder They Come is the one most deserving of the 2016 Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, August 16:

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer (Gallery, $28, 9781501139888) is a collection of the comedian's essays.

The Art of Rivalry: Four Friendships, Betrayals, and Breakthroughs in Modern Art by Sebastian Smee (Random House, $28, 9780812994803) explores four pairs of famous artistic friends and rivals.

Sting by Sandra Brown (Grand Central, $26, 9781455581207) is a suspense novel about a kidnapped woman.

Addlands: A Novel by Tom Bullough (Dial Press, $27, 9780812998726) follows a Welsh family over 70 years.

The Gentleman: A Novel by Forrest Leo (Penguin Press, $26, 9780399562631) is a humor novel about a poet who accidentally sells his wife to the devil.

Divorce Is in the Air: A Novel by Gonzalo Torne (Knopf, $26.95, 9780385354028) is a Spanish writer's American debut, about an antihero relating past exploits to his second wife.

Fuzzy by Tom Angleberger and Paul Dellinger (Amulet/Abrams, $14.95, 9781419721229) is a funny middle-school story about a robot.

Cardinal and Gold: The Oral History of USC Trojans Football by Steve Delsohn (Crown Archetype, $27, 9780307888402) chronicles the history of the University of Southern California football team.

Home Harvest by Patrick Sullivan (Spirit, $14.95, 9781944953010).

Inspiralize Everything: An Apples-to-Zucchini Encyclopedia of Spiralizing by Ali Maffucci (Clarkson Potter, $21.99, 9781101907450).

This Modern Love by Will Darbyshire (Atria/Keywords Press, $17.99, 9781501154454).

Love Her Madly: A Novel by M. Elizabeth Lee (Atria, $16, 9781501112157).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

How to Set a Fire and Why: A Novel by Jesse Ball (Pantheon, $24.95, 9781101870570). "On page one of Ball's new novel, 16-year-old Lucia Stanton gets kicked out of school for stabbing the star basketball player in the neck with a pencil. Lucia is a delinquent, a philosopher, a shard of glass. She's also an aspiring arsonist and an iconoclast, who is vibrant, alive, and charming in a misanthropic way. Ball's prose is precise and deceptively spare, his message dynamic in what he doesn't write. Enlightenment thinkers used the symbol of the flame to represent the power and transmission of knowledge. It's in this tradition that How to Set a Fire and Why becomes Ball's pyrotechnic masterpiece." --Matt Nixon, The Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis, Tenn.

Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North by Blair Braverman (Ecco, $25.99, 9780062311566). "The brilliant and engaging writing in this memoir belies the author's young age. Braverman offers a taut and honest recounting of a young woman fiercely chasing down her dream and confronting myriad dangers--both natural and man-made--with intelligence and grit. This white-knuckle read left me in awe of Braverman's conviction, and her lyrical rendering of the landscape of Alaska took my breath away." --Katie McGrath, Arcadia Books, Spring Green, Wis.

Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse: A Novel by Faith Sullivan (Milkweed Editions, $16, 9781571311122). "Whether you are familiar with the work of P.G. Wodehouse or not, you will want to read his books by the time you have finished this wonderful novel. Returning to Harvester, Minnesota, the location of her best-selling novel, The Cape Ann, Sullivan has provided a tale that will resonate with anyone who has been faced with the loss of a loved one, a challenge of faith, the gossip of a community, or the search for one's independence. What better place to find grace than in the heart of a good book!" --Betsy Schram, The Bookshelf, Cincinnati, Ohio

For Ages 4 to 8: Revisit & Rediscover
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler (Dial, $6.99, 9780803731097). Originally published in 2004. "A long time ago, there was a book about a Gruffalo. What is a Gruffalo? Wouldn't you like to know? The first thing that you notice when you read this charming book is the wonderful cadence--it trips off the tongue delightfully and you must read it out loud. Your audience will be engrossed with this story of how a little mouse fools Fox, Owl, and Snake on his journey through the deep, dark woods, and entranced by Donaldson's perfect ending." --Liesl Freudenstein, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, Colo.

For Ages 9 to 12
The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions by Tracey Hecht, illustrated by Kate Liebman (Fabled Films Press, $15.99, 9781944020002). "A charming, funny, and intriguing title for middle grade readers, produced with wonderfully quirky color art throughout, The Nocturnals tells the story of night-active animals who discover that their kind are suddenly going missing. The characters--including a Pepé Le Pew-like sugar glider, a sweetly self-effacing pangolin, and a beautiful, wise, soft-spoken fox--work together to solve the mysterious disappearances. Readers are left wanting more stories about these unique characters and, luckily, there are more in the works!" --Francine Lucidon, The Voracious Reader, Larchmont, N.Y.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather (Knopf, $17.99, 9780553539479). "Mather has perfectly captured the spirit and mystery that surrounds the site of the infamous Salem witch trials. Surreal and edgy, this is part ghost story, part historical fiction, and completely gripping. Is Samantha really seeing ghosts? Will she be able to let herself fall for the boy who wants her? Can she break the family curse before she loses her dad forever?" --Clarissa Murphy, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Wolf Boys

Wolf Boys: Two American Teenagers and Mexico's Most Dangerous Drug Cartel by Dan Slater (Simon & Schuster, $26.95 hardcover, 352p., 9781501126543, September 13, 2016)

Former reporter for the Wall Street Journal and contributor to Fast Company, Dan Slater takes a big leap in subject from his first book, about Internet dating (Love in the Time of Algorithms), to his study of young Texas Latinos caught in the drug wars. Kids in Laredo's Martin High joined one of two groups: "those who would go into the drug business, and those who would chase them." Wolf Boys focuses on Robert Garcia, a local cop and former DEA adjunct, and teenager Gabriel Cardona, a hit man for the notorious Zeta cartel. Slater traces their paths through the streets of an economy built on smuggling's vast wealth--from the Mexican cartels and from Washington's waterfall of resources for drug interdiction and border security. A poor city filled with legal and illegal immigrants, Laredo was awash with money when the "war on drugs" heated up and post-9/11 border hysteria swelled.

A green card immigrant, Garcia was hired by the poorly funded Laredo Police Department before big government money came to town, so he jumped at the chance for a bonus by joining a DEA task force. However, anti-drug policing soon disillusioned him. Confiscated cash, drugs and cars helped pay for the growing federal and local enforcement agencies, but the flow of drugs never stopped. He was happy to earn a transfer to homicide: "Murder was apolitical.... You either caught the murderer and locked him up or you didn't." But Laredo's small city homicide beat soon imploded when the Zetas decided to take their turf war with the Sinaloans into Laredo, recruiting and training local teen assassins.

Raised in Laredo's Barrio Azteca, Cardona was a good student with the ambitious hope to use his middle school football talent to go to college. When the high school coach didn't take him, however, he walked away from his dreams. It was easy and more lucrative to join a neighborhood gang heisting cars and guns to sell across the border in Nuevo Laredo. He was 15 and tough. The Zeta boss "Forty" noticed and took him under his wing for weapons training in Mexico as one of the Zeta's lobos--wolf boys.

A tenacious bilingual journalist, Slater took numerous trips to Laredo, dug through news stories from both sides of the border, read a bibliography full of background history and commentary, and conducted hundreds of personal interviews with Cardona and Garcia. Wolf Boys includes enough history to keep the Mexican drug trade in perspective, but it is Slater's storytelling that carries the day. Not a pretty story perhaps, yet it is an engrossing one. It raises more questions about the effects the "war on drugs" has on the United States' youth than on the Mexican cartels it is meant to combat. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: With tenacity and flair, Dan Slater spins a captivating account of Texas teen assassins in Mexican cartels and the authorities who try to contain them.

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