Also published on this date: Wednesday, August 17, 2016: Maximum Shelf: No Witness but the Moon

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Chronicle Books: Stella & Marigold by Annie Barrows, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Poisoned Pen Press: The Boyfriend by Frieda McFadden

St. Martin's Press: Disney High: The Untold Story of the Rise and Fall of Disney Channel's Tween Empire

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Graphix: 39 Clues: One False Note (39 Clues Graphic Novel #2) by Gordon Korman, Illustrated by Hannah Templer


B&N CEO Boire Departs; Riggio Stays for Now

Ron Boire

Yesterday, Barnes & Noble's board of directors announced the departure of CEO Ronald D. Boire, stating that Boire "was not a good fit for the organization and that it was in the best interests of all parties for him to leave the company." Boire took the position in September 2015, as B&N was spinning off its college operations as Barnes & Noble Education.

Executive chairman Leonard Riggio, who had said in April that he would retire at the close of B&N's annual meeting September 14, will postpone his retirement until a later date. B&N will immediately begin an executive search for a new CEO. Riggio, along with other members of the executive management team, will assume Boire's duties.

In its most recent report, for the fiscal year ending April 30, B&N sales fell 3.1%, to $4.16 billion, and the net loss jumped to $30.6 million from a net loss of $3 million a year earlier. For the year, retail sales fell 1.9%, to $4 billion and sales at stores open at least a year were flat. In the past year, B&N shares have fallen 25% in value.

In June, B&N outlined plans for its new concept stores, which are to make their debut in October, that would be 20%-25% smaller than its average superstores, have many chairs and tables "for people to sit, hang out," and feature full-service restaurants with liquor licenses. (This last item led to many headlines in the press about B&N's turn to "books and booze.") Restaurants are to become such a major item that B&N promoted chief operating officer Jaime Carey to president of development & restaurant group. The company has continued to increase its stock of non-book items, particularly gifts and music.

Before joining B&N, Boire had been president and CEO of Sears Canada and executive v-p, chief merchandising officer and president, Sears and Kmart Formats at Sears Holdings. Earlier he held other executive positions, including president and CEO of Brookstone; president, North America, of Toys R Us; executive v-p, global merchandise manager for Best Buy; and worked at Sony Electronics for 17 years, where he was, among other positions, president of Sony's personal mobile products company and president of the consumer sales company.

Peachtree: The Littlest Yak: Home Is Where the Herd Is by Lu Fraser, Illustrated by Kate Hindley

Belmont Books Coming to Belmont, Mass., in 2017

Chris Abouzeid and Kathy Crowley

Belmont Books will open next March at 79 Leonard Street in Belmont, Mass. The co-owners are Chris Abouzeid and Kathy Crowley ("Your friendly neighborhood booksellers"), who broke the news yesterday that they have signed a lease: "We wish this was a grand opening announcement, but that's still a few months in the future. We're ready to answer one of your biggest questions, though: Where the heck is our store going to be?... If you know Belmont, that's right in the middle of the soon-to-be-renovated Macy's building, in that quaint section with the white façade and lovely molding that just screams 'Put an awesome store in here!' "

Belmont Books will occupy the ground and second floors of the building ("So when you're looking at the building, those big, wide windows up above? Those are ours. Can you say 'reading room with a view?' "). These FAQs provide further details.

A bookseller at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass., Abouzeid has worked as a magazine editor, production manager, programmer, web consultant and IT director. He is the author of Anatopsis, a YA fantasy novel. Crowley is a physician at Boston Medical Center and an assistant professor of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine, as well as an author who is "currently racing to finish her second novel, a spy mystery set in the local area, before her bookstore responsibilities take away all her free time."

An "About Us" page on the Belmont Books website poses the key question: "Why open a bookstore?" Their answer: "Because every town needs one. Both of us have fond memories of going to the local bookstore when we were young, feeling the excitement of being allowed to pick out one (maybe even two or three) books, racing home to read whatever new Roald Dahl or Judy Blume or Lloyd Alexander title we'd found.

"Later, as adults living in Cambridge and Somerville, we were blessed to be in an area full of great bookstores: Harvard Bookstore, Brookline Booksmith, Wordsworth, Newtonville Books and--most especially--Porter Square Books.... Sadly, when we moved to Belmont, the local bookstore had closed only a year or two before.... For months, every time we walked through our town center, we would look at the banks and restaurants, gift shops, ice cream parlor, and we would say to each other, 'There should be a bookstore here.' And so we finally decided to make it happen. It's been a long road to reach this point, but with any luck, we'll be open for business sometime in early 2017. We hope to see you then!"

Gathering Volumes Opens in Perrysburg, Ohio

Gathering Volumes bookstore debuted earlier this summer on East South Boundary St. in Perrysburg, Ohio. Co-owners Brian and Denise Phillips, "both longtime supporters of independently owned bookstores," moved to Perrysburg five years ago, but because "they found no independent bookstores in the local area, they continued traveling to Ann Arbor to patronize shops there, rather than shopping at the 'big-box' or chain bookstores," the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune reported. Now they have opened their own.

"People are coming in, we're getting a good response," Brian Phillips said, adding that Gathering Volumes will "put the service back into it so people feel like the store's a part of the community."

"Everyone who comes in is super positive," Denise Phillips observed, noting that customers are asked to provide feedback on the stock. "That's what sets an independent bookstore apart, right? We want to have the books that the community is looking for."

Obituary Note: Veronica Randall

Veronica "Fuzzy" Randall, a longtime editor at Ten Speed Press and "a much-beloved former colleague," died August 12. She was 61. In a letter to Crown Publishing Group staff, Aaron Wehner, senior v-p & publisher of Clarkson Potter, Ten Speed and Harmony Books, wrote:

"Fuzzy began working with the company in the 1970s in various capacities (including as an illustrator). She officially came on board in 1990, and worked as a senior editor until her retirement in 2009. In those years, Fuzzy grew to be an integral part of Ten Speed--both in the work she shepherded and the authors and staff she guided and championed. Some of the bestselling authors Fuzzy worked with, whose books are still in print many years after their publication, include Donald Asher, Anodea Judith, Don and Jeanne Elium, and Diane Stein.

"Twenty years ago, as a new member of Ten Speed, I first benefited from Fuzzy's sage counsel and many people who passed through our doors would say the same. She had a great sense of humor, an infectious laugh, and a remarkable way with words. Fuzzy was a passionate animal lover and Ten Speed will be making a donation in her memory to the ASPCA. Fuzzy will be greatly missed, but her spirit certainly lives on in the many books, authors, and staff she nurtured over the years."


Image of the Day: They All Saw Brendan Wenzel

Ginee Seo and Rachel Geiger of Chronicle Books hosted Pacific Northwest indie booksellers and other industry professionals at Cuoco, a restaurant in Seattle, to celebrate the upcoming August 30 launch of Brendan Wenzel's They All Saw a Cat. The author-illustrator is the second from the right, in the dark jacket. --Karin Snelson

Celebrate Loop Day with #5PeculiarYears Poster

To celebrate the fifth anniversary of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Quirk Books commissioned a limited-edition mosaic poster composed of fan art and fan-made photos. Fans posted the photos with the hashtag #5PeculiarYears and shared them at The fan art was then compiled into a 1.5-foot-by-1-foot photo mosaic poster that will be distributed on Loop Day (September 3) by some 200 participating bookstores and by Quirk via social media. (Booksellers may contact for posters.)

The movie adaptation of Ransom Riggs's bestseller--directed by Tim Burton and starring Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Judi Dench, Ella Purnell, Chris O’Dowd, Terrence Stamp and Samuel L. Jackson--will be released September 30. A movie tie-in paperback is available now, and later this month Quirk will publish The Art of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children as well as a writing journal, Miss Peregrine’s Journal for Peculiar Children

'Don't Forget About Houston's Independent Bookstores'

"Don't forget about Houston's independent bookstores," Houstonia wrote in advising readers to "skip ordering a dog-eared copy of The Catcher in the Rye from Amazon and support these beloved bookstores instead." Among the indies showcased were Brazos Bookstore, Murder by the Book, Blue Willow Bookshop and River Oaks Bookstore.

'Librarians Have an Olympics, Too'

Noting that "librarians perform feats of near-Olympian prowess every day as they lug books back and forth, tame tortuous piles of information and sustain long hours and complicated reference requests," the Smithsonian magazine reported on the University of Dayton's Library Olympics, which was held earlier this summer. Many libraries hold similar competitions.

The librarians competed in events like " 'journal Jenga' (stacking bound periodicals as high as possible and jumping out of the way when they collapsed. Then they faced off in a circuit of different events, including balancing bound journals on their heads, running a book cart through a twisty course, and tossing journals toward a target.... Brains had a place next to all that brawn, too, as librarians participated in a tricky speed sorting event in which they had to put books in order by their Library of Congress call number. To top it all off, they ran around campus finding objects that corresponded to different LOC call numbers. The winning team made off with the medal by a single point."

AtlasBooks Adds Double Take

AtlasBooks, the distribution division of Bookmasters, will handle sales and distribution in North America, the U.K. and Europe for Double Take (2T), the comic book and graphic novel publishing arm of video game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software.

Jon Ackerman, senior v-p of sales at Bookmasters, commented: "With graphic novel experience on our leadership team at Bookmasters, we look forward to growing our market share in the horror category, with YA readers in high schools and libraries, the general trade, and anywhere 2T's imaginative writers and artists may take the genre."

On September 28, 2T is publishing 10 graphic novels whose stories are set in the world established by the 1968 cult classic horror film, Night of the Living Dead.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: J.D. Vance on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (Harper, $27.99, 9780062300546).

Tavis Smiley repeat: Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer: A Novel (Grove Press, $16, 9780802124944).

TV: A Midsummer's Nightmare

Lifetime has greenlighted a pilot for the psychological thriller A Midsummer's Nightmare. Variety reported that the project, from A+E Studios, is the first prospective season of an hourlong anthology series based on William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, "but with a modern-day twist... Told from the perspective of Elena, a young woman reluctantly drawn into a summer getaway-turned-nightmare, the series introduces four young lovers who steal off into the woods in pursuit of their romantic desires, but their plans are quickly thwarted when terrifying forces in the deep woods target the stranded group, using their own fantasies and darkest secrets against them." Anthony Jaswinski (The Shallows) wrote the pilot and will serve as a co-executive producer. Jeff Kwatinetz (Royal Pains) and Josh Barry (Salem) of The Firm are exec producers.

Books & Authors

Awards: American Book Awards

Winners were announced for the American Book Awards, which are sponsored by the Before Columbus Foundation "to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America's diverse literary community." The honorees will be formally recognized October 30 at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco. This year's American Book Award winners are:

Tributaries by Laura Da' (University of Arizona)
Curious Land: Stories from Home by Susan Muaddi Darraj (University of Massachusetts)
We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future by Deepa Iyer (The New Press)
Loving Day by Mat Johnson (Spiegel & Grau)
Counternarratives by John Keene (New Directions)
F.B. Eyes: How J. Edgar Hoover's Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature by William J. Maxwell (Princeton University)
Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape by Lauret Savoy (Counterpoint)
The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry by Ned Sublette & Constance Sublette (Lawrence Hill Books)
Return to Arroyo Grande by Jesús Salvador Treviño (Arte Público)
Tomorrow's Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa by Nick Turse (Haymarket Books)
Manifestation Wolverine: The Collected Poetry of Ray Young Bear by Ray Young Bear (Open Road Integrated Media)
Lifetime Achievement: Louise Meriwether
Walter & Lillian Lowenfels Criticism Award: Lyra Monteiro and Nancy Isenberg
Andrew Hope Award: Chiitaanibah Johnson

Reading with... Bryn Greenwood

photo: Jennifer Stewart Newlin

Bryn Greenwood is a fourth-generation Kansan and the daughter of a mostly reformed drug dealer. She earned an M.A. in Creative Writing and works in academia as an administrator. Her stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Battered Suitcase, Karamu and the Chiron Review. Her debut novel, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, was just published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press. She is married to an extensive home remodeling project, and is raising a small herd of boxers and hairless cats.

On your nightstand now:

I always read in pairs. One fiction, one nonfiction, usually on completely different topics. My fiction bedtime book is Erika Swyler's The Book of Speculation, which is doing a thing that I love: switching narrative threads while moving backward and forward in time. My nonfiction book is A Murder over a Girl by Ken Corbett. I can read it only in small doses, because it's absolutely heartbreaking.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Ursula LeGuin's The Tombs of Atuan, in no small part because it sent a clear message to me that women were capable of wielding power and making life and death decisions. There's this undertone of menace that runs through the whole book, from Tenar's symbolic sacrifice as a child to the moment where she issues the order to have two prisoners executed, and yet she rises above that. She doesn't merely abandon her home to travel to a foreign land with a stranger. She destroys everything she knows to bring salvation to Earthsea. If not for her brave leap of faith, the sorcerer Ged wouldn't have lived to see the third book in his own trilogy.

Your top five authors:

Anthony Trollope goes at the top for the sheer fact that there are so many of his books to enjoy. From there I feel like a small child tasked with choosing her five favorite stuffed animals. Ursula LeGuin will inevitably appear repeatedly any time I'm invited to talk about books, as will Margaret Atwood. Her entire oeuvre has shaped me, not just as a reader and a writer, but as a human. To round out the top five, I'm going with Toni Morrison and Mary Renault.

Book you've faked reading:

Gravity's Rainbow. With apologies to Thomas Pynchon, I just couldn't get into it. I actually faked having read it on a graduate level exam, which I managed by regurgitating the dimly remembered drunken conversations of my fellow graduate students who had read it.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Princess Bride. The movie is pretty universally loved in the U.S., but I meet a lot of people who have never read William Goldman's book. It's a masterpiece, and so cunningly crafted that even in the Internet age, people will walk into libraries and bookstores in search of more S. Morgenstern books. Additionally, Goldman's characters are so layered (and his prose so diabolically funny) that watching the movie with the book under your belt is even more enjoyable.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Alan Moore's Watchmen. I remember walking into the old Forbidden Planet in London, where I was thrilled to be a nanny for one of my professors. I actually had the kid in a buggy, pushing him down the narrow aisle, when I was stopped in my tracks by the bright yellow smiley face with the splotch of blood. I picked the book up and even before I'd opened it, I thought, Yes, I'm getting this. Happily, the cover did not disappoint.

Book you hid from your parents:

There were several books that I hid from my mother when I read them. I sneaked out of my bedroom at night to borrow Austen's Pride and Prejudice, reading a few chapters each night and then returning it to the shelf. Later I did the same with Nabokov's Lolita. Pride and Prejudice was forbidden to me because it was a very nice, hardcover edition of my mother's favorite book, and I was a bookish but grubby eight-year-old. Lolita was on the same high bookshelf with the fancy, grownup books, and that was precisely why I decided to read it. My mother, it turns out, has never read Lolita, but shelved it with the forbidden books, because she'd heard it was "nasty." Additionally, as teenagers, my sisters and I secreted copies of various V.C. Andrews books under our beds, on the presumption that if Mom knew what was in them, they would have been forbidden.

Book that changed your life:

So many books have changed my life, but I'm going to go with the one that I'm most keenly aware of having altered my worldview: Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. I grew up in a very small town in Kansas that was overwhelmingly white. By the time I went to college, I had spent time with exactly one black person: my wonderful eighth grade English teacher, Mrs. Aletha Moon. I read Invisible Man on her recommendation, and it opened my eyes wide to the nature of systemic racism in America. I left that book more radically changed than any other book.

Favorite line from a book:

"They were his last words, because Maurice had disappeared thereabouts, leaving no trace of his presence except a little pile of the petals of the evening primrose, which mourned from the ground like an expiring fire. To the end of his life Clive was not sure of the exact moment of departure, and with the approach of old age he grew uncertain whether the moment had yet occurred." --From E.M. Forster's Maurice.

I love how perfectly it describes a moment suspended in memory, and one that reveals so much about the characters. Plus, I love this whole book, because I'm a sucker for seemingly doomed love stories with happy endings.

Five books you'll never part with:

Strunk & White's The Elements of Style is not only an enduring and reliable guidebook for writers, it's a fun read. I would have chosen something from Elements as my favorite line from a book, but I don't know how I would have decided which line to use.

The Persian Boy by Mary Renault, because at its heart it's a love story, but one that isn't built on the premise of happy endings or equality in love. On a long enough timeline, nearly every story--historical or fictional--has a sad ending. The point is not necessarily to be requited, but to love.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker. This is one of those books that nearly exhausts you, as it runs you from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other. Misery, hope, loneliness, love, lust, hate, joy. Name a feeling and it's in this story, expressed in such an intensely open way that you can't help but feel it as you read it.

Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now. It is so piercing in its evaluation of ne'er-do-wells living on credit and scheming, morally bankrupt financiers that a lot of it rings true today. Plus its romantic subplots, even the ones with happy endings, are all tainted with devastating betrayal. Marie Melmotte is my absolute favorite literary heroine, because she's so feisty. She loves recklessly but fiercely.

Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini. Until you see this book, you can't begin to comprehend how amazing it is. After college, I lived in a small town in Japan, and when I reached the end of the local library's limited number of English-language books, I stumbled across this. On countless cold, snowy Niigata winter nights, I pored over the fantastical drawings and indecipherable text. Even now, if I take this down from my bookshelf, even if just to dust the shelf, I'll likely spend an hour or more perusing it.

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

Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale. I first read this book at a time of great upheaval in my life. I'd just dropped out of high school, left home to attend college, and lost someone close to me. Everything was new and even the ground I was walking on seemed unstable. This book gave me a sense of hope that there were immutable truths, eternal loves and futures full of things worth risking my whole heart on.

Book you wish you'd never read--not because it was bad, but because you've never recovered:

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. I think it's a beautiful, incredible book, but I never recommend it to people, because it wrecked me emotionally. After I read the end, I ugly cried for about an hour. Then I quickly donated the book to my local thrift shop, because I didn't even want to be reminded of how sad it made me. In fact, thinking about it now makes me want to cry a little.

Book Review

Children's Review: Ghosts

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier, Braden Lamb, color (Graphix/Scholastic, $10.99 paperback, 256p., ages 8-12, 9780545540629, September 13, 2016)

In this buoyant graphic novel, Raina Telgemeier (Smile; Drama; Sisters) invites her readers to a town that resembles northern California's Half Moon Bay (where she grew up) and tells a story inspired by her 13-year-old cousin who died from cancer. Like Ghost's irresistibly openhearted character Maya Allende-Delmar, Telgemeier's cousin was a Latina girl who was, as described in the author's note, "spirited, joyful, and not interested in letting her illness define her or slow her down."

Maya's older sister Catrina, or "Cat," doesn't want to move from southern California to the foggy coastal town of Bahía de la Luna because her friends aren't there... and they don't even have Double-Back Burger. There's absolutely nothing she can do or say about it, though, because Maya has cystic fibrosis and the doctor has said the cool ocean air will be better for her lungs.

There's more than moisture in the air in Bahía... there are ghosts. Real ghosts. And the ghosts--who look like transparent vertical gummy worms with eyes--are as much a part of the fabric of the community as the fog. On their first day in town, when Cat and Maya are exploring an old boardwalk arcade, they meet a boy named Carlos Calaveras. "You're early," he says. "The ghost tour doesn't start until three." Maya, who is wonderfully receptive to life in general, is thrilled by the idea of seeing a real live ghost. And, given her diagnosis, she has a few questions to ask the dead about death. Ever-protective Cat, on the other hand, wants to keep the ghosts as far away from her little sister as possible.

Ghost-spotting is easy in Bahía, especially as the months march forward to November 1, Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a festival the whole town embraces. The Allende-Delmar family gets into the action, too, as Maya builds an "ofreda," or small altar, to her late Mexican American grandmother, and Cat works on her "La Catrina" costume, that of a fashionable lady skeleton. Telgemeier skillfully, lovingly, paints a world where death is an active part of life... which no one knows better than young Maya herself.

As ever, Telgemeier's comic-strip-style paneled illustrations are expressive and expertly paced. Dramatic scenes capture the whoosh of the coastal wind; Cat's classic preteen eye rolls and reluctantly fond feelings for Carlos; Maya's wince-inducing cough and her no-holds-barred smile; and the benign, leech-shaped, orange soda-drinking spirits that laugh and cry with the living. Ghosts is a fun, riveting, inventive and heartfelt look at the bonds of family love, the challenge of caring for an ailing family member (even one as heartbreakingly charming as Maya), the Mexican tradition of Día de los Muertos, and the nature of life and death itself. Telgemeier's light touch lets her story breathe and, ultimately, sing. --Karin Snelson, children's & YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: In Raina Telgemeier's graphic novel, a young Latina girl with cystic fibrosis moves to a northern California town and befriends the ghosts.

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