Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Workman Publishing: So Embarrassing: Awkward Moments and How to Get Through Them by Charise Mericle Harper

Candlewick Press: Evelyn del Rey Is Moving Away by Meg Medina, illustrated by Sonia Sanchez

Scholastic Press: Illegal: A Disappeared Novel, Volume 2 by Francisco X. Stork

Tor Books: Rhythm of War (Stormlight Archive, 4) by Brandon Sanderson

Disney-Hyperion: The Mirror Broken Wish (Mirror #1) by Julie C. Dao


Seattle's Mockingbird Books Closing

Mockingbird Books, in the Green Lake neighborhood of Seattle, Wash., is closing this Saturday, August 27, KOMO News reported.

Owner Alyson Stage said that the children's bookstore, which opened in 2008, did well until two or three years ago, when new development made it harder to find nearby parking and customers were buying more books online. The store's closing announcement indicated "sales are down more than 15% from the prior year."

"The hardest thing is to admit that you couldn't do something or you were wrong," Stage told KOMO News. "You know, I think that's the hardest thing to come to terms with... this is a great idea, but it's just not making it anymore."

She added: "I really appreciate all of the people who've helped support this store over the years. I know that they could have gotten books less expensive in other areas. And the ones who chose to shop here... I really appreciate that."

University of California Press: A People's Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area, Volume 3 by Rachel Brahinsky, Alexander Tarr, Bruce Rinehart

Waterstones Opening in Another Town That Lost an Indie

Waterstones will open a bookstore in Yarm, in northern England, this coming Saturday, at least the fourth store the company has opened recently in towns where independents have closed, the Bookseller reported.

Manager Michael Howlett said, "We open our new bookshop in Yarm with a great sense of pride. It's a privilege to restore a dedicated bookshop to the town, and with its thriving high street and strong sense of community, it's long been our ambition to do so. When this building became available, we jumped at the chance to make it our own, and we are very much looking forward to giving this beautiful market town the specialist bookshop it deserves."

The 1,400-square-foot store is in a former bank building and will carry fiction, history, transport, local interest and "a comprehensive food and drink selection," Waterstones said. There will also be a strong children's section and regular storytime sessions. The store will celebrate the opening with a visit from Spot the Dog and coloring and crafting activities.

In the past several years, Waterstones has opened several stores that don't use the Waterstones name, including the Rye Bookshop, Harpenden Books and the Southwold Bookshop.

Milkweed Editions: The Shame by Makenna Goodman

U. of Wisconsin-Madison Approves Amazon Pickup Point

The Red Gym at UW-Madison (photo: James Steakley)

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents has approved an initial five-year agreement with Amazon Pickup Points to open a bricks-and-mortar location in the historic Red Gym at UW-Madison, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, adding: "Under the agreement, which has an option to renew for another five years, Amazon would pay a commission to UW-Madison on shipments for ZIP codes in the campus area, guaranteed to be at least $100,000 annually.... Actual commissions are expected to 'materially exceed' the annual minimum guarantee, according to a summary of the agreement."

Michael Lehman, UW-Madison's interim vice chancellor for finance and administration, said Amazon had told university officials it would find an off-campus location if the school was unable to provide one.

The Journal Sentinel also noted that the University Book Store on State St. in Madison "had tried to negotiate an agreement with Amazon to locate there, but it could not meet Amazon's needs, university officials said."

University of California Press: The Koreas: The Birth of Two Nations Divided by Theodore Jun Yoo

Obituary Note: Jack Lamplough

Jack Lamplough

Very sad news: Jack Lamplough, longtime publicist and marketer, died on Saturday, apparently of a heart attack.

From 1983 to 1996, he was director of marketing at Tower Books. He then became director of publicity and marketing at Stewart, Tabori & Chang, a position he held until 2005. He was then director of publicity and marketing at Quirk Books, and was director of publicity at Overlook Press from 2007 to 2015. In recent years, he had his own agency for literary representation, public relations and artist management and was a literary agent and publishing consultant at Rodrigue Studio.

Several industry friends and colleagues remembered Lamplough. Sean Concannon called him "a very interesting guy. Jack was at home wherever he went--he appeared to be on excellent terms with bartenders at all of the best Irish pubs in New York City, and he knew New Orleans inside and out. He was always extremely generous with his contacts and knowledge of the book business. I kind of lost touch with him as I got involved with academic publishing over the last few years, but I assumed I could just pick up with him again the next time I went to Puck Fair. Now Puck Fair is gone, and Jack with it."

Paul Harrington wrote: "Jack's interests were diverse across the arts--books, art, music. He helped keep audiences aware of great writers, painters, and musicians with the same passion he brought to his love of good food and drink. While we were enriched by the artists he brought to us, we've lost a wonderful raconteur and a good man and are a bit poorer today for it."

Berkley Books: The Ballad of Hattie Taylor by Susan Anderson


NCIBA Resettles in Sonoma

Calvin Crosby

The Northern California Independent Booksellers Association has left its San Francisco office this summer and resettled some 45 miles away, in Sonoma, Calif. NCIBA executive director Calvin Crosby told the Sonoma Index-Tribune that the association, which is now located in a former art studio above the Sonoma Chamber of Commerce, "couldn't be more thrilled" about the move.

Crosby also said things are looking up for Northern California indies: there are new bookstores opening in the North Bay area; several existing stores, including the 35-year-old Copperfield's Books, have recently undergone expansions; and, compared to just five or six years ago, store owners seeking to retire are now finding buyers for their stores. Crosby added that sales last year for Northern California indies were similar to, if not better than, the 10% growth reported by the American Booksellers Association.

Said Crosby: "Store owners today are collectively smarter and more willing to adapt to business trends than ever before."

Vt.'s Bartleby's Books: Five Years 'After Hell & High Water'

In a piece headlined "Turning a new page after hell and high water," VTDigger revisited Vermont bookseller Lisa Sullivan, who, in 2011 lost her shop the Book Cellar in Brattleboro to fire and, four months later, in August, had her other shop, Bartleby's Books in Wilmington, flooded by Tropical Storm Irene.

"We had water coming in waves, and then we smelled propane," she recalled.

In the face of adversity, Sullivan "mobilized," VTDigger wrote. "Losing her leased space in Brattleboro, she repaired the storefront she owns in Wilmington in time to reopen for the Christmas 2011 shopping season." Bartleby's reopened on Black Friday in November, "when more than two dozen shoppers--some waiting outside in lawn chairs--streamed in to see neatly shelved books amid new plasterboard walls and cement floors."

"In some ways, it was a beginning," Sullivan said, adding: "Only a few other places reopened when we did. There was a long stretch of time we felt we were going it alone."

Sullivan is reluctant to mark Irene's anniversary this month: "In some ways I don't want to think about it, but in others I think we've come a long way. We don't talk about the flood on a daily basis or use terms like 'the new normal' anymore."

The 'Human Google' at the NYPL

Noting that "in an era of online searches, librarians at the New York Public Library are still the most-trusted source," CBS News reported that at the NYPL's Fifth Avenue branch, "the phones keep ringing for researchers," who have been called the "Human Google."

"One of the number one comments that we get from callers is, 'Thank God I've reached a human being,' " said Rosa Li, who manages the library's Ask Desk. "Even on chat sometimes people will say, 'Is this a robot or a person?' We have to laugh and say, 'I'm a real person.' "

The Ask Desk receives about 300 inquiries a day--via telephone, e-mail, chat and text message. "Facebook, Twitter, and even snail mail queries from New Yorkers and even people from around the world," Li said, adding: "We love the fact that more and more things are online. The computer is a tool for us, so the faster we can find an answer for somebody, the better."

CBS News also asked Li what she is able to discern after answering a question. "Gratitude," she replied. "Also, that moment--that 'A-ha!,' that 'A-ha!' moment is great to listen to. Hearing that joy in their voice. It's almost like a little checkmark goes off and it's like, OK, I've managed to accomplish that!"

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Linda Thompson on Good Morning America

Good Morning America: Linda Thompson, author of A Little Thing Called Life: On Loving Elvis Presley, Bruce Jenner, and Songs in Between (Dey Street Books, $27.99, 9780062469748). She will also appear on Entertainment Tonight and Nightline.

MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports: Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher, authors of Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power (Scribner, $28, 9781501155772).

Tavis Smiley repeat: Yaa Gyasi, author of Homegoing: A Novel (Knopf, $26.95, 9781101947135).

Also on Tavis Smiley: Moby, author of Porcelain: A Memoir (Penguin Press, $28, 9781594206429).

The Late Late Show with James Corden: Penn Jillette, author of Presto!: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781501140181). He will also appear on Access Hollywood.

Movies: Sully; The Witness for the Prosecution

A new IMAX trailer for Sully, Clint Eastwood's film based on the book Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters by "Miracle on the Hudson" airline pilot Chesley B. Sullenberger (with Jeffrey Zaslow), also features interview clips with the director.

"Until I read the script I didn't know the investigative board was trying to paint the picture that he had done the wrong thing," Eastwood says. "They were kind of railroading him. That wasn't the case at all."

The film, starring Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart and Laura Linney, hits theaters September 9.


As the BBC begins working on its TV adaptation of Agatha Christie's "The Witness for the Prosecution," Ben Affleck is planning to direct and star in a film version of the mystery author's classic short story for Fox, Indiewire reported. Affleck will also produce alongside Matt Damon, Jennifer Todd and the Agatha Christie estate. Christopher Keyser (Party of Five) will write the script.

Books & Authors

Awards: Children's Book Council of Australia

Winners and honor books were announced in five categories for this year's Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards. Chair of the CBCA national board Margot Hillel said, "It's wonderful for our much-loved authors and illustrators to be acknowledged for their work, and we're thrilled to see new writers in the mix across all categories.... Having access to quality literature is so important for children, from early childhood books which are crucial in developing early literacy, through to YA books helping older readers tackle contemporary problems. The 2016 winning and honor books are the tip of the iceberg of delightful, surprising and fascinating Australian books available today."

Top Library Recommended Titles for September

LibraryReads, the nationwide library staff-picks list, offers the top 10 September titles public library staff across the country love:

Leave Me: A Novel by Gayle Forman (Algonquin, $26.95, 9781616206178). "Aren't there days when you just want to leave it all behind? After a life threatening event, that's exactly what Maribeth Klein does. Maribeth, wife, mom of 4-year old twins, and editor of a glossy magazine is told to rest. Sure! The choice she makes is not the one for most, but following Maribeth on this journey is compelling nonetheless. Fast paced narrative and terrific writing make this one hard to put down. Recommended!" --Carol Ann Tack, Merrick Library, Merrick, N.Y.

The Bookshop on the Corner: A Novel by Jenny Colgan (Morrow, $14.99, 9780062467256). "Despite losing her job as a librarian who liked to put the right book into a patron's hands, Nina continues her mission by moving to rural Scotland, purchasing a van, converting it into a bookmobile, and taking to the road. The plot revolves around the romance of the road, the romance of books and reading, and just plain old romance. Another marvelous book by Colgan! A gem of a book!" --Virginia Holsten, Vinton Public Library, Vinton, Iowa

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (Harper, $27.99, 9780062491794). "The Cousins and the Keatings are two California families forever intertwined and permanently shattered by infidelity. Bert Cousins leaves his wife for Beverly Keating, leaving her to raise four children on her own. Beverly, with two children of her own, leaves her husband for Bert. The six children involved are forced to forge a childhood bond based on the combined disappointment in their parents. As adults, they find their families' stories revealed in a way they couldn't possibly expect. Patchett has written a family drama that perfectly captures both the absurdity and the heartbreak of domestic life." --Michael Colford, Boston Public Library, Boston, Mass.

The Tea Planter's Wife: A Novel by Dinah Jefferies (Crown, $26, 9780451495976). "When Gwendolyn Hooper comes to Ceylon as a young bride, she has no idea that she's entering a region on the cusp of political upheaval or that she's living with a widower and his secret-filled past. The Tea Planter's Wife has all of the elements that I'm looking for in historical fiction: compelling characters, an evocative setting, a leisurely pace, and a plot that unfolds like the petals of a flower, or, in this case, the tea plant." --Amy Lapointe, Amherst Town Library, Amherst, N.H.

Daisy in Chains: A Novel by Sharon Bolton (Minotaur, $25.99, 9781250103420). "Another great book from Bolton! Convicted serial killer Hamish Wolfe has proclaimed his innocence from the beginning and has solicited the help of lawyer Maggie Rose who is known for her ability to get convictions overturned. The story unfolds in alternating chapters from the past to the present and keeps readers on the edge of their seats with a twist you won't see coming! Highly recommended!" --Karen Zeibak, Wilton Library Association, Wilton, Conn.

Darktown: A Novel by Thomas Mullen (Atria/37 INK, $26, 9781501133862). "In Atlanta in the late 1940s, the integration of black police officers into the force is proving to be challenging. White civilians don't respect their authority, and black civilians don't trust that they can protect them. Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith are men with heavy burdens on their shoulders. Every move they make is examined. When the body of a young black woman is found, they will put everything on the line to gain justice for a woman who turns into a symbol of all that is wrong with their town. Despite its historical setting, so many elements of this tale seem timely, and readers will have much to think about after turning the last page." --Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library, South Huntington, N.Y.

The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman (Roc, $16, 9781101988664). "A mysterious new Fae couple is causing Irene and crew major grief in this second installment of the Invisible Library series. After getting a book, Irene and Kai get attacked by a group of werewolves. Irene plans to go to the Library, turn in the book, and find information on the newcomers while Kai will go to Vale's house. Kai is attacked and taken away. To get to the chaos filled world where Kai is held, Irene has to get help from Silver and fight to not be overrun by chaos and the Fae. I like this series because Irene is a smart, tough, stubborn, and loyal librarian who has survived many crazy, dangerous, and interesting worlds and people." --Julie Horton, Greenwood County Library, Greenwood, S.C.

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley (Delacorte, $26, 9780345539960). "Flavia de Luce has returned from Canada to find her father in the hospital and her sisters distant. When she is sent to deliver a message for the vicar's wife, she steps into another mystery--one she is determined to solve, preferably before Inspector Hewitt can do the same. Flavia is once again a fun, science-loving protagonist. Flavia arrives at a turning point in her life and how she handles what happens next will tell much about the path that she will take into adulthood. This series entry ends on a note that begs for the next story." --Chris Andersen, Stow Munroe Falls Public Library, Stow, Ohio

Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America by Patrick Phillips (Norton, $26.95, 9780393293012). "Phillips digs into the history of a series of events in his hometown in Georgia. After a series of crimes were blamed on some of the area's young black men, the citizens of the town saw fit to run off the entire African American population. Phillips researches the crimes and the mob mentality that followed, and shows how certain citizens of Forsyth County continued to intimidate and assault African Americans who wandered across their border for almost eighty years. This is the type of history that is far too important ever to forget." --Amy Hall, Jefferson County Public Library, Wheat Ridge, Colo.

The Secrets of Wishtide: A Novel by Kate Saunders (Bloomsbury, $26, 9781632864499). "A charming mystery introduces Laetitia Rodd, a widow who moonlights as a sleuth in 1850s London. She's tapped to help uncover the mysterious past of a prospective bride, but the more Laetitia digs, the more certain individuals want to keep their secrets buried. And when those secrets turn deadly, Laetitia may be in danger herself. Saunders nails the raucous world of Victorian London, capturing the Dickens-like characters from the lowest of society to the lofty ranks of the wealthy. A fine read for those who love vivid settings and memorable characters." --Katie Hanson, Madison Public Library, Madison, Wis.

Book Review

Review: Sing for Your Life

Sing for Your Life: A Story of Race, Music, and Family by Daniel Bergner (Little, Brown, $28 hardcover, 320p., 9780316300674, September 27, 2016)

A six-foot-five, 300-pound African American man with size-17 shoes may be an unlikely sight on the stage of New York's Metropolitan Opera, but Ryan Speedo Green commands that position like he was born to it. Sing for Your Life is Ryan Green's story, a tribute to opera and the power of the arts to pull a young man out of a violent broken home in southeastern Virginia and into Lincoln Center. Through extensive interviews with Green and his family, teachers, directors and voice coaches, journalist Daniel Bergner pieces together this remarkable life with the same storytelling knack he brought to subjects as varied as child soldiers in Sierra Leone (In the Land of Magic Soldiers), the Angola prison rodeo (God of the Rodeo) and women's sexuality (What Do Women Want?).

With an absent father (a bodybuilder and prankster who chose his son's distinctive middle name after his favorite competition garb) and a mother plagued by violent men, menial jobs and ramshackle low-rent housing, Green grew up angry, poorly schooled and on his way to prison (like his brother) or death. After a teacher took him under wing and made him learn King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and after a football coach put him in the school chorus to get some easy credits, he discovered that his roughhewn bass-baritone voice might be his ticket out. Through frustrating and demanding coaching, he learned to read Italian and German scores, to control the wide range of his vocal gift (one coach comments: "He was born with a trombone. He has to work on making his trombone a little more of a trumpet."), and to use his emotions and imposing physique to translate lyrics and music into drama. As Bergner shows, opera is not for wimps (a Met director tells him, "To train to be an opera singer takes as much time as to train to be a physician"); you don't get to the Super Bowl just because you're a big guy who likes to sack the quarterback. As a black man in a very white world, Green also had to overcome the assumption that his place on stage belonged in the role of Porgy in Porgy and Bess or as Joe singing "Ol' Man River."

Green's long journey out of poverty and juvenile therapy to professional success took tenacity, luck, dedicated teachers and an extraordinary vocal gift. Sing for Your Life may be a feel-good story in the end, but in the case of Ryan Speedo Green, its title quite literally says it all. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: A bootstrap success story, Sing for Your Life is a first-rate biography of a beaten-down young man who rode the opera train all the way to Lincoln Center.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Bossman by Vi Keeland
2. Every Beat of My Heart by Bella Andre
3. A Beautiful Funeral (Maddox Brothers Volume 5) by Jamie McGuire
4. The Common Lawyer by Mark Gimenez
5. The Consequences Series Box Set by Aleatha Romig
6. Midnight Soul (The Fantasyland Series Volume 5) by Kristen Ashley
7. Arcana Rising by Kresley Cole
8. Forbidden Nights by Lauren Blakely
9. The Billionaire's Challenging Beauty (Bold, Alaskan Men Book 2) by Elizabeth Lennox
10. ARKANE Thriller Box-Set 1-3 by J.F. Penn

[Many thanks to!]

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