Shelf Awareness for Thursday, September 8, 2016

Union Square Kids: Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, illustrated by Tom de Freston

Tor Teen: Into the Light by Mark Oshiro

Peachtree Teen: Junkyard Dogs by Katherine Higgs-Coulthard

Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz and Rob Schwartz

Neal Porter Books: All the Beating Hearts by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Cátia Chien

Quotation of the Day

'A Passion for Books & a Commitment to the Bottom Line'

"Booksellers have tremendous respect for authors and they appreciate when authors respect bookselling as well. My booksellers love when authors tweet us to introduce themselves or comment on something that we're doing. They love it when an author contacts a bookseller whose staff pick they noticed online--maybe the author liked the book too or based on the fact the bookseller liked that particular book the author feels the bookseller might like their book. With social media, authors have great access to booksellers now. And the best advice I can offer for communication with booksellers is be specific, be personal, be respectful. Those connections will entice booksellers to check out a book. Whether the bookseller wants to buy the book for the store or handsell the book is a matter of taste and knowledge of their market and customers so that part can't be controlled....

"Bookselling is a balance between a passion for books and a commitment to the bottom line. It's helpful when authors understand that it's not our responsibility to support them but when we love a book and/or it makes sense for our business, it's absolutely our honor and great joy to offer support."

--Allison Hill, president & CEO of Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena & Book Soup in West Hollywood, Calif., in an interview with Inkshares

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Loyalty by Lisa Scottoline


B&N 1st Quarter: Comp-Store Sales Down 6%

In the first quarter ended July 30, total sales at Barnes & Noble fell 6.6%, to $913.9 million, and the net loss was $14.4 million, compared to a net loss of $7.8 million in the same period a year earlier. Wall Street analysts had expected total sales of about $958 million.

Total retail sales, including B&N stores and B&, fell 6.1%, to $881.7 million. NOOK sales, which include digital content, devices and accessories, declined 24.5%, to $41 million.

In a big shocker, sales at stores open at least a year fell 6%, "softer than the company's expectations, due in large part to lower traffic and the challenging retail environment."

B&N said that its retail operations had an operating loss of $7.4 million in the quarter, which includes "severance charges and consulting fees of $7.9 million resulting from Retail's cost reduction initiatives." In the same vein, Nook had an operating loss of $14 million, which includes "severance and transitional costs of $7.2 million related to the previously announced outsourcing of certain NOOK services and the closure of its California and Taiwan offices." Excluding those charges, B&N said that the consolidated net loss from continuing operations would have been $5 million, a number that beat analysts' estimates.

B&N said it "remains focused on executing its previously announced strategic initiatives to increase sales and reduce expenses. Given the softer than expected sales results to date, and the expected continuation of the challenging retail environment, the company now expects fiscal 2017 comparable store sales to decline in the low single digits."

This has been a tumultuous period for B&N. In August, CEO Ron Boire, who was hired only in September 2015, left B&N, with the company saying that he "was not a good fit for the organization." The company's quarterly announcement did not mention Boire or the search for a successor other than a mention of unspecified "costs associated with the recent CEO departure."

The company didn't mention its new store concept in today's report; the first four of these stores featuring full-service restaurants will begin opening next month and a fifth was recently announced.

GLOW: Tordotcom: The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill

Ingram to Ship All Distribution Clients from All DCs

Beginning October 1, in time for the holiday season, Ingram will ship PGW, Consortium, Perseus Distribution and Legato titles to independent bookstores through its four distribution centers in Oregon, Indiana, Tennessee and Pennsylvania, allowing booksellers to receive orders from their closest Ingram distribution center. Bookseller orders will receive direct distribution discounts and terms and will combine with Ingram Publisher Services and Ingram wholesale orders for free freight. Ingram's field force and customer service people are working directly with booksellers to get their ordering systems up to date for the October 1 launch.

Phil Ollila, chief content officer at Ingram, said, "We are so pleased to be bringing the best in independent publishing from PGW, Consortium, Ingram Publisher Services, Perseus Distribution and Legato to independent stores through the Ingram network. We hope in some way through these improvements that we'll help bookstores be even more successful."

Ollila noted that the Perseus distribution facility in Jackson, Tenn., remains an important part of the growing Ingram distribution network and is undergoing a multi-million dollar upgrade that includes systems, quality control and warehouse infrastructure.

Ingram bought Perseus Book Group's distribution operations--which included PGW, Consortium, Perseus Distribution, Legato and the Jackson warehouse--earlier this year.

Soho Press: Black Dove by Colin McAdam

The Bookshelf in Truckee, Calif. Stays Open for Now

The Bookshelf in Truckee, Calif., will remain open through October. The bookstore was put on the market last November, and in February was operating on a month-to-month lease. On its website, the Bookshelf posted: "Some Good News! Bookshelf will be staying open through October 2016. We have had many people interested in buying the Bookshelf, but no one has made an offer. And there has been talk of a bookstore downtown, but that is not connected to us. Bookshelf is running out of time so the question is--is there enough interest for a co-op? A co-op would be whatever it is set up to be: multiple owners, community investors, smaller, bigger. There are several possibilities. But we will need a general manager."

Weiser Books: Mexican Sorcery: A Practical Guide to Brujeria de Rancho by Laura Davila

The Mystery Bookstore in Omaha to Close

The Mystery Bookstore, Omaha, Neb., will close September 30 after more than 21 years in business. The World-Herald reported that owner Kate Birkel "said sales have been plummeting for years. She's been able to keep the store afloat with her Social Security checks."

"Frankly, I have great customers, but unfortunately I don't have enough of them," she added. Birkel had announced in May that closure was a possibility, and "made her decision when she learned that the Bohemian Cafe, the family-owned restaurant next door, was closing (its last day is September 24). The restaurant and bookshop were the last businesses standing on their stretch of 13th Street. Without the Bohemian's foot traffic, Birkel said, the book shop won't be able to survive," the World-Herald wrote.

Alicia Levi New Head of Reading Is Fundamental

Alicia Levi

Alicia Levi has been appointed president and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental, succeeding Carol H. Rasco, who is retiring after 15 years of service. Levi was formerly v-p, education at the Public Broadcasting Service and earlier was v-p, educational publishing at Discovery Education.

"Reading Is Fundamental is an important and powerful voice in support of children's literacy," Levi said. "I am honored to bring my experience to this outstanding organization and to work with RIF and its partners to ensure all children have access to the fundamental opportunities that literacy provides."

Jack Remondi, president and CEO of Navient and RIF chairman of the board, commented: "Alicia's innovative leadership and dynamic approaches to education will further establish RIF's identity and deliver meaningful impact for millions of children across the U.S. On behalf of the board, team and kids whose lives we have touched, I also extend my deepest appreciation to Carol who has so ably led the organization."

Obituary Note: Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor

Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor, "who in a life of varied artistic careers, most notably as a commentator on NPR, was best known for extolling the virtues of the Gullah food and culture of her native South Carolina," died September 3, the New York Times reported. She was 79. Smart-Grosvenor, who liked to call herself a "culinary griot," was also the author of Vibration Cooking or, The Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl (1970), "often described as an autobiographical cookbook." Her books also include Vertamae Cooks in the Americas' Family Kitchen and Vertamae Cooks Again: More Recipes from the Americas' Family Kitchen.

Smart-Grosvenor is the subject of a forthcoming documentary, Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl, directed by Julie Dash and expected to be released in 2017. "The film will include some re-enactments, Ms. Dash said, because 'she was a dramatic person,' " the Times wrote.


Image of the Day: Not My Mother's Kitchen

I Am Books, the Italian American bookstore in Boston's historic North End, hosted a publication day book launch for chef Rob Chirico's memoir Not My Mother's Kitchen: Rediscovering Italian-American Cooking Through Stories and Recipes (Imagine/Charlesbridge). Pictured: Mary Ann Sabia, Charlesbridge executive v-p/publisher; Donna Spurlock, director of marketing; Brent Farmer, president; Melanie Meeker, director of administration & HR; Rob Chirico; Jacqui Teruya, sales associate; Cynthia Ritter, marketing, publicity & promotions assistant; Megan Quinn, senior director of sales; Rachel Doody, sales and marketing assistant; and Lauren Barrett, sub-rights coodinator/associate.

Royal Sales Gain at King's English

Wow. Nice work!

Sales in the first six months of the year at the King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah, were up 25%, co-owner Betsy Burton, president of the American Booksellers Association, told the Salt Lake Tribune in a story about the store's 39th anniversary. In addition, Burton said indie bookstores "are doing spectacularly well across the country. There's a wonderful change going on across the country."

At the Spa: 'One of the Nicest Bookstores I've Ever Visited'

In a travel piece about Saratoga Springs, N.Y. ("a historic little city made for strolling") for FOOD52, Alexandra Stafford noted: "Just south of Mrs. London's on Broadway is Northshire Bookstore, which not only boasts an impressive cookbook section, but also devotes an entire floor to children--books, coloring, model villages. It's one of the nicest bookstores I've ever visited, equipped with cozy nooks and comfy couches as well as a thoughtfully curated selection of stationery, calendars, vases, candles, indoor gardening kits, and the like. It's a great spot for gifts."

Virginia's Green Valley Book Fair 'Gives People What They Want'

Selling discounted new books, Green Valley Book Fair, in Mount Crawford, Va., in the Shenandoah Valley, "has proven resilient over the years through a simple philosophy of giving people what they want: books, lots and lots of books," VoA News wrote.

The Green Valley Book Fair opens only six times a year for three-week sessions. About 25,000 people visit during each session, and the fair generates about $2 million in annual revenue.

The store's 24,700-square-foot two-story building stocks a half million books. Noting that her parents founded Green Valley Book Fair in 1971, general manager Michele Branner said, "My dad collected old books and decided that he wanted to sell some of them. This is the old barn that the cow stalls were taken out of, and that my parents actually had shelves built on each row. People would come in and shop and buy books out of here. It went so well. It's just kind of evolved to what it is today."

Personnel Changes at Chronicle Books

At Chronicle Books:

Effective September 13, Morgan Amer is joining the company as trade sales coordinator. She was formerly an assistant manager at Ryland Peters & Small.

Effective September 12, Camille Geeter is joining the company as marketing assistant. She was formerly an intern at HarperOne, first in production and then in the marketing department creating social media content.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: L.A. Reid on Wendy Williams

Wendy Williams repeat: L.A. Reid, author of Sing to Me: My Story of Making Music, Finding Magic, and Searching for Who's Next (Harper, $29.99, 9780062274755).

Movies: TIFF Reading List

"It's that time of the year when celebrities, filmmakers and fans all descend on Toronto for the Toronto International Film Festival, the CBC reported in featuring "20 books that inspired films at TIFF 2016," which runs from September 8 to 18. "While you're waiting for these adaptations to hit theatres across the country, why not read the originals?" the CBC advised.

This Weekend on Book TV: Garry Trudeau

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, September 10
4:30 p.m. Gregory F. Malveaux, author of Look Before Leaping: Risks, Liabilities, and Repair of Study Abroad in Higher Education (Rowman & Littlefield, $35, 9781475825565). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

6:45 p.m. John Strausbaugh, author of City of Sedition: The History of New York City during the Civil War (Twelve, $30, 9781455584185), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

7:45 p.m. Douglas Cohn, author of The President's First Year: None Were Prepared, Some Never Learned--Why the Only School for Presidents Is the Presidency (Lyons Press, $26.95, 9781493011926). (Re-airs Sunday at 3 p.m.)

10 p.m. Alberto Gonzales, author of True Faith and Allegiance: A Story of Service and Sacrifice in War and Peace (Thomas Nelson, $26.99, 9780718078874). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Garry Trudeau, author of Yuge!: 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump (Andrews McMeel, $14.99, 9781449481339), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 7:45 p.m.)

Books & Authors

Awards: Academy of American Poets; SCBWI

The Academy of American Poets announced the 2016 winners of its annual poetry prizes. This year's recipients are:

Sharon Olds won the $100,000 Wallace Stevens Award, which recognizes "outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry."

Natasha Trethewey received the $25,000 Academy of American poets fellowship, which honors "distinguished poetic achievement."

Lynn Emanuel's The Nerve of It won the $25,000 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for "the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States in the previous year."

Mary Hickman's Rayfish won the $5,000 James Laughlin Award, which is given for a second book of poetry by an American poet.

Ron Padgett (Zone: Selected Poems by Guillaume Apollinaire) was cited for the $1,000 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, which recognizes a published translation of poetry from any language into English that demonstrates literary excellence. 

Stephen Sartarelli won the $10,000 Raiziss/de Palchi Book Prize, which recognizes outstanding translations of modern Italian poetry into English, for his translation of The Selected Poetry of Pier Paolo Pasolini.

Donte Collin won the $1,000 Aliki Perroti & Seth Frank Most Promising Young Poet Award, which recognizes a student poet.


The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators unveiled the winners of the 2016 Work-In-Progress Grants as well as the Karen Cushman Late Bloomer Award, which celebrates a traditionally unpublished author over the age of 50. This year's winners are:

YA fiction: The Edge of the Miraculous by Beth Navarro
Nonfiction: Nikola's Visions: The Extraordinary Life of Nikola Tesla by Cindy Jenson-Elliott
Multicultural fiction or nonfiction: Finding Ma by DoanPhuong Nguyen
Picture book text: A Father's Love by Hannah Holt
Middle grade fiction: Ruby in the Sky by Jeanne Zulick-Ferruolo
Chapter books/early fiction: How to Be a Bad Guy, by Dallas Bottomley by Lauren LeBlanc
Don Freeman Illustration Grant: Published award: Rongyuan Ma; pre-published award: Alison Farrell
Karen Cushman Late Bloomer Award: Stephen Baker: Prayers to Broken Stone

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, September 13:

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (Harper, $27.99, 9780062491794) follows two families, united by a romantic encounter, over five decades.

In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox by Carol Burnett (Crown Archetype, $28, 9781101904657) is the memoir of the actress.

The Year of Voting Dangerously: The Derangement of American Politics by Maureen Dowd (Twelve, $30, 9781455539260) explores the 2016 presidential election.

Pirate by Clive Cussler and Robin Burcell (Putnam, $29, 9780399183973) is book eight in the Sam and Remi Fargo adventure series.

The Orphan Mother: A Novel by Robert Hicks (Grand Central, $26, 9780446581769) takes place in post-Civil War Tennessee, where a former slave's politically-active son is murdered.

Cradle and All by James Patterson (jimmy patterson, $18.99, 9780316315265) is a YA reissue of a book originally published in 2000. (September 12.)

Children of Exile by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781442450035) is the first science-fiction thriller in a trilogy that examines prejudice.

Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard (Holt, $30, 9781627790628) is the latest in O'Reilly's Killing series.

Scorched Earth: Restoring the Country after Obama by Michael Savage (Center Street, $27, 9781455568246) is by the right-wing talk radio host.

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier (Graphix/Scholastic, $10.99, 9780545540612) is a graphic novel in which a girl with cystic fibrosis moves to a northern California town full of ghosts.

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze (Marvel, $16.99, 9781302900533).

The King of Shanghai: The Triad Years by Ian Hamilton (Spiderline, $15.95, 9781487001599).

Snowden, based in part on The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding, opens Friday, September 16. Oliver Stone directed this thriller about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt). A movie tie-in edition (Vintage, $14.95, 9781101972250) is available.

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:

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko: A Novel by Scott Stambach (St. Martin's Press, $25.99, 9781250081865). "Seventeen-year-old Ivan Isaenko has spent his entire life in a cloistered world, but he possesses a keen intellect and an understanding of humanity that far exceeds the confines of the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely Ill Children in Belarus. Severely physically handicapped due to radiation poisoning, Ivan has never had a friend beyond his caregivers at the hospital--until Polina is admitted. The two teens form a fast and indelible bond that will leave readers in awe of the tenacity of their commitment. Heartbreaking and awe-inspiring." --Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, Minn.

The Muse: A Novel by Jessie Burton (Ecco, $27.99, 9780062409928). "Burton's follow-up to The Miniaturist also takes place in the art world, but this time the settings alternate between London in the 1960s and pre-Civil War Spain in the 1930s. In 1967, a long-lost work by a dead Spanish painter turns up in London. Is it really an original Isaac Robles? Or is there a more complicated story behind the intriguing painting? A fun read with interesting meditations on the purpose and making of art." --Susan Taylor, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y.

Riverine: A Memoir From Anywhere But Here by Angela Palm (Graywolf Press, $16, 9781555977467). "Haunting and surprising yet immediately relatable, Palm's striking memoir sinks its roots deep into readers and holds fast. Everything ordinary, Palm reveals, is extraordinary--tragic, profound, amusing, brutal--when examined up close. In reflecting on her own formative years, growing up 'between points on the map' in small-town Indiana, Palm paints a measured, unforgettable portrait of the forces that break us free of our origins and those that inevitably call us back." --Sam Kaas, Village Books, Bellingham, Wash.

For Ages 4 to 8
One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel (Katherine Tegen, $17.99, 9780062354853). "This lilting, fun picture book explodes with energetic drawings in a riff on folk tales of old. Author Bernstrom's debut, which is reminiscent of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, is perfectly suited to Wenzel's colorful, animated illustrations. Storytime readers will find much to do in this imaginative eucalyptus, eucalyptus tree!" --Maureen Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, Calif.

For Ages 9 to 12
What Elephants Know: A Novel by Eric Dinerstein (Disney-Hyperion, $16.99, 9781484728543). " 'My mother is an elephant and my father is an old man with one arm.' So begins this absolute gem of a book set in Nepal. It is a masterfully written, poignant story of an orphan boy, Nandu, who finds home and family with the head of an elephant stable. When the king orders the stable to be closed, Nandu must find a way to save it. This is a brilliant and unforgettable story filled with action and universal truths." --Vicky Titcomb, Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, Mass.

For Teen Readers
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (St. Martin's Griffin, $18.99, 9781250085474). "A princess cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction becomes an empowered queen of the Otherworld in Chokshi's darkly romantic debut, inspired by Indian and Greek mythology. Richly imaginative, lyrical, sensuous, and lush, The Star-Touched Queen is a spellbinding tale of love, betrayal, and redemption--perfect for fans of Rosamund Hodge, Laini Taylor, and Bree Despain." --Alyssa Raymond, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, Colo.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Playing Through the Whistle

Playing Through the Whistle: Steel, Football, and an American Town by S.L. Price (Atlantic Monthly Press, $27 hardcover, 400p., 9780802125644, October 4, 2016)

Veteran Sports Illustrated writer S.L. Price (Pitching Around Fidel, Heart of the Game) captures a microcosm of the 20th-century United States, as the town of Aliquippa, in western Pennsylvania, flooded with people in search of economic opportunity, and the generations that followed discovered the potential jackpot of athletic prowess. Playing Through the Whistle is the rich history of the Poles, Croats, Ukrainians, Serbs, Italians and African Americans who worked in the huge Jones & Laughlin steel mill, lived in its segregated, numerically identified company town "plans," and played ball for Aliquippa High School. In creative nonfiction journalistic style like that of Pete Hamill or Gay Talese, Price takes us through the century's wars; the presidencies of FDR, JFK, Nixon, Clinton and Bush; the groundbreaking 1930s labor and 1960s civil rights legislation; and Aliquippa's unparalleled string of National Football League stars, including Mike Ditka, Ty Law, Tony Dorsett, Sean Gilbert and Darrelle Revis. If the growth of Jones & Laughlin created this melting pot, Price suggests, "Sport is where the melt in the pot began."

How this small town outside Pittsburgh became such a football powerhouse is an enigma--as one resident says, "It's in the water. If I gave you a cup of water right now, you would run a forty in four flat!" Price, however, draws a different conclusion with a detailed picture of the hard life of a "mill hunkie," where, regardless of race or ethnicity, 10,000 workers sweltered through long shifts until the whistle blew. And then did it again for a lifetime. "With its bone-snapping tackles, minimal protections, and masses toiling in syncopated fury... [football] channeled frustration, rewarded power. It fed and fed off the ethos of factory, mill, and mine."

The "Quips" still play their games in "The Pit," built in 1937 when the town was growing--and it's still "sacred space, a bubble that gang conflict and crime almost never penetrate." But Jones & Laughlin closed the mill in 1988, and Aliquippa is barely holding on with a population now under 10,000 and the real possibility of the high school merging with that of a neighboring community. Price dramatically chronicles the town's rise and fall: the early union labor strife, war sacrifices, segregation, race riots, drugs, the economic recession. Through it all, Aliquippa keeps hammering out football stars. Revis was the last big-time all-state graduate, in 2003, but the 2015 Quips again made it all the way to the state tournament finals. With the J&L mill gone, good economic options are now few for the young. As Price writes, "Today's low-wage, low-security service industry jobs offer little choice.... The forked road offering careers in cut potatoes or crack, McDonald's or a meth lab." Football may be all they have, and the Quips' future NFL aspirants are coached never to give up--to keep playing through the whistle. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: Playing Through the Whistle is an omnibus modern history of the United States as played out in the football ethos of small town Aliquippa, Pa.

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