Also published on this date: Monday, September 12, 2016: The Impossible Fortress

Shelf Awareness for Monday, September 12, 2016

Graphix: Unico: Awakening (Volume 1): An Original Manga Created by Osamu Tezuka, Written by Samuel Sattin, Illustrated by Gurihiru

Shadow Mountain: A Kingdom to Claim by Sian Ann Bessey

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Immortal Dark (Deluxe Limited Edition) by Tigest Girma

Bramble: Swordcrossed by Freya Marske

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!

Quotation of the Day

'Best Bookstores Engaging the Community'

Ruiz signing at Diesel in Brentwood, Calif.

"During my tour, I've been discovering that the independent bookstores are thriving, in contrast to the tour I did three years ago. In 2016, I'm finding the independent bookstores that are doing the best are the ones that are engaging the community. It's like the community is once again gravitating towards that center--of sharing knowledge, engaging each other. We all like having a place where we can find each other and hang out with each other and independent bookstores are providing that. I've also been noticing that those Barnes & Nobles that engage with the community have been the most successful for my events. So independent bookstores have that wonderful opportunity of being a pillar, and I believe that is what is giving them such a strong, well, tailwind in this economy that's rapidly changing. I believe that if we keep engaging this space that we will be able to continue to construct a community that engages one another."

--Don Miguel Ruiz, Jr. author of The Mastery of Self (Hierophant Publishing, dist. by Red Wheel/Weiser)

Henry Holt & Company: A Banh Mi for Two by Trinity Nguyen


In Ottawa, Ill., Prairie Fox Books Replacing Book Mouse

Sonny Boy will stay with Prairie Fox.

After 10 years owning the Book Mouse, Ottawa, Ill., Eileen Fesco has sold the store's assets--including everything from inventory to the store kitty, Sonny Boy--to Gabriella Crivilare and her mother, Mary Olson, and closed the store. The new owners are remaking the store, renaming it Prairie Fox Books, and will have a grand reopening party in October.

Last month, Crivilare told the Ottawa Times, "We plan on continuing the legacy of great books and great service started by Theresa Jones and Dolores Iverson and continued by previous owner Eileen Fesco. I thank them for blazing the way, and I look forward to sharing my love of books and the written word with fellow book lovers."

Crivilare is a recent graduate of Knox College. Her parents, Mary and Gregg Olson, are owners of Rock Paper Scissors, a local educational and school supply store.

Fesco said, "I am so pleased that our community will soon have a wonderful new book store. It has been a pleasure serving as a bookseller and friend to the patrons of our store for these past 10 years."

She added that she will be "spending more time with my family and looking for other opportunities to serve my community. It was a tough decision to leave the best job in the world--bookselling--but it was time to pass the business baton on to a fresh runner. I will be one of their best customers and help them through this transition, as needed."

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Remember You Will Die by Eden Robins

Readers Choose Winners of New Booksellers Association Book Awards

The Booksellers Association of the U.K. and Ireland is founding a book award program to coincide with its annual Books Are My Bag campaign; it will allow readers to vote for their favorite books of the year in five categories, the Bookseller reported. The awards were announced today at the BA's annual conference.

The first Books Are My Bag Readers Awards are taking place this year, with a shortlist to be announced on October 6, two days before the BA's first Bookshop Day. After that and until November 14, readers will vote in bookstores and online for favorites in fiction, nonfiction, biography/autobiography, children's and breakthrough author. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on November 24.

"The feedback we have had from booksellers and publishers has been fantastic," said Alan Staton, head of marketing and communications for the BA. "It's a great way for Books Are My Bag to continue its engagement with the country's book lovers through the autumn and to put the bookshops' curation at the heart of the process."

Amazon Opening 'Maybe 100' Pop-Up Stores for Devices

Amazon is planning to open "dozens of new pop-up stores in U.S. shopping malls over the next year" and have "as many as 100 by next year," according to Business Insider, which cited "a source familiar with the matter." Business Insider is partly owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos's personal investment company, Bezos Expeditions.

The pop-up stores, usually 300-500 square feet, are distinct from the company's Amazon Books stores and showcase the store's tech products, "particularly its Echo home speakers," as well as Kindles and Fire TVs. Amazon currently lists 22 pop-up stores; Business Insider predicts 30 by the end of the year.

Amazon Books stores also feature Amazon devices. In the only Amazon Books that's opened so far, in Seattle, devices are literally the centerpiece of the store.

The pop-up stores may have been what a shopping mall owner was referring to in a conference call with Wall Street analysts earlier this year, when he said Amazon was going to open 300-400 stores. That call, of course, created a media frenzy, in part because Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of General Growth Properties, a real estate investment trust that owns and manages 120 shopping malls around the country, said they would be bookstores.

Business Insider said that the pop-up stores "reflect the company's growing drive to reach consumers directly through a variety of access points including retail storefronts, home delivery, and innovative devices. Just as Apple changed its relationship with customers through its sleek retail stores, Amazon is building out its vision for a new class retail business that weaves together a powerful assortment of online and physical components."

It added: "Given Amazon's obsession with data, the decision to expand the network of stores may indicate that the company has seen an uptick in online sales in the regions where it already has pop-up stores."

Business Insider noted, too, that the pop-up operations are run by the devices team, not the team that has worked on Amazon Books. "That means the push for more pop-up stores coincides with the success of the Echo, which is widely considered to be the next big hit product for Amazon."

Obituary Note: Deborah Manning

Debbie Manning

Deborah Manning, co-owner of Petunia's Place bookstore, Fresno, Calif., died last Tuesday after a nearly yearlong fight with cancer, the Fresno Bee reported. She was 66.

"Our community has lost one of the biggest champions of children and literacy," local author Armen Bacon told the newspaper. "She had such great instincts and would get to know her customers so she could find the perfect title for them. She was wildly enthusiastic and passionate about books and literacy. It was her true love."

Early in her career, Manning was an elementary classroom teacher. She also taught children's literature courses at CSU Fresno and a literature study course and a writing course in the graduate program at Fresno Pacific University.

"Her belief was that the students needed to be engaged and that you learn by doing," said her business partner Jean Fennacy. "She treasured every child and each student was championed." Fennacy and Manning bought Petunia's Place, a children's and YA bookstore, some 27 years ago.

Author/Bookseller Amy Stewart's Litsy Campaign: #GetIndie

Amy Stewart at Readers’ Books in Sonoma, Calif., with owner Andy Weinberger.  

Amy Stewart, author of The Drunken Botanist and Girl Waits with Gun, is using the book-focused social media platform Litsy and the hashtag #getindie (collected here) to turn her author tour for Lady Cop Makes Trouble (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) into an "indie bookstore love fest." Stewart, who is also the co-owner of Eureka Books, Eureka, Calif., will be posting on Litsy at each bookstore she visits on her tour, but not about her own books. Instead she'll draw attention to titles that booksellers at those indies are championing, and she's recruited many other authors, including Alexander Chee and Christina Baker Kline, to use the #getindie hashtag.

"It occurred to me that all over the country, probably literally every day of the year, authors on tour are going into indie bookstores," said Stewart. "Who better than us to be ambassadors for bookstores?"

While on tour last year for Girl Waits with Gun, Stewart explained, she became slightly fatigued with posting endlessly about her own book at each and every bookstore she visited, and instead would have preferred to talk about the new books she discovered at each store. Recalled Stewart: "You spend some time in every bookstore, you find some book you've never heard of and think, oh my god, can I really put one more book in my suitcase?"

Stewart said she thought about the idea all winter without really knowing how to implement it, until she began tinkering with the Litsy app after its iOS launch. Perhaps the most appealing thing about the way Litsy worked, she continued, was that every post had to be tied to a specific book. "For me, it fits how I actually interact with books over the course of my day," she said. "I was sucked into it right away."

On her tour so far, Stewart has posted about Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance, which she discovered while visiting Readers' Books in Sonoma, Calif.; A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, which she found at Towne Book Center & Cafe in Collegeville, Pa.; Lobster Is the Best Medicine: A Collection of Comics About Friendship by Liz Climo, which came to her attention at the Shattuck Avenue location of Pegasus Books in Berkeley, Calif.; and many more. And though Stewart has signed on a variety of authors, she made it clear that the hashtag is not just for authors on tour or one particular group of authors; she hopes everyone uses it.

According to Stewart, the term "getindie" was chosen not only because it is simple, short and echoes Indies First, IndieBound and Indie Next List, but also because "get" has a nice double meaning of understanding indies and literally acquiring books from indies.

"We talk a lot about discoverability, how discovery still happens physically on shelves and in stores," said Stewart. "We very specifically wanted to say here, I walked into an indie bookstore and that's how I know about this book. It's very literal--this bookstore has this thing. As an author, it's a fun thing to do. As a bookseller it's a good way to say we are here and here's what we're doing today. Since everything you post has to be attached to a book, it reinforces that it's all about the book." --Alex Mutter


Image of the Day: Small Victories

Julia Turshen (l.) and Sofia Coppola celebrate the launch of Turshen's first solo cookbook, Small Victories (Chronicle), at Haven's Kitchen in New York City last week.

Photo: Dave Alloca for Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Bookish Road Trip: '36 Hours in Cambridge, Mass.'

"What better way to taste the brainy shock waves of Harvard Square, Cambridge's commercial and spiritual epicenter, than to sample its indie bookstores?" the New York Times asked in a "36 Hours in Cambridge, Mass." travel piece.

The tour started on a Bookish Beat: "Stroll the loop of Brattle, J.F.K, Church and Mount Auburn Streets and you'll find the Grolier Poetry Book Shop (the country's oldest continuous poetry-only store), the Curious George Store (for children), Raven Used Books (literary and academic), the Million Year Picnic (indie and alternative comics) and Harvard Book Store (best all-around selection)," the Times wrote. "Pop into Black Ink for eclectic and hipsterish gifts; Leavitt & Peirce, a circa 1883 tobacco shop, to stock up on pipes, pocketknives and chess sets; and in a building called the Garage, Boston's own media and pop culture mecca, Newbury Comics."

Among the Cambridge night life highlights was the option to "get your nerd on at Pandemonium Books and Games, whose shelves and basement are Cambridge's mother ship for genre books and gaming pursuits."

'There's Something About Airport Bookstores'

Tattered Cover at the Denver airport

Noting that "the great thing about books and travel is that every airport in the world seems to have a bookstore," the Chicago Tribune's John Warner wrote: "Because I follow my own version of the Boy Scout Code as applied to books, 'Be prepared with at least one, preferably two more books than you need,' I've never had occasion to buy anything from an airport bookstore, and yet it gives me great comfort to know they're there.

"How many of you are this way? Maybe you get to the gate a bit early--I'm a two-hours-before-the-flight guy myself--and there, in the middle distance is a little Hudson's storefront. Though your shoulder aches already from your book-stuffed carry-on, you go and peruse, noting what intrigues, what you might turn toward if necessity strikes....

"While bookstores are important to me in the broader world, I think it is the opposite for many others. Being in an airport is one of the few times nonreaders may be confronted with the memory of how pleasurable reading can be. This proximity matters. Airport stores are mini-masterpieces of display, the most broadly enticing titles as prominent as possible. 'I've heard of that one,' someone might say. 'I should check it out.' "

Personnel Changes at Clarkson Potter

At Clarkson Potter:

Jana Branson joined the company as associate director of publicity. She was most recently director of communications and previously senior publicity manager for media and merchandise at Sequential Brands Group (formerly Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia). Earlier she managed publicity campaigns at Wiley and was senior account executive at the culinary publicity firm the Door.

Branson replaces Anna Mintz, who worked for nine years at the company and is moving back home to Atlanta.

Erica Gelbard has been promoted to executive publicist. She joined Clarkson Potter in 2012 as assistant director of publicity.
Andrea Portanova and Eryn Voigt have have joined Clarkson Potter as assistants.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ann Patchett on Diane Rehm

Fresh Air: Sarah Ellis, co-author of The Trainable Cat: A Practical Guide to Making Life Happier for You and Your Cat (Basic Books, $27.99, 9780465050901).

Diane Rehm: Ann Patchett, author of Commonwealth (Harper, $27.99, 9780062491794).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad (Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385542364).

Last Call with Carson Daly: William Shatner, co-author of Zero-G: Book 1 (Simon & Schuster, $25.95, 9781501111556).

Morning Joe: Joe Conason, author of Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781439154106). He will also appear on CNN's Newsroom.

Diane Rehm: Akhil Reed Amar, author of The Constitution Today: Timeless Lessons for the Issues of Our Era (Basic Books, $29.99, 9780465096336).

The Real: Naya Rivera, author of Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up (TarcherPerigee, $24, 9780399184987). She will also appear on Entertainment Tonight.

Live with Kelly: Carol Burnett, author of In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox (Crown Archetype, $28, 9781101904657). She will also appear on the Today Show and the Tonight Show.

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Justin Schmidt, author of The Sting of the Wild (Johns Hopkins University Press, $24.95, 9781421419282).

TV: Alias Grace; Queen of Shadows

David Cronenberg will join the cast of Alias Grace, the six-part Netflix miniseries that Sarah Polley (Stories We Tell, Take This Waltz) is adapting and producing from Margaret Atwood's novel, Indiewire reported. Directed by Mary Harron, the project also stars Sarah Gadon, Anna Paquin and Paul Gross. It will shoot in Ontario.


Hulu is developing Queen of Shadows, an epic fantasy adventure TV series based on the bestselling Throne of Glass book series by Sarah J. Maas. Deadline reported that the Mark Gordon Company "will serve as a studio on the project. Kira Snyder (The 100, The Handmaid's Tale) will write the adaptation, with Anna Foerster (Underworld: Blood Wars) set to direct the potential pilot episode."

Books & Authors

Awards: Edna Staebler Shortlist

The shortlist has been announced for the C$10,000 (about $7,670) Edna Staebler Award for Creative Nonfiction, which recognizes "authors of a first or second nonfiction book with a Canadian connection or setting," Quillblog reported. The winner will be named later this month. The shortlisted titles are:

That Lonely Section of Hell: The Botched Investigation of a Serial Killer Who Almost Got Away by Lori Shenher
The Prison Book Club by Ann Walmsley
The Right to Be Cold: One Woman's Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet by Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Book Review

Review: The Speed of Sound

The Speed of Sound: Breaking the Barriers Between Music and Technology: A Memoir by Thomas Dolby (Flatiron Books, $27.99 hardcover, 288p., 9781250071842, October 11, 2016)

In 1977, when many teens in London were trolling pawnshops for a cheap Fender Stratocaster, Thomas Dolby was dumpster diving behind the Electronic Music Studios lab, looking for discarded synthesizer soundboards. He struck gold when he found a stripped Transcendent 2000 and soldered in speakers and circuit boards: "Pitch, filter, wave form, white noise.... I had an actual living synthesizer under my sweaty fingertips, and it was mine, all mine, mwooah-ha-ha-haaa!" After four Grammy nominations for his album Aliens Ate My Buick, he left the world of music composition and performance in 1993 to found the digital tech company Headspace (later renamed Beatnik), which integrated music into digital games and invented the RMF (Rich Music Format) file that launched the now ubiquitous ringtone apps. Packed with meticulous detail from notebooks and journals, his engrossing memoir, The Speed of Sound, covers 40 years of music history as the industry transformed from powerful corporate record companies to a DIY, digital, direct-to-listener streaming cloud--from MCA and EMI to Pandora and Spotify.

A music and science nerd, he changed his name from Robertson to Dolby, after his boarding school nickname. His early synthesizer play in tiny clubs and pubs imitated bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees and Throbbing Gristle, but he soon moved into more mathematical arrangements and dystopian sci-fi lyrics. Self-deprecatingly, he notes that his fans "probably have an anorak and skin problems" and that "a Thomas Dolby gig wasn't exactly a toe-tapping night out." Success came first slowly, but then in a rush. He hooked up with Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, David Bowie, George Clinton--even Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir. Big music names drop fast and furious throughout Dolby's reflections on his performance years.

The second half of The Speed of Sound shifts into something of an entrepreneurial business primer. An aggressive promoter and innovative thinker, Dolby pitches his digital music to technology heavyweights like Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy. Venture capital pours in and he begins to partner up with the likes of Netscape and Sun, and does early TED talks when they were only for the hip elite who could afford to attend. But music is his first love, and after a good techie run, Dolby puts his trademark fedora back on and in the late 2000s creates the combination album, film and multiuser online game A Map of the Floating City. Rich in the details of every gig, band mate, song, tech toy, business contract, bed-sit and L.A. home, Dolby's memoir is a talented iconoclast's story of life in the fast lane of modern music and technology. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: Self-described as a "weedy little public-school boy who'd crossed the tracks," Dolby recounts his innovative life riding the leading waves of synthpop music and the digital audio revolution.


John Ingram Honored with BISG Award for Excellence

John Ingram, chairman of Ingram Content Group, has won the Book Industry Study Group's Award for Excellence, not a lifetime service award, as we erroneously reported on Friday. Our apologies for the confusion.

BISG is honoring Ingram for "leading his company and driving the transformation of Ingram Content Group--a comprehensive publishing industry services company with offerings that include physical book distribution, print on demand and digital services." He'll be honored at BISG's 40th anniversary annual meeting September 30 in New York City.

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