Also published on this date: Wednesday, September 21, 2016: Maximum Shelf: The Word Detective

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Disney Lucasfilm Press: Star Wars: The High Republic Path of Deceit by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland

Ballantine Books: Central Places by Delia Cai

MIT Press: Rethinking Gender: An Illustrated Exploration by Louie Läuger

Holiday House: Owl and Penguin (I Like to Read Comics) by Vikram Madan; Noodleheads Take it Easy by Tedd Arnold, Martha Hamilton, and Mitch Weiss

Blackstone Publishing: Ezra Exposed by Amy E. Feldman

Clavis: Fall Preview


AAP Sales: March Down 3%; First Quarter Off 2.7%

In March, total net book sales fell 3%, to $501.8 million, compared to March 2015, representing sales of 1,219 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers.

For the first quarter of the year, total net book sales fell 2.7%, to $2.13 billion. The biggest drops in sales during the first three months of the year came in mass market, off 25.5%, adult e-books, down 19%, and adult hardcovers, off 16.1%. Adult paperbacks eked out a gain of 1.5%.

In March, adult hardcovers, mass market and adult e-book sales were down by nearly identical levels (18.2%, 18.8% and 18.6%, respectively), while adult paperbacks inched up 0.9%. Downloaded audio again had the best results, with sales rising 34.4%. Higher ed sales improved in an unusual way: although there was a net loss for the month because of high returns, the net loss was smaller than in March 2015.



Ebony Magazine Publishing: Black Hollywood: Reimagining Iconic Movie Moments by Carell Augustus

Cincinnati's Smith & Hannon Bookstore Moves into Museum

Smith & Hannon Bookstore, the Cincinnati, Ohio, African American bookstore, has moved from Bond Hill into the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The bookstore is on the first floor of the museum; admission to the museum is not required to visit the bookstore.

"Smith & Hannon Bookstore will continue to be an accessible resource to the local community at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center," founder Joyce Smith said. "Now its reach will extend to readers of every age and background, extending the joy of reading and learning to a new generation of readers and future authors."

Clarence G. Newsome, president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, commented: "We are elated to be the new home of Smith & Hannon Bookstore. It is important that we continue the tradition that Mrs. Smith began ... by providing the community with access to such an invaluable resource. People of all walks of life will be exposed to the great works of many African-American authors, as well as connect with up and coming authors."

The store was founded in 2001 when Smith retired after 30 years of teaching and administering in public and parochial schools. With the store, she aimed, the Enquirer wrote, "to create a community space where readers of every age could meet to read, connect and gain exposure and access to African American literature and authors."

University of California Press: Dictee (Second Edition, Reissue, Restored);  Exilee and Temps Morts: Selected Works (First Edition, Reissue) by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

Amazon to Charge Sales Tax in D.C.

Customers who live in the District of Columbia will have to start paying a 5.75% sales tax on Amazon orders starting next month, "though the reason why is a bit of a mystery," WTOP reported, noting that the online retailer "has made voluntary tax collection agreements with other states in the past, but the District would not confirm any agreement with Amazon."

Amazon confirmed the move in a statement, saying the company "will be required to collect sales tax in Washington, D.C., beginning on October 1."

In a piece headlined "A sure sign Amazon wants a D.C. store: It plans to finally collect sales taxes," the Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, noted that the company "has enlisted the brokerage firm KLNB to scout places to open in D.C."

"If Amazon opens a store they will be subject to District tax law, including the requirements regarding collection and remittance of sales tax, the same as any other retailer in the District," said David Umansky, spokesman for D.C. Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey S. DeWitt. "In addition, if Amazon opens a store in the District, sales taxes would be applicable to all Amazon products delivered to the District. Vendors on Amazon selling products delivered in the District will be subject to the taxes applicable to them."

Blair: A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter by Carolyn Hays

Obituary Note: D. Keith Mano

D. Keith Mano, a conservative Christian writer known for exploring the "problems and passions of Christianity in the modern world," died September 14, the New York Times reported. He was 74 and had complications related to Parkinson's disease.

Perhaps best known for his 1982 novel Take Five, about the fall of a New York filmmaker named Simon Lynxx, Mano began his writing career in 1968 with Bishop's Progress. The novel told of a struggle between an Episcopal bishop and Beelzebub disguised as a surgeon, and over the next five years Mano wrote five more novels: Horn, War Is Heaven, The Death and Life of Harry Goth, The Proselytizer and The Bridge. Take Five took Mano nine years to write, and though it was well regarded by critics the novel was not a commercial success (it was reissued by Dalkey Archive Press in 1998; his other novels are out of print). He would not publish another novel until 1990's Topless, about an Episcopal priest who winds up running his brother's New York City topless bar. Mano also had an extensive career as a journalist, writing for Playboy, the National Review, the New York Times Book Review and more, and later in life wrote both for the stage and television.

According to the Times, Mano "once boasted that he was the one person whom the sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer considered too dirty to talk to," and "accepted the label of Christian pornographer."

Graphic Mundi - Psu Press: Hakim's Odyssey by Fabien Toulme and Hanna Chute

The Lit. Bar's Big Step Toward Opening in the South Bronx

Noëlle Santos, a human resources director and accountant in New York City, has won second place in the New York Public Library's 2016 StartUP! Business Plan Competition for the Lit. Bar, an independent bookstore and wine bar she plans to open in the South Bronx in 2017. The second place prize comes with an award of $7,500; Santos was one of 10 finalists, selected from a field that began with 360 applicants.

"I am overwhelmed with joy and gratitude," said Santos, who received the award at a ceremony on September 12. The StartUp competition began almost a year ago, and required her to attend an orientation session and at least three out of four technical workshops between January and April, meet regularly with a business adviser, and upload a completed business plan in June. Santos learned she was a finalist in July.

"It was stressful at times--okay, most of the time," continued Santos. Every stage of the process brought its own anxieties and new questions that she needed to research and answer creatively. "Besides the money, I've earned an awesome business plan, and now relationships with the New York Public Library and other advisers who will continue to support me. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't take home the grand prize, but I'm super proud of myself."

Nicole Sullivan (left) and Noelle Santos

Nicole Sullivan, the owner of BookBar in Denver, Colo., attended the awards ceremony with Santos last Tuesday. Sullivan, Santos explained, has been her mentor for approximately two years, ever since Santos decided to open an independent bookstore of her own. And in fact, Sullivan was in New York and able to attend because she was an honoree for another award--the Frankfurt Book Fair and PW's Stars to Watch program--and Santos was her plus-one at that event.

"Before I went anywhere, I called Nicole Sullivan," Santos recalled. "She helped me navigate this whole journey. I was thrilled to finally meet her in person and share this experience with her."

Santos's path toward opening an independent bookstore began in October 2014, when she signed a petition to keep the local Barnes & Noble, the borough's only bookstore of any kind, open for business. She had shopped there for years, out of convenience and because she liked it, without realizing that it was the only bookstore in the Bronx.

"I didn't realize just how underserved we were," Santos recalled. It was at that point that she realized her calling in life was to bring a "sustainable, independent bookstore to the Bronx."

Santos has narrowed the search for a location to two sites, one that's 2,500 square feet and another that's 4,000 square feet. At minimum, she plans to have 1,000 square feet devoted to book inventory, with at least 500 square feet for the bar. The store's interior will be decorated with chandeliers and graffiti, and the inventory will include books from all sorts of genres, which Santos plans to organize in some unorthodox ways--one of the sections she's thinking of creating would be called "25 Families Crazier Than Yours." She's considering having a small children's section, which she said she's seen work at other bookstore bars, including BookBar and Spotty Dog Books & Ale in Hudson, N.Y. "It would be more of a children's nook than a full children's section," she added.

One of Santos's major goals is to create a consignment program for local authors in the Bronx, and she would be happy if the consignment program eventually constituted as much as 20% of her book inventory. Explained Santos: "There's a huge lit community here, but no way for them to monetize their work."

While the focus of the consignment program will be local authors, some local artists will be featured as well. It won't be anything on the scale of the author program, but Santos said that she liked the idea of being able to both display and sell local art and photography. In terms of other non-book, non-wine items, she wants a lot of fun sidelines that promote the Bronx and its history. In some respects, she wants the store to be a bit of a Bronx gift shop.

"We have gift shops here but they're all Yankees things," said Santos. "There's nothing that celebrates art or hip hop or the other things that happen here that aren't the Yankees."

Santos plans to have a selection of about a dozen wines, with several reds, a few whites and a couple of dessert wines. The target market for the Lit. Bar, Santos said, consists of people who drink socially but may not necessarily be connoisseurs. The bar will also have a selection of light bites and small appetizers, things that can be made with a panini press or commercial microwave. Santos also plans to carry some coffee offerings, but doesn't want the Lit. Bar to turn into a coffee shop.

Perhaps her favorite part of the whole process thus far has been coming up with ideas for events, Santos said. In addition to traditional author events, readings and storytime sessions on Saturday mornings, she'd like to host regular happy hours, date nights, ladies' nights, and even things like makeup or interior design tutorial sessions. The Bronx is currently going through significant demographic changes as certain areas gentrify, and Santos hopes to host the kinds of events "where people can actually become neighbors" and ease some of that tension.

Santos expects to be fully funded by January and open in spring 2017. In the meantime, she'll continue to look for prospective homes and search for both a bookstore manager and a bar manager. Throughout this entire process, Santos reflected, she's received the most amazing feedback from the community, one that wants to preserve Bronx culture during a time of transformation and also combat the negative conceptions many people still have about the Bronx.

"We're thriving," Santos said. "It's not the Bronx that everyone thinks has been burning since the '70s. Everyone wants a bookstore badly, and an independent bookstore specifically. People here are very aware of the importance of shopping local and what bookstores do for the social fabric of a community." --Alex Mutter


Image of the Day: Reading Ada Twist to Budding STEM Students

Author Andrea Beaty celebrates STEM and girl smarts as she reads her new book, Ada Twist, Scientist (Abrams Books for Young Readers), to a packed house at Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, N.C. Released September 6, this companion to Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer was, the publisher says proudly, the fastest-selling new picture book of the year and an instant #1 New York Times bestseller.

Mitchell Kaplan Wins ArtestMiami Award

Mitchell Kaplan

Congratulations to Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books and co-founder of the Miami Book Fair International, who has won the ArtesMiami Lydia Cabrera Award, which honors "individuals who have made a significant contribution to the cultural development of South Florida."

He will be presented the $1,000 prize and a ceramic artwork at a luncheon on October 14. The luncheon will be presented by U.S. Century Bank, one of the top 10 Hispanic-owned community banks in the U.S. The award is named in memory of Lydia Cabrera, writer and expert in Afro-Cuban culture.

Kaplan commented, "I am very pleased to receive this recognition from ArtesMiami and to be the first non-Hispanic award recipient. I love this community, where I was born and raised, and its multicultural richness. What we have done at Books & Books is to give back to all the many who support our independent bookstores. I thank ArtesMiami for this great honor, which places me in very good company."

Dr. Aida Levitan, ArtesMiami founder and president, said, "Mitchell Kaplan has dedicated his life to keeping alive the literature and culture of our community and nation. Thanks to his vision and his passion for the arts, Kaplan has enabled South Florida writers and artists to shine at Books & Books and the Miami Book Fair International. We especially want to thank him for his support of many Hispanic poets and writers who have been invited to present their works at his bookstore."

Luis de la Aguilera, president and CEO of U.S. Century Bank, said, "This award is essential because it highlights the position of Miami as a major cultural center thanks to leaders like Mitchell Kaplan, one of the great promoters of literature and art in South Florida. U.S. Century Bank supports and appreciates ArtesMiami because this organization enriches our cultural environment."

30 Years of Friendship and Bookselling

At the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, in Albany, N.Y., book buyer Susan Taylor and children's manager Kathleen Carey are celebrating 30 years of bookselling together this year.

Taylor was already working at Waldenbooks in Latham in 1986 when Carey, fresh from high school graduation, started her first job there. Taylor taught her the ropes, then, when she moved on a few years later to the Book House, she recommended Carey to owner Susan Novotny as a children's lit expert. From chain stores to independents, from Handling Sin to Harry Potter (and countless book recommendations in-between), the pair have enjoyed 30 years of friendship and bookselling, happy to have spent most of it at the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, which is going strong after 42 years. They especially enjoy manning the Troy store--Market Block Books--on Troy Night Out. If you ask them how they're doing, they'll most likely reply, "Just ducky!"

Pictured: Susan Taylor and Kathleen Carey at Market Block books last year during Troy Night Out (wearing T-shirts from San Francisco's Green Apple Books on the Park), the other taken 30 years ago--exhausted from doing chain store inventory. 

Personnel Changes at Chronicle Books

Amy Kosar has joined Chronicle Books as distribution client account manager. Most recently, she worked at Photojojo as general manager.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Fresh Air Remembers Edward Albee

Fresh Air remembers playwright Edward Albee, who died last Friday.

Diane Rehm: Candice Millard, author of Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill (Doubleday, $30, 9780385535731).

Books & Authors

Awards: Rooney Prize; Kirkus Finalists; Cundill Longlist

Poet Doireann Ní Ghríofa won the €10,000 (about $11,180) Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, Ireland's oldest literary award, which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary, the Irish Times reported. Ireland Chair of Poetry and selection committee member Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin described the winner as  "a poet to watch, with a fresh view of the world: apparently ordinary houses, shops, common objects and activities. The sureness of her touch and the skill with which she handles language and shapes her poems are almost invisible, but it is through them that she achieves the feat of making us look again at the usual and illuminates its pulsating strangeness."


Finalists have been chosen for the 2016 Kirkus Prize. Winners in three categories, each of whom receives $50,000, will be announced on November 3.


The longlist for the $75,000 Cundill Prize in Historical Literature, administered by McGill University in Montreal, consists of:

Mary Beard for SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome (Liveright)
Robert J. Gordon for The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living since the Civil War (Princeton University Press)
Thomas W. Laqueur for The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remain (Princeton University Press)
Philippe Sands for East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
David Wootton for The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution (Stuart Proffitt)
Andrea Wulf for The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt's New World (Knopf, John Murray Publishers)

Three finalists will be announced in early October; the winner will be announced on November 17.

Reading with... Michelle Tea

photo: Gretchen Sayers

Michelle Tea is the author of five memoirs: The Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption of One Girl in America, Valencia (now a film), The Chelsea Whistle, Rent Girl (illustrated) and How to Grow Up. Her novels include Mermaid in Chelsea CreekGirl at the Bottom of the Sea and Rose of No Man's LandBlack Wave (Amethyst Editions/The Feminist Press, September 13, 2016) is a dystopic memoir-fiction hybrid.

On your nightstand now:

Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend. OBSESSED.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I loved reading Lois Duncan's scary YA books when I was just a little bit too young for them. Daughters of Eve, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Down a Dark Hall.

Your top five authors:

Eileen Myles, James Baldwin, Ali Liebegott, Justin Chin, Lynda Barry.

Book you've faked reading:

Hahaha! When I was in second grade I wanted to win the library reading contest so bad, I signed up to compete in many different categories. Including dinosaurs. I had no interest in dinosaurs, and was embarrassed--the librarian had suggested I was signing up for too much reading, and I was insulted that she doubted my skillz. But she was right. I lied to her about reading them, and I won! I won a Crayola mug set, where you drew pictures on long strips of paper and put them into your mug. Is this even interesting? Anyway I was so riddled with guilt I couldn't sleep and finally confessed to my mother. I couldn't return the prize because I'd already used it, so I had to actually read all the boring dinosaur books.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Eileen Myles's Chelsea Girls. It changed my life and taught me how to believe in myself as a writer.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Darcey Steinke's Jesus Saves. And then the book murdered my heart. It's so good, I'm still haunted by it.

Book you hid from your parents:

I would steal my mom's books and read and hide them. Jackie Collins's Hollywood Wives, Jacqueline Susann's Once Is Not Enough and the My Secret Garden women's fantasies books!

Book that changed your life:

The Outsiders changed my life because it took the experience of being working class, or broke, and cast it in a romantic, literary, noble light. It blew my mind. The beginning and end of Black Wave pays homage to it, and I've written and talked about it elsewhere.

Favorite line from a book:

"These exotic revelations bubbled up involuntarily and I began to understand that the sleeplessness and the vigilance and constant feedings were a form of brainwashing, a process by which my old self was being molded, slowly but with a steady force, into a new shape: a mother." --The First Bad Man by Miranda July

Five books you'll never part with:

Chelsea Girls by Eileen Myles, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, Cruddy by Lynda Barry and The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot.

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

The First Bad Man by Miranda July.

Unpublished manuscripts you have read this month:

Since I Laid My Burden Down by Brontez Purnell (forthcoming, Amethyst Editions/Feminist Press), Like a Dog by Tara Jepsen (forthcoming, Sister Spit Books/City Lights), I'll Tell You in Person by Chloe Caldwell (forthcoming, Coffee House Press), DNA Hymn by Annah Anti-Palindrome (Sibling Rivalry Press) and The Cruelty Men by Emer Martin.

Book Review

YA Review: Still Life with Tornado

Still Life with Tornado by A.S. King (Dutton, $17.99 hardcover, 304p., ages 14-up, 9781101994887, October 11, 2016)

It can be paralyzing for anyone to be told there are no original ideas, yet that's exactly what Miss Smith the art teacher tells 16-year-old Sarah's high school class. Sarah's friend Carmen insists her freshly drawn still life of a tornado is "original," but Sarah says it's just a funnel. Miss Smith's bleak outlook shakes Sarah deeply; before she knows it, she's quit school and is on her way to City Hall to change her name to Umbrella. But even that bold act, she imagines, is probably not too original.

Printz Honor author A.S. King (Please Ignore Vera Dietz; I Crawl Through It) paints a brilliant portrait of a teenaged Philadelphia artist having a full-on existential crisis. Over the years, Sarah has become numb to her parents' obvious mutual contempt, barely veiled in "a lifelong game of charades," and she misses her older brother, Bruce, who fled to Oregon six years ago after a traumatic family vacation in Mexico. Beyond all that, this notion of wanting to be "original" has gotten under Sarah's skin. She worries about being dull. She wants to be a unique "snowflake," or the human equivalent of "Spain" or more like the homeless artist she calls "Alleged Earl" who angrily throws imaginary fruit at people and whose art--sidewalk chalk art smeared with his own torn-up fingers--is a "temper tantrum." After she quits school, Sarah follows Alleged Earl around obsessively until he gets his son to tell her to stop.

As she wanders the streets of Philadelphia, she's occasionally joined by a 10-year-old version of herself (a less numb one) and sometimes a 23-year-old version of herself (one less concerned with originality) and, later, a 40-year-old one who is "a lot cooler." They aren't hallucinations--her mother can see them, too. The 10-year-old Sarah remembers the heart-wrenching Mexico details that teenaged Sarah has blocked out, and bit by bit, in flashbacks, readers see how that fateful vacation played out as the "waves of crap just crashed and crashed." Sarah starts to remember her broken parents drinking too many Mango Tangos, a broken-down tourist bus, the unimaginable word divorce and, always, her abusive father's rage, anger that can smell like "trash day in mid-August."

As Sarah says, "I tell the truth slowly. I think that's how the truth shows up sometimes. Slowly." So that is how the reader is fed Sarah's narrative, including the whole story of why she really quit school. Chapters from Sarah's mother's perspective round out the novel, and the other Sarahs help put the puzzle together, too, providing a fascinating philosophical perspective on what it means to grow up and become less and less "psychic," less "holy." King's ingeniously crafted, deeply engaging Still Life with Tornado will have readers by the collar the whole time as Sarah comes to see that her family is more tornado than still life. --Karin Snelson, children's & YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: In this superb YA novel, Printz Honor author A.S. King turns her surrealistic sensibilities to a 16-year-old girl who is in the midst of an existential crisis.

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