Also published on this date: Wednesday, February 22, 2017: Maximum Shelf: A Colony in a Nation

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, February 22, 2017

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!


New York Minute: New Store Updates

Books Are Magic, the bookstore that author Emma Straub and her husband, Michael Fusco, are opening in Brooklyn, N.Y., to fill the vacuum left by the closing of BookCourt at the end of last year, has found a location.

The store will be at 225 Smith St., at the corner of Butler, and is currently being renovated. Books Are Magic hopes to open this spring.


With only 24 days left in its Indiegogo campaign, the Lit. Bar, the bookstore and wine bar that Noëlle Santos plans to open in the Bronx, N.Y., has raised $72,000 toward its goal of $100,000. The contributions have come from 1,134 people, including filmmaker and author Michael Moore.

Recently Santos added two contributor gifts to the lineup: a hoodie with the slogan, "Read Or Else," for a $100 contribution, and a signed copy of The Obama Legacy by Mike Ducheine, "a book that ignores alternative facts in order to sketch a true picture of our 44th President," for a $45 contribution.

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

Schoenhof's to Close Physical Store in Cambridge, Mass.


After 161 years in business, Schoenhof's Foreign Books plans to close its bookstore in Cambridge, Mass., on March 25, the Harvard Crimson reported. The company, which describes itself as the "oldest and largest foreign language-only bookstore in the United States," was founded in Boston in 1856 and moved to Cambridge in the early 1900s. Schoenhof's will continue to do business through its online store.

Daniel Eastman, the company's general director, said in a press release that high rents in Harvard Square and competition from online booksellers prompted the decision: "In recent years a number of independent businesses have been driven out of the Square by the high rents, and Schoenhof's finds itself joining their ranks.... Our landlord has been quite helpful with us, quite helpful and supportive, but there is only so much that they can possibly do. There comes a point when what they're ready to concede and what we're able to give can't meet."

Eastman noted that Schoenhof's mission "has always been to provide access to the larger world through language learning materials and literature in the original. Given the present political and social climate, that mission becomes ever more meaningful.... We'd like to be able to take advantage, in a way, of having, say, the reduced expenses of our retail location, and invest that into having an amazing website that offers a complete experience, a complete customer experience as close to actually being in a bookstore without being able to be there, as well as offering the lowest possible pricing."

Denise A. Jillson, executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association, stressed the importance of consumers buying from their local retailers: "It's how much they care, and if they care, they will think twice before they go to Amazon to buy something. If they don't walk out of their dorm room or out of their home and into the Square and into a store to support that store--and I don't care whether it's a local, regional, national, or international--if you don't do that, the vibrancy of the Square or of any business district is jeopardized."

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

Dewey Joining Shreve Williams PR; Callahan Promoted at Little, Brown

Nicole Dewey

Nicole Dewey, v-p, associate publisher and executive director of publicity at Little, Brown, is leaving the company at the end of April to become managing director of Shreve Williams Public Relations, effective May 1. The company, founded by Elizabeth Shreve and Suzanne Williams 10 years ago, called the appointment "a strategic move... to expand its platform offering the combined experience of three former executive level publicity directors to drive effective and ambitious campaigns for books and their creators in a progressively competitive news climate."

Before joining Little, Brown in 2010, Dewey was executive director of publicity for Holt, publicity director for Doubleday and began her career at Seven Stories Press. She has worked with such authors as Malala Yousafzai, Tim Weiner, Atul Gawande, Jane Mayer, Hilary Mantel, Ian McEwan, Kate Atkinson, Amy Cuddy, Emma Donoghue, Malcolm Gladwell, Gwen Ifill, Jodi Kantor, Sally Mann, Stephenie Meyer, Edna O'Brien, J.K. Rowling and Maria Semple. She is also co-board president of the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses.

At the same time, Sabrina Callahan has been promoted to executive director of publicity at Little, Brown, effective immediately. She joined the company in 2007 and has worked with such authors as James Patterson, Michael Connelly, Daniel Woodrell, Elizabeth Kostova, Lawrence Block, Uwem Akpan and Robert Wright.

Shreve said Dewey "brings not only her deep and varied experience, her monster intellect, and her great love of books but she brings the entrepreneurial vision that we need and want at this time for our company."

Williams added: "Nicole has been both friend and colleague to us throughout much of her impressive career. Her knowledge of the business of publishing and the media, paired with her passion for the authors and books, is both refreshing and inspiring."

CBW Event Location Registration Deadline Nears

The March 1 online registration deadline is approaching for independent booksellers and libraries to sign up to be a Children's Book Week official event location.

Children's Book Week takes place May 1-7 this year. There will be a display contest with 50 winners, and a bookstore or library's participation counts toward a donation to kids in need. In return, participating event locations agree to host a CBW story time, activity hour or author/illustrator event, and possibly a "voting booth" for kids and teens to help choose the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards.

Participants also will receive official 2017 Book Week display/activity posters (illustrated by Christian Robinson), downloadable resources including Book Week bookmarks with original art by four prominent illustrators, voting ballots, a press release template and more.

Bookstores and libraries can register online and they will be listed on a national event map and be part of a national publicity campaign. For more information or to register by March 1, go to Contact with any questions.

Two Very Different Bookstores Grow in Georgia

"That idea of creative placemaking, the idea that when you can get a book anywhere, a bookstore has to be an experience, that happened by accident at Underground Books," said Josh Niesse, who owns Underground Books in Carrollton, Ga., and Hills & Hamlets Bookshop in Palmetto, Ga., with his wife, Megan Bell. "For Hills & Hamlets, it was at the forefront of our thinking."

The staff at Underground Books: Megan Bell, Joe Niesse, Miranda McMillan, Maria Grant and Nicole Bettis

Underground Books is an approximately 1,800-square-foot, predominantly used bookstore in a basement-level space on Carrollton's historic town square. Niesse opened the store in March 2011, after an online used-book business he started a few years earlier had grown into a full-time job. He hadn't planned to open a bricks-and-mortar store, he recalled, but after seeing the space and the foot traffic around it, he couldn't pass it up. At the time, Bell was majoring in English at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton.

"A friend told me a new bookstore had opened," Bell said. "We went to take a look, and I basically never left."

A couple of years after the store opened, the building came up for sale, and Niesse and Bell used a crowdfunding campaign to raise $10,000 to purchase their space, along with the adjacent unit, which doubled the store's square footage, from 900 to 1,800. Despite the increase in size, the store's focus remained firmly on used, rare and antiquarian books. One of the store's primary fixtures is an archway made of books, and Niesse and Ball frequently use old books that are too damaged to sell to create things like journals, buttons, magnets and other sidelines. About 10% of the store's inventory now consists of new books, mostly either scholarly titles or unconventional things such as surrealist cookbooks.

"There's a new bookstore in town nearby that we have made efforts to not compete with directly," explained Niesse. "We don't have a lot of frontlist bestsellers."

Bell and Niesse at Hills and Hamlets

In October 2016, Bell and Niesse opened Hills & Hamlets Bookshop in a small, planned community called Serenbe, in Palmetto, Ga., about 40 minutes from Underground Books and 20 minutes from Atlanta's international airport. The Serenbe community is centered on and planned by the Serenbe Institute, a nonprofit focusing on sustainable urban living, environmentalism and the arts. At the center of the community is a 25-acre organic farm, as well as an outdoor theater called the Serenbe Playhouse. There is also an Artist in Residence program that brings a new artist to Serenbe roughly every four weeks. Currently the community has about 400 full-time residents and is projected to grow to more than 1,000; it is a frequent day-trip destination for people in the Atlanta area.

In much the same way that Niesse had never planned on opening the first store, Niesse and Bell hadn't planned on opening a second store. But after visiting the Serenbe community and spending time there, they felt that they couldn't pass up the opportunity. Underground Books was five years old at the time and a stable business so he and Bell could afford to experiment with something new.

"It felt like it needed a bookstore," said Niesse, of the community. "Things just kind of fell into place."

"It's a small community, but a very dedicated one," added Bell.

Though it is owned and operated by the same two people, Hills & Hamlets has a very different identity from its older sister store. The inventory is predominantly new, with a good deal of frontlist fiction. There are also sections devoted to each of Serenbe's core principles, including arts, agriculture, developmental health and wellness, and education. There are lots of families in the Serenbe community, and children's has been one of the store's strongest sections. Sales in the store's poetry section are also particularly robust. Most of the community's artists-in-residence also have books of their own, which Bell and Niesse frequently stock. At 600 square feet, there isn't much space to spare, so most of Hills & Hamlets events are off-site. And while Underground Books has its archway of old books to wow visitors, Hills & Hamlets has "gorgeous" custom-built shelves.

Niesse and Bell reported that despite having five years of experience operating a bookstore, going from used books to new has had a steeper learning curve than they expected. They've gone to Paz & Associates workshops and training sessions and worked to get the hang of Edelweiss. Staying on top of new releases has taken some getting used to, and the amount of special order business that they've been getting has been "wonderful but a little overwhelming." Their current major project is getting an IndieCommerce site up and running. As for future projects, Niesse and Bell are mulling offering their customers subscription services.

Despite the sometimes very different details of running a used bookstore and a new bookstore, the core of both businesses is largely the same, and Niesse and Bell understand the importance of cultivating community and creating a compelling third place.

"A box store could be anywhere in the world, and the Internet is absolutely placeless," said Bell. "The greatest asset small businesses have is their space." --Alex Mutter

Obituary Note: Rose Joseph

Magic Tree owner Beth Albrecht flanked by Iris Yipp (l.) and Rose Joseph, in 2015.

Rose Joseph, former co-owner of the Magic Tree Bookstore in Oak Park, Ill., died February 11, the Chicago Tribune reported. At a memorial held for her last Friday, "there were more attendees than there were chairs," according to Iris Yipp, who founded the store with Joseph in 1984.

"Rose was amazing. I can't say enough good things about her," said Beth Albrecht, who bought Magic Tree from Joseph and Yipp in 2015. "I'm just trying to keep, to tend this beautiful thing they created."

Yipp recalled that they wanted to open a neighborhood place and decided on a multicultural bookstore. "We kind of created this wonderful space where families could come," she said. "It was sort of more than a store."

"She really had an eye for the opportunity," said Aaron Joseph, her son. A multicultural children's bookstore "was something that was not represented in the market when we were kids, in the '70s and '80s.... She was an interesting woman, because in many ways, she was a revolutionary... but she had none of the aggressive personality that sometimes accompanies that."

"She touched so many lives: children and whole families," said Albrecht, whose own children grew up visiting the book shop. "I hope I'm half as good at this as she was.... Her creative spirit lives on in the store."


Image of the Day: Harlem Literary Brunch

At the annual Harlem Literary Brunch, held this year on February 10 (from l.): literary agent Laura Dail; Dawn Davis, v-p and publisher of 37INK/Simon & Schuster; and Erica Armstrong Dunbar, author of Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge. The event was sponsored by Morgan Stanley.

Ernest & Hadley Booksellers 'Caters to Diverse Tastes'

Ernest and Hadley Booksellers in Tuscaloosa, Ala., which opened in December, "offers a wide variety of books and caters to diverse tastes," the University of Alabama's student newspaper Crimson White reported. The bookshop "was born from the idea that all quality books, whether topping the New York Times bestseller list or not, deserve to have a place on bookstore shelves and in the hands of an interested reader. This philosophy becomes apparent to anyone who cares to slip inside and take a look." Mother and daughter co-owners Easty Lambert-Brown and Avery Leopard "strive to shape the store into a perfect fit for the Tuscaloosa community."

"We've found that even though it's small, there is usually something for everybody because we have very carefully curated it for this community," Lambert-Brown said. "These books may not work in another community. It's just something that we've pulled together because of what we have gleaned from how people think and learn."

'What Is a Curated Bookstore?'

"What is a Curated Bookstore?" Linda Kass, owner of Gramercy Books, a "carefully curated neighborhood bookstore" in Bexley, Ohio, addressed that question with book club members and staff recently, then shared her findings on the store's blog.

One of her customers likened the role to that of a museum curator, "so that with which I am unfamiliar becomes more understandable to me.... I would hope to rely on the knowledge of the staff as to the store’s inventory, as well as the particulars of some authors. I like the feeling of walking into a space that's curated because I anticipate learning something. There’s a human exchange of thought."

Gramercy Books general manager John Gaylord, store manager Debra Boggs and Kass agreed "that it is about selection--careful selection, personal selection. We like the book. We believe our customers will like it. We believe that it is important. We might believe that it will positively impact the community.

"A bookseller can't read every book, so curation becomes intuitive: the owners and manager stock books they think customers will enjoy. We curate alongside a rich offering of bestsellers and recent releases. We curate within the broad range of books we carry... As Ruth suggested, we include those books we might want in our personal library. And we hand sell those books that we've read and that have touched us. Eventually our customers rely on, and trust, our recommendations. As we like to say at Gramercy Books: Come here if you're seeking. We'll help you find it."

Personnel Changes at Sasquatch Books

At Sasquatch Books:

Executive sales director Jenny Abrami has added responsibilities as associate publisher of Little Bigfoot, the company's children's imprint.

Corinna Scott has been promoted to senior publicity and marketing manager for adult titles. She was formerly senior publicist, adult titles.

Richael Best has joined the company as marketing and publicity coordinator, for adult titles. She was formerly a bookseller at the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle.

Micah Nemerever has joined the company as sales and marketing assistant. She was formerly a librarian in both public and academic libraries.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Paul Beatty on Late Night with Seth Meyers

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Paul Beatty, author of The Sellout: A Novel (Picador, $16, 9781250083258).


Matt Charman (Bridge of Spies) has been attached as lead writer to adapt Henry Hemming's upcoming nonfiction book, M: Maxwell Knight, MI5's Greatest Spymaster, about "one of the inspirations for the spy chief in Ian Fleming's James Bond novels," Deadline reported.

Producer Mammoth Screen (Poldark, Victoria) acquired rights to the book, which will be published by Preface in the U.K. on May 4 and by PublicAffairs in the U.S. on May 9 (under the title Agent M: The Lives and Spies of MI5's Maxwell Knight). The company is "eyeing a multi-part drama series," Deadline wrote.

Books & Authors

Awards: Rilke for Poetry; Lukas, Lynton; Pol Roger Duff Cooper

Wayne Miller won the $10,000 University of North Texas Rilke Prize for Post- (Milkweed Editions). The prize "recognizes a book written by a mid-career poet and published in the preceding year that demonstrates exceptional artistry and vision."

The judges also selected three finalists for this year's Rilke Prize: Christopher Bakken's Eternity & Oranges (University of Pittsburgh Press), Ruth Ellen Kocher's Third Voice (Tupelo Press), and Dana Levin's Banana Palace (Copper Canyon Press).


The shortlists for the 2017 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize and the Mark Lynton History Prize, sponsored by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, can be seen here. Winners and runners-up will be announced March 27 and be presented at a ceremony on May 2 at Columbia.


Christopher de Hamel won the £5,000 (about $6,225) Pol Roger Duff Cooper Prize, which "celebrates the best in nonfiction writing," for his book Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts. Organizers noted that in his acceptance speech, de Hamel told the audience that "many medieval scribes ended the arduous business of copying a book with the words, 'Explicit hoc totum, Pro christo, Da mihi potum'; which he translated as 'Here ends the whole thing, For Christ's sake, give me a drink'--words that raised much laughter, and many champagne glasses."

Midwest Connections March Picks

From the Midwest Booksellers Association, three recent Midwest Connections Picks. Under this marketing program, the association and member stores promote booksellers' handselling favorites that have a strong Midwest regional appeal:

The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler (Ecco/HarperCollins, $26.99, 9780062469687). "An epic novel of intertwining friendships and families set in the Northwoods of Wisconsin at a beloved Boy Scout summer camp, The Hearts of Men is a sweeping, panoramic novel about the slippery definitions of good and evil, family and fidelity, the challenges and rewards of lifelong friendships, the bounds of morality and redemption. The backdrop is the beautiful landscape of rural and small-town Wisconsin, where Butler was raised and now lives with his wife and two children."

Setting Free the Kites by Alex George (Penguin Books, $27, 9780399162107). "Honest and heartfelt, with echoes of novels by Wally Lamb and John Irving, Setting Free the Kites is both a poignant coming-of-age story and a moving family drama that explores the terrible costs of misplaced hope."

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel (Crown, $25, 9781101906668). "Vowing to discover the fate of her missing cousin, a woman returns to her family's Kansas estate where she spent one haunting summer as a teen, and where she discovered the dark heart of the Roanoke clan that left her no choice but to run."

Book Review

YA Review: Beck

Beck by Mal Peet, Meg Rosoff (Candlewick, $17.99 hardcover, 272p., ages 14-adult, 9780763678425, April 11, 2017)

Mal Peet--British author of the Carnegie Medal-winning Tamar, Keeper, The Murdstone Trilogy and more--died in 2015 before he could finish Beck, a YA/adult novel about an English orphan who is sent to Canada in the early 20th century. Printz-winning, London-dwelling author Meg Rosoff (How I Live Now; There Is No Dog) either offered to finish Peet's novel or he asked her... she "can't remember." "If Mal had been alive," she says, "I'd have phoned him every ten minutes to ask if it was okay to change something here, edit something there.... Instead, I was left to raise the baby as my own--with the invaluable help of Mal's wife and creative partner, Elspeth Graham." In the end, she states, "Beck is Mal's book. Like all his work, it's bold and compassionate, unsparing, moving, and joyously, mordantly funny."

The story begins when Beck's mother meets his father in 1907 Liverpool. Beck's mother, a devout Catholic named Anne Beck, "was not a prostitute but in times of need, short of other forms of employment, she would sell herself to men." Beck's father, a man from Africa's "Gold Coast" whose ship had docked in England, was eating a potato on the street when Anne came by: "He was handsome and she was hungry." Eleven years later, on her deathbed, Anne would squeeze her hazel-eyed, brown-skinned son's hand, not knowing he'd soon be taken to the "dire and loveless" Catholic orphanage to become "a hard little bastard," and certainly not knowing he'd be shipped across the ocean in 1922 to a Christian Brotherhood home in Montreal.

Beck's fate is hard to stomach: Peet's story is as "unsparing" as Rosoff says. The boy the priests disturbingly nickname "Chocolat" is locked in a room with the lascivious, pink-eyed, naked-in-a-bathtub Brother Robert, then caned--and much worse--for violently resisting him. Beck is sent off once again, this time as slave labor, to work on a remote Ontario farm where he's made to sleep in the barn with the animals. It sounds brutal, and it is, but young adults are likely to see a gleam of hope in the fierce, brave Beck, who won't let himself be whipped twice. "I fookin' hate 'em," he tells the inspector from the Home Boys' Society, not long before seizing his chance to run away.

Beck ends up heading south to Windsor, near the Detroit River, and lands in the home of a "soft as warmed-up snow" Prohibition-era bootlegger and his kind and beautiful girlfriend, a black couple who, finally, give the young man "the tiniest inkling of the faintest possibility of a life that wasn't simply one hell followed by another...." Forced to resume his grim odyssey across Canada, he encounters another big-hearted, stunning older woman who makes him feel that "faint possibility"--and much more--a half-Scottish, half Siksika (Blackfoot) woman named Grace McAllister who may save him yet again.

Whether a hardened heart can--or should--leave itself vulnerable to love is brilliantly explored in this powerful, vividly told, beautifully written collaboration. --Karin Snelson, children's & YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: Mal Peet began this exquisite YA novel about an English orphan shipped off to Canada in 1922; after his death, Printz-winning author Meg Rosoff finished it.

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