Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Chronicle Books: Stella & Marigold by Annie Barrows, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Poisoned Pen Press: The Boyfriend by Frieda McFadden

St. Martin's Press: Disney High: The Untold Story of the Rise and Fall of Disney Channel's Tween Empire

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Graphix: 39 Clues: One False Note (39 Clues Graphic Novel #2) by Gordon Korman, Illustrated by Hannah Templer

Quotation of the Day

'My Book-Loving Village Friends'

Pam Grath

"What does it take for a small independent bookstore to survive? It takes hard work, perseverance, sacrifice--and it takes a village of friends who love books and are eager and willing to support a bookstore.

"My heart overflows with gratitude for my book-loving village friends! You are the secret to my success!"

--Pamela Grath, owner of Dog Ears Books, Northport, Mich., in a blog post headlined "It Took a Village"

Peachtree: The Littlest Yak: Home Is Where the Herd Is by Lu Fraser, Illustrated by Kate Hindley


Bookstore Sales Rebound in March, Up 2.4%

March bookstore sales rose 2.4%, to $725 million, compared to March 2016, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. This marks the first gain after three months of bookstore sales drops, going back to November 2016. For the first three months of the year, bookstore sales have slipped 1%, to $2.8 billion, compared to the first three months of 2016.

Total retail sales in March rose 4.8%, to $484.1 billion. For the year to date, total retail sales have risen 3.7%, to $1,327.6 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing new books."

Coconut Grove, Fla., Bookstore Will Close If Not Sold Soon

The Bookstore in the Grove, Coconut Grove, Fla., is for sale and will close by the end of June if a buyer can't be found, the Coconut Grove Grapevine reported. The store is "not a failing business," the site wrote; owner Felice Dubin "just wants to move on." The store has put on many events, has a thriving café and is much beloved in the community.

Dubin and Sandy Francis founded the store in 2007. The Coconut Grove Grapevine wrote: "The whole purpose of the store was to replace Borders books, which was at the Mayfair for so many years. When they closed, Felice Dubin and Sandy Francis stepped in to give the Grove a bookstore. It was/is a labor of love for them. It was something that they gave back to the community...

"Here's hoping another book store in the area can take over the Grove Bookstore or a business with a community spirit in mind can take it over and run it. It would be a shame to let this gem disappear with so much of the rest of Coconut Grove. It's a quiet oasis which people need.  If you do a search for the bookstore in the Grapevine, you'll see hundreds of stories and events that have taken place there. Let's not lose that."

Oppenheimer Joins Kramerbooks as Lead Book Buyer

Rebecca Oppenheimer

Rebecca Oppenheimer has been named lead book buyer at Kramerbooks, Washington, D.C. She was formerly book buyer and project manager for the Ivy Bookshop, Baltimore, Md., where she worked for nearly a dozen years.

Oppenheimer joins Matt Megan, head of programming, and Perry Hooks, co-founder and president of Hooks Book Events, who has been serving as a senior adviser for Kramerbooks since February.

Kramerbooks was bought late last year by Steve Salis; in February, the longtime management team at the store quit.

Obituary Note: Judith Stein

Judith Stein, the history professor who wrote "authoritative books about the black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey and the impact of politics on the American economy," as the New York Times put it, died last Monday. She was 77.

A professor of history at the City College of New York for more than 50 years, Stein wrote The World of Marcus Garvey: Race and Class in Modern Society, which appeared in 1986, and "broke ground by placing Garvey--the Jamaican-born founder of the New York-based Universal Negro Improvement Association--and his early-20th-century back-to-Africa movement in the broader perspective of global black politics and economic conditions during and after World War I."

Her other books were Running Steel, Running America: Race, Economic Policy, and the Decline of Liberalism and Pivotal Decade: How the United States Traded Factories for Finance in the Seventies.

Author and Columbia University historian Eric Foner commented about Stein: "Unlike many on the left, she offered, before it was common, a critique of liberal Democratic politics as setting the stage for the turn to the right." She attributed a decline in traditional liberalism to a policy that placed Wall Street ahead of factory workers.

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Seriously HAPPY:
10 life-changing philosophy lessons from Stoicism to Zen to supercharge your mindset
by Ben Aldridge
illus. by Michelle Brackenborough
GLOW: Holler: Seriously HAPPY: 10 Life-Changing Philosophy Lessons from Stoicism to Zen to Supercharge Your Mindset by Ben Aldridge

Mental health matters are unpacked through philosophy and quirky challenges in Ben Aldridge's uplifting first YA title, Seriously HAPPY, which mixes personal stories and synopses of teachings from OG philosophers. Alongside Aristotle and Socrates, Aldridge includes insights from lesser-known great minds like Bao Gu, a female Chinese Taoist physician, and Nigerian philosopher Orunmila, to show readers how to be confident, decisive, and resilient. Aldridge personally "employed Stoicism and other philosophies as key strategies in overcoming severe and debilitating anxiety and panic attacks as a young man," says Holler publisher Debbie Foy, adding that Aldridge's conversational tone makes the subject matter accessible and inviting to a young adult audience. "He is clear that everyone deserves happiness in their lives but what constitutes 'happiness' is different for all of us." --Rachel Werner

(Holler, $12.99 Hardcover, ages 12-up, 9780711297807, 
September 3, 2024)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Phyllis Grann's Gift to Future Readers

Former Putnam head Phyllis E. Grann has donated more than 250,000 copies of her children's book, I Will Talk to You, Little One, through City's First Readers, a collaborative initiative to support early childhood literacy funded by the New York City Council. Grann announced that the books will be a gift to families of newborns at 27 hospitals serving high needs neighborhoods across New York City, distributed during the discharge process. The book was inspired by the work of Grann's late sister, Mary Kasindorf, an early childhood educator, and features artwork by award-winning children's illustrator/author Tomie dePaola. It was published by Simon & Schuster's children's division for Literacy INC. Pictured: New York City Council member Steve Levin, Phyllis Grann, Tomie dePaola and two delighted readers.

Cool Idea of the Day: Books Inc.'s Teen Series on Getting Published

Books Inc., which has 11 stores in the Bay Area in California, is offering a summer speaker series for teens that focuses on educating young writers about the publishing process and book industry. Called the Art of Getting Published, the series will consist of four monthly classes that will be held at Books Inc.'s Santa Clara store.

This Saturday, May 20, the series starts with a Publishing 101 class led by Hannah Walcher, coordinator of Books Inc.'s Not Your Mother's Book Club, who has an M.A. in publishing and will discuss the process of how a book goes from manuscript to printed book.

On June 3, author and writing instructor Brittany Cavallaro will talk about her experience getting her novels, A Study in Charlotte and The Last of August, published.

On July 15, Summer Dawn Laurie, who has worked as an editor for Chronicle Books and Tricycle Press, will offer editing tips and outline the perfect query letter.

On August 12, the literary agent Jennifer March Soloway discusses the role of a literary agent and their importance in the publishing process. She will also review query letters written by the teens.

Classes cost $40 each, or $140 for all four. Anyone who signs up for all four classes will be entered into a raffle with a chance to win a 15-minute consultation with Soloway, who will review the first 15 pages of a manuscript or work in progress.

IPS Adds Five Publishers

Ingram Publisher Services has added five publishers:

Dovetail Press, Brooklyn, N.Y., the publishing division of W&P Design, a kitchen and entertainment product company. The press features collections of books and other products across lifestyle categories and includes Short Stack Editions, which offers 26 single-ingredient cookbooks. In fall 2017, Dovetail will expand to cover games and puzzles.

PIE International, with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, offers books on Japanese design culture, from collections of Manga art to oversized books of photography and design. PIE stands for "pretty, impressive, entertaining."

Oceanview Publishing, Longboat Key, Fla., publishers of mystery, thriller and suspense fiction titles. The house was founded in 2006.

The TGM Firm, New York City, provides writers with a platform to express themselves across a range of genres.

Ramsey Press, Brentwood, Tenn., is owned by businessman, author and personal finance expert Dave Ramsey whose company is Ramsey Solutions. The press publishes fiction and nonfiction, board games and more.

Personnel Changes at Macmillan; Knopf; Berkley

Liz Tzetzo has been appointed v-p, client publisher services, at Macmillan. She was most recently v-p, marketing and sales director, for Basic Books. Before that, she worked at Perseus Book Group for more than 15 years, rising to v-p, associate director of sales.


In the Knopf publicity department:

Erinn Hartman has been named director of publicity. She was formerly associate director of publicity and has been with the company for more than 10 years.

Jordan Rodman has been named publicity manager. She was formerly publicist.

Anna Dobben has been named publicist. She was formerly associate publicist.


Roxanne Jones has been promoted to associate publicist at Berkley.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Susan Burton on the Daily Show, Fresh Air

Daily Show: Susan Burton, co-author of Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women (The New Press, $25.95, 9781620972120). She is also on Fresh Air today.

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: David Ortiz, co-author of Papi: My Story (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780544814615).

Tonight Show: Tim Tebow, author of Know Who You Are. Live Like It Matters.: A Homeschooler's Interactive Guide to Discovering Your True Identity (WaterBrook, $12.99, 9780735289949).

Movies: Pair of Novels to Reese Witherspoon; The Bookseller

Reese Witherspoon's new Hello Sunshine production company "has set up to produce the Gail Honeyman novel Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and the Catherine Steadman novel Something in the Water," Deadline reported. Steadman's novel will be adapted by Julia Cox and was acquired by Fox 2000 for Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter to produce with Temple Hill, while Eleanor Oliphant "will be a potential star vehicle" for Witherspoon.


Julia Roberts will star in The Bookseller, adapted from Cynthia Swanson's novel, which was  recently optioned by Crystal City Entertainment. Variety reported that Roberts will produce alongside Red OM Films partners Lisa Gillan and Marisa Yeres Gill. Crystal City's Jonathan Rubenstein and Ari Pinchot will also produce. There is currently no screenwriter attached.

Books & Authors

Awards: Wolfson; Trillium; Locus

Dr. Christopher de Hamel has won the £40,000 (about $51,540) 2017 Wolfson History Prize for his book Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts. The prize recognizes "excellent in accessible and scholarly history.:

Sir David Cannadine, chair of the judges, said: "Christopher de Hamel's outstanding and original book pushes the boundaries of what it is and what it means to write history. By framing each manuscript of which he writes as the story of his own personal encounter with it, he leads the reader on many unforgettable journeys of discovery and learning. Deeply imaginative, beautifully written, and unfailingly humane, Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts distils a lifelong love of these astonishing historical treasures, which the author brings so vividly to life. It is a masterpiece."


Shortlists have been announced for the 2017 Trillium Book Awards, which recognize "literary achievement for a first, second or third published work of poetry." The winning authors, who will be named June 20, receive C$20,000 (about US$14,585) and their publishers $2,500 for marketing and promotion. The Trillium Book Award for Poetry winner gets $10,000, with $2,000 going to the publishers. Check out the English and French language finalists here.


Finalists for the 2017 Locus Awards for science-fiction and fantasy writing may be seen here. Winners will be announced during the Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle, Wash., June 23-25.

Movement & Mayhem: The Author and Illustrator of The Explorers Interview Each Other

In The Explorers: The Door in the Alley (Random House, April 25, 2017), author and actor Adrienne Kress and illustrator Matthew Rockefeller open doors to a world where the unexpected is de rigueur. The zany middle-grade series debut features an unadventurous boy and a bored orphan girl who find adventure, mystery and even danger when they accidentally wind up involved in the topsy-turvy secret Explorers Society, which is missing some of its most famous members.

Back in this world, Toronto native Kress and Rockefeller, a New Yorker by way of Tucson--who did not meet face to face while collaborating on The Explorers--explore each other's creative processes and snack preferences.

Adrienne: So, I honestly have no idea how an illustrator does it. Where do you even start? You're handed The Explorers, the publisher says, "We need a cover and interior illustrations... Go!" What's the first thing you do?  

Matt: The very first thing for me is always a lot of reading and note-taking. I'll jot down notes about certain chapters or passages that had particularly striking imagery or potential for visual interest. Occasionally, and especially in the case of The Explorers, I get so swept up in the story that I forget to keep track of which sections stood out. The narrative will linger for a few days, and I can sort of spool through it in my mind like a movie, picking out the bits that I want to bring to life with the illustrations.

My job seems easier than yours--the writer's--since I have something to base my drawings on.You start with nothing and make something out of it. How do you begin to write a story?

Adrienne Kress

Adrienne: I always end up writing about things I find neat. Usually there's a picture, a place, a concept, and once my brain has grabbed hold of it, I try to find a way I can make it work within a piece of fiction. For The Explorers, the big inspiration was the Explorers Society building itself. I loved the idea of a place where people who have had all these adventures go and mingle and unwind, where every nook and cranny is filled with the weird and interesting. I also love the look of those old buildings with dark wood, red walls and bookshelves with books everywhere, a dusty mysterious feel. So from there I had to actually come up with a story that let me "play" in that setting.

Tell me more into your vision for the art in The Explorers... what kind of tone were you going for?

Matt: I really responded to the playfulness of the text, but also to its ability to explore various moods and feelings. I wanted to create a look that was lively and colorful, but not so cartoonish that I wouldn't be able to convey the dark realities of many of the situations the characters find themselves in.

I especially wanted the cover to communicate the book's strong sense of movement and mayhem. I tried to imagine the drawings coming to life. My work has been greatly inspired by the world of animation and comics from around the world. When designing the characters and settings, I always tried to keep an animator's mindset for action, readability and expression. Maybe someday there will be an animated version of the cover! That would be so cool.

I must ask: How did you think up the quirky, tongue-in-cheek tone of the book in the first place?

Adrienne: It's a voice I've used in my previous middle-grade work. When I wrote my first book, Alex and the Ironic Gentleman, I had to decide what kind of voice to use. Up until that point I was quite the chameleon, imitating other authors' voices just for fun. Instead, I wanted to write as if I was telling this story to someone. And that's where it all came from, the digressions, the speaking directly to the reader, etc. This approach gives me the flexibility to keep things light and entertaining if the story calls for light and entertaining. But it lets me turn on a dime and create a darker mood when it's called for. I can also use the personal, friendly tone to "cushion the blow" if I think the events may be getting a little too grim for my readers.

I'd like to focus specifically on your cover for a minute. It's so colorful and really captures the tone we've been talking about. What was your process in coming up with such a unique cover design?

Matt Rockefeller

Matt: The globe idea for the cover came from my designer, Katrina Damkoehler, and the team at Random House. I really loved the idea and thought it had a ton of potential, especially since it could evolve and yet be recognizable with each book in the series. I tried to pick a few key elements I enjoyed and then began fleshing out the details. This was my first chance at visualizing some of the characters and locales, so it was fun to play around and see the different directions things could go before settling into the final art.

Initially the cover was blue, and more of a real world that the characters were interacting with. The suggestion for the globe came and it led to the palette shift and made the art "click" together with the logo. Sometimes as an artist, you put a ton of energy into creating something, but you are limited by your own thought processes. An outsider's viewpoint can be just the thing to nudge a piece from good to great! I love this collaborative aspect of book illustration. There's a back and forth among all the people involved that leads to something truly memorable.

What work in The Explorers do you look at fondly or proudly? What did you learn about yourself and your process from writing The Explorers?

Adrienne: I'm really proud of both Sebastian and Evie. I started writing them with only a basic idea of who they were and I got to know them through the writing process. I really think they developed into interesting and unique three-dimensional characters.

I also really enjoy coming up with absurd moments. It can be quite tricky to find just the right tone and something silly that is unexpected but at the same time makes perfect sense. Being absurd is not just about doing the strangest thing you can think of; it's about doing the strangest thing you can think of that you ought to have thought of before thinking it.

As for what I've learned... well, I will always love digressions and I will fight hard to keep them in the story. My editor and I came to a compromise by turning them into footnotes in this book, and I think it was a great idea. I've also learned a lot through research for the book about different and exciting places around the world.

Matt: The characters definitely do a lot of traveling and exploring in the story.... Are you a traveler/explorer yourself? If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?

Adrienne: I do love to travel, but don't do it nearly as much as I'd like to. So for sure I'm living vicariously through my characters. The second book takes us even farther afield than the first and to places I've always wanted to visit, like South Korea and Australia. But there are also things in the books that are based on places I've been or things I've done. The university in the first book is based on the University of Toronto, where I did my undergrad, and in book two there's a sequence where people have to crawl through caves. That's based on an experience I had this past summer doing something very similar along the Niagara Escarpment. As for where in the world I want to go, I want to go everywhere! But New Zealand is at the top of my list right now.

Now for the important question: What's your go-to snack/beverage when working?

Matt: I love to sip a warm beverage while I work. As for a favorite snack, I love those peanut butter-filled pretzels from Trader Joe's. Oh, and cookies--I love cookies! You?

Adrienne: Oh man, those pretzels sound amazing. I don't think we have those in Canada. I'm a fan of cheese myself. And I am also a warm beverage drinker.

And... now I'm hungry. I think it's snack time. Thank you so much for answering my questions--though I still have a ton more! Hearing the behind-the-scenes from you is a treat!

Matt: And thank you too! It's been such a pleasure getting to know you and your writing a bit better! I still have so many questions about The Explorers and other things, so perhaps we'll have to have another conversation around the time of the second book....

Adrienne: I like that! It's a plan!

Book Review

Review: Flesh and Bone and Water

Flesh and Bone and Water by Luiza Sauma (Scribner, $26 hardcover, 272p., 9781501158025, June 20, 2017)

Luiza Sauma's first novel features an upper-class family using indulgence and dishonesty to deal with loss. Flesh and Bone and Water opens with a letter addressed to the narrator, André Cabral, a doctor in his late 40s living in London, separated from his wife and long estranged from his home country of Brazil. The novel then shifts to tell much of André's story through flashbacks, from his childhood in Rio de Janeiro through his now-failing marriage in "o primeiro mundo, the mythic first world" of Europe.

André was a member of Rio's privileged class, his family served by empregadas (maids) and guarded from "undesirables" in a fortress-like apartment building with spiked walls, CCTV and porteiros (caretakers). But unlike his friends, he wonders about the differences between his life and that of his family's empregadas, Rita and her daughter, Luana. The death of André's mother rocks the household: his younger brother, Thiago, clings harder to Rita, while their workaholic father makes clumsy attempts to parent his two sons. André withdraws from school and social goings-on, and feels increasingly drawn to Luana, a girl his own age who has always been present; he finds her new curves alluring. Though he's dating an appropriately upper-class schoolmate, André becomes obsessed with his maid. And now, all these years later, middle-aged André is feeling adrift in a country not his own, when he gets a letter from Luana.

Flesh and Bone and Water is André's story. But it is also about race and class in 1980s Brazil, the struggles of a family torn by grief and the uprootedness of expatriates. Sauma's prose is lush with sensory detail, emphasizing the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of a Brazil that is far from André's daily reality, yet close to his heart: trickling sweat; the comforting coconut milk, peppers and lime smells of moqueca (fish stew); hot beach sand underfoot; mother's perfume; "a white plastic jug covered in condensation, full to the brim with cold, sweet mate." When André opens Luana's first letter, "the paper smelled woody, humid, faintly tropical. The past has a certain scent, don't you think?" Deeply atmospheric, this literary novel emphasizes people's ties to place and to one another, and the deceptions they resort to, for better or worse. Sauma subtly offers the observation that memory can be every bit as tricky as an outright intention to deceive.

Ranging across time and place, richly detailed and thick with emotion, Flesh and Bone and Water is an impressive debut. Strong characters, a twisting plot and compelling settings make this a pleasurable and memorable read. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: This atmospheric novel is set in the heady air of 1980s Brazil.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Joy Ride by Lauren Blakely
2. Hundreds (Dollar Book 3) by Pepper Winters
3. Spellbound by Various
4. Before I Ever Met You by Karina Halle
5. Locke and Key by Cristin Harber
6. Split Second by Douglas E. Richards
7. Silent Child by Sarah A. Denzil
8. The Boy Next Door by Ella James
9. Knocked Up by the Billionaire by Tasha Fawkes and M.S. Parker
10. Lovestruck by Lila Monroe

[Many thanks to!]

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