Also published on this date: Wednesday, November 29, 2017: Kids' Maximum Shelf: Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Atria/Primero Sueno Press: The Witches of El Paso by Luis Jaramillo

Bramble: Swordcrossed by Freya Marske

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

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

Berkley Books: The Hitchcock Hotel by Stephanie Wrobel

Queen Mab Media: Get Our Brand Toolkit

Ballantine Books: Gather Me: A Memoir in Praise of the Books That Saved Me by Glory Edim

Quotation of the Day

Kaplan on Movie Producing: 'Taking What I Do As a Bookseller'

"I feel like I'm developing a new muscle. I feel like I'm taking what I do as a bookseller--which is basically turning people onto a story and then reinterpreting it so they can have a different experience."

--Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books and co-owner of Mazur/Kaplan Company, in a piece with All Things Considered about his "first dip in the world of film": The Man Who Invented Christmas, the movie based on the book by Les Standiford that just opened and has received rave reviews.

Watkins Publishing: Fall Into Folklore! ARCS Available On Request


Harvard Business School Study: Indies Thriving

Ryan Raffaelli, an assistant professor in the Organizational Behavior unit at Harvard Business School who studies how industries reinvent themselves when faced with technological change, has released the preliminary findings of a five-year study on the independent bookstore resurgence, Harvard Business School's Working Knowledge reported. Among the study's key findings so far are the "3 C's" of independent bookselling: community, curation and convening, which have been integral to the indie resurgence.

Community refers to the role of independent bookstores as early champions of the local first movement, and the emphasis that many indies place on their community roots. Raffaelli describes curation as the more personal and specialized touch that booksellers bring to their inventory, and convening pertains to the increased importance of bookstores as event and meeting places. He also pointed to the "top-down work" done by the American Booksellers Association, particularly in facilitating the sharing of best practices among member stores, as important.

"The theoretical and managerial lessons we can learn from independent bookstores have implications for a wide array of traditional brick-and-mortar businesses facing technological change," Raffaelli said. "But this has been an especially fascinating industry to study because indie booksellers provide us with a story of hope."

According to Working Knowledge, Raffaelli's field research included hundreds of interviews and focus groups with booksellers, publishers and authors, visits to dozens of bookstores across 13 states, 91 hours spent observing bookstores and bookseller conferences, and even a training course on how to open an independent bookstore.

The full study is expected to be released in 2018, and currently has the working title of "Reframing Collective Identity in Response to Multiple Technological Discontinuities: The Novel Resurgence of Independent Bookstores."

Carolrhoda Lab (R): They Thought They Buried Us by Nonieqa Ramos

Waterstones Opening Five New Stores Before Christmas

Waterstones plans to open five new bookshops before Christmas, "with three named after the area they are based, in the spirit of an independent bookshop," the Bookseller reported. The locations are in St. Neots, Epsom, Deal in Kent, Weybridge and London's Blackheath, with the latter three smaller in size and named the Deal Bookshop, the Weybridge Bookshop and the Blackheath Bookshop, respectively. The company also announced that more bookshops are in the works for 2018.

"We have been quietly sticking to our bookselling knitting, making our existing bookshops nicer and now opening new ones at an increasing clip," said managing director James Daunt. "This brings us up to 20 opened in the last few years, all of them successful and fine testament to the enduring appeal of bookshops."

Daunt added that the timing of the openings was unrelated to the fact that the company is up for sale. Waterstones had been working on signing the leases for several months and, "just like London buses" they had all come at once this month, he said, adding: "Of course it is a good thing to open up before Christmas. And it will make my mail bag lighter--I regularly get letters from customers of places like St. Neots and Epsom where we once were asking when we are going to return there, and now we are."

There has been "good interest" in the potential sale of the chain thus far, Daunt told the Guardian. "It's certainly the right moment for [owner Alexander Mamut] to sell us, [if you follow] the logic of turning a business round and making it profitable, demonstrating that that's sustainable, then selling it. So I'm hopeful that will be successful.... We are a nice business. We make good money. We're relatively insulated from the wider retail economy because book buyers tend to continue to buy books even if they stop buying washing machines."

Kaminn Media Publishing Findhorn Press's Camino Guides

The Inner Traditions/Bear & Co. purchase of Findhorn Press, which we wrote about here yesterday, does not include all of the three Findhorn imprints. The Camino Guides will be published by Kaminn Media, which is headed by Thierry Bogliolo, longtime publisher of Findhorn Press.

Kaminn Media will continue to publish annual editions of the popular pocket-size guidebooks and map books by John Brierley, beginning with 2018 versions of A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino de Santiago, A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino Portugués, A Camino Pilgrim's Guide to Sarria-Santiago-Finisterre: Including Múxia Circuit & Camino Inglés--3 Short Routes to Santiago de Compostela as well as Camino de Santiago Maps and Camino Portugués Maps.

The Camino Guides will continue to be distributed by Deep Books in the U.K. and by Legato Publishers Group of Ingram in the U.S. and Canada.

Obituary Note: Shirlee P. Newman

Children's book author Shirlee P. Newman has died at age 93. Many of her titles were biographies and histories of indigenous people, slavery and other subjects. Her books included Marian Anderson: Lady From Philadelphia, Child Slavery in Modern Times, The African Slave Trade, The Pequots, The Incas, Liliokalani: Young Queen of Hawaii and The Story of Lyndon B. Johnson.


Cool Idea of the Day: Zenith Bookstore's Two Weeks of Jólabókaflóð

Zenith Bookstore, Duluth, Minn., which opened in July, is bringing the Icelandic tradition of Jólabókaflóð (Christmas book flood), to the store from Sunday, December 10, to Sunday, December 24.

Zenith is adapting the Icelandic practice of giving books and chocolate for the holidays by adding complimentary Terroir Chocolate bars to gift-wrapped book purchases. During the two weeks, the store will also offer free hot cider, author events, readings and other community activities.

"Duluthians embrace winter with a love of the outdoors, but we're also an active literary community," Zenith Bookstore co-owner Bob Dobrow said. "Another way we can enjoy the winter months is through this wonderful Nordic tradition of giving books and chocolate. Settling in with a book, chocolate and warm beverage is an incredibly comforting way to spend a winter's night."

In another echo of Jólabókaflóð, which involves the sending of a catalogue of new books to every Icelandic home, Zenith Bookstore is distributing the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association's "Give the Gift of Books" catalogue.

Bookstore Window Display of the Day: Vermont Book Shop

Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury shared a photo of its seasonal-themed front window display on Facebook, noting: "You MUST see our sparkling new window at night! December 7th may be a good choice, we'll be open for extended evening shopping hours, until 8pm #middnightstroll @experiencemiddlebury #shoplocal #elves #staganddoe #books #window #windowdressing #windowdisplay."

Personnel Changes at No Starch Press

Sean Concannon has been named sales director of No Starch Press. He has sold trade, scholarly and professional books for more than 20 years, and most recently handled national accounts, special markets and institutional library sales at Taylor & Francis. Before that, he was a rep in the Northeast for Parson Weems.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Henry Louis Gates Jr. on the Daily Show

Dr. Oz: Tim Ferriss, author of Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9781328994967).

Steve Harvey: Chad Michael Murray, co-author of American Drifter: A Thriller (Forge, $25.99, 9780765374875).

Daily Show: Henry Louis Gates Jr., author of 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro (Pantheon, $40, 9780307908711).

Last Call with Carson Daly repeat: Caitlin Doughty, author of From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death (Norton, $24.95, 9780393249897).

TV: The Long Song; BBC Adapting Dickens

Harry Potter films producer David Heyman is adapting Andrea Levy's novel The Long Song into "a high-end drama" for BBC One, Deadline reported. The series is being produced by Heyman's Heyday Television, a joint venture with NBC Universal, and will be written by Sarah Williams, who co-wrote Small Island with Paula Milne and ITV's Case Sensitive.

Heyman said The Long Song, which was shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize, "cries out for dramatization.... It's a novel full of surprise and unpredictable twists, upending any easy stereotypes of slave and master. We're delighted that writer Sarah Williams has been able to capture the wit and verve of Andrea's fiercely original heroine, July."

BBC drama controller Piers Wenger added: "July's story is heart-breaking, inspiring and utterly unforgettable. Sarah's script perfectly captures the unique tone of Andrea's novel and skillfully brings this story of slavery in a British colony to life."


BBC One has ordered a series of adaptations of Charles Dickens's classic novels to be produced by Ridley Scott's Scott Free London in association with Tom Hardy's Hardy Son & Baker, Deadline reported. The series will kick off with a three-part version of A Christmas Carol, which will air in 2019.

Steven Knight, creator of Peaky Blinders, is heading the effort, which was commissioned by the BBC's Piers Wenger and Charlotte Moore. Deadline noted that "the transfers are promised to brim with Knight's unique style, creating a boxed-set of Dickens' most iconic novels over the next few years."

Knight said, "Any question about narrative storytelling is answered by Dickens. To have the chance to revisit the text and interpret in a new way is the greatest privilege. We need luck and wisdom to do this justice."

Books & Authors

Awards: William Hill Sports Book Winner

Andy McGrath won the £29,000 (about $38,715) William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award (the "Bookie") for Tom Simpson: Bird on the Wire. In addition to the cash prize, McGrath also receives a free William Hill bet worth £2,500 (about $3,335) and an exclusive day at the races.

Graham Sharpe, chairman of the judging panel, commented: "Rarely does a book meet its aim so perfectly. Innovative design, scrupulous research and stunning photography complement each other superbly to produce Andy McGrath's outstanding and startlingly intimate portrait of a British sporting icon. Like another former Bookie Prize winner, Lance Armstrong, Tom Simpson was hugely talented and single-minded, but flawed. Tom Simpson's tragic morality tale inspires awe and respect, yet also unease amongst those who have seen domestic cycling reach international heights he could only have guessed at."

Reading with... Jon McGregor

photo: Jo Wheeler

Jon McGregor is the author of four novels and a story collection. He is the winner of the IMPAC Dublin Literature Prize, Betty Trask Prize and Somerset Maugham Award, and has been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize three times, most recently for Reservoir 13 (Catapult, October 3, 2017). He is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Nottingham, England, where he edits The Letters Page, a literary journal in letters.

On your nightstand now:

I'm on holiday at the moment, so am more confident than usual that this stack is for actual reading rather than the usual aspirational decoration. Am already partway through:

Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life by Yiyun Li
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
The Little Red Chairs by Edna O'Brien
Solar Bones by Mike McCormack
The Day Before Happiness by Erri De Luca
A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman
Hold Tight: Black Masculinity, Millennials, and the Meaning of Grime by Jeffrey Boakye

Favorite book when you were a child:

The entire 12-book series of Swallows & Amazons books by Arthur Ransome, without a doubt. I read them avidly and repeatedly, so much so that by the time I first stepped into a sailing boat I knew exactly what to do. I was astounded, then, and still am now, that the simple technology of a printed book could so wholly transport me into another life. I re-read them recently, trying to engage my own children, and discovered that they are appallingly sexist, class-bound and colonialist. I'm not sure whether my children were more bored by the leaden descriptive passages in the books or by my own counter-colonial footnotes, but they don't love the books as much as I did.

Your top five authors:

Everyone says, "Oh, I can't possibly restrict it to five," I take it? So consider that said. But still, on the basis of writers who have made me change tack or to whom I keep returning:

W.G. Sebald, for the thrill of densely unfolding sentences, which contain warmth and devastation in equal measure.

George Saunders, for the finely tuned way he treats self-perception and representation and articulacy.

Lydia Davis, for not letting her project of interrogating the very foundations of language get in the way of understanding human love and need. (I will never stop showing Break It Down to people who misunderstand her work as "dry" or, please, "academic.")

Alice Munro, for constant reminders of how short a novel should be.

Amy Leach, for enlarging my world every time I read her short and capacious book of essays, Things That Are.

Book you've faked reading:

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne. I love this book. I own a copy of the excellent Visual Editions edition (2010), and on more than one occasion have visited Shandy Hall, Sterne's home and a museum to his life and work kept by the excellent curator Patrick Wildgust. I love the digressional wit and pre-postmodern verve of what Sterne was doing all those centuries ago, and I have never got past the first 50 pages.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Can I have three? If so, then the Grouse County novels by Tom Drury, namely The End of Vandalism, Hunts in Dreams and Pacific, fit the bill. I get the impression they're better known in the U.S., but over here they are bizarrely overlooked. I can't get enough of how lovingly alive his characters are, how carefully written, how very disarmingly funny.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Shampoo Planet by Douglas Coupland. I was in Norwich, in a very heightened state of mind. I was 18, and had just opened my first bank account in preparation for leaving home and going to university. This book had a very very shiny silver cover, and I couldn't take my eyes off it. I bought it, and consumed it in a single gulp. It led me on, soon afterwards, to the--

Book that changed your life:

Generation X by Douglas Coupland. I have doubts now, about how good a book this is. I could never tell whether Coupland's later books became weaker and more sentimental/cynical (yes, both at the same time; quite an achievement) or whether I became more resistant to the sentiment and cynicism. But at 18, Generation X thrilled me, sang to me and convinced me of the utter worth of telling and writing stories. Writing stories had simply never occurred to me before.

Book you hid from your parents:

My parents were not the sort of people I needed to hide books from. Cigarettes, yes; not books.

Favorite line from a book:

It's a short line, but it changed my understanding about how narrative can function. It comes midway through Jonathan Buckley's So He Takes the Dog, which is supposedly a mystery/detective novel about the death of an unidentified man on a southern English beach, but is much more of a character study of a small seaside town and the coming-apart of the detective leading on the case. It's written in a very loosely close third-person voice, with much use of the passive tense, and a chapter in which the detective is dropped by the young woman with whom he's had a brief affair, shortly after walking out of his marriage, closes with this line: "Some weeping occurred."

I've yet to find a more understated understatement, nor such a disavowal of emotion.

Five books you'll never part with:

That They May Face the Rising Sun by John McGahern
The Driftless Area by Tom Drury
The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald
Memorial by Alice Oswald
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne. I'm going to read it eventually.

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

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne. I loved every page of this, and would love to discover it afresh.

Are you a good liar?

Not really.

Book Review

YA Review: The Cruel Prince

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (Little, Brown, $18.99 hardcover, 384p., ages 14-up, 9780316310277, January 2, 2018)

A tall stranger mysteriously appears in the home of seven-year-old twins Jude and Taryn, "as if stepping between one shadow and the next." He proceeds to murder their parents in front of them, then whisks away the twins and their older sister, Vivi, to live with him in Faerie. Although the twins are human, Vivi, with her "split-pupiled gaze" and the "lightly furred points of her ears," is the stranger's heir, fathered when the girls' mother was his wife. Before Mom renounced her vows, that is, and escaped Faerie with her unborn child.

Now Jude is 17, and being raised like "a trueborn child of Faerie." She is frequently reminded by the fey servants how fortunate she is that her adoptive father, Madoc, treats all three sisters as Gentry, because to most of the Folk she will always be "a bastard daughter of a faithless wife, a human without a drop of faerie blood." Even after being given True Sight and charms to resist most enchantments, Jude knows that life as a mortal in Faerie will never be easy. Regardless, she feels at home there and revels in the spectacle, pageantry and "beautiful nightmare" of the Faerie Court.

Determined to win a place at Court through skill rather than marriage, she hones her bladesmanship. She aims to be granted a knighthood, and with it a place in one of the royals' personal guards. This would allow her "a kind of power, a kind of protection." For a time, her biggest obstacle is brutal Prince Cardan, the sixth child of High King Eldred, and his nasty friends Valerian, Nicasia and Locke, who despise Jude and Taryn for the crime of being human. Insults, violence, threats of ensorcellment and near drowning are some of the indignities the sisters endure before the stakes begin to rise. High King Eldred, who "has lost his taste for bloodshed," decides it's time to "abdicate his throne in favor of one of his children." Madoc denies Jude the right to try for a knighthood, leaving her with a desperate need to prove she's not weak. When she is recruited to spy for third-born Prince Dain, she takes the opportunity to prove herself and is drawn into dangerous games of Faerie power and intrigue.

Holly Black (The Coldest Girl in Coldtown; Doll Bones; The Darkest Part of the Forest) works her magic with this story, effortlessly giving all things fey a thoroughly modern sensibility. With The Cruel Prince, she introduces a stunning new series, full of all the glamour and brutality that Faerie can deliver. Secret strategies, twisted loyalties, love, lust and betrayal all come into play as Jude struggles to find her way among the Folk. And ultimately only she can decide how far she is willing to go to save her family, the royal line and possibly the whole of Faerie itself. --Lynn Becker, blogger and host of Book Talk, a monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI

Shelf Talker: Seventeen-year-old mortal Jude vies for power as she struggles to live among the stronger, more beautiful and deeply wicked inhabitants of Faerie.

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