Also published on this date: Monday, February 5, 2018: Maximum Shelf: Furyborn

Shelf Awareness for Monday, February 5, 2018

William Morrow & Company: The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

Shadow Mountain: The Witch in the Woods: Volume 1 (Grimmworld) by Michaelbrent Collings

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Indiana University Press: The Grim Reader: A Pharmacist's Guide to Putting Your Characters in Peril by Miffie Seideman

St. Martin's Press: Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder by Kerryn Mayne


Wanted: Indie Bookstore in Beaver Dam, Wis.

Beaver Dam, Wis., would love to have an independent bookstore, and its mayor has come up with an unusual way to attract one. On the the Midwest independent Booksellers Association's blog, executive director Carrie Obry shared the details: "A vibrant city that values a strong sense of community knows all the positive things an independent bookstore can do for the local area. Becky Glewen, the mayor of Beaver Dam, Wis., has been in touch with us to help us locate an entrepreneur interested in opening a bookstore in her town."

Noting in a flyer that "resources will be available for you" for a "prime location" in the theater-arts district, and that "an investor (developer) is looking to speak with you," Mayor Glewen poses and then answers two key questions:

Why Beaver Dam, Wis.?
"We are a thriving community of 16,000+ residents, near three major metropolitan areas. Our downtown is being developed as a theater-arts district. By the end of 2018, the Beaver Dam Area Community Theater will complete its $2.4M theater building project downtown. In addition to the theater, the local Arts Association, in partnership with community donors, businesses, and the city, funded a Wall Dog Mural Festival which placed 14 murals throughout the City with a concentration on the downtown area. Beaver Dam is focused on creating downtown space for the community to gather. A bookstore would be a positive addition to our city and county, acting as a cultural hub and literary anchor for the downtown."

Why right now?
"The opportunity is available to work with a building investor that is interested in renovating the space for the right new business start-up. Future grant funds are available for new business start-ups, facade and awning improvements."

For more information, contact Mayor Becky Glewen, 920-887-4600 x398.

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland

Eight Cousins Update: Rethinking the Space

Eight Cousins moved what's left of the bookstore into storage.

At Eight Cousins, Falmouth, Mass., the water damage January 9 from a broken pipe upstairs was so severe that the store lost "around 95% of inventory and around 50% of our shelving," the store wrote to customers. "The water spread across our ceiling, creating pools as the tiles started to sag from the weight. The tiles then broke, probably at varying intervals throughout the night. It wasn't linear, or horizontal, but cube damage: ceiling to floor across the middle of the store at approximately 12 x 36 square feet.

"All the books not hit directly were starting to warp before we found them. When we say that everything is gone, it's not entirely hyperbolic. There is also damage to the building, which is why we are waiting to reopen."

The space has been emptied and "feels different now. It is a decent size and it definitely has a lot of potential." This has led the owners to consider ways to redesign the space. "There are certain areas that could flow better. It's been interesting to look at a blank layout and debate about new ways to fill it. Our gift buyer cut out tiny pieces of paper to scale to represent shelving. Tweezers required. We've also been reading the fantastic feedback you've provided on our two-question survey. It's gratifying to see requests for more reading areas, because we've been talking about the same idea."

Chronicle Books: Life Wants You Dead: A Calm, Rational, and Totally Legit Guide to Scaring Yourself Safe by Evan Waite, Illustrated by Paula Searing

February Indie Next List E-Newsletter Delivered

Last Thursday, the American Booksellers Association's e-newsletter edition of the Indie Next List for February was delivered to nearly half a million of the country's best book readers. The newsletter was sent to customers of 118 independent bookstores, with a combined total of 460,307 subscribers.

The e-newsletter, powered by Shelf Awareness, features all of the month's Indie Next List titles, with bookseller quotes and "buy now" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on the sending store's website. The newsletter, which is branded with each store's logo, also includes an interview (from Bookselling This Week) with the author whose book was chosen by booksellers as the number-one Indie Next List pick for the month, in this case The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantú (Riverhead Books).

For a sample of the February newsletter, see this one from the Regulator Bookshop, Durham, N.C.

GLOW: Tundra Books: We Are Definitely Human by X. Fang

Obituary Notes: Bob Wietrak; Robert Riger

Bob Wietrak, beloved in the book world and a major force in book sales during his 21-year career at Barnes & Noble, died on Saturday of pancreatic cancer.

He joined B&N in 1990 and was director of merchandising until 2011. Since then, he has been publisher relations manager at Bookish and since 2014, books selection editor and director of publisher relations at Zola Books, which bought Bookish. Earlier in his career, he had worked at Waldenbooks as a store manager and director of merchandising.

Called "Big Book Bob," he is being remembered by his many friends throughout the business as a smart, fun, wry, gentle, friendly man who had a remarkable eye for books and was so supportive of authors.


Robert Riger, a publisher, book club head and co-founder of Market Partners International, died at age 57 on January 26 of complications of the flu, Market Partners reported.

He began his career at Book-of-the-Month Club, rising to become managing director. He then was president of Doubleday Book and Music Clubs. In 1990, he co-founded Market Partners International, then held executive positions at Penguin, and Simon & Schuster. He also was v-p and marketing director of Barnes & Noble. He was recently working with Mike Shatzkin on a book, Book Publishing: What Everyone Needs to Know, which will be published by Oxford University Press next year. He was also a co-founder of the Publishing Triangle.

A memorial gathering will be held for Riger on Friday, March 2, 5:30-8 p.m., at the Rizzoli Bookstore at 1133 Broadway between 25th and 26th Street. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Callen-Lorde Community Health Center.

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman


Bookstore Chalkboard of the Day: The Bookloft

On Facebook, the Bookloft, Great Barrington, Mass., shared a photo of its latest chalkboard message, which featured some literary love matches for an upcoming holiday: "This Valentine's Day, whether you're friends, frenemies, in love, or simply in this together, make sure they know you care!"

'What's the Future of Books?' Ask a Psychic

"What's the future of books?" Los Angeles Times books reporter Agatha French asked before venturing to Mystic Journey Bookstore in Venice and hiring "one of its on-site psychics--to find out.... During my first visit, the store was bustling, with readers lounging in comfy chairs and on the back patio, perusing some of Mystic Journey's 5,000 books."

The "most unusual draw, and the reason I'd visited, is a small hallway lined with private rooms for psychic readings," French wrote, adding that she spoke with Mystic Journey's owner, Jeffrey Segal, "who helped me narrow it down."

"I believe that all things happen for a reason--and a good reason," said Segal.

French noted that Segal "believes in intuition, and his psychic readers are as essential to his business as are crystals or books. For my reading, he agreed that a psychic named Aurana would be a good choice."

Among Aurana's predictions: "Big thing that's coming up is health. People are going to want to know more and more about ways to live longer, ways to live healthier, ways to live happier." And: "A lot of it seems to be moving towards audio."

Changes in Tattered Cover's Children's Buying

At the Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colo., children's frontlist buyer Judy Bulow is retiring in March and will be replaced by Bethany Strout, whose title will be children's buyer.

Bulow has been at the Tattered Cover for 30 years and earlier had been a preschool and elementary school teacher.

Strout has worked at the Tattered Cover since January 2017 and began the transition to succeed Bulow last fall. Before joining the Tattered Cover, Strout worked at a library; the University of Chicago Press; Writers House literary agency; and most recently, for more than six years as a children's book editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

"Judy has been a shining star in the children's book world for many years," said Kristen Gilligan, co-owner of Tattered Cover, "and we wish her nothing but the best in retirement. While she will leave big shoes to fill, we are very fortunate we have Bethany to fill them. Her experience in publishing, and her knowledge of the market, will help to strengthen Tattered Cover's recent expansion in the kids book market in Denver, and will amplify our growing and successful school outreach efforts."

The change in children's buyer parallels the change in adult buying at the Tattered Cover: last year, longtime director of buying Cathy Langer announced her retirement, which takes effect in March. Her replacement is Stephanie Coleman, who has been with the Tattered Cover since 2013.

Personnel Changes at Baker & Taylor

Jason Rice, who has been responsible for indie retail sales for Baker & Taylor in New York and New Jersey, is adding responsibility for New England. The company said, "Jason has been working with booksellers in the area for many years and his industry expertise will help us continue to grow relationships in this stronghold for independent bookselling."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Maggie O'Farrell on Fresh Air

Good Morning America: Emily Chang, author of Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley (Portfolio, $28, 9780735213531).

Fresh Air: Maggie O'Farrell, author of I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death (Knopf, $25.95, 9780525520221).

The Opposition with Jordan Klepper: Ijeoma Oluo, author of So You Want to Talk About Race (Seal Press, $27, 9781580056779).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler and Spencer Stone, co-authors of The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes (PublicAffairs, $15.99, 9781610398190).

Good Morning America: Bob Roth, author of Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation (Simon & Schuster, $24, 9781501161216).

Morning Joe: Lanny J. Davis, author of The Unmaking of the President 2016: How FBI Director James Comey Cost Hillary Clinton the Presidency (Scribner, $25, 9781501177729). He will also appear on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, CNBC's Power Lunch, CNN's Don Lemon Tonight and Hannity.

Steve Harvey: Maksim Chmerkovskiy, author of I'll Never Change My Name: An Immigrant's American Dream from Ukraine to the USA to Dancing with the Stars (Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062820471).

Hallmark Channel's Home and Family: Rachel Ashwell, author of My Floral Affair: Whimsical Spaces and Beautiful Florals (CICO Books, $35, 9781782495475).

The View: Linsey Davis, co-author of The World Is Awake: A Celebration of Everyday Blessings (Zonderkidz, $17.99, 9780310762034).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Whitney Cummings, author of I'm Fine... And Other Lies (Putnam, $27, 9780735212602).

TV: Gone Baby Gone

Fox has given a pilot order to an untitled series based on the novel Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane. Deadline reported that "the project hails from 20th Century Fox TV and Miramax, which was behind the 2007 movie adaptation directed by Ben Affleck in his directorial debut." Black Sails co-creator Robert Levine, who is writing the series, will executive produce with Lehane.

Books & Authors

Awards: International Dylan Thomas; Branford Boase

A 12-book longlist has been announced for the £30,000 (about $42,370) International Dylan Thomas Prize, which is sponsored by Swansea University and recognizes the "best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under." This year's list features eight novels, two short story collections and two volumes of poetry. A shortlist will be released in March, and a winner unveiled May 10. The longlisted titles are:

Stay with Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
Kumukanda by Kayo Chingonyi
When I Hit You by Meena Kandasamy
The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerney
Her Body and Other Parties Carmen Mby aria Machado
Elmet by Fiona Mozley
First Love by Gwendoline Riley
Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney
Idaho by Emily Ruskovich
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
Attrib. and Other Stories by Eley Williams
On Trust: A Book of Lies by James Womack


A longlist has been announced for the 2018 Branford Boase Award, which recognizes a book for seven-year-olds and upwards by a first time novelist and honors "the most promising new writers and their editors, as well as to reward excellence in writing and in publishing." The shortlist will be released May 2 and a winner named in July. Check out the complete Branford Boase longlist here.

Book Review

Review: The Möbius Strip Club of Grief

The Möbius Strip Club of Grief by Bianca Stone (Tin House, $15.95 paperback, 90p., 9781941040850, February 27, 2018)

Bianca Stone (Someone Else's Wedding Vows) tours a lurid netherworld of souls--both lost and found--in her imaginative and incisive poetry collection The Möbius Strip Club of Grief.

Stone begins by saying, "The dead don't want your tips. They just/ want you to listen to their poems." The collection positions the reader as an observer in a swirl of voices: complaints, joys and revelations hidden in the living world but repressed no more. Stone occupies this liminal psychic space, this other dimension, which is brimming with secrets and regrets. To get in, she explains, one must show the bouncer a scar. Strippers, grandmothers, women of genius and a "great cosmic cow," among others, share the stage, all connected by their grief and mistreatment in life. In their purgatorial death, however, they're able to vindicate themselves.

As a poet, Stone writes mostly in free verse, though her lines, smooth and precise, occasionally rhyme. In "Lap Dance," two wrens get caught in the rafters of the Möbius Strip Club of Grief: "Chirps rained like sparks/ from the electric saws in their hearts." Stone's poetic images are exquisite. She takes the rawness of her subject matter and focuses it in sharp, erotically charged constructions. In "A Brief Topography of the MSCOG," the poet describes "the dungeons of the mind, the most defeated cells, wherein cruelty cums." There's something almost masochistic about these explorations of grief. Freedom for the limbo-dwellers and the penitents depends on their ability to endure pain. Only then can they "let the moths land where they will."

Some of Stone's best poems have little to do with the conceit of the strip club and serve more as her personal reflections. In "Letter to a Letter to the Editors," she uses verse to criticize criticism of poet Anne Sexton, whom family members accused of unprovoked attacks. Quoting Emily Dickinson, and arranging stanzas in block paragraphs, Stone defends Sexton and explains how poets clash with "agreed-upon concepts" that form normative reality: "I/ think a poet will see truth through a distorted reverence/ for the underlying truth of shadows."

The Möbius Strip Club of Grief showcases a talent who is bold, original and highly attuned to human suffering, though the collection is not without moments of humor. Stone's wild and ingenious exhibitionism exposes the psyche's innermost sensitivities--a literary strip club for the soul. --Scott Neuffer, writer, poet, editor of trampset

Shelf Talker: Poet Bianca Stone displays the vicissitudes of human grief in various characters and personal reflections in this imaginative, powerful poetry collection.

The Bestsellers

Top Audiobooks in January

The bestselling audiobooks at independent bookstore locations during January:


1. The Power by Naomi Alderman (Hachette Audio)
2. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (HarperCollins)
3. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (Hachette Audio)
5. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Penguin Random House Audio)
6. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (Penguin Random House Audio)
7. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (Simon & Schuster Audio)
9. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (HarperCollins)
10. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Penguin Random House Audio)


1. Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff (Macmillan Audio)
2. We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster Audio)
4. Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson (Blackstone Audio)
6. Lab Girl by Hope Jahren (Penguin Random House Audio)
7. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. What Happened by Hillary Clinton (Simon & Schuster Audio)
9. Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle (Recorded Books)
10. Grant by Ron Chernow (Penguin Random House Audio)

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