Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Mariner Books: Everyone This Christmas Has a Secret: A Festive Mystery by Benjamin Stevenson

Grove Press: Brightly Shining by Ingvild Rishøi, Translated Caroline Waight

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

Broadleaf Books: Trespass: Portraits of Unhoused Life, Love, and Understanding by Kim Watson

Nancy Paulsen Books: Sync by Ellen Hopkins

Running Press Adult: Cat People by Hannah Hillam

Beaming Books: Must-Have Autumn Reads for Your Shelf!

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger


B&N Taking $11 Million Charge for Layoffs

Barnes & Noble is taking a charge of approximately $11 million for severance costs on layoffs throughout the company, B&N said in a Form 8-K filed yesterday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It estimated that the layoffs will save it about $40 million a year; the layoffs are expected to be finished by this coming Friday.

Reports said that many of the people being let go arrived at work Monday to find out they no longer had jobs. The number of layoffs still hasn't been disclosed.

In the filing, B&N said it has "implemented a new labor model for its stores that has resulted in the elimination of certain store positions. The new model will allow stores to adjust staff up or down based on the needs of the business, increase store productivity and streamline store operations. The company wants to assure its customers that this will not affect its commitment to customer service."

The move comes after another poor holiday season for the bookseller. In the nine-week holiday period ending December 30, sales at B&N fell 6.4%, to $953 million, and sales at stores open at least a year also fell 6.4%. Online sales dropped 4.5%.

Peachtree Teen: Compound Fracture by Andrew Joseph White

Samuel French London Bookshop Reopening in New Space

Samuel French's future home

Samuel French, which closed its London bookshop last April after 187 years in business, will reopen March 5 in a new home at the Royal Court Theatre. The store "will occupy the beautiful Balcony Bar on the first floor," according to the company's website, which noted: "Simon--our shop manager from the store on Fitzroy Street for thirty years--will again be on hand to help and answer questions. The shop will be a friendly place to browse and read, enjoy a coffee and take part in live events with playwrights." Samuel French also operates bookstores in New York City and Hollywood.

The new bookshop was designed by Haworth Tompkins, who oversaw the redevelopment of the theatre in 2000, and Citizens Design Bureau, who worked on the refurbishment of the theatre's Bar & Kitchen three years ago. It will be open from Monday to Saturday. After the main shop closes, there will be a smaller bookstall in the bar area on the lower ground floor open from 6 p.m. to showtime on nights when performances are taking place.

"Samuel French is thrilled to re-open a theatre bookshop in London, especially here at the Royal Court, the home of new playwriting," said Douglas Schatz, managing director of Samuel French in the U.K. "The new bookshop will serve as a unique resource and space, where throughout the day and before shows customers will be able to browse a wide range of play texts and theatre books, as well as enjoy a coffee, sit and read, or attend a live author event."

Lucy Davies, executive producer at the Royal Court Theatre, commented: "This is an exciting and significant new partnership which allows us to re-imagine and share the loveliest public space in our building--our Balcony Bar--giving audiences, readers and writers a very special new resource. We are delighted that Samuel French’s legendary bookshop can move into a new era with us here in Sloane Square."

Inner Traditions: Expand your collection with these must-have resource books!

ABA and BookExpo to Host Bookseller Finance Session for Publishers

The American Booksellers Association and BookExpo are partnering to host a special education session for publishers about bookstore finances, Bookselling This Week reported. Scheduled for March 13, the session will be held at the Javits Center in New York City, and will be led by David Sandberg, co-owner of Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass., and Greg Manns, senior v-p at Industry Insights, the firm the ABA partners with to produce ABACUS reports.

Plans for the session include detailed looks at business models and bookstore finances, featuring data from the most recent ABACUS reports, as well as suggestions for ways publishers can "more effectively interact" with booksellers at this year's BookExpo. Publishers and others interested in attending the session should contact BookExpo event director Brien McDonald directly via e-mail or by phone at 203-921-7628.

Sally Burdon Named ILAB President

Australian bookseller Sally Burdon has been named the new president of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, succeeding Gonzalo F. Pontes, Fine Books & Collections reported. She has been part of the ILAB committee since 2014 and served as v-p under Pontes for the past two years. She will be supported by ILAB v-p Fabrizio Govi (Italy).

Burdon, part of a family of antiquarian booksellers, was in effect a bookseller in training from the age of 10. After living overseas for a time, she returned to Canberra in 1982 and started working full time in the family business, which is now known as Asia Bookroom. She is a past president of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers, served on the faculty of the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar for three years and has organized conferences on bookselling in Australia.

ILAB noted that Burdon "is dedicated to bookseller education, supporting future generations of booksellers through programs such as the Mentoring Scheme and to the promotion of high standards throughout the trade."

Memorial Service Set for Ted Heinecken

Ted Heinecken

A memorial service for Ted Heinecken has been planned for Saturday, April 28, at 2 p.m. at the Luther Memorial Lutheran Church, 2500 W. Wilson Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60625.

The much-beloved Midwest rep died February 3 at age 84.


Image of the Day: Better Than Chocolate

Tattered Cover's Aspen Grove (Littleton, Colo.) store suggests a Valentine's Day Blind Date with a Book. The display features gift-wrapped books with teasers enticing readers to want to see what's under the wrapper. The store's ongoing Blind Date displays are done by retail manager Portia Graf.

'Ten Reasons Why Bookselling Is Not Retail'

Robert Martin

With a little help from his bookselling friends, Robert Martin, director of operations for the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, shared "10 Reasons Why Bookselling Is Not Retail" in a post on Medium, including:

  1. Books are not traditional products.
  2. Booksellers are highly valued within the industry.
  3. Bookstores reflect the character of their staff.
  4. Bookstores reflect the character of their community.
  5. Bookstores impact their community.
  6. The book industry IS a community.
  7. Bookselling is more service-driven than traditional retail.
  8. Galleys and swag
  9. BINC
  10. Crossover with other segments of the industry.

"Granted, there are lots of independent businesses that operate in unique ways, and there are other industries that function without top-down corporate homogeneity," Martin wrote. "But independent bookstores function incredibly differently from the way most retail functions. These 10 differences don't really even scratch the surface of what a unique environment it is."

New Operations Manager at Book Industry Study Group

Maya Fakundiny has joined the Book Industry Study Group as operations manager, replacing Kim Graff, who has been with the organization since 2015, initially as office manager. BISG called Graff's departure "a loss for BISG but ... a gain for book publishing."

Fakundiny is a graduate of NYU's Summer Publishing Institute and completed a fall assignment at Flatiron Books. She and Graff are working together on a smooth transfer.

Personnel Changes at Scholastic Trade

At Scholastic Trade:

Julia Romero has been promoted to director of sales for Klutz. She was previously key account sales manager.
Courtney DeVerges has been promoted to sales representative for Klutz. She was previously sales associate.

Book Trailer of the Day: A Warehouse View

Here, from the point of view of the books, is a 360-degree video of Penguin Random House's book distribution warehouse.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Finn Murphy on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Finn Murphy, author of The Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road (Norton, $26.95, 9780393608717).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Ashley Graham, co-author of A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like (Dey Street, $15.99, 9780062667953).

The View: Daymond John, co-author of Rise and Grind: Outperform, Outwork, and Outhustle Your Way to a More Successful and Rewarding Life (Currency, $27, 9780804189958). He will also appear on Harry.

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Michael Wolff, author of Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (Holt, $30, 9781250158062).

Movies: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The first trailer is out for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, based on the bestselling novel by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Producing are Paula Mazur and Mitchell Kaplan from the Mazur/Kaplan Company (he is the owner of Books & Books in southern Florida and the Cayman Islands), along with Graham Broadbent and Pete Czernin from Blueprint Pictures (Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, In Bruges).

Directed by Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), the film stars Lily James (Downton Abbey, Darkest Hour), Michiel Huisman, Katherine Parkinson, Matthew Goode, Glen Powell, Penelope Wilton, Jessica Brown Findlay and Tom Courtenay. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is currently scheduled to open April 20 in the U.K. There is no official U.S. release date yet.

Books & Authors

Erin Entrada Kelly: 2018 Newbery Medal Winner

photo: Laurence Kesterson

Erin Entrada Kelly was named the 2018 Newbery Medal winner for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature, announced earlier this week at ALA Midwinter in Denver, Colo. Her novel Hello, Universe is published by Greenwillow Books. A full list of the winners can be found here.

First off, congratulations! We all know it's an early morning call--were you awake? How did you respond?

I was driving down I-95 in Philly traffic, so thankfully I was wide awake!

I woke up at 8 a.m. with no phone calls, so I got dressed and assumed I would just go forth into my Monday as usual, which begins with drinking as much coffee as humanly possible. I was in my car, wondering who won the Newbery and secretly rooting for some of my favorite books of the year (specifically, See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng), when I got a message from my editor at around 9:30 a.m. It was only three words: "Where are you?" I said: "In my car. Where should I be!?" (This was all hands-free, by the way. #Safety.) She said I'd be getting a phone call soon and I needed to pick up. A few minutes later--the longest few minutes of my life, by the way--the committee called and told me the news. Apparently, they had been trying to reach me for a while. I was in total shock. I believe my first words were: "Wait. What?" I may have said "What?" about 500 times. They were kind enough to repeat themselves. I may have also said "I'm on 95!" I'm not sure why I felt it was necessary to share that information, but I didn't have control over my words at the time. Or now.

Did you have any inkling (or hope) that you might be in consideration for this award?

Hope? Yes. But I approach inklings with caution. Anything can happen in these situations. I was just happy that people considered it buzzworthy. To actually win is incredible. 

With this award will come a larger platform. Is there something you'd like to do or a cause you'd like to promote now that you have that wider reach?

Kindness. Perseverance. And the power of the small, quiet and mighty. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Matthew Cordell: 2018 Caldecott Medal Winner

Matthew Cordell has won the 2018 Caldecott Medal, given for the most distinguished American picture book for children. His picture book, Wolf in the Snow, is published by Feiwel and Friends. A full list of the winners, announced earlier this week at ALA Midwinter, can be found here.

Congratulations! We all know it's an early morning call--were you awake? How did you respond?

Thank you! I didn't sleep much [the night before], for obvious reasons. A lot of worry and self-doubt. I did eventually fall asleep and then my four-year-old came and crawled into bed with me and woke me up at 4 a.m. I worried for at least an hour and then somehow fell back asleep. Then my eyes popped open at 6:30 a.m., and I assumed (after I did the time change math) that if I was going to get a call, it would be in the next half hour or so. A half an hour later, no such call came. Then I got a text from an author friend, Laura Seeger, wishing me good luck, and at that point I figured I was toast. It was already after 7 and I hadn't heard anything. I was firmly in defeat mode, trying to work out what the rest of the day was going to look like, and then... the phone rang. Caller ID said something like Colorado Convention Center. Immediately, I got the shakes and got super tongue tied. Once I worked out that I was talking to the entire Caldecott committee, I think I managed to ask if it was "the gold one" that I was getting. The committee was so nice and happy and thrilled and I nearly forgot to say "thank you!" Thankfully, I remembered to thank them all before we said goodbye. I am overflowing with gratitude right now.

Did you have any inkling (or hope) that you might be in consideration for this award?

The thing about these awards is that there's no guarantees. The secrecy of it all can be pretty maddening. The only indication we ever have is whatever end-of-year buzz builds around a book, and even then it may not amount to anything at all. I'm pretty self-doubting, but I'm never without hope. For the last few months, I flip-flopped between "not in a million years" to "I wonder if I MIGHT get a Caldecott Honor...?"

With this award will come a larger platform. Is there something you'd like to do or a cause you'd like to promote now that you have that wider reach?

With the nature of the book, I imagine I will get to share more of what I've learned about wolves and how they are not the bloodthirsty beasts that they've historically been assumed to be. They simply want to survive and live and love like we humans do amongst our own families and neighborhoods. Humans have not always been so kind to wolves because of unfortunate stereotypes and misperceptions (à la The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood). Because of this history, wolves are not very trusting of humans, it turns out. I hope we can work to all be a bit more trusting. Not just of the animals around us, but of the different people too. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Reading with... Jennifer McGaha

photo: Avery McGaha

Jennifer McGaha is the author of Flat Broke with Two Goats (Sourcebooks, January 23, 2018). She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and teaches in the Great Smokies Writing Program at UNC-Asheville. McGaha lives with her husband, 10 goats, 15 chickens, four dogs and one cat at their cabin in a North Carolina holler.

On your nightstand now:

I'm teaching a class on outdoor adventure literature, so I'm reading/re-reading K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain by Ed Viesturs, Grandma Gatewood's Walk by Ben Montgomery and A Little More About Me by Pam Houston. I am also reading Leah Weiss's fantastic debut novel, If the Creek Don't Rise, and Richard McCann's gorgeous story collection Mother of Sorrows.

Favorite book when you were a child:

My mother is a wonderful reader, and when I was a young child, I loved for her to read Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book aloud. I loved the rhythm and the humor, and I quickly memorized it. Even today, I can still recite most of it. When I got a little older and began reading for myself, I loved Heidi, the Pippi Longstocking books, the Amelia Bedelia stories and the Nancy Drew mysteries. Looking at this list, I suppose I had a quirky sense of humor even then--and a budding passion for goats!

Your top five authors:

I read a lot of nonfiction/memoir, and though this list is constantly changing, right now some of my favorite writers are Maggie Nelson (Bluets), Eduardo Galeano (The Book of Embraces), Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking), Cheryl Strayed (Wild) and Erik Larson (Dead Wake, etc.). I also love all of Abigail Thomas's books (Safekeeping, What Comes Next and How to Like It, etc.)

Book you've faked reading:

I was not the best student in high school and, unfortunately, I'm not sure I read much of anything that was assigned during those years. Now I am sorry I missed those opportunities. There are so many good books and so little time to read them all!

Book you're an evangelist for:

I think Jo Ann Beard's Boys of My Youth is spectacular. Her narrative voice is clear and compelling and funny and real, and I believe anyone who writes memoir, or who wants to write memoir or who has ever even remotely considered writing memoir, should read that book.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I like to read cookbooks cover to cover, like novels, so show me a cookbook with a dreamy photo of chicken Marbella on the cover, and I'm sold!

Book you hid from your parents:

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson. That book came out in 1985--after I was already in college--but I still did not want my parents to find it in my book collection! I also hid books from my own children when they were growing up. One book I always kept on the top bookshelf was D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover, but my kids eventually grew tall enough to reach it, so they found it anyway.

Book that changed your life:

Idylls of the King by Tennyson. I read this when I returned to graduate school after my children were born, and it transported me out of the dailiness of my life into this magical world. It was simply mesmerizing, and though I had taken other paths in life before that point--I had majored in sociology in undergrad and had wanted to be a social worker--I knew as soon as I read Idylls of the King that from then on, I never wanted to do anything other than read and write, and teach literature and writing.

Favorite line from a book:

I love this line from the chapter "How to Tell a True War Story" in Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried: "At the hour of dusk you sit at your foxhole and look out on a wide river turning pinkish red, and at the mountains beyond, and although in the morning you must cross the river and go into the mountains and do terrible things and maybe die, even so, you find yourself studying the fine colors on the river, you feel wonder and awe at the setting of the sun, and you are filled with a hard, aching love for how the world could be and always should be, but now is not."

I love that passage for many reasons--for its imagery and rhythm, the lovely, balanced phrases, but mainly for the way it captures in one single sentence complex, contradictory ideas about beauty and pain, wonder and sorrow. That is such a hard thing to do on the page, but O'Brien does it so beautifully again and again in that book.

Five books you'll never part with:

I tend to give away books to friends and family and students, but one book I hope to never have to part with is my Sundays at Moosewood cookbook. My first copy basically disintegrated from overuse, so I recently ordered a second copy, but I hope to always keep my original book. I made many of those recipes for the first time for my children when they were young, and flipping through the book and seeing the food stains on the pages is like reading an old journal or perusing an old photo album. It just evokes so many special memories.

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

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot. When I first read that book in college, it completely devastated me--in the best way possible.

Book Review

YA Review: The Poet X

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (Harper Teen, $17.99 hardcover, 368p., ages 13-up, 9780062662804, March 6, 2018)

Fifteen-year-old Xiomara Batista is "unhide-able," taller than her father, with what her mother calls "a little too much body for such a young girl." Feeling bemused and betrayed by her physical development, Xiomara pours out her feelings in a poetry notebook: "If Medusa was Dominican/ and had a daughter, I think I'd be her./ I look and feel like a myth./ A story distorted, waiting for others to stop and stare./ Tight curls that spring like fireworks/ out of my scalp. A full mouth pressed hard/ like a razor's edge. Lashes that are too long/ so they make me almost pretty."

Her struggles are numerous and accessible. She struggles with her parents' religion: "[W]hat's the point of God giving me life/ if I can't live it as my own?/ Why does listening to his commandments/ so often mean I need to shut down my own voice?" She struggles with street harassment: "It happens when I'm sitting on the stoop./ It happens when I'm turning the corner./ It happens when I forget to be on guard./ It happens all the time." She struggles with boys: "I've been having all these feelings./ Noticing boys more than I used to./ And I get all this attention from guys/ but it's like a sancocho of emotions./ This stew of mixed-up ingredients:/ partly flattered they think I'm attractive,/ partly scared they're only interested in my ass and boobs." Most of all, though, she struggles with her devout parents, unable to bridge the generational and cultural gap between them. "My parents probably wanted a girl who would sit in the pews/ wearing pretty florals and a soft smile./ They got combat boots and a mouth silent/ until it's sharp as an island machete."

Xiomara has always relied on her twin brother, Xavier (aka Twin), to keep her happy and sane in her Harlem home but she wonders if Twin and she "are keeping each other small." When she's assigned a biology lab partner named Aman, the "feelings" she's been having surge forward and she tentatively allows herself to take up a little bit more space. This spells serious trouble for X, as Aman calls her, because, "[t]he thing is,/ my old-school/ Dominican parents/ Do. Not. Play." In other words, absolutely no boyfriends until after college.

In her debut novel-in-verse, poet Elizabeth Acevedo (Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths; Medusa Reads La Negra's Palm), herself the daughter of Dominican immigrants, takes on the universal push-pull of parents and teens with gritty elegance. Readers will relate to X's frustration over her parents' tight reins on her activities and her longing for the mental, emotional and physical space to discover who she is in her world. The Poet X is beautiful and true--a splendid debut. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: Fifteen-year-old Xiomara wants to identify as a poet, but doesn't know how to blend it with her other identity as a well-developed daughter of strict Dominican-American immigrants.

Powered by: Xtenit