Also published on this date: Wednesday, March 15, 2018: Maximum Shelf: The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, March 15, 2018

Simon & Schuster: Fall Cooking With Simon Element

Tor Nightfire: Devils Kill Devils by Johnny Compton

Shadow Mountain: Highcliffe House (Proper Romance Regency) by Megan Walker

Simon & Schuster: Register for the Simon & Schuster Fall Preview!

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster: The Ministry of Time Kaliane Bradley

Quotation of the Day

The Power of Indies and Handselling

John August

"[Handselling] is incredibly important, especially for a new author. Jonathan Stokes, the author of the Addison Cooke series, is a huge believer: 'If you had asked me six months ago to describe the ecology of the bookselling environment, I would have described the ecosystem to be Amazon is the biggest bookseller at the top, Barnes & Noble is kind of, getting eaten by Amazon a little bit, and then at the bottom I would have put independent booksellers. And in hindsight, I think I had it entirely backward. I actually think that the independent booksellers are in many ways the most important people to reach as an author. Because if you're like me, let's say, you're a completely unknown first-time author with a completely unknown first-time book, yours is sort of a very tiny snowball at the top of a mountain. You're trying to get the snowball to start rolling and become a bigger snowball.... It's really independent booksellers that have the power to read your book, fall in love with it and become an evangelist for your book.' "

--John August, screenwriter (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), director, producer and novelist (his first book, for middle readers, is Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire from Roaring Brook Press), speaking on his podcast Launch.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!


Porter Square Books Owners to Sell Half of Store to Employees

David Sandberg and Dina Mardell, owners of Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass., have entered a succession agreement to sell the store to nine management-level employees, Bookselling This Week reported. First, Sandberg and Mardell will sell 50% of the equity of the store to the nine employees, who will then repay that money over the next 10 years from their share of the store's profits. When Mardell and Sandberg eventually decide to retire, they will offer to sell the other 50% of the store to the group.

Sandberg told BTW that he and Mardell, who have owned Porter Square Books since 2013, are selling half the store at the same value at which they bought it. The agreement allows the employee group to "get ownership now but to be able to pay for it over time, and not need to come up with money right away." He noted that he and Mardell are not "giving the store to them, but we are financing it for them."

While Sandberg and Mardell have no plans to retire in the immediate future, they did feel it was time to start thinking about a plan. They wanted "the people who end up owning it and running it after us [to be] the people who work here now." And until they do decide to retire, they'll keep operating control of the bookstore, though Sandberg emphasized that the decision process is "very collaborative" already.

Among the group of nine employees who will buy the store are marketing director Josh Cook and buyer Dale Szczeblowski, who was one of the founders who sold the store in 2013. According to Sandberg, "all nine members of the management group who were offered the opportunity accepted it."

Graphic Universe (Tm): Hotelitor: Luxury-Class Defense and Hospitality Unit by Josh Hicks

Mother-Daughter Team Bringing That Book Store to Wethersfield, Conn.

Karen (left) and Isabelle Opper

Karen Opper and her daughter Isabelle Opper have launched an Indiegogo campaign to help bring an "all-inclusive independent bookstore" called That Book Store to the Wethersfield, Conn., area later this year. The pair hopes to raise $20,000 in the next 22 days. Their bookstore will offer new print books, e-books and audiobooks, in addition to an assortment of gifts and educational resources.

Opper told the Hartford Courant that the area around Wethersfield, including the towns of Newington and Rocky Hill, "does not have an independent bookstore--any bookstore actually." On April 1, Opper and her daughter will launch an online store, so they can begin selling books while in the process of opening the bricks-and-mortar store. They also intend to start an online magazine, which will be available as a reward to their crowdfunding donors.

For the past four years, Opper has been a full-time nurse at a Veterans Administration hospital, and before that was an army combat medic, serving six years as a sergeant and squad leader in the 319th Medical Detachment. She has written about books and reviewed books on her personal website for the past several years, and has reached out to indie booksellers in the region to learn from them. Isabelle Opper, meanwhile, recently graduated high school, has experience in retail and has worked in school libraries for five years.

Said Karen Opper: "I want to create a place where book clubs, and writers groups, poetry groups can meet without having to worry about other community events happening."

GLOW: Workman Publishing: Atlas Obscura: Wild Life: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Living Wonders by Cara Giaimo, Joshua Foer, and Atlas Obscura

Bookstore Sales Down 8.4% in January

January bookstore sales fell 8.4%, to $1.305 billion, compared to January 2017, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. This marked the seventh down month going back to last summer after a four-month streak in which bookstore sales rose every month. Last year, bookstore sales were down 3.7% compared to 2016.

Independent bookstore sales, however, continued to do much better than overall bookstore sales. Bookselling This Week wrote yesterday, "The independent bookstore channel ended 2017 with a 2.6% increase over 2016. As of March 6, the year-to-date sales for independent bookstores, as reported to the weekly Indie Bestseller Lists, were up more than 4% over 2017."

Total retail sales in January rose 5.3%, to $445.6 billion.

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

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

Tattered Cover Founds Colorado Children's Book Festival

The Tattered Cover Book Store has founded the Colorado Children's Book Festival, which in its first year will focus on middle grade books and authors but in subsequent years will include picture books, too. This year's festival, which will take place on Saturday, May 19, at Tattered Cover Colfax Avenue from 1 p.m.-3 p.m., will feature interactive activities, opportunities to meet the authors, games, prizes, and "lots of silly fun," all while encouraging a love of reading. The festival the event is free but attendees must register.

This year, Tattered Cover is partnering with OMG BookFest (in this case, the initials stand for "Oh Middle Grade"). The organization, founded by authors Sarah Mlynowski, Adele Griffin, Julia DeVillers and Michael Buckley and joined by Christina Soontornvat, describes itself as "the first ever traveling tween book festival" that brings popular, award-winning authors to underserved communities for an interactive experience of games, activities and reading.

"We both have the same ultimate goal of getting kids to read in a fun, experience-based environment," said Kristen Gilligan, co-owner of Tattered Cover Book Store and school and community outreach enthusiast. "Colorado is at the beginning of a literary renaissance, so the timing couldn't be better."

Adele Griffin of OMG BookFest said, "We are over the moon that Tattered Cover Book Store is in partnership with OMG Colorado. A great indie bookstore shines a special light in any community, and there's no better way to celebrate our book festival than in this perfect match of kids, books, and fun right here in downtown Denver."

As part of OMG Colorado, OMG BookFest authors will also visit schools in the area on Thursday, May 17, to help raise money to purchase books for underserved students in Denver. On Friday, May 18, the authors will be at Castro Elementary in Denver, a Title 1 school, where students will have a variety of breakout rooms--each with distinct themes (from magical creatures, to detective stories, to superheroes), led by a diverse group of authors. In addition, every child who attends will go home with an autographed book. Denver Metro area Title 1 schools are invited to participate.

Obituary Note: Peter Temple

Peter Temple, the first crime writer to win Australia's prestigious Miles Franklin Award, died March 8, the Age reported. He was 71. The author of nine novels, Temple was perhaps best known for his four Jack Irish books, which "had a magnificent stable of recurring characters many of whom drank in a fictional pub, the Prince of Prussia."

He was also the first Australian writer to win the British Crime Writers' Association's Gold Dagger Award (for The Broken Shore in 2007). The follow-up to that novel, It Was Truth, won the Miles Franklin in 2010. Temple also garnered five Ned Kelly Awards, beginning in 1997 for his first book, Bad Debts.

Crime writer Michael Robotham said Temple "was the first pure crime writer to win his country's top literary award, which was an incredible achievement. He was such a beautiful writer."

Author Shane Maloney observed that Temple "was to terse blokes with hard jobs and wounded souls what Proust was to memory. He made every sentence count and shot the stragglers.''

Although originally from South Africa, he "created authentically Australian novels, peopled with the most Australian characters," the Age noted. His publisher, Michael Heyward, said: ''As an expat he heard us in a way we could hardly hear each other. We were so lucky to be able to publish a writer who was a poet who understood narrative and put it to the service of Australian literature.''


Image of the Day: #NationalWalkoutDay

The Golden Notebook, Woodstock, N.Y., shared this photo of the store's front-window display, created in honor of yesterday's National School Walkout.

Two Madison, Wis., Indies: Business Is Booming

The owners of two independent bookstores in Madison, Wis., Sandi Torkildson of a Room of One's Own and Joanne Berg of Mystery to Me, were profiled this week in Madison magazine, and both report that their businesses are thriving.

Torkildson, who has owned Room of One's Own since 1975, told the magazine: "We have never done better than now. A lot of independent bookstores are doing quite well."

Berg, meanwhile, who opened Mystery to Me in 2013, said: "This is our fifth year, and it is going very well. Every month and every year we beat our sales projections."

Berg said she believes Mystery to Me has thrived because of her focus on not only in-store author events but also "experienced, knowledgeable booksellers," who can give the type of personalized recommendations that an algorithm simply cannot. Torkildson agreed on the importance of quality booksellers, noting too that she has seen a marked increase in out-of-town shoppers in recent years.

She said: "For some people visiting the city for the first time, a real bookstore is something they have never seen before."

Personnel Changes at Harvard Book Store

Serena Longo

Serena Longo has been promoted to marketing & events manager at the Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass., which hosts more than 500 events annually. She succeeds Alex Meriwether, who recently became the store's general manager.

Longo joined Harvard Book Store in 2011 and has been a bookseller, floor supervisor, marketing coordinator and event supervisor, and part of the marketing and events team since 2013. In 2016, she was the recipient of a James Patterson grant, part of the author's Holiday Bookstore Bonus Program.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dianna De La Garza on Good Morning America

Good Morning America: Dianna De La Garza, co-author of Falling With Wings: A Mother's Story (Feiwel & Friends, $26.99, 9781250143334).

Movies: The Seagull

A new trailer has been released for The Seagull, based on the play by Anton Chekhov and starring Saoirse Ronan, Elisabeth Moss and Annette Bening, Variety reported. Directed by Michael Mayer, the film's screenplay was written by Stephen Karam. The Seagull alights in theaters May 11.

This Weekend on Book TV: The Rose Glen Literary Festival

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, March 17
4 p.m. Harlow Giles Unger, author of First Founding Father: Richard Henry Lee and the Call to Independence (Da Capo, $28, 9780306825613). (Re-airs Monday at 6:15 a.m.)

5:45 p.m. Joshua B. Freeman, author of Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World (Norton, $27.95, 9780393246315).

7 p.m. John A. Lawrence, author of The Class of '74: Congress after Watergate and the Roots of Partisanship (Johns Hopkins University Press, $29.95, 9781421424699), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.

8 p.m. Sheila Nevins, author of You Don't Look Your Age... and Other Fairy Tales (Flatiron, $24.99, 9781250111302). (Re-airs Sunday at 12 p.m.)

9 p.m. Brad Meltzer, author of The Escape Artist (Grand Central, $28, 9781538746783).

10 p.m. Bryan Caplan, author of The Case Against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money (Princeton University Press, $29.95, 9780691174655). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Robert B. Reich, author of The Common Good (Knopf, $22.95, 9780525520498), at Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge, Mass. (Re-airs Sunday at 7 p.m.)

Sunday, March 18
12 a.m. Melissa Schilling, author of Quirky: The Remarkable Story of the Traits, Foibles, and Genius of Breakthrough Innovators Who Changed the World (PublicAffairs, $28, 9781610397926). (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m.)

1 a.m. Bryan A. Garner, author of Nino and Me: My Unusual Friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia (Threshold Editions, $28, 9781501181498).

1 p.m. BookTV visits the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. to explore "the Bible's influence on literature and its impact on issues from government and legal systems to education, human rights, and more." (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

2:30 p.m. Mark Powell, author of Small Treasons (Gallery, $16.99, 9781507203378), at the Rose Glen Literary Festival in Sevierville, Tenn. (Re-airs Monday at 4 a.m.)

3:16 p.m. Kathryn Smith, author of The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR, and the Untold Story of the Partnership That Defined a Presidency (Touchstone, $18, 9781501114977), at the Rose Glen Literary Festival in Sevierville, Tenn. (Re-airs Monday at 4:46 a.m.)

3:55 p.m. Jennifer McGaha, author of Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir (Sourcebooks, $15.99, 9781492655381), at the Rose Glen Literary Festival in Sevierville, Tenn. (Re-airs Monday at 5:25 a.m.)

4:45 p.m. Mark Hasara, author of Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit (Threshold Editions, $26, 9781501181665).

8 p.m. Gregg Easterbrook, author of It's Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear (PublicAffairs, $28, 9781610397414).

10 p.m. Joseph Rodota, author of The Watergate: Inside America’s Most Infamous Address (William Morrow, $27.99, 9780062476623).

Books & Authors

Awards: Chicago Tribune YA Literary; Stella Shortlist

David Levithan is the winner of the 2018 Chicago Tribune Young Adult Literary Award, which recognizes "an author whose work is aimed at a young adult audience, addresses themes especially relevant to adolescents, inspires young readers, and champions literacy." He will receive the award at the Printers Row Lit Fest on June 9. Levithan was scheduled to be receive the award at the 2017 Printers Row Lit Fest but was unable to attend because of an eye injury.

Levithan is editor of the Scholastic young adult imprint PUSH and has written 23 novels, both as a solo author and in collaborations with John Green, Andrea Cremer, Nina LaCour, Rachel Cohn, David Ozanich and Chris Van Etten and illustrator Brian Selznick. His novels include Boy Meets Boy; Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist; Will Grayson, Will Grayson; Every Day; Hold Me Closer; and You Know Me Well.

Chicago Tribune publisher and editor-in-chief Bruce Dold commented: "We are thrilled to recognize David Levithan for his extraordinary work and keen insight into the lives of young adults. We applaud his ability to connect with readers and touch on themes that resonate so closely with adolescents today."

Speaking about LGBT characters for the YA audience, Levithan said: "It's important to have a range of LGBTQIA+ voices in YA literature because there is a range of LGBTQIA+ experiences in life. Every teen deserves to be represented in some way in the books he or she or they or ze reads. It's as simple as that."


The shortlist for the A$50,000 (about US$39,300) 2018 Stella Prize, which "showcases the power and diversity of writing by women in Australia," is:

The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar
Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman
The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser
An Uncertain Grace by Krissy Kneen
The Fish Girl by Mirandi Riwoe
Tracker by Alexis Wright

Fiona Stager, chair of the 2018 judging panel and owner of the Avid Reader, Brisbane, said that the titles "showcase the incredible breadth of talent in the writing by women in Australia today. The personal interweaves seamlessly with the political as these authors investigate the past, examine the present and re-imagine our future. Ideas about family, identity in all its forms, and politics at both its most profound and intimate levels are themes that connect these six diverse, engaging and original books."

The winner will be announced April 12.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, March 20:

Alternate Side: A Novel by Anna Quindlen (Random House, $28, 9780812996067) takes place in a tight-knit neighborhood shaken by an act of violence.

Every Note Played by Lisa Genova (Gallery/Scout Press, $26, 9781476717807) follows a concert pianist stricken with ALS.

I Feel You: The Surprising Power of Extreme Empathy by Cris Beam (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780544558168) touches the transformative abilities of empathy.

Pretty Mess by Erika Jayne (Gallery, $27, 9781501181894) is the memoir of a reality TV star.

Patriot Number One: American Dreams in Chinatown by Lauren Hilgers (Crown, $27, 9780451496133) traces the joys and difficulties of several Chinese immigrants building new lives in Queens, N.Y.

Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back? by Jory John, illustrated by Liz Climo (Dial, $16.99, 9780735228542) has an elephant with a big scratch to itch.

Miles Away from You by A. B. Rutledge (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99, 9781328852335) is a debut YA novel that explores gender and sexuality.

The Intrusions (Carrigan and Miller) by Stav Sherez (Faber & Faber, $14.95, 9780571297276).

A Bag of Marbles, based on the memoir by Joseph Joffo, opens March 23. This French film follows two young Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied France.

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover: An Indies Introduce Title
In Every Moment We Are Still Alive: A Novel by Tom Malmquist (Melville House, $25.99, 9781612197111). "Malmquist's debut autobiographical novel opens at top speed as we meet Tom in the hospital and learn that his pregnant girlfriend's life is in danger. With a velocity unlike any hospital drama, Malmquist captures the chill of the medical staff and his forced navigation of a clinical, emotionless world. Malmquist's writing style is unlike any I've recently experienced. He captures the ordinariness of daily life and the mundane choices we must make as citizens of this world. His ear for dialogue makes you feel present and privileged to be part of the conversation. I have not experienced such skillful, unrelenting examination by a writer tackling life-and-death circumstances and what it means to live in a changed world as I have with this book." --Janine de Boisblanc, Orinda Books, Orinda, Calif.

The Mitford Murders: A Mystery by Jessica Fellowes (Minotaur, $25.99, 9781250170781). "I am not the main mystery reader in my household, but I loved The Mitford Murders. With perfect timing for all things Great Britain, Jessica Fellowes definitely deserves her uncle Julian's blessing to place the real-life Mitfords in a fictional Downton Abbey-like setting. It absolutely kept me guessing and satisfied all my English cravings. Well, at least until the royal wedding in May!" --Sue Roegge, Chapter2Books, Hudson, Wis.

Fever Dream: A Novel by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell (Riverhead, $16, 9780399184604). "Haunting, foreboding, eerie, and ominous, Schweblin's Fever Dream is the first of the Argentine author's books to appear in English. Despite its brevity, Fever Dream throbs with a quickened pulse, as heightening tension is its most effective quality. An intriguing yet purposefully vague plot adds to the story's mystique, one of peril, poison, and the unexplained terror of worms. Metaphorical in scope, Schweblin's impressively constructed tale leaves much to the imagination but is all the richer for doing so. Unsettling and compelling, this is a delirious, potent novel not to be overlooked." --Jeremy Garber, Powell's Books, Portland, Ore.

For Ages 4 to 8
Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Jen Hill (Roaring Brook, $17.99, 9781626723214). "An excellent picture book about empathy and kindness, both how to show it and how it can be challenging. Simple text and engaging illustrations make this perfect for kids in pre-K to third grade. I think some adults could use it, too. Timely, necessary, yet also heartwarming." --Kathleen Carey, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y.

For Ages 9 to 12
Marabel and the Book of Fate by Tracy Barrett (Little, Brown, $16.99, 9780316433990). "Marabel's twin brother, Marco, is the Chosen One, prophesied by the Book of Fate to save the kingdom of Magikos. For Marabel, that means always being in Marco's shadow. But when an evil queen kidnaps Marco on their very important 13th birthday, Marabel knows that she has to rescue her brother. With help from her best friend and a talking unicorn, Marabel treks across kingdoms to find her brother, a journey that teaches her about friendship and fate, good and evil, and that sometimes a different perspective can help you save the day. For fans of humorous fairy tale classics like Ella Enchanted, and for anyone who is tired of waiting around for their day in the sun." --Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, S.C.

For Teen Readers
American Panda by Gloria Chao (Simon Pulse, $17.99, 9781481499101). "American Panda is the cutest book I have read in a long time. Mei's parents want her to become a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer. When Mei goes off to college, she doesn't want her family to find out that she sleeps through biology and hates germs, or that she's met Darren, who is not Taiwanese. Readers follow Mei as she struggles between keeping secrets from her parents and going after what she loves. When she reconnects with her brother Xing, who was estranged for dating the wrong girl, Mei realizes that it might not be worth it to keep her secrets. American Panda is packed with culture, romance, and family."  --Emily Matz, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, Mich.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Women in Sunlight

Women in Sunlight by Frances Mayes (Crown, $27 hardcover, 448p., 9780451497666, April 3, 2018)

Frances Mayes (Under the Tuscan Sun, Under Magnolia) returns to the sensuous glories of Italy in her beautifully rendered and richly woven novel, Women in Sunlight. Catherine "Kit" Raine is at the center. An American expat in her late 30s, Kit has lived and worked as a successful writer and poet nestled in the Tuscan hills of San Rocco for 12 years. Her significant other, Colin, a high-end architect, comes and goes with the demands of his job. During his absences, Kit works on a biography of fellow American Margaret Merrill--an older woman, good friend and a writer whom Kit admired--who set down roots in Tuscany much earlier.

When Margaret died, she surprisingly bequeathed her estate, including her villa, to Kit. Their friendship was at times rocky and difficult. However, Margaret's posthumous generosity made a lasting impression on Kit. In trying to broaden the readership of Margaret's work--and better understand her enigmatic friend--Kit grapples with memories on the page that lead Kit to examine her own life and future.

Kit's quest deepens when three American women--and their unruly dog--move into the villa next door. The three women are new friends, all retired, who met at an orientation for a 55-and-over retirement community near their homes in Chapel Hill, N.C. The threesome are still vital and active enough to assert their independence. Despite their differences, they form an instant camaraderie.

Camille Trowbridge is a retired teacher and mother, widowed for a year and half, who longs to rekindle her artistic aspirations for painting. Susan Ware, a widowed real estate agent with grown daughters, holds a fervent penchant for gardening and trolling for antiques. And Julia Hadley, a successful book editor whose husband left her for a younger woman and who has an adult daughter struggling with addiction, holds a deep affinity for food, wine and cooking. The chance meeting of these three strangers ultimately inspires them to set off together on a year-long sojourn to Italy--despite some familial objections.

Soon after they arrive in Tuscany, they strike up a friendship with Kit, who becomes their guide to the nuances of Italian living and culture. In turn, the three enthusiastic souls reawaken Kit's passion for Italy. The four women--and a growing entourage of new friends--bond over meals, mastering the language, shopping, going on excursions and even finding new love. As the women brim with newfound freedom and joy, Kit, too, begins an exciting chapter in her own life.

Mayes's writing glimmers with masterful sensory descriptions. Readers can practically taste the white foam that tops cappuccinos, step into elongated shadows cast by cypress trees and feel the echoing cold retained amid old stone villas. Mayes delivers another intimate story, told in lively episodes, that details how unexpected friendships can lead to reinvention and bright new beginnings at any age. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines.

Shelf Talker: Four very different American women experience reinvention and self-discovery when they settle in Tuscany and explore all that Italy has to offer.

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