Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Random House Worlds: Damsel by Evelyn Skye

St. Martin's Press: The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop

Soho Crime: The Rope Artist by Fuminori Nakamura, transl. by Sam Bett

Flatiron Books: Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature by Sarah Hart

Grand Central Publishing: Goodbye Earl: A Revenge Novel by Leesa Cross-Smith

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

Steve Madden Ltd: The Cobbler: How I Disrupted an Industry, Fell from Grace, and Came Back Stronger Than Ever by Steve Madden and Jodi Lipper

St. Martin's Griffin: The Bookshop by the Bay by Pamela M. Kelley

Quotation of the Day

Bookstores 'Fall on the Side of Openness & Diversity'

Johanna Hahn

"The book industry has always reacted with great sensitivity to the political climate, and bookstores are always a place where social change occurs. Now, the theme really seems to be freedom of speech, freedom of opinion. Look at America, look at Turkey--this problem is all over the world.... In every book there's a new perspective, so bookstores automatically fall on the side of openness and diversity."

--Johanna Hahn, director of the Börsenverein (the German book industry association) in Berlin and Brandenburg, as quoted in a New York Times article headlined "When Neo-Nazis Marched Through Berlin's Old Jewish Quarter, a Bookshop Took Notice"

Blackstone Publishing: What Remains by Wendy Walker


'Major Reorganization' for Skyhorse Publishing

In what the company terms "a major reorganization," independent press Skyhorse Publishing will reduce the number of titles it publishes in 2018 by 25% compared to last year, when it released 1,120 titles. The decision was announced by president and publisher Tony Lyons in response to shortfalls in Skyhorse revenues in 2017 and early this year, including issues related to its distribution deal and paper shortages, as well as changes in the marketplace in general. Skyhorse's net sales declined by 19% in 2017. As a result of this reorganization, 16 full-time positions were eliminated out of a total of 77.

"These are difficult decisions, but we believe they will allow us to become more nimble, respond to trends, focus more on what our customers want, increase the quality of the books we publish, and create more impactful marketing plans," Lyons said. "These changes will allow us to adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace and position the company for future success."

Skyhorse was launched in 2006 by Lyons, former president and publisher of the Lyons Press, and has more than 6,500 titles in print through its 17 imprints. The publisher's titles are distributed by Two Rivers Distribution (formerly Perseus Distribution) in the U.S. and overseas, and by Thomas Allen & Son in Canada.

Last December, Skyhorse Publishing staffers "fell short of the votes needed to join United Auto Workers Local 2110," the Daily News reported at the time. The Skyhorse Publishing Workers Union, formed by staffers who wanted to bring in UAW, had announced the results in an e-mail to staff: "Skyhorse employees will remain non-union for now, though we can request a new election in the future.... The good news is the union effort has achieved several of the changes employees wanted to see."

GLOW: Flatiron Books: Bad Summer People by Emma Rosenblum

Three Nobel Lit Prize Committee Members Resign

Nobel Literature Prize judges Klas Östergren, Kjell Espmark and Peter Englund resigned from their positions with the Swedish Academy last Friday, but offered few details in their individual statements, the Associated Press reported, adding that "Englund wrote in a letter to the tabloid Aftonbladet that his decision was linked to the Swedish Academy's decision late last year to cut ties with the head of a Stockholm cultural center who was accused of sexual misconduct."

Several Swedish news outlets, including Aftonbladet, "said the background was a vote in the academy on whether to exclude Katarina Forstensson, a member with close ties to the accused man. The paper said those who left the academy wanted Forstensson out but were voted down," the AP wrote.

In a written statement to the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, Östergren said the academy has had serious problems for a long time "and has now tried to solve them in a way that puts obscure considerations before its own statutes. Therefore, I have decided to no longer take part in its activities. I'm leaving the table, I'm out of the game."

Espmark's letter to Svenska Dagbladet, as well as Dagens Nyheter, stated: "Integrity is the lifeblood of the Swedish Academy. When leading voices in the academy put friendship and other irrelevant considerations before this integrity, then I can no longer participate in the work."

Noting that Swedish Academy membership "is intended to be for life, so no one has technically left it before," the Guardian reported that Sara Danius, the permanent secretary of the academy, "said that the jury is now considering changing its rules and making it possible for members to leave and be replaced."

William Morrow & Company: The God of Good Looks by Breanne Mc Ivor

Semareh Al-Hillal Named Publisher of Groundwood Books

Effective May 7, Semareh Al-Hillal has been named publisher at Groundwood Books, the Canadian children's publisher founded in 1978 that is now part of House of Anansi Press and is distributed in the U.S. by PGW. Al-Hillal is currently associate publisher at Kids Can Press, where she has been for 18 years.

Sarah MacLachlan, president of House of Anansi Press and Groundwood Books, said the current team "will flourish under Semareh's leadership."

Scott Griffin, owner and chairman of the board of House of Anansi and Groundwood Books, added: "Semareh's extensive experience and expertise in the publishing of children's literature makes her a fitting replacement for the outstanding leadership of Sheila Barry."

"I am honored to be given the chance to build on the strong foundation laid by founding publisher Patsy Aldana and continue the wonderful work of Sheila Barry and other Groundwood staff past and present," said Al-Hillal. "The thought of being able to uphold and further Groundwood's stellar reputation and prestigious list is very exciting to me. I'm looking forward to working with all of the talented creators and staff to create important, magical, diverse books that engage, transport and reflect young readers."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Celebrants by Steven Rowley

April Indie Next List E-Newsletter Delivered

Last Thursday, the American Booksellers Association's e-newsletter edition of the Indie Next List for April was delivered to nearly half a million of the country's best book readers. The newsletter was sent to customers of 122 independent bookstores, with a combined total of 468,685 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 Tangerine by Christine Mangan (Ecco).

For a sample of the April newsletter, see this one from Eight Cousins, Falmouth, Mass., which is close to reopening its bricks-and-mortar location after a ceiling collapse in January.


Image of the Day: Storytime at Head House

Children's authors/illustrators Greg Pizzoli and Sarah Jacoby conducted a Saturday morning story/drawing hour at Philadelphia's Head House Books this past weekend. Greg read his new book, This Story Is for You, and Sarah read hers, Forever or a Day.

City Lights: 'A Must-Do for Bibliophiles'

One of "nine things to do in San Francisco that aren't tourist traps," as compiled by Insider, which wrote: "Famous for its countercultural history, San Francisco was a mid-century hot spot for beatnik poets and musicians, attracting figures like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. The City Lights Bookstore, an independent bookshop and publisher, opened in 1953 on the border of North Beach and Chinatown, and it immediately became a focal point of the Beat Generation, even publishing Ginsberg's iconic Howl.

"Now an official San Francisco landmark, City Lights remains open for business, with an impressive selection of world lit and volumes on the arts and progressive politics. It's a must-do for bibliophiles with an interest in San Francisco's groovy cultural history."

Personnel Changes at Workman

At Workman Publishing:

Jodi Weiss has been promoted to executive director, gift and mass merchant sales. She was formerly director, gift and mass merchant sales.

Liz Hunter has been promoted to associate director, field sales. She was formerly national account manager.

Caitlin Kleinschmidt will manage the company's relationship with Baker & Taylor among her other duties as national account manager.

Angela Campbell has been promoted to director of sales operations. She was formerly director of inventory management and control.

JT Green has been promoted to sales analyst. He was formerly sales associate.

B&T Publisher Services Adds Three Publishers

Effective June 1, Baker & Taylor Publisher Services is adding three client publishers:

ECW Press, Toronto, Ont., which publishes about 50 titles each year and has some 1,400 titles in print. Areas of specialty include fiction, poetry, mysteries, fantasy, young adult fiction, biographies and memoirs, music, TV and film, environment, popular science, wrestling and sports. (U.S. and worldwide, excluding Canada, the U.K./Ireland and western Europe.)

Nomad Press, White River Junction, Vt., which specializes in nonfiction, particularly project-based narratives, biographies, nonfiction picture books and historical mysteries, for readers aged 5 to 15. (Worldwide.)

MVP Kids, Mesa, Ariz., which publishes series children's books. (Worldwide, excluding Canada.)


Since January, BTPS has offered worldwide sales and distribution for the Innovation Press, Seattle, Wash., which publishes children's books that range from picture book biographies to activity books to nonfiction titles.

Also effective last January, BTPS began providing worldwide sales and distribution for BMH Books, the publishing arm of the Brethren Missionary Herald Company, Inc., the media organization that serves the Charis Fellowship (Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches). The Indiana publisher specializes in books on theology and Christian living.

Media and Movies

Neil Gaiman to Guest Star on Big Bang Theory

Bestselling author Neil Gaiman will appear on the CBS TV sitcom Big Bang Theory, which tweeted a spoiler alert: "Mark your calendars! On the April 19 episode of The #BigBangTheory, special guest star @neilhimself will put Stuart's comic book store on the map, and (spoiler alert!) Sheldon won't like it."

Gaiman tweeted: "Can such things BE?"

Here's the network's summary of "The Comet Polarization" episode: "Sheldon's comic book store experiences changes when writer Neil Gaiman puts Stuart's store on the map. Also, Koothrappali takes credit for Penny's astronomical discovery, and friendships are threatened."

Media Heat: Robert Kuttner on Fresh Air

Today Show: Siri Daly, author of Siriously Delicious: 100 Nutritious (and Not so Nutritious) Simple Recipes for the Real Home Cook (Oxmoor House, $26.99, 9780848755805).

Fresh Air: Robert Kuttner, author of Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? (Norton, $27.95, 9780393609936).


The View: Ian K. Smith, author of The Clean 20: 20 Foods, 20 Days, Total Transformation (St. Martin's Press, $25.99, 9781250182074).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Retta, author of So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y'all Don't Even Know (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250109347).

Daily Show: Martellus Bennett, author of Hey A.J., It's Bedtime! (Joe Books, $14.99, 9780996982030).

The Opposition with Jordan Klepper: Sally Kohn, author of The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity (Algonquin, $27.95, 9781616207281).

Books & Authors

Awards: Read Russia Translation; Ben Franklin

A team of four translators has won the 2018 Read Russia Prize, awarded for works of Russian literature published in new English translations, for their work on Memories: From Moscow to the Black Sea by Teffi (New York Review Books). The book was translated by Robert Chandler, Elizabeth Chandler, Anne Marie Jackson, and Irina Steinberg.

Winners receive an award of up to $10,000, divided at the discretion of the prize jury between the translator(s) of the work and the English-language publishing house. An awards ceremony for the Read Russia Prize will be held Wednesday, during the London Book Fair, at Waterstones Piccadilly.

Receiving special mentions were Russian Émigré Short Stories from Bunin to Yankovsky, edited by Bryan Karetnyk and translated by Maria Bloshteyn, Robert Chandler, Justin Doherty, Boris Dralyuk, Rose France, Bryan Karetnyk, Dmitri Nabokov, Donald Rayfield, Irina Steinberg, and Anastasia Tolstoy (Penguin); and Rapture by Iliazd, translated by Thomas J. Kitson (Columbia University Press).


The gold and silver winners in 54 categories of 30th annual Benjamin Franklin Awards, sponsored by the Independent Book Publishers Association, have been announced and can be seen here.

Book Review

Review: You Me Everything

You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac (Pamela Dorman/Viking, $26 hardcover, 368p., 9780735224537, May 1, 2018)

Catherine Isaac is the pen name for British author Jane Costello, who has spent the past 10 years writing such lively romantic comedies as Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel and Bridesmaids. However, Costello chose a pseudonym for her American debut, You Me Everything, a more complex story that probes serious issues about the bonds of family love and the sacrifices made therein.

The novel opens in Manchester, England, where 22-year-old Jess is deep in labor. While facing the agony of childbirth with her mum at her side, Jess is furious that her boyfriend, Adam--a man whom Jess fell in love with in college, who is also the baby's father--is markedly absent. By the time Jess cradles son William in her arms, Adam surfaces, reeking of stale booze and another woman's perfume.

The timeline then leaps ahead 10 years. Jess, a teacher of creative writing at a local college, is a single mother--and has been since a few months after William's birth. A small circle of friends, along with Jess's attentive parents, have helped her through every joy and dark moment of the past decade. Adam--never wanting a child or to settle down--lives luxuriously, managing a beautiful hotel in the hills of Southwestern France. He "is not a neglectful father," Jess says. "He pays his maintenance on time, remembers William's birthday and Skypes when he says he will. But our son is no more than a small piece in the jigsaw of Adam's colorful life."

It is Jess's mother who insists that William, now 10 years old, needs to have a more substantial relationship with his father. Jess, on summer vacation from teaching, hates to leave her mother, as she is very ill, battling Huntington's disease. But Mum, faced with mortality, is adamant that Jess needs to seize the moment and find a way for Adam to take on a more active role in his son's life. Thus, Jess and William make an 825-mile, 28-hour car journey to Château de Roussignol, Adam's stomping ground. There she hopes free-spirited, fun-loving Adam and inquisitive, bright William will finally form a tighter bond.

What ensues is a tender and reflective story that covers a span of five weeks. Adam, still a player with women, is warm and welcoming to both William and Jess, and he plans exciting outings for all three of them. Meanwhile, Jess recalls what drew her to him in the first place, and all the reasons why Adam--having never experienced the love, loyalty and commitment found in families--might not have been able to settle down. This is a multi-layered, heartbreaking story of abiding love. Isaac's graceful, nuanced storytelling gains an unexpected depth and clarity readers are sure to find riveting. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines.

Shelf Talker: An idyllic summer vacation to France becomes a turning point for a 33-year-old woman, her ex and their 10-year-old son.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Savage Prince by Meghan March
2. 30 Minute Seder by Robert Kopman, illustrated by Bil Yanok
3. Recovered by Jay Crownover
4. P.S. I Hate You by Winter Renshaw
5. Vegas Baby by Amy Brent
6. The End Zone by L.J. Shen
7. The Swedish Prince by Karina Halle
8. Pushing Brilliance by Tim Tigner
9. The Brady Hawk Series: Books 1-3 by R.J. Patterson
10. Breakthrough by Michael C. Grumley
[Many thanks to!]

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