Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Disney Lucasfilm Press: Queen's Hope by E K Johnston

Little Simon: Good Night, Good Night: The Original Longer Version of the Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton

Page Street Kids: Tonight We Rule the World by Zack Smedley

Simply Read Books: When I Was Small by Sara O'Leary, illustrated by Julie Morstad

Legendary Comics: The Heart Hunter by Mickey George, illustrated by V Gagnon

Etch/Clarion Books: The Heist Age, 2 (Dinomighty!) by Doug Paleo, illustrated by Aaron Blecha


Buyers of Tucson's Antigone Books Meet Funding Goal in Four Days

Antigone's new owners: (l.-r.) Morgan Miller, Kate Stern and Melissa Negelspach.

Great news from Antigone Books, Tucson, Ariz.: in just four days on Indiegogo, the three future owners raised their goal of $32,000, the last piece of what they needed to implement their plans. The campaign was set to last a month.

Yesterday, the three--Morgan Miller, Melissa Negelspach and Kate Stern--wrote on their Indiegogo page:

"We are so excited and grateful to announce that we have met our goal of $32,000!! (In fact, with the addition of checks and cash brought directly to the store, we have actually raised closer to $33,500. WOW). We are floored by how quickly Tucsonans, book lovers, friends, and family have rallied to support us. We have the BEST community, and we will do all that we can to be good caretakers of this bookstore that you know and love.

"Thanks to you, we reached our goal in only FOUR DAYS. This is incredible! The Indiegogo page will be up for 26 more days. Any additional contributions will help us pay off our loans more quickly and launch this business into a healthy future, but PLEASE KNOW that thanks to your help we are now able to buy the store!! The change of ownership should take place sometime in May, and we couldn't be more excited.  Thank you!!!"

Antigone Books was put up for sale by co-owners Trudy Mills and Kate Randall in 2016. The new owners, who are booksellers at Antigone Books, have spent the last year working on buying the store. They were recently approved for an SBA loan that covers most of their costs, but needed another $32,000.

New World Library: Sit Down to Rise Up: How Radical Self-Care Can Change the World by Shelly Tygielski

Dog Eared Books Opens in Hampton, Va.

Dog Eared Books, a new and used bookstore, opened last week in Hampton, Va., the Daily Press reported. The 700-square-foot store also sells book-related gift and novelty items and has a coffee area.

Dog Eared Books' owners are Victoria Mitchell and Lindsay Petridge, who formerly ran a cleaning business. Mitchell told the newspaper: "I think these bookstores have a cult following. I think you have to provide something that's different and original and comfortable for people."

Dog Eared Books is located at 52 Old Hampton Lane, Hampton, Va. 23669.

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers: Art essentials that are off the chart!

PA at P&P: Celebrating 20 Years of PublicAffairs

Last week, PublicAffairs celebrated its 20th anniversary with a panel discussion called "20 Years of Publishing Good Books About Things That Matter" at Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C.--an appropriate venue. The panel, introduced by Vernon Jordan, included Peter Osnos, founder, PublicAffairs; Bradley Graham, co-owner, Politics and Prose and author of Hit to Kill and By His Own Rules; Maya Rao, author, Great American Outpost; Jaime Leifer, associate publisher, PublicAffairs; and moderator Clive Priddle, publisher, PublicAffairs.

(l.-r.) Clive Priddle, Maya Rao, Peter Osnos, Jaime Leifer and Bradley Graham

Reflecting recently on PublicAffairs' 20th anniversary, founder Peter Osnos noted that in the past several decades "the two pillars of book publishing"--content and distribution--have fared very differently. "Content has proven to be very durable," he said. Publishers continue to publish a range of titles on a range of subjects. In nonfiction, PublicAffairs' focus, "there's so much to address," including politics, self-help, business, economics, and at the same time, "investigative journalism in book form is flourishing." In fiction, there's still a wealth of titles: "The same publisher that published Toni Morrison published 50 Shades of Grey.

"The really interesting thing to me is not how roughed up we've been, but how stable we've been," he continued. "Even if flat is the new up, we've managed to hold our own in a universe of mass disruption." He compared book publishing to the newspaper and magazine businesses, which have suffered greatly.

In book distribution, however, "everything has fundamentally changed," Osnos said. Since he joined the book publishing world in 1984, "I've seen a series of progressive changes in the way we sell and market books." Highlights, of course, have included the eras of the mall store, of the book superstore, and of "books as wallpaper," as well as the seeming demise but return of the independents and Amazon's arrival and growth into "the most important new manifestation of how we sell."

Now, he said with some amazement, the key "distribution principle" for publishers is something unfathomable a few decades ago: to provide "good books any way the reader wants them now." The ability to serve consumers immediately and in a variety of way is based on the widespread availability of print books, e-books and audiobooks. "If I want a book and don't mind where I get it, I can, especially if I don't mind getting it downloaded." He stressed that competitors of Amazon should make books available in all formats and experiment with packages that combine print and electronic editions of the same books, something that PublicAffairs has experimented with in the past.

Osnos praised independents for "creating a system that accommodates customers rather than turns them away." He cited Politics & Prose, RJ Julia Booksellers, Book Passage and the Tattered Cover, among others, as stores that have distinguished themselves by offering an array of events, book clubs, travel groups, classes and more and thus become "something important to people who shop there."

Osnos emphasized that there's "a notion at any given stage that we're at the last phase of change. But that turned out not to be true." Amazon now has "overwhelming dominance in the marketplace, more than anyone has in our lifetimes." He called Amazon founder Jeff Bezos "one of the shrewdest" of the giant tech company geniuses, but added that "the history of companies like Amazon is they come under major antitrust pressure and end up being broken up."

The current state of the book world "is not the end of the story," he went on. "The end of the story is never the end of the story." Publishers and booksellers continue to serve many readers--"a specific part of the American public"--and "we need to adjust our expectations to that reality."

GLOW: Grove Press: Reptile Memoirs by Silje Ulstein, trans. by Alison McCullough

Mr. B’s Book Spas and Reading Subscriptions

At Mr. B's Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath, England, co-owner Nic Bottomley and his staff offer a variety of personalized reading gifts, including what he refers to as Reading Spas and Reading Subscriptions.

For the Reading Spas, customers book a time to sit down with a Mr. B's bookseller and, over tea and cake, discuss the books they love and what they like and don't like. That bookseller then selects 15-20 books they think the customer will enjoy, and spends the remainder of the session introducing the titles to the customer. The net result, he said, was that "you're making a new customer, probably for life," and people who receive the Reading Spa gift will often then buy them as gifts for others.

Bottomley, who outlined the programs at a meeting of the European and International Booksellers Federation at the London Book Fair earlier this month, reported that the gift costs £80, or around $112, and includes about £55, or just under $80, worth of books, along with assorted merchandise like a Mr. B's mug or tote bag. It is not uncommon, he said, for customers to spend an additional £20 ($28) or so on books beyond those included with the gift. He added that Mr. B's can do up to four Reading Spas per day and time slots are usually booked two and a half months in advance.

In 2011, Mr. B's began offering Reading Subscriptions. Unlike many other book subscription services, these are entirely bespoke. It begins with a customer filling out a questionnaire about their reading tastes. They then receive a handpicked book each month, and customers can choose to subscribe for three months, six months or a year. The subscriptions cost £45-£145 ($63-$202) for paperback books, and Bottomley said the service now has around 1,200 subscribers.

In addition to the money that these services bring in, one of the benefits is that they essentially constitute "constant training" for handselling. Booksellers at Mr. B's often ask each other about books and pool their knowledge, often learning about genres and authors they wouldn't typically read.

"It all does stem from just wanting to shove down people's throats what books we want them to read," Bottomley said wryly. --Alex Mutter


Image of the Day: Lee at Carmichael's

Chef Edward Lee, from Top Chef and PBS's Mind of a Chef, launched his new book, Buttermilk Graffiti (Artisan)--his first foray into narrative nonfiction--at Carmichael's Bookstore in Louisville, Ky. To add to the festive mood, Lee served his famous Bacon Pâté BLT and his own Jefferson Reserve Bourbon batch to a packed room. He asked the audience trivia questions and gave out signature soy sauce as prizes for correct answers.

Rachel Kaplan on Bookselling Without Borders Turin Scholarship

"I love connecting with people, especially through books," said Rachel Kaplan, events director at Avid Bookshop in Athens, Ga., in a recent video discussing her reaction to receiving a Bookselling Without Borders scholarship to attend the Turin International Book Fair in Italy this May. "And I thought, what better opportunity to meet people from around the world and learn from them?"

Kaplan is one of four recipients of the Turin scholarship. The others are Hans Weyandt, manager of Milkweed Books in Minneapolis, Minn.; Anna Thorn, of Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C.; and Nick Buzanski, manager of Book Culture in New York City.

"A bookseller's responsibility is to change the world one book at a time; especially now, in the U.S., our literary appetites should transcend borders both physical and ideological," said Kaplan, after learning that she'd won one of the four scholarships. "I feel incredibly thankful to work in an industry that goes above and beyond for its literary citizens, both here and abroad, and I am inspired to be part of a movement that connects us all through the power of literature."

Bookselling Without Borders was founded in 2016 to award scholarships to U.S. booksellers so they can attend international book fairs and connect with publishers, authors, agents, editors and of course other booksellers. The organization is also providing scholarships to the Guadalajara International Book Fair in Mexico and the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany this year.

Indie Bookstores 'Are Booming Again'

In anticipation of Independent Bookstore Day, Monday's edition of CBS This Morning spoke with several booksellers about the indie renaissance.

"We host a lot of different events," said Becky Anderson, a co-owner of Anderson's Bookshops in Naperville, Downers Grove and La Grange, Ill. "It's good for business, but it's also good for our community. A lot of times, people will say, 'You know what? You're my entertainment!' "

CBS correspondent Tony Dokoupil asked, "So, buying a book becomes an act of community-building as opposed to just a consumer purchase?"

"Yeah, oh yeah, for sure," Anderson replied. "You talk to people, have someone treat you like a friend, and something they love, they're going to share with you, too, and you're going to love it, too. You can't get that online."

David Sandberg, co-owner of Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass., recalled that five years ago, when he "told my friends at Google, 'I'm leaving 'cause my wife and I are buying a bookstore,' the universal reaction was, 'That is so cool. Is that really a good idea?' Because there is this narrative of we're under fire, we're getting killed. That's not the narrative now."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: David Kertzer on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: David Kertzer, author of The Pope Who Would Be King: The Exile of Pius IX and the Emergence of Modern Europe (Random House, $35, 9780812989915).

Today Show: Joanna Coles, author of Love Rules: How to Find a Real Relationship in a Digital World (Harper, $25.99, 9780062652584).

The Talk: Marcia Gay Harden, author of The Seasons of My Mother: A Memoir of Love, Family, and Flowers (Atria, $26, 9781501135705).

Steve: Tyra Banks, author of Perfect Is Boring: 10 Things My Crazy, Fierce Mama Taught Me About Beauty, Booty, and Being a Boss (TarcherPerigee, $27, 9780143132301).

The View: Whitney Bowe, author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin: The Surprising Science of Looking and Feeling Radiant from the Inside Out (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316509824).

Watch What Happens Live: Ali Wentworth, author of Go Ask Ali: Half-Baked Advice (and Free Lemonade) (Harper, $25.99, 9780062466013). She will also appear on Live with Kelly and Ryan.

Late Late Show with James Corden: Chelsea Clinton, author of She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History (Philomel, $17.99, 9780525516996).

TV: Sharp Objects Trailer

The first trailer has been released for HBO's adaptation of Sharp Objects, based on Gillian Flynn's novel and starring Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, Chris Messina, Eliza Scanlen, Elizabeth Perkins and Matt Crave. Deadline reported that the trailer "gives a taste of the eight-episode limited series from Entertainment One and Blumhouse Television with flashes of scenes that definitely reflect that of Flynn's Gone Girl storytelling."

Jean-Marc Vallée (Big Little Lies) directs all eight episodes, which were written by Flynn and Marti Noxon, who also serves as showrunner. Noxon, Flynn, Vallée and Adams executive produce with Blumhouse Productions' Jason Blum, Charles Layton and Jessica Rhoades as well as Vallée's producing partner Nathan Ross. Sharp Objects premieres on HBO in July.

Books & Authors

Awards: L.A. Times Book; Green Earth Book

The winners of the Los Angeles Times Book Awards, announced during the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, are:

Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction: Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang (Lenny/Random House)
Biography: Henry David Thoreau: A Life by Laura Dassow Walls (University of Chicago Press)
Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose: The Hue and Cry at Our House: A Year Remembered by Benjamin Taylor (Penguin Books)
Current Interest: Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America by Nancy MacLean (Viking)
Fiction: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Riverhead Books)
Graphic Novel/Comics: Present by Leslie Stein (Drawn and Quarterly)
History: The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan (Norton)
Mystery/Thriller: A Book of American Martyrs by Joyce Carol Oates (Ecco)
Poetry: Incendiary Art: Poems by Patricia Smith (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press)
Science & Technology: Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky (Penguin)
Young Adult Literature: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books)


The winners of the 2018 Green Earth Book Award, sponsored by the Nature Generation and honoring "books that best convey the environmental stewardship message and inspire youth to grow a deeper appreciation, respect, and responsibility for their natural environment," have been announced. Winning authors and illustrators receive $1,500. To see the organization's recommended reading list, click here.

Picture Book:
Winner: Creekfinding: A True Story by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Claudia McGehee (University of Minnesota Press)
Honor Winner: Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Jessica Lanan (Sleeping Bear Press)

Children's Nonfiction:
Winner: Sea Otter Heroes: The Predators That Saved an Ecosystem by Patricia Newman (Millbrook Press)
Honor Winners:
The Hidden Life of a Toad by Doug Wechsler (Charlesbridge)
This Book Stinks! Gross Garbage, Rotten Rubbish, and the Science of Trash by Sarah Wassner Flynn (National Geographic Kids)

Children's Fiction:
Winner: Forest World by Margarita Engle (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
Honor Winner: The Last Panther by Todd Mitchell (Delacorte Books for Young Readers)

Young Adult Nonfiction:
Winner: Trashing the Planet: Examining Our Global Garbage Glut by Stuart A. Kallen (Twenty-First Century Books)
Honor Winner: Geoengineering Earth's Climate: Resetting the Thermostat by Jennifer Swanson (Twenty-First Century Books)

Book Review

Review: The Ensemble

The Ensemble by Aja Gabel (Riverhead, $26 hardcover, 352p., 9780735214767, May 15, 2018)

First-time novelist and former cellist Aja Gabel delves deeply into the sacrifice and passion needed to deal with the fiercely competitive world of classical music, and the relationships among four friends who find a way to make it to the top together.

In 1992, four young string musicians form the Van Ness Quartet, trading promising solo careers for the lure of greater fame and fortune as an ensemble. Ambitious, steel-spined first violin Jana knows she thrives best when playing with others. Privileged viola prodigy Henry could become a superstar on his own, but his friendship with Jana keeps him loyal to the quartet. Sweet, gentle second violin Brit has no family and clings to her fellow musicians as a substitute. Daniel, cellist and ladies' man, waits tables to pay for his rented tuxedos and instrument, sometimes resenting his need to work harder than the others to stay in the music business.

Gabel follows the Van Ness members over the course of 18 years, through their ups and downs as they win and lose competitions, support and antagonize each other, and find their way home to one another through music again and again. Set in the classical music hubs of San Francisco and New York City, The Ensemble also tracks the journey of four young adults through the United States' shifting emotional landscape, forever marred by 9/11, at a time when their own lives are still settling into their final shape.

Complex and tender, this slice of life reveals the toll professional music takes on relationships, with its requirement of constant travel, and physically, as the musicians suffer injuries from routine bruises to excruciating arm pain. Although the story of the quartet itself remains largely one of success, Gabel puts her characters through life's wringer with failed relationships, family tragedies and the constant demands of the industry if one wants to remain at the top.

Though their bonds shift and loosen at times, with Henry often courted for solo endeavors and Daniel's jealousy rising and ebbing, the four friends weather their storms with passable if imperfect grace. Anyone who has spent the better part of their adult life with a particular set of friends will relate to the familial quality of their rapport as other, lesser groups form and dissolve around them. With its range of topics and core theme of chasing a passion, Gabel's debut will strike the perfect chord with book clubs and readers who love character-driven narratives. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: Aja Gabel's debut novel follows the members of a string quartet from young adulthood to middle age for a beautiful portrait of lifelong friendships.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Rebel Heir by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward
2. Rescuing Sadie by Susan Stoker
3. Close Cover by Lexi Blake
4. Say You Won't Let Go by Corinne Michaels
5. Dragon's Ground (The Desert Cursed Series Book 2) by Shannon Mayer
6. His to Protect by Carly Phillips
7. Her Guardian Angel by Larissa Ione
8. Edge of Insanity (The Alliance Book 6) by S.E. Smith
9. Justify Me by J. Kenner
10. Murder in St. Giles by Ashley Gardner and Jennifer Ashley
[Many thanks to!]

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