Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Workman Publishing: Overthinking about You: Navigating Romantic Relationships When You Have Anxiety, Ocd, And/Or Depression by Allison Raskin

Wednesday Books: Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez

Harper: Aurora by David Koepp

Gibbs Smith: Life Is Golden: What I've Learned from the World's Most Adventurous Dogs by Andrew Muse

Bloomsbury Publishing: Catch the Sparrow: A Search for a Sister and the Truth of Her Murder by Rachel Rear

Zest Books (Tm): How to Be a Difficult Bitch: Claim Your Power, Ditch the Haters, and Feel Good Doing It by Halley Bondy, Mary C. Fernandez, Sharon Lynn Pruitt-Young, and Zara Hanawalt

Scholastic Press: It's the End of the World and I'm in My Bathing Suit by Justin A. Reynolds


In-Booth Publicist Meet-Ups Coming to BookExpo

Booksellers attending this year's BookExpo will have the chance to meet and talk with publicists from a variety of publishing houses on Friday, June 1, during the first ever In-Booth Publicist Meet-Ups held at the trade show, BookExpo announced.

The Meet-Ups will run from 2 to 4 p.m. at participating publishers' booths and will include publicists from both large and small publishing houses. The open house-style event is meant to go along with the two ABA Publicist Speed-Dating sessions already scheduled, and is part of a program that also includes In-Booth Editor chats, which were also added for the first time this year.

"As we spoke with booksellers and publishers across the country about what would bring them value at BookExpo, we heard over and over that the opportunity for booksellers to speak with publicists from a wide variety of publishers would offer tremendous value in helping them better serve their community," Ed Several, BookExpo's senior v-p, told Shelf Awareness. "This is another example of BookExpo reimagining to become the place where the business of bookselling gets done in North America."

BookExpo will run May 30-June 1 at the Javits Center, in New York City.

Berkley Books: Harlem Sunset (A Harlem Renaissance Mystery) by Nekesa Afia

To Level Playing Field, New Zealand Enacting 'Amazon Tax'

New Zealand intends to begin collecting a 15% goods and services tax on products worth less than NZ$400 (about US$280) bought from overseas, widely called "an Amazon tax," the New Zealand Herald reported. Revenue minister Stuart Nash and customs minister Meka Whaitiri announced the measure today at Unity Books, a bookstore in the capital of Wellington.

GST already applies to all imported products, but until now sellers weren't obliged to collect tax and duties on purchases under NZ$400. In 2016, New Zealand enacted a "Netflix tax," requiring sellers to register with tax authorities and collect tax on all digital services sold to New Zealanders.

Unity Books co-owner and manager Tilly Lloyd expressed most bricks-and-mortar retailers' view of the measure, telling Radio New Zealand: "The thing about Unity Books is that we're all about the customer so this is really important equity news for our customers who are part of millions of local New Zealand customers who are shopping locally and are paying GST and until now were being penalised for their localism.

"They have added life to our streets, local money for wages and rents, and they have also supported our local online businesses which are competitive. Today's announcement's absolutely outstanding news for the whole of the retail sector in New Zealand."

ECW Press: Play It Right: The Remarkable Story of a Gambler Who Beat the Odds on Wall Street by Kamal Gupta

Downtown Books II Opens in Jefferson City, Mo.

Downtown Book & Toy II at the Capital Mall in Jefferson City, Mo., split into two stores last month, thanks to an opportunity to expand that arose after Book World announced store closings late last year, the News Tribune reported. In addition to the Capital Mall store, owner Cowley Distributing operates eight retail book and toy shops across central and eastern portions of the state, including the original Downtown Book & Toy at 125 E. High St.

Downtown Books II opened April 3 in the mall's C wing, site of a former Book World shop. The News Tribune wrote that "after weeks of renovating the space, Book World abruptly announced plans to close all 45 of its stores nationwide in November 2017, just four weeks after the company opened its Jefferson City store."

The surprise closure gave Cowley Distributing a chance to expand its product selection at the Capital Mall, according to company v-p Jerry Cowley, who said: "The opportunity came up. The space was kind of finished for us." Downtown Books II will offer a larger selection of titles and magazines for adults and children. The old Downtown Book & Toy Too space is being re-branded as Play 2 Learn.

Cowley is optimistic about the future of his stores in the city: "We pretty much own the market in Jefferson City. Business has been pretty good to us."

University of California Press: When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973, with a New Preface by Leslie J. Reagan

Brookline Booksmith's Dana Brigham Retiring

Dana Brigham

After 37 years of "a wonderful life" at Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass., Dana Brigham is retiring as general manager and co-owner, effective May 31. She will continue as a board member and senior adviser. Her decision, she indicated, is based on "knowing it's time for younger energy, intellect and passion to carry on the mission."

In related moves, Lisa Gozashti and Peter Win are becoming manager/co-owners, and Tim Huggins will become CFO. Gozashti has been with the store for 19 years, working as buyer, merchandising manager and "literary light," among other roles. Win has worked at the store several times, returning most recently in 2010, after stints at A Clean Well Lighted Place for Books in San Francisco and the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, Mass. Huggins founded and ran Newtonville Books in nearby Newtonville, Mass., before selling it in 2007 and joined Brookline Booksmith as controller in 2014.

In addition, Jed Smith, one of founder Marshall Smith's three children, is joining the board as chair and liaison to the new leadership team. He has decades of experience as an entrepreneur, CEO and investor focusing on mission-based companies in the worlds of sustainability, healthy living and education. He also remembers bagging books during the holiday season at Booksmith when he was so young he could barely see over the counter.

Marshall Smith "continues as a board member and adviser extraordinaire."

Shelf Awareness wishes to offer a special tip of the hat to Dana Brigham, who in 2005 encouraged John Mutter to re-create the daily newsletter for booksellers that he had run at Publishers Weekly until the magazine shut it down. Thank you, Dana, and may retirement be most rewarding!

Kaplan Purchases Books & Books Coral Gables Building

Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books locations in South Florida and the Cayman Islands, was one of one of three buyers who paid a total of $15 million for the retail/office complex at 255-265 Aragon Ave., where the flagship Books & Books store has been located since 2001, the Miami Herald reported.

Raimundo Lopez-Lima Levi and Eric Glinsky of the accounting firm Lopez Levi Lowenstein Glinsky were the other buyers of the 41,763-square-foot building. Kaplan will own 25% of the building, which was constructed in 1926 and is listed in the Coral Gables Register of Historic Places, the Herald wrote.

Kaplan opened the first Books & Books store in 1982 in a 500-square-foot space two blocks west of its present location on Aragon Avenue, and the company has since expanded to eight locations, with a ninth in Coconut Grove due to open soon.

The Real Deal noted that the accounting firm, "which focuses on international tax and estate planning for wealthy international clients," plans to move its Coral Gables office to the building, where Books & Books operates a 6,000-square-foot bookstore and restaurant, with a 2,000-square-foot courtyard. Pacific National Bank is also tenant.

Founder, Managing Director Leaving John Blake Publishing

Founder John Blake and managing director Rosie Virgo are stepping down from their roles at John Blake Publishing, which was sold to Bonnier Publishing in 2016. The Bookseller reported that "the eight staff currently located at the John Blake Publishing offices on Bramber Road will now relocate to Bonnier Publishing's Chelsea offices, where they will join Kings Road Publishing's adult nonfiction imprints Blink Publishing, Lagom and 535."

Kelly Ellis has been promoted to publishing director, effective immediately, and will run the John Blake Publishing list, along with her commissioning responsibilities for Blink. She will report to Ben Dunn, managing director Kings Road.

"It has been fun working with Bonnier Publishing, but I have a bestseller I am itching to write and the time has come for some new adventures," Blake said.

Dunn praised Blake as "truly a one-off in modern British publishing; a ground-breaker with a never-say-die attitude," and thanked Blake and Virgo for leaving the list in "fantastic shape."


Image of the Day: Authors Helping Indianapolis Youth

Authors (l.-r.) Joanna Goodman (The Home for Unwanted Girls, Harper Perennial), Kristin Harmel (The Room on Rue Amelie, Gallery Books), Dina Silver (No Time to Blink, Lake Union Publishing), A.J. Finn (The Woman in the Window, Morrow), Laura Lippman (Sunburn, Morrow), Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks (The Wife Between Us, St. Martin's Press), posed for a photo after participating in the 38th annual Christamore House Guild book and author luncheon to support scholarships for Indianapolis youth. (Photo: Kirsten Wray Photography)

Twitter Thread of the Day: Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng, who is in Denmark promoting her novel Little Fires Everywhere (Små påsatte brande), offered an entertaining Twitter thread for her fans yesterday:

@pronounced_ing: "This morning, for a photo shoot, I set some actual little fires in a bookstore. Photographer: 'Don’t worry! You're in Denmark! It's very difficult to get arrested here!' 

"In case you were wondering: we didn't burn any of the books and only one table got a TINY bit singed.

"Also, to set these fires I used these matches that my German publisher gave me, so thanks, @dtv_verlag!

"The bookstore in Copenhagen is very excited about my book.

"Now that I think about it, there was a fire at @TridentBooks the night before I was due to read there, and a big fire at UBS (the bank) in Zurich the day I arrived."

Personnel Changes at Scott Manning & Associates

Abigail Welhouse has been promoted to publicity manager at Scott Manning & Associates. She was formerly senior publicist and has been with the company for eight years.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Richard M. Cohen on Today

Today Show: Richard M. Cohen, author of Chasing Hope: A Patient's Deep Dive into Stem Cells, Faith, and the Future (Blue Rider Press, $28, 9780399575259).

Also on Today: Franklin Graham, co-author of Through My Father's Eyes (Thomas Nelson, $26.99, 9780785227137).

CBS This Morning: Condoleezza Rice, co-author of Political Risk: How Businesses and Organizations Can Anticipate Global Insecurity (Twelve, $30, 9781455542352).

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

Steve Harvey: Natalie Morales, co-author of At Home with Natalie: Simple Recipes for Healthy Living from My Family’s Kitchen to Yours (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780544974494).

Daily Show: Michael V. Hayden, author of The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies (Penguin Press, $28, 9780525558583).

Tonight Show: Hoda Kotb, author of I've Loved You Since Forever (HarperCollins, $18.99, 9780062841742).

Movies: The Secret Garden

Colin Firth and Julie Walters will star in the David Heyman-produced adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic children's novel, The Secret Garden, Variety reported, adding that the movie "reunites Heyday Films and Studiocanal, which developed and financed the project, after their collaboration on the Paddington movies."

Marc Munden directs from Jack Thorne's screenplay, which has moved the book's period setting into "the Edwardian era to 1947, on the eve of Partition in India, and in the aftermath of World War II." The cast also includes Dixie Egerickx, Edan Hayhurst, Amir Wilson and Isis Davis.

"This is a fantastical reimagining of The Secret Garden: I can't wait to explore it," Munden said. "It's an opportunity to immerse ourselves in an uncanny and wondrous world, which will play to the imaginations of adults and children alike."

Heyman added: "I'm excited that our director, Marc Munden, will be bringing his distinct imaginative vision to this enduring childhood story. And I could not be more thrilled that Colin Firth and Julie Walters have joined the journey, alongside a remarkable new trio of young actors."

Books & Authors

Awards: CrimeFest; Petrona

Shortlists have been unveiled for the CrimeFest Awards. Winners will be announced May 19 at the CrimeFest Gala Awards Dinner in Bristol, U.K. See the complete list of finalists here.


A shortlist was released for the 2018 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year, whose winner will also be announced at CrimeFest. Both author and the translator of the winning title will receive a cash prize, and the winning author will receive a full pass to and a guaranteed panel at CrimeFest 2019. This year's shortlisted titles are:

What My Body Remembers by Agnete Friis, trans. by Lindy Falk van Rooyen
Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito, trans. by Rachel Willson-Broyles
After the Fire by Henning Mankell, trans. by Marlaine Delargy
The Darkest Day by Håkan Nesser, trans. by Sarah Death
The White City by Karolina Ramqvist, trans. by Saskia Vogel
The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen, trans. David Hackston

Book Review

Review: Little Disasters

Little Disasters by Randall Klein (Viking, $27 hardcover, 352p., 9780735221680, May 22, 2018)

Two babies are born the same July day in 2009 at Park Slope's New York Methodist Hospital. One arrives healthy with all flags flying on his Apgar; the other dies almost immediately of a congenital heart defect. Their fathers meet first in the waiting room and escape outside to share cigarettes and bourbon in a flask. From this chance encounter, Randall Klein's first novel, Little Disasters, spins a story of fraying relationships and stretched love. The dramas play out in a city brought to its knees by a heat wave, rolling brownouts and a mysterious catastrophe in Midtown that causes stalled subways, gridlocked streets and panicked New Yorkers, still reeling from 9/11.

Living in Greenpoint in Brooklyn, Paul and Jenny have already prepped a room in their small apartment for their deceased baby. Paul is a chisel-faced actor chasing auditions and working as a paralegal in Manhattan. Unpublished novelist Jenny does freelance editing to help pay the bills. Somewhat timid pioneers in Red Hook, Michael and Rebecca manage to cover the rent with help from his parents. An occasional artist, Michael crafts furniture for Brooklyn gentrifiers, and Rebecca builds her Becky's Bites artisanal cookie business out of their small apartment kitchen. They are typical 21st-century New York couples straddling age 30 full of ambition and optimism--until they aren't.

After a decade editing books, Klein has honed his writing chops. His chapters are alternately narrated by Michael and Paul, and effortlessly shift in time between that birth year when everything changed in their lives and the present, when they are stranded in Manhattan by the unknown disaster. Bound by their day in the hospital waiting room but separated by the radically divergent fates of their babies, the couples begin to socialize. Michael and Rebecca reach out in solace--or more likely, in guilt because their son is such a happy part of their lives. Paul and Jenny's loss and symbolic empty nursery have shredded their relationship.

Michael offers to turn the baby room into a custom-built office for Jenny. Rebecca hosts dinner get-togethers and sends them fresh cookies. Emotions run high. Thrown together during the nursery remodel while their spouses work, Michael and Jenny begin an intense affair. They traverse the city as an amorous couple between bouts of clandestine sex. Euphoria rules. As Michael reflects, "I want the mountains of a relationship; I'm too young to move to the plains."

Paul and Michael not only share their perspectives on the year that followed their chance hospital meeting, but also describe the fear and confusion of millions caught in the tunnels beneath Manhattan while their city may be crumbling above them. With a palpable feel for the city and its young strivers, Little Disasters is a poignant debut driven as much by resolving the uncertain future of these once content couples as by revealing just what caused the Midtown meltdown. Like Paul and Michael, we might have to go outside for a break now and then while awaiting resolution. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: Seamlessly switching time and narrators, Randall Klein's first novel reverberates with New Yorkers on the edge of personal family dissolution and collective urban disaster.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Hell in a Handbasket by Denise Grover Swank
2. Come As You Are by Lauren Blakely
3. Embracing Her Heart by Melissa Foster
4. Rebel Heir by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward
5. Fallen Ink by Carrie Ann Ryan
6. Loch (Dane Maddock Adventures Book 9) by David Wood
7. The Red by Tiffany Reisz
8. Saints Protection and Investigations Box Set #1 by Maryann Jordan
9. Accidentally Married by R.R. Banks
10. Because I Love You by Amy Brent
[Many thanks to!]

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