Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 2, 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


For Sale: Magic Tree Bookstore, Oak Park, Ill.

Magic Tree Bookstore, Oak Park, Ill., has been put up for sale. In a letter announcing the move, owner Beth Albrecht said the decision came after months of deliberation: "I've enjoyed guiding the Magic Tree into new life, and I love being a part of this supportive community. As much as I love this work, I love my family more. There's only one of me, and I have come to realize that I can't give the Magic Tree the time it deserves, and at the same time love my family the way I want to. I realize I need to work in a bookstore, not own a bookstore. I simply need more time to be with the people I love."

The search has now begun for someone who "might be the right person to shepherd the Magic Tree into the next chapter," she added. "We have grown sales by 50% in the last three years, and our customer base continues to expand. We've added a lovingly-curated adult section, and given a new personality to our store."

On the bookshop's website, Albrecht wrote: "If you are passionate about books and all they represent, if you genuinely love people and want to be of service, this might be the right adventure for you.

"If you or someone you know would like to learn more about the opportunity to become Magic Tree's new owner, please contact me []. I'll be happy to let you know more about our business and its potential. We look forward to helping you make the transition into the Magic Tree's next chapter."  

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

Fundraising Begins for Colo.'s Narrow Gauge Book Co-op

Narrow Gauge Book Co-op, a proposed cooperative bookstore in Alamosa, Colo., has launched what it calls a "comprehensive fund-raising campaign," including an Indiegogo effort, with the goal of raising $86,000 "to curate inventory, support a volunteer coordinator, and make some infrastructure updates." Other fundraising events are scheduled this month. The initiative, which began earlier this year when Narrow Gauge Newsstand closed after more than 40 years in business, is a grassroots effort to reinvent the downtown bookshop.

"With the blessing of building owner John Duffy, the Narrow Gauge Books Co-op hopes to revive the space for booklovers. We hope to sell new and used books, food and art supplies along with hosting events such as book clubs, writing workshops and book signings," said the organizers on Narrow Gauge's website. "We have a board and are working on incorporating. Now we need investors, members, and volunteers. Keep an eye on this space for information on how to invest or donate, upcoming events--and how to become a member of the best independent bookstore in the Valley."

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

Maggie's Books Opening June 1 in Montrose, Colo.

Maggie's Books, a new, general-interest independent bookstore, will open June 1 on Main Street in Montrose, Colo., the Montrose Monitor reported.

Owner Sara Rinne, who was the adult reference librarian at the Montrose Library for the past decade, plans to carry plenty of children's books, local history and "recreation books for tourists." As for events, Rinne intends to host book clubs and author readings, and while Maggie's Books won't offer food or drink, it's located next door to a bistro and market that sells coffee, tea and more. Rinne added that Maggie's will also have a number of comfortable nooks in which to sit and read.

Rinne, who grew up in Montrose and returned to the town in 2008, told the Monitor that opening a bookstore in her hometown is "something that I've wanted to do for a very long time." It will be the first independent bookstore on Montrose's Main Street since two bookstores closed during the recession.

"I was thinking, as a relatively young person, what kind of community I wanted to live in," Rinne said. "I wanted a vibrant and fun Main Street. I even wrote a business plan. I've had this business plan for several years now, but it wasn't until now that I was actually able to do it."

Rinne added that the store's name, which is in honor of her "naughty, [ornery] dog" Maggie, started out as placeholder but then stuck.

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

BISG's Annual Meeting, Part 1: Bookselling

The biggest news about the Book Industry Study Group's well-attended, lively meeting last Friday was that it was well-attended and lively. After several years of deep turmoil, and key executive and staff changes, the organization seems back on track. Besides the meeting, which featured panels and talks on a variety of issues of importance to the industry--from copyright to the retail supply chain to the core of BISG's work, standards--BISG has established a robust schedule of webinars, seminars and other gatherings; shrunk its board from 33 to a more nimble 14; supported the important work of its committees; surveyed members; and more than balanced its budget. Calling it a "transformative year," BISG chair Maureen McMahon of Kaplan Publishing thanked executive director Brian O'Leary, who was hired in late 2016, for his "superhuman" effort.

Among highlights from the annual meeting, where three panels addressed the book supply chain from varying points of view:

Noëlle Santos

One of the most engaging speakers was Noëlle Santos, who will soon open the Lit. Bar in the Bronx, N.Y. To much laughter, she said, "It'll open in late spring, and when everything goes wrong, it'll probably be the beginning of the summer."

Santos spoke a bit about the idea for the store, which came about when Barnes & Noble was closing its Bronx store, leaving the borough of 1.4 million people without a general bookstore. "The Bronx is better than that," she said, and community support for her store has been overwhelming. (It included an Indiegogo campaign that raised more than $150,000.)

Asked what she would like to change in the business, Santos said, "I'd like to see the industry embrace Batch," the centralized system for billing and payments that "speeds up administrative processes" and has been "really successful in the U.K." She also asked suppliers not to use peanuts in shipping containers. Otherwise, she said, "I've done a ton of author events," and "my experience with the publishing industry so far is good."

Oren Teicher

American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher pointed to Santos and the Lit. Bar as an example of "the growth and resurgence" of independent bookstores. "People like Noëlle are opening stores across country," he said. At the same time, existing stores are opening branches and bookstore owners who want to retire are able to sell their stores. He cited the ABA's seven years of membership growth, and praised the new wave of owners, who tend to be younger, more technologically savvy and more sophisticated about business. Other measures of the strength of indies are that last year "the number of books sold through our channel went up," he continued, and in the first quarter of 2018, indie unit book sales are up 5%.

He also outlined the major challenges for bricks-and-mortar retailers, including the shift to buying online, which has hurt other indie stores. This has led to changes in downtowns and other retail areas, where there are "more restaurants and bars and nail salons and service-oriented institutions." Rising minimum wage laws are pressuring some bookstores. (One bit of good news about costs: in the last two years, the cost of goods has come down because, with the ABA's help, publishers have come to understand indies' needs better.)

David Barker

Confirming the contraction in general retail space, David Barker, senior v-p of sales for ReaderLink Distribution Services and president of ReaderLink Digital, outlined how changes in general retail have affected the business of ReaderLink, which is a wholesaler of books to a range of non-bookstore retailers, including drug stores and grocery stores. Because grocery stores are giving more space to fresh food, there is "less space for general merchandise," including books. In addition, the innovation of curbside pickup for orders placed online and deliveries has hurt book sales because books are an impulse buy in grocery stores. Unfortunately, too, he said grocery store managers lump books with magazines, newspapers, DVDs and CDs, whose sales have been decimated by digital media.

ReaderLink is trying a tech approach to help sell books at accounts, working with apps that "make recommendations as you walk down the aisle."

Noah Genner

Noah Genner, president and CEO of BookNet Canada, said that trends in book retail in English-speaking Canada are similar to those in the U.S., with "the indie landscape healthy," but with many of the same challenges, including high rents and rising minimum wages. ("Some store staff make more than the owners.") One contrast is that the country's one bookstore chain--Indigo--has about 60% of the print book market.

Like the ABA, BookNet Canada emphasizes education and wants to "create professional booksellers" who master "the science and technology of bookselling" as well as "the art of bookselling."

Several speakers touched on the power of social media and discussed marketing to millennials. David Barker of ReaderLink said that for millennials, "discovery comes on digital media, from a friend or someone they think is a friend." Millennials want to be "engaged" when they come into a store and they crave anything genuine. For those reasons, personal recommendations are very appealing to millennials.

Genner added that research has found that millennials generally are not impulse buyers. "They're willing to spend money, but they want value," he said. "Experiences are huge," so that store events that make millennials engage not only with books but "with the content around books and friends" is very important.

Teicher stressed that indies have grown in part because they've enriched the shopping experience with events, by making stores a great place to hang out. And "increasingly in an age when so much of personal and professional lives are centered on computers and computer screens, millennials and others are looking for other experiences for at least part of the time." Thus, millennials have "continued to read the physical book. It's about the experience and the authenticity." He added that staff picks are the bestselling sections in most indie stores "because they represent authenticity." --John Mutter

[More on the BISG annual meeting in tomorrow's issue.]

Amazon Debuts 'Prime Book Box' Subscription for Kids

This morning Amazon launched a new 'Prime Book Box' subscription for kids. It is available to Amazon Prime members by invitation, which can be requested via the Prime Book Box site. The service "delivers hand-picked children's books every 1, 2, or 3 months" for $22.99 per month.

GeekWire noted that "it's not clear exactly how much Amazon's new service will save subscribers, if anything, compared to buying books from Amazon the traditional way. The company says on its FAQ page, 'Prime Book Box saves you up to 35% off List Price, and is always an equal or better value than Amazon's everyday low prices. In the event that the books in your box are available from for less than $22.99 at the time your order is placed, you'll receive the lower price automatically.' "

"We want to help Prime members discover great children's books that will inspire a love of reading," an Amazon spokesperson told TechCrunch, which reported that the subscription box is "also a clever way of introducing younger people to using Amazon, and also for Amazon to start developing reading profiles for others in your household besides you the Amazon account holder."

Bloomsbury Acquires I.B. Tauris Publishers

Bloomsbury has acquired I.B. Tauris Publishers, a move designed to "strengthen Bloomsbury's commitment to serve the scholarly community with original, cutting-edge content," according to the company, which added that the I.B. Tauris publishing catalogue "aligns with Bloomsbury’s academic publishing in the humanities, and broadens their publishing in the social sciences, particularly in Middle East Studies and International Relations where I.B.Tauris has been a leader." Jonathan McDonnell, managing director of I.B. Tauris since 1997, will remain with the company until late summer to ensure an orderly transfer of the business to Bloomsbury.

Jonathan Glasspool, managing director of Bloomsbury's academic & professional division, said, "I.B. Tauris's authors in the arts and humanities will benefit from the wider reach and scale of Bloomsbury's international operation, as well as Bloomsbury's investments in academic digital resources through its 2020 initiative."

Iradj Bagherzade, founder and chairman of I.B. Tauris, added that there is "a genuine complementarity between our two programs: both Bloomsbury and I.B. Tauris share a common approach to publishing, which is not only academically rigorous and quality-centered but also tightly focused on discrete academic disciplines. And in many subject areas there will be a real dove-tailing effect where our lists will fit perfectly with existing ones.... The old maxim was never truer: the whole will be greater than the sum of its parts."


Image of the Day: PRHPS's Client Summit

Jeff Abraham (left), president, Penguin Random House Publisher Services, and Markus Dohle, CEO, Penguin Random House, with 120 participants from 40 attending clients from across North America and the U.K., at the division's 12th annual Client Summit Ideas Exchange in New York City. During two busy days last week, PRH and PRHPS in-house specialists shared their experience and up-to-the-minute data, marketplace analysis and advice with non-Penguin Random House U.S. publishing clients. (photo: Kerstin Hecker)

Pennie Picks Leopard at the Door

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh (Putnam, $17, 9780735210387) as her pick of the month for May. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"Of all of the places I want to visit, Africa is at the top of the list. Until I'm able to decide on an African country--or two--to visit, I will content myself with books such as this month's book buyer's pick: Jennifer McVeigh's Leopard at the Door.

"Set in 1950s Kenya, Leopard at the Door tell the story of Rachel Fullsmith, who returns to Kenya, where she grew up, only to find it a changed place. Not only has her mother passed away and her father taken on a live-in girlfriend, but Rachel has returned to rumblings about the Mau Mau rising up and fighting off British rule.

"If you have never been to Kenya--or are longing to return--let McVeigh's vivid descriptions and storytelling transport you to another place and another time."

Personnel Changes at Fujii Associates

Jen Allen has joined Fujii Associates as a sales representative in the Midwest. Based in St. Louis, Mo., she will work with independent retail, specialty and wholesale accounts in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa and Kansas as well as assist Fujii Associates' head-of-group Eric Heidemann with educational accounts in the territory.

Earlier a teacher, a librarian and a bookseller, for the last 20 years she has been involved in the educational side of publishing, working at Perma-Bound Books, Booksource and Turtleback Books.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jon Meacham on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Jon Meacham, author of The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels (Random House, $30, 9780399589812).

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

HBO's Vice News Tonight: Cecile Richards, author of Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead--My Life Story (Touchstone, $27, 9781501187599).

Late Late Show with James Corden: David Duchovny, author of Miss Subways: A Novel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26, 9780374210403).

Now Streaming: Bolaño's 2666 on Stage

A filmed version of the five-and-a-half-hour stage adaptation of Roberto Bolaño's novel 2666, which was produced by Chicago's Goodman Theatre in 2016, will be available for free, unlimited streaming for at least two years. The New York Times reported that the "streaming arrangement is supported by the Roy Cockrum Foundation, which was created in 2015 by a former monk (and onetime actor and stage manager) with proceeds from a $153 million Powerball jackpot.... The foundation also paid the entire cost of the stage adaptation, which the Goodman previously described as being in the high six or low seven figures.

Adapted and directed by Robert Falls and Seth Bockley, the production's complexity, which involved five distinct sets, 15 actors playing 80 characters, and an "elaborate movie-within-the-play, made subsequent productions difficult. But now those who were unable to make the trip can binge-watch the entire thing online, from a couch anywhere in the world," the Times noted.

TV: Paulo Coelho Drama Series

FremantleMedia North America is partnering with Random House Studio and Dancing Ledge Productions on a deal with Brazilian author Paulo Coelho to develop the first-ever TV drama series based on his works. The project will explore themes and characters from his novels The Devil and Miss Prym, Brida and The Witch of Portobello. Coelho is best known as the author of The Alchemist, which has sold more than 200 million copies worldwide and been translated into more than 80 languages.

According to the companies involved, the as-yet-untitled TV series "follows a young priest who embarks on a journey of self-discovery and redemption--ostracized by his church, a fugitive from the law, and hunted by a powerful crime family. Meanwhile, the CIA agent chasing him discovers mysterious powers and a more profound connection to the priest than she ever thought possible." Coelho will introduce each episode and discuss its themes.

"There has never been a more prolific, thought-provoking and socially engaged author as Paulo Coelho," said Dante Di Loreto, president of scripted entertainment, FremantleMedia North America. "His stories make us look at the world differently, tapping into our true selves to further discover our place within the journey for hope, inspiration and social change."

Laurence Bowen, CEO of Dancing Ledge Productions, commented: "Hundreds of millions of people have discovered in Paulo Coelho's writing a universality that feels deeply personal. Here we want to celebrate his vision and weave together elements of his work into a gripping new epic journey. We couldn't be more excited."

Books & Authors

Awards: Wellcome Winner; Reading the West Shortlist

Mark O'Connell won the £30,000 (about $40,902) Wellcome Book Prize, which recognizes a work of fiction or nonfiction with "a central theme that engages with some aspect of medicine, health or illness," for To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death.

On behalf of the judging panel, chair Edmund de Waal commented: "To Be a Machine is a passionate, entertaining and cogent examination of those who would choose to live forever. Mark O'Connell brilliantly examines issues of technology and singularity. In doing so he brings into focus timely issues about mortality, what it might mean to be a machine and what it truly means to be human. This is a book that will start conversations and deepen debates. It is a wonderful winner of the Wellcome Book Prize."

Kirty Topiwala, publisher at Wellcome Collection and Wellcome Book Prize manager, added: "This book is fresh, funny and disquieting. It raises profound questions about our future and challenges how we think about health and humanity. This is very much at the core of what we do at Wellcome Collection, making To Be A Machine an exciting and worthy winner of this ever-diverse prize."


The shortlist has been announced for the Reading the West Book Awards, sponsored by the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association. Winners will be named May 31. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Adult fiction
The Widow Nash by Jamie Harrison (Counterpoint Press)
The Vengeance of Mothers: The Journals of Margaret Kelly & Molly McGill by Jim Fergus (St. Martin's)
Celine by Peter Heller (Knopf)
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (Viking)
The Underworld by Kevin Canty (Norton)

Adult nonfiction
Transplants: Eclectic Floral Design by Antonio Bond (Blue Star Press)
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (Doubleday)
Texas Blood: Seven Generations Among the Outlaws, Ranchers, Indians, Missionaries, Soldiers, and Smugglers of the Borderlands by Roger D. Hodge (Knopf)
Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River by David Owen (Riverhead)
Wild Horse Country: The History, Myth, and Future of the Mustang by David Philipps (Norton)

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin (Roaring Brook Press)
The Survivor Tree: Oklahoma City's Symbol of Hope and Strength by Gaye Sanders, illustrated by Pamela Behrend (The RoadRunner Press)
Just Dance by Patricia MacLachlan (S&S/Margaret K. McElderry Books)
The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody (Simon Pulse)
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling (Sterling Children's Books)

Reading with... Sally Kohn

photo: Paul Takeuchi

Sally Kohn is a CNN political commentator, activist and the author of The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity (Algonquin, April 10, 2018). She is also the host of the State of Resistance podcast.
On your nightstand now:

I'm already working on my next book so I have a bunch of academic research texts from the 1990s, and I'm enjoying Cleo Wade's Heart Talk, Ijeoma Oluo's So You Want to Talk About Race, Emma Gray's A Girl's Guide to Joining the Resistance right now, plus soooo many other great books I can't wait to read!

Favorite book when you were a child:

I was obsessed with A Tale of Two Cities. Make of that what you will.

Your top five authors:

bell hooks, James Baldwin, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Urvashi Vaid, Hannah Arendt

Book you've faked reading:

Capital by Thomas Piketty, but didn't everyone?

Book you're an evangelist for:

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors is one of the most beautiful and important nonfiction books I've ever read.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I have major cover envy for Reza Aslan's book God--but it's also a great book. It really made me think about what I believe in the context of the world's history of belief and spirituality in general. And Reza is such a gorgeous evocative powerful writer.

Book you hid from your parents:

I'm so boring, I don't think I ever had to do that.

Book that changed your life:

Virtual Equality by Urvashi Vaid, which shaped my mind on activism and intersectionality more than anything else I've ever read.

Urvashi was my first mentor in college and in life and radically transformed my understanding of the world and my agency within it. But first came the book, which helped make me the thinker and writer and activist I am today.

Favorite line from a book:

"Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood." -from 1984 by George Orwell.

1984 is such a perennially prescient book, but definitely now more than ever. And inside this masterpiece of grand political warnings, there are so many gems of personal revelation too. And I think most people crave being understood, perhaps more than anything.

Five books you'll never part with:

I refuse to part with any of my books, which is a problem considering I think my bookcases may collapse any day now--and I keep getting more.

I have a set of bookshelves that my dad built for us and they fill a whole room, floor to ceiling, and my partner and I have taken to now stacking books on top of books in the shelves and even trying to go two-deep in each row. Plus, now our nine-year-old daughter has her books, and she doesn't want to part with any of hers, either.

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

The Future Is History by Masha Gessen.

I found it incredibly helpful and terrifying when I first read it in October 2017, when it came out, but somehow I feel like history is quickening--and the outrageousness of the Trump administration is now at warp speed--and I think I'd absorb so much of Gessen's lessons and warnings even more deeply if I picked it up for the first time today. Strange times call for clear-eyed and wise narrators.

Book Review

Children's Review: Julián Is a Mermaid

Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love (Candlewick Press, $16.99 hardcover, 40p., ages 4-8, 9780763690458, May 22, 2018)

Riding the subway after a visit to the pool with his grandmother, young Julián notices three glamorous fellow passengers he's convinced are mermaids. And, of course, "Julián LOVES mermaids." Inspired by the company, the rest of Julián's train ride morphs into a dazzling underwater daydream in which he becomes a wild-haired, pink-and-gold-tailed mermaid, swept along with extraordinary sea creatures. Arriving at their subway stop returns Julián to land, but as he leaves the train, Julián turns to wave goodbye shyly to the fabulous creatures. On the stroll home, he asks, "Abuela, did you see the mermaids?" Walking in sync, she replies, "I saw them, mijo." That confirmation is all Julián needs to reveal, "Abuela, I am also a mermaid."

At home, Abuela announces she's off to take a bath--with a gentle warning: "You be good." Left alone, Julián "has a good idea" and gets down to the business of self-expression. Stripping his outer layers, he crowns himself with ferns and flowers, drapes himself in sunshine yellow to create a curtain-tail and strikes a perfect pose. But when his towel-wrapped Abuela re-emerges, her unexpected look of disapproval makes his fronds droop: "Uh-oh."

Her silent exit makes Julián self-consciously reexamine himself in the nearest mirror, until Abuela returns to surprise him with the crowning accessory: pink pearls. "For me, Abuela?" the delighted child asks. "For you, Julián." With the promise of "You'll see," Abuela takes his hand, and leads him outside. Their short stroll culminates in a beachside Carnival-like celebration, where wide-eyed Julián whispers with incredulous joy: "Mermaids." While he shyly peeks around a corner, Abuela confirms, "Like you, mijo," as she beckons him forward with an outstretched hand: " 'Let's join them.' And they did."

The words here (not even a hundred!) are succinctly sparse; the art is spectacular, proof positive that a picture is worth a thousand words. What Abuela and Julián don't tell one another with their voices, debut author/illustrator Jessica Love (not to be confused with the YA author of In Real Life who shares the same name) inventively shows on the page. Love's Broadway performance background is clearly at play throughout, with many of her characters swishingly, flowingly, enviably swathed.

Across her watercolor, gouache and ink spreads, Love captures the transformative power of being seen: Julián's subway daydream--a gorgeous, colorful odyssey of an aquatic rebirth--begins to become reality as soon as Abuela confirms his vision with "I saw them." Abuela's immediate acknowledgment morphs into a promise to Julián of "You'll see," and by book's end, Julián and Abuela are surrounded by mermaids--and other fantastic creatures--gloriously celebrating the welcoming sunshine, shimmering water, cerulean skies... and everyday life. Love's affecting combination of the literary and the visual results in a powerful affirmation of individuality, creative expression and unconditional acceptance. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: With his grandmother's unconditional affirmation, Julían's daydreams become spectacular reality in Broadway actor Jessica Love's triumphant author/illustrator debut.

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