Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Little Brown and Company: This Bird Has Flown by Susanna Hoffs

St. Martin's Press: Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

Dundurn Press: Chasing the Black Eagle by Bruce Geddes

W by Wattpad Books: Hazel Fine Sings Along by Katie Wicks

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


AAP Sales: Sales Up 6.2% in First Quarter

In the first quarter of 2018, total net book sales in the U.S. rose 6.2%, to $2.468 billion, compared to the same period in 2017, representing sales of 1,076 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers. The quarter started off strongly, with sales gains of 3.7% in January, to $1.112 billion, and 17.2% in February, to $750.8 million. Total net book sales in March, however, slipped 1.1%, to $604.4 million.

In the quarter, adult book sales grew 5.2%, to $1.087 billion, while children's/YA gained 5.9%, to $389.9 million. The biggest category gains were made by religious books, up 20.6%, to $109.8 million, and higher ed, up 11.2%, to $511.8 million. Downloaded audio had the biggest gain in sales of any format during the quarter, up 32.1%, to $98.8 million. Trade e-books were down 3.2%, to $270.2 million. Hardcovers in all categories had sales gains.

Sales by category in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the first quarter of 2017:



Parallax Press: Radical Love: From Separation to Connection with the Earth, Each Other, and Ourselves by Satish Kumar

California's Unicorn Books and Gifts Closing

Unicorn Books and Gifts, Ramona, Calif., east of San Diego, is closing after six years in business. The store, which sells new and used books, jewelry, oils, soaps, crystals, candles and other New Age items, wrote customers: "All good things must come to an end. But it's been a really fun ride!"

Located in the Olde Ramona Hotel, the store is conducting a closing sale. Used books are $1, and most other merchandise is discounted 30%.

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

Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship Launched

The Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists has been officially launched, organized by the Friends of Carla Gray committee and managed by the Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation. The scholarship honors Carla Gray, the executive marketing director at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, friend of so many in the business and booklover/bookseller extraordinaire, who died a year ago today.

The year-long professional development scholarship is intended to help a bookseller with fewer than five years of experience connect with other booksellers, publishers and authors and establish the kind of long-term relationships that Carla knew keep the book industry thriving. The scholarship includes funds to attend Winter Institute 2019 and one of the 2019 fall regional booksellers association trade shows. The bookseller will also be granted funding to support a community outreach project of their own creation.

Carla Gray

Hannah Harlow, Jenna Johnson and MaryBeth Long formed the Friends of Carla Gray committee shortly after Carla's death and have worked since then to raise the funds to establish the scholarship.

"Carla's career ranged across many aspects of our industry," the committee said. "But in every incarnation she was devoted to getting the right book into the ideal readers' hands. She was also endlessly optimistic about the publishing community and wanted to see it grow in interesting ways. She knew it was up to individuals to keep the books at the center of the work and to take care of each other personally and professionally.

"We want to help emerging booksellers find early opportunities to build a network in the industry, but we also want to help them create innovative, long-term projects that remind readers how central their stores are to the towns and cities they serve. We're hopeful that this scholarship will be able to supplement the extraordinary peer mentoring and community outreach that's already a hallmark of the bookstore ethos. And that it will encourage new booksellers to step forward and share their talents and vision."

Applications will be accepted between July 9 and August 9. The inaugural review committee will include the founders as well as author Justin Torres, Kate Layte from Papercuts JP, Michael Taeckens of Broadside Expert Literary PR and a representative from the Binc Foundation's program committee. The first Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship will be awarded in 2019. For information on how to contribute to the fund, go to

Shelf Awareness Job Board: Click Here to Post Your Job

Leaver Resigns as Quarto CEO


Marcus Leaver

Marcus Leaver has resigned as CEO of the Quarto Group. Chuk Kin Lau, "newly-appointed to Quarto's board last week after a boardroom coup," will act as interim CEO, the Bookseller reported. Last Thursday, Quarto founder Laurence Orbach was "re-appointed as executive chairman of the illustrated publisher following a shareholder revolt, six years after he was ousted as chairman and chief executive of the company."

"I thank Marcus for his considerable achievements over the last five-and-a half years," Orbach said. "He has raised Quarto's profile within the industry. The continued output of very high-quality books is a testament to Marcus's leadership and an impressive demonstration of the strengths of Quarto's talented employees. Quarto remains focused on producing great books for its readers during this period of managerial transition and we look forward to moving the business forward and build upon its strengths."

Lau is executive director of the Lion Rock Group, a printing firm, and has a 27% stake in Quarto. He was appointed to the board along with Orbach, who owns 20%, at last week's annual general meeting. At that meeting, the Bookseller wrote, "four non-executive directors were axed from the company."

Obituary Note: Gardner Dozois

Gardner Dozois

Gardner Dozois, the author and editor whom Tor called "a vital and beloved member of the science fiction and fantasy community" who "shaped contemporary science fiction and fantasy," died on Sunday. He was 70.

Dozois was the founding editor of The Year's Best Science Fiction anthologies and editor of Asimov's from 1984 until 2004. His editorial work earned more than 40 Hugo Awards, 40 Nebula Awards and 30 Locus Awards, and he was awarded the Hugo for Best Professional Editor 15 times between 1988 and his retirement from Asimov's in 2004. In 1977, Dozois wrote an in-depth look at the fiction of James Tiptree, Jr., and a novel, Strangers, which was published in 1978. Two of his stories, "The Peacemaker" and "Morning Child," won the Nebula Award for Short Story in 1983 and 1984, respectively. In 2001, Old Earth Books published Being Gardner Dozois: An Interview by Michael Swanwick, in which Dozois and his friend and collaborator Swanwick discussed his career in fiction.

He also collaborated with George R.R. Martin on a series of themed anthologies, including Songs of the Dying Earth, a tribute anthology to Jack Vance's Dying Earth series; Old Mars, an anthology featuring retro stories about Mars; Dangerous Women, whose stories revolve around female warriors; and Rogues, a genre-spanning anthology. Dozois was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2011.

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Wisdom of Morrie:
Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully
by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz
GLOW: Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz

Twenty-five years ago, Mitch Albom immortalized his former college professor in Tuesdays with Morrie, the blockbuster memoir that shared Morrie Schwartz's profound insights about life as he was dying of ALS. In The Wisdom of Morrie, Rob Schwartz, Morrie's son, resurrects his father's voice, sharing Morrie's philosophical wisdom and humor about the aging process--what can be an emboldening period filled with meaning and purpose. "This book is invaluable to anyone interested in improving their quality of life," says Rick Bleiweiss, head of new business development at Blackstone Publishing. "Readers who enjoy[ed] The Last Lecture and When Breath Becomes Air will expand their awareness and find new ideas and insights into living more fully." Schwartz's musings are timeless, and inspirational for readers of all ages. --Kathleen Gerard

(Blackstone Publishing, $25.99 hardcover, 9798200813452,
April 18, 2023)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Steve Bercu Takes the Cake

BookPeople in Austin, Tex., celebrated the retirement of Steve Bercu, who's been CEO of the bookstore for nearly 20 years and is a former president of the American Booksellers Association. He led the growth of the store into a national literary destination and was a driving force in the buy local movement, epitomized by the slogan and organization Keep Austin Weird.

'The World's Best Bookstore'

"This is the world's best bookstore and it's in Uppsala, Sweden" was the headline for the Local Sweden profile of the English Bookshop, this year's pick for the London Book Fair's International Excellence bookstore of the year, which put the "community bookshop in a small Swedish city firmly on the map."

"We have around 13,000 titles, but every book is hand-picked," said owner Jan Smedh. Whether they were recommended it by a customer, publisher, or they found it at a book fair, "we could tell you something about all of these books.... The idea is to be the most physical bookshop there is."

In describing his regulars, Smedh noted: "People would assume that most of my customers are expats, but 90% are Swedes who read for pleasure in English. Of all ages, from 13 to 92.... It's about a general love of the English language. We see ourselves as a country that is internationally minded."

The Local Sweden wrote that Smedh "is quite modest about it, but the English Bookshop is a remarkable success story. Let alone international prizes, it is impressive to shift hundreds of books a week in an age of Amazon and e-books. Perhaps the Instagram generation have returned to physical bookshops partly for their aesthetic. 'Yes, and what's more, books are about identity,' Smedh muses, 'they say something about who you are.' "

He added: "My philosophy in life is aggressive optimism--nobody is going to tell me something is impossible."

Personnel Changes at RJ Julia Booksellers

Lori Fazio has been named chief operating officer of RJ Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn. She has been with the bookstore 11 years, starting as a bookseller, then children's department manager, and most recently general manager. RJ Julia Booksellers manages operations for BookHampton, East Hampton, N.Y., and Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore, Middletown, Conn.

Roxanne Coady, owner and founder of RJ Julia Booksellers, said, "Lori is indefatigable, smart, and committed to the notion of sustaining and expanding the role of independent bookselling and the type of superior customer service that has defined RJ Julia for almost 30 years."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Elizabeth Warren on CBS This Morning

CBS This Morning: Senator Elizabeth Warren, author of This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class (Picador, $17, 9781250155030).

Morning Joe: James R. Clapper, author of Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence (Viking, $30, 9780525558644).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Madeleine Albright, author of Fascism: A Warning (Harper, $27.99, 9780062802187).

The Talk: David Duchovny, author of Miss Subways: A Novel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26, 9780374210403).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Jimmy Carter, author of Faith: A Journey for All (Simon & Schuster, $25.99, 9781501184413).

Books & Authors

Awards: Golden Man Booker; Theakston Old Peculier Crime

A five-novel shortlist has been announced for the Golden Man Booker Prize, which was created to showcase the winning titles from Man Booker history "that have best stood the test of time." The winner will be announced July 8 from the Man Booker 50 Festival at the Southbank Centre in London.

Five judges were appointed to read the winning novels from each decade of the prize and then choose what, in his or her opinion, was the best winner from that particular decade. The judges were writer and editor Robert McCrum (1970s); poet Lemn Sissay (1980s); novelist Kamila Shamsie (1990s); broadcaster and novelist Simon Mayo (2000s); and poet Hollie McNish (2010s). The Golden Man Booker shortlisted titles are:

In a Free State by V. S. Naipaul
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.


A shortlist has been released for this year's Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, which celebrates "the very best in crime fiction" and is open to U.K. and Irish crime authors. The shortlist will feature in a six-week promotion in libraries and in WH Smith stores nationwide.

The overall winner, decided by a panel of judges as well as a public vote, will be named July 19 on the opening night of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. The winner receives £3,000 (about $3,995) and a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier. The shortlisted titles are:

Insidious Intent by Val McDermid
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner
Spook Street by Mick Herron
The Long Drop by Denise Mina
A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee
The Intrusions by Stav Sherez

Stand Up Comics: Same Love

From corporate superheroes like America Chavez, Midnighter and Sera to characters from independent comics like Jo, Molly and Mal from Lumberjanes, Kim Q and Kim D from Kim & Kim, and Lord Ballister Blackheart and Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin from Nimona, we can all look forward to comics with amazing LGBTQ+ characters. With Pride Month coming up in June, here are four more comics fitting that description. So, read the column, then read some Stand Up Comics!

Forward by Lisa Maas (Arsenal Pulp Press, $18.95, 9781551527222)
How do you move forward after your partner has passed away? This is the question Ali is asking herself 10 months after the death of her wife. She feels an attraction to other people (Rayanne specifically), but she doesn't know how to reconcile that with the occasionally overwhelming sadness she feels for her dead partner. Toward the end of the book, Ali speaks with her friend and says she doesn't feel that she should be moving on yet, and that she doesn't ever want to move on. Why would you ever want to move on from a person who meant so much to you? Who still does?

Forward is a sweet and poignant look at just how hard it is to start over after a traumatic relationship experience. While Rayanne is also a great character, and her gun-shyness to start something new after a terrible relationship four years ago is an important story to tell, she nevertheless ends up taking a back seat to Ali. Ali's grief and her attempts to navigate it are both empowering and heartbreaking, and therefore more resonant.

That said, it's a second reading of the title that gives the most sweetness and even a few laughs: How forward should we be when meeting new people we're attracted to? Ali and Rayanne's stumbling attempts to get to know each other better leads to honest discussions of how to move forward with their relationship. Or if they should move forward at all.

Handselling opportunities: Anybody who's lost a someone close to them and is now looking to move forward. Also, fans of romance.
Luisa: Now and Then by Carole Maurel, adapted by Mariko Tamaki, translated by Nanette McGuinness (Humanoids Publishing, $29.95, 9781594656439)
Thirty-three-year-old Luisa photographs food for a living and lives in an apartment in Paris bequeathed by her late aunt. Fifteen-year-old Luisa lives in Le Coudray with her mother and wants to be a fine art photographer. Both of them like girls but are afraid to admit it, even to themselves.

Thanks to some unexplained phenomenon, 15-year-old Luisa ends up in the future and meets 33-year-old Luisa, and they both have to deal with their dreams, desires and self-loathing. Just how Younger Luisa ends up in the future is never properly explained, but her interactions with her older self can be seen as a metaphor for reexamining childhood, and learning how that childhood still affects the present.

Luisa is a well-written character going through a process of self-discovery and acceptance (even if Older Luisa is kind of a jerk), but also of understanding what it means to be an adult who has had to compromise on some of her dreams.

Handselling opportunities: Fans of magic realism and stories where people get to berate their younger selves for the dumb things they used to wear.
My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness by Nagata Kabi (Seven Seas Entertainment, $13.99, 9781626926035)
Nagata Kabi is not a well person, and she knows this. She suffers from a host of mental problems that she is doing her best to work through. Chief among them is depression, which manifests in a variety of ways, including very low self-esteem and cutting. None of this is helped by the job situation in Japan or by her parents, who mean well but end up feeding her dwindling sense of self-worth.

Readers may gravitate to the "lesbian" portion of the title, but the book is actually about Nagata's loneliness, of which her sexuality is only one aspect. This is especially evident in the scenes with Nagata and her escort, who does her best to please Nagata, but is unknowingly stymied by Nagata's social awkwardness and anxiety.

Nagata's brave autobiography deals with depression, communication and sexuality, and how she (mostly) overcomes or comes to terms with all that so she can love herself and stop seeking approval from others.

Handselling opportunities: Anybody who has ever felt lost, alone and/or alienated, and needs a little help being okay with who they are and what they want, regardless of any external validation.
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang (First Second, $16.99, 9781626723634)
Prince Sebastian has a secret. By day he is Prince Sebastian of Belgium, but by night he is the fabulous Lady Crystallia, the most fashionable woman in Paris. Of course, his parents don't know any of this and are busy looking for a bride for him, while his new personal tailor, Frances, is making him some of the best dresses he's ever worn.

Sebastian knows he has important duties as a prince, but he knows that isn't all he is. Early in the story, Frances asks him why he wears girl clothes, and he replies, "Some days I look at myself in the mirror and think, 'That's me, Prince Sebastian! I wear boy clothes and look like my father.' Other days it doesn't feel right at all. Those days I feel like I'm actually a princess."

This is a sweet, beautiful story about friendship and family, but also about the fear of discovery. Sebastian spends most of the book afraid of being outed even as he becomes more and more famous as Crystallia, and both he and Frances have to decide what they're willing to give up to keep his secret.

Handselling opportunities: Anybody who likes sweet stories and very likable characters with endings that might make one tear up a bit. --Adan Jimenez

Book Review

Review: Number One Chinese Restaurant

Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li (Holt, $27 hardcover, 304p., 9781250141293, June 19, 2018)

Debut novelist Lillian Li pulls open the kitchen doors of a Chinese American family's restaurant, revealing the devoted if dysfunctional relationships of its owners and staff.
Jimmy Han aspires to own a high-class establishment than the Beijing Duck House, a classic Chinese restaurant founded by his now-deceased father in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Before his new restaurant, the Beijing Glory, can be "as polished as the silver chopsticks he'd already bulk-ordered," though, Jimmy needs a cash infusion.
Hoping for help finding investors, he turns to longtime family "friend" and fixer Uncle Pang, who would prefer to burn down the Duck House for an insurance payout. Unwilling to go so far, Jimmy unwisely snubs Pang and decides to sell his parents' mansion instead. However, his tough mother, Feng Fei, still lives there and won't let it go without a fight.
Farther down the chain of command is elderly waiter Ah-Jack, who struggles with chronic foot pain and his wife's failing health, and Nan, a middle-aged waitress whose unrequited love for him spans 30 years of friendship. Nan's balancing act of work, caring for Ah-Jack and watching over her troubled teenage son, Pat, falls out of alignment when Ah-Jack must move in with them, much to Pat's disapproval. As the Glory's opening nears, the uproar in the lives of the Duck House family builds to a fever pitch sure to break more than a few dishes.
Li's portrayal of life in the restaurant business feels like an insider account of the challenging industry, with plenty of detail about the physical and mental rigor it demands. Ah-Jack can no longer carry the heaviest platters, and a scene in which Nan carves a duck will leave the reader wincing as the spurting grease burns her hands.
Though lightened with comedic moments, the quiet tragedy of familial resentment lies at the heart of the story. Li focuses steadily on the troubled relationship between immigrant parents and their American-born offspring, especially the downside of the sacrifices made to give children a better life. Parent-child relationships among the Hans and their staff lie along fault lines. As the older generation focused on hard work, their emotional connection with their children suffered. Both Nan and Feng Fei must deal with disconnected sons who never felt important to their families and lash out at legacy in favor of their own desires.
In the end, reaches may exceed grasps, but ties of family and lifelong friendship do not break easily. A smart combination of Chinese American life, service industry travails and the ups and downs of belonging to a family, Number One Chinese Restaurant will make great discussion fare for book clubs. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads
Shelf Talker: This insightful debut follows the ups and downs in the lives of the owners and staff of a Chinese restaurant.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Good Girl by Jana Aston
2. Worth the Risk by K. Bromberg
3. Breathe (Rosewood Bay Series Book 2) by Carly Phillips
4. Hot Seal: Redemption by Lynn Raye Harris
5. The Ruthless Gentleman by Louise Bay
6. Closer to You by Barbara Freethy
7. A Rancher's Song (Heart Falls Book 2) by Vivian Arend
8. Island Life Sentence by Carrie Jo Howe
9. Sheltered by Alexa Riley
10. My Boyfriend's Boss by Cassandra Dee and Kendall Blake

[Many thanks to!]

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