Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 4, 2018


Sourcebooks Fire: The Similars by Rebecca Hanover

Forge: Redemption Point (Crimson Lake #2) by Candice Fox

Simon Pulse: Slayer by Kiersten White

HarperCollins: Turbo Racers: Trailblazer by Austin Aslan

Harper Paperbacks: Don't Wake Up by Liz Lawler

DK Publishing: Writers: Their Lives and Works by DK

News

Indigo FY: Sales Up 5.8%; First U.S. Store Set for Summer Opening

In the fiscal year ended March 31, revenue at Indigo Books & Music rose 5.8%, to C$1.08 billion (about US$835 million), and net earnings rose 4.3%, to C$21.8 million (about US$16.8 million). Sales at stores open at least a year, and online sales, rose by 6.2%. Comp-store sales for bricks-and-mortar stores were 5.3% (6% in superstores, 3% in small-format stores).

Indigo said revenue increased because of "continued double-digit growth in general merchandise, most notably lifestyle products and toys." Book sales declined slightly because of a difficult comparison with blockbuster bestseller Harry Potter and the Cursed Child the previous year.

Net earnings growth was attributed to "improved revenue, partially offset by lower margin rates as a result of a business shift to the online channel and increased operating, selling and administrative expenses. Higher costs were driven by higher volumes and investments in the company's long-term growth, such as the continued redevelopment of its stores, as well as the expansion of its distribution centres and digital teams."

CEO Heather Reisman commented: "We are happy to report the biggest year in our history and the 18th straight quarter of comparative growth--something we are extremely proud of, especially in light of the difficult retail climate. When we set out to create a book lover's cultural department store, our goal was to conceive a space that inspired and enriched customers. The enthusiasm and engagement we have seen from our customers as we have transformed our stores confirms that we are fully realizing that goal. We look forward to the year ahead as we continue to invest in our retail, online and supply chain operations, and we open our very first store in the U.S., where we are excited to bring our brand to the largest retail market in the world." The opening of that store, in the Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey, is still expected to take place in late August or early September.

In the fourth quarter ended March 31, revenue rose 2.8%, to C$215.3 million (about US$166.6 million), and the net loss increased 21.3%, to C$10.8 million (US$8.4 million). Sales at stores open at least a year and online rose 6.2%.

Indigo said that the revenue gain was offset by "higher operating costs driven by the Ontario minimum wage increase and higher fixed costs due to expansion of the company's distribution centres in Ontario and Alberta."


Harper: Late in the Day by Tessa Hadley


Red Emma's in Baltimore Moving, Doubling Size of Bookstore

Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse in Baltimore, Md., is moving for the second time in five years, expanding yet again, according to the Baltimore Sun.

The store will close at the end of the month for the summer to prepare for the move to 1225 Cathedral St., the site of a former restaurant that's next door to Baltimore Theatre Project. The worker-owned cooperative is currently located at 30 W. North Ave.

"Our growth at North Avenue has been much faster than we anticipated," co-founder Kate Khatib said. "It's actually gotten to the point where it's a little too small for us."

In the new location, Red Emma's is doubling the size of its bookstore as well as adding a full bar and a seated dining area that will allow it to offer "a plant-based dinner menu in addition to its current mostly vegan breakfast and lunch offerings."


GLOW: Dial Press: Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss by Rajeev Balasubramanyam


Columbus, Ohio's Village Book Shop Closing

The Village Book Shop in Columbus, Ohio, is closing by the end of the summer, the Columbus Dispatch reported. Owner Gary Friedlinghaus told the newspaper that the basic reason for closing is because "the public's book-buying habits have changed.... Sadly people don't read as much."

Friedlinghaus bought the 60-year-old store 37 years ago. It sells some new books but focuses on remainders, closeouts and used books. In 1969, the store moved into a former church.

For a time, Friedlinghaus advertised regularly on local TV and co-sponsored children's shows during the Christmas season. The Village Book Shop also had strong sales of military books and military prints in the 1980s.

"It was a small village bookshop when I bought it," Friedlinghaus added. "But large independent bookstores with a large inventory are vanishing like the horse and buggy. My peers have vanished a long time ago."


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


New Hampshire's Bookery Manchester Officially Opens

"A huge crowd showed up" for the recent grand opening and ribbon cutting at Bookery Manchester in Manchester, N.H. Describing the event as "kind of magical," Manchester Ink Link reported that throughout the day "the shop had the look and feel of a party, as 'the Lizes'--co-owners Liz Cipriano and Liz Hitchcock... floated in opposing orbits around the place, making sure everyone was finding their way around. The two business partners settled in for a long day greeting a continual stream of well-wishers and curiosity seekers who came to eat, drink and buy books."

"It's been crazy," Hitchcock said. "I knew there was a need in our community, but this is going to be amazing. People are absolutely engaged with the space, and you know, that was part of what I was thinking about when we were designing the place--how can I surprise and delight people whenever they turn around."

The bookstore also features a cafe under the direction of chef Ellen Duffy, "who has created a menu that is a healthy mix of nutritious and delicious--mostly soups, sandwiches and shareables for now, but she says it will be expanding, with all the culinary twists and turns of a food adventure novel," Manchester Ink Link wrote.

"I love having a bookstore downtown, and this is not overwhelming," said customer Gertrude Theriault. "You know, sometimes when you go to the big book stores there are too many books.... It will be a community gathering place."

"What do you get when you cross blue-collar Manchester with millennial chic?" the Union Leader asked in a piece highlighting Bookery's doughnuts, which are meant "to be picked apart while one is devouring the prose of a bestselling novel or a historical biography."

"Doughnuts do have a bad rap. But there's something fun and whimsical about them," said Cipriano, who noted that the idea emerged when the owners consulted with local chef Tom Puskarich about Bookery's café. "The minute we said doughnuts, we just knew we had to do it. There was no turning back."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman


BookCon 2018: A Place of Inclusion

At the fifth BookCon, held over the weekend immediately after BookExpo, attendance undoubtedly rose again--after doubling from approximately 10,000 readers in 2014 to 20,000 in 2016. BookCon offered almost 300 events during its two-day span, and eager fans were prepared and willing to wait to get signatures, books and swag and hear their favorite authors speak--and wait they did. Lines looped around booths, snaked down hallways and took over full rooms, in some cases overwhelming the ReedPOP employees who were forced to turn people away from events (one fan was overheard determinedly asking a ReedPOP employee to show some "human compassion" and let her into a closed panel).

The Magic of Worldbuilding: (l.-r.) Marie Lu, Renée Ahdieh, Scott Westerfeld, Leigh Bardugo, Sabaa Tahir and moderator Sarah Enni.

Lucky readers who made it into that panel, The Magic of World Building, leaned against walls and sat on the floor to hear Marie Lu (Warcross, Putnam), Renée Ahdieh (Smoke in the Sun, Putnam), Scott Westerfeld (the Uglies series), Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows, Holt), Sabaa Tahir (A Reaper at the Gates, Razorbill) and moderator Sarah Enni (Tell Me Everything, February 2019, Scholastic). They started the conversation with food. For Ahdieh, "food is... an integral part of worldbuilding" that helps root readers in the fantasy or sci-fi realm. Bardugo agreed saying, food itself "build[s] a world. Our version of decadence and excess," she explained, "should look different" from another culture's, thus helping to bring the differences between the worlds into light. For Tahir, a lot of worldbuilding revolves around creating languages--being dual lingual is really helpful for developing other languages, she said, especially "if you're lazy." To that point, Westerfeld noted that "the way [his characters, the] Uglies talk is just Australian." From food and language, the panel moved into discussions of Lu's tech-focused world and then on to experiences with ethnicity and race. "This is my land, this is my country, and I'm told I should not be here," Tahir said, explaining that she draws on her own experiences to create worlds that "mirror" her struggle. Ahdieh sympathized, saying that she has always struggled with never being "Korean enough" and that experience has helped shape her fantasy worlds.

Power Moves: (l.-r.) Melissa de la Cruz, Tahereh Mafi, Kendare Blake and Victoria Aveyard (not pictured: moderator Sarah Enni).

In another panel, moderated by Sarah Enni, Melissa de la Cruz (Love and War: An Alex and Eliza Story, Putnam) Tahereh Mafi (A Very Large Expanse of Sea, October, Harper), Kendare Blake (Two Dark Reigns, September, Harper) and Victoria Aveyard (War Storm, Harper) spoke about women and "Power Moves" in young adult literature. "We are here," Enni began, "to talk about fierce women." Why, she asked, do we talk about female characters differently than we do about males? De la Cruz began saying that, while valuable, continually having the "strong women" discussion can be tiresome. "All women are strong," she said, "We've been strong all the time... of course we kick butt. We've always kicked butt." Aveyard followed by commenting on how aggressively readers (and viewers) will call out a Mary Sue (a seemingly perfect female character) even as they idolize a Gary Stu, the Mary Sue's male counterpart. Blake took this idea a step further, expressing her frustration with our culture's contempt for "unlikable females"--male antiheroes are beloved, but their "unsympathetic female" equivalents are scorned. Enni also asked the panelists about their recent or upcoming works, wondering how Mafi researched for her semi-autobiographical work that takes place immediately after 9/11. "It was more difficult," Mafi said, "to go back in time 15 years than to go back in time 1,000 years.... It's a bunch of tiny shifts" that make that time period "feel like a totally different world." For example, she said, "Remember when you had to call the Internet to see if it was around?" (Unfortunately, the mostly teen audience did not, in fact, remember this.)

SJWs: (l.-r.) Jason Reynolds, Angie Thomas, moderator Kwame Alexander, Shane Evans, Jacqueline Woodson and Deray Mckesson.

Another highly attended, SRO panel, Social Justice Warriors: Redefining Youthful Rebellion, was moderated by Kwame Alexander (Rebound, HMH) and featured Jason Reynolds (Lu, October 23, Atheneum), Angie Thomas (On the Come Up, February 5, Balzer + Bray), Jacqueline Woodson (Harbor Me, August 28, Nancy Paulsen Books) and Deray Mckesson (On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope, September 4, Viking). Alexander began the discussion by asking each panelist a different question to answer in, "like, three minutes." Their rapid-fire, insightful conversation touched upon Thomas's desire to make all her works "mirrors, windows and sliding glass doors"; Mckesson's concern "that people are more in love with the idea of resistance than the work itself"; Reynolds's belief that the books they "create can be catalysts... [that] can't do all the work... but [they can] spark the mind"; and Woodson's direct questioning of the adult gatekeepers who don't work to get diverse books into the hands of all their students.

While BookCon is certainly about storytelling and popular culture colliding--about creating a Comic Con-like event for the young adult market--it is clear that it's also becoming a place of inclusion. In 2015, "We Need Diverse Books peeps bogarted BookCon," according to Woodson, "because BookCon was all white." This past weekend, as Shelf Awareness attended panels, walked the floor, looked at the signing lines and the authors at their head, we could see that the Con is working to present greater diversity in race, ethnicity, sexuality, disability and gender expressions. It's possible that BookCon is taking on a role that will, in time, not only allows fans to let their nerd flags fly, but also to do so in a comfortable, inclusive environment. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor


Notes

Image of the Day: James Clapper at Readers' Books

Late last month, Readers' Books in Sonoma, Calif., hosted James Clapper, former director of National Intelligence, in his only West Coast appearance for his new book, Facts and Fears (Viking). The event took place at the nearby Sebastiani Theatre. Pictured: Clapper flanked by store owners Lilla and Andy Weinberger.


'The 10 Best Bookshops in Edinburgh'

In showcasing the "10 best bookshops in Edinburgh," the Reporter wrote that the Scottish city's "streets are teeming with hidden treasures that are as rich as the ideas that made our city known across the world. For my money, it's always been the myriad and eclectic conflation of old and new bookshops in the oddest of places which make Edinburgh so special. Fiction or nonfiction, it doesn't matter, there's more to browse than you can dream of. If you know where to look..."


Pennie Picks Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Penguin Books, $16, 9780735220690) as her pick of the month for June. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"Here's to quirky lead characters! From movies to TV to, especially, books, these outside-of-the-norm people help us recognize our own difficulties dealing with life's challenges.

"After living in self-imposed seclusion, Eleanor Oliphant meets her company's IT guy. Together they help a man who has fallen, and from there the three find friendship and a way out of their lonely lives.

"What I like most about quirky characters is that they help show the need for connection we all share. Eleanor is no exception."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Bill Clinton, James Patterson on Today

Today:
Good Morning America: Dan Abrams, co-author of Lincoln's Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency (Hanover Square Press, $26.99, 9781335424693).

Today Show: Bill Clinton and James Patterson, authors of The President Is Missing: A Novel (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316412698). They will also be on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert tomorrow.

Also on Today: Kerry Kennedy, author of Robert F. Kennedy: Ripples of Hope (Center Street, $28, 9781478918240).

Also on Today: Lauren Weisberger, author of When Life Gives You Lululemons (Simon & Schuster, $26.99, 9781476778440).

CBS This Morning: Ben Rhodes, author of The World as It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House (Random House, $30, 9780525509356).

Also on CBS This Morning: Kenny Leon, author of Take You Wherever You Go: A Memoir (Grand Central, $26, 9781538744970).

Fresh Air: Keith Hernandez, author of I'm Keith Hernandez: A Memoir (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316395731).

The View: Michael Eric Dyson, author of What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America (St. Martin's Press, $24.99, 9781250199416).

The Talk: Don Diamont, author of My Seven Sons and How We Raised Each Other: (They Only Drive Me Crazy 30% of the Time) (Center Street, $26, 9781455568918).

Tomorrow:
Megyn Kelly: Todd Fisher, author of My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062792310).

Today Show: Kate Andersen Brower, author of First in Line: Presidents, Vice Presidents, and the Pursuit of Power (Harper, $28.99, 9780062668943).

NPR's Morning Edition: Matthew Polly, author of Bruce Lee: A Life (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781501187629).

The View: Newt Gingrich, author of Trump's America: The Truth about Our Nation's Great Comeback (Center Street, $27, 9781546077060). He will also appear on CBS This Morning.


TV: You Know You Want This

HBO has acquired for development You Know You Want This, an anthology drama series project based on Kristen Roupenian's upcoming short story collection (Scout Press/S&S, January 2019), Deadline reported, noting that "Cat Person," the author's debut story in the New Yorker that "sparked conversations about sexual consent and gender dynamics, became the magazine's second most-read article of 2017." Although "Cat Person" is part of the collection, it is not included in the deal with HBO.

Written and executive produced by Carly Wray and Lila Byock (The Leftovers), You Know You Want This "will explore the complex and often dark and funny connections between gender, sex and power across genres," Deadline wrote. Byock and Wray brought the book to HBO "to develop as a potential anthology series that prioritizes female voices--writers, directors, and actors."



Books & Authors

Awards: Readings YA

A shortlist has been unveiled for this year's AU$3,000 (about US$2,270) Readings Young Adult Prize. The winner will be announced in late July. The shortlisted titles are:

Untidy Towns by Kate O'Donnell
Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian
Amelia Westlake by Erin Gough
This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada
Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein
Between Us by Clare Atkins


Book Review

Review: The Cabin at the End of the World

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay (Morrow, $26.99 hardcover, 288p., 9780062679109, June 26, 2018)

Paul Tremblay continues his unbroken string of fascinating horror novels--A Head Full of Ghosts, Disappearance at Devil's Rock--with the nightmarish The Cabin at the End of the World. Tremblay is adept at breathing new life into ancient horror tropes, as he did with demonic possession in A Head Full of Ghosts. In The Cabin at the End of the World, Tremblay has fashioned an unholy marriage between the home invasion genre and apocalyptic thrillers.
 
The novel opens with Wen, a seven-year-old girl, on a vacation with her two adoptive fathers at a remote cabin. Wen is interrupted while collecting grasshoppers by an imposingly large but friendly man, who tells her, with unnerving kindness: "None of what's going to happen is your fault. You haven't done anything wrong, but the three of you will have to make some tough decisions." That turns out to be a dramatic understatement: soon there's a violent siege of the cabin, and Wen and her fathers, Eric and Andrew, struggle desperately to keep their family safe.
 
What at first seems like an unusual riff on the home invasion thriller evolves into a story that can't easily be pigeonholed. Without ruining any of Tremblay's nasty surprises, it is safe to say that the four strangers turn out to have very earnest motivations that they believe to involve the fate of the human race. As in his previous novels, Tremblay likes to leave room for alternate interpretations. Are the strangers deluded fanatics or is there an apocalypse waiting in the wings? The question comes to torment Eric and Andrew, just as it might torment the reader.
 
The Cabin at the End of the World unfolds cinematically, taking place over hours rather than weeks. It's no surprise that the film rights have already been snapped up. Throughout the compressed time frame, Tremblay jumps from character to character, allowing us to see how they respond differently to the traumatic events. He also leaves plenty of room for reverie, digging back into each character's memories to shed light on the relationships, insecurities and spiritual outlook of every character. They do make foolish choices, but they never make inexplicable ones.
 
As harrowing as the novel may be, there is a lot of warmth in its depiction of Eric, Andrew and Wen's small family. There is also a surprising amount of dark humor, such as when the strangers frantically assure Eric and Andrew that they are not being targeted out of homophobia: "I assure you that we're not here with hate or prejudice in our hearts," one of the characters avows after having them tied to chairs. Readers might even be surprised by how much empathy is extended to the attacking strangers, who are the furthest thing from faceless antagonists. The Cabin at the End of the World deftly moves between private insecurities and existential terror, poking holes in the flimsy sense of security families rely upon. --Hank Stephenson, bookseller, Flyleaf Books
 

Shelf Talker: The Cabin at the End of the World combines a home invasion thriller with apocalyptic fears, following one family's terrible ordeal at the hands of a bizarre group of strangers.


The Bestsellers

Top Libro.fm Audiobooks in May

The bestselling Libro.fm audiobooks at independent bookstore locations during May:

Fiction

1. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. Circe by Madeline Miller (Hachette Audio)
3. Less by Andrew Sean Greer (Hachette Audio)
4. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. Tangerine by Christine Mangan (HarperCollins)
6. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (Penguin Random House Audio)
7. The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Macmillan Audio)
9. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (Macmillan Audio)
10. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (HarperCollins)

Nonfiction

1. I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara (HarperCollins)
2. Educated by Tara Westover (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. The Soul of America by Jon Meacham (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston (HarperCollins)
6. Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann (Penguin Random House Audio)
7. A Higher Loyalty by James Comey (Macmillan Audio)
8. The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson (Penguin Random House Audio)
9. Fascism: A Warning by Madeleine Albright (HarperCollins)
10. Not That Bad by Roxane Gay (HarperCollins)


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