Also published on this date: Tuesday, June 5, 2018: Maximum Shelf: Sheets

Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Hampton Roads Publishing Company: Becoming Baba Yaga: Trickster, Feminist, and Witch of the Woods by Kris Spisak, Foreword by Gennarose Nethercott

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger

Severn House: A Messy Murder (Main) (The Decluttering Mysteries #4) by Simon Brett

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Chronicle Books: Taste in Music: Eating on Tour with Indie Musicians by Luke Pyenson and Alex Beeker


Landers to Lead Lambda Literary

Sue Landers

Sue Landers will join Lambda Literary as executive director, effective July 2. She succeeds Tony Valenzuela, who said last fall that he would step down from the position after a nine-year tenure.

Landers began her career at Lambda Rising bookstore in Washington, D.C., which founded the Lambda Book Report and whose owners founded Lambda Literary. She has since worked primarily in the nonprofit sector, most notably at the College Board for 16 years. An author and editor, she recently published her third book, a work of poetry and prose about the racially diverse community in Philadelphia where she grew up.

"We are thrilled that Sue has agreed to lead us as we seek to build on our successes and further advance our impact and reach as the premier organization supporting LGBTQ readers and writers," Lambda Literary board president Amy Scholder said. "In light of the extraordinary and divisive political and cultural upheaval we are experiencing in our country, we need to ground ourselves in the power of our words and resist the forces that continue to try to undermine us. Nurturing our individual and collective artistic capacity will fuel and sustain our communities and expand our rich creative legacies. Sue has the perfect blend of skill, energy, and vision that we need to lead Lambda Literary through these times."

Landers added: "I believe that LGBTQ writing is absolutely vital for our collective happiness and survival. For decades, Lambda Literary has fostered precisely the kind of radical imagination we need to build a more equitable world. I am honored to join this incredible organization and look forward to serving our LGBTQ+ community."

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BookExpo 2018: CEO Roundtable

"I think there is no reason to be pessimistic," said Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House during a CEO roundtable at BookExpo in New York City last week. Carolyn Reidy, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan CEO John Sargent joined Dohle on the panel, while Maria Pallante, president of the Association of American Publishers, moderated the discussion.

CEOs speak: Macmillan's John Sargent, S&S's Carolyn Reidy and PRH's Markus Dohle.

While the three heads of houses were all optimistic about the state of the book industry, Dohle was especially enthusiastic, citing a strong market that has stabilized at around 80% physical books and 20% e-books as well as growth in audiobooks and in children's and YA books that "makes [PRH] very confident about our larger purpose, which is to create the future of books and long form reading in our society for generations to come." He added: "There is no data and no KPI [key performance indicator], neither in the U.S. nor globally, that speaks for a significant change of that trajectory."

Sargent agreed that the "long-term health of the industry" was good, but said he thought that in the coming years publishers will face "some serious issues" pertaining to "changing consumer buying behaviors." As consumers shop more and more online, it will be harder for them to discover books; Sargent argued that what publishers need to protect is "lots and lots of shelf space" in which customers can browse and discover books. He noted that compared to other media businesses, publishing has done a "remarkable" job at navigating through the digital transition. The "next thing up," he said, will be "the change in consumer buying patterns."

On the subject of publishers needing to help keep bookstores healthy in the coming years, Reidy said she was in complete agreement, and reported that for S&S, the number of units sold in physical outlets has remained, as a percentage of the company's business, "rock solid for five years." While particular accounts have had their ups and downs, the total has not declined. Reidy went on to call that fact a "great testament" to the booksellers of America, not only independents but also chains, mass merchandisers and anyone else who sells books in a bricks-and-mortar store. In the years ahead, she continued, "it will take even more focus and attention from all of us to keep it that way."

Fire and Fury
When asked about what went through his mind upon learning of the letter from President Trump demanding Macmillan halt the publication of Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury, Sargent recalled that at the time he was at a higher education sales conference in Phoenix, Ariz., and "in all honesty, my first reaction was 'holy cow, we are going to sell a s--tload of books.' " He also admitted to spending time thinking up "spectacular, fantasy responses" that might "engender a tweet back" and thereby sell a few more copies, before having it sink in just how serious the situation was. He called prior restraint the single "worst violation of freedom of speech" there is, and added that the decision to move the publication date forward was "Don Weisberg's decision and a great decision."

Reidy and Dohle, meanwhile, both applauded Sargent's handling of the issue, with Reidy saying she and her company were "cheering behind him," and Dohle adding that he "really made the entire community proud" with his response. --Alex Mutter

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

Split Rock Books Coming to Cold Spring, N.Y.

Heidi and Michael Bender (photo: Alison Rooney)

Early this summer, Heidi and Michael Bender will open Split Rock Books, a 1,100-square-foot independent bookstore, in Cold Spring, N.Y. The pair has years of experience working in independent bookstores in the New York City area, and the decision to finally open a store of their own, they explained, has been a long time coming. When asked exactly how long they've been thinking about opening a bookstore for, Heidi Bender answered: "Forever."

"We've been talking about it basically since we met," Michael Bender elaborated. He has worked as a bookseller at Community Bookstore in Park Slope, Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in SoHo, at Book Court and Bergen Street Comics before they closed, and as a librarian for New York University and the Brooklyn Historical Society. "But it became more serious in the past two years."

"It was really just a matter of experience," added Heidi Bender, who managed Housing Works for three and a half years and worked at a variety of other New York indies, including Book Culture and Book Court. And as something of a consultant, she helped with the openings of both Stories Bookshop and Books Are Magic. "We were at the point in our lives where we're ready to make the move," she said.

Planned to open in mid-June, Split Rock Books will carry mainly new books, with a small selection of used titles. The general-interest store will stock books for all ages, with a back room dedicated mostly to children's books from picture books to middle grade. The Benders estimated that roughly a third of the inventory will be children's titles and said that at first, they'll have a smaller selection of young adult books. Heidi Bender explained that "YA can be very tricky," and they want to get a feel for what local YA readers want before committing too much on that front.

And while the inventory will be general interest, Michael Bender reported that they plan to have a particularly strong history section. Cold Spring, which is located on the Hudson River about halfway between New York City and Poughkeepsie, is home to a large number of history buffs and is steeped in local history, especially from the Revolutionary War and Civil War periods. There is plenty of hiking in the area as well, and Bender said that the store's outdoors, hiking and nature sections will be robust.

The Benders characterized the Cold Spring community as full of creative people, many of whom work in the film industry or are writers. The town is also close to several colleges, and many residents commute to New York City for work. The area is replete with antique shops and vintage stores, and Heidi Bender said they've noticed a definite need for new books. "We both really love used books," she continued. "But this area is really craving a new bookstore."

As for sidelines and non-book items, they plan to keep stock minimal, with a small but carefully selected range of greeting cards, notebooks and journals. Asked if there would be any sort of food or drink service at Split Rock Books, Heidi Bender replied with a definitive no. "It's great for some people," she acknowledged. But having spent years dealing with the New York City Department of Health, she said, "I never want to do it again."

Although the store is still a few weeks from opening, Heidi and Michael already have events scheduled. The first will be a storytime and singalong at the local farmer's market, while the second will be part of the Sunset Reading Series, a nonprofit event series that has been bringing authors to Cold Spring for the past 10 years.

Once the store is up and running, they plan to keep the events going with more storytimes and singalongs, author visits and book launches, as well as book clubs and discussions groups for adults. Heidi Bender said they'd love to partner with other businesses and organizations, including antique shops, a "gorgeous" furniture and design store located next door and the local public library. She added: "We love everything and want to partner with everything."

"What we've been discovering is that Cold Spring has a really great, built-in community of readers and people who love books," Michael Bender said. A widely loved indie bookstore closed down in Cold Spring about 10 years ago, he reported, and now residents are thrilled at the prospect of having a new one in town.

He continued: "Every time we're working in the store, somebody will stop us and tell us how excited they are and that they can't wait." --Alex Mutter

Kobo Clara HD E-Reader Launches

Rakuten Kobo has launched the Kobo Clara HD, a 6" e-reader featuring ComfortLight Pro and a touchscreen the company said displays clear fonts to "replicate a print on paper reading experience." It is Kobo's "smallest, thinnest, and lightest" 6" e-reader.

The device will be available only in black and will retail for $129.99 in the U.S., starting today. The device is already available in Japan and France and also is available as of today in Canada, the U.K., Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Turkey. It will be available in Hong Kong in July, with Australia, New Zealand and Mexico to follow later this year.

"We've made our devices very easy to get started with so that people can quickly and simply experience the benefits of e-reading," said Ramesh Mantha, v-p, devices, Rakuten Kobo. "We're betting that for even the most loyal print-on-paper booklover, trying will be believing."

CEO Michael Tamblyn added: "We decided to include features usually reserved for more premium e-readers in our newest entry-level device, Kobo Clara HD. Our customers deserve an amazing reading experience no matter which of our e-readers they choose, and that's what we're here to provide. Now, these must-have features are included in all our latest entry-level, mid-level, and premium devices."

Obituary Note: Irving Sandler

Irving Sandler, an art critic and historian "who drew on his extensive relationships with living artists to compile authoritative histories of Abstract Expressionism and the artistic movements that followed," died June 2, the New York Times reported. He was 92. Sandler "came to know the principal figures in the art world of the time and eventually spent long hours interviewing them in their studios, getting them to think out loud about their work."

His "relentless explorations" led him to write The Triumph of American Painting: A History of Abstract Expressionism (1970). He followed up with three volumes that traced the history of contemporary American art: The New York School: The Painters and Sculptors of the Fifties (1978), American Art of the 1960s (1988) and Art of the Postmodern Era: From the Late 1960s to the Early 1990s (1996). He later revisited his first work with Abstract Expressionism and the American Experience: A Reevaluation (2009)

Sandler also wrote two memoirs, A Sweeper-Up After Artists (2003) and Swept Up by Art: An Art Critic in the Post-Avant-Garde Era (2015). He received a lifetime achievement award from the International Association of Art Critics in 2008. His first novel, Goodbye to Tenth Street, "set in the art world of the 1950s and '60s," will be published in the fall by Pleasure Boat Studio.


Image of the Day: Pannell Winners

At the Children's Book & Author Breakfast at BookExpo, the Pannell Awards were presented to Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, Minn. In addition to a cash prize of $1,000, the winning bookstores each received a signed piece of original art from a children's book illustrator. The artists who donated artwork this year were Bob Shea and Sophie Blackall.

Pictured: (l. to r.) Sally M. Kim of Callisto Media and WNBA Pannell Award co-chair; Jessica Wood of Northshire; Joan Trygg and Holly Weinkauf, both of Red Balloon Bookshop, holding illustration by Bob Shea; Bob Shea, author/illustrator of Splash, Crash, or Moo!; Nancy Scheemaker of Northshire, holding illustration by Sophie Blackall; Sophie Blackall, author/illustrator of Hello Lighthouse; Susan Knopf of Scout Books & Media and WNBA Pannell Award co-chair.

Booksellers 'Dish on the Summer's Steamiest Beach Reads'

Noting that "beach reads are the stuff dreams are made of," Moneyish asked authors and booksellers to "dish on the summer's steamiest beach reads."

Among the booksellers contacted was John Evans, co-owner of DIESEL: A Bookstore in Larkspur and Brentwood, Calif. "I personally like to read an absorbing story like a great science fiction or mystery novel, but I often read classics when I'm on vacation," he said. "Most people ask for something they can just fall deeply into, where the storytelling seizes you and transports you." Beach reads currently flying off DIESEL's shelves include Tangerine by Christine Mangan, Pachinko by Min Jin Lee and An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.

Donna Garban of Little City Books, Hoboken, N.J., said, "We find that people like faster-paced books like thrillers, romances, coming-of-age stories and stories about success in the city. Basically, murder, sex and money." Her summer favorites include How Hard Can It Be by Allison Pearson, You Will Know Me and Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott and Ghosted by Rosie Walsh.

Casemate to Distribute Boydell & Brewer

Effective September 1, Casemate Group will be exclusive print book distributor in North and South America for Boydell & Brewer, providing sales, warehousing and distribution services. Casemate will also work with Cranbury International to bolster its sales representation in South America. Under the new arrangement, Boydell & Brewer is relocating its stock from PSSC (Publishers Storage and Shipping) to BI (Books International).

Founded in 1978 by the merger of Boydell Press and D.S. Brewer, Boydell & Brewer publishes some 220 titles annually and its backlist consists of about 5,500 titles. In 1989, Boydell & Brewer entered into a partnership agreement with the University of Rochester to found the University of Rochester Press, which now publishes some 30 books a year in the fields of African studies, philosophy, and social and medical history. URP is also home to the Eastman Studies in Music series. In 1998, Boydell & Brewer acquired Camden House, a scholarly publisher of books on German and American literature and culture.

Michael Richards, managing director of Boydell & Brewer said, "Having worked closely with Casemate Limited in the U.K. for some years, we have every confidence that this new arrangement will bring us growth and even greater profile in the Americas."

Personnel Changes at HarperCollins; Catapult/Counterpoint/Soft Skull

Mary Sasso has been promoted to director of marketing for Harper Perennial and Harper Paperbacks. She joined HarperCollins in 2010 as marketing coordinator, then moved to Perennial in 2012.


Katie Boland has joined Catapult/Counterpoint/Soft Skull as events coordinator.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ben Rhodes on Fresh Air

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

Megyn Kelly: Pamela Anderson, author of Lust for Love: Rekindling Intimacy and Passion in Your Relationship (Center Street, $27, 9781478992783).

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

Daily Show: Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, author of Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions (Anchor, $8.95, 9780525434801).

The Opposition with Jordan Klepper: Franchesca Ramsey, author of Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist (Grand Central, $27, 9781538761038).

Movies: Widows; A Midsummer Night's Dream

Fox has released the first trailer for Widows, based on the Lynda La Plante novel that was previously adapted as a British miniseries in the 1980s and featuring "an intense Viola Davis dominating as a robbery crew leader," Variety reported. The cast also includes Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez, Cynthia Erivo, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya, Lukas Haas and Brian Tyree Henry.

Directed by Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) from a script he co-wrote with Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), Widows opens November 16.


A trailer has been released for Casey Wilder Mott's new take on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, which has been translated "into a delirious-looking Hollywood farce," IndieWire reported. The film stars Rachael Leigh Cook as Hermia and Lily Rabe as Helena, along with Finn Wittrock (Demetrius) and Hamish Linklater (Lysander). The cast also includes Paz de la Huerta (Hippolyta), Avan Jogia (Puck), Ted Levine (Theseus), poet Saul Williams (Oberon), singer-songwriter Mia Doi Todd (Titania) and Fran Kranz (Bottom).

Indiewire noted that the updated version "is set in contemporary Los Angeles--Hermia is even introduced as a 'starlet' and Demetrius is a bona fide hustler--and offers up some clever sight gags (keep an eye out for that standoff between Helena and Demetrius) and what appear to some smart observations about Hollywood itself. This time, with more naughty woodland nymphs to make things really weird."

Books & Authors

Awards: BTBA Winners, Boston Globe-Horn Book Prize

This year's Best Translated Book Award winners are The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán, translated from the Spanish by Will Vanderhyden (Open Letter Books) for fiction and Before Lyricism by Eleni Vakalo, translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich (Ugly Duckling Presse) for poetry. Each author and translator will receive a $5,000 prize.

This is the second year in a row that a title published by Open Letter Books won for fiction. The Invented Part is the second of Rodrigo Fresán's books to appear in English, and the first of a five-book deal with Open Letter. BTBA jury member Caitlin Baker described it as "a generous, heady, big hearted read. Bouncing from referencing F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night, to Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd and the Kinks. The Invented Part dazzles."

Before Lyricism is also the second win for Ugly Duckling Presse, and the first time a Greek book has won. The BTBA jury hailed Before Lyricism as "a captivating collection of poetry as well as an awe-inspiring feat of translation."


Horn Book editor-in-chief Roger Sutton and Boston Globe Foundation president Emily Procknal announced the winners of the 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, which recognizes excellence in children's and YA titles that are published in the U.S. but may be written or illustrated by citizens of any country. The awards will be presented October 5 during a ceremony at Simmons College:

Winner: Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña (Getty)
Honor books: A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman, illustrated by Isabel Greenberg (Greenwillow) and The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater (FSG)

Winner: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (HarperTeen)
Honor books: The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson (Levine/Scholastic) and The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez (Viking)

Picture books
Winner: They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki (Abrams)
Honor books: When's My Birthday? by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Christian Robinson (Porter/Roaring Brook) and A Different Pond by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui (Capstone)

Book Review

Review: Summerland

Summerland by Hannu Rajaniemi (Tor, $25.99 hardcover, 304p., 9781250178923, June 26, 2018)

Hannu Rajaniemi (The Causal Angel) rewrites 20th-century history in a wildly inventive sci-fi/fantasy hybrid filled with action and espionage.
Rajaniemi's 1938 looks familiar at first glance. Great Britain's Secret Intelligence Service tries to get the drop on the Soviet Union's NKVD as Europe lurches toward war. However, in this timeline, the British Empire has discovered and colonized the afterlife with a sprawling city called Summerland. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union is governed by a man-made god called the Presence, and aetheric energy--souls--powers the weapons of war.
Glass ceilings remain the same in this alternate timeline. Rachel White of SIS's Counter-Subversion Unit has spent 20 years fighting tooth and claw for her career, watching as those who "went to Eton... and are able to pee standing up" get promoted over her. When a Russian defector trusts her with the name Peter Bloom, a dead British agent turned Soviet mole, Rachel's superior blows off the information as a ploy to make the SIS look foolish. He also transfers her to the Finance Section, concerned that her natural limitations have begun to show.
Certain that her source told the truth, Rachel sees no option other than to go rogue and pursue the mole on her own. Meanwhile, Peter Bloom himself cultivates sources among the Spanish Republic's forces, gathering intelligence on an ambitious new player who goes by the name Stalin. Rachel and Peter's game of cat and mouse tests them both, but pales in comparison to the devastating truth about the afterlife that awaits their discovery.
With boundless imagination, Rajaniemi invents a mortal realm with a steampunk flair, if steam were ghostly energy, and an afterlife in which every brick of a city is built from souls. Despite the elaborate worldbuilding, he grounds his concepts in day-to-day life. Ghosts can commute back to the land of the living by possessing professional mediums, so careers need not end in death. Relationships continue as well; Rachel's mother is deceased but still insists on frequent ectophone calls.
For all its bounty, aetheric technology has caused its share of problems, too. Rachel's husband, once a captain in the Royal Aetheric Force, suffers postwar trauma from the soul fragments embedded in his being, causing him sleepless nights and making intimacy difficult. Amid the turmoil, Rachel and Peter struggle with timeless questions of fidelity, ethics and loyalty. Sci-fi and fantasy readers longing to immerse themselves in a fascinating new world will love exploring Summerland, and its capable, determined female lead steals the show. This standalone begs for a sequel continuing Rachel's adventures and deepening the lore of Rajaniemi's afterlife. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: In an alternate timeline where Great Britain discovered and colonized the afterlife, a British SIS agent must prove one of her deceased comrades is working for the Soviet Union.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Rebel Heart by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland
2. Rogue Royalty by Meghan March
3. Cocktales: The Cocky Collective by Various
4. The Red Ledger: 1 by Meredith Wild
5. Tiger Striped: Shifters Unbound by Jennifer Ashley
6. Beneath the Scars (Masters of the Shadowlands Book 13) by Cherise Sinclair
7. The Controversial Princess by Jodi Ellen Malpas
8. Good Girl by Jana Aston
9. Rogues Rush In by Christi Caldwell and Tessa Dare
10. Mine After Dark by Marie Force

[Many thanks to!]

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