Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Simon & Schuster: The Lightning Bottles by Marissa Stapley

Minotaur Books: The Dark Wives: A Vera Stanhope Novel (Vera Stanhope #11) by Ann Cleeves

Soho Crime: Exposure (A Rita Todacheene Novel) by Ramona Emerson

Wednesday Books: When Haru Was Here by Dustin Thao

Tommy Nelson: Up Toward the Light by Granger Smith, Illustrated by Laura Watkins

Tor Nightfire: Devils Kill Devils by Johnny Compton

Editors' Note

Happy Fourth of July!

Because of Independence Day, we are skipping tomorrow's issue and will see you again on Thursday, July 5. Enjoy the holiday!

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!


'Poignant Footnote' to the Capital Gazette Shootings

Robin J. Dunn, director of the St. John's College Bookstore in Annapolis, Md., offered "a poignant footnote" to the shootings at the Capital Gazette, one of the victims of which was Wendi Winters, an editor and community reporter who wrote a 2013 story about the bookstore that Shelf Awareness quoted at the time:

Wendi Winters

She spent more than two hours with us. She was one of the most energetic people, mentally and physically, I've ever met. She was in love with indie bookstores, too.

We don't necessarily think of newsrooms when we sum up this glorious industry of ours, but they're also part of what we do: creating and disseminating the written word as an act of service. Doubtless that's why this appalling event feels especially personal.

Graphic Universe (Tm): Hotelitor: Luxury-Class Defense and Hospitality Unit by Josh Hicks


Alternative Nobel Lit Prize Planned in Sweden This Year

In response to the Swedish Academy's decision not to award a Nobel Prize in Literature this year in the wake of a scandal, more than 100 Swedish writers, actors, journalists and other cultural figures have formed the New Academy, which will hand out its own award this autumn, following the same timeline as the Nobel, the Guardian reported. The winner will be announced in October and presented December 10 at a formal celebration. The New Academy will be dissolved December 11.

"We have founded the New Academy to remind people that literature and culture at large should promote democracy, transparency, empathy and respect, without privilege, bias arrogance or sexism," organizers of the new prize said in a statement. "In a time when human values are increasingly being called into question, literature becomes an even more important counterforce to stop the culture of silence and oppression. The New Academy regards this as so important, that the world's greatest literature prize should still be awarded in 2018. This is the sole purpose of why we have founded the New Academy."

Calling the effort "a protest," the New Academy wrote: "We want to show people that serious cultural work does not have to occur in a context of coercive language, irregularities or abuse. The New Academy, whose members are extremely driven and knowledgeable individuals, will work according to the time plan of the traditional Swedish Academy."

The New Academy is inviting all of Sweden's librarians to nominate authors, the Guardian reported, adding that "contenders can be from anywhere in the world, and must have written at least two books, one of which was published in the last 10 years. They are looking for a writer who has told the story of 'humans in the world.' "

Once nominations have been received, the New Academy will launch a public vote, with the top four authors put before a jury led by editor Ann Pålsson and including Gothenburg University professor Lisbeth Larsson and librarian Gunilla Sandin.

Shelf Awareness Job Board: Click Here to Post Your Job

Vallejo Bookstore Reopens in Larger Location

Vallejo Bookstore in Vallejo, Calif., has reopened in a new space roughly three times the size of its previous location, the Times-Herald reported. The bookstore was closed for around two months as co-owners Shannon and Patrick Hartlep, who bought the bookstore last year, moved it next door into the larger space.

"It's been a lot busier, which is great," Shannon Hartlep told the Times-Herald. "And people have been very receptive to the new space."

The approximately 1,200-square-foot storefront that Vallejo Bookstore has moved into belonged to a smoke shop called Ye Olde Briar Shoppe from the early 1970s until 2016. The Hartleps took longer than expected turning the former smoke shop into a "light, airy, uncluttered space," but now have significantly more room for browsing and event hosting.

About 90% of Vallejo Bookstore's inventory is used books, and along with a small selection of frontlist titles, the Hartleps also carry a limited number of rare and special edition books. The store first opened in 2014 in a 400-square-foot space, and operated as a part-time business with irregular hours until the Hartleps bought it in 2017.

Co-Existing with Kilauea: Selling Books Amid a Volcanic Eruption

Lava flow on Hawaii's Big Island in May (photo:

In the roughly eight weeks since Hawaii's Kilauea volcano began erupting, more than 670 homes have been destroyed, thousands of residents have been evacuated and, according to Hawaii News Now, more than 6,100 acres on the Big Island have been covered by lava. Explosions on Kilauea's summit have frequently exceeded the power of 5.0 earthquakes, residents across the island have had to deal with dangerous volcanic gasses and there is no indication of when it might end.

Located on the west side of the Big Island, nearly 100 miles from the volcanic fissures and evacuation zones, Kona Stories Book Store is in no direct danger from the lava flows or fires. But, explained co-owner Brenda McConnell, because of the island's prevailing wind patterns, "vog"--fumes and gasses emitted by the volcano--is getting carried to their area. "There are good days and bad days," said McConnell. "It's measured in PSI and we get alerts on our phones. That goes on every day."

McConnell noted that while the volcanic gasses and smoke can indeed be dangerous, particularly for children, the elderly and those with compromised respiratory systems, the whole island is not actually on fire, as the national news might make it seem. Most of the resorts and beaches are open, and only a small part of the Big Island is "actually dangerous." Nevertheless, vacation travel is down significantly, with many hotels reporting a 50% downswing in tourism since the eruptions started.

"We're at 20% down," said McConnell, who opened the store with her business partner, Joy Vogelgesang, in 2006. "We've never been down. We're always either flat or up a little bit."

Tourism is Hawaii's biggest industry, McConnell continued, and a significant decline in travel can lead to local residents either working reduced hours or getting laid off, and if local consumers don't have a steady stream of income, that would lead to less discretionary spending on things like books. She recalled that a handful of people have dropped by the store who said they'd lost their homes and were spending a night or two on the west side before flying out. McConnell also had an author event booked in August with a writer who lives not far from Kilauea.

"She's on the mainland waiting to see if she can come back," said McConnell. "She may not be able to participate."

Display of volcano-related books at Kona Stories

Although sales are down at the store in general, volcano books have actually seen a big uptick in sales. And while fewer tourists are traveling to the island, geologists are arriving from all over to study the volcano, and McConnell said that a lot of geologists have dropped by the store with their children. She's set up volcano displays featuring everything from books about the goddess Pele, who in the traditional Hawaiian religion inhabits the Kilauea volcano, to science titles for children about volcanism. She noted that two previously out-of-print titles about Pele have come back in circulation, and while it is too dangerous for people to go out and view the volcano with their own eyes, they're definitely keen on getting books about volcanoes for their children.

With no indication of when the eruptions might end, there is a great deal of uncertainty about the future. McConnell reported that the winter is by far the busiest time of the year for her store, and she's already heard from some snowbird customers who've decided not to make the trip this year. Many of the condos near her store, she added, are timeshares, which need to be booked in advance. She expressed concern that a significant number of her winter customers will have to choose soon whether to make the trip months from now.

"This is the time when they have to decide where to spend their winter months," she said. "Even if [the eruption] stops in September, the choice might already be made."

In talking with other local business owners, McConnell has not heard of any closures yet on the western side of the island. But in places like Volcano Village, where Volcano National Park is located, many businesses have closed temporarily, while others are doing whatever they can to stay afloat. In the case of the upscale inn and restaurant Kilauea Lodge, that includes offering $15 dinners.

McConnell said she doesn't know what the fall or winter will look like, and has yet to decide what to do about fall and holiday ordering, whether she'll cut back or order the usual amount. Owners of all kinds of businesses on the Big Island, she said, will have to work out similar dilemmas for themselves. She remarked: "This is going to be interesting." --Alex Mutter

Australia's Books+Publishing Sold to G.M.'s New Company

Books+Publishing, Australia's main book industry publication, has been sold by ProQuest, the U.S. subsidiary of Cambridge Information Group, to a new company called Books and Publishing Pty Ltd, founded by Gary Pengelly, general manager of Thorpe-Bowker, which is ProQuest's subsidiary in Australia. Books+Publishing announced the news yesterday.

The new Australian company is also managing BookNet, the inventory management system used by more than 300 bookshops in Australia and New Zealand.

Pengelly commented: "The opportunity to be custodian of an iconic Australian publishing industry brand was irresistible, and I must thank ProQuest for recognising the importance of B+P to our local industry and helping to facilitate the transfer back to local ownership."

In news that Book+Publishing said was unrelated to the sale of the company, its editor-in-chief Jackie Tang has announced she will step down from the position on July 13. Tang, who has been with Books+Publishing since 2015, will be replaced by publishing and digital media coordinator Andrew Wrathall, who has been with the company since 2009.

"I feel immensely privileged to have worked for this vital component of our local industry over the past three years," Tang said. "I look forward to seeing the company continue to flourish under its new ownership, with the guidance of Andrew and his dedicated and talented team: Sarah and Nathania. And I'll be eagerly opening each daily newsletter as it lands in my inbox!"

Wrathall said: "I'm looking forward to taking command of the publication and its hardworking crew. With all hands on deck, we'll continue to shoot out newsletters each day, and I'll keep the publication on course this year and steer it towards the centenary."

Known first as Australian Stationery and Fancy Goods Journal, then Ideas, then Australian Bookseller & Publisher, then Bookseller & Publisher, Books+Publishing was founded by D.W. Thorpe in 1921. It has included a magazine, weekly newsletter and now is mainly a quarterly magazine and daily e-newsletter. In 1992, Thorpe was sold to Reed, which sold it to Bowker in 2001.

Obituary Note: Anne Tolstoi Wallach

Anne Tolstoi Wallach, "who rose to the executive ranks in the male-dominated New York advertising world, then wrote a saucy, much-discussed bestseller about a fictional woman who does the same," died June 27, the New York Times reported. She was 89.

Wallach "shook up the publishing industry" in 1981 with her debut novel, Women's Work, which had brought an $850,000 advance from New American Library, "a staggering figure (the equivalent of about $2.4 million today) for a first-time novelist," the Times noted. She used her newfound prominence to draw attention to issues of concern for women in the workplace, including maternity leave.

After graduating from Radcliffe in 1949, Wallach had taken a job at the New York agency J. Walter Thompson. "I got my job at Thompson because I had secretarial experience,” she wrote in a 1987 essay for the New York Times Magazine. "It was the only way into advertising for a woman." She eventually became a Thompson v-p and creative director. After 14 years, she moved to Grey Advertising.

When her agent was auctioning the manuscript for Women's Work, "the price climbing into the stratosphere, she was preoccupied with the campaigns for Playtex and Aquafresh in her day job," the Times wrote. Wallach used the proceeds from the novel to complete "a labor-of-love nonfiction book," Paper Dolls: How to Find, Recognize, Buy, Collect and Sell the Cutouts of Two Centuries. (1982). She also wrote two other novels, Private Scores (1988) and Trials (1996).

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Becoming Little Shell:
Returning Home to the Landless
Indians of Montana
by Chris La Tray
GLOW: Milkweed Editions: Becoming Little Shell: Returning Home to the Landless Indians of Montana by Chris La Tray

Growing up in the 1970s, Montana Poet Laureate Chris La Tray was dimly aware of his paternal Chippewa ancestry--but his father had always rejected Indigenous identity. A series of funerals prompted him to delve into his family's history and, ultimately, to enroll in the Little Shell Tribe and join its successful campaign for federal recognition. Alternating past and present, La Tray weaves his personal experience with the wider history of Métis peoples. His book is also a love letter to Indigenous literature and Montana's natural landscapes. Daniel Slager, publisher and CEO at Milkweed Editions, noting the "beautiful flowering of writing" from Indigenous communities, was delighted to publish this "singular" work that "braids Chris's story with the history of his people, all in his inimitable voice, which is both fierce and tender." --Rebecca Foster

(Milkweed Editions, $28 hardcover, 9781571313980, 
August 20, 2024)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Darling in D.C.

East City Bookshop in Washington, D.C., hosted Gabriel Tallent for the paperback release of his novel My Absolute Darling (Riverhead). Pictured: (l.-r.) owner Laurie Gilman; Gabriel Tallent; book buyer Emilie Sommer; and event coordinator Destinee Hodge.

Simon & Schuster Distributing Zuiker Press

Zuiker Press, which will publish "issue-based" graphic novels by teens, will be distributed by Simon & Schuster.

Founded by CSI franchise creator Anthony E. Zuiker and his wife, Michelle, who has 17 years of experience in elementary school education, Zuiker Press will publish titles on a range of subjects, including divorce, cyberbullying, body dysmorphia, school shootings, transgender, and suicide and opioid addiction. Each book includes educational support materials on the subject to assist educators and parents on how to continue the dialogue. Zuiker Press combines Michelle Zuiker's "deep experience in education" and Anthony Zuiker's "background in storytelling across television and film" to share these teens' stories. The press is working closely with the authors to develop the books.

The first two titles, appearing in November, are Mend: A Story of Divorce by Sophia Recca, "a heart-wrenching story of an 11-year-old girl's heartbreak when her parents unexpectedly announced their divorce," and Click: A Story of Cyberbullying by Lexi Philips, "a shocking depiction of a young teenager's torment in the world of online harassment." Zuiker Press aims to publish two titles in each of the spring and fall seasons through spring 2021.

Michelle Zuiker, chief content officer, said, "We are proud to sign with Simon & Schuster to help bring to market our mission to give voice to young people who truly have the opportunity to change lives. We believe that when a young person doesn't feel alone in the world, because they just read a story that resonated with them, or gave them hope, or gave them the courage to ask for help, then we've truly accomplished our goal."

Anthony Zuiker, publisher and creative director, added: "My wife and I started on this endeavor because our own children struggle with many of these topics. We've listened to them and their friends. Young people of today want to help others to overcome their personal struggles. They truly want to help save lives. Every young author we are working with has shared in interviews, 'If I can save one life...' comes up time and time again. Young people, reaching out to other young people, today and tomorrow, is what Zuiker Press is all about."

Personnel Changes at Hachette Book Group

Vanessa Vazquez has been promoted to executive director of client sales services at Hachette Book Group. She has been with the company for 10 years and is responsible for managing the sales client services team.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Michael McFaul on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Michael McFaul, author of From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin's Russia (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780544716247).

The Talk: Adam Perry Lang, author of Serious Barbecue: Smoke, Char, Baste & Brush Your Way to Great Outdoor Cooking (APL Publishing, $35, 9780986042508).

Late Night with Seth Meyers repeat: Louie Anderson, author of Hey Mom: Stories for My Mother, But You Can Read Them Too (Touchstone, $26, 9781501189173).

Megyn Kelly: Susannah Cahalan, author of Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness (Simon & Schuster, $16, 9781451621389).

NPR's Here & Now: Alissa Quart, author of Squeezed: Why Our Families Can't Afford America (Ecco, $27.99, 9780062412256).

NPR's Marketplace: Richard Ratay, author of Don't Make Me Pull Over!: An Informal History of the Family Road Trip (Scribner, $27, 9781501188749).

The View repeat: Bret Baier, co-author of Three Days in Moscow: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Soviet Empire (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062748362).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Bill Clinton and James Patterson, authors of The President Is Missing: A Novel (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316412698).

Late Night with Seth Meyers repeat: Michael Ian Black, author of I'm Sad (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781481476270).

Movies: Juliet, Naked

The first trailer is out for Juliet, Naked, the film based on Nick Hornby's novel that debuted at Sundance in January and "straddles a strange line: it's both a charming rom-com and a canny sendup of superfans trapped by their own obsessions," IndieWire reported. Directed by Jesse Peretz, the movie stars Rose Byrne, Chris O'Dowd and Ethan Hawke. Roadside Attractions will open the film on August 17.

Books & Authors

Awards: Paul Engle, Caine Winners

Dina Nayeri received the 2018 Paul Engle Prize, presented by the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization. The prize, established in 2011, honors an individual "who, like Paul Engle, represents a pioneering spirit in the world of literature through writing, editing, publishing, or teaching, and whose active participation in the larger issues of the day has contributed to the betterment of the world through the literary arts." Nayeri will receive the prize, which includes a work of art and $10,000, during the Iowa City Book Festival on October 4.

Nayeri is a novelist, essayist and activist who has written extensively about the life and challenges of refugees. She has published two novels, A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea and Refuge. She holds a BA from Princeton, an MBA and Master of Education, both from Harvard, and an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

"Iowa City is where I accepted myself as a writer, as an Iranian, and also an American," Nayeri said. "It was a place of rebirth. Every day I walked into Dey House, passing the great Jim McPherson as he chatted with my classmates and I felt lucky. I read his work and tried to find the courage to talk to him about it. To be named to an award that he inaugurated in his final decade makes me feel a part of something beautiful and important. I hope I can inspire half as much joy and resolve as that brilliant man inspired in me."


Makena Onjerika of Kenya has won the £10,000 (about $13,175) Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story "Fanta Blackcurrant," published in Wasafiri.

Chair of judges Dinaw Mengestu called the story "as fierce as they come--a narrative forged but not defined by the streets of Nairobi, a story that stands as more than just witness. Makena Onjerika's 'Fanta Blackcurrant' presides over a grammar and architecture of its own making, one that eschews any trace of sentimentality in favour of a narrative that is haunting in its humour, sorrow and intimacy."

Onjerika is a graduate of the MFA Creative Writing program at New York University and lives in Nairobi, Kenya.

SIBA's Summer Okra Picks

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance has announced its Summer Okra Picks, a selection of fresh titles chosen by Southern indie booksellers each season as the upcoming Southern titles they are most looking forward to handselling:

Don't You Ever: My Mother and Her Secret Son by Mary Carter Bishop (Harper)
Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty (Disney-Hyperion)
Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe by Jo Hackl (Random House Books for Young Readers)
The New Inheritors by Kent Wascom (Grove Press)
The Lost Country by William Gay (Dzanc Books)
The Wrong Heaven by Amy Bonnaffons (Little, Brown)
Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy (Little, Brown)
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Putnam)
Surviving Adam Mede by Shannon Klare (Swoon Reads)
The Line That Held Us by David Joy (Putnam)
Rush by Lisa Patton (St. Martin's)
The Holy Ghost Speakeasy and Revival by Terry Roberts (Turner)
One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson (Bloomsbury)
Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina (Candlewick)
The Law of Finders Keepers by Sheila Turnage (Kathy Dawson Books)
Drive by Joyce Moyer Hostetter (Calkins Creek Books)
Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy, edited by Nicole Seitz (University of Georgia Press)
Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist by Eli Saslow (Doubleday)

Book Review

Review: Okay Fine Whatever

Okay Fine Whatever: The Year I Went from Being Afraid of Everything to Only Being Afraid of Most Things by Courtenay Hameister (Little, Brown, $26 hardcover, 320p., 9780316395700, July 31, 2018)

Generalized Anxiety Disorders (GAD) are debilitating, as writer Courtenay Hameister can tell you: "Phone calls to strangers were miserable. Parties where I didn't know anyone were like the seventh circle of hell, but with better snacks. And making an unprotected left turn triggered the same fight-or-flight response most people experience when running from a small-to-medium-sized bear." So when this finally drives her to the point that she leaves her role as host of a nationally syndicated radio show, Hameister decides to try a yearlong experiment: she will attempt things that scare her in an effort to rewire her brain to be less afraid.
Hameister doesn't attempt physically life-threatening acts like jumping from a plane or swimming with sharks. Instead she pursues activities that might be construed as unusual, or sometimes embarrassing, like experiencing a sensory deprivation tank ("It's an odd sensation to feel your heart start to move up toward your throat when you're doing something that's specifically designed to calm it down"), visiting a professional cuddler and attending a fellatio class. She details her experiences with brutal honesty and sidesplitting hilarity.
A large part of Hameister's project is centered on dating. Having always battled her weight and dated only rarely in her first four decades of life, Hameister admits, "I had the relationship experience of a 21-year-old." So she creates a profile on OKCupid and embarks on a series of first dates--28 to be exact. She tries one-night stands, polyamory and a sex club. But then she realizes that these are all a new form of avoidance. She's steering clear of what's truly frightening: intimacy. "It was as if I was specifically seeking out people with whom I had nothing in common so I couldn't possibly fall in love with them. And I wanted to fall in love."
When she changes her approach to dating and applies some of the lessons absorbed from her first 27 dates, she meets "First Date #28" and her experience is much different.
Hameister's observations and introspection reflect her anxiety disorder. She's detailed and perceptive, often overthinking small issues to make them enormous mountains of fear. Through humorous analogies, she adeptly and self-effacingly relates this trial for those who find it foreign. She's also very open about her struggles with weight and body image in a culture that obsesses over it--"It felt like food was a replacement for the romantic love I wasn't getting because I'd eaten too much food and therefore couldn't imagine finding romantic love."
Okay Fine Whatever manages expertly to blend adventure, romance, mental illness and an extra helping of humor for an entertaining memoir that reminds the reader, "At certain moments, 'No one gives a s*$#' is one of the nicest things you can say to yourself." Anxiety disorders or not, we can all stand to be reminded of that every once in a while. --Jen Forbus, freelancer
Shelf Talker: A 40-something woman with generalized anxiety disorder spends a year trying unusual things that scare her in an effort to convince her brain to be less fearful.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Mister Tonight by Kendall Ryan
2. Shelter for Blythe (Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes Book 11) by Susan Stoker
3. Tattered by Devney Perry
4. My Own True Duchess (True Gentleman Book 5) by Grace Burrowes
5. Complete Submission: 2018 Edition by CD Reiss
6. Tamer: King of Dinosaurs 5 by Michael-Scott Earle
7. Doc Holt by C.J. Petit
8. Fake It for Me by Kira Blakely
9. Missing Molly by Natalie Barelli
10. Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

[Many thanks to!]

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