Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 17, 2018

William Morrow & Company: The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

Shadow Mountain: The Witch in the Woods: Volume 1 (Grimmworld) by Michaelbrent Collings

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Indiana University Press: The Grim Reader: A Pharmacist's Guide to Putting Your Characters in Peril by Miffie Seideman

St. Martin's Press: Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder by Kerryn Mayne

Quotation of the Day

'I'm So Grateful to All the Booksellers'

"I have been blown away by the writers who have taken the time to read my book, to reach out and share their thoughts. And booksellers, too--as a reader you're not aware of the enormous impact of bookseller support, but I can see it now as a writer. The support I've had for The Ruin has been nothing short of fantastic, and I'm so grateful to all the booksellers who have gotten behind the book. To have the book chosen for Indies Introduce was a fabulous bonus! The time commitment from the booksellers involved in choosing the list must have been immense, so thank you to everyone involved!"

--Dervla McTiernan, whose debut novel, The Ruin (Penguin), is a Summer/Fall 2018 Indies Introduce selection and a July 2018 Indie Next List pick, in a q&a with Bookselling This Week

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland


Bookstore Sales Up 0.5% in May; Indies Up 5% for Year

May bookstore sales rose 0.5%, to $745 million, compared to May 2017, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau.

For the year to date, bookstore sales were $4.01 billion, down 2.1% compared to the first five months of 2017. The cumulative loss for 2018 so far is largely attributable to January results, when bookstore sales fell 8.6%.

By contrast, as of a week of ago, book unit sales among American Booksellers Association member stores increased just over 5% for this year compared to the same period in 2017, based on sales reported to the Indie Bestseller List.

Total retail sales in May rose 7%, to $531 billion. For the year to date, total retail sales have risen 5.3%, to $2,409 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing new books."

Chronicle Books: Life Wants You Dead: A Calm, Rational, and Totally Legit Guide to Scaring Yourself Safe by Evan Waite, Illustrated by Paula Searing

Grand Opening at Epilogue Books in Mich.

Pat and Valerie Burkholder, co-owners of Epilogue Books at 10 East Bridge Street in Rockford, Mich., hosted a ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration on Saturday, July 14. At the end of the day, they posted on Facebook: "From the bottom of our hearts thank you to everyone who came to our grand opening today and made it a huge success. We enjoyed meeting all of you and appreciate the support you showed for our new business. The Rockford community came out in force and we are so grateful. We would also like to thank all the family and friends who came to support us today, you are appreciated!"

In a profile last week, Grand Rapids magazine reported that "the couple shares a strong love of reading and a mission to share that with the community."

"Pat and I have always been physical book people and love the feel of a book in my hand, turning the pages, even the smell of a new book," Valerie Burkholder said. "The digital world is nice if I know exactly what I want. However, if I don't, it can be overwhelming and there's nothing quite like walking into a small bookstore and looking at covers and getting recommendations from staff. We think there are a lot of people out there that feel similarly."

Epilogue Books sells new books in "all genres" and has "a great kids' section," she added. "We also carry regional titles (books about Michigan) and will be selling many local authors works as well, both adult and children's." The children's section features a mural painted by local artist Rebecca Haigler. In addition to books, the store will offer greeting cards, coffee mugs, bookmarks, wall art and pottery pieces locally crafted by Michigan artists.

"We want to support local talent as much as we can," Burkholder said. "The philosophy of most independent bookstores is to be part of the community and we wholeheartedly believe in that. We want to be engaged within our community and believe supporting local artists is one way to do that.... Rockford is a great community with a small town feel but close to all that Grand Rapids has to offer. We've received tons of support from the community for our store and are so glad we can do this here."

GLOW: Tundra Books: We Are Definitely Human by X. Fang

Mark Smith Leaving Bonnier Zaffre

Mark Smith

Mark Smith is stepping down as CEO of Bonnier Zaffre and will leave at the end of the month, the Bookseller reported. He has sold his stake in the company to Bonnier Publishing, which had bought Smith's Zaffre Publishing in 2014.

Smith, who earlier founded and was CEO of Quercus before its sale to Hodder & Stoughton, built up Bonnier Zaffre by promoting both new authors and established authors to new audiences. Most notably, Bonnier Zaffre signed both Wilbur Smith and Lynda La Plante. The company launched its program in the U.S. early this year, highlighting both authors.

Smith's departure comes as several other top executives have left Bonnier Publishing in the U.K. after the company "wrestled with profitability problems" in 2017, according to financial documents.

Smith said: "The last three and a half years at Bonnier Zaffre, working with the brilliant team in Marylebone to build a commercial fiction company that covers both children's and adult, has been a truly unique experience and Bonnier Zaffre is now firmly established and ready for the next stage of growth. The strategy of having a very narrow focus on both the types and number of books we published has produced regular appearances in the bestseller charts and rapid growth. Looking to the future, our authors, agents and partners are in great hands and there will be many more exciting developments to come."

Jim Zetterlund, acting group CEO and chairman, said that Bonnier Zaffre had recently "reached a turning point, building on their early success to establish Bonnier Zaffre as a highly respected commercial fiction publisher with a growing profile in the U.S."

He added: "Mark joined Bonnier Publishing at the beginning of 2015 and, with the support of a stellar executive team, quickly gained a reputation for transforming debut authors into bestsellers and introducing established authors to new audiences around the world. What Mark has achieved in a relatively short period of time is quite remarkable and I'm deeply grateful for his help in setting up Bonnier Books' English-language fiction business."

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

MUFON Books Launches

The Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) and Red Wheel/Weiser have started a joint publishing venture that is, in conjunction with Micro Publishing Media and the Jeff Herman Agency, creating MUFON Books. The imprint's first two titles, which will be released in fall 2019, are Extraterrestrial Abduction: A Survivor's Handbook by Kathleen Marden and The CIA/UFO Papers by Dan Wright.

Jan C. Harzan, executive director of MUFON, which was founded in 1969, said, "MUFON Books will be one of our important channels of communication about what is known and what we're endeavoring to know."

Red Wheel/Weiser v-p Greg Brandenburgh, who will manage the program for the company, said, "Over the years we have published authors associated with MUFON, including Don Donderi, Stanton Friedman, and David Jacobs. This new joint venture with MUFON presents us with the opportunity to expand our program and continue to publish reasoned and credible thought by recognized authorities; authorities who specialize in exploring the outer limits of the universe and the possibilities of life beyond our planet."


Image of the Day: Comey Comes Home

[words] Bookstore in Maplewood, N.J., shared this photo yesterday on its Facebook page, saying, "What a surprise! James Comey, former FBI Director and author of A Higher Loyalty, stopped by [words] to sign some books and reminisce with staff about his time living in Maplewood!"

Pasadena Magazine Honors Allison Hill of Vroman's Bookstore

"Three women running retail businesses in the San Gabriel Valley are bucking trends and defying conventional wisdom," Pasadena magazine reported in showcasing this year's Women in Business, including Vroman's Bookstore CEO Allison Hill. The three executives "love what they do, understand the challenges of staying relevant in an increasingly online world and believe in creating a unique retail experience with great product, great people and great customer service.... [T]hey share a key characteristic in leading their profitable businesses: constant personal growth that they can bring back to the company."

Allison Hill

Hill has been the CEO of Vroman's for the past 14 years, running three stores--the main store, Vroman's Hastings Ranch and Book Soup in West Hollywood, acquired by Vroman's in 2009. She is also the v-p of Vroman's Real Estate. Pasadena magazine noted that the "last five years have been the best in Vroman's history, a testament to decisions Hill and her team have made."

"You're always thinking about how to move forward while honoring that sense of tradition," she said. "We wouldn't be surviving and thriving if we weren't constantly changing. It's a balance.... The landscape has changed so dramatically over the last twenty years. You just always have to be moving."

Hill, who enrolled in the Fully Employed MBA Program at UCLA Anderson School of Management in the fall of 2017, said she has a natural curiosity about business, picking up the phone and seeking answers to problems from new contacts: "But you still only reach for things that are comfortable. The book business is isolating and I was seeing everything through that lens. I wanted to get out of my own head.... It's humbling to sit down and take a three hours statistics exam as a book nerd."

Conversations with classmates and professors have prompted her to walk the floor at Vroman's and think, "What are our underutilized assets and how could I be monetizing them?"

Bookshop Chalkboard of #subPrimeDay: The Golden Notebook

James Conrad, co-owner of the Golden Notebook, Woodstock, N.Y., offered a photo of the bookshop's sidewalk chalkboard creation to mark yesterday's Amazon Prime Day. The sign features the Golden Notebook's "I Didn't Buy It on Amazon!" logo, along with the message: "I bought it in Woodstock! #subPrimeDay @ColonyoftheArts."

Personnel Changes at Coffee House Press

At Coffee House Press:

Nica Carrillo has been promoted to marketing and sales manager. She was formerly marketing and publicity associate.

Mandy Medley has been promoted to publicity director from publicist.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dan Kaufman on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Dan Kaufman, author of The Fall of Wisconsin: The Conservative Conquest of a Progressive Bastion and the Future of American Politics (Norton, $26.95, 9780393635201).

Daily Show: Annie Lowrey, author of Give People Money: How a Universal Basic Income Would End Poverty, Revolutionize Work, and Remake the World (Crown, $26, 9781524758769).

Movies: How to Build a Girl

Filming has begun in the U.K. on How to Build a Girl, based on the book by Caitlin Moran, Deadline reported. The project stars Beanie Fedstein (Lady Bird), Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones), Paddy Considine (Journeyman), Sarah Solemani (Bridget Jones's Baby), Laurie Kynaston (England Is Mine), Joanna Scanlan (Pin Cushion), Arinzé Kene (Been So Long), Frank Dillane (In the Heart of the Sea), Tadhg Murphy (Guerrilla) and Ziggy Heath (Spies of Warsaw).

Directed by Coky Giedroyc (TV's The Killing, The Hour) from a script by Moran, How to Build a Girl is produced by Monumental Pictures' Alison Owen and Debra Hayward, who promised "more surprises to come" on the film's cast.

Books & Authors

Awards: COVR Visionary; Crook's Corner

The COVR Visionary Awards, given to books, jewelry, music, electronic media, and products in the Mind Body Spirit industry that represent the best from the previous three years, were celebrated last month during the International New Age Trade Show (INATS) in Denver, Colo.

The book of the year was Rock and Water: The Power of Thought--The Peace of Letting Go by Scott Cooper (DeVorss and Company). For a full list of winners, including the winners in the many book categories, click here.


The Crook's Corner Book Prize Foundation has announced the longlist for the $5,000 Crook's Corner Book Prize, honoring the best debut novels set in the American South. The shortlist will be announced in the fall, and the prize will be presented in January 2019. The longlist is:

Maranatha Road by Heather Bell Adams (Vandalia Press)
The Floating World by C. Morgan Babst (Algonquin Books)
Whiskey & Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith (Hub City Press)
The Talented Ribkins by Ladee Hubbard (Melville House)
Panorama by Steve Kistulentz (Little, Brown)
Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro (Grove Atlantic)
Shadow of the Lions by Christopher Swann (Algonquin Books)
How to Survive a Summer by Nick White (Blue Rider Press)
A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (Counterpoint Press)

Top Library Recommended Titles for August

LibraryReads, the nationwide library staff-picks list, offers the top 10 August titles public library staff across the country love:

Vox by Christina Dalcher (Berkley, $26, 9780440000785). "In the future world depicted in Vox, women are limited to speaking 100 words per day. Readers will want to shout every word in their heads, hoard every book in their libraries, and second guess the words of every person in their lives. A captivating, timely book that explores women's rights in a fast-paced, compelling story." --Jennifer Gaenzle, Fort Fairfield Public Library, Fort Fairfield, Me.

Our House by Louise Candlish (Berkley, $26, 9780451489111). "Full of secrets and surprises, Our House poses the question, 'How well do you know the person you live with?' An attempt to co-habitate for the sake of the children leaves divorced mom Fiona alone and out in the cold. Readers will have a hard time putting down this twisty domestic suspense novel. Even after the last page is turned, the characters will linger." --Annette Herbst, Columbia County Rural Library, Dayton, Wash.

Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley (Sourcebooks Landmark, $26.99, 9781492665274). "A character-driven story with a nice surprise twist, this gothic-style fiction, set in 1759 Long Island, will not disappoint Kearsley's many fans. Readers who enjoy good doses of romance, history, and magic will be pleased." --Julie Raynor, High Point Public Library, High Point, N.C.

Good Luck with That by Kristan Higgins (Berkley, $16, 9780451489395). "Emerson, Georgia, and Marley met as teens at a 'fat camp.' When one of them dies young, the others are forced to confront their own struggles with self-esteem and acceptance. With equal measures of humor and heartbreak, this book sparks questions about society's idea of the perfect size and explores how body image can have far-reaching effects." --Claudia Silk, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, Conn.

The Masterpiece: A Novel by Fiona Davis (Dutton, $26, 9781524742959). "Disparate decades of New York City are capably brought to life through two strong and resourceful female characters in Davis's latest work. At the center is the Grand Central Terminal, which served as an art school in the 1920s, is threatened with demolition in the 1970s, and connects the threads of Clara Darden's and Virginia Clay's lives. Well researched and captivating." --Kelly Baroletti, Wantagh Public Library, Wantagh, N.Y.

The Other Woman: A Novel by Sandie Jones (Minotaur, $26.99, 9781250191984). "Emily thinks she's found the man of her dreams in Adam. But when she meets Pammie, the woman she hopes will be her future mother-in-law, things take a sinister turn. Fast-paced, gripping, and ultimately satisfying." --Jenny Moore, Hillsboro Public Library, Hillsboro, Ore.

Rust & Stardust: A Novel by T. Greenwood (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250164193). "Disturbing crime fiction based on real events that inspired Nabokov's Lolita. In 1948, fifth grade Sally Horner is kidnapped by a man pretending to be a police officer." --Ninoshka Aviles, Osceola Library, Osceola, Fla.

Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen (Berkley, $26, 9780425283523). "The 12th book in the Royal Spyness mystery series finds our heroine, Georgie, juggling all manner of details as she prepares for her upcoming marriage to Darcy. A fun, breezy mystery." --Cori Dodds, Derby Public Library, Derby, Kan.

Meet Me at the Museum: A Novel by Ann Youngson (Flatiron, $23.99, 9781250295163). "A touching epistolary novel about an English farmer's wife and a museum curator who may be in for an unexpected second act." --Marilyn Sieb, L.D. Fargo Public Library, Lake Mills, Wis.

A River of Stars: A Novel by Vanessa Hua (Ballantine, $27, 9780399178788). "A Chinese woman makes her way to America with her unborn daughter determined to make a life for them both. For readers who enjoy modern immigration stories like Behold the Dreamers and Little Fires Everywhere." --Abby Johnson, New Albany-Floyd County Public Library, New Albany, Ind.

Book Review

Review: The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life

The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life by David Quammen (Simon & Schuster, $30 hardcover, 480p., 9781476776620, August 14, 2018)

David Quammen (Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic) is a popular science writer and author of 15 previous books. In The Tangled Tree, he describes recent revolutionary discoveries about the nature of life, evolution and the human race. Gene sharing, for instance, is more complex than we previously believed. The boundaries between species are blurry, to say the least. And we are probably descended from a previously unknown category of microbial life, the archaea. "It's a little like learning, with a jolt, that your great-great-great-grandfather came not from Lithuania but from Mars."
For context, Quammen begins in 1837 with Charles Darwin's familiar tree of life. He summarizes the theory of evolution, and discoveries leading up to the relatively recent field called molecular phylogenetics, "the study of evolutionary relatedness using molecules as evidence." Beginning in the late 1960s, fringe ideas from the 1920s and 1950s were taken up and developed by a creative and colorful series of theorists and researchers, including Carl Woese, Ford Dolittle and Lynn Margulis. "Such people... are of additional interest for the ways their works grew from their lives. They serve as good reminders that science itself, however precise and objective, is a human activity.... Like music, like poetry, like baseball, like grandmaster chess, it's something gloriously imperfect that people do. The smudgy fingerprints of our humanness are all over it."
Genes don't just flow from parent to child, he writes, but also "sideways across species boundaries," including species that were previously considered far removed from each other. This phenomenon is called horizontal gene transfer, and it has destroyed the old notion of distinct species neatly arranged on an evolutionary tree. Instead, it gives us a new vision of life as an interwoven thicket of heredity and relationships, with branches that converge in ways that trees limbs never do. "Horizontal gene transfer has made the history of life unimaginably more complicated than Charles Darwin could have guessed... it went beyond Darwin's thinking without negating that thinking, just as Einstein and quantum mechanics went beyond Isaac Newton's."
Quammen is an established and skillful science writer, able to convey difficult scientific ideas with the excitement of their discovery. He balances the technical details with vivid anecdotes, humor and casual charm. This is a serious and entertaining book that will fascinate anyone interested in the history and nature of life. --Sara Catterall
Shelf Talker: An acclaimed science writer tells how recent discoveries in a new field of molecular biology have overturned old ideas of evolution and human identity.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Licensed to Lie by Sidney Powell
2. Destiny Mine (Tormentor Mine Book 3) by Anna Zaires and Dima Zales
3. Ain't Doin' It (The Simple Man Series Book 4) by Lani Lynn Vale
4. Falling for the Billionaire (The Sherbrookes of Newport Book 9) by Christina Tetreault
5. American Queen by Sierra Simone
6. Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews
7. Unfinished Business by David Archer
8. Hating You, Loving You by Crystal Kaswell
9. Unlimited Memory by Kevin Horsley

[Many thanks to!]

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