Also published on this date: Monday, July 30, 2018: Maximum Shelf: Melmoth

Shelf Awareness for Monday, July 30, 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


AAP Sales: April Up 4.4%

Total net book sales in April in the U.S. rose 4.4%, to $832.2 million, compared to April 2017, representing sales of 1,076 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers. For the year to date, total net book sales have risen 5.5%, to $3.3 billion.

Trade books had a good month. Trade revenue overall was up 11.1%. Adult books rose 12.2%; children's/YA was up 8.3%, and religious presses rose 9.8%.

Sales by category in April 2018 compared to April 2017:

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland

N.J.'s Clinton Book Shop to Close Unless Buyer Found

Clinton Book Shop, Clinton, N.J., which has been on the market for six months, will close September 29 unless a last-minute buyer appears. In a letter to customers, owner Harvey Finkel said that since announcing that the store was for sale, "We have entertained a few individuals who have expressed interest and have taken the time to learn about the book industry from the perspective of a small-town bookseller. Unfortunately, none of the interested parties wanted to take the plunge."

He called the move to close "not an easy decision to make. In fact, it breaks our heart for so many reasons, one of the most significant is so many of you are more than customers, you are friends. For the last fifteen years we have laughed with you, cried with you, have watched your children grow, and have come to sincerely appreciate the place you have in our lives. As we begin new chapters, we know these memories will be with us."

In his February announcement about the sale, Finkel said he was attending Rutgers University to earn a master's degree in Adult and Continuing Education, "with the goal of sometime in the near future helping adults to learn to read and write as well as getting their GED and working with ESL programs. Literacy and books are in my DNA."

And in May, Clinton Book Shop manager Rob Dougherty launched a crowdfunding campaign to open a roughly 1,000-square-foot, general-interest bookstore in Allentown, Pa. Two weeks ago, he wrote, "Things are moving along. A little slower than I had anticipated; however, it is summer and we are all out and about more than usual."

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

Pittsburgh's Nine Stories Booksellers Closing

Nine Stories Booksellers, which opened two years ago in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pa., will close August 26. Owners John Shortino and Allison Mosher announced the decision on social media, noting: "While we're disappointed that we will no longer be here in Upper Lawrenceville, we want to sincerely thank all of you in the community for your support and patronage, and we hope we'll see you all between now and the end of August."

Caffè d'Amore Coffee Company, located next door, expressed sympathy for its neighbor's fate: "We are saddened to see Nine Stories closing at the end of August. Please visit them, buy out their stock, refuse to accept the discount (just an idea!) and tell them about the difference they have made in your life. Our lives are better for knowing John, Alison and Anya and for the depth of thought, special events and vibrant interactions they have brought to Upper Lawrenceville. Thank you for being here. We couldn't have imagined better work neighbors if we had tried."

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

ABA Diversity Task Force: Resources to Help Separated Kids

The ABA Diversity Task Force

The ABA Diversity Task Force has created a list of resources for booksellers "who are looking to support organizations that are helping children who have been separated from their families at the U.S./Mexico border by the Trump administration's zero tolerance immigration policy," Bookselling This Week reported.

Task force member Angela Maria Spring, owner of Duende District Bookstore in Washington, D.C., said "the best thing people can really do right now is donate money to organizations that are offering legal aid and paying bail bonds because these kids are being secreted away and we don't know what's actually getting to them," including donated books.

Denise Chávez, who owns Casa Camino Real Book Store and Art Gallery in Las Cruces, N.Mex., added: "I think it's important to put yourself in a place of empowerment and not to lose faith but to keep going with this dogged intention to serve the world. That's what we need: to embrace our situation and not feel despair. Yes, I go to bed and I cry and I worry and I say my rosary, but at the same time I think the operative phrase here is 'engaged action.' Engaged compassionate action... I think booksellers need to do their homework about where to send money and to see who is doing what. In our region, the Annunciation House is our template for Right Action."

Task force member Veronica Liu, who runs Word Up Community Bookshop in New York City, observed that as bookstores, "we're all community hubs: we're places where information can be shared through people talking at your store, through resource tables and bulletin boards, the types of books you display, the information you send out, and the presence you may have. But there are so many other people who need help in our area, so right now we're just trying to do what we can locally until we know very explicitly the people who need books and where we can donate them. When we do, we can definitely meet that ask."

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

Obituary Note: Jessica Mann

Jessica Mann, a crime novelist and broadcaster who appeared on Radio 4's Round Britain Quiz and TV's Question Time, died July 10, the Guardian reported. She was 80. "Every couple of years, from A Charitable End (1971) to The Stroke of Death (2016), she produced a crime novel--22 in all. Without being autobiographical, they reflect places she had lived in and people she had known."

In 1940, with invasion of England a possibility, Mann and her brother, David, "became part of the extraordinary evacuation of children to North America that she wrote about in Out of Harm's Way (2005)," the Guardian wrote, adding that when she was 17 and back in England, Mann and three friends joined an archaeological dig in Cornwall, where she encountered Charles Thomas for the first time. After she had earned a degree in archaeology and Anglo-Saxon (1959) at Newnham College, Cambridge, they married, and eventually wrote the book Godrevy Light (2009) together.

In her book The Fifties Mystique (2012), she detailed the boredom, frustration and shame she felt as a full-time wife and mother, recognizing "the problem that has no name" identified by Betty Friedan in The Feminine Mystique.


Image of the Day: Down by the River

Industry veteran and current Abrams national accounts director Andy Weiner celebrated the recent publication of his debut picture book, Down by the River: A Family Fly Fishing Story, with family and friends at Manhattan's Books of Wonder. Pictured: Brenda Marsh, managing director of Abrams & Chronicle Books in London; Weiner; and Michael Jacobs, Abrams CEO.

Meet Nine Bay Area Bookstore Cats

Owen at Aardvark Books

"Cats are a staple of many independent bookstores, and as any bookstore owner will tell you, they're often the ones that truly run the place," KQED noted in showcasing "nine bookstore cats from around the Bay Area." To celebrate the PBS Great American Read initiative, KQED "traveled around the Bay Area to meet some of these book-loving felines."

Cool Idea of the Day: Overnight Readathon

"Ever wonder what the books whisper to each other when the store is closed?" Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass., asked in inviting readers to "support literacy for young readers and students? Want to stay up all night reading? Then join us for our Overnight Readathon on Saturday, October 6 into Sunday October 7."

All proceeds will go to support the Porter Square Books Foundation, which has a mission to foster "a love of reading and of books, particularly among children and families in our local communities whose access to them may be limited by economic or cultural factors"; and Miranda's Hearth, a nonprofit "dedicated to building community through creativity that is approachable, affordable, and accessible."

Notes from a Public Typewriter Display Contest Winner

Congratulations to Battenkill Books in Cambridge, N.Y., which was named winner of Hachette's Notes from a Public Typewriter display contest, conducted by the publisher to help promote the new book by Michael Gustafson, co-owner of Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Oliver Uberti. 

Connie Brooks is the owner of Battenkill Books, and bookseller Heather Boyne designed the window.

Personnel Changes at Flatiron Books; Random House

Effective August 27, Cristina Gilbert is joining Flatiron Books as v-p, associate publisher. She was most recently v-p, sales and marketing, for Bloomsbury, overseeing adult and children's marketing and publicity as well as managing Bloomsbury's relationship with the Macmillan sales force. Earlier she was director of marketing at HarperCollins Children's Books/HarperTeen. She began her career working eight years in sales and marketing positions at St. Martin's Press and Henry Holt, making the move to Flatiron a kind of homecoming.


At Random House:

Maria Braeckel, director of publicity, Random House, the Dial Press, Modern Library, One World, and Spiegel & Grau, has been promoted to v-p.

Jennifer Garza has been promoted to director of publicity, Ballantine Bantam Dell.

Greg Kubie has been promoted to associate director of publicity.

Dhara Parikh has been promoted to senior publicist.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Michael Scott Moore on Fresh Air

Fox & Friends: Greg Gutfeld, author of The Gutfeld Monologues: Classic Rants from the Five (Threshold Editions, $27, 9781501190728). He will also appear tomorrow on Tucker Carlson.

Fresh Air: Michael Scott Moore, author of The Desert and the Sea: 977 Days Captive on the Somali Pirate Coast (Harper Wave, $27.99, 9780062449177).

Access Hollywood Live: Guy Branum, author of My Life as a Goddess: A Memoir through (Un)Popular Culture (Atria, $26, 9781501170225).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Sean Spicer, author of The Briefing: Politics, The Press, and The President (Regnery, $28.99, 9781621578147).

TV: Prof. Moriarty: Hound of the D'Urbervilles; One Night in Winter

Playground Entertainment (Little Women, Howards End, King Lear, The Dresser) producer "is moving into Sherlock Holmes' territory, developing an adaptation of Kim Newman's novel Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D'Urbervilles," Deadline reported. Colin Callender's production company is developing it for TV.

Newman, who has written a number of other novels and recently co-wrote the BBC Four television documentary series Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema, said, "I can now announce that my novel Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the d'Urbervilles is in development as a long-form TV project at Playground Entertainment. Early days yet and no other details available.”


"Stalin's Russia is set to be portrayed on the small screen" now that Jimmy Mulville's Hat Trick Productions (Episodes, Flack) has optioned Simon Sebag Montefiore's novel One Night in Winter, Deadline reported. The book was published by HarperCollins in 2014 and is part of the Moscow trilogy, which includes Red Sky at Noon and Sashenka.

"I am delighted that Hat Trick Productions is developing my novel One Night in Winter into the TV drama series, for which it is so suited," Montefiore said. "Beginning with the shooting of two teenagers in Moscow 1945, it opens up into a secret police case against the children of one very privileged school and a passionate forbidden love affair. It's a story of power, betrayal and love. I look forward very much for working with Hat Trick on this project."

Hat Trick executive producer Mark Redhead added. "One Night is unputdownable. It's a gripping thriller, but it's also intensely romantic and moving. The world of the book has echoes of today: a capricious despot, surrounded by a circle of ultra-privileged magnates, who enjoy a life of glamorous luxury amidst a climate of fear."

Books & Authors

Awards: SCIBA; CWA Daggers; Readings YA

Finalists for the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association's 2018 Annual Book Awards, recognizing "the creative talent of Southern California writers, editors, illustrators and subject matter," can be seen here. The winners will be announced during SCIBA's Annual Trade Show, which takes place October 20-21 in Los Angeles.


The Crime Writers Association announced shortlists in 10 categories for its annual Dagger Awards, which can be seen here. Winners will be announced at CWA's Dagger Awards ceremony in London on October 25.


The winner of the AU$3,000 (about US$2,215) Readings Young Adult Prize is Amelia Westlake by Erin Gough.

Guest judge and author Melissa Keil said: "Amelia Westlake struck a chord with this reader, not solely because of its biting social commentary and blisteringly relevant, timely themes, but because of its delightful execution. Erin Gough's writing is steeped in humour, wit and warmth, and deftness of touch that allows her characters to navigate the ups and downs of a romantic comedy narrative, while at the same time finding their way through the complex, thorny issues that the novel raises."

Book Review

Review: French Exit

French Exit by Patrick DeWitt (Ecco, $25.99 hardcover, 256p., 9780062846921, August 28, 2018)

Patrick deWitt (Undermajordomo Minor) and his trademark irony return in a pithy tragicomedy touched by the absurd.
Bon vivant widow and devout cynic Frances Price and her codependent adult son, Malcolm, are out on the streets of Manhattan after their inheritance runs out. The family's financier recommends selling their possessions and using the profits to start over, but Frances has "never generated money, but only spent it." After the liquidation of their assets, mother and son quietly sneak out of their suites at the Four Seasons without paying their bill and skip the country on a passenger ship bound for France.
Malcolm leaves behind his fiancée, Susan, who still loves him even though she admits he's a "pile of American garbage" and a "lugubrious toddler" who will always choose his mother first. Frances leaves behind a scandal surrounding her seemingly callous reaction to the death of husband Frank years ago. With them comes Small Frank, a housecat who houses Frank's spirit, according to Frances. Crashing at the vacant apartment of Frances's best friend, Joan, the Prices grapple with ennui, existential crises, and the unwanted friendship of lonely expat Mme Reynard, whose kindness falls on the Prices' ears like a foreign language. When Small Frank goes missing, the resultant panic beckons a host of houseguests including a private investigator, a clairvoyant and a doctor who brings his winemonger on house calls.
Whether bedeviling authority figures or holding a séance to find their missing cat, the Prices have no idea how to commit the sin of being boring. While their excesses of behavior frequently cross into the territory of the ridiculous, deWitt keeps mother and son from becoming unsympathetic by imbuing the pair with a tragic history. Through the lens of the past, the reader learns that larger-than-life Frances hides a history of heartache under a brassy veneer of caprice and money. While Malcolm lives in a state of adult adolescence, his attachment to his mother stems as much from genuine fondness as from her refusal to let him grow up.
Though a Paris escape sounds like a fantasy come true, touches of unrest creep into the idyll, particularly as Malcolm and Frances watch the immigrants who frequent the park outside their borrowed home. The screwball story winds up in a manner more manic than gleeful, ultimately uncoiling in an emotional conclusion as unexpected as it is inevitable. Named after a colloquialism for leaving a party without saying goodbye, French Exit provides laughter but finishes with a small, deep cut to the reader's heart. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads
Shelf Talker: In this absurd tragicomedy of manners, a wealthy, eccentric widow and her codependent adult son escape to Paris after losing their fortune.

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