Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 31, 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


Jeremy Ellis, Kelsey Myers Joining MPIBA Staff

Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association is adding two staff members, and one longtime staffer is leaving.

Effective August 13, Jeremy Ellis will become marketing & communications manager, a newly created position. He is currently manager of industry relations at Interabang Books in Dallas, Tex., and is treasurer and on the board of MPIBA. He has more than 20 years of experience in independent bookselling, with a strong background in marketing and graphic design. He began his career in bookselling at BookPeople in Austin, Tex., where he first was events coordinator, then marketing director. He next worked for the old Mid-South Independent Bookstore Association as graphic designer, and later at Brazos Bookstore in Houston, Tex., as general manager.

Ellis commented: "Over the past decades, I have made friends at bookstores across the region and in the publishing industry. Now, I can't wait to work with my publishing colleagues, and directly with MPIBA's amazing bookstore members, and do all I can to support their continued growth and success."

In addition, Kelsey Myers will become MPIBA's operations manager, effective in mid-September. A graduate of the University of Denver's Publishing Institute, Myers is currently events and development coordinator for the Larimer Humane Society in Loveland, Colo. Earlier, she worked at Old Firehouse Books, in Fort Collins, Colo., for eight years, first as a bookseller, then as events coordinator and store manager. She also was a marketing assistant at Author Planet Press.

Myers commented: "One of the most important things I've learned about nonprofit work is that a passion for the project cannot be understated. I love animals and I'm proud of Larimer Humane Society's contributions to my community, but my true affinity will always lie with independent bookstores. I'm glad I took time away from bookselling to expand my skills so that I might return to the industry as the operations manager for MPIBA."

Kathy Keel, MPIBA's operations manager and graphic designer, will shift to part time work in September before leaving the association later in the fall.

Heather Duncan, who became MPIBA executive director in January, said, "As a new MPIBA staff member myself, I am excited to have the opportunity to rethink our staffing needs, and to form a team to move the association forward. With Kathy Keel's departure, MPIBA is losing an incredible asset. Kathy has dedicated almost 30 years to helping our association and member stores survive and thrive. Now, with Jeremy and Kelsey coming on board, Kathy knows she's leaving the MPIBA in very capable hands."

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B&N Opening Pop-Up Store Until Damaged Store Re-Opens

Barnes & Noble in Wilkes-Barre, before the tornado.

Barnes & Noble, whose store in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., was severely damaged by a tornado on June 13 and won't reopen until later this year, is opening a pop-up store nearby, WNEP reported.

The pop-up store will be in the East End Shopping Center and should open in September. The damaged B&N is in the Arena Hub Plaza, where there was widespread destruction.

Early this month, a B&N executive said that the company is rebuilding and hopes to open by Thanksgiving.

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

Blue Bunny Books & Toys Adds Cafe, Adult Books

Over the past two years, Blue Bunny Books & Toys in Dedham, Mass., which was opened in 2003 by children's author and illustrator Peter Reynolds (The Dot), has expanded its scope from children's books and toys to include a full-service cafe and a wider selection of adult books. Sarah Reynolds, the store's general manager and daughter of Peter Reynolds, explained that both changes came about somewhat unexpectedly.

The cafe, called Mocha Java Espresso Bar and Cafe, was originally a separate, 17-year-old business located across the street. The shop was Blue Bunny's "go-to" place for coffee, and around two years ago, said Reynolds, they learned that Mocha Java's owners were having trouble with their lease and might be facing closure. She recalled: "My dad said, 'come on over, we'll incorporate you into our business.' And that almost 20-year-old business became a part of us."

photo: Andrew Hobbs

About a year after the Reynoldses brought in the cafe, they did a major renovation to build out the kitchen and a 15-foot cafe counter. The renovation was a "big shift" that included getting rid of a play room and reorganizing the space. Reynolds described the store as now being seamlessly mixed between the cafe and the bookstore. "It's all one big room, basically," she said. The cafe counter is along one wall, and "the tables are scattered throughout. It's a really mixed space."

"It feels like we're really striking the perfect balance," added Reynolds. "Now it's truly a bookstore-cafe."

photo: Andrew Hobbs

Inspired in part by the PBS event The Great American Read, Reynolds and her colleagues have made an effort to widen their selection of adult books. They remain a small portion of the overall inventory, but lately Blue Bunny has added a lot of classics and sourced recommendations not only from customers but also from friends in the bookselling world. Reynolds reported that they've also widened the young adult section after noticing how many adults gravitate there.

Store owner Peter Reynolds in the window of Blue Bunny
(photo: Jennifer Flemings)

Middle-grade titles and picture books, meanwhile, remain the store's biggest and bestselling sections. For toys and games, Reynolds said that she and her colleagues "love anything that inspires creativity and encourages kids to create and think outside the box," and those can range from educational toys to silly and fun toys. She reported that Blue Bunny does very well with hand puppets, particularly those made by Folkmanis, and puzzles are extremely popular with all age groups. Squishy toys and Thinking Putty, she added, are particularly popular at the moment.

Blue Bunny has held author events in partnership with other local businesses and community organizations. There is a community theater nearby, built in 1927, that they've rented out for events, and they've worked with the Dedham Community House, local churches, the Motherbrook Arts & Community Center, the local public library and a variety of other businesses. Some examples of great, collaborative efforts include an Indie Bookstore Day event with musician Emily Arrow, who writes songs based on children's literature, that was held at the community theater, and an event with author and bookstore owner Jeff Kinney.

Reynolds has some more large-scale collaborative events planned for the fall, but more recently, Blue Bunny hosted the Scholastic Summer Reading Roadtrip on July 5. They got permission from the town to close the street outside their store to traffic for two hours, and Reynolds estimated that as many as 400 people showed up.

"It was an awesome opportunity to be selected," said Reynolds. "It was just a huge success." --Alex Mutter

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Chernow, Rankine, Strout Among NYPL's 'Library Lions'

The New York Public Library unveiled its 2018 class of Literary Lions, honored "for outstanding achievements in their respective fields of arts, culture, letters and scholarship." This year's recipients are biographer Ron Chernow, poet Claudia Rankine and author Elizabeth Strout, as well as filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola and opera singer Jessye Norman. They will be celebrated November 5 during the Library Lions ceremony.

"These five icons have shaped our culture in immeasurable ways," said NYPL president Anthony Marx. "We live in a world in which freedom of expression, creativity, independent thinking, and scholarship are not only important, but critical. Whether through song, prose, poetry, or film, this year's class of Lions has embodied the spirit of Library Lions by inspiring others to learn, grow, and explore."

"My writing career started in the New York Public Library," Chernow recalled. "During the summer after my freshman year at Yale, I sat in the main reading room of the 42nd Street Library and wrote a godawful novel that was never published. As a result, the library must accept all the credit or blame for my subsequent career. I am therefore thrilled to be numbered among this year's Library Lions."

Rankine observed: "In our current moment, it is crucial our cultural institutions be given the utmost support to do their work of fostering independence of thought alongside historical perspectives. The New York Public Library is the center of this kind of service, and inspires me as a teacher, artist, writer and lover of books."

Strout agreed: "In these times it is wise for us to recall that from the first days of the NYPL, it was a haven for recently arrived immigrants who found a safe place there to read about the culture of a world they had left, and of the world they were now in. It is essential to the fabric of a community to have a library that reflects the needs of their people, and who opens the door to a broadening of their lives; NYPL does all this splendidly. I am really so deeply honored to be a Library Lion from this library who reaches out to everyone, no matter who they are or where they came from."

Amazon Opening New Warehouse in Ontario

Amazon plans to open a new fulfillment center in Caledon, a town in the Greater Toronto Area. The one million-square-foot facility will be the company's sixth fulfillment center in Ontario and ninth in Canada, joining buildings in Brampton, Mississauga and Milton as well as a recently announced facility in Ottawa.

"We continue to be excited about our growth in Ontario and the opportunity to better serve our customers in the region," said Glenn Sommerville, director of Amazon operations in Canada. "We're seeing an incredible workforce and community support in Greater Toronto."

Describing Caledon as "the ideal home for Amazon's latest Canadian expansion," Mayor Allan Thompson said he was "so pleased to welcome this world class, leading edge and customer focused organization to our community."

Amazon currently has more than 6,000 workers at fulfillment centers, corporate offices, development centers and other facilities in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec.

Obituary Note: Choi In-hun

Award-winning Korean novelist Choi In-hun, "best-known for his works delving into the country's post-Korean War era and inter-Korean division," died July 23, the Korea Times reported. He was 84. His best known work was The Square, a "1960 novel depicting the troubled life of a Korean prisoner of war (POW) who ends up taking his own life amid an intensified ideological rift in the post-Korean War era." He made his debut in 1959 with two novels: A Detailed Record of Grey Club and A Raoul Story.

Last week, the South Korean government posthumously bestowed upon the late novelist the Geumgwan Order of Cultural Merit for his contribution to Korean literature, the Korea Herald noted. Among Choi's other honors were the Dong-in Literary Award (1966), Yi Sang Literary Award (1994), and Park Kyung-ri Literary Award (2011). He was also a professor of creative writing at Seoul Institute of the Arts from 1977 to 2001.

Writers, literary critics and family members "bade their final farewells" to Choi on Wednesday, when "senior literary critic Kim Byong-ik and some 100 others from the literary community gathered for the final day of Choi's three-day funeral, at the Seoul National University Hospital," Korea JoongAng Daily wrote.

"Professor [Choi] put his entire life into reading, pondering and writing, except the time he spent teaching the next generation," Kim said in his eulogy. "His life and sublime virtuousness will be a guiding light for people committed to literature."

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: From the Corner of the Bookstore

Author (and former White House stenographer) Beck Dorey-Stein visited Midtown Scholar in Harrisburg, Pa., to discuss and sign her memoir, From the Corner of the Oval (Spiegel & Grau). Pictured: Dorey-Stein (third from left) with booksellers (l.-r.) Emily Kramer, Arion Dominique and Nathan Diehl. (Photo: Alex Brubaker)

Bookshop Chalkboard: Jaffé & Neale Bookshop

In a shot directed at Amazon's reluctance to pay its fair share of taxes in the U.K. (and elsewhere), British bookseller Jaffé & Neale, located "in the heart of Chipping Norton," shared a photo of its latest chalkboard message: "Alexa... What is tax?"--while tweeting: "Another day on the High Street!!"

Dublin's Central Library: 'A Safe Space for People'

"Elsewhere in the world libraries are under threat," but in Ireland, "in refreshing contrast, there are plans to extend opening hours from 8 to 10 and to remove library fines," the Irish Times wrote in a piece headlined "A day in the library: 'This is a safe space for people,' " which explored Dublin's Central Library.

"Some of those people who would be waiting [outside] would be people who would spend the whole day here," said library assistant James Barry. "This is a traditional library and then it's a social space and a safe space for people to be." Asked if he thought libraries could ever disappear, he replied: "Not because of a decreasing need or desire for libraries, but because the world is going in that way and if something doesn't turn a buck, it's endangered."

The Irish government recently voted to spend €8 million(about $9.4 million) to provide iPads, workstations, podcasting equipment, interactive whiteboards and other forms of technology for hundreds of public libraries.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Michael McFaul on the Daily Show

Fox Business's Kennedy: Greg Gutfeld, author of The Gutfeld Monologues: Classic Rants from the Five (Threshold Editions, $27, 9781501190728).

Wendy Williams repeat: Erika Jayne, author of Pretty Mess (Gallery Books, $27, 9781501181894).

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

Movies: Under

Media Participations Group, Titan Comics and U.K. producer Born Wild are developing a film adaptation of Under, the graphic novel by French writer Christophe Bec and his regular illustrator and collaborator Stefano Raffaele. Shooting is expected to begin in late 2019.

Anthony Alleyne (Sunburn), who will adapt the action-sci-fi project with Brennig Hayden, is also producing the movie through Born Wild. Laurent Duvault of Mediatoon, Kristian van der Heyden of Harald House and Annemiek van der Hell of Windmill Film are co-producers. Raymond Van der Kaaij of Revolver is on board as executive producer.

"Under is a story which is close to our hearts and it was his and Brennig's strong vision of blending the spirit of our original work with contemporary social elements that won us over," Bec and Raffaele said. "Many of our works together have been influenced by movies and the cinema, and to see Under adapted on the big screen would show true appreciation."

Duvault added: "Anthony is clear about what he wants to do with the property, which is to establish a powerful franchise we are proud to be part of."

Books & Authors

Awards: Commonwealth Writers' Short Story Winner

"Passage" by Kevin Jared Hosein (Trinidad and Tobago) won the £5,000 (about $6,570) Commonwealth Writers' Short Story Prize, recognizing the best piece of unpublished short fiction in English--including entries translated into English--from the Commonwealth.

The winning story "was immediately and uniformly admired by the judges," said chair of the panel Sarah Hall. "It is an uncanny bar story, about a man who hears a strange tale, only to become part of the tale's re-lived strangeness. It balances between formal language and demotic, ideas of civility and ferality, is tightly woven and suspenseful, beautifully and eerily atmospheric, and finally surprising. It is, in essence, all a reader could want from the short story form: a truly crafted piece of fiction that transports the reader into another world, upends expectations, and questions the nature of narratives and narrative consequence."

Hosein, whose books include The Beast of Kukuyo, The Repenters and Littletown Secrets, commented: "I wasn't expecting it. First to be among this eclectic quintet of winning stories, all with central resonating themes--happiness, connection, isolation, freedom, repression, acceptance. Then to be chosen from that, I feel incredibly honored that this Trinidadian tale has traveled so far. I hope others in my region are inspired by this accomplishment."

Book Review

Review: The Man I Never Met

The Man I Never Met: A Memoir by Adam Schefter, Michael Rosenberg (St. Martin's Press, $26.99 hardcover, 208p., 9781250161895, September 4, 2018)

The story of Adam Schefter's high-profile career as a sportswriter and analyst forms the backdrop of his memoir, The Man I Never Met. Schefter recounts how he began covering the Denver Broncos, later joined the NFL Network and ultimately wound up at ESPN. Despite his professional ascendancy, however, Schefter--an intense, driven, often over-anxious perfectionist--felt largely unfulfilled in his personal life. Upon reaching his late 30s, his career was taking off, but he was lonely and unable to meet and connect with that one special person with whom he could share his life and love.
That quest is the centerpiece of his incredibly moving, forthright memoir, which details how he met, courted and eventually married Sharri Maio, a 9/11 widow and mother. Sharri lost her much-loved, charming and successful husband, Joe--who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald--in the World Trade Center attack. She had been having trouble moving on five years after Joe's death.
When a friend set Sharri and Schefter up on a blind date, Schefter was leery. He wasn't sure he--a workaholic bachelor--could deal with the magnitude of Sharri's loss or the fact that she was a mother to a son, Devon, who was only six when his father died. Despite clear differences in their personalities, Sharri and Schefter were instantly attracted to each other. Through a rather tumultuous courtship--and even during the early years of their marriage--both of their lives changed for the better, but not without struggle, stirring losses, hard work, compromise and acceptance.
"The story you are reading is not just about September 11," Schefter writes. "We all know what happened on September 11. This story is about September 12--and every day after. It is about finding happiness in the most unlikely places. Sometimes grief leads to love, sadness begets joy.... The worst days carry us toward some of the best."
A multifaceted love story emerges that details the growth of the relationship between Schefter and his new family. This includes a continuing, integral bond with Joe's parents, relatives and friends. When the couple conceive and welcome their own daughter, Dylan, the family dynamic must re-adjust and change again. In a spiritual, serendipitous sense, Schefter truly believes that Joe Maio--with whom he shares a birthday--was directly responsible for him finding the love of his life and finally having a family of his own.
Joe--the great man he was, what he stood for and his lasting influence upon a large circle of family and friends--anchors a narrative that noticeably maintains and preserves the privacy of Sharri and Devon and the depth of their personal feelings of grief and loss. Schefter, instead, chooses to focus on paying thoughtful homage to Joe Maio and all whose lives he touched, acknowledging his great admiration and respect for--and gratitude to--an absent man who is and will forever remain an active part in all of their lives. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines.

Shelf Talker: A noted sports' commentator shares the story of how he met and married a 9/11 widow with whom he shares his life and love.


Clarification: Pub Date of How to Get Happily Published

In our obituary of Judith Appelbaum last week, we relied on erroneous information from her family and misstated the publishing date of How to Get Happily Published, which she wrote with Nancy Evans. The bestselling book first appeared in 1978, not 1998.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Every Time We Fall in Love by Bella Andre
2. Love Machine by Kendall Ryan
3. The Museum of Mysteries by Steve Berry and M.J. Rose
4. The Naked Truth by Vi Keeland
5. The Billionaire's Wake-Up-Call Girl by Annika Martin
6. Quit Your Pitchin' by Lani Lynn Vale
7. Midnight Delta Books 1-3 by Caitlyn O'Leary
8. His Lordship's True Lady by Grace Burrowes
9. Two Weeks Notice by Whitney G
10. Unlimited Memory by Kevin Horsley

[Many thanks to!]

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