Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Viking: The Bookshop: A History of the American Bookstore by Evan Friss

Pixel+ink: Missy and Mason 1: Missy Wants a Mammoth

Bramble: The Stars Are Dying: Special Edition (Nytefall Trilogy #1) by Chloe C Peñaranda

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout

Charlesbridge Publishing: The Perilous Performance at Milkweed Meadow by Elaine Dimopoulos, Illustrated by Doug Salati

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

Quotation of the Day

Bookselling Inspiration from Nora Roberts

"A Nora Roberts novel [drew me to indie bookselling]. No, seriously, I always knew I wanted to own my own business someday, but it wasn't until I read the Key Trilogy that I saw a model for what I wanted to do. The three women in the story opened a business together that combined books and art and a salon, and I thought, 'Oh, right, people are booksellers. I want to do that.' Four years later, I got my first bookseller job, and I've never looked back. It's the perfect mix of front-facing customer service, knowledge sharing, business inspiration, hard but rewarding work, and nerdiness that just suits me down to the bone. I understand not all booksellers feel this way, and that's okay. But for me, it's truly a calling."

--BrocheAroe Fabian, owner of River Dog Book Co. in Beaver Dam, Wis., in a q&a with Bookselling This Week.


BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!


Insight Editions Buys Weldon Owen from Bonnier

Insight Editions has bought Weldon Owen from Bonnier Publishing USA and will operate it as Weldon Owen International. Founded in 1984 and with headquarters in San Francisco, Weldon Owen publishes cookbooks, lifestyle, children's reference and educational titles, focusing on co-edition publishing, packaging, and custom publishing. Among its clients are Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Gymboree and Hallmark. It will continue to be distributed by Simon & Schuster.

Roger Shaw will remain president and publisher of Weldon Owen and will work with CEO Michael Madden who is moving over from Insight Editions. John Owen, who co-founded Weldon Owen with Kevin Weldon, will return to the company with responsibility for the children's division. According to the Bookseller, "all five U.K. staff [are] in consultation over redundancy."

Insight Editions founder and CEO Raoul Goff said, "The alliance of our two companies provides an ideal synergy. The level of quality and innovation at Weldon Owen is the perfect complement for Insight's long-standing brand position of providing high-quality products rooted in long-term partnerships."

Shimul Tolia, CEO, Bonnier Publishing USA, added: "Bonnier could not have found a better home for Weldon Owen than its original co-founder John Owen and Raoul Goff of Insight Editions. It really is like a homecoming story."

Bonnier, the Swedish media corporation that owns a significant number of book publishers in Europe, particularly in Sweden and Germany, had been expanding rapidly in English-speaking countries. But early this year, after "profitability problems" in the U.K., there have been several high-level departures in its U.K. division.

GLOW: Milkweed Editions: Becoming Little Shell: Returning Home to the Landless Indians of Montana by Chris La Tray

Combination Bookstore/Tea Shop Opening in Fort Worth, Tex.

The Howards

Leaves Book and Tea Shop, a combination bookstore/tea shop, will open on Saturday, September 1, in the Near Southside area of Fort Worth, Tex. Its soft opening is Tuesday, August 21.

The store is owned by Tina and Todd Howard, who officially launched it last year and been building the business through pop-ups and demonstrations.

They have, they say, "used construction delays to their advantage by refining their vision, building relationships, learning from other nearby entrepreneurs and developing products like Leaves sparkling tea, on tap at local brewery HopFusion Ale Works for nearly a year." The shop will serve more than 40 varieties of hot and iced tea and sell bulk loose leaf tea.

As for books, Leaves Books and Tea Shop will offer "a highly curated selection of books that are focused on content that provokes thought and discussion." Categories will include fiction, nonfiction, memoir, poetry, art, scripts, children's, and more.

Tina Howard commented: "The culture of both tea and books calls for people to slow down and be present, which completely aligns with our vision. We hope Leaves will be a space where community will gather and people will pause from life's hectic pace." To emphasize the approach, Leaves Books and Tea Shop will not offer free wi-fi, "encouraging guests to disconnect, catch their breath, reflect, discover and be present."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Four Weekends and a Funeral by Ellie Palmer

Hachette Making Worthy Acquisition

Hachette Book Group has agreed to buy the assets of Worthy Publishing Group, the boutique Christian publisher, and will make it part of the company's Nashville publishing division, which includes the FaithWords and Center Street imprints.

Worthy includes adult imprints Worthy Books, Museum of the Bible, Ellie Clare Gifts, and Worthy Inspired, as well as its children's imprint WorthyKids/Ideals. Together, Worthy and Hachette Nashville will publish approximately 135 titles annually.

This fall, Worthy will publish former Gov. Mike Huckabee's new book, Rare, Medium or Done Well, as well as The Dead Sea Chronicles, a new fiction series from Jerry Jenkins, and John Hagee's Earth's Last Empire, the followup to Four Blood Moons. Other Worthy authors include David Jeremiah, Franklin Graham, Don Colbert, James Robison, Margaret Feinberg, and Les and Leslie Parrot.

Hachette Nashville publisher Rolf Zettersten said, "I have the utmost respect for the experience, instincts, and insights of [Worthy founding publisher and CEO] Byron Williamson and his team, and I know that adding Hachette Book Group's strength and expertise in sales, marketing, and support systems will allow us to grow their business even more aggressively."

Obituary Note: Burt Britton

Burt Britton, a bookseller at Manhattan's the Strand bookstore in the 1970s who "went on to become a partner in another bookstore and was a collector of celebrity self-portraits, along with a mass of books of his own," died July 21, the New York Times reported. He was 84. Britton "was capable of endlessly 'discoursing, more or less simultaneously, on every book in the place,' as the critic Anatole Broyard wrote in 1976. For years before he was hired, Mr. Britton had spent his days there as a customer, browsing and reading.... He was also the kind of idiosyncratic New York personality who was not a household name but influenced the influential."

At the Strand, Britton "told well-known customers (and everyone else) what they ought to be reading. It helped that he had an encyclopedic memory and always seemed to know what pile a sought-after book was in, even if it was on the bottom," the Times noted.

"There is no doubt in my mind that I am the greatest reader alive," he once declared, "at least in fiction."

Ironically, Britton had not been much of a reader until, as an adult, he happened to pick up a copy of William Faulkner's The Hamlet. "I read 30 pages and said, 'My God!' " he recalled. The experience changed his life: "I drove a cab and bartended nights so I could live in bookstores."

He became a regular at the Strand and, as he later noted: "Finally Ben Bass and his son, Fred, who are the owners, said to me, 'Why don't you come to work for us? You spend all your time here anyhow.' 'So I did." Ten years later, in 1978, he left to start Books & Company with Jeannette Watson on Madison Avenue at East 74th Street, although he left the business after a year.

Britton was also the author of Self-Portrait: Book People Picture Themselves, featuring more than 500 sketches he had collected from well-known writers, artists and musicians.


Image of the Day: Rad Girls at Bear Pond Books

Last Tuesday, Bear Pond Books, Montpelier, Vt., hosted an event for Rad Girls Can: Stories of Bold, Brave, and Brilliant Young Women by Kate Schatz (Ten Speed Press). Schatz appeared with Muslim Girls Making Change, a group of young rad poets from Burlington, Vt., who are featured in the book and on its cover. Here: Schatz (r.) with Hawa Adam, Lena Ginawi, and Balkisa of Muslim Girls Making Change.

Cool Idea: NYPL's 'Grow Up Work' Accessories

The Riverside branch of the New York Public Library has launched a Grow Up Work accessories collection. Through the program, it lends accessories such as neckties and bow ties, briefcases and handbags to patrons who "are looking to get dressed up for a job interview, wedding, audition, graduation, prom, or other formal event."

Adults and teens who have "low fines (less than $15) or no fines on their library cards can borrow items for a one-time, three-week lending period," the library said, adding that it also has information sheets with job interview tips, free career resources and suggested books, and websites and organizations that can help with professional fashion advice and attire.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Karen Piper on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Karen Piper, author of A Girl's Guide to Missiles: Growing Up in America's Secret Desert (Viking, $27, 9780399564543).

MSNBC's Katy Tur: Omarosa Manigault Newman, author of Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House (Gallery, $28, 9781982109707).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: W. Kamau Bell, author of The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian (Dutton, $16, 9781101985885).

Daily Show: Jimmy O. Yang, author of How to American: An Immigrant's Guide to Disappointing Your Parents (Da Capo, $27, 9780306903496).

Books & Authors

Awards: FT/McKinsey Business Book

The 15-title longlist for the £30,000 (about $38,250) Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year has been announced and can be seen here. The shortlist will be unveiled on September 14, and the winner will be celebrated on November 12.

Top Library Recommended Titles for September

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

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (Sourcebooks Landmark, $25.99, 9781492657965). "Imagine the movie Groundhog Day, except this time Aiden Bishop wakes up each day in a deteriorating manor house, as a different person, and must work out who he is and how he relates to everyone else at the party commemorating the long ago death of a child. If he can't solve the murder that occurs at the party, he is doomed to continue the loop every eight days. A riveting page turner." --Becky Bowen, Kenton County Public Library, Erlanger, Ky.

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren (Gallery, $16, 9781501165856). "Hazel is the eccentric, exuberant friend who'll make you fall in love with her, and she's not interested in being 'dateable.' Josh is busy being a workaholic, trying to make a long distance relationship work, and not pursuing romance with anyone else. But when his sister's best friend Hazel blows back into his life, he is powerless to resist her genuine joie de vivre. If you're looking for your next perfect read after The Kiss Quotient, look no further! A lovely slow burn." --Elizabeth Gabriel, Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee, Wis.

Lies by T.M. Logan (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250182265). "When Joe unwittingly discovers that his wife has been having an affair with her friend's husband, his life starts to unravel. It seems that her lover now wants Joe out of the picture. Follow the cat-and-mouse plot as it explodes with a shocking finish! Great fun for those readers who love a good psychological thriller." --Paulette Brooks, Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, Wis.

Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire (DAW, $26, 9780756414764). "Toby is back in this latest installment of the October Daye series. Still reeling and recovering from the events of the last book, Toby and company are laying low. When her human daughter goes missing (again), Toby embarks on a twisty-turny race against time to find her. A solid entry and good choice for libraries with a strong demand for fantasy and urban fantasy." --Mei-Ling Thomas, Rochester Hills Public Library, Rochester, Mich.

Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250193162). "A fascinating work of historical fiction about Cathay/Cathy Williams, a former slave turned Buffalo Soldier in post-Civil War America. Her raw and powerful story is sure to be popular with book clubs." --Sarah Fetterman, Upper St. Clair Township Library, Upper St. Clair, Pa.

Lake Success: A Novel by Gary Shteyngart (Random House, $28, 9780812997415). "Shteyngart delivers another painfully funny novel about ambition, disappointment, and the darker side of the American dream. For fans of witty, offbeat, satirical humor." --Jennifer Alexander, St. Louis County Public Library, St. Louis, Mo.

The Dinner List: A Novel by Rebecca Serle (Flatiron, $27.99, 9781250295187). "If you could have dinner with any five people, living or dead, who would they be? On her thirtieth birthday, Sabrina finds herself at dinner with her best friend, her ex-fiance, her long lost father, her college mentor and Audrey Hepburn, all with something to say to her. A charming combination of magical realism and romance." --Tracy Babiasz, Chapel Hill Public Library, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Transcription: A Novel by Kate Atkinson (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316176637). "In WWII era London, Juliet Armstrong is working as an espionage monitor for MI5. Ten years later she suddenly finds herself targeted by dangerous individuals from her past. For fans of smart, witty, suspenseful, historical or spy fiction and authors like Tana French, Laurie R. King, and John Le Carré." --Janet Lockhart, Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, N.C.

When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica (Park Row, $26.99, 9780778330783). "After her mother's death, Jessie is trying to rebuild her life. In her way is her debilitating insomnia and a secret that shakes the core of her identity. Psychological suspense with an unreliable narrator. This one's for you Gone Girl fans." --Diane Gring, Chester County Library & District Center, Exton, Pa.

Hitting the Books by Jenn McKinlay (Berkley, $25, 9780451492678). "McKinlay's Lindsay Norris is back for another adventure in Briar Creek. As a fellow librarian, I appreciate her spot on observations of the library world. An upbeat cozy mystery with great characters and strong sense of place. For fans of the Aurora Teagarden mysteries and the Isabel Dalhousie mysteries." --Carly Budzynski, Salem Public Library, Salem, Va.

Book Review

Review: The Dinner List

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle (Flatiron Books, $27.99 hardcover, 288p., 9781250295187, September 11, 2018)

It's a common thought-provoking, hypothetical challenge: list the five people, living or dead, you'd most love to have dinner with. Although Sabrina made her list years ago, she's still stunned when she shows up to her own birthday dinner in Manhattan. Instead of only her best friend, Jessica, she also finds her estranged (now deceased) father, Robert; a beloved college professor, Conrad; her sort-of fiancé, Tobias (it's complicated); and Audrey Hepburn. As the evening unfolds, Sabrina and her companions examine the difficult truths about their intertwined lives: the romance, regrets and unexpected turns.
Having previously written for a younger audience, Rebecca Serle (When You Were Mine) serves up a delicious, insightful account of friendship, family and deep love in The Dinner List, her debut for adults. She lays out her narrative along two parallel tracks: a time-stamped breakdown of the dinner party, slowly ticking down toward midnight, and a recounting of Sabrina's young adulthood and her love story with Tobias, spanning a decade. The latter story provides important background and fills in some blanks about the other characters: Sabrina's longtime connection with Jessica and their wildly differing approaches to life and love; the effect of her father's absence; Professor Conrad's influence on her life and philosophy. Hepburn, although Sabrina is named after one of her iconic roles, is the wild card at this dinner. But she's a gracious one: like the other characters, she asks incisive questions, makes the occasional wry joke and offers hard-won wisdom when it's needed.
Though all of them love Sabrina deeply, Serle allows her other characters their humanity as well. Jessica gets exasperated; Tobias withdraws or deflects when the conversation gets too serious. Even Conrad, who at first tries to guide the discussion in true professorial style, later opens up about his own challenges and regrets. Sabrina then is forced--gently but firmly--to confront the discrepancies between the stories she's been telling herself about her companions and the messier, more complex reality of each person. Love, romantic and otherwise, may be a basic part of life, but it's rarely simple or easy.
As the clock winds down toward midnight, Sabrina has the chance to make amends, ask important questions and simply enjoy being in the presence of her dinner companions. The evening includes grief, anger, apologies and frustration, but it is undergirded by genuine, clear-eyed love. Witty, sweet and unexpectedly moving, The Dinner List offers a menu of keen-eyed, compassionate insights about the relationships that nourish us. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams
Shelf Talker: An unexpected dinner party serves up delicious insights about life and love in Rebecca Serle's first novel for adults.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Wild Like the Wind (Chaos Book 6) by Kristen Ashley
2. Dr. Strange Beard by Penny Reid
3. Reel of Fortune (A Miss Fortune Mystery Book 12) by Jana DeLeon
4. In High Cotton by Denise Grover Swank
5. Forever Guarded (Forever Bluegrass Book 10) by Kathleen Brooks
6. The Naked Truth by Vi Keeland
7. Whiskey and Gunpowder by Liliana Hart
8. Maneuver by Chelle Bliss
9. Aimless Witch by Shannon Mayer
10. Two Weeks Notice by Whitney G

[Many thanks to!]

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