Also published on this date: Thursday, August 23 Dedicated Issue: Magination Press

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, August 23, 2018

Hampton Roads Publishing Company: Becoming Baba Yaga: Trickster, Feminist, and Witch of the Woods by Kris Spisak, Foreword by Gennarose Nethercott

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger

Severn House: A Messy Murder (Main) (The Decluttering Mysteries #4) by Simon Brett

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Chronicle Books: Taste in Music: Eating on Tour with Indie Musicians by Luke Pyenson and Alex Beeker


ABA and Arcadia Go Hyper Local

The American Booksellers Association and Arcadia Publishing have launched a partnership program called YourTown that allows bookstores easily to sell hyper-local assortments of the 14,000 local-interest books published by the Arcadia and History Press imprints.

The program features a simple co-op process and advantageous terms for display orders, business-to-business orders and new store inventories. YourTown also gives ABA members access to the new YourTown Store Match service, which automatically finds local titles for bookstores. In addition, the YourTown Store Match service will soon be available through Edelweiss+.

"For years, we have been emphasizing to our members just how important it is to feature books of special interest to their local communities," said Oren Teicher, ABA CEO. "We could not be more pleased to be working with Arcadia to help independent bookstores make local 'come alive' in their stores."

David Steinberger, CEO of Arcadia Publishing, said, "We are gratified to be partnering with ABA to advance Arcadia's mission, which is to connect people with their past, with their communities, and with one another. We need to thank ABA--its board and senior staff--and other indie booksellers for their insight and assistance in developing what we believe will be a transformational program."

Arcadia consulted with a range of indie booksellers as it put together the program. One was Annie Philbrick, owner of Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn., and Savoy Books and Café in Westerly, R.I., who said that over the years, the Mystic store has sold more than 2,000 copies of the Images of America book Mystic and almost 1,000 copies of Leigh Fought's History of Mystic.

Steinberger credited Philbrick especially with help on the display part of the program, which he called "a big feature" of YourTown. Since Arcadia and History Press titles "aren't being reviewed in the New York Times, people aren't coming into stores asking for the titles," he observed. As a result, the company is offering a range of options and incentives for displays to help customers discover the titles in-store.

In a similar way, the company is promoting author events, since so many of the authors of the hyper local books are local themselves. "We support author events in a big way and do them in indies all the time," Steinberger noted.

To emphasize the program's hyper local approach, Steinberger added that the YourTown Store Match service is so sophisticated that stores as close as 10 miles to each other receive substantially different selections.

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Kobo-Walmart Partnership to Sell E-Books, Audiobooks Launches

Rakuten Kobo and Walmart have launched Walmart eBooks, a partnership under which Walmart is selling Kobo e-books and audiobooks in stores and online. Walmart has not previously sold e-books. The partnership was announced early this year.

Walmart is also selling digital book cards in 3,500 Walmart stores and is stocking the Kobo Aura in 1,000 stores. (A range of readers is offered online.) The program includes more than six million e-book titles and an audiobook subscription for $9.99 a month that includes one audiobook a month.

With the launch, Walmart is offering first-time customers who sign up online $10 off their first e-book or audiobook. Customers who sign up for the audiobook subscription will receive a 30-day free trial.

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

Aunt Agatha's Mystery Bookshop to Close Sunday

Aunt Agatha's Mystery Bookshop in Ann Arbor, Mich., which announced its impending closure last May, will shutter for good this Sunday "to the dismay of locals and visitors alike who enjoyed browsing new and used mysteries, attending countless author events and engaging in long conversations with the shop's owners, husband and wife Jamie and Robin Agnew," WDIV-4 reported.

"We've been thinking about it for about a year," Robin Agnew said of the decision made by the 2013 MWA Raven Award-winning bookshop. "We're getting older and books--it's a really physical business. It's just my husband and I and we have one employee who's older than we are. So hauling boxes around is getting hard and the authors that we are friends with are getting older and they don't want to be on book tour anymore.... Literati [Bookstore] was a factor. Amazon is also, of course, a factor. People will come in and they'll take a picture of a book and I know they're going to leave and buy it on Amazon, which is really annoying."

Over more than 25 years, the Agnews saw their customers have kids and raised two of their own in the store. "My son was born after we opened and my daughter was 18 months when we opened," she said. "They were in here a lot. I'd nurse my son on the sofa we're sitting on (right now) and whenever a mom comes in and she looks like she needs to nurse, I'm like, 'Go sit down.' "

After the closing, Agnew said she "would love to travel. I've never been out of the country except for Canada. I'd like to go to Europe, especially England. Golden Age mysteries are set (there). I'd want to go see Agatha Christie's house." The store's book club will continue. Agnew also plans to write a blog and partner with the district library to put on events.

Asked what will she miss the most, she said, "Our customers. There are authors that I love that I am definitely going to miss. I love author events--they took a while to learn. I'll just miss talking about books with other people. I'm really sad right now."

B&N CEO Hunt: Update

Wow. Our call yesterday for nominations and votes for a new Barnes & Noble CEO with book world experience struck a chord: our own nominees received a healthy number of votes, and there were many nominations. (Our survey continues until late next week. If you haven't already, make nominations and vote here. See the results here.)

Some readers have nominated smart but unlikely candidates such as ABA CEO Oren Teicher ("Proven executive living at the heart of the book world"); James Patterson ("he can write a book a week and manage all of his 'co-authors' "); Sarah Jessica Parker ("A creative, literate reader who can inject new ideas, and she loves books (what a concept)!") and Michelle Obama ("experience in the business world, a reader and a writer... Legal background working on marketing and intellectual property, outstanding strategist and inspiring speaker").

For today, we'll focus on indie booksellers who were nominated:

Allison Hill, CEO of Vroman's, Pasadena, Calif. One reader wrote in part: "Allison has brought a bookstore founded in 1894 into the 21st century. Vroman's has survived, flourished, and acquired Book Soup during Allison's two decades of leadership."

Miriam Sontz, CEO of Powell's Books, Portland, Ore., who is retiring in January. "She led the building of the largest independent bookstore in the country" and "has the heart of a bookseller and the head of a very smart CEO."

Richard Howorth, owner of Square Books, Oxford, Miss. "He helped train Bezos in the art of bookselling before Amazon existed, not knowing the monster Bezos would become. As the owner of the best bookstore in the country who knows the power of the local, Howorth could bring the successful indie sensibility to B&N and help cut the Amazon giant down to size."

Robert Sindelar, managing partner of Third Place Books, Seattle, Wash. "He's always the smartest bookseller in the room. Being based in Seattle can't hurt. His youth would be refreshing for B&N."

Nicole Sullivan, founder of BookBar, Denver, Colo. Besides creating a store that is "neither a restaurant nor a bar but something in between, while putting a focus on literature... Nicole is also a champion of local and the need for bookstores to reflect their community. She would put managers in place who understand their communities and would give them power to create a curated book inventory for their stores and decentralize the corporate buying structure. Stores would be re-designed to reflect their respective communities as well so that customers don't feel like they could be in a Barnes & Noble anywhere in the U.S.... Also, Nicole is fun."

Praveen Madan, co-owner of Kepler's Books and Booksmith in Menlo Park and San Francisco, Calif. "Helped save two iconic stores that were facing closure... Bonus points: Praveen's recent background is in books, but he brings a wealth of knowledge from a previous position as a corporate consultant."

More nominations tomorrow.

Obituary Note: Carie Freimuth

Carie Freimuth

Carie Freimuth, who worked for many years at Penguin Random House and HarperCollins, died on Sunday after a long battle with multiple myeloma. She was 55.

She was at PRH from 1990 to 2000 and 2004 to 2015, and was at HarperCollins from 2000 to 2004. At PRH, she was deputy publisher of Times Books; v-p, publisher, Adult Audio, Diversified Publishing; marketing director, Doubleday Religion; and most recently v-p, associate publisher, WaterBrook, Multnomah and Image Books.

Tina Constable, senior v-p, publisher, Crown Publishing Group, wrote: "We will always remember Carie as a dedicated, kind and well-regarded colleague. She brought passion and great care to our authors and to our publishing program and for that we are deeply grateful to her. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family during this difficult time."

Peter Osnos, founder of PublicAffairs and former publisher of Times Books, called her "a great colleague at TimesBooks/Random House in the 1990s who had a background in sales and marketing. Booksellers countrywide admired her. We joked about bringing 'Leave Behinds' on our store visits which became a popular meme as Carie's Leave Behinds."

Eugenia Pakalik, director of trade sales at Chronicle Books, said that "Carie's love of the book and her pure joy in the process of publishing was darn close to unrivaled. She just had this wonderful drive to get it right. She had a strong faith in all of us to do our best... She always had time to talk and share, to ask, and to learn. The world is just now a darker place knowing I won't now have the lucky chance to see her again."

A vigil service will be held tomorrow, Friday, August 24, at 6 p.m., with rosary to be read at 7 p.m., at Horan and McConaty Funeral Service in Denver, Colo. The funeral Mass will be read Saturday, August 25, at 10 a.m. at the Most Precious Blood Church in Denver.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Focus or Clinica Tepeyac.


'Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Bookstores'

"They can spot the bookworms from a mile away." Mental Floss shared "17 behind-the-scenes secrets of bookstores," noting that "for book lovers, there's no more magical place than the local bookstore. Endless shelves of stories and characters, all at your eager fingertips. And while most of us have probably spent a significant amount of time wandering the aisles, few of us know what goes on behind the scenes. Here are some insights into the life of a bookstore, gleaned from the people who keep the shelves stocked."

Personnel Changes at Bloomsbury

Effective September 4, Frank Bumbalo is joining Bloomsbury as the U.S. director of sales, including Canada. He was most recently senior sales manager at Disney Publishing Worldwide. Earlier, he was a sales analyst at HarperCollins.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Rick Wilson on Real Time with Bill Maher

CBS This Morning: Doug Pederson, author of Fearless: How an Underdog Becomes a Champion (Hachette Books, $28, 9780316451642).

The View repeat: Dr. Whitney Bowe, author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin: The Surprising Science of Looking and Feeling Radiant from the Inside Out (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316509824).

HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Rick Wilson, author of Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever (Free Press, $27, 9781982103125).

This Weekend on Book TV: Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, August 25
7 p.m. Greg Gutfeld, author of The Gutfeld Monologues: Classic Rants from the Five (Threshold Editions, $27, 9781501190728). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

8:10 p.m. A discussion about this year's National Book Festival with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. (Re-airs Sunday at 1 p.m. and Monday at 4 a.m.)

8:30 p.m. Arjun Singh Sethi, author of American Hate: Survivors Speak Out (The New Press, $24.99, 9781620973714), at McNally Jackson Books in New York City. (Re-airs Sunday at 7:30 a.m.)

10 p.m. Dambisa Moyo, author of Edge of Chaos: Why Democracy Is Failing to Deliver Economic Growth--and How to Fix It (Basic Books, $30, 9780465097463). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. William Vollmann, author of No Good Alternative: Volume Two of Carbon Ideologies (Viking, $40, 9780525558491).

Sunday, August 26
12:15 a.m. John Tamny, author of The End of Work: Why Your Passion Can Become Your Job (Gateway Editions, $28.99, 9781621577775). (Re-airs Sunday at 2:45 p.m.)

12:30 a.m. Paul Greenberg, author of The Omega Principle: Seafood and the Quest for a Long Life and a Healthier Planet (Penguin Press, $27, 9781594206344).

1:30 a.m. John Ferling, author of Apostles of Revolution: Jefferson, Paine, Monroe, and the Struggle Against the Old Order in America and Europe (Bloomsbury, $35, 9781632862099). (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m.)

7:30 p.m. Ann Travers, author of The Trans Generation: How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) Are Creating a Gender Revolution (NYU Press, $25, 9781479885794).

Books & Authors

Awards: Readings New Australian Fiction

The shortlist for the A$3,000 (about US$2,200) Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction is:

The Town by Shaun Prescott
Pulse Points by Jennifer Down
Pink Mountain and Locust Island by Jamie Marina Lau
The Fireflies of Autumn by Moreno Giovannoni
Flames by Robbie Arnott
The Lucky Galah by Tracy Sorenson

The winner will be announced in late October.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, August 28:

Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood by James Baldwin, edited by Nicholas Boggs and Jennifer DeVere Brody, illustrated by Yoran Cazac (Duke University Press, $22.95, 9781478000044) is the first new printing in 40 years of Baldwin's only children's book. (August 24.)

The Shadow President: The Truth About Mike Pence by Michael D'Antonio and Peter Eisner (Thomas Dunne, $28.99, 9781250301192) is a biography about the Vice President.

Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas (Knopf, $26.95, 9780451493248) looks at how top-down efforts to change the world usually preserve the interests of elites.

Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews (Ace, $26, 9780425270714) is the 10th Kate Daniels urban fantasy.

Blackout: An Ari Thor Thriller by Ragnar Jonasson (Minotaur, $28.99, 9781250171054) is the third entry in the Dark Iceland police mystery series.
Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram (Dial Books, $17.99, 9780525552963) depicts a Persian-American teen's first trip to Iran.

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey, illustrated by Julia Sarda (Tundra Books, $17.99, 9781770495593) celebrates the life and talent of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley on the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein.

Housegirl: A Novel by Michael Donkor (Picador, $16, 9781250305176).

Martha Stewart's Pressure Cooker: 100+ Fabulous New Recipes for the Pressure Cooker, Multicooker, and Instant Pot by editors of Martha Stewart Living (Clarkson Potter, $26, 9781524763350).

The Little Stranger, based on the novel by Sarah Waters, open August 31. Domhnall Gleeson stars as a doctor called to a possibly haunted manor. A movie tie-in edition (Riverhead, $17, 9780525541585) is available.

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover: An Indies Introduce Title
Jell-O Girls: A Family History by Allie Rowbottom (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316510615). "An absolutely fascinating memoir that combines a personal family account with one of America's most recognizable foods. Seamlessly exploring the foundation of her family's wealth and the seemingly cursed lives of three generations of women, Rowbottom has written a page-turning cultural history that hits on both the nostalgia many associate with Jell-O and the societal forces that propelled the brand." --Kelly O'Sullivan, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn.

His Favorites: A Novel by Kate Walbert (Scribner, $22, 9781476799391). "Kate Walbert is one of my favorite writers and she continues to create memorable novels, as evidenced by this new one. There's something about the way she tells her story of a young girl struggling to balance a wild energy with a soft heart who is preyed upon by a charismatic and overbearing teacher that makes the novel both sing and pierce the heart simultaneously. I read this in one evening and was completely overtaken by it. It is excellent." --Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield's Books, Sebastopol, Calif.

Paperback: An Indies Introduce Title
Poso Wells: A Novel by Gabriela Alemán, translated by Dick Cluster (City Lights Books, $15.95, 9780872867550). "Poso Wells explores the dichotomy between the new and old worlds of Ecuador through an exciting noir about missing women and corrupt politicians. Following a journalist's attempt to unravel the secrets of the infinitely labyrinthine cityscape of Poso Wells, this is an exciting debut translation of a celebrated Ecuadorian author and one that should lead to more translations of her work." --Ely Watson, A Room of One's Own Bookstore, Madison, Wis.

For Ages 4 to 8
Niblet & Ralph by Zachariah OHora (Dial Books, $17.99, 9780735227910). "Niblet and Ralph are best friends: they talk on the phone every day (meow!) and share hobbies (napping and purring). But they have never actually met! Will they find a way? A cute parallel story of best friendship between cats and new friendship between humans. Sixties-esque pictures and a great layout make this story a joy. Purrrfect for story time!" --Leah Moore, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt.

For Ages 9 to 12
Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe by Jo Watson Hackl (Random House, $16.99, 9780399557385). "A charming mystery with a clever and resourceful protagonist. Cricket's adventures, driven by a longing to heal her family, are as informational as they are exciting. This book grabs readers from the start and journeys with them through ups and downs and twists and turns that leave the reader sad, hopeful, and, above all, grateful for a delightful story well told." --June Wilcox, M. Judson Booksellers & Storytellers, Greenville, S.C.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
Sea Witch by Sarah Henning (Katherine Tegen, $17.99, 9780062438775). "This book floored me. I was expecting to like it, but I fell hard and fast for Sarah Henning's original take on the sea witch story. Evie is already an outcast in her hometown--she is the daughter of a fisherman and she uses magic, which is forbidden, to help him. When a young girl arrives who looks eerily similar to her dead best friend, Anna, Evie will do whatever it takes to make sure that she can stay on matter the cost. Magic, love, and loss permeate this stunning novel, which I will be highly recommending!" --Teresa Steele, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, Colo.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Waiting for Eden

Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman (Knopf, $22.95 hardcover, 192p., 9781101947395, September 25, 2018)

Elliot Ackerman continues to amaze. A decorated Marine who served multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, a White House Fellow, journalist and 2017 National Book Award fiction finalist for Dark at the Crossing, Ackerman has lived most of his adult life in the murky shadows of modern warfare. His first novel, Green on Blue, captures the complexity of the Afghan War from the perspective of a war-orphaned village boy swept into the fight out of desperate poverty and vengeance. As a correspondent covering the Syrian conflict, Ackerman lived in Turkey, where he fleshed out Dark at the Crossing's story of an Arab-American's quest to cross Turkey's Syrian border to join the fight against Assad. A slight, meditative novel, Waiting for Eden, however, shifts Ackerman's focus back to the States and the postwar agony of a wounded soldier and his family. It's not about death or PTSD or politics, but rather, as the title suggests, it's about perhaps the most difficult aftermath of war trauma: waiting.
Narrated from the grave by a Marine killed in the same IED attack that left Eden Malcom an intermittently conscious, skin-torched, dismembered, vision- and hearing-compromised survivor, Waiting for Eden tells of his wife Mary's three-year bedside vigil holding on to the thread of life. Her refusal to take him off life-support alienates his siblings, who hold a symbolic memorial service and move on. Even the stoic nurses at the San Antonio VA hospital shudder to care for this patient: "Not alive, not dead, what it was didn't have a name... it was man suffering into the anlage of whatever came next." As Eden experiences mini-strokes, Mary can't let go. The narrator observes, "There was so little of him left, and the less of him there was, the more desperately she clung to it."
Ackerman's unusual choice of a dead comrade to narrate his spare tale allows for unobtrusive flashbacks fleshing out the history of Mary and Eden's life. We learn of his first deployment, their early dating and marriage, her desire for a child, his war-driven impotence and the narrator's brief affair that impregnates Mary. When Eden's condition deteriorates to the point where Mary is ready to let him go, his training in prisoner communication by coded taps opens a window of connection. She hesitates until it is clear that he is messaging her to "end, end, end"--the signal of a desire to "tap out." The narrator patiently waits for her decision to release his fellow Marine to the limbo of post-death "whiteness." What comes next is unknown. Waiting for Eden is a tight, intense story of loyalty, guilt and suffering that belies its brevity. Ackerman has crafted another prismatic window into the long-lasting agony of war. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: National Book Award finalist Ackerman's spare third novel about a massively wounded soldier on life support is a tightly woven tapestry of loose ends.

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