Shelf Awareness for Monday, September 17, 2018

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Spell Bound by F.T. Lukens

Forge: Mr Katō Plays Family by Milena Michiko Flašar, translated by Caroline Froh

Ballantine Books: The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

Island Press: The Jewel Box: How Moths Illuminate Nature's Hidden Rules by Tim Blackburn

Berkley Books: Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Berkley Books: The First Ladies by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

Minotaur Books: Deadlock: A Thriller (Dez Limerick Novel #2) by James Byrne


Bookstore Sales Jump 4.9% in July

July bookstore sales rose 4.9%, to $660 million, compared to July 2017, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau.

For the year to date, bookstore sales were $5.4 billion, down 0.6% compared to the first half of 2017. Despite many months this year with strong gains--including February, March, June and July--the slight loss for 2018 so far is largely attributable to January results, when bookstore sales fell 8.6%.

Total retail sales in July rose 6.7%, to $509 billion. For the year to date, total retail sales have risen 5.6%, to $3,429 billion.

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

William Morrow & Company: Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs

Hurricane Florence Update: Indies Reopen, Recover

As Hurricane Florence continues to drench the Southeast, particularly the Carolinas, many indie booksellers in the region are in the process of reopening and recovering from the severe weather. The Book Industry Charitable Foundation wants booksellers to know that should they need disaster relief during and after Hurricane Florence, Binc is ready to help. E-mail or call 866-733-9064.

In addition, the American Booksellers Association alerted SIBA booksellers that even though registration for Winter Institute 14 in Albuquerque is opening today, September 17, the ABA is aware that some booksellers may be without power and offered assurance that it has accounted for this possibility and will accommodate stores affected by power outages or other storm-related problems to the best of its ability. If you are in the affected area and cannot register, please contact Daniel O'Brien (, 914-406-7514) when you are able.

Here's a sampling of bookseller social media updates from the storm-affected region:

Scuppernong Books quotes King Lear

"Yes! We're open!" Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, N.C., posted on Facebook yesterday as it went all Shakespearian with its sidewalk chalkboard sign.

Downtown Books, Manteo & Duck's Cottage Books, Duck, N.C.: "Our end of the Outer Banks got off pretty lightly with little to no damage from Hurricane Florence being reported as of this posting on Friday afternoon. At this point, Duck's Cottage Coffee & Books plans to reopen at 7 a.m. Saturday, September 15th. Downtown Books is planning on reopening Sunday, September 16, but we may still be pulling down the books! Of course, anything can happen so be sure to stay tuned to our Facebook and Instagram pages for the most current news and updates. We are keeping our neighbors to the south in New Bern, Wilmington, Wrightsville and beyond close to our hearts. Thanks so much for everyone's concern during this time... we truly appreciate your support of both our small businesses. As always, please remember to shop small even when shopping online for both your coffee and reading needs."

My Sister's Books, Pawleys Island, S.C. (Sunday): "We will be OPEN normal business hours, starting tomorrow. Mon-Fri: 10-5 and Sat: 10-3."

Island Bookstore, Outer Banks, N.C. (Sunday--Kitty Hawk and Duck stores open, Corolla closed): "One more day of funky hours and then we're back to business as usual on Monday."

Books to be Red, Ocracoke, N.C. (Friday): "Seems like Ocracoke has done well through the night. I am NOT on the island but friends that stayed have fared well. Other areas have been hit hard and #florence isn't over."

Dee Gee's Gifts and Books, Morehead City, N.C. (Saturday): "As you might have seen, Dee Gees took a big hit in this terrible storm. Initially we were completely devastated and heartbroken, but we are already putting a plan in action, and will hope to put the pieces back together ASAP and be better than before...."

Burry Bookstore, Hartsville, S.C. (Friday): "Hello Hartsville! We will let you know as soon as we are able to return to normal operations! Unfortunately, we will be POSTPONING our Pre-Launch Party with Ann Wallace, but we will keep you updated! Until then we wish everyone a SAFE weekend and hope that you can try to enjoy the rain as much as this little guy!"

Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C.: "Flyleaf Books will be having a hurricane party, and by that I mean we'll be open today, Saturday, Sept. 15th from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.! Come say hi, as we keep spirits high and try not to let weather get the best of us. We'll keep you updated here on social media as well as our website..."

Chunk at Country Bookshop

The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, N.C. (Sunday): "Chunk and I are sorry to say the bookshop will remain closed today due to power outage. We were looking forward to helping you beat the boredom with a great new read. We will open tomorrow at 10 a.m. if power has been restored."

Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, N.C. (Saturday): "We will be OPEN from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, as weather allows. Come on in and restock your reading material!"

Page After Page Bookstore, Elizabeth City, N.C. (Saturday): "We are opening today at 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.! Let us add to your stack!!!!"

Litchfield Books, Pawleys Island, S.C. (Sunday): "We hope that all of our customers are safe and ready to read! We will be opening Monday at 10 a.m. Please stop by and say hi."

Diana's Books and More, Elkin, N.C. (Sunday): "With the current weather situation, and the evacuation of parts of Jonesville along the river, we have decided to open on a delay tomorrow. This may change by morning depending on the weather. We are praying that all stay safe!!"

Read With Me, A Children's Book & Art Shop, Raleigh (Sunday): "Looking forward to seeing everyone Monday. We're opening at 10 a.m. & are looking for ways to help our Eastern N.C. families."

William Morrow & Company: A Death in Denmark: The First Gabriel Præst Novel by Amulya Malladi

As Florence Arrives, SIBA Carries On

As Hurricane Florence approached landfall in the Carolinas last week, booksellers from the region headed to the Innisbrook Golf Resort outside Tampa, Fla., for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Fall Discovery Show, the first of the season's regional conferences. Because of the hurricane, a number of booksellers, mainly in North Carolina, had to cancel. As Florence dumped historic amounts of rain, SIBA officials posted lists of airport closings, Binc reminded booksellers that they stand ready to assist, and ABA notified members that even though WI registration opens today, they would "accommodate those stores affected by power outages or other storm-related impediments." (See above for reports from bookstores affected by Florence.)

The SIBA show floor

As of the close of SIBA's pre-registration on September 1, the organization had expected 426 attendees and 124 authors on the program--a 2% decrease from last year in New Orleans, but an 11% rise in the number of member stores registered. Hurricane Florence definitely had an impact on attendance, not only on stores in the storm's path, but also on travel plans. A number of exhibitors made last-minute changes to their show staff because of flight delays and cancellations. Among booksellers, said SIBA administrator Nicki Leone, "We had 23 cancellations, mostly from North Carolina stores. Only five N.C. stores were able to attend, none from the eastern part of the state. Several South Carolina stores on the eastern part of the state also canceled because of the hurricane." SIBA board member Kimberly Daniels Taws of the Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, N.C., and ABA v-p Jamie Fiocco, of Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, N.C., were among the absentees.

For those who did attend, the pre-show began on Wednesday afternoon with a bookstore tour, to Oxford Exchange, Inkwood Books and Mojo Books and Records. And on Thursday morning, the show began in earnest, with a very full day of well-attended panels, education sessions and TED-style talks on topics ranging from "How to Beat Your Real Competition" (Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore) and "Is Profit a Dirty Word?" (Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction) to "The Ultimate TBR Pile: 14 Years in the Making of 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die" (author James Mustich). [Recordings of many of these will be available on the SIBA site.].

SIBA board members Shane Gottwals, Stephanie Crowe, Kelly Justice and Doug Robinson

Outgoing board president Doug Robinson opened the SIBA annual meeting and town hall on Friday morning by offering "prayers and thoughts to all our fellow book people in the path of the storm," and welcoming two incoming board members: Jamie Rogers Southern (Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, N.C.), and Janet Geddis (Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga.). Robinson reported that SIBA is in good financial condition: the reserve fund has increased, as has annual revenue (to $600,000, a nearly 20% increase since last year). The organization now has 151 store members (up 13 from 2016).

Executive director Wanda Jewell emphasized that SIBA wants to hear from members, both at the show and through the SIBA watercooler message boards. Several questions had been submitted in advance, and the first one drew rueful laughs: "Why do we meet during hurricane season?" Jewell explained that the organization has always met in the fall, and that discussions in the past had not resulted in a spring Discovery show. Several members emphasized the value of the fall event as the place to build excitement for the upcoming holiday season.

Macmillan authors at SIBA lunch: Charlie Jane Anders (The City in the Middle of the Night), Drew Williams (The Stars Now Unclaimed), Mary Kay Andrews (Sunset Beach), Lisa Patton (Rush).

Topics also included the relationship between Jewell and assistant executive director Linda-Marie Barrett (board member Kelly Justice  noted that Barrett's title "does not imply a succession plan") and Jewell's proposed move to California (Robinson said SIBA has adopted a policy that future directors must reside in the region). Tom Lowenburg, Octavia Books, New Orleans, brought up this year's venue, describing the sprawling country club as "beautiful but isolating. It's not the right place for booksellers." Nearly everyone in the room raised their hands in agreement. (Next year's show will be at the Marriott in Spartanburg, S.C., September 23-25.)

Pam French, executive director of Binc, said the organization had already been in touch with several stores in the hurricane area, and described some of the ways in which Binc can provide immediate relief as well as longer-term recovery.

Cathy Graham of Copperfish Books with author (and bookseller) Amy Stewart.

ABA executive director Oren Teicher welcomed everyone: "SIBA is the first of the eight regional shows, we get to practice on you," he joked. He went on to laud the indie resurgence and noted the 5.2% increase in units sold in the first nine months of the year." He told the members the BATCH unified invoicing/payment system will be live in 2019, drawing enthusiastic applause.

Immediately following the meeting, the exhibit hall opened. Taking a cue from BookExpo, this year's event featured speakers and panels on a stage on the show floor. The browsing and buying was punctuated throughout the day with doughnuts, cakes and ice cream provided by various exhibitors. At the end of the day, attendees enjoyed a Books & Bourbon & Banter reception, and then the always-popular Parapalooza (with beer). The Friday evening Readers Supper featured authors Max Brallier (The Last Kids on Earth and the Cosmic Beyond, (Viking), Martha Hall Kelley (The Lost Roses, Ballantine) and Walter Mosley (John Woman, Grove Atlantic); Conroy Legacy Award winner Rick Bragg closed out the event.

For those who still had energy left, the day's programming finished up with a screening of the new film The Bookshop, starring Emily Mortimer as a woman who opens a bookshop in a conservative coastal town in England.

Elizabeth Alquist and LeeAnna Callon of Blue Cypress Books.

On the last day of SIBA, booksellers returned to the still-busy exhibition hall to finish up their buying and browsing, and to see if they'd won any of the many raffles or the scavenger hunt, before the finale of the show, the Moveable Feast.

As first-time attendees Elizabeth Barry Alquist and LeeAnna Callon of Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans tried to cram even more books in their already overfull SUV, they said: "We had a fantastic time--it was just so great to meet everyone, and we can't wait to come back next year!" --Robin Lenz

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 02.06.23

Canongate Launching Black Thorn Imprint

Canongate is launching Black Thorn, a  crime fiction imprint, in May 2019. The Bookseller reported that Black Thorn will publish a wide range of titles from Severn House, which Canongate acquired in 2017, in paperback for the first time. Two of the list's titles will be released each month, simultaneously around the world, marking "the first time that many of these Severn House titles have been available to the trade."

Black Thorn will be managed by publishing coordinator Holly Domney, who has moved from her role within Severn House. The 2019 list will launch with Catherine O'Connell's The Last Night Out and The Savage Shore by David Hewson. Domney said the variety of titles within Black Thorn's catalogue will "feed the hungriest of crime fiction readers who need to devour one mystery, then reach for the next one."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Killing Me by Michelle Gagnon

Management Changes at HarperCollins Christian Publishing

David Moberg is retiring as senior v-p and group publisher of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, effective at the end of the company's fiscal year, in June 2019.

Brian Hampton, senior v-p and publisher of Nelson Books, a Thomas Nelson imprint, is being promoted to fill Moberg's role. Effective immediately, he will begin overseeing all book publishing operations for Thomas Nelson, Zondervan and associated imprints.

Moberg will continue to work on special projects, mentor key staff, and provide guidance and counsel to the executive leadership team during the transition. In addition, he will continue to serve as vice-chair of the board of directors of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

Hampton has been with the company for 27 years in various editorial and management roles. In addition to being publisher of Nelson Books, in 2017 Hampton led the launch of HarperCollins Leadership, a general market leadership imprint, in addition to the acquisition of the AMACOM trade book assets from the American Management Association.

Mark Schoenwald, president and CEO of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, commented: "Brian's track record of finding and developing great authors and content as well as leading and developing teams has prepared him for future success as the head of book publishing for HCCP. Brian's decisions are strategic and analytical, and his product background gives him a keen sense about authors and manuscripts that will resonate in the market. Brian has built invaluable relationships with authors and agents and is highly respected in the industry."

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo


Image of the Day: Power to the Veggies!

Red Wheel/Weiser staffers armed with carrots celebrate the publication of Protest Kitchen by Carol J. Adams and Virginia Messina (Conari Press, October 1, 2018). Photo: Eryn Eaton

Sourcebooks Young Readers: Global: One Fragile World. an Epic Fight for Survival. by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano

Miss Manners on 'Pushy' Bookstore Customers

In yesterday's "Miss Manners" column (courtesy of the Washington Post), "the manager of a retail chain bookstore" asked about how to deal with customers "who want to discuss their political or religious beliefs with me or my employees" to the point of saying who to vote for and what church to attend. "I cannot just pretend to agree with them, even if I wanted to, because then I would risk offending other customers in the store who disagree."

Miss Manners responded in part: "There is no need to address any personal questions about your affiliations. Rather, Miss Manners advises you to say, 'Let me think what books might interest you. Do you prefer ones that agree with you, or are you interested in finding out what your opponents are arguing?'

"Should they persist, rather than taking up your offer, you should add, 'Well, look around. You're bound to find something that will interest you.' And then excuse yourself to tend to other customers."

Happy 20th Birthday, Newtonville Books!

Congratulations to Newtonville Books, Newton, Mass., which is celebrating its 20th anniversary all day Saturday, September 29. Events include an 11 a.m. pancake storytime with Emilie Book, author of the picture book Ella and Monkey at Sea; a 5 p.m. literary bingo game; and scavenger hunts, make-your-own bookmark stations and other pop-up activities throughout the day.

The bookstore is also celebrating with several videos (see them here and here) in which authors Ann Patchett, George Saunders, Atul Gawande, Claire Messud and Gary Shteyngart, among many others, express their appreciation and wish the store happy birthday.

Owners Mary Cotton and Jaime Clarke bought Newtonville Books from founder Tim Huggins in 2007. They moved the store from Newtonville to Newton in 2012.

Personnel Changes at Greystone Books

At Greystone Books:

Effective September 24, Megan Jones is joining the company as marketing manager and will oversee Canadian and international marketing and work with publicists in Canada, the U.S. and U.K. She has worked in marketing and project management at Books, Page Two Strategies, and ZG Communications (which will continue to provide Canadian publicity for lead Greystone titles).

Josh Oliveira has joined the company's marketing department as digital marketing coordinator. He has worked in content marketing at Echo Storytelling and web publishing at Karp Rehabilitation.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Reese Witherspoon on GMA, Morning Edition, Tonight

Good Morning America: Reese Witherspoon, author of Whiskey in a Teacup: What Growing Up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love, and Baking Biscuits (Touchstone, $35, 9781501166273). She will also appear today on Morning Edition and the Tonight Show.

Also on Good Morning America: Tony Bennett, co-author of Tony Bennett Onstage and in the Studio (Sterling, $28.90, 9781454931249).

Today Show: America Ferrera, author of American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures (Gallery, $26, 9781501180910).

Fresh Air: Neil deGrasse Tyson, author of Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military (Norton, $30, 9780393064445).

Steve Harvey: James Sexton, author of If You're in My Office, It's Already Too Late: A Divorce Lawyer's Guide to Staying Together (Holt, $26, 9781250130778).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Khaled Hosseini, author of Sea Prayer (Riverhead, $15, 9780525539094).

CNN's Amanpour: Bob Woodward, author of Fear: Trump in the White House (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781501175510). He will also appear tomorrow on Fox's Special Report with Bret Baier.

Fox's Your World with Neil Cavuto: Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Leadership: In Turbulent Times (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781476795928). She will also appear tomorrow on MSNBC's Morning Joe and 11th Hour with Brian Williams.

CBS This Morning: Jill Lepore, author of These Truths: A History of the United States (Norton, $39.95, 9780393635249).

The View: Sally Field, author of In Pieces (Grand Central, $29, 9781538763025).

Movies: After Birth

Mary Shelley's classic novel Frankenstein will get a contemporary reimagining with Laura Moss making her feature directorial debut on the project. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Fangoria, the horror fan magazine that was purchased recently by Cinestate, has acquired horror screenplay After Birth, a "female-fronted retooling of the 'Frankenstein' myth" that "follows a morgue technician who successfully reanimates the body of a little girl, but to keep the child breathing, she will need to harvest biological materials from pregnant women. When the girl's mother, a nurse, discovers her baby alive, the two women enter into a deal that forces them both down a dark path of no return."

Moss and Brendan O'Brien wrote After Birth. The Hollywood Reporter noted that Fangoria "has branched out into production, releasing its first film, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, earlier this month."

Books & Authors

Awards: NBA Longlist for Fiction; FT/McKinsey Business Book Shortlist

The longlist for the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction consists of:

A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley (Graywolf Press)
Gun Love by Jennifer Clement (Hogarth/Penguin Random House)
Florida by Lauren Groff (Riverhead)
The Boatbuilder by Daniel Gumbiner (McSweeney's)
Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson (Soho Press)
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Algonquin)
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (Viking)
The Friend by Sigrid Nunez (Riverhead)
There There by Tommy Orange (Knopf)
Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires (Atria/37 INK)

The shortlists will be announced in October. Winners will be announced at the National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner on November 14 in New York City.


The shortlist for the £30,000 (about $39,320) Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year consists of:

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy by Mariana Mazzucato
Capitalism in America: A History by Alan Greenspan and Adrian Wooldridge
Give People Money: The Simple Idea to Solve Inequality and Revolutionise Our Lives by Annie Lowrey
The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India's New Gilded Age by James Crabtree
New Power: How It's Changing the 21st Century--And Why You Need to Know by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms

The winner will be celebrated on November 12.

Book Review

Review: Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America's Most Powerful Mobster

Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America's Most Powerful Mobster by Stephen L. Carter (Holt, $30 hardcover, 384p., 9781250121974, October 9, 2018)

Few people know that a black female lawyer, Eunice Hunton Carter, was a vital part of the team that took down notorious New York mobster Lucky Luciano in the 1930s. Fewer still know her remarkable life story. The granddaughter of slaves and a graduate of Smith College, Eunice was whip-smart, ambitious and determined to rise above the expectations for black women of her day and time. Her grandson, author and law professor Stephen L. Carter, paints a detailed portrait of his formidable Nana in the insightful biography, Invisible.
Carter (The Emperor of Ocean Park; New England White) begins with the story of Eunice's parents, William and Addie, both prominent activists who moved from Atlanta to Brooklyn after the 1906 race riots. After William's death, Addie became increasingly dedicated to her work, spending many years on the lecture circuit. (Carter later notes the ways in which Eunice repeated this pattern with her son.)
After graduating from Smith and earning a law degree from Fordham, Eunice began practicing law in New York City and even ran for state office as a Republican candidate. But her career took off when she began working for Special Prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey, the future Governor and presidential candidate who was determined to tackle organized crime in the city. Eunice, the only woman and the only black person on Dewey's team, provided essential information and strategy that led to Luciano's conviction. Despite her contributions, Eunice was repeatedly passed over for promotions, but she never gave up, continuing to juggle multiple roles as a lawyer, an activist, a politician and a noted Harlem hostess.
Carter's narrative reads at times like a legal thriller, as he traces the ins and outs of the case against Luciano and other high-profile cases Eunice later handled. This is not merely a courtroom account, though: it is the story of the life of a complicated woman, and Carter does his best to depict his grandmother with compassion and clarity. He analyzes the forces of systemic racism and sexism that plagued her at every turn, while giving an inside glimpse into the workings of "sassiety" (the upper echelons of Harlem society) in the early 20th century. The later chapters focus increasingly on complex family dynamics, especially Eunice's troubled relationship with her only brother, Alphaeus, who would be imprisoned in the 1950s for his communist activities.
Meticulously researched and compelling, Invisible is at once a fascinating slice of New York legal and racial history and a thoughtful portrayal of a woman who refused to be hidden. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams
Shelf Talker: Stephen Carter tells the life story of his grandmother, the black female lawyer who helped take down notorious mobster Lucky Luciano.

AuthorBuzz: Berkley Books: Lemon Curd Killer (Tea Shop Mystery #25) by Laura Childs
AuthorBuzz: Nonlinear Publishing LLC: Moral Code by Lois and Ross Melbourne
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