Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Atlantic Monthly Press: Those Opulent Days: A Mystery by Jacquie Pham

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber

Carolrhoda Lab (R): Here Goes Nothing by Emma K Ohland

Allida: Safiyyah's War by Hiba Noor Khan

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley

Quotation of the Day

Indie Bookshops Have 'Invested in My Family's Future'

"As far as I can tell, as a weekly patron of local bookshops for quite some time, the difference is the people that work there. They love books and people that love books and they show it, which is probably the simplest formula for bookselling success. I bring my two young daughters into small, independent bookstores all the time, and as rowdy as they get, the booksellers are always welcoming and warm and kind and don't mind the two yellow-haired-terrors streaking through the stacks. So we keep going back.... As a result, I've come to care about local bookstores. They've invested in my family's future, and so it seems natural that I would invest in them."

--Major M.L. Cavanaugh in a Colorado Springs Gazette column headlined "Keeping book buying local has value."

PM Press: P Is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi, Illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi


For Sale: Whyte's Booksmith in Calif.

Whyte's Booksmith, a new and used bookstore in San Anselmo, Calif., has been put up for sale. The Marin Independent Journal reported that the bookstore has been in business for 38 years, since owner Michael Whyte, then manager of the Mill Valley Book Depot, was offered a loan from his father to start his own bookshop.

"There were so many young families who value reading and education," he said. "What I like most about San Anselmo and the Ross Valley is simply that our neighborhoods so deeply appreciate and participate fully in making ours a safe and pleasant little place in the world in which to raise families and enjoy our wonderful friends and neighbors.... Ross Valley, right from the start, has been tremendously supportive. My hope is that the business will continue to provide its important service, to remain a focal point of the community, and continue to prosper."

Whyte is confident that his bookstore will continue to play that role: "In downtown San Anselmo, we've seen businesses come and go over time, but it's become evident to we who have prospered here that those businesses which offer goods tailored to this community, who have really listened to our community's needs, do well."

For more information, e-mail

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

University Book Store Reconfiguring Flagship Store

University Book Store in Seattle, Wash., is making major changes to its flagship store on the University of Washington campus. According to general book department manager Pam Cady, the store is consolidating its entire book inventory on the flagship store's first floor.

While the book inventory, which had previously been spread across the first and second floors, will now have less total square footage, the first floor still amounts to more than 10,000 square feet of retail space, and Cady described the new layout as "much more intimate." At the same time, the move will allow the flagship store to significantly expand its second-floor event space.

"It's something we've been considering for a while," explained Cady. "I think it's coming at a good time. Our neighborhood will be undergoing big changes in the next couple of years with light rail opening almost on our doorstep, so we wanted to get ready for that and position ourselves for the future."

Cady added that although the store is still in the thick of moving inventory, it's been "pretty fun to see how it's all shaping up... I think it's going to be a great space for book lovers to shop."

University Book Store was founded in 1900 by two University of Washington students, who first opened for business in a coat closet next to the university president's office. The store has six locations around the Seattle area and has operated as a trust since 1964, with UW students, faculty and staff as the beneficiaries.

Jack Macrae Retiring from Henry Holt

Jack Macrae is retiring from Henry Holt after more than 35 years with the publisher. His extensive career in publishing ranges from having been a deputy director with HarperCollins in the 1960s to editor-in-chief at Henry Holt (1983-89). Most recently, he managed the Holt imprint John Macrae Books. Macrae is also part-owner--with his wife, Paula Cooper--of 192 Books in Manhattan.

In a message announcing the departure, Holt president and publisher Stephen Rubin said Macrae's family "boasts three generations of notable publishers, none more distinguished than Jack. Hugely well-regarded within the publishing community, Jack is known for his sharp wit, winning personality, and deep knowledge on a wide variety of subjects. Most recently for Holt, he edited two-time Booker Award-winner Hilary Mantel, Carl Safina and Gabriel Levering Lewis."

Rubin also recalled that "many, many moons ago, Jack's grandfather, John Macrae Sr., joined the firm E.P. Dutton, and eventually became its second president. Legend has it that he became fast friends with Henry Holt and that in the 1890s, Macrae Sr. read an English novel on submission to him, but found it 'too hot' for Dutton and turned it over to his pal, Holt. That hot book was The Prisoner of Zenda, which Holt published in 1895 and sold more than a million copies, an unheard of amount then. Jack spent 15 years at Dutton, the 'family business,' where he published Jorge Luis Borges among others, before joining Holt. We thank him for his sterling contributions over the years and wish him happiness and good health in his well-earned retirement."

PRH's Two-Day Transit Program Returning October 1

Now in its seventh year, Penguin Random House's annual Two-Day Transit program will return on Monday, October 1, and run until March 1, 2019. For those five months, orders for PRH titles placed by independent booksellers by 3 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday, will arrive within two days, weather and transport conditions permitting. Orders placed on Fridays and Saturdays will be shipped the following Monday, with both PRH's Westminster, Md., and Crawfordsville, Ind., operations centers taking on weekend shifts to expedite Monday arrivals.

The program once again includes every frontlist and backlist title from the imprints of the Crown, Knopf Doubleday and Penguin Publishing Groups, as well as Random House, Random House Children's books, Penguin Young Readers, Penguin Random House Audio and DK Publishing, in addition to clients of PRH Publisher Services.

Jaci Updike, president of U.S. Sales at PRH, said: "We are thrilled by and proud of how popular and integral our 2-Day program continues to be with our accounts. From its beginnings as a two-month pilot experiment, it has been extended and expanded to reflect the evolution of our business. But its primary intention has never changed: to empower indies to order and receive our titles quickly and efficiently, so they can enjoy uninterrupted profit from consumer demand for them."

Madeline McIntosh, CEO of Penguin Random House U.S., added: "Since we launched this program of expedited holiday-period shipping six years ago, it has become the gold standard for the industry and remains one of the best tools we have to support this channel in the crucial fourth quarter."

Obituary Note: Darcy Egan

Darcy Egan

Darcy Egan, a former bookseller at Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, Ohio, died recently. In a moving tribute on the bookstore's Facebook page, owner Harriett Logan wrote: "We lost one of our Loganberry family last week. Darcy Egan was a bookseller here 2013-2015, while pursuing her Masters degree in English at John Carroll University. She left us to pursue a career teaching English.

"During her time at Loganberry, Darcy was instrumental in tackling the task of shifting our data to a new inventory management system. She almost single-handedly catalogued the LitArts room (if you've been here, you'll understand how mind-boggling that is). She also created our monthly poetry open mic, Broadsides & Ephemera, which is still running strong.

"She was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 25. She fought valiantly for more than two years, and never lost her smile, nor her red lipstick. The annual fundraising 5k for colorectal cancer, fondly named the UndyRun, is this Saturday 09/29. You are welcome to join us in fundraising to find a cure for colon cancer, and to honor Darcy. Thanks. Peace."


Image of the Day: Tor Goes to the Triangle

Last week, Tor authors Jenn Lyons (The Ruin of Kings, February 2019) and Arkady Martine (A Memory Called Empire, March 2019) had lunch with nearly a dozen booksellers from bookstores around the Triangle  region of North Carolina. Pictured: (l.-r.) Lane Jacobson of Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill; Jenn Lyons and Arkady Martine; Matt "Mouse" Mock of McIntyre's Fine Books in Pittsboro; Lany Holcomb of Bookmarks in Winston-Salem; Billy McCormick of McIntyre's; Tony Peletier of Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh; Kaley Lowman of Quail Ridge; Amber Brown of Quail Ridge; and Colin Sneed of Flyleaf. Photo: Macmillan rep Carin Siegfried

Kitchen Arts & Letters 'Feeding an Appetite for Cookbooks'

Kitchen Arts & Letters in New York City "has been feeding an appetite for cookbooks since 1983," amNewYork reported in profiling the Upper East Side bookstore that offers shoppers "an adventure," according to co-owner Matt Sartwell. He added, "Funky, fun things happen when you have a specialized bookstore. There's a serendipity of who you meet here."

Sartwell noted that home cooks, from neighbors to out-of-towners, make up the bulk of the store's clientele: "People come in and want an adventure they think they won't find at a more general bookstore. We have depth. You won't find as many books on a single topic at Barnes & Noble like we have on cookies, cocktails or whole-grain bread baking."

Personnel Changes at Penguin Random House; Bloomsbury

At Penguin Random House, Amanda Close has been appointed senior v-p, strategic market development, a new position in the company's sales group.


Valentina Rice has joined Bloomsbury as v-p of sales and marketing in the U.S. for consumer and special interest. She was most recently v-p of sales, marketing and publicity at Bonnier Zaffre. Earlier, she was v-p of international sales and marketing for Penguin Group (USA).

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Mark Leibovich on Colbert's Late Show

The View: America Ferrera, author of American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures (Gallery, $26, 9781501180910). She will also appear on the Daily Show.

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Mark Leibovich, author of Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times (Penguin Press, $28, 9780399185427).

Movies: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

The final trailer has been released for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, featuring Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) "finally meeting his brother.... Johnny Depp's powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald also returns, despite being captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), with the help of Scamander at the end of the first film. This time he warns his followers to 'join me or die,' " Deadline reported.

"You're going to want to watch to the end of this trailer," J.K. Rowling warned. "There's a lot in there for you guys. When you see the trailer, don't speak to each other until the end because there's a name you'll want to hear."

Directed by David Yates from a screenplay by Rowling, the film also stars Jude Law, Zoë Kravitz, Ezra Miller and Claudia Kim. It opens in theaters November 16.

Books & Authors

Awards: Hadada Winner; Kirkus Finalists

Deborah Eisenberg will receive the Paris Review's 2019 Hadada Award for lifetime achievement, given annually to "a distinguished member of the writing community who has made a strong and unique contribution to literature." She will be honored April 2 at the Paris Review's annual gala, the Spring Revel.

Eisenberg has published four collections of stories: Transactions in a Foreign Currency, Under the 82nd Airborne, All Around Atlantis and Twilight of the Superheroes, all of which were reprinted as The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg. Her fifth collection, Your Duck Is My Duck, was published by Ecco this week.


Kirkus Reviews has announced the six finalists in each of the three categories of the Kirkus Prize. Every category winner receives $50,000. Winners will be announced October 25. This year's finalists can be seen here.

Reading with... Ben Fountain

photo: Thorne Anderson
Ben Fountain is the author of Beautiful Country Burn Again (Ecco, September 25, 2018). His novel Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk received the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. His first book, the story collection Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, received the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction, as well as a Whiting Writers Award. His short fiction has appeared in Esquire, Harper's, the Paris Review, Zoetrope: All Story and the Sewanee Review, and his nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the New Republic. Beautiful Country Burn Again takes as its starting point a series of essays and reportage that Fountain wrote for the Guardian on U.S. politics generally, and the U.S. presidential election in particular, during 2016.
On your nightstand now:
I've been on a short story streak lately, and the books at the top of the stacks reflect that. I'm bouncing among collections by Leonora Carrington, Jim Shepard, Julio Cortázar, Jorge Luis Borges, Clarice Lispector, Don Waters, Mark Richard, and Andrea Barrett. Digging down past the short story layer, I'm finding In the Shadows of the American Century by Alfred McCoy, We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes, the Bible, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay, Homelands by Alfredo Corchado, a couple of essay collections by Norman Mailer, The Cross of Redemption--Uncollected Writings by James Baldwin, a monograph on the pirate Blackbeard and a graphic novel, Kiki de Montparnasse.
Favorite book when you were a child:
Two books come to mind. We Were There at Pearl Harbor by Felix Sutton, which my friends and I read over and over in fourth and fifth grades (we took turns checking it out of the school library). I found it on the Internet some years ago and started ordering old copies for the kids in my life, and it's still as good and gripping to me as it was in grade school. Another book, also repeatedly checked out from the school library (Northwest Elementary in Kinston, N.C.) was a substantial kid's biography of Winston Churchill. Impressively thick, with wonderful line drawings throughout, and full of ripping yarns. It was probably published in the mid 1950s, and if I could ever remember the title and find a copy, my happiness would be complete.
Your top five authors:
Oh, geez. It depends on who I'm walking around thinking about that day. But folks who tend to stay at the forefront of my mind are Gabriel García Márquez, Joan Didion, James Baldwin, Norman Mailer, Toni Morrison, Garry Wills, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Berger, Alma Guillermoprieto, Walker Percy, Ezra Pound. It's basically a village in my head, hard to narrow it down to a few names.
Book you've faked reading:
The Bible.
Book you're an evangelist for:
Lots of these. The past couple of years I've been especially enthusiastic about the work of Anna Badkhen, and if there's a better writer in English today than Ms. Badkhen, I'd love to know about this person. Her most recent three books, Fisherman's Blues, Walking with Abel and The World Is a Carpet, are flat-out masterpieces of immersive nonfiction in the same vein as Katherine Boo's wonderful Behind the Beautiful Forevers. Two novels of recent years that I love urging on people are Angela Flournoy's The Turner House (family is the hardest thing to write about, and Flournoy's novel nails it) and Dominic Smith's The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, which as far as I can tell is without flaw. Lea Carpenter's new novel Red, White, Blue is as fine as anything I've read in the past 10 years.
Book you've bought for the cover:
Woolgathering by Patti Smith. The inside was pretty excellent, too.
Book you hid from your parents:
Playboy magazine. Does that count?
Book that changed your life:
ABC of Reading by Ezra Pound, which I came upon early in my sophomore year of college, thanks to my teacher Doris Betts. I had some vague but I suppose powerful feelings about literature, and what it might take to devote one's life to it, but that little book by Pound crystallized things for me in a profound way. I still have that copy, heavily marked up from various readings over the years.
Favorite line from a book:
The one about Gregor Samsa waking up with the world's worst hangover is pretty good.
Five books you'll never part with:
Ezra Pound's Cantos, mainly because of the blizzard of marginal notes from the seminar I took on that mighty book with Professor Forrest Read. Thanks to that seminar, and those notes, I flatter myself thinking that I have some notion of what's going on in there. I have a copy of A Moveable Feast inscribed to me by Patrick Hemingway that's very dear, and an inscribed copy of Seamus Heany's Collected Poems. I have an old monograph published by the UNC Press on North Carolina politics of the first half of the 20th century, important to me for the chapter that tells about some stubborn-ass Fountains challenging the establishment (corporate) wing of the state's Democratic Party in the 1930s. My oldest sister gave me Arthur Schlesinger Jr.'s two-volume biography of Robert Kennedy when it came out, and those books have stayed close at hand ever since.    
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Havana Bay by Martin Cruz Smith. A great thriller, and a great book, period. Cruz goes deeper into the real stuff of life in his so-called "genre" novels than most ostensibly literary writers.

Book Review

YA Review: What If It's Us

What If It's Us by Adam Silvera, Becky Albertalli (HarperTeen, $18.99 hardcover, 448p., ages 14-up, 9780062795250, October 9, 2018)

Becky Albertalli (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda) and Adam Silvera (They Both Die at the End) join literary forces to bring readers an offbeat, contemporary romance told from dual perspectives.
Sixteen-year-old Arthur is from Georgia, a "five-foot-six Jewish kid with ADHD and the rage of a tornado." He's living in New York City for the summer while he interns at his mom's law firm. Having recently come out to his best friends, Arthur, a believer in "love at first sight... [f]ate, the universe, all of it," feels ready for whatever "nudges" the universe might have in store for him. Ben is a video-game-playing aspiring fantasy writer with big dreams and even bigger expectations. Also in New York City, he is stuck in summer school with his cheating ex-boyfriend, Hudson. His thoughts about the universe? He's been burned one too many times. 
Arthur and Ben meet-cute in a post office where Ben is trying to mail a box of "leftovers from [his] breakup." When the price to mail the box is outrageously large, the two get into a conversation about the universe's plans--for that box and maybe for them, too. But a flash-mob proposal prevents them from getting any further than, "You think the universe wanted us to meet?" With only a crumpled shipping label for contact info, Arthur leaves a real-life missed-connection post on a bulletin board in a coffee shop. What follows is an imperfect, epic romance between two flawed teens ready to challenge the universe.
What If It's Us is comedic, with some true, deep-cut zingers, mainly from Ben's best friend, Dylan ("No one wants to be Ron. Rupert Grint probably didn't even want to be Ron"). But the authors also address serious topics like homophobia and intra-racial/interracial stereotypes. Ben is a "white-passing" Puerto Rican who speaks only basic Spanish, which means he has received some flak from his peers for identifying as Hispanic. When Arthur jokes that he sometimes forgets Ben's heritage, Ben responds, "I know I get some privilege points from looking white, but Puerto Ricans don't come in one shade." After the couple experiences homophobia in a city that Arthur thought "had it together," Ben sadly acknowledges that the incredible "same world that brought [them] together" can also be extremely scary. These topics are handled with sensitivity, making the boys' relationship all the more dynamic.
Refreshing, too, is Albertalli and Silvera's take on the parent-child relationship. Unlike so much of children and teen's literature where the parents are absent or the enemy, What If It's Us embraces the boys' healthy relationships with their parents. Whether it's Arthur's dad dishing out advice for a successful date or Ben's ma prioritizing her son's feelings at dinner, both sets of parents are wholly present in their children's lives.
A seamless collaboration, What If It's Us is certain to be well-received by fans of both Albertalli and Silvera. --Lana Barnes, freelance reviewer and proofreader
Shelf Talker: This summer romance in New York City follows two boys as they navigate a relationship with an expiration date.

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