Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Harper: Evil Eye by Etaf Rum

Tor Books: Starling House by Alix E. Harrow

St. Martin's Press: The Last Outlaws: The Desperate Final Days of the Dalton Gang by Tom Clavin

Page Street Kids: Payden's Pronoun Party by Blue Jaryn, illustrated by Xochitl Cornejo

Annick Press: Dragging Mason County by Curtis Campbell

Flatiron Books: Where There Was Fire by John Manuel Arias

Quotation of the Day

Libraries: A Nation's 'Barometer of How It Values Its Citizens'

"Our great public libraries and their counterparts in schools, prisons, colleges and hospitals are founded on a powerful idea--the idea of equality and democracy, of universal empowerment for working people.... A modern library is the Common Room at the heart of its community, supporting learning, health and well-being, helping people get online, use Council services. It brings people together of all ages and faiths, helps overcome loneliness and social isolation in every town, city and village the length and breadth of our nation.... How a civilized nation treats its libraries is a barometer of how it values its citizens."

--Nick Poole, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, speaking at a U.K. Labour Party Conference fringe event (via the Bookseller).

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster: Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 1421 by T.J. Newman


Ink Fish Books Opening in Rhode Island

Ink Fish Books, a new and used bookstore specializing in cookbooks and food culture, will open in Warren, R.I., this month, Bookselling This Week reported.

In addition to cookbooks and food-related titles, owner Lisa Valentino will carry locally made food products and cooking tools, as well as some genre titles and audiobooks. In the weeks and months ahead, Valentino plans to start hosting book clubs, set up a store loyalty program and allow customers to trade in their used books.

"Bookstores tie a community together by offering a space to share the ritual of browsing, thinking, and communicating," Valentino told BTW. Prior to entering the bookselling industry, Valentino worked in the newspaper business for some 30 years. "I want to provide that space to find new ideas and meet new thinkers through books, local products and events."

Valentino began the store-opening process back in February. To help her along the way, she's relied on interviews with booksellers and other small business owners, taken part in ABA seminars and attended BookExpo in May. In the last two months or so, she added, "everything has really come together."

GLOW: Pajama Press: The Imaginary Alphabet by Sylvie Daigneault

Lexington's Wild Fig Saved by Community Fund Drive

Wild Fig Coffee and Books, Lexington, Ky., which announced in August it would be closing if a buyer was not found, "will live on, in some form, thanks to a community fund drive," WEKU reported. Organizer April Taylor said that facing a Thursday deadline last week, donors from across the country came through.

"So this morning I saw donations from California to D.C. so we are getting national support for our campaign," she said. The community group raised more than $21,000 in cash and pledges in about 24 hours, an amount that is enough to secure an interest-free loan, according to Taylor. The private business, owned by Ron Davis and Crystal Wilkinson, "will now become a cooperative," WEKU noted.

In a Facebook post on Friday, Wild Fig wrote: " 'we ain't 'all said & done,' not quite yet... but getting there... saturday will be our last day open to the public as Wild Fig Coffee and Books before morphing into The Wild Fig Co-op beginning in October. the space will likely be closed for a small amount of time for a transition period but should be up and running in no time... we wish we could go out with a big festive bang, but alas not. sorry... but please continue to support the new co-op as they settle into these cozy fuzzy slippers we've left behind."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Hike by Lucy Clarke

E.U. Drops Requirement of VAT on E-Books, Audiobooks

The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) of the European Union will allow member states to reduce the rate of value added tax (VAT) for electronic publications, including e-books and audiobooks, to match those of printed material, it announced today. The decision doesn't force countries to change rates but allows them to do so. The measure is part of series of steps taken to rework VAT in Europe.

In the U.K., the Publishers Association immediately called for the government to align VAT on books, the Bookseller reported. PA CEO Stephen Lotinga said: "The government must act now to remove this unfair and illogical tax on e-books, magazine and newspaper online subscriptions. It makes no sense in the modern world that readers are being penalised with an additional 20% tax for choosing to embrace digital. We should not be taxing reading and learning."

In Germany, the current 19% VAT on e-books and audiobooks likely will be lowered to the 7% rate on printed books.

For its part, the European & International Booksellers Federation said it "warmly welcomes" the decision. EIBF co-presidents Fabian Paagman and Jean-Luc Treutenaere commented: "EIBF has been advocating against tax discrimination on e-books for many years and the decision of lowering VAT rates on e-books is the result of the lobbying efforts of the bookselling sector at European level, represented by EIBF. Today's decision finally resolves a long-standing issue. Whether a book is paper or digital, ordered online or bought in a shop, different tax treatment that hampers access to books should be avoided. From now on, VAT rates on paper books and e-books will be aligned (if members states so wish), a measure which will boost the e-book market and will further stimulate reading."

Guilty Verdict for Man at Center of Nobel Lit Scandal

Jean-Claude Arnault, the man at the center of a scandal that led to the cancellation of this year's Nobel Prize in Literature, has been found guilty of rape and sentenced to two years in prison by a Swedish court, the New York Times reported. The Swedish Academy declined to comment on the verdict, which came just as the 2019 Nobel season was beginning with the announcement of this year's physiology or medicine recipients.

Last November, Dagens Nyheter reported that 18 women had accused the French photographer of sexual assault or harassment. The Times noted that he and his wife, Katarina Frostenson, a member of the Swedish Academy, owned the Forum, a popular cultural venue that received support from the academy.

In the wake of the accusations, the academy dismissed permanent secretary Sara Danius, who had severed the group's ties with Arnault and commissioned an investigation of the academy from a law firm. Some of the academy's members resigned over Frostenson's continued membership (she later stepped down), while others left in protest of Danius's treatment.

In May, the Swedish Academy decided to postpone the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature, with the intention of awarding it in 2019, though Lars Heikensten, director of the Nobel Foundation, has said there might not be a literature prize next year, either.

Sidelines Snapshot: Pencils, Journals, Chocolates and Bookmarks

Print: A Bookstore in Portland, Maine, does particularly well with letterpress greeting cards, glassware and pencils, co-owner Josh Christie reported. For greeting cards, he pointed to Gray Day Studio, which is owned by an artist in nearby Freeport, Maine. When it came to glassware, he said that rocks glasses made by Uncommon Green, featuring the first pages of classic novels, are always popular. The store's go-to pencil line comes from Sweet Perversion, and their products feature "dirty, punchy phrases on them," such as "Bless Your Heart, Bitch," "Bossy As F--k," and "I Hate Pants." And for children's sidelines, Christie mentioned the company MerryMakers, which creates dolls and plush toys based on popular children's books.

Print made its first foray into selling food products recently when Christie brought in chocolates made by Mayana Chocolate, in Wisconsin, and Taza Chocolate, which is headquartered in Somerville, Mass. Christie also noted that he strives to bring in products made in the U.S. The store's journals, for example, come from Field Notes and Shinola. He cited the Vermont company BLD Designs, which started in the early 2000s to sell Bush's Last Day bumper stickers, buttons and more; the company is back with a variety of Trump's Last Day merchandise.

In Seward, Neb., the bestselling sidelines at Chapters Books & Gifts are children's toys. Owner Carla Ketner said that she "loves" PlusPlus building toys and that Klutz activity kits have made something of a comeback lately. As far as other sidelines, Peter Pauper's Studio-Series Micro-Line Pens have been selling well, and Ketner noted that this summer, anything related to "Bible journaling" has been big for her store. Socks have also been doing well, particularly Notes to Self socks, and Ketner has recently brought in clear purses, although she wondered if they came a little too late for the start of the fall sports season.

When asked about perennial favorites, Ketner said that generally speaking, anything Harry Potter-, John Deere- or Nebraska Huskers-branded moves very well. Melissa & Doug toys are "always a hit," as are Squishables, although other types of plush don't typically do well. The game Tenzi is very popular, while Springbok and Ravensburger are the store's most popular jigsaw puzzles.

Emotion Gallery bookmark

Waff journals and Emotion Gallery 3D bookmarks, meanwhile, have been "long-time favorites." And when it comes to locally made sidelines, Ketner pointed to Baker's Chocolate Meltaways, which are made in Ashland, Neb., and wooden palm crosses, which are handmade by a local group of retirees called the Cross Makers of Seward.

Mitercraft bookmark

For Deb Mersereau and Maureen Dooley-Sroufe, owners of Cannon Beach Book Company in Cannon Beach, Ore., art supplies from wholesaler C2F in Beaverton, Ore., make up a consistent portion of the store's sideline sales. Cannon Beach Book Company-branded cloth bags, which are made by a company in India out of pieced-together scraps, are "ever popular." The company that produces them also makes table linens and, because of the way they are assembled, each bag is unique. Blue Q Socks, "some sweet and some sassy," sell well, as do Peepers reading glasses--the co-owners reported that people sometimes buy multiple pairs of Peepers at a time. Journals are another big mover for the store, and some popular lines include Moleskine, Studio OH!, Paperblanks and Peter Pauper. Another important sideline is a wooden bookmark made by a company in Washington state called Mitercraft; Cannon Beach offers bookmarks with the store's logo as well as others with various designs.

While the store does not carry toys as such, they do carry a variety of games for children and adults, especially during the busy summer months. Most of their games, they said, come from Chronicle. Cannon Beach gets its calendars from Small Changes in Seattle, Wash., and more recently, the store has started bringing in a variety of boxed cards. Mersereau and Dooley-Sroufe say they've been "amazed" by the sales. --Alex Mutter

If you are interested in having your store appear in a future Sidelines Snapshot article, please e-mail


Image of the Day: One Book Club Book to Read Before You Die

James Mustich, author of 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die (Workman), at Books on the Common, Ridgefield, Conn., with members of a local book club. They were celebrating one member's birthday at the book signing (courtesy of her husband, who bought copies for all of them!).

Store Typewriter Note of the Day: Skylark Bookshop

Posted on Saturday by Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, Mo.: "It’s been a long, busy day at the shop. We sold a lot of books. And we found this lovely note in our typewriter upstairs." The typed note read:

"never before have i walked into a store and felt as safe as I do now. bookstores have always been a safe haven for me, i feel safe among the stacks, safe among paper, safe bookstores are and have always been a balm for my soul."

Personnel Changes at Berkley

In the Berkley publicity department:

Erin Galloway has been promoted to deputy publicity director.

Tara O'Connor has been promoted to associate publicist.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Michael Lewis on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Michael Lewis, author of The Fifth Risk (Norton, $26.95, 9781324002642).

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).

Today Show: Drew Scott and Jonathan Scott, authors of Builder Brothers: Big Plans (HarperCollins, $17.99, 9780062846624).

Ellen: Busy Philipps, author of This Will Only Hurt a Little (Touchstone, $26.99, 9781501184710).

The View: Neil deGrasse Tyson, author of Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military (Norton, $30, 9780393064445). He will also appear on the Daily Show.

Fox Business's Lou Dobbs Tonight: Tucker Carlson, author of Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution (Free Press, $28, 9781501183669).

Books & Authors

Awards: Stephan Russo; Scotiabank Giller

The shortlist for the Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice is:

Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America by Eliza Griswold (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing by Ben Austen (Harper)
In a Day's Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against America's Most Vulnerable Workers by Bernice Yeung (The New Press)
Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life by Eric Klinenberg (Crown)
Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor by Virginia Eubanks (St. Martin's Press)
Start Here: A Road Map to Reducing Mass Incarceration by Greg Berman and Julian Adler (The New Press)

The winner will be announced at the Goddard Riverside Gala on October 30 in New York City.


A shortlist has been released for the C$100,000 (about US$78,060) Scotiabank Giller Prize, which recognizes excellence in Canadian fiction. The winner will be named November 19. This year's shortlisted titles, all of which are novels, are:

French Exit by Patrick deWitt
Songs for the Cold of Heart by Eric Dupont, translated by Peter McCambridge
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
Motherhood by Sheila Heti
An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim

Book Review

Review: Alice Isn't Dead

Alice Isn't Dead by Joseph Fink (Harper Perennial, $19.99 hardcover, 336p., 9780062844132, October 30, 2018)

In his third novel, Welcome to Nightvale podcast creator and writer Joseph Fink (It Devours with Jeffrey Cranor) expands on the hit serial podcast Alice Isn't Dead in this flesh-crawling horror thriller with a heart.
"This isn't a story," Fink begins. "It's a road trip." When her wife, Alice, disappeared, Keisha searched for months, eventually held a funeral and then tried to overcome her grief in a world that no longer made sense. Things turned upside-down again when she began noticing Alice on the news, always in the crowd at the scene of tragedies across the United States. A year and a half later, Keisha works as a long-haul trucker so she can search the country for Alice.
On the road, she attracts the attention of an unkempt creature in a dirty polo bearing the word "thistle," who eats a living victim in front of her. Though human in appearance, the Thistle Man is "like a boogeyman from a vaguely recalled nightmare," and police officers turn a blind eye to his activities. Stalked by the predator, Keisha picks up a teen girl named Sylvia who lost her mother to the Thistle Man. Their ensuing investigation puts Keisha on the path to uncovering a dark world hidden within the shadows of our own. Its secrets are scattered through small towns across the country and guarded by corrupt police and a nameless evil that makes the Thistle Man look like a naughty puppy. To fight the darkness and find her wife, Keisha must harness a power she always considered a flaw, her chronic anxiety.
Fink switches from the podcast's first-person narration to third-person, occasionally stepping away from Keisha's point of view to follow Alice or give voice to the villains, Lovecraftian beings of malice and hunger. The narrator also tells anecdotes of other innocent people who encountered the monsters associated with Thistle, adding depth and scope to the threat much as Stephen King does in It. Moreover, the impermanence of setting and Keisha's vulnerability while sleeping in her truck, stopping in unfamiliar locations, ratchets up the tension.
In an author's note, Fink explains that Keisha's anxiety is modeled on his own, and certainly he achieves an eerie, off-kilter atmosphere that induces a constant sense of paranoia. Fans of the podcast will no doubt enjoy this expansion of Keisha's quest, but readers who have no familiarity with the story will likely appreciate its surprises and chills even more. Ultimately an endorsement of everyday heroism and community, Alice Isn't Dead resonates as a love story, a road trip novel and a campfire tale that taps into our most primal fears. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads
Shelf Talker: This expansion of the hit podcast Alice Isn't Dead follows truckdriver Keisha as she battles an ancient evil while searching for her missing wife.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Justice for Hope (Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes Book 12) by Susan Stoker
2. Guilty as Sin by Meghan March
3. Daddy's Demands by Various
4. Love Under Siege by Various
5. You Can't Iron a Wrinkled Birthday Suit by Sharon Phennah
6. HOT Secrets (Hostile Operations Team Book 13) by Lynn Raye Harris
7. Rebel Hard by Nalini Singh
8. More Than Crave You by Shayla Black
9. Wicked Wedding by Sawyer Bennett
10. Mayan Star by Howard Allan
[Many thanks to!]

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