Shelf Awareness for Friday, October 26, 2018


Delacorte Press: Lady Smoke (Ash Princess #2) by Laura Sebastian

Black Spot Books: Apocalypse Five (Archive of the Fives #1) by Stacey Rourke

Atlantic Monthly Press: Unto Us a Son Is Given by Donna Leon

Gibbs Smith: We know that there's no place like the bookstore - Thank You Booksellers!

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Five Feet Apart by Rachel Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis

Quotation of the Day

Booksellers 'Become Universal by Dint of Their Specificity'

"One of the virtues of my having no official business was the ability to browse the aisles in a way our readers browse our stacks. Booksellers know the value of serendipity and discovery well--our work, after all, is to create experiences predicated upon unforeseen and unexpected delights.

"I saw colleagues from major presses, small presses, and university presses enthusiastically selling their exceptional catalogs. I have been at that table hundreds of times, listening to our wonderful, passionate publishers and publisher representatives effuse about their latest books. Yet something about observing the conversation in this new context filled me with such warmth for all of us, we unlikely, impractical, ruggedly idealistic proselytizers on behalf of the book....

"The book is not dead. Books need booksellers. As a bookseller, I need patience and courage. Booksellers, like great novelists, become universal by dint of their specificity. Being decidedly of a particular place is a profound way to be global. And the readers of any place have a need to understand that place through experiences of elsewhere."

--Jeff Deutsch, director of Chicago's Seminary Co-op Bookstore, writing about his experiences at the 2018 Frankfurt Book Fair for Bookselling This Week

William Morrow & Company: Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson


News

3rd Quarter: Amazon Sales Growth Disappoints Wall Street

Net sales at Amazon in the third quarter ended September 30 rose 29%, to $56.6 billion, and net income rose to $2.9 billion, nearly 10 times more than net income of $256 million in the same period a year earlier.

Despite the record sales and earnings, Wall Street reacted negatively because revenue growth was less than the expected $57.1 billion. In addition, the company predicted that in the fourth quarter--the holiday period--net sales will be between $66.5 billion and $72.5 billion, a 10%-20% growth range, below analysts' expectations of $73.8 billion and much lower than Amazon's growth rate of 38% in the fourth quarter last year. As a result, in after-hours trading, Amazon shares fell almost 10%, to a little above $1,600 a share. Only a month ago, Amazon stock hit a high of just over $2,000 a share.

As in the past several years, AWS, Amazon's cloud-services company provided most of Amazon's profit--with $2.077 billion in operating income on a sales gain of 46%. International sales, which grew "just" 13%, appears to be the major drag on overall sales.


Abrams: The Overlook Press Distribution Change


'Boozy Bookstore & Dessert Bar' Bibliophile Opens in Chicago

Bibliophile, which opened this week at 1644 E. 53rd Street in Chicago, "checks a lot of boxes that would make the bar and restaurant appealing to Hyde Parkers," Eater Chicago reported, adding: "Centered on alcohol-infused desserts from Fabiana Carter, the baker behind Fabiana's Bakery--the concept is unique. It's not a chain coming into Hyde Park trying to shoehorn in a new location. The space is also surrounded by books for sale covering diverse subject matter which is nice for an educated community like Hyde Park where the University of Chicago calls home."

In addition to book-themed drinks like The Color Purple (a purple drink in a rock glass with basil garnish) and Great Gatsby, "the books that surround the dining room are for sale, and co-owner [with Brennan Nichols] Michael Scott Carter has hired a librarian/bartender to curate the selections. Sonya Smith holds a master's degree of arts in the humanities from the University of Chicago with an emphasis in literature. Not many bars have librarians on staff, but it's that level of detail the Carters have taken in developing the gastropub," Eater Chicago wrote.

In August, the co-owners said that if Bibliophile takes off, they plan to open as many as 16 similar bars across the country and Canada, with Toronto as a likely first stop, though they would adjust the Bibliophile name and concept to suit each new location.


GLOW: St. Martin's Press: The Night Before by Wendy Walker


New Owners for Fundamentals, Ohio Children's Store

Tami Furlong, owner and founder of Fundamentals: Children's Books, Toys & Games, Delaware, Ohio, is selling the store to Jody and Michael Everett, the Delaware Gazette reported. The sale is effective November 1.

Furlong, who founded the store 30 years ago, told the paper that she had decided a few months ago that it was "time to back away" and spend more time with her family. She praised Jody Everett, "a really good customer" who "knew what she wanted and had good taste in books. She knows what's quality. It makes me happy that someone is here who loves quality. I feel really good about it now that I know Jody and Michael are taking over. After talking with them, it's the right decision. This is the right time, these are the right people."

Michael Everett said that part of the attraction of buying the store is "to not let another bookstore die and [to] keep the legacy going," as well as "to try and foster the love of reading in young children and to take a larger part and participate more in the community. It's giving us a chance to continue something that has been an institution here for 30 years." The couple has lived in the area for 11 years.

The Everetts plan to keep the store layout and inventory, while updating technology. As Furlong observed: "They are bringing this store into the 21st century!"


Ecco Press: What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays by Damon Young


Nick Offerman Hosting National Book Awards

Nicjk Offerman

Actor and author Nick Offerman, best known for his role as Ron Swanson on NBC's Parks and Recreation, will host the 69th National Book Awards. Offerman has written several  bestselling books, including Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living and The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History (co-authored with his wife, Megan Mullally).

Winners in the Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature and Young People's Literature will be announced at the event, and lifetime achievement awards will be presented to author Isabel Allende and Doron Weber of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The benefit dinner, on November 14 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, also serves to fund the National Book Foundation's educational and programming work.


Notes

Image of the Day: Simple Machines at City Lit Books

City Lit Books, Chicago, hosted Ian Morris for a reading to celebrate the launch of his new novel, Simple Machines (Gibson House Press). Pictured: (l.-r.) Deborah Robertson, publisher, Gibson House Press; Ian Morris; Teresa Kirschbraun, owner of City Lit Books.


Laramie, Wyo.'s Second Story Bookstore Is 'Really Unique'

"I grew up in the back of beyond country, so we didn't have bookstores," Alyson Hagy, whose book Scribe (Graywolf Press) is the number-one pick on the November Indie Next List, told Bookselling This Week in a recent q&a. "The library was my absolute favorite place to visit. I went to graduate school at the University of Michigan in the early '80s, so the original Borders was in Ann Arbor at the time. I had never seen such a palace of books, new and used, and I had never been around staff who knew fiction and religion and history. It was just incredible and I would go in several times a week. I didn't know what had been missing in my life.

"Here in Laramie, Wyo., we have this really unique, very small store called the Second Story. It's located in a former brothel and has been run and managed by a series of very smart, book-loving people who just keep all kinds of literature available. The Second Story has been a different kind of anchor to me. It's so wonderfully idiosyncratic; you never know what you are going to find on the shelves because it is so completely determined by the taste of whoever the manager is or whoever the staff person ordering the books has been. So that's very cool, I think."


'You Feel Instantly Comfortable' at Epilogue Books

Pat and Valerie Burkholder, co-owners of Epilogue Books in Rockford, Mich., were profiled by the Rockford Squire, which showcased "their love of books, their love of Rockford and how putting the two together was a lifelong dream finally realized." The bookshop opened last July.

"Walking into the bookstore, you can see their love of books and the bookstore experience on full display," the Squire wrote, highlighting "an amazing children's area with hand-painted murals on the wall with soft pillows and carpet for kids to curl up on and choose what books they want" and an interior ambiance that makes "you feel instantly comfortable walking in."

"At a bookstore you get an experience, you don't just get a book," Pat Burkholder said.

"The fact that they each have different tastes in books furthers the help you can get," the Squire noted. "Valerie is more of a fiction fan while Pat likes to read more nonfiction books. The chances are, though, if you have a question on a book, they can help.... There really is nothing like a good book or a good bookstore. Rockford is now lucky to have a bookstore to call our own."


Personnel Changes at Scribner and Touchstone

At Scribner and Touchstone publicity:

Rosie Mahorter has been promoted to senior publicist at Scribner.
 
Abigail Novak has been promoted to senior publicist at Scribner.
 
Sydney Morris has been promoted to associate publicist at Touchstone.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Yotam Ottolenghi on CBS Saturday Morning

Today:
CNN's New Day: Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Leadership: In Turbulent Times (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781476795928).

Fresh Air: Anthony DeCurtis, author of Lou Reed: A Life (Back Bay Books, $19.99, 9780316376563).

E! News Daily: Ellie Kemper, author of My Squirrel Days (Scribner, $26, 9781501163340).

Tomorrow:
CBS Saturday Morning: Yotam Ottolenghi, author of Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook (Ten Speed Press, $35, 9781607749165).


Movies: Killers of the Flower Moon

Martin Scorsese will direct and Leonardo DiCaprio will star in the film adaptation of David Grann's Killers of the Flower Moon, Deadline reported. Eric Roth wrote the script. Scorsese is producing alongside Imperative Entertainment's Dan Friedkin, Bradley Thomas, Sikelia Productions' Emma Tillinger Koskoff and Appian Way Productions.

Imperative "really got on the map with its stunning acquisition of this book," Deadline wrote. "It made a $5 million bid that was millions more than what other suitors were willing to pay back in 2016. Adding the seven-figure sum for Forrest Gump writer Roth to adapt it, and this has been a pricey development process. But when it results in landing Scorsese and DiCaprio, it sounds like money well spent."

"When I read David Grann's book, I immediately started seeing it--the people, the settings, the action--and I knew that I had to make it into a movie," said Scorsese. "I'm so excited to be working with Eric Roth and reuniting with Leo DiCaprio to bring this truly unsettling American story to the screen."


Stephen King Sells 'Stationary Bike' Film Rights for $1

Stephen King sold the rights to his short story, "Stationary Bike," to students at Blaenau Gwent Film Academy in Wales for $1. IndieWire reported that the students won the bid as part of King's "Dollar Baby" contracts, though which the author "allows film students and aspiring filmmakers to adapt his short stories for the low, low price of just a buck."

Originally published in the fifth edition of From the Borderlands in 2003, the story "follows an artist who is told he has dangerously high cholesterol. When he begins cycling to lose weight, he becomes obsessed and begins to hallucinate nightmarish scenarios," IndieWire wrote.

"Being given an opportunity to bring one of Stephen King's novels to life is crazy," said 16-year-old Alfie Evans, one of the students who wrote to King directly. Evans will co-write the script along with GCSE drama student Cerys Cliff. Approximately 30 students will work on turning it into a film, which must not be released commercially. King's estate requests DVD copies, so that he can watch the final products.


Books & Authors

Awards: Kirkus; Bard Fiction

The winners of the 2018 Kirkus Prize, sponsored by Kirkus Reviews, are:

Fiction: Severance by Ling Ma (FSG)
Nonfiction: Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays) by Rebecca Solnit (Haymarket)
Young Readers' Literature: Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James (Bolden/Agate)

Each winner receives $50,000.

---

Greg Jackson won the $30,000 Bard Fiction Prize, which was established in 2001 "to encourage and support young writers of fiction, and provide them with an opportunity to work in a fertile intellectual environment," for his debut collection of short stories, Prodigals (FSG). In addition to the cash award, the winner receives an appointment as writer-in-residence for one semester at Bard College.

The prize committee noted that Jackson's stories "take the reader all over the earth and across time, from a drug-addled weekend in Palm Springs to the remote provincial compound of a reclusive French tennis champion; a man drives into a hurricane with his psychiatrist, and a woman recounts a story about a summer spent painting dorm rooms in the summer of 1984 with a deranged coworker while Foucault dies and violent news from Central America hisses in the background. These stories concern troubled and deeply human characters trapped in mirrored mazes of playfully structured narrative, written in electric and often hilarious sentences. Prodigals is a book that delights, disturbs, and surprises around every corner, with the hand of a masterful author always twisting the kaleidoscope to transform dazzling patterns of light, shape, and color before our eyes."


Reading with... John Wray

photo: Jan Schoelzel
John Wray is the author of the novels The Lost Time AccidentsLowboyThe Right Hand of Sleep and Canaan's Tongue. He's the recipient of a Whiting Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Wray lives in Mexico City. His new novel is Godsend (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, October 9, 2018).
 
On your nightstand now:
 
Honestly? Crazy from the Heat, the David Lee Roth autobiography. It's for research purposes, I swear.
 
Favorite book when you were a child:
 
Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. I was obsessed with this book for the entirety of my childhood. Not with Alice in Wonderland, though, for some reason. I was a peculiar kid.
 
Your top five authors:
 
Five authors I'm in awe of at the moment: Alice Munro, Leanne Shapton, Denis Johnson, Amos Tutuola, Shirley Hazzard.
 
Book you've faked reading:
 
I'm reasonably sure that I faked reading every book I was assigned in school between the ages of 12 and 17. I'm not proud of this. I recently sat down and read Heart of Darkness, which I'd faked reading not once but twice. My chagrin when I realized how strange and great it is was pretty deep. I'm embarrassed even as I write this.
 
Book you're an evangelist for:
 
The Festival of Earthly Delights by Matt Dojny. A hilarious, unclassifiable delight of a book, somewhere between a straightforward narrative and a graphic novel, based on the author's experiences as a very young man working and living in Southeast Asia. The protagonist manages to embarrass himself in just about every way possible. Neck-and-neck with Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse as the funniest novel I've ever read.
 
Book you've bought for the cover:
 
Someone just showed me a jpeg of the cover for the new Marlon James novel, Black Leopard, Red Wolf. I'd definitely buy that book for its cover.
 
Book you hid from your parents:
 
The Clan of the Cave Bear by J.M. Auel. Remember that book? There are some very dirty bits in that, let me tell you, but you could check it out from the library in my hometown without anyone raising an eyebrow. Libraries are great.
 
Book that changed your life:
 
Pretentious as this may sound, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce--another book I faked reading as a teenager. That book has a relationship to the passage of time, both for its characters and for the reader, that I still don't understand. It's supernatural. It's just so beautiful. It made me want to write.
 
Favorite line from a book:
 
"His soul swooned softly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead."
 
That's from another of Joyce's masterpieces, his long short story The Dead. No living writer could get away with a line like that, I don't think. But it gives me the shivers every time I read it.
 
Five books you'll never part with:
 
A first edition of For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway that I found on the floor of an apartment I was looking at in Brooklyn--the apartment had been gutted, and for some reason that book was left behind. A first edition of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami that I bought myself when I turned 40, in the wonderful rare book room of Powell's in Portland, Ore. A copy of Shirley Hazzard's perfect novel, The Transit of Venus, that a mutual friend asked her to sign for me shortly before her death. Three crumbling Ballantine paperback volumes of The Lord of the Rings that I read so many times as a kid that they're now just a heap of brittle yellow pages in a drawer of my writing desk. That's six!
 
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
 
Through the Looking Glass, of course. I read it every year.

Book Review

Review: City of Broken Magic

City of Broken Magic by Mirah Bolender (Tor, $15.99 paperback, 400p., 9781250169273, November 20, 2018)

In Mirah Bolender's debut, three agents of a magical bomb squad risk their lives every day to stand between the metropolis of Amicae and its complete destruction, even though not one restaurant in the entire city serves decent lasagna.
 
Hundreds of years ago, magic users created a semi-intelligent weapon that refused to obey its masters. A force of pure appetite, it fed on magic, and a single infestation could quickly grow large enough to consume humans as well. To fight the failed experiment, nonmagical people called Sweepers developed a dangerous set of skills and tools for defusing the infestations, and the Sweepers of Amicae were unparalleled.
 
In the present day, however, the city government tells the citizens the infestations can no longer enter the city, leading to a reduction in Sweepers as older agents died without replacements. Now only cynical and abrasive Clae Sinclair, last in a line of Sweepers, and his ambitious, determined apprentice Laura serve as Amicae's line of defense against the monsters.
 
Laura, who fell in love with the idea of Sweeping after reading about it in an out-of-date history book, obtained her position by marching into Clae's office after the death of his previous apprentice and insisting he give her a chance. Now on the cusp of promotion after three months of survival, Laura lets her competitive spirit go into overdrive when Clae takes on a second apprentice, a young man and natural magus named Okane. As threats--including hostile Sweepers from a rival city, a growing military interest in weaponizing magic and ill-considered development projects--spur a rise in infections, Clae, Laura and Okane must learn to stand together as a team or lose Amicae entirely.
 
Bolender's world combines elements of magic and 19th-century technology with the occasional steampunk flair. Telephones and trains exist, but much of the world runs on magical amulets that sometimes break down and grow infestations. Though occasionally given to long expository passages, Bolender tends to illustrate rather than explain the world's workings, which have enough intricacy to fuel multiple sequels. Laura is an enjoyably flawed protagonist: brave enough to fight monsters, single-minded enough to get ahead in a man's world, but still competitive and insecure to the point that she feels threatened by a new apprentice who's afraid of his own shadow. Though relatively young, Clae fills the mysterious mentor role perfectly, his secrets hidden behind literal dark curtains. City of Broken Magic shines most brightly in the interactions between the three Sweepers, and fantasy fans will hope for more exploits in Amicae. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads
 
Shelf Talker: In a magical version of the late 19th century, a crew of three ragtag, smart-mouthed agents is all that stands between the city of Amicae and total destruction by magically generated monsters.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: On the Book Path--Bridging the Shows

My path from the Heartland Fall Forum in Minneapolis to the MPIBA Fall Discovery Show in Denver was bridged by a few non-show experiences, including a couple of visits to the extraordinary space that is Open Book, which I'd previously visited for Wi12's opening-night celebration in 2017. But seeing this great facility without being surrounded by hundreds of bookish colleagues was revelatory.

Hans Weyandt and Joanna R. Demkiewicz

I met with Milkweed Editions marketing director Joanna R. Demkiewicz, then explored the building with Milkweed Books manager Hans Weyandt. I later returned to Open Book for a great poetry reading that featured Ada Limón, William Brewer & Parneshia Jones. "These are people who really have your back," Limón said of Milkweed.

I like that thought, and it segues nicely to the perfect finale I experienced the Saturday night before I flew to Denver. I was able to snag a last-minute ticket to a concert featuring singer/songwriter Dessa, author of My Own Devices: True Stories from the Road on Music, Science, and Senseless Love (Dutton), performing with the Minnesota Orchestra. Watching her read briefly from her book to a packed concert hall put an exclamation point on my HFF '18.

In Colorado, I spent a couple of days up in the mountains before coming back down to Fort Collins and eventually to Old Firehouse Books, where I bought a copy of Ross Gay's award-winning poetry collection Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (U. of Pittsburgh Press). I'd heard him speak brilliantly at HFF about his upcoming The Book of Delights (Algonquin). This is from his poem "feet":

But what I do know is that I love the moment when the poet says
I am trying to do this
or I am trying to do that.

MPIBA Fall Discovery Show Children's Author & Illustrator Breakfast speakers Adam Gidwitz, Joseph Bruchac, Ellen Hopkins, Mac Barnett & Andrea Beaty

I'm no poet, but I am trying to tell you that by Thursday morning, I was ready to get back on the Bookseller Trade Show World path again at MPIBA's Children's Author & Illustrator Breakfast. It began, perfectly, with co-hosts Abbey Paxton of the BookBar and Bethany Strout of Tattered Cover Book Store leading their groggy-but-game audience in a spirited, author-themed rendition of the Hokey-Pokey.

Then Mac Barnett delighted the crowd with an inside look at his "memoir," Mac Undercover (Scholastic/Orchard), after noting: "It's really good to be back here. Mountains and Plains breakfast was the first event that I ever did for anything for my first book ever. It was literally the first time I ever left my house to talk about a book, and it all started here.... It's so good to be back here. It feels really cool."

Andrea Beaty (Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters, Abrams/Amulet) said that for her, "the glorious, glorious thing about an independent bookstore is that whatever it is a person needs--whatever that kid, or their parent or their teacher, whoever comes into your beautiful shops needs--there is the thing they need. I always tell people go shop indie because that's how books, like my books originally, that's how all books find their kids. And you guys do that."

Appearing at the breakfast together were Adam Gidwitz & Joseph Bruchac, co-authors of Unicorn Rescue Society: Sasquatch and the Muckleshoot (Penguin Books for Young Readers). Paths were crossing for me now. I'd just seen Gidwitz speaking at HFF, and I first met Bruchac during the 1990s at the Vermont bookstore where I worked. We often hosted events celebrating his new titles.

"Joe is a legend in the storytelling and the music making and the writing communities, both for Native Americans and generally and getting to work with him is just incredible," Gidwitz said, adding: "When we were first writing this book, Joe wrote a line in it which stayed because it's great. He said, 'Folks often forget that we have two ears and one mouth, which means that we should listen twice as much as we speak.' I had never heard that before. The process of writing this series for me has been about trying to adopt that as my new mantra. And I think today with the people that we hear on the television and radio I think listening twice as much as we speak is probably a good mantra for a lot of us right now, especially those of us whose voices have been amplified at the expense of those whose voices have been quieted or silenced."

Bruchac, whose latest work is Two Roads (Dial Books), is a solid bridge between cultures, between past and present. "Whenever I travel, I try to acknowledge those people who were here first," he began, asking us to turn our minds to the tribes "whose lands we are on as we speak."

He concluded the presentation with these words: "We are all human beings. We need to be tolerant of each other. We need to listen to each other. We need to remember we all have the same heartbeat, we all breath the same air, we all have the same two eyes to look twice before we speak, the same two ears to listen twice as much as we talk. And we as human beings together when we join our hands in cooperation can do great things.... and what comes out is more than any of us could have done alone without the help of those who have guided us along the way. I thank you for listening to us."

It was a perfect way to get back on the path. Next week, more on the MPIBA Fall Discovery Show.

--Robert Gray, contributing editor (Column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)

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