Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, November 13, 2018

University of Texas Press: Grief Is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating Loss by Lisa Keefauver

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!

Berkley Books: The Hitchcock Hotel by Stephanie Wrobel

Queen Mab Media: Get Our Brand Toolkit

Ballantine Books: Gather Me: A Memoir in Praise of the Books That Saved Me by Glory Edim

Ace Books: Rewitched by Lucy Jane Wood

Graywolf Press: We're Alone: Essays by Edwidge Danticat

St. Martin's Press: Runaway Train: Or, the Story of My Life So Far by Erin Roberts with Sam Kashner


Amazon Picks NYC and Northern Virginia for HQ2

photo: Robert Scoble

Instead of having a single second headquarters, Amazon will split what it calls HQ2 between two of the 20 finalists in its year-long contest: Crystal City in Arlington, Va., across the Potomac from Washington, D.C., and Long Island City, in Queens, N.Y., across the East River from Manhattan.

Citing people "familiar" with the matter, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times both said Amazon will make an official announcement as early as today. The Journal added that "other cities may also receive major sites."

Amazon has said HQ2 will bring 50,000 jobs and involve more than $5 billion in spending. The Journal noted that the two-city solution "came after Amazon executives concluded it could recruit more of the best tech talent if it spread the office over two locations. And by halving the size, Amazon would help ease potential issues with housing, transit and other areas where adding tens of thousands of workers could cause problems."

The Times observed that Amazon "already has more employees in those two areas than anywhere else outside of Seattle, its home base, and the Bay Area" and that "the need to hire tens of thousands of high-tech workers has been the driving force behind the search, leading many to expect it to land in a major East Coast metropolitan area."

The three sites near the capital in Amazon's list of 20 finalists had been seen as frontrunners because of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's ties to the area, which, besides personal ownership of the Washington Post, includes a large home.

BINC: Click to Apply to the Macmillan Booksellers Professional Development Scholarships

Plans in Place for Indies First

With less than 10 days to go until Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday shopping season, independent bookstores around the country are finalizing their plans for the sixth annual Indies First celebration. Held every year on Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday, Indies First has grown to include more than 500 indie bookstores around the country.

Jason Reynolds at BookExpo earlier this year.

Author Jason Reynolds has returned as the official Indies First spokesperson for the second year in a row. This year, Reynolds and the American Booksellers Association, with help from American Express and Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, are working to distribute some 20,000 special-edition copies of his novel Ghost to children in under-served communities through the Indie Bookstores Give Back on Small Business Saturday campaign (#IndiesGiveBack).

Reynold will kick off the Indies Give Back campaign next Sunday at the Miami Book Fair in Miami, Fla., where he will take part in public talks, book signings and school presentations, and help distribute some 600 copies of Ghost.

Digital audiobook seller will be celebrating Indies First with more than 100 audiobooks on sale. More details, and materials for booksellers to use on November 24, can be found here and here.

At Kona Stories Book Store on the Big Island of Hawaii, this year's Indies First celebration also marks the store's 12th anniversary. Co-owners Brenda McConnell and Joy Vogelgesang will greet customers at the door with homemade sangria and there will be carrot cake made from a recipe in the Island Naturals Cookbook; the cookbook's author, Gina Franchini, will be on hand to sign copies. The Grinch will also be around and available for photos between 1 and 3 p.m.

Greenlight Bookstore's Prospect Lefferts Garden location will celebrate its second birthday on Indies First. As a thank you to customers, Greenlight will be offering 20% off on everything in the store, and the birthday weekend will also be full of prize giveaways and other surprises.

At Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse in La Cañada Flintridge, Calif., there will be a day's worth of activities celebrating Indies First, including seven visiting authors, three story time sessions and, from 10:30 until 3:30, the work of several guest artists will be displayed around the store. At various other times throughout the day, there will be live music, visits from therapy dogs and a live game demo. In celebration of the new Fantastic Beasts movie, Flintridge will be running a build-your-own-Fantastic Beast contest, as well as Harry Potter trivia games, with free fantasy books going to the winners. And finally, there will be drawings for tote bags filled with books.

In Manasquan, N.J., BookTowne will be celebrating Indies First/SBS with visits from Marlana DeMarco, author and illustrator of Growing Up in the Dragonfly Zone, and Bob Drury, co-author of Valley Forge.

On both Black Friday and Indies First/SBS, blue manatee children's bookstore in Cincinnati, Ohio, will offer 20% off all blue manatee press titles. There will be fun giveaways to go along with book purchases, and the store will kick off its holiday gift card sales, which will run until December 24.

And in Chicago, Ill., Women & Children First will have complimentary refreshments for customers, along special giveaways of tote bags, prints and more. A percentage of the day's profits will be donated to Brace Space Alliance, the first black-led, trans-led LGBTQ center on the South Side of Chicago.

Watkins Publishing: Fall Into Folklore! ARCS Available On Request

A Novel Idea Opening December 1 in Philadelphia

A Novel Idea, a general-interest bookstore with a focus on community events, will open next month in Philadelphia, Pa. Owner Christina "Misty" Rosso and her husband, Alex, found a space in Philadelphia's East Passyunk neighborhood in August and have been busy renovating and remodeling the 800-square-foot storefront.

The store will have its soft opening on Saturday, December 1, and for the rest of December A Novel Idea will be open only on Saturdays and Sundays. Starting January 2, the store will be open six days a week, with a grand opening celebration planned for Friday, January 4.

According to Rosso, the vast majority of the store's inventory will be new books, with used books initially taking up just a shelf or so. The store will carry books across all genres and for all age groups, along with a section dedicated to local authors and small presses.

In terms of events, Rosso has several lined up for December, including holiday storytime sessions, an organic baby food launch, a book launch for an anthology called You Are Not Your Rape and an author event with local author Nick Gregorio. Once the store is fully open in January, A Novel Idea will host writing classes, book clubs, writing groups, more author events and potentially an open mic night.

The owners have also created a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $5,000. So far, the couple has raised around $570, with the money going towards rent payments, construction costs, ordering inventory and more. Once the store is open, they're planning a "special commemoration" for all of their contributors.

"I have always dreamed of opening a bookstore, but never thought it would become a reality," said Rosso. "It came up last winter and [my husband] said why not make my longtime dream a reality? So we started planning from there!"

Kelsey Nolan Wins Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship

Kelsey Nolan

Kelsey Nolan, events manager at Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif., won the inaugural Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists. Organized by the Friends of Carla Gray committee and managed by the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, the memorial scholarship was officially launched in late May, on the one-year anniversary of Gray's death. A committee that included seven representatives from across the book industry selected Nolan from "a pool of exceedingly qualified applicants."

Hannah Harlow, Jenna Johnson and MaryBeth Long, who created the Friends of Carla Gray Scholarship Committee shortly after her death and have been raising funds toward the scholarship, said: "All of the applicants showed a passion for books and paid tribute to their potential impact as booksellers. Their projects were innovative and deeply engaged, focused on finding new readers and ensuring access to books that improve readers' lives, all while integrating bookstores even more fully into their communities. It was an incredible first crop of proposals that shared Carla's indomitable spirit. We can't wait to see what new brilliant projects will be proposed next year."

Nolan will be using the $1,000 grant to create a four- to six-week intern position. In her two-part plan, she and Skylight will first focus on outreach, then hire and train a bookseller from a historically marginalized community. Through outreach and a new paid internship program at Skylight Books, she hopes to begin to address the historic lack of diversity in bookselling.

"We at Skylight Books have discussed at length how crucial it is to hire more diversely," she said, "and I believe that outreach, combined with the ability to pay, would be a fundamental way to implement an internship program to people of color as a way to introduce bookselling as a profession."

As part of the scholarship, Nolan has also been awarded up to $1,000 to cover travel and hotel for attendance to Winter Institute in January and up to $1,000 for attendance to her region's fall trade show in 2019. The prize committee noted that Nolan's proposal demonstrated she shares Carla Gray's "enthusiasm for books and faith in the bookselling community. And these professional development opportunities will give Nolan the ability to connect face-to-face with booksellers from across the nation, publishers, and organizations like We Need Diverse Books, the ABA's diversity task force, and Minorities in Publishing to discuss, receive feedback on, and build her internship program."

Binc executive director Pam French commented: "The Binc Foundation is honored to commemorate Carla's legacy with this scholarship. It has been a privilege for Binc to participate in this inaugural year of the award, and we look forward to facilitating the award for many years to come."

Prometheus Books Sells Genre Fiction Imprints

In a move designed to restore the company's focus to its original mission as a nonfiction publisher, Prometheus Books has sold its genre fiction imprints--Seventh Street Books and Pyr--to Start Publishing.

The late Paul Kurtz founded the nonfiction press in 1969 to publish "provocative, progressive and independent work that would light the way to reason and intelligence like Prometheus, the legendary Greek god who gave fire to humans," the company noted. Prometheus Books launched Pyr in 2005 to build on its success in popular science with science fiction and fantasy, and in 2011 developed the crime fiction imprint Seventh Street Books to complement its true crime list.

"In making this decision, it was of utmost importance to us that our valued authors and editorial directors find a good home," said Prometheus Books publisher Jonathan Kurtz. "We are beyond proud of what we accomplished with our forays into genre fiction. But returning to our nonfiction identity, as we celebrate our golden anniversary, will allow us to more fully engage with the diverse readers in our core categories and maximize the potential of our extensive back catalogue."

He added: "With our world currently so desperately in need of clear-headedness and thoughtful discourse, Prometheus's commitment to bringing rational intelligence, objective analysis, and scientific reasoning through intelligent nonfiction is again of urgent value."

Start Publishing president Jarred Weisfeld commented: "We are very excited to be adding such a prestigious list of award-winning authors and titles to the Start Publishing family. We look forward to continuing the legacy of these imprints that the Prometheus team established."

Da Capo Head Retiring

John Radziewicz, who has been v-p and publisher of Da Capo Press since 1999, is retiring, effective November 30. He earlier worked at Harcourt Brace and Houghton Mifflin.

Susan Weinberg, senior v-p & publisher of Perseus Books, commented that "during his nearly 20-year tenure, Da Capo has been responsible for the nurturing of some true publishing gems, including Buzz Bissinger's Friday Night Lights, Esmeralda Santiago's When I Was Puerto Rican, and the classic cookbook Veganomicon. The music list has grown to embrace bestselling artists as varied as Corey Taylor and Brian Wilson, NOFX and Buddy Guy. The history list launched Alex Kershaw, Stephen Harding, and Harlow Giles Unger onto the New York Times bestseller list and has expanded to include contemporary military accounts like We Were One and Brothers Forever. On the Lifelong wellness list, Jenny McCarthy's bestselling Belly Laughs has become a backlist classic, joined recently by titles as wide-ranging as The Microbiome Diet and I Wish My Teacher Knew. Two years ago, Seal Press became part of Da Capo, and the team this year launched the Times bestseller So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo."

Weinberg added: "John's commitment and work ethic have been outstanding, and we will miss his erudite e-mails, his witty sotto voce remarks, and his enthusiasm for his authors, his colleagues, our books and the business of publishing."

Obituary Note: Stan Lee

Stan Lee

Stan Lee, the legendary chief writer and editor of Marvel Comics who created many of the most famous comics superheroes, died yesterday. He was 95.

The New York Times called Lee "a writer, editor, publisher, Hollywood executive and tireless promoter (of Marvel and of himself) [who] played a critical role in what comics fans call the medium's silver age." He was "a central player in the creation of Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor and the many other superheroes who, as properties of Marvel Comics, now occupy vast swaths of the pop culture landscape in movies and on television." The Times added that Lee and Marvel "revolutionized the comic book world by imbuing its characters with the self-doubts and neuroses of average people, as well an awareness of trends and social causes and, often, a sense of humor."

Read the paper's long obituary, illustrated with all of three photos, here.

A tribute at Golden Apple Comics

Lee was a longtime fan of Golden Apple Comics in Los Angeles, whose Spider-Man statue outside the shop is now wearing a black armband, according to Los Angeles magazine. Kendra Liebowitz, whose late father-in-law, Bill Liebowitz, founded the store in 1979, said, "He will be terribly, terribly missed." She also placed flowers around the statue to create a place for fans to mourn. One store employee added, "He kind of made this business. None of these shops would be around without Stan's contribution to the comic book world."

Today Fresh Air is re-airing an interview with Lee.

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Remember You Will Die
by Eden Robins
GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Remember You Will Die by Eden Robins

Despite the title, Eden Robins's Remember You Will Die is a joyously enlivening masterpiece. Only dead people inhabit the pages of this novel, their stories revealed predominantly through obituaries ranging from deeply soulful to hilariously delightful. As Christa Désir, editorial director for Bloom Books at Sourcebooks, promises, it's "a book about life and art and loss and being human and messy." By 2102, the singularity has long happened, and an AI called Peregrine learns that her 17-year-old daughter, Poppy, is dead. Unraveling this requires a three-century excavation of relationships, cultures, science, history, and brilliantly sourced etymology. Désir predicts "a cult classic" that readers will want to "immediately pick back up... to find more Easter eggs and clues." Eden Robins could have the singular bestseller of the year. --Terry Hong

(Sourcebooks Landmark, $16.99 paperback, 9781728256030, 
October 22, 2024)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Literature Lovers

The Literature Lovers program wrapped up its 2018 season with an event in Stillwater, Minn., hosted by Valley Bookseller. One hundred guests attended a matinee performance with the featured authors. Pictured (l.-r., with some assistance from the booksellers kneeling behind them): Alyson Hagy, Scribe; Christina Dalcher, Vox; Kristina McMorris, Sold on a Monday; Leif Enger, Virgil Wander.
Photo by Valley Bookseller's Rachael Johnson

Personnel Changes at Imagine That

U.K. children's publisher Imagine That is setting up an office in New York and has appointed Risa Beckett as v-p, North American sales. She formerly was executive v-p and v-p of sales and marketing at Parragon for 14 years. Before that, she was director of proprietary publishing at Random House, after being promoted from senior national account manager. Imagine That is distributed here by IPG.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Karina Longworth on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Karina Longworth, author of Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood (Custom House, $29.99, 9780062440518).

Movies: Human Capital; Billion Dollar Whale

Marisa Tomei will star opposite Liev Schreiber in Human Capital, the adaptation of Stephen Amidon's 2005 novel, Deadline reported. Marc Meyers (My Friend Dahmer) is directing the film from Oren Moverman's script. Production has begun in New York. Alex Wolff also stars in the project. Paolo Virzì adapted Amidon's book into the 2013 Italian-language film Il Capitale Umano, which won seven awards, including best picture, at the Donatello Awards.


Ivanhoe Pictures has acquired film rights to Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood and the World by Wall Street Journal investigative reporters Tom Wright and Bradley Hope. Deadline reported that Ivanhoe president/CEO John Penotti "is among the producers as is Michelle Yeoh. They teamed on Crazy Rich Asians."

"To me, this amazing story resonated as the perfection depiction of the intersection of East and West," said Penotti. "A lot of what may have driven the ability for this type of excess to have developed between Asia and the U.S. went well beyond the film business, but involved other areas of the financial business that included banks, sovereign funds, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian companies.

"We will hire writers and are still working on our way in, but this is about preconceived notions of how foreign cultures and wealth generation works and how Asian and Western cultures just don't understand each other. That gray area allowed smart people on this side to not question some of the clearly obvious signs of odd things that happened. Sophisticated people in finance blanket accepted things that were unfamiliar to the West and Jho Low and others exploited the unfamiliarity. When you look deeper and how we accepted as validated the kind of wealth that was moved around is mind boggling and the potential for fraud was able to continue because of a lack of due diligence."

Books & Authors

Awards: Edge Hill Short Story; FT/McKinsey Business Book

Tessa Hadley won the £10,000 (about $12,850) Edge Hill Short Story Prize for Bad Dreams. The prize is awarded annually by Edge Hill University for excellence in a published single author short story collection.

"I love this prize because it's the only one for a whole collection and takes the form seriously," Hadley told the Bookseller. "There are two ways that this prize is important. One, if you're any good as a writer you're always full of self-doubt so you need that confirmation from the outsider, and two, winning the prize means people actually take notice of your work."

Sarah Hall won the £1,000 (about $1,285) Reader's Prize, selected by 20 Edge Hill Creative Writing students, and MA Creative Writing student Julia Clayton won the MA Prize for most promising student writer.


John Carreyrou has won the £30,000 (about $38,555) 2018 Financial Times and McKinsey & Company Business Book of the Year Award for Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup (Knopf). The five runners-up each receive £10,000 ($12,850). The award recognizes "the book that provides the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues."

Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times and chair of the panel of judges, said called Bad Blood "a brilliant piece of enterprise journalism. Carreyrou cracked the story of Theranos despite threats. He just gives us the facts and they are devastating. It's well written and reads at times like a thriller."

Kevin Sneader, global managing partner of McKinsey & Company, commented: "Bad Blood is a distinctive piece of work. There are lessons here about the importance of governance, and the proper trade-offs between fostering innovation and conducting due diligence. Above all, it combines deep reporting with the narrative pulse of a well-told detective story."

In addition, Andrew Leon Hanna won the £15,000 (about $19,280) Bracken Bower Prize, which is "designed to encourage young authors to tackle emerging business themes, with a focus on the challenges and opportunities presented by growth," for his book proposal, 25 Million Sparks, which examines the rise of refugee entrepreneurs in a global crisis.

Book Review

Review: The Mansion

The Mansion by Ezekiel Boone (Emily Bestler/Atria, $26 hardcover, 432p., 9781501165504, December 4, 2018)

Ezekiel Boone's The Mansion combines past and present, using the implications of modern technology to deepen a story of betrayal, violence and the supernatural. Both a psychological and physical thriller, the novel is a slow burn of tension, with twists and turns that are shocking.

When a figure from their past invites Billy Safford and his wife, Emily, to run a secretive project in upstate New York, they believe their days of living in debt are over. Sean Eagle, owner of Eagle Technologies (imagine Google and Apple put together), was once Billy's best friend and Emily's boyfriend. Years later, he is the richest man in the world and still hasn't forgiven Billy for stealing the love of his life. Billy has only just dug himself out of years of alcohol abuse, and Sean's offer of work is impossible to refuse--especially since it pertains to an abandoned project the two men worked on a decade before in a remote cabin near the Canadian border.

That cabin is part of a larger campus that houses a decaying hotel, Eagle Mansion, originally built by Sean's great-great grandfather. Sean has totally rehabbed the place, turning it into the most technologically modern house in existence, complete with Nellie, the project he and Billy had been working on. Nellie is a Siri or Alexa on steroids, a super-helper who knows your whims before you have them. But something is dangerously wrong with her programming, and Sean can't fix it without his old friend.

Even with all the bells and whistles, The Mansion is at heart a haunted house story. Boone is fluent in modern conceptions of computer science, so Billy and Sean's discussions of Nellie feel authentic, but the descriptions of technology and programming are mostly window dressing for the specters that prowl Eagle Mansion. Boone blurs the lines between imagination and reality almost from the very beginning, and once Billy and Emily arrive on the premises, things start to go bump in the night.

Moreover, the mix of both technological and supernatural threats enhances The Mansion's appeal. Nellie isn't simply an evil computer, and Eagle Mansion isn't just a place haunted by the past. Instead, Billy, Sean and Emily must contend with both at the same time, which gives the narrative a larger, more intriguing sandbox in which to play. And often, just as Billy and Sean are becoming more sympathetic, Boone will dish out some history that shows how conflicted and broken they truly are. This adds to the tension, turning each new threat into a test of whether the reader is rooting for the humans, or the house.

The Mansion is a wonderful update of a classic model: people with secrets stuck in an old house with its own checkered past. Luckily, Boone knows the tropes of that old story well, and works to subvert them every chance he gets. --Noah Cruickshank, adult engagement manager, the Field Museum, Chicago, Ill.

Shelf Talker: The Mansion is a thrilling story that combines modern technology with old fears.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Rescuing Mary (Delta Force Heroes Book 9) by Susan Stoker
2. The Boy I Grew Up With by Tijan
3. Secrets From the Grave (The Veil Diaries Book 6) by B.L. Brunnemer
4. Drake (The Kings of Guardian Book 11) by Kris Michaels
5. O'Connor Family Series Collection by Katie Reus
6. Black Harvest by David Archer
7. Guinness World Records 2019 by Guinness World Records 2019
8. And Then You Loved Me by Inglath Cooper
9. Marriage Mistake by R.S. Lively
10. Judge by Alexa Riley

[Many thanks to!]

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