Shelf Awareness for Friday, November 16, 2018


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman

Other Press: The Hundred Wells of Salaga by Ayesha Harruna Attah

Viz Media: Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits, Vol. 1, original art by Waco Ioka, original story by Midori Yuma, and character design by Laruha

Flatiron Books: FKA USA by Reed King

Candlewick Press: A Green Place to Be: The Creation of Central Park by Ashley Benham Yazdani

Ingram: Booklove: An exclusive risk-free rewards program - Free to join. Don't miss out.

Algonquin Books: Courting Mr. Lincoln by Louis Bayard

News

Shelf Delivers First of Regional Holiday E-Catalogs

Following the success of the e-mail editions of the Indie Next List and Kids' Next List that Shelf Awareness produces for the American Booksellers Association, we are delighted to begin offering a similar service to two regional booksellers associations. Yesterday we delivered the first of four holiday catalogs on behalf of the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association to 107,970 book buyers through 45 participating bookstores. (See an example from Prairie Lights, Iowa City, Iowa, here.) On Monday, we will deliver the first of four Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association holiday catalog e-newsletters.

We are honored and grateful to the associations, our program partner bookstores and to the publishers who trust us to help the best book buyers in the country discover holiday titles through their local indie bookstore. We look forward to many more Shelf-powered partnerships, but most importantly, continuing to help indies sell more books!


Grand Central Publishing: Roar by Cecilia Ahern


Indie Booksellers Responding to California Wildfires

Powerful Santa Ana winds and extremely dry conditions continue to fuel several major and deadly wildfires in California, with residents of many inland and coastal communities forced to evacuate. Independent booksellers in the state have been offering what assistance and consolation they can under the tragic circumstances.

"We've had several booksellers reach out to us who are strategizing ways to send books and other assistance up north," Northern California Independent Booksellers Association administrator Ann Seaton told Bookselling This Week. "We're collecting information and working on this outreach." She also noted, as an example, that Readers' Books in Sonoma has been keeping a jar on the counter to collect donations for the California Fire Foundation, which helps victims of the fires.

Pam French, executive director of the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, said Binc has been calling stores in the affected areas. "The good news is that the 'Binc grapevine' has been fabulous and bookstores are letting other stores know about Binc, and we're using social media, too," said French. "Like the hurricanes, we anticipate it will take booksellers several weeks to access their situation and then get in touch with Binc.

"We've also talked to the owner of the Paradise Found bookstore. It's a used store, and the owner entirely lost both the store and his home. Once he is let back into the town, we'll begin to work with him on how Binc might be able to help. And so far, we have not heard of any injury to booksellers or their pets."

Yesterday, Children's Book World in Los Angeles shared a link to a Go Fund Me campaign for one of its booksellers, Cherry O'Meara, who lost her house to the Woolsey fire.

Mrs. Figs' Bookworm postponed a recent event at the Camarillo Library, saying it would be held at "a time that would be better for our unsettled and grieving community. I will let you know as soon as the new date has been established. Thank you for your understanding." The bookstore also posted a moving video, "I Choose Love."

Last weekend, pages: a bookstore, Manhattan Beach, posted: "We are thinking about our neighbors in Malibu and throughout the state who are affected by these devastating fires. We are grateful for the heroic firefighters who are working so hard and courageously. On Sunday, November 11th @pagesabookstore will donate 10% of our sales to The California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund."

Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, said: "Our hearts are breaking. Between the tragic events in Thousand Oaks and the fires all over California, no one in our community has been left untouched by this terrible week. If you're in need of shelter tonight, click here for info: https://www.vcemergency.com/. If you would like to help those in need from this week's events, donate to https://vccf.org/ or https://www.hsvc.org/ or https://www.redcross.org/about-us/our-work/disaster-relief/wildfire-relief.html. We are deeply grateful for the first responders protecting Southern California this week. Please stay safe."

DIESEL, A Bookstore in Brentwood shared several ways that people could assist with donations to help firefighters and victims. 

For booksellers affected by the fires who need immediate assistance, Binc will take disaster applications for individuals and stores over the phone or by e-mail. The organization can be contacted by calling 866-733-9064 or by e-mailing or texting to help@bincfoundation.org.


Johns Hopkins University Press: Admit One: Writing Your Way Into the Best Colleges by Thomas Richards


B&N Opens Prototype Store in Hackensack, N.J.

On Wednesday, Barnes & Noble opened a prototype store at the Shops at Riverside in Hackensack, N.J., the North Jersey Record reported. The store replaces an older B&N store in the mall and will hold grand opening events this weekend.

Citing the popularity of the original store, Carl Hauch, the B&N's v-p of stores, told the paper, "This is a proven market for us. There's a great community of book lovers, and it's a community we wanted to stay in."

He also noted the attraction of the mall's multi-year makeover, which is in its third and final phase. "As the mall was looking to redevelop, we wanted to continue to be in the community for years and years to come," Hauch added.

Among features of the new Hackensack store:

Reconfigured space. Store manager Sean Sabini told the paper that the old store, which he also managed, had "a lot of space dedicated to categories that were really popular in the years before," particularly music, that have shrunk substantially. Other categories, like space dedicated to "kids and play areas and story times," has been increased. There are now two spaces for children to read and play, including a children's section with a Lego activity table enclosed in a "jungle gym" display feature.

There is no longer a customer service counter in the center of the store. "Now customers have the option to find titles on their own at a self-serve kiosk or be assisted by employees equipped with tablets on the floor," the paper noted.

There are "two '360-degree 'book theaters' at each entrance, lower-profile bookshelves, and illuminated bookcases and displays," the paper continued. "The store still offers a large cafe with tables nearby, a lounge area and a 700-square-foot flexible event space in the middle of the store."

The new store is 19,000 square feet, larger than B&N's target range for prototype stores. The company had said during its first-quarter results conference call in September that its newest prototype stores are between 10,000 to 14,000 square feet, and some might be as small as 8,000 to 10,000 square feet.


KidsBuzz for the Week of 01.14.19


BookPeople's Hourly Employees Vote to Unionize

The 80 hourly employees at BookPeople in Austin, Tex., have voted to unionize with OPEIU Local 277, Fox 7 Austin reported. The union represents more than 7,000 members in the insurance industry, credit unions, clerical and technical workers in aircraft manufacturing, and union offices.

BookPeople employee Salvador Samudio told Fox 7 that the decision to unionize allows hourly employees to "negotiate for better pay, better wages and better benefits through representatives from the bookstore." Samudio added that the employees "love that store, they love working there, they want to make it an even more special place."

The decision to unionize was supported by Austin City Council member Greg Casar, who said he hopes that the BookPeople vote will inspire employees at other Austin retailers to form unions of their own. Casar said: "I've already heard from other folks who have been watching the BookPeople campaign asking well, 'if it can happen at BookPeople why can't it happen at my coffee shop? Why can't it happen at my store?' "


GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt by Andrea Bobotis


Obituary Note: Shakti Gawain

 

Shakti Gawain

Shakti Gawain, co-founder of New World Library and a bestselling author, died on November 11 at age 70.

Originally named Carol Louise Gawain, Gawain met Marc Allen, with whom she co-founded the publishing house, in 1974. He nicknamed her Shakti, which is the Sanskrit word for the divine feminine creative force.

The two led workshops together and wrote and produced educational booklets in the kitchen of their small apartment in Oakland, Calif. Their shoestring operation began with very little capital and minimal sales. That changed with the publication of Gawain's first book, Creative Visualization, which had strong word-of-mouth sales. Then, in the early 1980s, Oprah Winfrey invited her to be a guest on her yet-to-be-syndicated television show.

When the Oprah Winfrey Show went national in 1986 and re-aired the interview with Gawain, Creative Visualization became an international bestseller--and has sold more than seven million copies worldwide. And New World Library, which was called Whatever Publishing at the time, became established.

Gawain wrote several other books, including Living in the Light, Return to the Garden, The Path of Transformation, The Four Levels of Healing, Creating True Prosperity, and Developing Intuition. Altogether her books have sold more than 10 million copies and have been translated into 38 languages.

In 1992, Gawain left New World Library to start a publishing company called Nataraj Publishing with her husband, Jim Burns. She also opened a healing center in Mill Valley, Calif. She spent the rest of her career mentoring individuals, publishing books, and offering workshops.

Gawain was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in the late 1990s and later with Lewy body disease. As her obituary recounted, "She lived with the diagnosis with the amazing strength and grace that made her who she was. In 2015, Shakti made the hard decision to step back from her public life so that she could focus on her own healing and spend time with Jim. With him by her side, she passed away peacefully from complications following hip surgery."

Memorial contributions can be made in Gawain's name to the Lewy Body Dementia Association.


Rick Riordan Present: Aru Shah and the Song of Death (Pandava #2) by Roshani Chokshi


Notes

Image of the Day: Take a Hike

Tattered Cover in Denver, Colo., and Rizzoli New York hosted a panel dedicated to the celebration of the National Trails System and the 10th anniversary of Rizzoli's outdoors publishing program. The program publishes in partnership with various trail organizations, and a portion of proceeds benefits each organization. The panelists (l.-r.): photographer Pete McBride, Grand Canyon; moderator Gary Werner, executive director of the Partnership of the National Trails System; Brian King, executive director of the Partnership of the National Trails System; Mark Larabee, Pacific Crest Trail; and Barney Scout Mann, thru-hiker of the Triple Crown trails and board member of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition.


Quirk Books: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers by Fred Rogers, illustrated by Luke Flowers


Village Books' New Mezzanine

WhatcomTalk has taken a tour of the recently remodeled third-story mezzanine at Village Books and Paper Dreams in Bellingham, Wash.

Evolve Chocolate + Cafe, which opened on the mezzanine back in August, a major new addition, serves coffee, tea, salads, sandwiches and sweets, along with beer, wine and an assortment of cocktails. Evolve is particularly known for its chocolate truffles, and three nights per week the cafe offers full table service and a three-course prix fixe menu. It also features a "living wall" of growing herbs that are used in its recipes.

Adjacent to the cafe is the Writers' Corner at Village Books, which has also been refreshed. The Writers' Corner features tables and a wood bar for writers to sit and work, and the space is host to not only a variety of writing groups and classes but also more than 10 different book groups.

And while the renovations to the mezzanine took a bit longer than expected, co-owner Sarah Hutton told WhatcomTalk that it really gave her and co-owners Kelly Evert and Paul Hanson "the opportunity to rethink the space."


Grand Central Publishing: A Bend in the Stars by Rachel Barenbaum


Claudia Riemer Boutote Launches Red Raven Studio

Claudia Riemer Boutote

Claudia Riemer Boutote, an industry veteran and former publisher at HarperCollins, has launched Red Raven Studio, a marketing, editorial and author management consultancy dedicated to "building mythic brands for authors, businesses and institution that want to make a difference." Services include manuscript development, strategic book marketing, brand management and organizational support for authors, experts, publishers, universities and subscription-based platforms.

"Red Raven Studio works to bridge the gaps and polish the edges of the publishing process to ensure that authors are ready for the moment that the spotlight shines on them," Boutote said. "We offer a new mentoring and career management model aligning with agents and publishers to help authors bring their vision to the page, match their book to their long-view goals, and extend audience reach."


Heather Fain Leaving Hachette for New Podcast Company

Heather Fain

After 20 years at Hachette Book Group, currently as senior v-p, director of marketing strategy, Heather Fain is leaving to become chief marketing officer at Pushkin Industries, the podcast company recently launched by Jacob Weisberg and Malcolm Gladwell. The move is effective November 30.

Her first job out of college was in the Warner Books publicity department, in 1996. Five years later, she joined Little, Brown's publicity department, then rose to director of publicity, marketing director, and deputy publisher. She assumed her present job in 2015.

In a memo to staff, Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch wrote in part that throughout her career, Fain "has demonstrated a remarkable set of skills. She is determined and focused. She plans well, communicates clearly, and follows through. She is unafraid to have difficult conversations forthrightly. And she is delightful to work with. She brings joy to her work and celebrates accomplishments large and small. Her daughter Merrill is a larger-than-life presence to many of us thanks to Heather's unabashed pride in her family. She has been a great colleague, a mentor, and a leader, and we are going to miss her very much. Fortunately she leaves us with a strong D2C marketing foundation and a highly skilled and forward-thinking team of marketing Fain specialists."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jeff Guinn on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Jeff Guinn, author of The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple (Simon & Schuster, $17, 9781476763835).

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

Tomorrow:
TBN's Huckabee: Squire Rushnell and Louise DuArt, authors of Godwink Christmas Stories: Discover the Most Wondrous Gifts of the Season (Howard, $19.99, 9781501199950).



Books & Authors

Awards: Cundill History; Goldsmiths

Maya Jasanoff has won the $75,000 Cundill History Prize for The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World (Penguin Press), which organizers called a "genrebending account of the life and world of the Polish-born British writer Joseph Conrad."

Chair of judges Mark Gilbert said, "The Dawn Watch is a striking portrait of an exceptional man and his times. Maya Jasanoff is a visitor in Conrad's world, a recreator of it and in some ways its judge. Capturing this world required remarkable research, an eye for telling detail, a roving spirit similar to Conrad's own, and a gift for historical narrative. Fortunately, Jasanoff's pen, like Conrad's, is a magic wand."

Jasanoff is Coolidge Professor of History at Harvard University and was previously a finalist for the Cundill History Prize for her second book, Liberty's Exile (2011). Her first book, Edge of Empire, won the 2005 Duff Cooper Prize.

Also the two runners up each received a Recognition of Excellence Award and $10,000:

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser (Metropolitan Books)
A Cold Welcome: The Little Ice Age and Europe's Encounter with North America by Sam White (Harvard University Press)

---

Robin Robertson won the £10,000 (about $12,800) Goldsmiths Prize, which recognizes "a book that is deemed genuinely novel and which embodies the spirit of invention that characterizes the genre at its best," for The Long Take.

Chair of Judges Adam Mars-Jones commented: "The judges are proud to salute Robin Robertson's The Long Take, a film noir verse novel full of blinding sunlight and lingering shadows, technically accomplished, formally resourceful and emotionally unsparing."


Reading with... K.D. Miller

photo: Elaine Batcher

K.D. Miller is the author of All Saints, shortlisted for the 2014 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and longlisted for the 2014 Frank O'Connor Award. Her latest book, Late Breaking (Biblioasis, November 6), is a collection of linked stories based on the paintings of Alex Colville and haunted by the supernatural. She lives in Toronto.

On your nightstand now:

I'm just finishing the novel Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson. Next up is a collection of short stories--Florida by Lauren Groff. Meanwhile, each morning I read one chapter of Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I got Anna Sewell's Black Beauty for Christmas when I was eight. It was my first really "grown-up" book--hardcover and over an inch thick! Its narrator, the eponymous black horse (perhaps the most anthropomorphized and articulate animal in literary history) told a tale of Dickensian woe which apparently galvanized the animal rights movement in England. But the book turned me into a genuine, card-carrying, horse-crazy kid. I read every horse book I could get my hands on after that, and even started riding, after a fashion.

Your top five authors:

Alice Munro, Ian McEwan, Elizabeth Strout, William Trevor, Hilary Mantel.

Book you've faked reading:

I don't think I ever have faked reading something. I'm pretty good at refusing to start or finish a book that I just don't want to read. What I used to do in public school, however, was fake not having read something. By the end of each September, I would have gobbled up the class's designated "Reader." This reading ahead would actually have gotten me into trouble--schools were little gulags then. So I would have to disguise my boredom for the rest of the year, and pretend to be reading each assignment for the first time.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery. I couldn't believe I was reading a whole book about cephalopods. Montgomery is a wonderful nature writer. She was one of the models for a character in my latest book--a woman who writes about spiders, bats and other things most people want nothing to do with. The Soul of an Octopus is proof that you can write about anything, anything at all, and, provided you do it with sufficient authority and skill, you'll have people turning the pages.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Well, I have a book that I keep on my shelves for the cover, even though I know I will never read it again. When I was 12, my parents gave me a beautifully illustrated (by N.C. Wyeth) edition of The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (another Christmas present.) The cover and the color plates are just breathtaking, and perfect for the story.

Book you hid from your parents:

The Group by Mary McCarthy. I was in my early teens, so it was the mid-'60s. Girls weren't told much in those days, and The Group included a chapter in which a female character loses her virginity. The description of the act was clear and vivid, and gave me exactly the information I needed at the time. It's safe to say that those few pages constituted my sex education.

Book that changed your life:

Margaret Laurence's A Bird in the House was the first book of linked short stories I ever encountered. I became a fan of the form, both as a reader and a writer. John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany convinced me that I could brave the wrath of the Uncool Police and start going to church.

Favorite line from a book:

"I don't believe in God, but I miss Him." First sentence of Nothing to Be Frightened Of by Julian Barnes.

Five books you'll never part with:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I have my mother's girlhood copy. She decorated the end papers with pencil sketches of 1920s brides.

Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood. My favorite of hers. I treat myself to it every three or so years.

The Unstrung Harp, or, Mr. Earbrass Writes a Novel--actually a small book of cartoons by Edward Gorey, about "the unspeakable horror of the literary life." Whenever I finish a book manuscript, I reread this little tome and just howl.

Carnage on the Committee by Ruth Dudley Edwards. Speaking of howling, the deliciously politically incorrect humor of this murder mystery makes it a standout.

Rilke's Book of Hours (Love Poems to God), translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Fifth Business by Robertson Davies. Made me realize for the first time (and each time after) what "authority" means when it comes to writing.


Book Review

Review: The Dakota Winters

The Dakota Winters by Tom Barbash (Ecco, $26.99 hardcover, 336p., 9780062258199, December 4, 2018)

Tom Barbash's second novel, The Dakota Winters, has nothing to do with the climate of the states on the northern border of the United States. Instead, it's a refreshingly candid look at the power of celebrity and the sometimes terrifying price it exacts.

Set in New York City in 1979 and 1980, the "Dakota" of the novel's title is the famed Upper West Side apartment building at the corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West. That building is home to comedian and talk show host Reginald "Buddy" Winters, his wife, Emily, and their sons Anton and Kip.

Twenty-three-year-old Anton, the novel's narrator, thinks he's there only temporarily, after a near fatal bout of malaria and amoebic dysentery he contracted while serving in the Peace Corps in Gabon. And he isn't the only member of the family in recovery mode. Buddy, who hosted a late-night talk show (evoking memories of Dick Cavett and his erudite program in the 1970s), is striving to rebuild his career after a nervous breakdown that featured an on-air walk-off. "It's genius until you break," he likes to say. To make the Winters' lives even more interesting, two floors above them live their friends, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. It's been nearly five years since John's last album, and he's in the midst of his own creative lull.

Through Anton's observant eyes, Barbash (The Last Good Chance) trails these characters around New York City in one of its dodgier eras, with a side trip to the 1980 Winter Olympics and a yacht voyage to Bermuda that turns from placid to terrifying in an instant. The smart and self-aware Anton becomes a creative muse to both Buddy--desperate to persuade network executives he's a safe bet for another show--and John, on the cusp of recording his final album, Double Fantasy, while wrestling with the steps he needs to emerge from his father's shadow. Hovering over all of this is a reader's knowledge of the tragedy that will occur at the Dakota on the night of December 8, 1980. It is an event that brings into sharp focus the sometimes dangerous intersection between the famous and the troubled, whose eagerness to feel the warmth of the limelight drifts into pathology.

Barbash has a keen appreciation of the gap between celebrities and those whose existence doesn't thrust them into the media spotlight. Described by Lennon as "a form of imprisonment, albeit a pampered one," the burdens of a public life portrayed in The Dakota Winters might discourage some readers from being too eager to trade their ordinary lives for those of their idols. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Tom Barbash's second novel is a smart glimpse, from both inside and out, of what the bubble of celebrity is like.


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Books & Booksellers Are, Indeed, My Bag

In a week when the National Book Awards are dominating book prize attention in the U.S.--and deservedly so--my thoughts also turned to the Booksellers Association in the U.K. & Ireland, which held its annual Books Are My Bag Readers Awards Tuesday night at the "beautiful and iconic" Foyles Charing Cross Road store in London. The #BAMBReadersAwards are sponsored by National Book Tokens and "are part of Books Are My Bag, the annual campaign celebrating the vital importance of bookshops."

There were a couple of reasons why my attention was drawn to the celebration, including the news last week that the BA would abandon its backing of Civilised Saturday/Saturday Sanctuary to focus on promoting these award winners during the holiday season, as well as the inclusion of prize categories for "Outstanding Contribution to Bookselling" and "Beautiful Book."

"The book awards, now in their third year, are curated by bookshops, with booksellers selecting the shortlists in each category," the BA noted. "The public is invited to vote for a winning title from each shortlist, apart from the Beautiful Book category which is decided purely by a bookshop vote. The Readers' Choice category is decided by an open public vote with no shortlist."

And now, the envelope please. This year's BAMB Readers Awards winners are:

Novel: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Nonfiction: The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It's Broken by The Secret Barrister
Poetry: The Last Hedgehogby Pam Ayres, illustrated by Alice Tait
Breakthrough author: Sarah J. Harris for The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder
Young readers/middle grade: The Storm Keeper's Island by Catherine Doyle
Young readers/YA: La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One by Philip Pullman
Beautiful book: Virago Modern Classics 40th anniversary series, designed by Hannah Wood, illustrated by Yehrin Tong (Little, Brown)
Readers' choice: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Outstanding contribution to bookselling: Vivian Archer, Newham Bookshop, East London

Here are a few social media highlights from the evening:

BAMB live-tweeted: "The Outstanding Contribution to Bookselling Award goes to Vivian Archer @NewhamBookshop! Vivian began her Bookselling career in the late 1970s and has been at the helm of @newhambookshop for 31 years of the shops 40 year existence. Congratulations!"

Newham Bookshop noted: "So proud to have won this last night. Thank you all our wonderful staff, our great customers, publishers and authors. Makes it all worthwhile."

The Secret Barrister, anonymous blogger and now award-winning author, tweeted: "This is absolutely crazy. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who voted. You're all brilliant, magnificent creatures. And a huge thank you too to @booksaremybag and all the wonderful independent booksellers who nominated us."

The Publishers Association captured the "brilliant moment" when "The Secret Barrister" showed up to accept the award, only to confess: "I have to tell you all that I'm not the Secret Barrister."

Erica Jones (@bookshopblogger) praised the "excellent book award presenting tonight by indie bookshops: @NewhamBookshop, @RedLionBooks, @booknookhove, @7OaksBookshop, @gaystheword and @mrbsemporium. I've been to all but one of you and must rectify that soon."

The London Book Fair tweeted: "We're enjoying the fact that all the winners tonight are paying big thanks to all the booksellers who have got their books into the hands of readers."

Bertram Books highlighted BA president Nic Bottomley's mention of another major indie bookseller triumph this week: " 'The best small shop in the country is a bookshop!' Well of course it is! @mainstreethare thanks Nic @mrbsemporium and the #BAMBReadersAwards for a great evening."

"In a reading rut? Want to health-check your reading habits?" #BAMBReadersAwards Novel Award-winning Turton "prescribes five books for any mood or occasion over on @book_tokens' Caboodle." I've never read him, but I liked his take on reading (e.g., "First things first, cheat on your favorite genre."). Maybe I'll read him now. That's how these things happen, as you know so well.

He also seems to be intrigued by the inner workings of book trade, which I count as a plus. "I think there is more of an appetite for high concept murder mysteries than before," he told the Bookseller. "When I was trying to find an agent, there were very few who I could submit to for this, and some rejected it because they wanted it either to be sci-fi and high concept or be a murder mystery. Now I think there are more authors writing books that combine the two.... The industry always seems to be cyclical, and there is a big wellspring at the moment in the gothic and the supernatural. The trick--and what my [U.K.] editor Alison [Hennessey, editorial director of Raven Books] has done--is to see what is coming so as to commission and help create the trend."

Overall, #BAMBReadersAwards 2018 came up a winner for me. As it did for Emma Bradshaw, head of campaigns at the BA, who said: "From first time authors to literary giants, this year's Books Are My Bag Readers Awards winners give an insight into bookseller's and the public's top books of the year. It's hugely exciting to see such a large proportion of new writers on the list, showing just how much brilliant new writing talent readers have to enjoy." Can't argue with that.

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

KidsBuzz: Bloomsbury Children's Books: Princess Before Dawn (Wide-Awake Princess) by E.D. Baker
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