Shelf Awareness for Monday, November 19, 2018

Storey Publishing: The Universe in Verse: 15 Portals to Wonder Through Science & Poetry by Maria Popova

Tommy Nelson: You'll Always Have a Friend: What to Do When the Lonelies Come by Emily Ley, Illustrated by Romina Galotta

Jimmy Patterson: Amir and the Jinn Princess by M T Khan

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout


Bookstore Sales Dip 0.9% in September

September bookstore sales dipped 0.9%, to $948 million, compared to September 2017, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau.

For the year to date, bookstore sales were $7.63 billion, down 0.6% compared to the first nine months of 2017. Despite many months this year with strong gains, including February, March, June and July, the slight loss for 2018 so far is largely attributable to January results, when bookstore sales fell 8.6%.

Total retail sales in September rose 2.5%, to $483 billion. For the year to date, total retail sales have risen 5.3%, to $4,436 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing new books."

Weldon Owen: The Gay Icon's Guide to Life by Michael Joosten, Illustrated by Peter Emerich

Haines, Alaska, Bookstore Being Sold, Renamed

The Babbling Book and the Dragon's Nook bookstore, Haines, Alaska, is being sold and renamed, the Chilkat Valley News reported.

Jo "JoJo" Goerner is buying the store from Darcee Messano next month and will rename it the Moosterious Emporium. Goerner explained to the paper that "I received the nickname of the Moostress my first summer here." Among other positions, she teaches music lessons at the store and has been an educational coordinator at the Haines Sheldon Museum.

Goerner intends to add community events like a "Sit and Sip" quiet reading night or painting and wine event, and a board game night for families. The store will add musical supplies and encourage local artists to showcase their wares, "anything from candles to calendars to cards," Goerner said.

Messano bought the store in September 2017 from Liz and Tom Heywood and told the paper that she wants to spend more time at home. "I ended up being more of a placeholder and I'm really happy I was able to do that for the community," she said. "Jojo came along and she is the perfect fit (with) her energy and her capabilities. It's almost as if it was predestined and I'm just going along with it."

The Moosterious Emporium will be officially unveiled at the town's First Friday event on December 7.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Book Bank in Largo, Fla., to Close

Book Bank in Largo, Fla., which sells new and used books, will close November 28. Tampa Bay Newspapers reported that when owner Amy Schmaedeke moved to Pinellas County from Germany 21 years ago, she knew she wanted to run her own business and discovered Book Bank, which had opened in 1996 and was up for sale in 1998, so she bought it.

"It's a shame. I feel sorry for our repeat customers. They've been so loyal for 15, 20 years," Schmaedeke said, adding: "In the last two years, we were not making money. I was working for free, basically, the last two years, and every year it was like maybe next year will be better, and maybe the next year will be better. All the expenses keep going up and the income keeps going down and at the point where they meet there's no sense anymore....

"Having this store is like doing a Ph.D. because for me, anyway, I learned a lot. All kinds of books come into the store every day, things you didn't even know existed. It's a shame to lose that. And now for me, where do I go for my books? Now I have to go find books somewhere, but there isn't anywhere."

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

Obituary Note: William Goldman

William Goldman, who won Academy Awards for his screenplays for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President's Men and was also a prolific novelist, died November 16, the New York Times reported. He was 87. Goldman "viewed the film business with a jaundiced eye. As he often pointed out, he considered himself not a screenwriter but a novelist who wrote screenplays."

Goldman's books include the novels The Princess Bride and Marathon Man (both adapted into hit movies); The Temple of Gold; Boys and Girls Together; and No Way to Treat a Lady; along with nonfiction works Adventures in the Screen Trade; Which Lie Did I Tell?: More Adventures in the Screen Trade; and The Big Picture: Who Killed Hollywood?.

Stephen King tweeted: "So sorry to hear of the passing of William Goldman. He was both witty and talented. His screenplay of my book Misery was a beautiful thing. Rest In Peace, Bill."

In an appreciation of Goldman's work, Jason Bailey observed in the Times that his legacy "would have been assured had he only written screenplays.... But Goldman wrote more than screenplays. Aside from his engaging short stories and novels (including the source materials for Princess Bride and Marathon Man), he wrote several noteworthy volumes of commentary about the entertainment industry, offering an insider's view that cleared the smoke and smashed the mirrors. And he carried that refreshing candor into his interviews and profiles, carving out a reputation as one of the few heavyweights who dared to demystify the business."

Mike Lupica, a longtime friend and one-time collaborator (Wait 'Till Next Year, 1988), wrote in the Boston Globe that he had been on tour promoting his latest book for young readers, No Slam Dunk, during the two weeks before Goldman's death. "At every stop, knowing how little time Bill had left, I would ask how many of the kids knew The Princess Bride," Lupica recalled. "Just about every hand in the gym would go up. Then, I'd have them all shout out, 'Feel better, Mr. Goldman,' even knowing that he never would.

"I would have one of the teachers take videos of that shout-out, then e-mail them to Bill and Susan [Burden, his partner]. We started to call them Bill's daily pep rallies--proof that a whole new generation of children knew about Westley and Buttercup and Inigo Montoya. Maybe it helped convince the great William Goldman that, even as he was leaving us, his stories would live forever. I hope so. It really always was about the stories. As he wished."

Sidelines Snapshot: Socks, Chocolates, Tea Towels and Totes

At Waucoma Bookstore in Hood River, Ore., vinyl stickers from Stickers Northwest and acbc Design, particularly those with regional or outdoor themes, have been doing very well, as are socks from Primitives by Kathy, which feature funny sayings such as "I just want to be a stay at home dog mom," and "one cat away from being a crazy cat lady." Co-owner and gift buyer Jenny Cohen reported that in response to several customer requests, she has recently brought in Groove Rings, breathable silicone rings meant for outdoor enthusiasts or people who can't wear metal rings at their jobs.

When asked about any surprising sellers, Cohen said that her store sells a lot of Harmony Massage Rollers from Canadian company Relaxus; a variety of cell phone chargers and accessories from Kikkerland, PopSockets and especially the Portland company NWE Brands; and Sasquatch Field Guides from Paradise Cay Publications. On the subject of perennial favorites, Cohen pointed to Melissa & Doug toys, Folkmanis puppets, Woodstock windchimes, chocolates and treats from Chocolove and Candy Basket, and Earth Dream earrings, among others. Cohen noted, too, that she and her staff prefer to call them gifts as opposed to sidelines, as they account for some 30% of the store's sales. The products are also fully integrated on the shelves among the books, so customers can find something new "every time they are in store."

In Richmond, Va., Fountain Bookstore has done so well with socks that owner Kelly Justice went so far as to say she "can't believe any bookstore would not carry them," and she doubts strongly that the trend will end "any time soon." Recently, Justice has brought in Highland Bluff Studio Candles, which feature "playful, clean designs" and are "delightfully smelly but not overpowering." She's also brought in tools from Trixie & Milo, which she hopes will fill the need for gifts that are small and can appeal to both men and women. In terms of surprises, Justice pointed to the card line Gemma Correll Designs from Ohh Deer Ltd. She picked up the line "on a whim," and Fountain's bestselling card features a spider hanging from a web with the words "I made it with my bum."

When asked about locally or regionally made sidelines, Justice mentioned Red Rocker Candy. She enthusiastically recommended Taza Mexican Chocolate Discs, which she says have had a great price point, a small footprint, quality design and are "absolutely delicious." Some of her store's go-to favorites include Virginia Is for Lovers merchandise, the "very solid if not all that sexy staple" Franklin Eyewear, and Finger Hands from Accoutrements. And lastly, Justice plugged the wholesale website as a great way discover and try out new sidelines.

According to assistant manager and sidelines buyer Katherine Ralph, the Book Passage store in the Ferry Building in San Francisco, Calif., has a customer base consisting of both tourists and locals, and the store is doing particularly well in three main sidelines categories: packable, political and totes. In the first category, San Francisco- and California-themed tea towels from Claudia Pearson and Paper Sharks sell well, as do calendars from Found Image. In the political category, anything related to the Notorious RBG, such as magnets and mints from The Unemployed Philosophers Guild and pins from The Found, is popular. So are journals and pins from blackbird letterpress that feature famous women like Rachel Carson and Shirley Chisholm. And in the tote category, some favorite lines include Out of Print, Seltzer Goods, SF Mercantile and the Read, Rise, Resist totes made by Powell's Books in Portland, Ore.

The Ferry Building store has recently expanded its selection of greeting cards with new lines from smaller vendors like Painted Tongue Press and Zeichen Press, and Ralph said she was surprised by how many Kikkerland Zip & Flip Pillows the store sells. While the store doesn't carry  many children's sidelines, Harry Potter bookmarks from re-marks do well, and tugboats from Green Toys and Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty are popular. And finally, Ralph said, she is still blown away by how many Sock It to Me, Blue Q and Out of Print socks the store sells. --Alex Mutter

If you are interested in having your store appear in a future Sidelines Snapshot article, please send an e-mail to Alex Mutter.


Image of the Day: A Little Conversation

Prairie Lights, Iowa City, Iowa, recently lured longtime book buyer and bookseller extraordinaire Paul Ingram (r.) out of retirement to sit down for a conversation with Edward Carey to talk about Little (Riverhead), his new novel based on the life of Marie Tussaud. The two discussed the world of Madame Tussaud's famed wax figures (Carey once worked at the legendary London Museum, protecting the figures from disrespectful tourists), the dark thrills of Dickensian literature, and what a discovery it is when one first picks up a book and experiences the infinite possibilities of an author's imagination, ink and paper.

Happy 10th Birthday, Village Lights Bookstore!

Congratulations to Village Lights Bookstore in Madison, Ind., which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month with a series of events.

The festivities began on November 9, when Village Books launched Sweet Dreams Indiana by Adriane Doherty and illustrated by Anastasiia Kuusk. The bedtime board book, published by Cardinal Publishers Group, features famous people and places from throughout Indiana, including Village Lights and the store's own cats.

Village Lights owners Anne Vestuto and Nathan Montoya.

This past Saturday, Village Lights hosted an all-day party that included author events, giveaways, live music, free chair massages, birthday cake and much more. Purchases over $10 were 10% off, and the store had a launch event for Stephen Leigh's A Rising Moon, the second book in the historical fantasy series the Sunpath Cycle. The store's musical guests, meanwhile, were Tom Schneider and Margaret Breidenbaugh, the former a talented piano player, the latter a vocalist and player of the theremin.

The anniversary festivities will conclude on Indies First/Small Business Saturday with the appearance of author Scott Russell Sanders, Professor Emeritus of English at Indiana University Bloomington.

English Bookshop Celebrates Sale of Book on Shelf 27 Years

NPR has a sweet, hilarious story about Broadhursts Bookshop in Southport, England, which tweeted on Saturday that it had sold a book that had been on its shelves since May 1991. "We always knew its day would come," the store wrote in part.

The title was a children's biography of William the Conqueror bought by an "older gentleman who was buying several books on the Norman Conquest of Britain for his grandson," Joanne Ball, the bookseller who sold the book, told NPR.

Many people commented on the Tweet. Author Sarah Todd Taylor imagined the moment of sale after 27 years: "The book held its breath. It had hoped so often, only to have that hope crushed. Hands lifted it from the shelf, wrapped it warmly in paper. As the door closed on its past life, the book heard the soft cheers of its shelfmates."

Booksellers offered tales of other titles that had remained on the shelves for years. One wrote: "I worked at a bookshop that had a copy of Piers Morgan's autobiography. I worked there 2 different times in 4 years, and we never sold it, even when it was reduced to 1p! It's probably still there."

After Broadhursts replied, "Can't say we are hugely surprised," the original poster wrote: "It became shorthand for an impossible task: 'You're more likely to sell that Piers Morgan book than...' "

A reader offered to purchase titles that languish on the shelves, tweeting, "You know when people go to dog shelters and say I want to take home the dog who has been here longest. I'm going to do this in bookstores. 'Can you point me to the book you've had here the longest?' That will be some random book collection! I will liberate these books!"

Personnel Changes at Harlequin; University of Chicago Press

Heather Connor has joined Harlequin in the newly created role of v-p, publicity, overseeing Park Row Books, Hanover Square Press, Graydon House, MIRA, HQN, and Inkyard Press. She was previously director of publicity at Berkley.


Levi Stahl has been named marketing director of the books division of the University of Chicago Press. He was most recently promotions director and associate marketing director at the Press, which he joined in 1999 as direct mail copywriter. He then became advertising manager and publicity manager. He is also a Press author, having edited The Getaway Car: A Donald E. Westlake Nonfiction Miscellany (2014). He began his career as a bookseller, working at Books, Etc., in London, then at Great Expectations Bookstore, Evanston, Ill.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jenifer Lewis on the Real, the Talk

The Real: Jenifer Lewis, author of The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir (Amistad, $15.99, 9780062410412). She will also appear tomorrow on the Talk.

Tonight Show: Chris Colfer, author of The Land of Stories: The Ultimate Book Hugger's Guide (Little, Brown, $18.99, 9780316523301).

Ellen: Chrissy Teigen, co-author of Cravings: Hungry for More (Clarkson Potter, $29.99, 9781524759728).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: John Kerry, author of Every Day Is Extra (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781501178955).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Senator Ben Sasse, author of Them: Why We Hate Each Other--and How to Heal (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9781250193681).

TV: The Undoing; The One

Hugh Grant has been cast opposite Nicole Kidman in The Undoing, HBO's high-profile six-episode limited series based on Jean Hanff Korelitz's book You Should Have Known, Deadline reported. Susanne Bier is directing all episodes and executive producing along with writer David E. Kelley, Kidman with Per Saari through their Blossom Films, and Bruna Papandrea via Made Up Stories.


Netflix has greenlighted The One, a 10-episode drama series from writer-creator Howard Overman based on the sci-fi novel by John Marrs. Deadline reported that StudioCanal is the studio, and the series is produced by Urban Myth Films, the company set up by Overman and producers Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy. The latter two are executive producers of The One.

Books & Authors

Awards: National Outdoor Book; New Mexico-Arizona Book

The winners and honorable mentions in the 10 categories of the 2018 National Outdoor Book Awards have been announced and can be seen here. The awards are sponsored by the National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education, and Idaho State University.


The top honors in the 2018 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards went to:

Best Arizona Book: Arizona's Deadliest Gunfight by Heidi Osselaer (University of Oklahoma Press)
Best New Mexico Book (tie):
ABQ's North Valley by Francelle Alexander (Rio Grand Books)
Apacheria by W. Michael Farmer (Globe Pequot)

The other winners can be seen here.

Top Library Recommended Titles for 2018

LibraryReads, the nationwide library staff-picks list, offers the top 2018 titles public library staff across the country love:

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (Random House, $28, 9780399590504). "In her memoir, Westover recounts her childhood growing up in a strict Mormon family, ruled by an erratic father, and living off the grid in Idaho. Westover compellingly sketches her years growing up, her relationships with siblings, encounters in the town nearby, and the events that eventually drove her to leave and pursue formal education. For fans of Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle." --Andrea Gough, Seattle Public Library, Seattle, Wash.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Algonquin, $26.95, 9781616201340). "Celestial and Roy are newly married professionals leaning in to a bright future when Roy is convicted of a crime he did not commit. This is not a heroes vs. villains tale with a tidy resolution. It is a complicated, messy, moving, and thought-provoking story about love, family, and the wide-reaching effects of incarceration. Book clubs get ready!" --Jennifer Alexander, St. Louis County Library, St. Louis, Mo.

Circe by Madeline Miller (Little, Brown, $27, 9780316556347). "Circe follows the banished witch daughter of the Titans as she practices her powers for an inevitable conflict with one of Olympus's most vindictive gods. I found myself pondering motherhood, mortality, and feminism. For readers of historical and mythological drama or anyone who loves a strong female lead." --McKelle George, Salt Lake City Public Library, Salt Lake City, Utah

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware (Gallery/Scout Press, $26.99, 9781501156212). "Ware's best book by far. I finally stopped trying to puzzle it out and just sat back to enjoy the ride." --Susanne Guide, Union County Public Library, Liberty, Ind.

The Great Alone: A Novel by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9780312577230). "Leni and her troubled family embark on a new way of life in Alaska's wilderness in 1974--hoping this is finally the solution for her troubled, POW father. In Alaska, Leni and her family are tested and when change comes to their small community, her father's anger threatens to explode and divide the town. This is a beautifully written novel, descriptive and engaging with well-developed characters and a strong sense of place." --Alissa Williams, Morton Public Library, Morton, Ill.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (Putnam, $26, 9780735213180). "A thought-provoking, sweeping family saga set in New York City's Lower East Side, 1969. Four siblings sneak out to visit a psychic who reveals to each, separately, the exact date of his or her death. The book goes on to recount five decades of experience shaped by the siblings attempts to control fate." --Kelly Currie, Delphi Public Library, Delphi, Ind.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (Berkley, $15, 9780451490803). "A wonderfully sweet and erotic romance featuring an autistic heroine who hires a hot male escort to teach her how to enjoy sex, but learns so much more." --Elizabeth Gabriel, Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee, Wis.

There There by Tommy Orange (Knopf, $25.95, 9780525520375). "A large cast of interwoven characters depicts the experience of Native Americans living in urban settings. Perfect for readers of character-driven fiction with a strong sense of place." --Abby Johnson, New Albany-Floyd County Public Library, New Albany, Ind.

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory (Berkley, $15, 9780399587665). "Drew is in San Francisco for his ex-girlfriend's wedding. When he finds himself stuck in an elevator with Alexa, they hatch a plan to go to the wedding together, pretending to be a couple. Told in alternating points of view, this is a delightful multicultural romance." --Elizabeth Gabriel, Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee, Wis.

The Woman in the Window: A Novel by A.J. Finn (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062678416). "A menacing psychological thriller that starts out like Rear Window and then veers off into unexpected places. An agoraphobic recluse languishes in her New York City home, drinking wine and spying on her neighbors. One day she witnesses a crime that threatens to expose her secrets." --Joseph Jones, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Cuyahoga, Ohio

Book Review

Review: The Barefoot Woman

The Barefoot Woman by Scholastique Mukasonga, trans. by Jordan Stump (Archipelago Books, $16 paperback, 152p., 9781939810045, December 11, 2018)

The Barefoot Woman by Scholastique Mukasonga (Our Lady of the Nile; Cockroaches) is a loving tribute to a strong mother and a striking work of memoir.

Mukasonga and her family lived as exiles in Rwanda in the years leading up to the genocide of the Tutsi. This time in her life, when they were all together and alive, was short, but Mukasonga has vivid memories, especially of her mother, Stefania, a leader in the makeshift village where they were regularly terrorized by Hutu soldiers. In an earlier memoir, Cockroaches, Mukasonga depicted the horrific end of her family. Here, she focuses on her mother: Stefania is a hard worker, always with her hoe in hand; a healer with a medicinal garden of grasses, tubers, roots and tree leaves; a "highly respected matchmaker"; and a dedicated, ever-vigilant protector of her children. Saving them was her "one single project day in and day out, one sole reason to go on surviving." She is not a hero with a single dimension, though. In Mukasonga's warm telling, Stefania has personality, a sense of humor and a deep love for her family.

The book opens and closes with dreamlike sequences. At the beginning, in the narrator's memory, Stefania reminds her children of their duty to their mother upon her death. At the end, Mukasonga describes a dream about her mother's uncared-for dead body and those of so many Tutsi. This sets the tone for the rest of the memoir, which often feels dreamy as it turns to childhood memories. Extraordinarily, this story is at times horrifying in its content and at other times playful; lyric in its style and tender in its handling of the central character. While the reader's knowledge of the genocide to come hangs over the narrative, the everyday events often retain a quotidian feeling; Stefania and her neighbors worry over their children but also laugh and celebrate and arrange marriages. As a literary work, this establishes a rare balance. Jordan Stump's translation from the French beautifully conveys this sense of both tragedy and day-to-day joy.

The Barefoot Woman is also an essential record of traditions and a way of life that are in danger of disappearing. It describes the inzu Stefania builds, with great effort, in exile: a traditional straw-dome house "that was as vital to her as water to a fish." The importance of keeping a fire going, and why a mother would borrow fire from a neighbor rather than use a match. The significance of sorghum, "a true Rwandan" crop, and why Stefania insisted on a cow, the traditional gift for her son's marriage pact, even in the inhospitable new place where cows were no longer a part of their everyday lives.

This is an adoring, gorgeously rendered memorial to a mother and testimony to a people. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: A shadow of tragedy hangs over this lovely, lyric memoir of Tutsi childhood in Rwanda, but the author's love for her strong mother remains central.

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