Shelf Awareness for Thursday, January 3, 2019

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Tender Beasts by Liselle Sambury

Scholastic Press: Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Alan Gratz

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Peachtree Publishers: King & Kayla and the Case of the Downstairs Ghost (King & Kayla) by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers

Doubleday Books: The Husbands by Holly Gramazio


For Sale: Common Good Books in St. Paul, Minn.

Common Good Books in St. Paul, Minn., has been put up for sale. The independent bookstore was opened by Garrison Keillor in 2006 on Cathedral Hill, then moved to its present location at 38 S. Snelling Ave. in 2012. An announcement of the sale noted that Common Good Books "boasts a loyal customer base of active readers. It has long hosted events, ranging from a monthly book club to readings by local authors to visits from national authors including Cheryl Strayed, David Sedaris, and Hillary Clinton."

"I opened Common Good Books because I loved the bookstores I knew around the U, Perrine's and McCosh's and Heddan's and Savran's," said Keillor. "And now I'm leaving town and am busy writing a book of my own so it's time to turn over the business to someone else. The world is full of wonderful independent bookstores and needs every one."

He told the Star Tribune: "I’m hoping someone will take over the bookstore who has time to devote to it. Amazon is slowly taking over the world but it’s fun to resist, even in a losing cause."

"We've had inquiries and I'm talking to a couple people," said store manager David Enyeart in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press. "We've spread a wide net through the grapevine and now we decided it's time for a discussion in the local community." He added that the store is "a unique business opportunity," and that the sale announcement will not affect day-to-day operations: "We are not changing anything in the short term."

For more information, contact Enyeart at 651-225-8989 or by e-mail.

Holiday House: The Five Impossible Tasks of Eden Smith by Tom Llewellyn; The Selkie's Daughter by Linda Crotta Brennan

Ownership Transfer for Baltimore's Ivy Bookshop

Ed and Ann Berlin have transferred ownership of the Ivy Bookshop, Baltimore, Md., to their business partner, Emma Snyder. Darielle Linehan opened the bookstore in 2002 and sold it to the Berlins in 2012. Snyder, who previously served as executive director of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation in Washington, D.C., returned to her native Baltimore in 2017 to join them as a co-owner of the Ivy. The partnership was designed to be a gradual transition, with Snyder taking sole ownership of the store when the Berlins decided to retire.

"Emma will be a dynamic and creative owner," said Ed Berlin. "The Ivy will remain the finest bookstore in Baltimore. The best is yet to come for the bookstore and the Ivy community."

Snyder, who will be aided in the transition by the current staff, some of whom have been with the store since its first day, commented: "The Ivy is a remarkable place, and I feel intensely fortunate to step in and play this role in a business that's far more than a business. The Ivy's a cultural space, a community space, and for many people a deeply personal space. There's such a sincere attachment to it from a large and devoted community of readers, and it's this attachment that's why, after 17 years, we're here and thriving. For that, we're just plain thankful.

"Bookstores are special places, and The Ivy is more special than most. In the next few decades, which is what I'm committed to, I look forward to a very fun, thoroughly communal adventure figuring out what a bookstore can and should be in this age and this place."

Amistad Press: The Survivors of the Clotilda: The Lost Stories of the Last Captives of the American Slave Trade by Hannah Durkin

N.C.'s Highland Books Moving to Larger Location

Highland Books, Brevard, N.C., is moving to West Main Street in March, according to the Transylvania Times.

Owner Amanda Mosser told the paper: "We have wanted to move to Main Street for some time, and this location just made sense. We know that after 43 years in the same location this move will be a big change for our customers, but we feel that the move will ensure that the bookstore will be a thriving business in Brevard for many years to come. We came upon an amazing opportunity and are thrilled to take it. Though we will be in a very different space, all of the services that our customers have come to love and expect will be continued at our new location downtown."

The new site is larger than Highland Books' current location in College Plaza and will allow the store to host more events and increase inventory.

Travel Bookstore Distant Lands Goes Online-Only

Distant Lands, the travel bookshop in Pasadena, Calif., that has been in business since 1989, closed its bricks-and-mortar store on December 28 in order to focus on online sales, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Ian Kalvinskas, son of store owner Adrian Kalvinskas, told the Times that "a mixture of things" was ultimately responsible for the physical location's closure. In addition to competition from online retailers and rising rents, Kalvinskas pointed to the effect that the 9/11 attacks had on American attitudes toward international travel. He added: "We've always said that our best day as a store was September 10, 2001."

Going forward, Distant Lands will continue to sell travel books, maps, luggage, clothing and more through its website, and the store's in-house travel agent Susan Hickman will continue to offer her services online.

Binc Launches New DPI Scholarship

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation, in collaboration with Sourcebooks and the Denver Publishing Institute, has launched a new scholarship opportunity for current booksellers interested in exploring a career in the publishing side of the industry. Applications for the scholarship, worth up to $7,000, to attend DPI in Denver, Colo., are being accepted through February 27. The scholarship includes tuition, room and board, and up to $2,000 to cover travel and lost wages.

The application process--which will go through DPI's admission application--is open to booksellers who are currently employed (full- or part-time) at a bricks-and-mortar bookstore, with a tenure of at least 90 days, and are employed by the bookstore at the time of the program. Booksellers can find out more details and apply here.

DPI is a four-week-long summer program (July 14-August 9 this year) at the University of Denver. It is taught by industry professionals who work for trade, university, textbook and independent publishers throughout the country. Course and lecture topics include book marketing, manuscript editing, copy editing and proofreading, digital marketing strategies, the role of the bookstore and many publishing-specific courses.

Sourcebooks publisher and CEO Dominique Raccah said, "Several of our employees were students of this important program, our senior v-p of editorial, Todd Stocke, attends each year and talks to students, and we're huge fans of all of the booksellers who went to DPI. We're incredibly honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with our friends at Binc on this joint scholarship, and we're thrilled to be a part of a future publishing professional's career path."

Pam French, Binc's executive director, commented: "We are excited to be working with Sourcebooks to offer this publishing specific scholarship opportunity to booksellers for the first time. This new scholarship aligns with our core mission to strengthen the bookselling industry from within. Through providing a scholarship that covers lost wages, tuition, housing and meal plan, and travel to the Denver Publishing Institute, we hope to give a passionate book person a great head start into a career in publishing and the ability to stay in the book industry."

DPI director Jill Smith said, "Over the years, we have recognized that booksellers are among our most successful graduates because they arrive with the passion and experience to immediately apply everything they learn in the classroom. We are delighted to have the support of Binc and Sourcebooks to help another one of our students find that perfect career in publishing."

Obituary Note: Jane Langton

Jane Langton, the children's book author who won a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master honor last year, died on December 22 at age 95.

As the MWA wrote in its Grand Master citation: "In a writing career that spanned over four decades, Jane Langton has not only written multiple mystery series, but also illustrated them. Her first children's book, The Majesty of Grace, was published by Harper in 1961. The first book of her Hall Family Chronicles series, The Diamond in the Window, was nominated for the Edgar for Best Juvenile. The Fledgling, fourth in the series, is a Newbery Honor Book. Langton has written 18 books in the Homer (and Mary) Kelly series, published between 1964 and 2005. The fifth in the series, Emily Dickinson Is Dead, was an Edgar nominee and received a Nero Wolfe award."


Cool Idea of the Day: Back of Beyond Books Caption Contest

Last week, Back of Beyond Books, Moab, Utah, shared a photo of a "detour" sign planted in front of the store. Taking advantage of the situation, the bookseller posted on Facebook: "As an homage to the New Yorker magazine caption contest, we're running one of our own. Winner receives a $100 gift card from Back of Beyond Books. Deadline is December 31st. GO!" Check out the creative submissions in the comments.

On New Year's Eve, Back of Beyond upped the ante: "The New Yorker would be proud! Thanks to everyone who posted captions. I'll be dwelling all day tomorrow to choose a winner. In the meantime, let's raise the ante and add a second $100 gift card for the 'People's Choice' winner. Please vote for the caption you think is best, by 'liking it'. You cannot 'like' your own submission. All results will be posted by end of business Wednesday. Happy New Year and Thank You for supporting Back of Beyond Books."

And the winners are: "Of all the entries, the one I felt most represented a true New Yorker caption was submitted by Janet Buckingham. 'Warning: Word Construction Ahead!' Congratulations Janet.... As for our People's Choice Award for the New Yorker Caption contest we have a tie! Congratulations to Jessica Soza--'May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view' and Craig Childs--'When the book tour is over, I come here to de-tour.' "

Personnel Changes at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café

At Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café, Washington, D.C.:

Susan Skirboll has been promoted to lead book buyer. She joined the store last year after having worked for nearly 20 years at bookstores including Bards Alley, Politics & Prose and Barnes & Noble.

Monica Lerch has joined the store as events and marketing manager. She was formerly sales manager at the Newseum.

Media and Movies

This Weekend on Book TV: In-Depth with David Corn

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, January 5
6 p.m. Justin Martin, author of A Fierce Glory: Antietam--The Desperate Battle That Saved Lincoln and Doomed Slavery (Da Capo, $28, 9780306825255), at Book Culture in New York City.

7 p.m. John Prendergast, Fidel Bafilemba and Ryan Gosling, co-authors and photographer of Congo Stories: Battling Five Centuries of Exploitation and Greed (Grand Central, $28, 9781455584642), at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

10 p.m. Louise Shelley, author of Dark Commerce: How a New Illicit Economy Is Threatening Our Future (Princeton University Press, $29.95, 9780691170183). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. Monday at 3 a.m.)

Sunday, January 6
12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a David Corn, co-author most recently of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump (Twelve, $30, 9781538728758). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

Books & Authors

Awards: Canada-Japan Literary

Kerri Sakamoto and Jacynthe Tremblay won this year's Canada-Japan Literary Awards, which recognize "literary excellence by Canadian writers and translators who are writing or translating from Japanese to French or English works dealing with Japan, Japanese themes, or themes that promote mutual understanding between Japan and Canada." Each winner, one for English-language work and one for French-language work, receives CA$10,000 (about US$7,360), .

Sakamoto won for her novel, Floating City. The peer assessment committee said the author "pulls us into a narrative traversing generations, waterways, legends, and history," and has "an impressive agility to collage a range of inner and outer voices."

Tremblay won for her nonfiction essay, Je suis un lieu, which the committee said "makes a strong emotional and intellectual impact thanks to the brilliant way in which it connects Nishida's philosophy with daily life."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, January 8:

The Truths We Hold: An American Journey by Kamala Harris (Penguin Press, $30, 9780525560715) is a memoir by the Senator from California.

Superheroes Are Everywhere by Kamala Harris, illus. by Mechal Renee Roe (Philomel Books, $17.99, 9781984837493) is the Senator's picture book memoir.

The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King: A Novel of Teddy Roosevelt and His Times by Jerome Charyn (Liveright, $26.95, 9781631493874) traces the life of the 26th President from childhood to the McKinley assassination.

Breaking and Entering: The Extraordinary Story of a Hacker Called 'Alien' by Jeremy N. Smith (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780544903210) is the story of a real hacker, a woman known only as Alien.

Sugar Run: A Novel by Mesha Maren (Algonquin, $26.95, 9781616206215) is about a woman in West Virginia who tries to rebuild her life after being released after 18 years in prison.

We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World by Malala Yousafzai (Little, Brown, $18.99, 9780316523646) tells the stories of displaced peoples from around the world.

The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9781328473011) is a debut novel about a 96-year-old woman who writes down her memories as she pages through her decades-old address book.

Undo It!: How Simple Lifestyle Changes Can Reverse Most Chronic Diseases by Dean Ornish, M.D., and Anne Ornish (Ballantine, $30, 9780525479970) offers advice on living in a much more healthy way.

Opportunity: How to Win in Business and Create a Life You Love by Eben Pagan (Hay House Business, $26.99, 9781401957094) is a collection by the entrepreneur teacher and tech investor about recognizing and seizing the right opportunities.

Sicker, Fatter, Poorer: The Urgent Threat of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals on Our Health and Future... and What We Can Do About It by Leonardo Trasande, M.D. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22, 9781328553492) outlines how to fight back against hormone-disrupting chemicals.

A Dog's Way Home, based on the book by W. Bruce Cameron, opens January 11. Directed by Charles Martin Smith, the movie features Bryce Dallas Howard's voice as Bella along with Ashley Judd, Edward James Olmos, Wes Studi, Alexandra Shipp and Jonah Hauer-King. Cameron and his wife, Cathryn Michon, wrote the screenplay. A paperback edition of the book is available from Forge ($14.99, 9780765374660).

The Aspern Papers, based on the short story by Henry James, opens January 11. The movie is directed by Julien Landais and stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson. The story is included in The Aspern Papers and Other Tales (Penguin Classics, $15, 9780141389790).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Vita Nostra: A Novel by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko (Harper Voyager, 9780062694591, $26.99) "One part coming-of-age parable and one part psychological horror, this book combines dark fantasy with contemporary magical realism, and I can't stop thinking about the resulting magnificence weeks after finishing it. Beautifully translated from its original Russian, Vita Nostra brilliantly explores the period in early adulthood where we consider the price we're willing to pay to discover our full potential, and how we make ourselves vulnerable when we strive for outside approval." --Ilana Darrant, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif.

Witness: Lessons From Elie Wiesel's Classroom by Ariel Burger (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9781328802699, $26) "Elie Wiesel--witness, writer, and humanitarian--wanted to be remembered foremost as a teacher. Ariel Burger, a longtime student, teaching assistant, and friend, has given us an intimate and moving portrait of this extraordinary man and the profound lessons he had to share." --Dale Szczeblowski, Porter Square Bookstore, Cambridge, Mass.

Ultraluminous: A Novel by Katherine Faw (Picador, 9781250192738, $17) "No one is just one thing. Take K, for instance: She spends her days getting just high enough and managing the men who pay her for sex. Time passes in a blur of heroin, hedonism, and risky sushi from Duane Reade, but underneath that routine is something else. And it is this something else that is with K all the time, throughout the manicures and the art films and the stain on the ceiling above her bed and the memories of what came before. Who is K, really? Ultraluminous is raw, hideous, and beautiful, an open wound of a book." --Lauren Peugh, Powell's Books, Portland, Ore.

For Ages 4 to 8
Love, Z by Jessie Sima (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781481496773, $17.99) "Z the robot goes on a quest to find the meaning of love, but none of the answers he finds compute--until he meets the reason for his quest and the answer to his question. This perfect read-aloud warmed my heart, recharged my batteries, and made me smile." --Kathleen Carey, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y.

For Ages 9 to 12
Astrid the Unstoppable by Maria Parr (Candlewick, 9781536200171, $16.99) "Astrid may not have other children to play with in her small Norwegian village of Glimmerdal, but her life is full nonetheless. There's her 74-year-old best friend, her pet seagull Snorri, and the most beautiful mountains and valleys and waterfalls just perfect for grand adventures. As long as she stays away from Mr. Hagen's Wellness Retreat and dogs, her life is very nearly perfect. But perfection isn't what life is about. It's about singing really loudly while careening through town on a sled, heading off to make new friends, reuniting with old friends, and solving a decades-old mystery. A darling addition to the list of feel-good stories featuring headstrong young girls being true to themselves and having fun while doing it." --BrocheAroe Fabian, River Dog Book Co., Beaver Dam, Wis.

For Teen Readers
How She Died, How I Lived by Mary Crockett (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316523813, $17.99) "One of my absolute favorite books of 2018! The unnamed main character is one of five girls that were texted by a local boy with murder on his mind--only one girl replied, and only one girl was brutally murdered. A year later, our heroine is dealing with survivor's guilt, the upcoming sentencing for the murderer, and a crush on the dead girl's boyfriend. A life forever changed by the what-ifs of one fateful day--the violence that can so easily end the life of any woman--makes for an unforgettable and unputdownable read." --Kate Towery, The Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Va.

Book Review

Review: Sea Monsters

Sea Monsters by Chloe Aridjis (Catapult, $23 hardcover, 224p., 9781936787869, February 5, 2019)

Sea Monsters by Chloe Aridjis (Books of Clouds, Asunder) is a dreamy, wandering tale of teenage ennui and searching, and the pull of the sea.

Luisa is 17 and bored with school, her parents and her classmates (nearly all of whom have bodyguards waiting outside their elite Mexico City international school, which Luisa attends on scholarship). Her interests include her best friend Julián, who lives above a restaurant, and his stereo, as well as her French teacher's encouragements and the books he lends her. And thanks to her professor father's storytelling, Luisa is fascinated by shipwrecks. Perhaps this is partly why she is so taken in by the newspaper headline: "Ukrainian Dwarfs on the Run." It is suggested that these escapees from the circus have headed to the beaches of Oaxaca, and for Luisa, they become crossed in her mind with a sort of hidden treasure: something to seek.

There is a boy, too. "I didn't even particularly like him at first; intrigued would be a better word. He was a sliver of black slicing through the so-called calm of the morning." Tomás Román: even the syllables of his name have power. "He had been a snag in the composition, somehow inserting himself in the picture in a way the others had not." Luisa has trouble understanding his pull on her, but as it resembles the pull of the Ukrainian dwarfs at the beach, she follows the impulse, and boards a bus with Tomás for the coast.

Because it is 1988, a soundtrack of Depeche Mode, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Cure and Joy Division back up Luisa's surreal travels. Her attention drifts between the immediate present--where she observes dogs and waves with as close an eye as she does people--and an interior world populated by French poetry, ancient shipwrecks and imagined worlds. She makes up lives for the people she encounters, daydreams about the magic powers of a city billboard and a man she meets on the beach. She styles him a merman. "But that was the problem with mysterious people," she tells him, "once you spend time with them they're not so mysterious after all, and as [she] said this the merman smiled as if promising, no matter what, to remain a mystery."

As Luisa dreams away her days in a little village called Zipolite, a community of hippies, nudists and beachcombers, her father searches for her. And he will have some of the best stories to tell by the end of this weird, captivating novel. Aridjis's prose is well suited to this kind of story: her sentences are luminescent and imagistic, expressing Luisa's tendency to fancy: a great marble horse "[chooses] the sea, and was there to this day, the horse that gave them the slip, galloping along endless banks of seabed, kicking up whole paragraphs of sand." The plot of Sea Monsters is somewhat quiet, Luisa spending much of her time inside her own head, but Aridjis's style makes this an absolute pleasure even when nothing is happening. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: A disenchanted teenager in 1980s Mexico City runs away from home hoping to find Ukrainian dwarfs on a Oaxacan beach in this lovely, surreal novel.

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