Also published on this date: Thursday, January 17, 2019: Dedicated Issue: Tor

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, January 17, 2019

Flatiron Books: The Last One at the Wedding by Jason Rekulak

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley

Ace Books: Toto by AJ Hackwith and The Village Library Demon-Hunting Society by CM Waggoner

Webtoon Unscrolled: Age Matters Volume Two by Enjelicious

St. Martin's Press:  How to Think Like Socrates: Ancient Philosophy as a Way of Life in the Modern World  by Donald J Robertson

Hanover Square Press: The Dallergut Dream Department Store (Original) by Miye Lee, Translated by Sandy Joosun Lee

Nosy Crow: Dungeon Runners: Hero Trial by Joe Todd-Stanton and Kieran Larwood

Andrews McMeel Publishing: A Haunted Road Atlas: Next Stop: More Chilling and Gruesome Tales from and That's Why We Drink by Christine Schiefer and Em Schulz


Indie Bookstore Sales Up Nearly 5% in 2018

Holiday shoppers at Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich.

The trend of strong sales at independent bookstores in the U.S. continued through 2018 and during the holiday season. In addition to reports from many stores about having some of the best sales days ever during the holiday period last month, the American Booksellers Association has reported that unit sales at indie stores grew in 2018 by nearly 5% over 2017, and that sales in the holiday period were up at a similar level. (These sales are reported by ABA member bookstores for the association's national indie bestseller list.) Moreover, the strong sales in recent years brings compound growth at independent booksellers over the last five years to 7.5%.

The ABA said that stores using IndieCommerce did especially well. As ABA CEO Oren Teicher noted in a letter to members, "Of special note is the continued growth in sales for member stores employing IndieCommerce. Preliminary results indicate that year-over-year IndieCommerce sales numbers will be more than 10% over 2017, with an especially strong increase in the final eight weeks of the year."

In related good news about indies, last year the ABA added 95 indie bookstore members that opened for business in 35 states, the District of Columbia, and Bermuda, Bookselling This Week reported. The new stores include 14 branches or satellites of existing businesses. In addition, 28 established ABA member stores were bought by new owners.

Teicher observed that "compared to what's happening in a lot of bricks-and-mortar retail, our consistent growth clearly stands in pretty stark contrast."

In his letter, Teicher said that the "upward sales trend is a testament to the ongoing commitment by indie booksellers to professional development, ongoing innovation, a strategic focus on store finances, sustained customer assistance, and community involvement. And, against that background, I do want to say that ABA fully understands that there are bookstores in communities that are not seeing these gains for a number of reasons, and ABA will continue to do everything we can to help ensure that all member stores can meet their core business goals."

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

B&N Reopening Pa. Store Damaged by Tornado

The Barnes & Noble in the Arena Hub Plaza shopping center in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., that was severely damaged by a tornado last June is reopening on January 30, WNEP reported. The pop-up store that B&N opened in September in the East End Shopping Center while the damaged store was being repaired is closing on January 29.

The June 13 tornado damaged a range of stores in Arena Hub Plaza as well as at the Wilkes-Barre Township Commons. Staff who were at the B&N when the tornado struck survived the mayhem unscathed.

PM Press: P Is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi, Illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi

Founders Purchase Little Bee Books from Bonnier

Founders Shimul Tolia and Thomas Morgan have purchased Little Bee Books from Bonnier Books. Tolia and Morgan launched Little Bee Books as a U.S. children's division of Bonnier Books in 2014; in 2018, Bonnier Books, which is based in Sweden, began consolidating some of its overseas publishing operations.

Little Bee Books will continue to publish under three imprints: Little Bee Books, covering board books, picture books and early chapter books; BuzzPop, handling licensed books, media tie-ins and pop-culture titles; and Yellow Jacket, a middle-grade imprint launched in 2018. Some of Little Bee Books' standout titles include The Roots of Rap by Carole Boston Weatherford and Frank Morrison and Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford and R. Gregory Christie.

Tolia, Little Bee's CEO, said: "It is with great pride and gratitude that we are undertaking this purchase of Little Bee Books— pride in the incredible effort and creativity that has come from a small startup just five years ago, and gratitude to all of those who helped bring our books to life from Bonnier to all of our staff, past and current."

Morgan, Little Bee's chief financial officer, added: "We look forward to taking our business to the next level while remaining steadfast in our purpose: inspiring, empowering, and entertaining readers."

The company will remain in its current offices and no personnel changes have been announced. Simon & Schuster will continue to distribute Little Bee titles.

New Imprints: Signal Press; Greystone Kids

Atria Books Publishing Group is launching Signal Press, an imprint aimed at contributing to "the conversation around feminism, politics and issues of social justice." The imprint, which will be led by v-p and publisher Julia Cheiffetz, will also publish biographies about historical and contemporary figures. Associate editor Caitie Hawthorne, meanwhile, will also acquire for Signal Press.

Cheiffetz has so far acquired 11 titles for the new imprint, with subjects ranging from a biography of journalist and civil rights leader Ida B. Wells to daily life in China in the three decades since Tiananmen Square and raising boys in the #MeToo era.

"My favorite books are what I call 'nutritional candy'--books that engage with serious subject matter in a way that is captivating, sometimes playful, and always story driven," said Cheiffetz. "It is an exciting moment in the culture for feminism and politics and I look forward to giving a platform to a diverse group of writers who will harness this energy."


Nonfiction publisher Greystone Books has announced a new children's book program called Greystone Kids, set to make its debut this fall. The imprint, led by publisher Rob Sanders, will publish picture books and nonfiction books for middle grade readers with a focus on topics like natural history, the environment, sports and social justice. A new imprint called Aldana Libros, led by children's publisher Patricia Aldana, will operate within the Greystone Kids program, with the goal of bringing "outstanding books from around the world to the English-speaking market."

The program's first five titles will debut Fall 2019 and include a children's version of Peter Wohlleben's The Hidden Life of Trees called Can You Hear the Trees Talking?

"The time had come for Greystone to reach out to younger readers about matters we consider to be important in the world today," said Sanders. "I am extremely happy with the people we have brought together, who will help ensure that Greystone Kids has a great beginning."

Shakespeare & Co. Hires HarperCollins Exec

Robert Zaffiris

Robert Zaffiris, most recently chief financial officer of HarperCollins International and head of corporate development, has joined Shakespeare & Co. as chief development officer. He has been on the Shakespeare & Co. board since 2016. His responsibilities range from oversight of new investment and strategic revenue opportunities, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and other new business arrangements, to fundraising, long-term planning, content development for the Espresso Book Machine and other corporate development functions.

Shakespeare & Co. chairman and CEO Dane Neller said that Zaffiris "has a real passion for our business and has been a long-time supporter of the company."

Zaffiris commented: "Shakespeare's innovative approach to book retailing and technology offer a groundbreaking opportunity to create the bookstore of the future. The company is poised for explosive growth, and I'm delighted to join the management team to help execute on Dane's vision."

Binc Opens Higher Education Scholarship Applications

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation's annual scholarship program is now open for applications, which will be accepted through March 5. The 2019 scholarship program has been revised to support booksellers' dependents, spouses and partners in pursuing their higher education goals. Binc will award seven $3,500 scholarships to the dependents of booksellers, and one Karl Pohrt Tribute Scholarship award of $5,000 will be granted to an independent bookseller who has overcome learning adversity or is a nontraditional student. More details and application available here.

The revised scholarship program reflects a change in eligibility requirements from previous years, with booksellers now eligible only for the Karl Pohrt Memorial Scholarship. The organization said the changes "were made to the scholarship program this year to more closely align the program with Binc's mission to strengthen the book industry. Binc hopes to support career booksellers by making college education more affordable for their families."

Booksellers can also apply for a variety of professional development scholarships, including those for the Denver Publishing Institute and the Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists. Binc added that more scholarship opportunities will be announced later this year.

"The launch of our annual scholarship program always makes January exciting," said Binc executive director Pam French. "Helping booksellers' families achieve their educational goals and explore possibilities is one of the ways Binc supports booksellers. I encourage all booksellers who are the parents or guardians of students who are pursuing higher education to apply for a scholarship this year."

Obituary Note: Claudio López Lamadrid

Renowned Spanish editor Claudio López Lamadrid died January 11, the Bookseller reported. He was 59. A Penguin Random House spokesperson said, "This has been a tough weekend for many of us.... Claudio was publisher of Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, and also its Literatura Random House imprint. His title doesn't begin to do justice to his impact on the importance and success of our Spanish-language publishing program, or the esteem in which he was held as an editor and publisher in Spain and internationally."

Lamadrid began his 40-year career as an editor in Paris with Christian Bourgois and then worked for 10 years in Tusquets Editores with his uncle Antonio López Lamadrid, co-editor of Tusquets, before helping to launch the Galaxia Gutenberg seal of Círculo de Lectores. He was appointed literary director of Grijalbo Mondadori in 1997, later taken over by Mondadori.

PRH noted that he "oversaw our world-class imprints in Spain and Latin America, setting and unifying Grupo's publishing strategies, criteria, and planning across our territories. He also, in the words of PRHGE CEO Nuria Cabuti, was 'one of the most important editors of our time.' "

Noting that his "passing is especially devastating for everyone at Grupo," Cabuti wrote in a memo to her staff: "Claudio's death leaves a huge void in our lives... he invariably had a kind word to say and a friendly smile to share, and he always displayed remarkable levels of complicity, sagacity and empathy. I know that all of you who had the chance to work with him came to revere him."


Image of the Day: Badass in NoLa

At Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans Tuesday night, Jen Sincero discussed and signed her book You Are a Badass Everyday: How to Keep Your Motivation Strong, Your Vibe High, and Your Quest for Transformation Unstoppable (Viking).

'The 20 Most Instagrammable Bookstore Cats'

"There's something magical about stepping into a bookstore and finding a cat lounging on a well-worn arm chair surrounded by rows and rows of books. After all, cats make the coziest reading companions," Electric Lit noted in showcasing the "20 most Instagrammable bookstore cats."

Bookstore Chalkboard of the Day: The Briar Patch

"AbraBOOKdabra!" the Briar Patch bookstore, Bangor, Maine, tweeted in sharing a photo of the shop's crystal ball-themed sidewalk chalkboard, which reads: "Psst! We've just read your mind. You need a book! Come on in!"

Personnel Changes at Casemate Group

At Casemate Group:

Ryan Lindsay is a marketing coordinator for specialist media and liaison to military and professional organizations.

Lauren Stead is a marketing assistant for the academic imprints.

Maddy LeMaire is a marketing assistant for digital marketing and social media.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jon Ward on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Jon Ward, author of Camelot's End: Kennedy vs. Carter and the Fight that Broke the Democratic Party (Twelve, $28, 9781455591381).

TV: White Like Her

Gail Lukasik's bestselling book White Like Her: My Family's Story of Race and Racial Passing has been optioned by FGW Productions (Who Killed Tupac?) to be adapted as a dramatic TV series, Deadline reported, adding that the book, "published last year by Skyhorse Publishing, was inspired by her appearance on PBS' Genealogy Roadshow."

Lukasik said White Like Her "tells the story of my mother's passing for white, how she hid her racial secret from my white father and how I discovered her secret which led to my finding our 'lost' relatives. With the rise of racist incidents in America, this narrative is especially relevant, as it brings to light the hidden history of racial mixing as seen through my family's story. This story is truly a modern-day twist of the extraordinary film Imitation of Life and that film is one of my favorites."

This Weekend on Book TV: April Ryan

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 19
7 p.m. Gregory B. Jaczko, author of Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781476755762), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.

8 p.m. Coverage of the Free Minds Book Club, which takes place monthly with inmates in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 8:15 p.m.)

9:35 p.m. Oren Cass, author of The Once and Future Worker: A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America (Encounter Books, $25.99, 9781641770149).

10 p.m. Sebastian Gorka, author of Why We Fight: Defeating America's Enemies (Regnery, $28.99, 9781621576402). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. April Ryan, author of Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House (Rowman & Littlefield, $24.95, 9781538113363), moderates an author discussion on race in the U.S. at Politics & Prose.

Sunday, January 20
8:15 p.m. Martine Kalaw, author of Illegal Among Us: A Stateless Woman's Quest for Citizenship (Sunbury Press, $19.95, 9781620060889).

10 p.m. Andrew Delbanco, author of The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America's Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War (Penguin Press, $30, 9781594204050).

11 p.m. Sohaila Abdulali, author of What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape (The New Press, $24.99, 9781620974735), at Politics & Prose.

Books & Authors

Awards: Walter Dean Myers; Slightly Foxed First Biography

The winners and honorees for the fourth annual Walter Dean Myers Awards for Outstanding Children's Literature, sponsored by We Need Diverse Books, are:

Walter teen category winner:
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (HarperTeen)

Walter teen category honors:
Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany Jackson (Katherine Tegen/Harper)
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Walter young readers category winner:
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Walter young readers category honors:
They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid's Poems by David Bowles (Cinco Puntos Press)
The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani (Kokila/Penguin Random House)

The Walter Awards Ceremony will be held Friday, March 29, at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., with Newbery Medalist and author Linda Sue Park serving as emcee and guest speaker. Christopher Myers, son of the late Walter Dean Myers, will also speak. Before the ceremony will be a symposium called "On Writing, Voice, and Courage: A Conversation with Walter Honorees" moderated by Pura Belpré Award-winning author Meg Medina.


A shortlist has been unveiled for the £2,500 (about $3,219) Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize, presented by Slightly Foxed and the Biographers' Club. The winner will be announced February 26 in London. The shortlisted titles are:

The Cut Out Girl by Bart van Es
A Spy Named Orphan by Roland Philipps
Making Oscar Wilde by Michèle Mendelssohn
In Search of Mary Shelley: The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein by Fiona Sampson
Educated by Tara Westover

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, January 22:

Golden State by Ben Winters (Mulholland Books, $28, 9780316505413) takes place in a future dystopia where lying is outlawed and heavily policed.

The Nowhere Child: A Novel by Christian White (Minotaur, $26.99, 9781250293718) follows an Australian woman who discovers she was abducted from Kentucky as a two-year old.

The Woman Inside: A Novel by E.G. Scott (Dutton, $27, 9781524744526) is a domestic thriller about a dysfunctional couple.

The Snow Leopard Project: And Other Adventures in Warzone Conservation by Alex Dehgan (PublicAffairs, $28, 9781610396950) looks at efforts to protect the environment in Afghanistan.

Fairy Mom and Me: Fairy-in-Waiting by Sophia Kinsella (Delacorte, $14.99, 9781524769918) is the second book in the illustrated duology.

The Cold Is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale (Margaret K. McElderry Books, $18.99, 9781481488440) is a young adult modern retelling of the myth of Medusa.

Hear Our Defeats by Laurent Gaudé and Alison Anderson (Europa Editions, $17, 9781609455002).

Book Review

Review: Women Warriors: An Unexpected History

Women Warriors: An Unexpected History by Pamela D. Toler (Beacon Press, $27.95 hardcover, 240p., 9780807064320, February 26, 2019)

With Women Warriors: An Unexpected History, Pamela Toler (The Heroines of Mercy Street: The Real Nurses of the Civil War) reveals a history many readers will meet with surprise as well as fascination. By the end of this brisk accounting of just some of the many women warriors Toler found in her research, she makes it clear that while little known, this phenomenon is neither new nor unusual.

Women Warriors is a broad examination that spans history from the second millennium BCE through the present, and across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. Toler details dozens of examples, from the better-known (Matilda of Tuscany, Njinga, Begum Sahib and, of course, Joan of Arc) to the obscure (Ani Pachen, Mawiyya, Bouboulina), in two- or three-page summaries. She notes primary sources in each case and questions "facts" where appropriate (for example, numbers of troops are notoriously dubious), often presenting a fact in the main body and then questioning it in a footnote. Chapters organize women warriors into mothers, daughters, queens, widows; besieged defenders and leaders of attacks; women disguised as men and women undisguised.

Plentiful footnotes serve an important role, especially evidencing a certain wry humor, as when Toler repeatedly and impatiently points out the tendency to compliment women as behaving like men and to denigrate men as behaving like women (a habit consistent throughout history and common to women as well as men). Double standards are likewise emphasized, as in the way historians and archeologists have examined evidence. For example, the grave known as the "Birka man," from 834 CE, had long been considered that of a male because of the martial burial items found with him. In 2014, a bioarcheologist determined that the bones were actually that of a female. Despite follow-up DNA testing, scholars, archeologists and historians continue to argue about the identification of the Birka woman. As Toler points out, the scholarly contortions now employed to deny her status as warrior were never mentioned while her skeleton was assumed to be that of a male.

With such copious content, Toler has been careful to keep her book a manageable length: at just over 200 pages, Women Warriors is an easy entry to an expansive topic. Toler found thousands of examples of women warriors in her research--many more than are contained in these pages--and argues that this proliferation deserves to be treated as more than a series of freak anomalies. In conclusion, answering an earlier historian's claim that women in warfare are "the most insignificant exceptions," Toler sums up: "Exceptions within the context of their time and place? Yes. Exceptions over the scope of human history? Not so much. Insignificant? Hell, no!" --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: This entertaining and informative history of women warriors briskly covers huge swathes of time and place, arguing for the significance of a phenomenon as old as warfare itself.

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