Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, February 5, 2019


Dutton Books: The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

Amulet Books: Village of Scoundrels by Margi Preus

Flatiron Books: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Canongate Books: The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry and The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry

Scribner Book Company: Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford

Sfi Readerlink Dist: Sesame Street: The Monster at the End of This Book: An Interactive Adventure by Jon Stone, adapted by Autumn B Heath

News

Crowdfunding Campaign for Roundabout Books in Bend, Ore.

Roundabout Books, Bend, Ore., has launched an Indiegogo campaign "to ensure we are set up for a long future here in Bend," owner Cassie Clemans said on the bookstore's website, adding that "one of those steps is paying off our Small Business Adminstration (SBA) loan." She hopes to raise one-third of the funds needed to pay off the loan with the crowdfunding campaign, which is running through March 20 and has already raised more than $6,100 of its $40,000 goal.

Clemans opened Roundabout Books in 2016. On the Indiegogo page, she recalled: "Our first year was a whirlwind of learning and growing as we settled into the Northwest Crossing Community. We're proud to say that in our second year we grew sales by 12%, hosted over 160 events attended by over 1,500 people, welcomed dozens of community groups and clubs to use our space, and donated to more than 24 school groups, community fundraisers, and nonprofit organizations. Today we support 10 monthly book clubs that are open to the entire community.... 

"There are always risks in opening a new business, but we've had two years to demonstrate what we can offer this community and how much we are committed to growing here. We understand that we've set a very big goal, but we believe in it, and one way or another, we will reach it."


Amulet Books: Blood Countess (a Lady Slayers Novel) by Lana Popovic


2019 Stonewall Book Award Winners

The 50th anniversary of Stonewall takes place this June and, in this anniversary year, the Stonewall Book Award committee chose two titles--a picture book and a middle grade novel--to receive the top award. Jessica Love's Julián Is a Mermaid (Candlewick Press) and Kheryn Callender's Hurricane Child (Scholastic Press) were both announced as Stonewall Award winners last week at ALA Midwinter in Seattle, Wash.


(photo: Beth Phelen)

Kheryn Callender is a middle-grade and young-adult author whose first two titles--Hurricane Child (Scholastic Press) and This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story (Balzer + Bray)--were both published in 2018.

Congratulations! What a fantastic honor! How are you feeling?

Thank you! I'm feeling a lot right now: I'm grateful to ALA and the incredible librarians that chose Hurricane Child for the award; I feel affirmed that stories like mine, featuring black and queer characters, matter and are important; and I'm feeling excited and inspired to keep writing!

This has been a busy year for you, with both a middle grade and a YA title out. What is it like to have your first two books published in such quick succession?

It was really great to have both books published in the same year, especially because Hurricane Child and This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story reach such different audiences. I've had more of an opportunity to connect with all sorts of readers, and being able to speak with people who felt moved by either of my books has been the best part of this experience.

Hurricane Child has received such a fantastic response. What has your year been like, seeing your work get so much love?

It's been surreal. Caroline's story is very much inspired by my own and a lot of the feelings of isolation I had growing up on St. Thomas. When I was Caroline's age, I never could've imagined being received with so much love and acceptance, and I'm forever grateful for that.

How do you think the Stonewall can help you reach more young readers?

A day after I received the Stonewall, Jussie Smollett, a black and gay actor of the TV show Empire, was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. It was a sobering reminder of why I write. Books teach empathy, and I want black and queer readers to see themselves reflected--to feel the affirmation that they are beautiful, and powerful, and deserve to exist. I hope that the Stonewall Award will help me to amplify not only my voice, but the voices of other black and queer authors in children's and young adult literature, such as Jay Coles, Kosoko Jackson, Nic Stone, Julian Winters, Claire Kann and more. Our stories are important and need to be heard.

Thanks so much for chatting with Shelf! Congratulations again!

Thank you so much for having me!


Jessica Love is an author/illustrator and theater actor; Julián Is a Mermaid (Candlewick) is her debut picture book.

Congratulations! How are you feeling?  

Muy emocionada. I don't think there is a more gratifying feeling, as an artist, to know that the work that you made was meaningful to the folks you made it for.

This is not only your first book for kids but your first book in general, correct?

That is correct. I've always drawn and painted, but I've been working as a theater actor since I moved to New York City 13 years ago. I started working on Julián during fallow periods between jobs. I expected I would self-publish it and give it to my friends with kids. I just wanted to get that story down, and get it right. But I didn't think I was going to be able to actually get it published.

What has it been like to receive such a positive response?

Bewildering. You have to remember that I've been working as a theater actor, which means I've been pickling in the brine of mostly rejection and defeat for the last decade. It is unprecedented for something to go this well and I am waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Julián is full of texture, movement and emotion. What is it, do you think, that has made Julián stand out?

It's always hard to guess, from the inside of it, what it is that folks are responding to. But I think it helps that the characters are specific. As a kid I always felt a little betrayed when characters looked or behaved like one another. But my heart would go faster when characters felt real. And I think "real" often just means specific. I think, weirdly, the more specific a work of art is, the more universal its potential. It's those little specific things people recognize as human and true that open the door for identification.

What do you hope readers take with them from this book?

Love.

Thank you so much for chatting with Shelf! Is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers?

A couple of moms in rural Wisconsin hosted a community reading of I Am Jazz by Jazz Jennings to support a young transgender girl who was being bullied by a national anti-LGBTQ hate group. This action blossomed into a movement, organized by the Human Rights Campaign: the Jazz & Friends National Day of School and Community Readings on February 28. They have added to their list of books both Julián is a Mermaid and They She He Me: Free to Be! by Maya Gonzalez and Matthew SG. If you want to get involved and support the LGBTQ kids in your community, the information you need to organize a reading can be found here.

--Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

 


Scribner Book Company: Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford


Starbucks' COO Joins Amazon's Board of DIrectors

Former Walmart and current Starbucks executive Rosalind G. Brewer has joined Amazon's board of directors. The Seattle Times reported that Brewer, "who was appointed to Amazon's leadership development and compensation committee, was elected to fill the board seat vacated by John Seely Brown, who did not stand for reelection last year. Amazon's entire board stands for reelection at its May annual meeting."

Brewer became Starbucks' COO and Americas group president in 2017 after joining the company's board in March of that year. Previously, she had spent 11 years at Walmart, rising to the position of Sam's Club CEO.

She is one of four women, and the second African American woman, to be on Amazon's 10-person board. Pharmaceuticals executive Myrtle Potter was a board member from 2004 to 2009. The Seattle Times noted that last year Amazon "pledged to consider more diverse candidates for its board after pressure from shareholders and the Congressional Black Caucus."

"Roz is a perfect example of the extraordinary minority and female talent that exists in corporate America, that is all too often excluded from the boardroom and the C-Suite," said Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), co-chair of the House Tech Accountability Caucus and a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "It is my hope that this barrier-breaking appointment serves as an example to other industry leaders regarding the positive economic, business, innovation and inclusion benefits offered by increasing board diversity, especially to companies leading the way in our modern innovation economy."


Berkley Books: Master Class by Christina Dalcher


Wi14: Board Games Are Back

At Winter Institute 14 in Albuquerque, N.Mex., two booksellers and the owner of a family-owned pizzeria convened to discuss their experiences selling board games and tabletop games. Panelists were Todd Dickinson, owner of Aaron's Books in Lititz, Pa.; Andrea Jones, owner of Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, Vt.; and Victor Briseno, owner of Slice and Dice Pizzeria in Albuquerque. John Stacy, the executive director of the Game Manufacturers Association, moderated the discussion.

Two years ago, Dickinson and his wife made the commitment to add a "significant" game section to their 1,900-square-foot store. The process, he recalled, had a "high learning curve." They decided initially to give the new board game section about 600 square feet (after recent renovations it became 500 square feet), which Dickinson said is predominately table space. There are open, empty tables where people can look through and play demo games, and the section is intermixed with sidelines related to series like the Lord of the Rings, Dr. Who and Harry Potter, creating a transition between it and the books section. Dickinson said that he and his wife "spent a lot of time" talking about how much their staff needed to know about games, eventually figuring that if they knew the basic terms and had hands-on knowledge of at least a few games, that would be enough. Another big hurdle was trying to keep up on new games, but they eventually learned that you "can't keep up with every new game coming out," and you need to curate your board games just as selectively as you would curate your book inventory.

Aaron's Books hosts seven ongoing Dungeons & Dragons groups at the store, and Dickinson described D&D as "at the core" of what they do. He recommended every store interested in D&D have starter kits, player handbooks and jars of dice, and having demos for all games is very important. He noted that ordering games can be quite different from ordering books, and games can sometimes be out of stock for two, four, six or even eight months at a time. Some games are even Kickstarter-exclusive and may only be available secondhand. In terms of price, Dickinson said his bestselling game was King Domino, which retails at $19.99. He sells a fair amount of games that are in the $35-$40 range, but doesn't carry many that are $50-$75 or higher. And for distributors, Dickinson said he uses Alliance and ACD.

Jones reported that at Galaxy Bookshop, she carries games that are predominately meant for families and all age groups, and she does not have any "big sellers" above $30. Her bestseller is the game Tenzie, which retails for $14.99. Tenzie was the game that started her down the path of getting serious about board games, and she typically orders them "18 at a time." She noted that it was the only thing, board game or book, that she orders in that kind of quantity, and for most other board games she typically looks for things that she can order individually or at most in twos or threes. For a distributor, she recommended Continuum Games, which does not have minimums--she said the only downside is that they don't provide samples or demos.

Jones has created a few game night events in coordination with other businesses in Hardwick. The collaborative approach allows them to split marketing costs and reach a wider audience, and also split orders, making it easier to hit order minimums. To prepare for these events, and get to her staff excited about the games, she held paid staff meetings where they had snacks and tried out all of the games. She noted that from past experience, Saturday afternoon works better than Friday night when trying to bring in families. When she started carrying games, Jones said she became "really invested" in engaging her staff with the games that she has. She also recommended trying to find a board game rep, and said she has found a few great, unexpected games that way, including Sports Dice: Football.

At Slice and Dice Pizzeria, Briseno has room to seat 80-90 customers and a collection of some 350 different tabletop games for customers to play. The shop has a retail section as well that offers about twice that number of games, and Briseno has 14 people on staff, several of whom are full-time game guides who teach customers. Briseno said that having demo copies available is a "must" for anybody interested in selling board games, and he recommended finding out what sorts of games the community is passionate about. He noted that even though he personally prefers longer, more complicated games, his store's number one seller is Hungry Hungry Hippos. Family games in general are starting to be his number one seller, followed by trading card games such as Magic the Gathering and Key Forge.

For distributors, Briseno said he also uses Alliance and ACD, and acknowledged that the minimums for free freight can be tough hurdles. A large portion of his game library--the copies that customers play with in store--come from publisher donations. In addition, several customers have given him demo copies to encourage him to bring the game in for retail. Briseno added that as a restaurant, his main source of revenue is selling pizza and beer, and he does not charge for table space. There is a recommended two-hour time limit, but generally that is only enforced on the busiest Friday and Saturday nights. --Alex Mutter


G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers: The Best of Iggy by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sam Ricks


Obituary Note: Andrew McGahan

Andrew McGahan, the award-winning Australian author of 10 novels, died February 1, the Guardian reported. He was 52 and had pancreatic cancer. His agent, Fiona Inglis of Curtis Brown, said, "There are few writers of the modern era as diverse as Andrew McGahan... his politeness and reserve hid a self-sufficiency and confidence" and he was "never afraid to speak his mind."

Allen & Unwin described him as "an exceptionally talented writer, a loyal friend, and a most genuine, humble man." Annette Barlow, his publisher, said: "I will remember him for his fierce and intense intelligence, his kindness and generosity, his fascination with the natural world and his bravery in facing his diagnosis. He truly was the best of men."

The White Earth (2004) was his biggest success, winning the Miles Franklin Award and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and was named by both the Age and the Courier-Mail as the book of the year. He followed that work with the Queensland Premier's prize-shortlisted Underground and Aurealis award-winning Wonders of a Godless World, "before publishing the first of what would be a four-part series, the Ship Kings, which also won multiple awards," the Bookseller noted.

At the time of his death, he was putting the final touches on a new novel, The Rich Man's House, which will be published this year by Allen and Unwin, along with his collection of children's short stories, Treasures of the Deep, which is set in the Ship Kings universe.


Notes

Image of the Day: Groundhog Day

The movie Groundhog Day was partly shot in Woodstock, Ill., so every year the town hosts a huge Groundhog Day celebration. Read Between the Lynes needed volunteers to help with the incredible influx of customers. Sourcebooks, located an hour and fifteen minutes away, was more than happy to help one of their favorite local Indies. Pictured from left to right: Valerie Pierce, marketing director at Sourcebooks; Woodstock Willie; Arlene Lynes, owner, Read Between the Lynes; Heidi Weiland, Sourcebooks director of trade sales; Margaret Coffee, sr. sales manager, schools and libraries.


Marriage Proposal of the Day

Carol Hoenig, co-owner of Turn of the Corkscrew Books & Wine, Rockville Centre, N.Y., shared this sweet story:
"A first for Turn of the Corkscrew, Books & Wine--a marriage proposal! A young man named Orin asked for our help to surprise his girlfriend, Jessica, but he really had all the details taken care of. (We were just glad to witness it.) His girlfriend thought she was coming to a book signing, not knowing that the person reading was actually telling Orin and Jessica's story. Once the reader ended the reading, she introduced the real 'author,' which was Orin. He appeared and got down on one knee. She said yes and the story continues...."


Q&A: Michael Erickson of Glad Day Bookshop

Michael Erickson, co-owner of Toronto's Glad Day Bookshop, fielded five questions from BookNet Canada, which noted: "Bookstores are an important part of any community: they can make your town richer and they're a great community hub. Perhaps this is even more true for bookstores that serve marginalized communities." Among our favorite exchanges:

Michael Erickson

What attracted you to bookselling?
The chance to build community, creativity, and possibility while also making sure that our stories are not lost, distorted or silenced.

What's your favorite bookselling war story?
In 2012, a group of us bought Glad Day Bookshop to save the world's oldest LGBTQ bookstore, which has now become Toronto's longest surviving bookstore of any kind... and we've been losing money ever since! Even though we increased book sales by 30% during the rise of the e-book, it still wasn't enough for us to break even. Instead of downsizing or closing we decided to expand--we moved to a larger space, with coffee, cocktails, and food, surrounded by books. We now host over 75 events a month and are a hub of conversation and community. Wars are long, with many battles and many losses, with changes in tactics, technology, and battlefields. That's why I feel like this long story arc is more like a real war story than anything that happens in the moment."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Benjamin Dreyer on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Benjamin Dreyer, author of Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style (Random House, $25, 9780812995701).

NPR's Here & Now: Jill Schlesinger, author of The Dumb Things Smart People Do with Their Money: Thirteen Ways to Right Your Financial Wrongs (Ballantine Books, $25, 9780525622178).

Tomorrow:
The View: Jill Abramson, author of Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781501123207).


TV: The Handmaid's Tale, Season 3

A new trailer debuted during Super Bowl LIII for the third season of The Handmaid's Tale, the hit Hulu series based on Margaret Atwood's novel. The teaser painted "a bleak, fire-filled picture of the Republic of Gilead," Deadline reported, noting that the trailer bears similarities to Ronald Reagan's 1984 "It's Morning in America" presidential campaign ad.

The Handmaid's Tale "will venture further from the novel in Season 3," Deadline wrote. New cast members include Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) and Elizabeth Reaser (The Haunting of Hill House), who join series regulars Elisabeth Moss, Amanda Brugel, Joseph Fiennes, Alexis Bledel, Madeline Brewer, Ann Dowd, O-T Fagbenle, Max Minghella, Samira Wiley and Bradley Whitford.

Bruce Miller serves as showrunner and an executive producer of the series, which is also executive produced by Warren Littlefield, Moss, Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears, Ilene Chaiken, Eric Tuchman and Mike Barker.



Books & Authors

Awards: Branford Boase Longlist

A longlist has been announced for the 2019 Branford Boase Award, which "celebrates the most promising book for seven year-olds and upwards written by a first-time novelist and also highlights the importance of the editor in the development of new authors." The shortlist will be unveiled May 1 and a winner named July 3 in London. Check out the complete Branford Boase longlist here.

Established in memory of author Henrietta Branford and her editor Wendy Boase, one of the founders of Walker Books, the Branford Boase Award is sponsored by Walker Books, which has pledged new funding to ensure its future.

"Walker Books is delighted to continue its support for the Branford Boase Award," said publishing director Jane Winterbotham. "We hugely value the contribution the award has made in encouraging and highlighting new writing talent, as well as in recognizing the role played by the editor in supporting writers at the start of their career. The award is an inspiring memorial to the work of gifted novelist Henrietta Branford and Walker's founding editor, Wendy Boase, in whose names the award was established 20 years ago."


Book Review

Review: Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home

Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home by Heather Anderson (Mountaineers Books, $17.95 paperback, 208p., 9781680512366, March 1, 2019)

Heather Anderson, who is known on the trail as "Anish," is one of the fastest long-distance hikers in the United States, setting women's speed records and occasionally smashing men's on some of the country's longest, most grueling trails. She's also completed other famed hiking challenges, and she is an accomplished mountaineer and ultramarathon runner as well.

And yet, despite her achievements and obvious ability, Anderson is a somewhat unlikely elite athlete. She began hiking as an out-of-shape college student with no real outdoors experience but a deep spiritual pull to the wilderness. Today, even as her profile rises, she refuses sponsorships and other forms of support, and has eschewed convention to live most of her life among mountains and on trails.

Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home is Anderson's account of the 60 days, 17 hours and 12 minutes she spent hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail in 2013, breaking the previous speed record set by hiking legend Scott Williamson. It is a slim, fast read, and yet the experience of reading it feels a bit like a low-stakes simulation of Anderson's hike: grueling, meditative, exhilarating and exhausting by turns.

"Each day on the trail I felt myself slipping a little farther into a primal state, where all that mattered... was surviving the day. I walked until I literally couldn't stand because I was driven," she writes. "And yet, I still had no idea what drove me, or where that drive came from." 

It's true that Anderson's desire to break Williamson's record had little to do with professional competition, or a need for recognition and glory. Instead, she seems propelled by a nearly divine sense of purpose--one she dreads as much as she feels destined to fulfill.

As her hike wears on--at an average of 40 miles a day, across deserts and rivers and mountain ranges--Anderson comes to understand and accept that she is most herself on the trail, and this truth powers her forward. Her unbreakable will and psychological discipline become even more important than her physical capabilities, especially when her body, pushed to its limits, begins to fail her near the end of the trail.  

Filled with ruminative self-reflection, soaring natural descriptions and delightful accounts of the gracious, life-sustaining "trail magic" of hiking culture, Thirst is a testament to human endurance, inspiring to hikers and non-hikers alike. --Hannah Calkins, writer and editor in Washington, D.C.

Shelf Talker: Walk alongside one of the fastest long-distance hikers in the country as she completes the 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail in record time--and discovers her own truth along the way.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. We Shouldn't by Vi Keeland
2. Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins
3. Take Me Again by Carly Phillips
4. Overnight Sensation by Sarina Bowen
5. The Darkest Hour by Various
6. Shattered Vows by Kaylea Cross
7. Gia Santella Crime Thriller Boxed Set: Books 1-6 by Kristi Belcamino
8. Up in Smoke by Shannon VanBergen
9. By the Unholy Hand by Kathryn Le Veque
10. The Banker by Penelope Sky

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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