Shelf Awareness for Thursday, February 21, 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

Quotation of the Day

'I Knew I Was Among My People'

"My first actual W-9 and time-card job was at the Boulder Book Store. I'd walk over from Boulder High and shelve newly received books or pull books for returns. I got to know some truly weird and wonderful booksellers and every corner of the store--science fiction went in the Ballroom, but alien conspiracies in the Annex. I loved it there.... My co-workers were musicians and ex-monks and conspiracy theorists, but all of us were readers, with an enviable book discount, and I knew I was among my people. And, of course, I'd glance often at that space between William Maxwell and Cormac McCarthy and wonder if I'd ever put anything there."

--Mark Mayer, author of Aerialists: Stories (Bloomsbury), in a q&a with Westword

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


News

14 Booksellers Win Bookselling Without Borders Scholarships

Congratulations! Fourteen U.S. booksellers are receiving Bookselling Without Borders scholarships to visit one of four international book fairs and two international residencies this year.

Each scholarship recipient will take part in a program of specially designed tours, panel discussions and meetings with international authors, publishers and booksellers. Through the program, Bookselling Without Borders aims to connect booksellers to the global literary conversation and through them to widen Americans' perspectives of diverse and international literature. More than 200 booksellers applied for the 2019 scholarships in just two weeks, representing 145 bookstores in 39 states and the District of Columbia.

The recipients, chosen by Bookselling Without Borders' publishing partners and alumni, are:

Bologna Children's Book Fair (April 1-4):
Melissa Posten, The Novel Neighbor, St. Louis, Mo.
Clarissa Hadge, Trident Booksellers & Café, Boston, Mass.
Sarah Hedrick, Iconoclast Books & Gifts, Hailey, Idaho

Istanbul Book Fair (April):
Rebekah Rine, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, Kan.
Amanda Qassar, Warwick's, La Jolla, Calif.
Natasha Gilmore, Idlewild Books, New York, N.Y.

Turin Book Fair (May 9-13):
Cristina Rodriguez, Deep Vellum Books, Dallas, Tex.
Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Va.
Emilie Sommer, East City Bookshop, Washington, D.C.

Frankfurt Book Fair (October 16-20):
Jonathan Woollen, Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C.
Lesley Rains, City of Asylum Bookstore, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Chris McDonald, Bear Pond Books, Montpelier, Vt. (winner of the Frankfurt Book Fair U.S. Bookseller Prize, funded by the German Foreign Office)

India Seagull Books Residency (January 2020):
Arsen Kashkashian, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, Colo.

Rome Otherwise Bookstore Residency (July/August 2019):
John Francesconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn.

The winners were naturally delighted. Christina Rodriguez of Deep Vellum Books, Dallas, Tex., who will be going to the Turin Book Fair, said: "The BWB fellowship plays such a vital role in helping teach booksellers to challenge how they read and sell international literature, while creating a dialogue about how to make diversity in literature more accessible. It's such an amazing opportunity and I feel honored to get to be part of it."

Natasha Gilmore of Idlewild Books in New York City, who's going to the Istanbul Book Fair, commented: "My bookstore's mission is to blur our borders and I am looking forward to meeting people from around the world to discover new ways to do this for my customers. Merhaba, Istanbul!"

And Jonathan Woollen of Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C., who will attend the Frankfurt Book Fair, said: "As someone who builds his life as a reader and bookseller around finding and promoting the best writing voices from around the world, this is a dream come true."

Bookselling Without Borders is supported by publishers Catapult, Counterpoint, Europa Editions, Graywolf Press, Grove Atlantic, Melville House, Milkweed Editions, Other Press, Princeton University Press, Rutgers University Press, Seagull Books, Seven Stories Press, Soft Skull, Shambhala Publications and the University of Chicago Press. It's also supported by Ingram Content Group, the German Foreign Office, Shelf Awareness and the participating book fairs.

The international book fair scholarship program was founded by Europa Editions in 2016. That year it sent a bookseller to the Frankfurt Book Fair. The program has grown every year since then.


Scribner Book Company: Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford


Calif.'s Flashlight Books to Reopen Tomorrow

Flashlight Books, the children's bookstore in Walnut Creek, Calif., will reopen tomorrow after being closed for six weeks of renovations. Owners Shoshana Smith and Marian Adducci, who launched an IndieGoGo to help fund the store last April, opened the store as a pop-up shop in their unrenovated space over the holidays, selling books there December 7-30.

The 1,800-square-foot space had previously been a Radio Shack and then a clothing store. When Flashlight Books opened in December, there were metal racks on the walls that had been used for hanging clothes, and a roughly 12-inch-wide, 4-inch-high step running along the base of the walls, preventing them from putting anything flush against the walls. The space also still had two former changing rooms in the back, which Smith noted were "pretty useless" for a bookstore.

With the renovations complete, the step along the walls and the metal racks has been removed, and the middle wall between the two changing rooms is gone, creating a small room suitable for tutoring or book clubs. Flashlight Books has now been able to put large shelves directly against the walls and there is much more space for the store's inventory.

"We probably had about 40% of our real inventory capacity in December," said Smith. "It looks a lot more like a real bookstore!"

Flashlight Books will celebrate the reopening with a pair of events. On Tuesday, March 5, Smith and her colleagues will welcome their local Chamber of Commerce for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and on Saturday, March 16, they will host a grand opening bash for the public.

Smith added that they've been incredibly lucky when it comes to support from others in the book industry. "We only managed to have any bookshelves at our pop-up at all because another local store was getting rid of some, and we had a lot of bookseller and rep friends helping us with shelving and set-up with both openings. We know the renovations were a risky move because it minimized our community presence for a long time, but we're hoping we'll bounce back."


Berkley Books: Master Class by Christina Dalcher


New Collaborative Leadership at Berrett-Koehler

David Marshall is being promoted to CEO and CFO of Berrett-Koehler Publishers from v-p of editorial and digital, and Johanna Vondeling is being promoted to president and publisher from v-p of international sales and business development. The moves are effective May 1 and follow founder Steve Piersanti's decision to step down after 27 years as president, CEO and publisher. (He will lead the transition process and then remain in the editorial department as a full-time acquisitions editor.)

Piersanti called Marshall and Vondeling "a dream team because of their 11 years of experience working together at BK, extensive connections with BK stakeholder groups, deep commitment to BK's mission and values, and marvelous, complementary talents. This transition is not easy for me, after many years leading BK, but I am confident that David and Johanna will provide the leadership needed to take BK to new heights."

Board chairman Praveen Madan, who is also CEO of Kepler's Books, Menlo Park, Calif., co-owner of the Booksmith in San Francisco and co-founder of Berkeley Arts & Letters, said, "The board concluded that this collaborative leadership model would be most suitable as BK transitions from being led by its founder to the next stages of its growth as a leading independent publisher."


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


HMH Forms Audiobook Imprint

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has launched HMH Audio, which will publish audiobook editions of many of HMH's frontlist adult and young reader titles and selected backlist, beginning in fall 2019. HMH Audio will operate from a new studio in the company's New York City offices at 3 Park Avenue. Tommy Harron, formerly an engineer and producer at Hachette Audio, has joined the company as executive producer and will head the new imprint.

HMH Audio's first titles are The Best American Short Stories 2019, Tim O'Brien's Dad's Maybe Book and Jami Attenberg's novel All This Could Be Yours. It expects to publish about 75 titles annually.

Downloadable audio has consistently been the fastest-growing category book publishing category in the last few years.


Notes

Image of the Day: Sherman Tank Spearheads Book Signing

A World War II-era Sherman tank drove down Third Street in Harrisburg, Pa., to Midtown Scholar on Tuesday as part of a book signing by Adam Makos, author of Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II (Ballantine Books). The book focuses on Pennsylvania war hero and tank gunner Clarence Smoyer, who at age 19 fought in the 3rd Armored Division during the Battle of Cologne. Mayor Eric Papenfuse, who owns Midtown Scholar, presented Smoyer, now 95, with a key to the city in front of the tank.

Bookstore Display of the Day: Books & Company

From Katrina Bright-Yerges of Books & Company, Oconomowoc, Wis.: "One of our booksellers noticed the trend in book covers that feature people, usually women, walking away with their backs toward us. We created a fun display with some of these books." The display header reads, "Don't Turn Your Back on These Books!"


N.Z.'s Volume Bookshop: 'Rethink Everything'

Thomas Koed, co-owner of Volume in Nelson, which was named the 2018 Nielsen New Zealand Bookshop of the Year, was interviewed by the Register. Among our favorite responses:

How would you describe Volume to someone who doesn't know much about it?
In a side street in Nelson there is a very small bookshop in which all the books are interesting. If you love books, you will find what you want there (even if you didn't know you wanted it), whether that be interesting fiction, incisive nonfiction, excellent children's books, art, architecture and cookbooks, or discussions about literature and the problems of the world in general. The shop has become a sort of 'third place' for many people (after home and work), a place where their lives are enriched by books and by readers like themselves.

What tips do you have for other retailers?
Rethink everything. Question the model. Think small. Be agile. Never be satisfied. Follow your enthusiasms. Make what makes you different into your advantage. Investments of expertise and personality are your best investments. The overseas internet mega-corporates want everyone to forget that retail is primarily what we could call a 'social mode,' an expression of our communal instinct. The more retailers express this communal instinct the better their community will respond.

What does the future hold for Volume?
We have lots of ideas and we tend to act on them fairly quickly. The challenge will be retaining the smallness that is necessary for the agility that we and our customers enjoy about Volume.​



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Thomas Lennon on the Talk

Tomorrow:
The Talk: Thomas Lennon, author of Ronan Boyle and the Bridge of Riddles (Amulet, $17.99, 9781419734915).


This Weekend on Book TV: The Savannah Book Festival

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, February 23
12 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Coverage from the Savannah Book Festival in Savannah, Ga. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.) Highlights include:

  • 12 p.m. Chris Stirewalt, author of Every Man a King: A Short, Colorful History of American Populists (Twelve, $28, 9781538729762).  
  • 12:59 p.m. Larry Loftis, author of Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII's Most Highly Decorated Spy (Gallery, $27, 9781501198656).
  • 1:46 p.m. William Knoedelseder, author of Fins: Harley Earl, the Rise of General Motors, and the Glory Days of Detroit (HarperBusiness, $29.99, 9780062289070).
  • 2:35 p.m. David Edwards, author of Creating Things That Matter: The Art and Science of Innovations That Last (Holt, $30, 9781250147189).
  • 3:24 p.m. Dan Hampton, author of Chasing the Demon: A Secret History of the Quest for the Sound Barrier, and the Band of American Aces Who Conquered It (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062688729).
  • 4:08 p.m. Charles Graeber, author of The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer (Twelve, $28, 9781455568505).
  • 4:54 p.m. Alec Nevala-Lee, author of Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction (Dey Street, $28.99, 9780062571946).

6:30 p.m. Elaine Shannon, author of Hunting LeRoux: The Inside Story of the DEA Takedown of a Criminal Genius and His Empire (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062859136). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

7:30 p.m. Chris Wilson, author of The Master Plan: My Journey from Life in Prison to a Life of Purpose (Putnam, $27, 9780735215580), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.

8:40 p.m. Tim Carney, author of Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse (Harper, $27.99, 9780062797100). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

10 p.m. Jason Rezaian, author of Prisoner: My 544 Days in an Iranian Prison--Solitary Confinement, a Sham Trial, High-Stakes Diplomacy, and the Extraordinary Efforts It Took to Get Me Out (Anthony Bourdain/Ecco, $29.99, 9780062691576). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Pete Buttigieg, author of Shortest Way Home: One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future (Liveright, $27.95, 9781631494369). (Re-airs Sunday at 7 p.m.)


Books & Authors

Awards: L.A. Times Book; Nebula; Aspen Words Literary; Jane Grigson Trust Shortlists

Finalists in 10 categories have been named for the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, which will be awarded April 12, on the eve of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. The winner of the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement is Terry Tempest Williams, the Innovator's Award will be presented to the Library of America and Heavy: An American by Kiese Laymon (Scribner) has won the Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose. See the complete list of finalists here.

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The finalists for the 2018 Nebula Awards, sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, have been announced and can be seen here. Awards will be presented during the SFWA Nebula Conference, which takes place May 16-19 in Los Angeles.

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The shortlist for the 2019 Aspen Words Literary Prize, which awards $35,000 to "a work of fiction that illuminates vital contemporary issues," consists of:

Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Mariner Books)
Brother by David Chariandy (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Gun Love by Jennifer Clement (Hogarth)
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Algonquin Books)
There There by Tommy Orange (Knopf)

The winner will be announced April 11.

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A shortlist has been unveiled for the £2,000 (about $2,610) Jane Grigson Trust Award, created in memory of the British food writer to recognize "a first-time writer of a book about food or drink which has been commissioned but has not yet been published." The winner will be announced March 18 in London. This year's shortlisted titles are:

The Botanical Kitchen by Elly McCausland
The Island Kitchen by Selina Periampillai
The Ark of Taste by Dan Saladino.


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, February 26:

I.M.: A Memoir by Isaac Mizrahi (Flatiron, $28.99, 9781250074089) is the memoir of a fashion designer.

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385521314) explores the Troubles through the murder of a mother of 10.

We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet (Putnam, $27, 9780735218864) takes place in Britain during World War II, where a woman adopts a supposedly orphaned evacuee.

Nervous States: Democracy and the Decline of Reason by William Davies (Norton, $27.95, 9780393635386) chronicles the rise of anxiety as a decision-making tool.

The Border: A Novel by Don Winslow (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062664488) concludes the Cartel trilogy.

Lety Out Loud by Angela Cervantes (Scholastic, $16.99, 9781338159349) is a return to the world of Gaby, Lost and Found.

The Dysasters by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast (Wednesday Books, $19.99, 9781250141040) is the first in the authors' new paranormal young adult series.

Paperbacks:
Caribbean Rim (A Doc Ford Novel) by Randy Wayne White (Putnam, $9.99, 9780735212794).

Turbulence (A Stone Barrington Novel) by Stuart Woods (Putnam, $9.99, 9780735219205).

The Reconciliation by Susan Lantz Simpson (Zebra, $7.99, 9781420146646).

The Irishman's Daughter by V.S. Alexander (Kensington, $15.95, 9781496712295).

Movie:
Transit, based on the novel by Anna Seghers, opens March 1. This French film takes place in World War II-era Marseilles, where a refugee assumes the identity of a young woman's husband.


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

Hardcover
The Age of Light: A Novel by Whitney Scharer (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316524087). "Art lovers will enjoy this sexy, brilliant novel about Man Ray and Lee Miller set in Paris during the Jazz Age. Ray met Miller shortly after she arrived in Paris, young and just learning her craft. He became her mentor and lover, an intense relationship with the older man nurturing the younger woman's talent. But as Miller grew into her art and the relationship shifted, Ray's ego needed to be first. By World War II, Miller is at the height of her powers, and she leaves behind the safety of shooting portraits for the battlefields of Europe, documenting the horrors of concentration camps. Following Miller from her youth to old age, Scharer explores the passions and creativity of two larger-than-life characters." --Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books & Music, Sunriver, Ore.

When You Read This: A Novel by Mary Adkins (Harper, $26.99, 9780062834676). "Death is called the final act, but for our loved ones who survive us, the show inevitably goes on. In When You Read This, Mary Adkins gives equal stage time to Iris Massey, a woman recently diagnosed with terminal cancer who begins a blog about her experiences, and those she has left behind. Grief is a unifying theme in this novel, from Iris, who struggles to come to terms with her death, to her sister, Jade, who is left rudderless without her, and even Iris' boss, Smith, who is determined to fulfill Iris' last request of having her blog published as a book. Poignant and bittersweet, When You Read This is a well-rounded blend of romance, comedy, and drama." --Heather Herbaugh, Mitzi's Books, Rapid City, S.D.

Paperback
A Long Way from Home: A Novel by Peter Carey (Vintage, $16.95, 9780525435990). "Carey uses the Australian cross-country Redux auto trials of the 1950s to explore how the need to be accepted directs our motivations and, accordingly, our fates. Titch and Irene Bobs join up with their neighbor Willy Bachhuber, a maps expert, to race the Redux. For Titch, an opportunistic car salesman, the race represents the chance to seize national fame--and the respect of his larger-than-life father. Through the journey, Carey delves into Australia's virulent racism toward its indigenous populations and its embedded intolerance of miscegenation. As the miles accumulate, Irene and Willy's lives change in profound ways, and we, in turn, experience Carey's wit, heart, and intelligence, as well as his skill in bringing these characters and this place and time so vibrantly to life." --Lori Feathers, Interabang Books, Dallas, Tex.

For Ages 4 to 8
Lola Dutch: When I Grow Up by Kenneth Wright, illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright (Bloomsbury, $17.99, 9781681195544). "Lola Dutch is back, and her ideas have gotten no smaller since the last time we saw her! Thinking about what she might want to be when she grows up, Lola and her friends spare no effort in exploring the various options that strike her fancy. As Lola works and grows, she decides what she really wants is to be a kid and to learn about everything--and there's always tomorrow, when she may decide to try something else entirely. Filled with as much curiosity and charm as the first book!" --Kelly O'Sullivan, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn.

For Ages 9 to 12
The Polar Bear Explorers' Club by Alex Bell (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781534406469). "A whimsical, magical tale full of humor, adventure, and some of the oddest dangers in children's literature (flesh-eating cabbages? frostbite fairies that will literally bite you?). Readers will fall in love with the main character and her fellow explorers right away and will no doubt be chomping at the bit for the next book in the series by the end." --Chris Abouzeid, Belmont Books, Belmont, Mass.

For Teen Readers
Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon (Simon Pulse, $18.99, 9781481497763). "Peter has spent years on the transplant list, studying piano while he waits for a donor kidney. His neighbor, Sophie, is consumed by dance and her secret crush on Peter. They've wrapped themselves so tightly into an exclusive friendship that there's never room for anyone else... until Sophie turns 18 and proves to be a perfect match. When her gift of a kidney frees Peter to follow dreams that don't include his best friend, Sophie is devastated and forced to rethink everything she's expected and planned for. Solomon has a talent for making me fall in love with her complex and somewhat difficult characters and then writing them into heartbreaking situations bound to tear their already challenging lives to pieces. Told through lovely and expressive prose, you'll be thinking about the choices Sophie and Peter make long after you've turned the last page." --Jenny Chou, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: The White Card: A Play

The White Card: A Play by Claudia Rankine (Graywolf Press, $16 paperback, 80p., 9781555978396, March 19, 2019)

Claudia Rankine is, among other things, a poet best known for the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Citizen: An American Lyric. The White Card is her first published play, a one-act drama composed of two scenes. The first scene is set at a dinner party hosted by Virginia and Charles, a philanthropist and art collector. The dinner's guest of honor is Charlotte, an up-and-coming black artist whom Charles wants to feature.

In the preface, Rankine writes that the play was inspired by a middle-aged white man at a question-and-answer session who asked her: "What can I do for you? How can I help you?" and his dissatisfaction with her answer: "I think the question you should be asking is what you can do for you." The play approaches the difficult reality of people who "read all the relevant books on racism, see all the documentaries and films... but in the moment of dialogue or confrontation retreat into a space of defensiveness, anger, silence, which is to say he might retreat into the comfort of control...." As the evening progresses, Charlotte and the couple's young, activist son, Alex, critique Charles's white-savior position in the art world, pushing him out of his comfort zone until he retreats to the reflexive, defensive posture described by Rankine.

The heart of the play is, of course, the conversations, which, other than the highbrow tone set by the art world association, might be familiar to many readers. The White Card is far beyond a simple polemic; each character is well-realized, with a distinct perspective. Virginia's desire to keep things calm and polite ("I ask Charles this all the time, why would you want to subject an audience to these horrors?") conceals a deep discomfort with what has befallen her older son. The family's political strife comes to be seen as inextricable from their personal strife, the fault lines present well before Charlotte's arrival. Meanwhile, Charlotte must contend with the ways her work is patronized and experienced, especially when it's revealed that part of Charles's real estate fortune was earned building private prisons.

The second scene continues Charles and Charlotte's conversation one year later, in her studio. Tensions heighten as Charlotte attempts to make him see himself as part of the ongoing tragedy of race in the United States rather than a separate, impartial observer.

The White Card stands out due to the realism of its discourse. It manages to be a provocative work without straw-manning other perspectives. When Charles says, "I truly am trying to find a way through," it's easy to believe him, even if his motivations are confused and flawed. The play also documents Charlotte's changing answer to the question: "What does it mean to portray black suffering as art?" The question is put forth in the first scene, when Charles and Virginia dramatically present an addition to their collection: a photograph of Michael Brown's autopsy report.

The White Card stages difficult conversations around race, art and guilt that are too frequently avoided. --Hank Stephenson, bookseller, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Shelf Talker: The White Card is a one-act play where a dinner party held in honor of a black artist turns to difficult questions about art and race.


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