Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Chronicle Books: Stella & Marigold by Annie Barrows, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Poisoned Pen Press: The Boyfriend by Frieda McFadden

St. Martin's Press: Disney High: The Untold Story of the Rise and Fall of Disney Channel's Tween Empire

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Graphix: 39 Clues: One False Note (39 Clues Graphic Novel #2) by Gordon Korman, Illustrated by Hannah Templer


Samuel French Closing Hollywood Bookshop

The Samuel French Film & Theatre Bookshop in Hollywood, Calif., will close effective March 31. Broadway World reported that the company’s "extensive collection of iconic acting edition play scripts and musical libretti will continue to be available online through the Samuel French website" as well as at Samuel French's bookshop in London's Royal Court Theatre, which celebrates its first anniversary next month.

Citing a significant decline in sales for over the past decade, BWW observed that more than 80% of Samuel French's retail sales are now made online.

"Although the community loves the store and its exceptional staff, most people are choosing to buy their books from e-retailers these days," said company president Nathan Collins. "It is an unfortunate situation, in which many other bookshops find themselves. However, the good news is that Samuel French continues to serve the world online with an unparalleled range of shows to license and scripts to purchase. This is supported by our expert staff in New York, London, and L.A. and their outstanding service to our customers. Additionally, we are excited to continue exploring new ways to support the playwriting community in the digital age."

Samuel French will be donating scripts and other materials from the closure to local libraries, theaters and educational institutions.

"It's one small way for us to give back to the community," Collins added. "The bookstore has been a beloved landmark for decades and we are extremely grateful to our dedicated staff and loyal customers who have run and supported it for so many years."

Peachtree: The Littlest Yak: Home Is Where the Herd Is by Lu Fraser, Illustrated by Kate Hindley

Wibke Grütjen New Chief Marketing Officer at Hachette

Wibke Grütjen

Wibke Grütjen is joining Hachette Book Group as senior v-p and chief marketing officer, effective March 25. She will also join the executive management board. Grütjen is currently v-p of digital marketing at Macmillan, a position she has held since 2010.

Grütjen reports to CEO Michael Pietsch, who said that her "combination of creative and strategic thinking and her deep knowledge of the rapidly evolving marketing landscape make her eminently qualified to lead HBG's central marketing team and to work with our publishing divisions' marketing groups to help them execute even more effective and data-driven campaigns. She will collaborate closely with our sales team and publishing groups, with our talented marketing specialists, and with international marketing teams across Hachette Livre."

At the same time, Alyson Forbes, executive director of analytics and advertising, has been promoted to v-p, executive director of marketing strategy. On an acting basis for the past several months heading the marketing strategy department, she has, Pietsch said, "worked seamlessly with all our imprints on data-driven marketing strategies across web, e-mail, and social media channels... [and in the last four and a half years] has improved our approach to advertising, expanded our use of analytics, improved the quality of our title metadata, led our expanded advertising on Amazon, and helped all our marketers make data the foundation of their work."

Ingram Opening New Warehouse in U.K.

Ingram Content Group is opening a 96,000-square-foot distribution center in Milton Keynes, England. The site is about two miles from the Lightning Source print-on-demand facility, which is will remain in its location. The new center will house distribution operations of NBNi, Ingram's global physical and digital book distributor, which is currently in Plymouth. (NBNi client services, publisher services, IT and finance staff now in Plymouth will remain there.)

Early next year, Ingram will also move Ingram Publisher Services International into the new Milton Keynes facility. IPS International currently uses Grantham Book Services to supply the U.K. and European markets.

With the moves--which will begin in the second half of 2019 and be completed early next year--all of Ingram's U.K. book distribution services will be in one Ingram-owned location.

"With seamless and integrated digital and physical distribution located close to the print-on-demand services provided by Lightning Source UK, we can offer powerful and unique distribution services to customers across the U.K. and Europe," said David Taylor, senior v-p for content acquisition international and managing director of NBNi.

Sabrina McCarthy, IPS international v-p and general manager, added: "It has long been a goal of Ingram Publisher Services to have our own warehouse facility in the U.K. market. This move enables us to provide truly integrated sales and inventory reporting for the U.S., U.K. and European markets, and a higher level of service for our distribution clients."

BookBrowse Report: 'The Inner Lives of Book Clubs'

Book club meeting at Island Books, Mercer Island, Wash.

The stereotype that book clubs are "primarily social groups who use books as a pretext to get together for a gossip and a glass of wine" is "far from the reality," according to a new BookBrowse report called "The Inner Lives of Book Clubs." In fact, the vast majority of book clubs--84% of private book clubs and 90% of public ones--spend at least 40 minutes of each meeting discussing a book, and most "designate a facilitator to keep the conversation on track."

Based on more than 5,500 responses, the report also found that book club members are happier with the book club the longer the club discusses the book. For example, in groups that discuss the book for 75 minutes or more, some 81% of respondents described themselves as "very happy" with the group. By contrast, in groups where book discussions are 20 minutes or less, only 55% of respondents are "very happy."

Socializing has its place: "71% of those in private book clubs and 43% of those in public groups feel that a social element is very important," the report found. Many respondents observed that friendships often grow out of "open debate and sharing of perspectives."

Another stereotype is that book clubs "mainly consist of women reading 'women's' or literary fiction," but nearly half (48%) of public book groups have male participants. While 88% of private book clubs are all women, many would be happy to include men, the report found.

Some 70% of book groups do read fiction most of the time, but the books "straddle multiple genres, including nonfiction." Moreover, the longer a group runs, "the broader their reading tends to be."

While book club members almost unanimously (98%) said respect for each other's opinions is very important, a majority of respondent (71%) indicated that it's very important that their group's book choices challenge them as a reader and 55% said they're drawn to books that are "a bit controversial."

Problems that lead members to leave book clubs or cause book clubs to disband include "overly dominant participants, poor attendance, book selection, group size, and managing meetings."

Overall, the vast majority of book club members describe their group as "a vital and fun aspect of their life. Book clubbers enjoy a sense of community and, often, personal friendships within their group; but, above all else, they value intellectual challenge and growth."

For more information about the BookBrowse report, click here.

Obituary Note: Donald Keene

Donald Keene, "whose translations of Japanese literature into English and prodigious academic output helped define the study of the subject and made him a celebrity in Japan," died February 24, the New York Times reported. He was 96. Keene "devoted his life to Japan, and his efforts to communicate the country's rich literary tradition to the world--and elucidate it to its own people--made him a superstar there."

Keene "transcended the boundary between celebrity and legend" when he became a Japanese citizen in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, "a gesture of solidarity with the nation that had already become his home in every sense except the official one," the Times noted.

During his career, Keene translated many important works of Japanese literature; published more than two dozen books of his own in English, including Chronicles of My Life: An American in the Heart of Japan; and many more in Japanese and other languages. In 1985, he became the first non-Japanese honored with the Yomiuri Prize for Literature for literary criticism for his historical survey of Japanese diaries, later published in English as Travelers of the Ages.

Keene's two-volume examination of modern Japanese literature, Dawn to the West, was described as a work that "alone could stand as a respectable life's work for any scholar." Other works include World Within Walls; Seeds in the Heart; and Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852-1912.

He befriended and translated many prominent literary figures, including Yukio Mishima and Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata.

Seiki Keene, his adopted son, told the Mainichi Shimbun: "He devoted his life to Japanese literature, and to become part of Japan's soil, as a Japanese person, was my father's longstanding dream."


Image of the Day: Marlon James at Skylight

Marlon James appeared at Skylight Books, Los Angles, Calif., last week on his tour for his new novel, Black Leopard, Red Wolf (Riverhead). Photo: David Gonzalez

San Francisco's Best Independent Bookstores, Mapped

Mapping the "15 best independent bookstores of San Francisco," McGuire Real Estate noted that the city "has been a haven, a home and an inspirational backdrop for poets, artists and authors for more than a century.... And it has been a home--even a second home--to some of the largest names in entertainment, literature and art. Combine that with our city's historically quirky and indie character and we're not surprised to find so many independent bookstores thriving in San Francisco. Today, we're celebrating both the historic and the new with a guide that is sure to excite any book lover."

Bookshop Chalkboard of the Day: Gramercy Books

Linda Kass, owner of Gramercy Books, Bexley, Ohio, shared a photo of the store's chalkboard sign, which she said "is getting lots of looks."

Personnel Changes at Chronicle Books; S&S; Page Street Publishing

At Chronicle Books:

Lisa Bach has been promoted to director of special sales. Previously she was director of independent special sales.

Vanessa Navarrete has been promoted to sales manager, independent specialty. Previously she was associate sales manager, independent specialty.

Emily Malter has been promoted to sales coordinator, independent specialty. Previously she was Sales assistant, independent specialty.


Alissa Nigro has been promoted to marketing manager from associate marketing manager for Aladdin and Simon Pulse at Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.


Charlotte Lyman has joined Page Street Publishing as publicist. She was previously digital marketing specialist at Chelsea Green Publishing.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Patton Oswalt on Tonight

Daily Show: Angie Thomas, author of On the Come Up (Balzer + Bray, $18.99, 9780062498564).

Tonight Show: Patton Oswalt discusses I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara (Harper Perennial, $17.99, 9780062319791).

TV: His Dark Materials

A teaser trailer has been released for the big-budget His Dark Materials, adapted from Philip Pullman's epic fantasy trilogy: Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. Deadline reported that the BBC partnered with HBO on the Bad Wolf and New Line Cinema-produced series, featuring Dafne Keen, James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

"We wanted fans to have a tiny glimpse of His Dark Materials," said exec producer Jane Tranter. "As with Lyra, there are many more worlds to discover as we start upon this epic journey."

Written by Jack Thorne and directed by Tom Hooper, the project's cast also includes Anne-Marie Duff, Clarke Peters, Ariyon Bakare, Will Keen, Ian Gelder, Georgina Campbell, Lucian Msamati, James Cosmo, Ruta Gedmintas, Mat Fraser, Geoff Bell, Simon Manyonda as well as young actors Lewin Lloyd, Daniel Frogson and Tyler Howitt.

Books & Authors

Awards: Lukas Shortlist

The shortlists for the Lukas Prizes, sponsored by the Columbia Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University and honoring "the best in American nonfiction writing," are:

J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize:
American Prison by Shane Bauer (Penguin Press)
In the Enemy's House by Howard Blum (HarperCollins)
Patriot Number One by Lauren Hilgers (Crown)
American Overdose by Chris McGreal (PublicAffairs)
Heartland by Sarah Smarsh (Scribner)

Mark Lynton History Prize:
Frederick Douglass by David W. Blight (Simon & Schuster)
The War Before the War by Andrew Delbanco (Penguin Press)
Asperger's Children by Edith Sheffer (Norton)
The New Negro by Jeffrey C. Stewart (Oxford University Press)
Pogrom by Steven J. Zipperstein (Liveright)

J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Awards:
Let the Lord Sort Them by Maurice Chammah (Crown)
Mara by Steven Dudley (Hanover Square Press)
Made in China by Amelia Pang (Algonquin Books)
This Is All I Got by Lauren Sandler (Penguin Random House)
Let the Record Show by Sarah Schulman (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Winners will be announced on March 20, and the awards will be presented at a ceremony on May 7.

Top Library Recommended Titles for March

LibraryReads, the nationwide library staff-picks list, offers the top 10 March titles public library staff across the country love:

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing (Berkley, $26, 9780451491725). "An incredible, dark, twisty psychological thriller with two of the most seemingly normal but disturbingly depraved people you will read about in fiction. This brilliant debut needs to be at the top of your must-read list. For readers who like taut suspense and works by Gillian Flynn, B.A. Paris, and Mary Kubica." --Rachel Reeves, Weatherford Public Library, Weatherford, Tex.

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward (Park Row, $26.99, 9780778369103). "Maddie the innocent travel writer and Jo the wild child are living quite the life abroad when Ian crosses their path and changes both their lives permanently. Moving backward and forward in time, the narrative slowly reveals hidden truths. For fans of Paula Hawkins and Ruth Ware." --Selena Swink, Lake Public Library, Lake, Miss.

The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson (Grove Press, $26, 9780802129031). "Lush and wonderful language, characters, and worldbuilding make this an enjoyable read for fans of historical fantasy. The relationship between concubine Fatima and mapmaker Hassan is multifaceted and compelling. A good choice for readers who liked Uprooted and City of Brass." --Nora Walsh, Princeton Public Library, Princeton, N.J.

A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn (Berkley, $26, 9780451490711). "In this fine addition to the series, Veronica Speedwell joins Stoker and his brother on an island off the British coast, attempting to solve a years-old mystery about the disappearance of a young woman on her wedding day. Recommended for fans of historical Victorian fiction, murder mysteries, and lepidoptery." --Jill McKinney, Gunnison County Library, Gunnison, Colo.

The Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Becquets (Berkley, $26, 9780399587047). "A suspenseful, surprising story that begins with every woman's worst nightmare--a breakdown on a lonely road in the middle of the night and a bad feeling about the handsome guy who stops to help. This kick-in-the-gut start leads to a more thoughtful mystery with a big twist. Recommended for fans of Lee Child." --Patricia Uttaro, Monroe County Library System, Monroe, N.Y.

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner (Berkley, $26, 9780451492159). "The story of two teenage girls who forge a life-long friendship in an internment camp in Crystal City, Texas. For fans of historical fiction and readers who enjoy stories about immigration experiences and life during wartime." --Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, Tex.

The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick (Park Row, $24.99, 9780778369356). "Martha Storm volunteers at the local library and has a tendency to help others over taking care of herself. One day she receives a mysterious book from the grandmother she believed dead and begins digging into her family's past. Who doesn't love a book about books? For fans of Elizabeth Berg and Fredrik Backman." --Shari Suarez, Genesee District Library, Genesee, Mich.

Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss: A Novel by Rajeev Balasubramanyam (The Dial Press, $27, 9780525511380). "When Chandra fails to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, again, then suffers a heart attack, he decides to make changes in his life. A humorous journey of self-discovery similar to Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry." --Lora Bruggeman, Indian Prairie Public Library, Darien, Ill.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (Gallery/Scout Press, $26, 9781501196010). "Queenie, a 25-year-old British-Jamaican woman, struggles to have a sense of purpose after being dumped by her white boyfriend. This humorous and timely debut sheds light on society's fetishization of black women and its impact on family, relationships and mental health." --Molly Riportella, Westwood Public Library, Westwood, Mass.

The River: A Novel by Peter Heller (Knopf, $25.95, 9780525521877). "A love letter to the great outdoors. Both adventure story and elegant nature writing. Two college students on a canoe trip face a wildfire, white-water rapids, and two mysterious strangers. For fans of Tim Johnston and Dave Eggers." --Sara Kennedy, Delaware County District Library, Delaware, Ohio

Book Review

Review: What Matters Most

What Matters Most: The Get Your Sh*t Together Guide to Wills, Money, Insurance, and Life's "What-Ifs" by Chanel Reynolds (Harper Wave, $25.99 hardcover, 352p., 9780062689436, March 19, 2019)

The unthinkable happened to Chanel Reynolds in July 2009: her husband, José, 44, was struck by a van while riding his bicycle in their hometown of Seattle, Wash. It took a week for him to die--hooked up to life support. Reynolds states, "I did not choose for him to die but I had to choose to let him go."

In What Matters Most, Reynolds's first book, she shares the intimate story of her husband's accident, her struggle to make critical life-and-death decisions and how those decisions affected her along with their young son, Gabi, and José's daughter, Lyric, from a prior marriage.

This shocking event marked the start of a long, painful odyssey. Reynolds felt totally overwhelmed while standing at José's bedside in the ICU. As she watched his life hang in the balance, Reynolds tried to talk herself through the trauma. At one point, she unknowingly uttered the phrase "get your sh*t together" aloud. That mantra--which she refers to as "GYST"--carried her through her husband's final days and was recited more and more frequently in the aftermath of his death. Reynolds faced an onslaught of red tape--everything from dealing with mortgage and car payments, deciphering bank accounts, and understanding life insurance and wills to figuring out next steps for her and the kids. Reynolds was forced to learn things the hard way. This led her, three years later, to launch a website called Get Your Sh*t Together, aimed at helping others avoid unpreparedness.

Her book compiles work from her website and shares her extensive research through surveys, conversations with experts and hearing the stories of thousands of people across the country who have taken her workshops. The sections where she walks readers through the painstaking details of her own experiences are incredibly moving and engaging. While offering profound insights into the emotional minefield of loss--letting go, grieving and finding a way forward--she also outlines ways to navigate and address more pragmatic concerns.

Readers can come away with a clear understanding of what they need to do before disaster strikes in their own lives. Reynolds's strategies are supported by concise, easy-to-follow lists and checklists that encourage people to keep and secure up-to-date records of all personal information. She stresses the importance of making an emergency contact and contingency plan and establishing a financial emergency fund. She breaks down aspects of life insurance--why it's important and what kind of policy is best--and explains the value of wills, trusts and advanced-care directives.

Reynolds is not a financial or legal adviser. However, her story, told from the trenches of life, is powerful and wise. Her message--sort out your finances and get your end-of-life wishes in order before it's too late--offers readers a generous opportunity to learn from her experiences so as to be more fully prepared. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines.

Shelf Talker: A widow and mother shares her story of loss--and its aftermath--in order to help others prepare for the practical considerations when losing a loved one.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Luck of the Devil by Meghan March
2. Shelter for Quinn by Susan Stoker
3. Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins
4. The Millennial Whisperer by Chris Tuff
5. It Happens (The Bear Bottom Guardians MC Book 6) by Lani Lynn Vale
6. The Risk by Elle Kennedy
7. Lei Crime Series Boxed Set 5-8 by Toby Neal
8. Blood Apprentice by Elizabeth Hunter
9. Surprise Delivery by R.R. Banks
10. Lost in the Reflecting Pool: A Memoir by Diane Pomerantz

[Many thanks to!]

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