Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, March 12, 2019

William Morrow & Company: The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

Shadow Mountain: The Witch in the Woods: Volume 1 (Grimmworld) by Michaelbrent Collings

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Indiana University Press: The Grim Reader: A Pharmacist's Guide to Putting Your Characters in Peril by Miffie Seideman

St. Martin's Press: Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder by Kerryn Mayne


Bookstore Sales Jump 9.2% in December; Up 1.7% in 2018

Bookstore sales in 2018 ended on a happy note. In December, bookstore sales had yet another strong gain, rising 9.2%, to $1.22 billion, compared to December 2017, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. As in November, data was delayed because of the government shutdown.

For 2018, bookstore sales rose 1.7%, to $10.277 billion, compared to 2017. Many months this year had strong gains, including February, March, June, July, October, November and December. The slight gain for 2018 was largely attributable to January results, when bookstore sales fell 8.6%.

Total retail sales in December rose 0.7%, to $565.1 billion. For the full year, total retail sales rose 4.9%, to $5,750 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing new books."

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland

New HarperCollins Imprint to Publish Translations in English Worldwide

HarperCollins has launched HarperVia, which will focus on acquiring international titles for world English publication. The imprint will acquire mostly fiction in translation, emphasizing books that "celebrate the universal desire for discovery, understanding, and connection through exceptional storytelling," the company said. HarperVia plans to publish about 24 titles per year and will be led by Judith Curr, president and publisher of the HarperOne Group in New York, working in collaboration with David Roth-Ey, executive publisher at HarperCollins UK, and James Kellow, CEO of HarperCollins Australia.

HarperVia's first three books will be published later this year, beginning in September, with Lost in the Spanish Quarter by Heddi Goodrich, a "modern-day, cross-cultural tale of first love between a young American and a young Italian was originally written in Italian and then translated by the author--an American who called Naples home for 10 years--herself"; It Would Be Night in Caracas by Karina Sainz Borgo, set to be published in 22 countries, and The German House by Annette Hess.

HarperVia has also acquired novels for publication in 2020 and later by Norwegian author Maja Lunde, Canadian author Eric Dupont, Iranian author Amir Ahmadi Arian and Korean author Won-pyung Sohn.

Curr said, "HarperVia is looking for books in translation that will enliven conversation and spark the reader's imagination. By working with our colleagues in the U.K. and Australia, we have a combined three acquisitions teams seeking out superb content for the list."

HarperCollins president and CEO Brian Murray commented: "Over the last four years, HarperCollins has established strong trade publishing programs and capabilities that publish English writers in 16 languages. HarperVia completes our global publishing vision by offering non-English writers a publishing partner that is seeking books in translation for English-speaking markets."

Chronicle Books: Life Wants You Dead: A Calm, Rational, and Totally Legit Guide to Scaring Yourself Safe by Evan Waite, Illustrated by Paula Searing

Chronicle Prism Is New Chronicle Nonfiction Imprint

Mark Tauber

The new nonfiction imprint at Chronicle Books that is headed by Mark Tauber is being called Chronicle Prism and will publish "narrative, inspirational, and prescriptive nonfiction books written by thought leaders and persuasive influencers that deepen the conversation and practice of our lives." Tauber joined Chronicle last September with the aim of founding a nonfiction imprint. Besides heading Chronicle Prism, Tauber will lead Chronicle's first foray into audio.

Chronicle Books president Tyrrell Mahoney said, "With this new imprint we're bringing Chronicle Books' distinctive design sensibility, creative aesthetic, and unmistakable spirit into new subject categories. Chronicle Prism will publish titles that stand out for the quality of their editorial content as well as their exceptional design and peerless book-as-object quality."

Tauber, who was senior v-p and publisher at HarperOne from 2005 to 2017, said, "The name Chronicle Prism evokes the way our authors illuminate and magnify important topics from surprising perspectives and unexpected angles, often inspiring readers to change or bend course. It also puts a delightful twist on Chronicle Books' motto 'see things differently' and its beloved eyeglasses logo."

Chronicle Prism's first three titles, appearing this fall, are Dumpty: The Age of Trump in Verse by actor and author John Lithgow; Between Heaven and Hell by journalist David Talbot, an account of the life-changing year following his stroke; and Find Your Fuckyeah by Alexis Rockley, a science-based guide that "disrupts today's warm and fuzzy personal-growth fads to help readers discover true happiness and purpose."

GLOW: Tundra Books: We Are Definitely Human by X. Fang

LBF 2019: Faber & Faber's Stephen Page

Stephen Page

"Over the coming years, where who knows what will happen on our high street post-Brexit, publishers must remain committed to sustaining a bookselling presence on the high street," said Stephen Page, CEO of Faber & Faber, in his keynote at the Quantum Conference on Monday morning before the opening of the London Book Fair. "[Bookselling] will of course continue to change shape," Page continued, "but any substantial reduction in its size will result in a radical reduction in the range of books that reach sizable or strong niche readerships."

Page discussed the vibrant, increasingly diverse publishing ecosystem that has emerged over the past several years and touched on many of the challenges facing it today. He noted that despite all of the anxiety over online retail, e-books and more, the last four years actually proved to be "the most successful period commercially in Faber's entire history." All of the technological change over the past 10 or so years has actually helped create a "comparatively solid ground" on which "writers, publishers, editors and booksellers can flourish, and where readers are served exceptionally well."

He added that the biggest and perhaps the most surprising story over the last decade is the "rising confidence of high street booksellers," who play a crucial role in bringing new books to readers. "It's become clear," he said, "that the reliance on the tools of search and online discovery alone currently falls woefully short compared to the effectiveness of markets with strong print publishing and bricks-and-mortar bookshops."

Page declared that in the years ahead, publishers will not only have to master new expertise and technologies but also renew older skills, such as emphasizing editorial choice over sheer scale, and remember that publishers "are not the whole story." The story, he explained, is writing and writers, and a publisher's role is to create "commercial and cultural value for them."

Despite the industry's present strength, he remains worried that the diverse publishing ecosystem was "built on foundations that are open to threat." One rising threat was the group of U.S. businesses referred to as FAANG--Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google--which have been "tearing up" many established and valuable structures in a variety of industries. Page said that sustaining much of the diversity in publishing will come down to placing sensible controls on those businesses, and noted that if and when Britain leaves the European Union, "our chance of ensuring that fairness seems to me to be reduced significantly, as Brussels has demonstrated far greater appetite for this than Westminster."

Page is equally concerned about how Brexit might affect territorial copyright laws, and warned that allowing breaches of territory would only erode the publishing ecosystem. "I fear that there are those who believe that global English-language markets are in their interests," he said. "They are not."

In the face of rising prejudice and violence around the world, Page continued, publishers will have to stand together, fight for the values that the industry believes in and rediscover their wider responsibility to writers, culture and society. Together, publishers and writers can proliferate ideas that will help "heal and rejuvenate" society.

"We do not have the right to simply take a financial slice of the commercial offset of culture, whether popular or high-minded," said Page. "I don't believe that we will satisfy consumers, writers or staff if making money in the future appears to be our sole object." --Alex Mutter

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

St. Paul's Micawber's Books to Close

Micawber's Books, St. Paul, Minn., will be closing later this spring, in part due to an injury to owner Tom Bielenberg. The Star Tribune reported that "black ice accomplished what years of online and big box competition couldn't" when Bielenberg slipped and fell March 3, "breaking a hip, two ribs and dislocating a couple of bones in his back." A convalescence of at least three months is expected, and Bielenberg made the decision to close his St. Anthony Park neighborhood bookshop permanently following a truncated store schedule this week and a final closing sale in April.

"It is with heavy hearts that we're writing to you to let you know that Micawber's Books will be closing its doors permanently," an e-mail to customers said. "Due to this accident, Tom will be closing Micawber's." His family has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help cover medical expenses.

Tom Bielenberg

The bookshop "had been a neighborhood fixture ever since Norton Stillman founded the store in 1972," the Star Tribune wrote, adding that Stillman sold the shop in 2003 to Bielenberg and Hans Weyandt, now the manager at Milkweed Books in Minneapolis. Micawber's relocated to its current location in 2016 to lower overhead and improve the bottom line.

Jon Schumacher, executive director of the St. Anthony Park Community Foundation, said Bielenberg is "a quiet guy but has a fierce love of literature" whose store proved a perfect match for a neighborhood passionate about the written word. "It really is kind of a sad way to end things. Micawber's was really kind of a holdout, a throwback. And there was a loyalty to Tom because of who he is. We wish him a speedy recovery."

Bielenberg told the Pioneer Press that while people have volunteered to help keep the store open, "that's more than I can imagine. As the days go on--I've been here for a week now--I'm realizing it's a long haul. I can't just not take in money for three or four months. People volunteering is great, but it would be hard to put together."

Regarding his long career as a bookseller, which began at Hungry Mind bookstore and then Ruminator Books, he added: "It's one of those things where you are going to grad school, and you're working part-time, and before you know it, you've been in the book business all your life. But I always loved it. I never got tired of opening the book boxes.... We always knew that we wouldn't be as big as the big-box stores, but still, as late as last week, someone came in and said they liked the selection. That's the best compliment I can get, because I know I'm not going to have everything."

Pochintesta Named B&N CIO

Carlo Pochintesta

Barnes & Noble has appointed Carlo Pochintesta chief information officer, effective immediately. He joins B&N from Rag & Bone Holdings, where he also served as CIO, and will report to CFO Allen Lindstrom.

"We are so pleased to welcome Carlo to Barnes & Noble, who brings with him decades of leadership in information technology at some of the country's most respected retailers," said Lindstrom. "His long and successful track record of innovation in information technology in the retail industry, particularly in the areas of merchandising and supply chain, make him a great fit for our company."

Pochintesta has more than 25 years experience managing IT for multi-billion-dollar businesses across the retail industry, including Rag & Bone, Steve Madden, Gucci America and Ann Taylor. At B&N, he will be responsible for information technology, telecommunication networks and computer systems, as well as evaluating the company's overall technology resources and strategies.


Image of the Day: Authors at Pulpwood Queens Convention

Kathy L. Murphy, founder of the Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Clubs, with more than 700 chapters internationally, shared a group photo featuring most of the 50 authors who participated in this year's annual Pulpwood Queen Girlfriend Weekend book club convention in Jefferson, Tex. Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of Girlfriend Weekend with the theme "Take It to the Limit."

'Lawrence Ferlinghetti's Enduring San Francisco'

In a travel piece headlined "Lawrence Ferlinghetti's Enduring San Francisco," the New York Times reported that the upcoming 100th birthday celebration for the legendary poet, publisher, artist, social activist and City Lights bookstore founder "is the perfect reason to take a tour of old-school San Francisco."

Any reader's trip to the city by the Bay "should start with a visit to City Lights," the Times wrote. "Pound for pound, City Lights is almost certainly the best bookstore in the United States. It's not as sprawling as the Strand, in Manhattan, or Moe's Books, in Berkeley. But it's so dense with serious world literature of every stripe, and so absent trinkets and elaborate bookmarks and candles and other foofaraw, that it's a Platonic ideal. It can inspire, even in jaded bookstore-goers, something close to religious awe."

Noting that City Lights "is far from the only bookstore in town," the Times visited Dog Eared Books ("perfectly cluttered"), Borderlands Books ("a geek paradise"), the 826 Pirate Supply Store ("We'd have loved the pirate supply store if we'd been 7 years old again"), Moe's Books ("You can get lost for an entire day in Moe's") and Pegasus Books ("smaller, but expertly curated").

Personnel Changes at Crown; St. Martin's Press

Patty Berg, formerly director of retail marketing for the Crown Publishing Group, has left the company following the recent restructuring. She can be reached via e-mail.


At St. Martin's Press:

Sarah Melnyk has been named assistant director of publicity, St. Martin's Press/Minotaur.

Jessica Preeg has been named assistant director of publicity, St. Martin's Press.

Jessica Zimmerman has been named assistant director of publicity, St. Martin's Press.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: David E. McCraw on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: David E. McCraw, author of Truth in Our Times: Inside the Fight for Press Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts (All Points Books, $28.99, 9781250184429).

Daily Show: Karamo Brown, author of Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope (Gallery, $27, 9781982111977).

Movies: Lanny

Rachel Weisz (The Favourite) will produce and star in Lanny, the movie adaptation of the novel by Max Porter (Grief Is a Thing with Feathers). Variety reported that "the book has already been sold in 20 territories. It has been optioned by London and Paris-based the Bureau, BBC Films, and Weisz." The film is in development, and the team is looking for a screenwriter to handle the adaptation.

Weisz will produce alongside Tristan Goligher (The Bureau), who said: "We all fell in love with this wonderful novel and can't wait to find the right writer and director to bring this distinctive, wise, and moving story to the screen."

"With such a peerless combination of talent involved this was an easy decision to make,” said agent Lesley Thorne of Aitken Alexander Associates. "We can't wait to see how they realize Max's unique storytelling on screen."

Books & Authors

Awards: Jhalak Prize Longlist

A 12-book longlist has been released for the £1,000 (about US$1,310) Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Color. This year's judges are playwright and poet Sabrina Mahfouz; journalist and editor Sarah Shaffi; poet and producer Siana Bangura; and children's and YA author Anna Perera. The shortlist will be announced April 5 and a winner named May 1. This year's longlisted titles are:

Built: The Hidden Stories Behind Our Structures by Roma Agrawal
Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of the Empire by Akala
The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus
Mother Country: Real Stories of the Windrush Children, edited by Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff
The Terrible by Yrsa Daley-Ward
Happiness by Aminatta Forna
In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne
Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging by Afua Hirsch
Stopping Places: A Journey Through Gypsy Britain by Damian Le Bas
The Healing Next Time by Roy McFarlane
The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Rauf
Ponti by Sharlene Teo

Book Review

Review: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 hardcover, 432p., 9781328662057, April 2, 2019)

Psychotherapist and author of the Atlantic's "Dear Therapist" column, Lori Gottlieb (Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough) has spent time both in the therapist's seat and on the couch. She knows "a therapist will hold up a mirror to patients, but patients will also hold up a mirror to their therapists." In this memoir of crisis and healing, she illuminates the therapist-client relationship by describing her therapy experience during a personal crisis, supplemented with the stories of three special clients she counseled in the same period.

When Gottlieb's boyfriend breaks off their relationship, citing an aversion to helping raise her son, he takes her by complete surprise. Heartbroken and riddled with anxiety, she deals with her feelings the way any good psychoanalyst would: she goes to therapy. After asking for a referral "for a friend," she makes an appointment with Wendell Bronson, whom she chooses in part because he has children and therefore seems more likely to share her opinion that her now-ex is, in fact, a sociopath. Instead of confirmation that her ex has deep-seated issues, though, Gottlieb's sessions with Wendell take her on a trek through the fears and worries she hasn't expressed, even to herself.

At the same time, in her own practice, Gottlieb counsels three clients who make lasting impressions. Julie, a young newlywed, needs to work through the grief of a death--her own, approaching quickly due to a rare cancer. John--who calls Gottlieb his hooker because he pays her in cash to hide her existence from his wife--conceals a tragedy under his snarky façade. Rita, a divorced senior citizen, wants to commit suicide if her life doesn't improve over the next year.

Wry and compassionate, Gottlieb offers an intimate perspective on client-therapist interaction and insight into the therapist's point of view. The juxtaposition of her experiences as client and practitioner brings a candor to the narrative that emphasizes therapists not as experts, but as feeling human beings. In relating her own emotional journey, Gottlieb's self-deprecating humor charms and disarms as she quips, "Who do I think I am, Elizabeth Gilbert...?"

The catharsis and growth she undergoes in her sessions with no-nonsense Wendell mirrors her own clients' awakenings. Seen through the lens of her training and care, each of their struggles resonates with pain and hope, and frequent asides on psychological theories add a cerebral slant. Heartwarming and upbeat, this memoir demystifies therapy and celebrates the human spirit. Gottlieb describes writing it as similar to making a documentary on crocodile embryos: "I want to capture the process in which humans, struggling to evolve, push against their shells until they... crack open." --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: Gottlieb, who writes "Dear Therapist" for the Atlantic, explores the client-therapist relationship from both sides in this raw, thoughtful memoir.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. When August Ends by Penelope Ward
2. The Promise (Neighbor from Hell Book 10) by R.L. Mathewson
3. Lost and Found (Masters and Mercenaries: The Forgotten Book 2) by Lexi Blake
4. Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins
5. Dixon (The Kings of Guardian Book 12) by Kris Michaels
6. Sweet Liar by Laurelin Paige
7. Dirty Money (A J.J. Graves Mystery Book 7) by Liliana Hart
8. The Knocked Up Plan (One Love Book 3) by Lauren Blakely
9. Bonded to the Alien Centurion by Mina Carter
10. Surprise Delivery by R.R. Banks

[Many thanks to!]

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