Shelf Awareness for Thursday, April 11, 2019

Del Rey Books: Black Shield Maiden by Willow Smith and Jess Hendel

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

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen

Tor Books: The Daughters' War (Blacktongue) by Christopher Buehlman

Tommy Nelson: Just in Case You Ever Feel Alone (Just in Case) by Max Lucado, Illustrated by Eve Tharlet

Bramble: The Spellshop by Sarah Beth Durst


Seattle's Madison Books Plans IBD Opening

Madison Books in progress

When Madison Books opens in Seattle, Wash., on April 27, Independent Bookstore Day, it will be the first new, general-interest, independent bookstore in the city's Madison Park neighborhood since 2005. The roughly 400-square-foot bookstore is a sister store to Phinney Books, which opened in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood in 2014, and will be run day-to-day by manager James Crossley, a bookseller with more than 15 years of experience.

"It's been tremendous fun, really," said Crossley, who was the adult book buyer at Island Books on Mercer Island for around 11 years before leaving to help launch Madison Books. "I'm interested to see what it is the neighborhood wants."

Crossley reported that the plan is to make Madison Books a "general-interest, neighborhood bookstore," with no particular specialization and a little bit of everything available. Though the store is small, Crossley said, the space has tall ceilings and is "surprisingly capacious." There will be books for all ages, and at the moment, Crossley's plans for nonbook items are limited. Aside from things like greeting cards or journals, he intends to "keep the focus on books."

Madison Books opened last holiday season as a pop-up shop in the unfinished storefront, and Crossley said it provided an early look at what sorts of books their future customers might prefer. There were plenty of mystery fans, he recalled, and generally tastes were varied. Crossley added that his own tastes tend to gravitate toward fiction, and fiction in translation specifically. He explained that he was "particularly passionate" about helping readers find great books that they haven't "already heard about." At the same time, he prefers not to make translated fiction seem "too exotic" or "make a fuss" that it's from abroad. "I figure it should just be part of everybody's palate," said Crossley.

Madison Books will open on Independent Bookstore Day, and Crossley's plans for the day include hosting a party, with fun literary quizzes, snacks and drinks. While events are definitely part of the store's plan, Crossley noted that given the store's small size, it would be difficult to do any large-scale events. To that end, however, he hopes to partner with a variety of event spaces and venues in the neighborhood, and has "feelers out" in the area. And the store's first major off-site event will be in September, when Madison Books will be working with Phinney Books to sell books at a new children's book festival that will feature 40-50 authors.

Opening a new bookstore in Madison Park was a long time in the works, Crossley explained. After the neighborhood's bookstore closed in 2005, it became one local woman's mission to bring in a new bookstore: Susan Moseley, a lifelong resident of Madison Park, has been trying to fill that void for nearly 15 years. It was Moseley, in fact, who actually found the space in which Madison Books will open in a just a few weeks. Not interested in running the store herself, Moseley reached out to Tom Nissley, the owner of Phinney Books, and made a generous offer to help a bookstore get going in that space. And while Nissley thought it was a great opportunity, he was too busy running his own store to manage Madison Books. He then got in touch with Crossley.

"I've known Tom from the indie scene for a while," Crossley recalled. "I always felt in sync with how he ran his shop."

Although the shop's official opening date is Indie Bookstore Day, Crossley said he expects that some time during the week before, people "might see us in there with the lights on and selling books." He added that starting with the pop-up in December, he's had a first-hand look at how happy the community is about the bookstore.

"I'm really glad we decided to do the pop-up," said Crossley. "We got a preview of how excited the neighborhood is to have a bookstore again." --Alex Mutter

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

NYC's bookbook Closing in May

Originally known as the Biography Bookshop, bookbook, the bookstore on Bleecker Street in New York City, is closing on May 15, Jeremiah's Vanishing New York reported.

Carolyn Epstein, who founded the store in 1984 with her husband, Charles Mullin, told Jeremiah's Vanishing New York that an increase in rent spurred the decision to close. "I'm 70 years old," she said. "I'm just tired." The couple will continue to sell some books at the Abingdon Square Saturday Farmer's Market and possibly on Carmine St.

In their e-mail announcement of the closing, the owners wrote: "Keep supporting our independent bookstore friends in Greenwich Village at Unoppressive Non-imperialist Bargain Books, Three Lives & Company, Mercer Street Books, and Idlewild."

In 2010, Epstein and Mullin moved from their original site because of a rent increase and changed the name of the store to bookbook from Biography Bookshop; the old space became a Marc Jacobs bookstore called Bookmarc.

Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen

Porter Square Books to Open Second Location

Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass., plans to open a second location, in Boston's Seaport neighborhood, in conjunction with the creative writing nonprofit GrubStreet.

While noting that many specifics have yet to be nailed down, Porter Square Books owner David Sandberg reported that the Seaport location will have about 1,700 square feet of selling space, which is a little more than half the selling space of the original location, as well as a cafe and events space. It will be part of a new "literary center" comprised of GrubStreet, the bookstore and the poetry nonprofit Mass Poetry. According to GrubStreet, the literary center is expected to open late winter/early spring 2020.

Sandberg expects to hire a new team of frontline booksellers for the new store, but the manager will likely come from Porter Square's management team. Buying, social media and marketing, meanwhile, will be handled by the Cambridge store.

"I think this store is going to have its own identity," said Sandberg. "But it will be connected. It's not going to be random."

When asked how the Seaport location will differ from the original Porter Square Books, Sandberg answered that it will be much more closely aligned with GrubStreet than the main store. He explained that while they do carry some GrubStreet authors in the Cambridge store already, they will likely be featured much more prominently in the Seaport location. He added that the Seaport is a much more tourist-heavy area than Porter Square, and that will likely have an effect on what they carry, as well as how they market the store.

Sandberg said that the plan for the Seaport location is to have a dedicated event space, which the original store does not have. The exact size of that events space isn't set, but the main thing, Sandberg continued, is that "it allows us to leverage the additional space for events." There might be authors who would be a better fit for the Seaport store than the original store, and there might even be authors whom they'll want to bring to both stores.

"On the one hand, our store has an incredibly strong identity and brand," Sandberg said. "On the other hand, our identity and brand is as a community bookstore. And we need to translate that to a new community."

Many other details about the second location are still in flux. Sandberg isn't sure yet how many new booksellers they'll hire, or what the new store's hours will be. For example, GrubStreet classes typically go until 10 p.m. each night, so he and his team are considering whether they'll stay open that late every night. And the original Porter Square Books, which also has a cafe, opens at 7 a.m.; he is unsure if the Seaport location will also be open that early. A lot of staffing decisions, he said, will depend on the store's hours.

On the subject of how the decision to open a second store came about, Sandberg replied simply that it came about because of GrubStreet. Over the years, he said, there have been instances where one developer or another has approached them about possibly opening a bookstore in a new development, and in all of those cases the answer was "no, thanks." But when GrubStreet, an organization with which Porter Square has frequently collaborated, approached the store, it "seemed like a different thing."

"My general feeling about Boston bookstores is there's far too few of them," said Sandberg. "I'm glad we're helping to change that. It's something we're really excited about, and GrubStreet is really excited about." --Alex Mutter

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

New Plans for Former Montgomery, Ala., Bookstore Site

"There's a new chapter ahead" for the former location of Capitol Book & News in Montgomery, Ala., which was closed by owners Thomas and Cheryl Upchurch in 2016 after 65 years in business. The Advertiser reported that Huntingdon College "has purchased the property and is giving it a $250,000 overhaul. Huntingdon plans to reopen it as the Scarlet & Grey Shop, the college's bookstore and retail space."

Spokeswoman Su Ofe said the opening is still several months away. Work by Hufham Farris Construction, which is handling the project, continues on the structure and grounds, the Advertiser wrote.

William Morrow & Company: Lula Dean's Little Library of Banned Books by Kirsten Miller

Rowling Backs U.K. Mentoring Program for 'Undiscovered Voices'

J.K. Rowling is backing a new initiative aimed at discovering women crime writers in the U.K. from black, Asian, minority ethnic (BAME) and working-class backgrounds, hoping that it will help "open doors to new and as yet undiscovered voices in crime fiction."

Killer Women, an author collective of 20 female crime writers, has started a mentoring program for unpublished women from under-represented backgrounds who want to write crime or thriller novels, the Guardian reported.

J.K. Rowling

"For me, writing crime fiction behind the pseudonym Robert Galbraith was a way to ensure that my books be judged on the merit of the writing alone, but I know how hard it is when you first hit the scene as an unrecognized author," Rowling said.

Killer Women is supported by funding from Arts Council England as well as by several authors, including Val McDermid, who observed: "I grew up in a working-class home, well aware that people like me didn't become writers. I was lucky enough to break out thanks to a first rate--free--university education, but when I started writing, I knew nobody in the publishing business," McDermid said. "Restricting access impoverishes our culture, and I'm delighted and excited at this initiative from the accomplished and innovative Killer Women."

Harper Celebrate: Why Do We Stay?: How My Toxic Relationship Can Help You Find Freedom by Stephanie Quayle, with Keith W. Campbell


Image of the Day: Isabel & Dave

Literary legends Dave Eggers and Isabel Allende came together at Book Passage in Corte Madera, Calif., to celebrate Eggers's new book, The Parade (Knopf).'s Meet a Bookseller: Mary O'Malley launched its "Meet a Bookseller" series by interviewing Mary O'Malley of Anderson's Bookshop, La Grange, Ill. Among our favorite exchanges from the q&a:

How did you get into bookselling?
I applied to work at Anderson's the day the "Coming Soon" sign went up in LaGrange. I had just begun thinking about what my next steps should be job-wise and POOF--I literally saw a sign of what I was meant to do!

What do you love most about being a bookseller?
Curating the perfect book for a reader. I love when people come in and say, "My aunt has read everything--what do you recommend that she might like?" I also look at myself as a champion of the authors. At our first staff meeting, Becky Anderson said she wanted us to find and read books that should be bestsellers, but aren't, and then sell them! I love finding the hidden gems and then sharing those with our customers.

What do you love most about your bookstore?
We have an incredibly positive energy at our store--we are so supportive of each other and are like one, big, nerdy cheerleading squad. My motto is, "Let Your Weird Light Shine Bright, So the Other Weirdos Know Where to Find You." I feel like I have found my weird tribe at Anderson's!

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Senator Doug Jones on Colbert's Late Show

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Senator Doug Jones, author of Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Civil Rights (All Points Books, $29.99, 9781250201447).

Real Time with Bill Maher: Dave Barry, author of Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781501161155).

This Weekend on Book TV: The L.A. Times Festival of Books

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, April 13
1:30 to 8:30 p.m. Live coverage of the 24th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (Re-airs Saturday at 9 p.m.). Highlights include:

  • 1:30 p.m. A discussion on current events with Beth Macy, author of Dopesick, Eliza Griswold, author of Amity and Prosperity, and Mona Hanna-Attisha, author of What the Eyes Don't See.
  • 2:30 p.m. Open phones with Igor Volsky, author of Guns Down.
  • 3 p.m. A discussion on political history with Susan Page, author of The Matriarch, Miriam Pawel, author of The Browns of California, and Jon Ward, author of Camelot's End.
  • 4 p.m. Open phones with Roxane Gay.
  • 4:30 p.m. A discussion on U.S. history with James Donovan, author of Shoot for the Moon, Duncan Williams, author of American Sutra, and Anna-Lisa Cox, author of The Bone and Sinew of the Land.
  • 5:30 p.m. Open phones with Beth Macy.
  • 6 p.m. A discussion on world history with Priya Satia, author of Empire of Guns, Scott Martelle, author of William Walker's Wars, and Ruby Lal, author of Empress.
  • 7 p.m. Open phones with James Donovan.
  • 7:30 p.m. A discussion on science and history with Rose George, author of Nine PintsVince Beiser, author of The World in a Grain, Thomas Hager, author of Ten Drugs, and Marcia Bjornerud, author of Timefulness.

Sunday, April 14
1:30 to 8 p.m. Continuing coverage of the L.A. Times Festival of Books (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m.). Highlights include:

  • 1:30 p.m. A discussion on biography with David Blight, author of Frederick Douglass, Jeffrey Stewart, author of The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, Raymond Arsenault, author of Arthur Ashe, and Ron Rapoport, author of Let's Play Two: The Legend of Mr. Cub, the Life of Ernie Banks.
  • 2:30 p.m. Open phones with Janet Napolitano, author of How Safe Are We?
  • 3 p.m. A discussion on terrorism and history with Patrick Keefe, author of Say Nothing, Steven Ross, author of Hitler in Los Angeles, Charles Lane, author of Freedom's Detective, and Julia Boyd, author of Travelers in the Third Reich.
  • 4 p.m. Open phones with Justine Bateman, author of Fame: The Hijacking of Reality.
  • 4:30 p.m. A discussion on politics with Douglas Rushkoff, author of Team Human, Nicolas Berggruen and Nathan Gardels, authors of Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century, and Jennifer Rothman, author of The Right of Publicity.
  • 5:30 p.m. Open phones with Bret Easton Ellis.
  • 6 p.m. A discussion on social justice with Kyle Swenson, author of Good Kids, Bad City, Randy Shaw, author of Generation Priced Out, and Casey Gerald, author of There Will Be No Miracles Here.

8 p.m. Stacey Abrams, author of Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change (Picador, $17, 9781250214805), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.

Books & Authors

Awards: Stella Winner; Griffin Poetry Shortlist

Vicki Laveau-Harvie won the A$50,000 (about US$35,715) Stella Prize, which recognizes and celebrates Australian women writers' contribution to literature, for her memoir, The Erratics. Chair of judges Louise Swinn said the winning book "elegantly tramples all over the Stella requirements: it is excellent, engaging and original in spades. It is moving and funny, and as powerful in what it leaves out as it is in what it includes. It is also a first book, and I hope it's the first of many."

The judges wrote that "set against the bitter cold of a Canadian winter," The Erratics "mines the psychological damage wrought on a nuclear family by a monstrous personality. Despite the dark subject matter, this book has a smile at its core, and Laveau-Harvie shows constant wit when depicting some harrowing times. The narrator somehow manages to see all viewpoints, and we are rewarded with an evocative and expansive view of a family that has more than its fair share of dysfunction. The writing throughout is of a consistently high standard and we were constantly delighted by this surprise of a book."


This year's international and Canadian shortlists have been announced for the Griffin Poetry Prize. The seven finalists are invited to read in Toronto on June 5 and will each be awarded C$10,000 (about US$7,500) for their participation in the Shortlist Readings. The two winners, who will be named June 6, each receive C$65,000 (about US$48,745). The shortlisted Griffin titles are:

The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus
Lake Michigan by Daniel Borzutzky
Autobiography of Death
by Kim Hyesoon, translated from the Korean by Don Mee Choi
Negative Space by Luljeta Lleshanaku, translated from the Albanian by Ani Gjika

The Blue Clerk by Dionne Brand
Quarrels by Eve Joseph
The Art of Dying by Sarah Tolmie

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, April 16:

The Mister by E.L. James (Vintage, $16.95, 9781984898326) is a new novel by the author of the Fifty Shades of Grey series.

White by Bret Easton Ellis (Knopf, $25.95, 9780525656302) is the novelist's first collection of essays.

Redemption by David Baldacci (Grand Central, $29, 9781538761410) is the fifth Memory Man thriller.

The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks (Random House, $28, 9780812993264) gives life advice from the New York Times op-ed columnist.

The Problem of Democracy: The Presidents Adams Confront the Cult of Personality by Nancy Isenberg and Andrew Burstein (Viking, $35, 9780525557500) explores what John and John Quincy Adams thought of direct democracy.

Soon the Light Will Be Perfect: A Novel by Dave Patterson (Hanover Square Press, $25.99, 9781335652904) is a coming-of-age tale set in an impoverished Vermont town.

Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray (Del Rey, $28.99, 9780525619376) takes place before the Star Wars prequels.

Normal People: A Novel by Sally Rooney (Hogarth, $26, 9781984822178) is a romance between two Irish college students.

Well + Good: 100 Healthy Recipes + Expert Advice for Better Living by Alexia Brue and Melisse Gelula (Clarkson Potter, $29.99, 9781984823199) is a cookbook.

Nobody Hugs a Cactus by Carter Goodrich (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781534400900) is a picture book featuring a grumpy cactus who wants to be left alone.

Birth of the Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound by Kathleen Cornell Berman, illus. by Keith Henry Brown (Page Street Kids, $17.99, 9781624146909), is a Miles Davis picture book biography.

Mayo Clinic Guide to Raising a Healthy Child by Dr. Angela C. Mattke (Mayo Clinic, $23.95, 9781893005488).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

Hardcover: An Indies Introduce Title
Queenie: A Novel by Candice Carty-Williams (Gallery/Scout Press, $26, 9781501196010). "A fresh, staccato-paced novel about a young Jamaican-British woman in London dealing with the tribulations of family, romance, and a career. Carty-Williams paints the city and her characters masterfully with writing that is honest and real. The novel confronts the stereotypes of race head-on with originality and clarity. She is an author to watch." --Lori Feathers, Interabang Books, Dallas, Tex.

If, Then: A Novel by Kate Hope Day (Random House, $26, 9780525511229). "I devoured this book. Reading about these characters felt like stepping right into other lives, with all of the messiness of human striving and relationships. If, Then is a beautiful novel for this alone, but when each character begins to see visions they don't understand, the book takes on a new sense of urgency. Driven by its characters and with a masterfully written thread of speculative fiction, If, Then is a moving look at how events large and small and the choices we make carve our unique lives out of the infinite number of possible lives that could have been." --Kelsey O'Rourke, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich.

In Another Time: A Novel by Jillian Cantor (Harper Perennial, $16.99, 9780062863324). "For fans of The Time Traveler's Wife and Somewhere in Time, In Another Time will sweep you through pre-war and post-war Berlin, London, Paris, and Vienna as you follow Hanna Ginsberg, 'the one who plays the violin like fire,' and her magnificent Stradivarius violin. It begins in Germany in 1931, when bookshop owner Max Beissinger meets Hanna. As they fall in love, Germany falls under the power of Hitler. While Hanna is Jewish and Max is not, Max has a secret that may help save Hannah when the time comes. Cantor reminds us that even in terrible times, books, music, and love can prevail. Not to be missed." --Karen Briggs, The Booknook, East Talwas, Mich.

For Ages 4 to 8
Poetree by Shauna LaVoy Reynolds, illustrated by Shahrzad Maydani (Dial, $17.99, 9780399539121). "As an adult who feels disconnected from poetry, I wish there had been more books like this for me to read as a child. I like the combination of poetry and friendship in this tale and the idea of children having their own poetrees!" --Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, N.C.

For Ages 9 to 12: An Indies Introduce Title
Mostly the Honest Truth by Jody J. Little (HarperCollins, $16.99, 9780062852496). "Jane Girl and her Pop are mostly always just enough for each other, except when Pop slides into sadness and drinking and has to go into rehab and get fixed up. An honest and accessible novel about alcoholism for the older elementary reader, told richly and compellingly." --Christy McDanold, Secret Garden Bookshop, Seattle, Wash.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds (Katherine Tegen, $17.99, 9780062748379). "Was there ever one moment in your life that you'd want to do over? How about four or five chances? That's what Jack gets: multiple chances to have the girl of his dreams and his friends happy and healthy, but he needs every chance he can get. This debut is a must-read for fans of John Green or anyone who wants a wonderful love story with hilarity, honesty, and one of the best friendship trifectas I've ever read." --Nichole Cousins, White Birch Books, North Conway, N.H.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: China Dream

China Dream by Ma Jian, trans. by Flora Drew (Counterpoint Press, $23 hardcover, 176p., 9781640092402, May 7, 2019)

China Dream is a deeply felt satire of modern-day China under President Xi Jinping by Ma Jian, whose works have been banned in his home country ever since the release of his first book decades ago. Ma Jian takes aim at Xi's "China Dream of national rejuvenation" for attempting to replace dark memories of the Communist Party's reign with "rabid consumerism" and "inflated nationalism." His protagonist is Ma Daode, director of the China Dream Bureau. In one of the novel's occasional fantastical touches, Ma is preoccupied with the creation of a neural implant called "the China Dream Device," which he plans on first inserting into his own head so that "any dream from my past still lingering there will vanish into thin air." Ma is in urgent need of that device because memories that he would rather suppress have begun to surface, forcing him to reckon with his--and the nation's--violent, disturbing past.

He is both a rich character and a vehicle for Ma Jian's mockery of corrupt Party elites. Ma Daode has managed to evade Xi's anticorruption crackdown with relative ease, freely accepting bribes and juggling an enormous stable of mistresses; he keeps a list of his top 12, "whom he names the Twelve Golden Hairpins after the beautiful maidens in the Qing Dynasty novel, Dream of the Red Chamber." In one memorable scene, Ma is disappointed to discover that a gift of delicious-looking pastries from a CEO are in fact an elaborately disguised bribe: "He chooses a cake and breaks it in two, and where the filling should be finds instead a small bar of solid gold. 'Damn!' he moans 'I was just in the mood for a proper mooncake.' "

Ma Daode's debauched life is interrupted by persistent memories of his boyhood during Mao's Cultural Revolution, when he took up arms during the violent struggle. His memories of the brutal factionalized fighting are both tragic and absurd: "I saw two kids from opposing factions yell 'Long Live Chairman Mao' before shooting each other in the head." Ma sees the past repeat itself when an attempt to persuade villagers to leave their ancestral homes peacefully devolves into a violent clash, both villagers and government forces claiming President Xi's support. Ma Daode's reemerging memories interfere with his duties and eventually his sanity, as he's unable to pave over his guilt and trauma with President Xi's vision of the future.

In the foreword, Ma Jian writes that "in evil dictatorships, most people are both oppressor and oppressed." His portrait of Ma Daode is similarly multifaceted, invoking ridicule and sympathy in equal measure. The book contains fantastical concepts like the China Dream Device, but they are often hard to distinguish from the real-life absurdities that emerge under totalitarian systems. Perhaps most absurd, Ma Jian seems to suggest, is the government's attempts to bury a past filled with so many skeletons. There will always be people like Ma Daode who remember even what they'd rather forget. --Hank Stephenson, bookseller, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Shelf Talker: China Dream is a satire about Xi Jinping's China in which a corrupt bureaucrat finds his position and his sanity threatened by memories of his bloody role in Mao's Cultural Revolution.

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