Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 15, 2019

Viking: The Bookshop: A History of the American Bookstore by Evan Friss

Pixel+ink: Missy and Mason 1: Missy Wants a Mammoth

Bramble: The Stars Are Dying: Special Edition (Nytefall Trilogy #1) by Chloe C Peñaranda

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout

Charlesbridge Publishing: The Perilous Performance at Milkweed Meadow by Elaine Dimopoulos, Illustrated by Doug Salati

Minotaur Books: The Dark Wives: A Vera Stanhope Novel (Vera Stanhope #11) by Ann Cleeves


Robert Martin New IBC Executive Director

Robert Martin

Effective tomorrow, Robert Martin is the new executive director of the Independent Bookseller Consortium, the information-sharing cooperative consisting of 27 independent bookstores around the country. Martin has been director of operations of the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association and founded the Independent Bookseller, which he will continue to operate part-time. He is also former managing editor of Rain Taxi Review of Books.

Martin commented: "I'm honored to have worked with so many astounding booksellers during my time at MIBA, and I'm thrilled beyond words to begin working with the members of the IBC. Independent booksellers are crucial pillars to so many communities across our country. I am fortunate to contribute my time and effort toward their continued success."

Martin replaces Elizabeth Bogner, who joined IBC last June after longtime executive director Lori Tucker-Sullivan left to become program manager with the Goldman-Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program in the Office of Economic Development at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Lisa Lucas Wins WNBA Award

Lisa Lucas

Lisa Lucas, executive director of the National Book Foundation, has won the WNBA Award, which is presented every other year to "a living American woman who derives part or all of her income from books and allied arts, and who has done meritorious work in the world of books beyond the duties or responsibilities of her profession or occupation."

The Women's National Book Association cited Lucas for "using her position as executive director of the National Book Foundation to advance the NBF's mission of producing numerous educational and public programs that help connect readers to books in new and meaningful ways. In recent years she has become the quintessential advocate for books. Her work with the NBF has taken the organization to new levels, bringing attention to NBF beyond the National Book Awards. She has launched and enriched numerous programs that promote books and connect people to literature."

Formerly Steppenwolf Theater Company administrator and publisher of Guernica magazine, Lucas became executive director of the National Book Foundation in 2016.

The award will be presented as part of WNBA's national meeting on Saturday, June 8, in Washington, D.C.

GLOW: Milkweed Editions: Becoming Little Shell: Returning Home to the Landless Indians of Montana by Chris La Tray

Tor Creating Horror Imprint Nightfire

Tom Doherty Associates, which includes Tor, Forge, Tor Teen, Starscape and, is launching a horror imprint called Nightfire, whose first titles will appear in early 2021.

Tom Doherty Associates president and publisher Fritz Foy will be publisher of Nightfire, and TDA will add editorial staff and marketing and publicity staff. The focus will be on "the breadth of the genre--from short story collections to novellas and novels, from standalone works to series, from dark fantasy to the supernatural, from originals to reprints of lost modern classics," the company said. Besides books, e-books and audiobooks, Nightfire titles will include podcasts, graphic novels and other media.

Foy commented: "There is a renaissance in progress for all things horror. There is a new generation of horror fans who are setting weekend genre box office records, who are binge streaming episodic TV, subscribing to weekly chat and drama-based podcasts, and purchasing more graphic novels. More importantly, there are new literary voices we want to bring to our reading communities and followers. And also because we just plain love horror."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Four Weekends and a Funeral by Ellie Palmer

WH Smith 'Culling Backlist'

WH Smith, the British retailer that sells books, stationery, magazines, newspapers, entertainment and travel products and some food primarily at airports, train stations, downtowns, highway stops and hospitals, plans to "cull its backlist and building areas of growth such as children's and lighter readers," according to the Bookseller.

A WH Smith spokesperson told the magazine that the book business is "fairly stable" and that the company plans "to manage space on a store by store basis, moving backlist books that don't have a high turnover."

In a report on sales, WH Smith said that its downtown stores "aim to make WH Smith High Street the home for kids and educational books and lighter readers, while at the same time driving the overall net profitability of the category by improving the efficiency of our books operating model. The quality of publishing is still the biggest driver of our performance and despite a challenging Christmas period in books, we delivered some good performances from titles such as Michelle Obama's Becoming and, more recently, David Walliams's Fing."

Late last year, WH Smith bought InMotion, which has some 114 stores in 43 airports in the U.S. selling digital accessories and which will serve as "a scalable platform to launch the WH Smith airport format into the U.S.," the company has said. WH Smith has more than 1,400 locations, mostly in the U.K. but also in 28 other countries.

Also late last year, WH Smith was revealed as the company that came close to buying Barnes & Noble but withdrew its offer in June, a decision that apparently led to the bitter confrontation between B&N chairman Len Riggio and former CEO Demos Parneros, who was summarily fired in early July.

Better World Books Shutters Only Physical Store

Better World Books, the company that "has donated 26.5 million books, raised $28.4 million for literacy and reused or recycled 320 million books," is closing its only physical retail store, located in in Goshen, Ind., to focus on e-commerce, the South Bend Tribune reported.

BWB was founded by Christopher Fuchs, Xavier Helgesen and Jeff Kurtzman as an online operation after they graduated from Notre Dame in 2001. They opened a bricks-and-mortar store about 10 years ago in downtown Goshen, and later moved to a larger space on South Main St.

"Through e-commerce we've been able to reach so many different people," said Michael Kappes, senior manager of customer experience and client services. While "people were coming and enjoying the store for sure," Kappes said the decision to go online-only "was really company direction."

Obituary Note: Stanley Plumly

Stanley Plumly, a poet and University of Maryland professor "who served as the state's poet laureate for nine years and also published well-regarded nonfiction studies on literary and artistic subjects," died April 11, the Washington Post reported. He was 79. Plumly's works include "several volumes of poetry, drawing on his roots in rural Ohio and his lifelong devotion to John Keats and other Romantic poets of the early 19th century."

Among his many honors, Plumly was a finalist for a National Book Award for his 2007 collection, Old Heart: Poems. His poetry volumes include In the Outer Dark (1970), Now That My Father Lies Down Beside Me: New and Selected Poems 1970-2000 (2000); Orphan Hours (2012) and Against Sunset (2017).

In later years, he "turned to nonfiction, writing three well-regarded meditations on poetry and art that brought him widespread acclaim," the Post noted. In Posthumous Keats (2008), which he described as a "personal biography," Plumly wrote: "How little survives us but words and words on words.'' His other books include The Immortal Evening (2014) and Elegy Landscapes: Constable and Turner and the Intimate Sublime.

In a tribute, the University of Maryland wrote: "During the last few months of his life, Stanley had finished a collection of poems, Middle Distance, and was planning a collected volume of poems as well as sketching out ideas for a study of the pastoral tradition in art and poetry. The Department of English and the University of Maryland community mourn the loss of a towering figure who touched many, many lives. Our thoughts are with his family, colleagues, students, and loved ones."

From his poem "At Night":

Where would she go, because I would go there.
In the morning, nothing but a blanket and all her

absence and the feeling in the air of happiness.
And so much loneliness, a kind of purity of being

and emptiness, no one you are or could ever be,
my mother like another me in another life, gone

where I will go, night now likely dark enough
I can be alone as I've never been alone before.


Image of the Day: Versify on Tour

An Unlikely Story, Plainville, Mass., kicked off National Poetry Month with a visit from Newbery winner Kwame Alexander and some of the writers and illustrators of his new Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint, Versify. Alexander discussed his new book, The Undefeated. Pictured: illustrator Kadir Nelson; author and An Unlikely Story owner Jeff Kinney; and Kwame Alexander.

'Understanding Talking Leaves Bookstore'

In a piece headlined "Understanding Talking Leaves Bookstore," the Griffin, Canasius College's student newspaper, profiled the Buffalo, N.Y., bookshop that focuses on featuring "distinctive books that are not typically stocked in other stores. Since 1975, Jonathon Welch and his wife have been striving to continue to bring literature into Buffalo."

"Bestsellers were always a small part of our offerings, because we knew the books were widely available," Welch said. "We wanted to meet the reading needs of the underrepresented communities and introduce important work to a more mainstream audience."

Welch originally purchased the former Everyman's Bookstore along with a group of friends and renamed it Talking Leaves. "None of the founders had any retail experience or book industry expertise, so we started literally from scratch," he recalled. "A lot of running a business involves basic common sense and a willingness to work and learn, and we had plenty of that."

The titles carried by the bookshop "are chosen by the local staff who are rooted in the community and relatively have the knowledge of their customers interests," the Griffin noted.

"Chain stores are meant to be alike; every independent bookstore is different, a reflection of its owners, its booksellers and its community and customers," Welch observed. "Most independent bookstores also pride themselves on the knowledge of their booksellers."

Personnel Changes at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Naval Institute Press

In the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt sales department:

Michael Harrigan has been promoted to executive director, Amazon.

James Phirman has been promoted to executive director of special sales.

Carissa Ray has been promoted to sales manager.

Emily Logan has been promoted to national account manager.


Robin Noonan has been promoted to director of sales and marketing at Naval Institute Press and Dead Reckoning. She was previously sales manager.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Robert Caro on Fresh Air

CBS This Morning: David Brooks, author of The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life (Random House, $28, 9780812993264).

Fresh Air: Robert Caro, author of Working (Knopf, $25, 9780525656340).

Daily Show repeat: Oprah Winfrey, author of The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life's Direction and Purpose (Flatiron, $27.99, 9781250307507).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Trevor Noah, author of It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Adapted for Young Readers) (Delacorte, $17.99, 9780525582168). He will also appear tomorrow on Ellen.

Good Morning America: Tracy Pollan, co-author of Mostly Plants: 101 Delicious Flexitarian Recipes from the Pollan Family (Harper Wave, $29.99, 9780062821386).

The View repeat: Preet Bharara, author of Doing Justice: A Prosecutor's Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law (Knopf, $27.95, 9780525521129).

On Stage: Wonder Musical

R.J. Palacio's bestselling children's novel Wonder, which was adapted by Lionsgate into a hit movie, "may be heading to Broadway," Playbill reported. Tony-winning producer Jill Furman (Hamilton) has signed on as lead producer for a stage musical version of the book. A creative team will be announced at a later date.

"I am beyond happy and grateful that Wonder is being adapted for theatre by this incredible team," said Palacio. "What I've always loved the most about musical theatre is its timelessness--its ability to resonate around the world and across generations. That Wonder and its message of kindness is to become part of that canon for the ages is, quite literally, a dream come true."

Furman added, "R.J.'s indelible characters leapt off the page, and I wept through the movie. I couldn't help but feel there was a musicality to the characters' voices and their story. At a time when 'otherness' is under attack, Wonder celebrates difference in a beautiful way that we should all admire and emulate."

Books & Authors

Awards: Dr. Tony Ryan Winner; Wolff Shortlist

Linda Carroll and David Rosner have won the 13th annual $10,000 Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, recognizing "the best in book-length writing about horse racing," for Out of the Clouds: The Unlikely Horseman and the Unwanted Colt Who Conquered the Sport of Kings (Hachette Books). Organizers described the book as "the Cinderella tale of legendary trainer Hirsch Jacobs and the gritty 'people's horse,' Stymie, as they ascended from obscurity to fame and glory during the 1940s--while also serving up a slice of America's own story."

Lead judge Kay Coyte said: "This rags-to-riches story checked off all the boxes for me. It was beautifully written and thoroughly researched, reading more like a novel than a scholarly text. Horse racing in those days may have been recorded in black and white, but authors Carroll and Rosner brought out the Technicolor in telling the stories of these two champions and their supporting cast of characters."

The authors previously teamed up to write The Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic (2011), about traumatic brain injuries in sports, and Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing's Greatest Rivalry (2014).

Finalists for the award, each of whom won $1,000, were Dixie Luck, a collection of short stories and a novella by previous award winner Andy Plattner, and Around Kentucky With the Bug!, a father's journal of his son's first year as a jockey, by Patrick Lawrence Gilligan.


The shortlist for the 2019 Helen & Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize, honoring "an outstanding literary translation from German into English published in the U.S." and sponsored by the Goethe-Institut, consists of:

W. C. Bamberger for his translation of Hashish by Oscar A. H. Schmitz (Wakefield Press)
Margo Bettauer Dembo for her translation of The Seventh Cross by Anna Seghers (New York Review Books)
Iain Galbraith for his translation of River by Esther Kinsky (Transit Books)
Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp for her translation of Farewell to the Horse by Ulrich Raulff (Norton)
Tim Mohr for his translation of Sand by Wolfgang Herrndorf (New York Review Books)
Damion Searls for his translation of Anniversaries by Uwe Johnson (New York Review Books)

The winner will be announced on May 1.

Book Review

Review: No Visible Bruises: What We Don't Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us

No Visible Bruises: What We Don't Know about Domestic Violence Can Kill Us by Rachel Louise Snyder (Bloomsbury, $28 hardcover, 320p., 9781635570977, May 7, 2019)

Journalist Rachel Louise Snyder used to think of domestic violence as "an unfortunate fate for the unlucky few," a hardwiring gone wrong. But then an acquaintance offered a new perspective: that this is a social epidemic, one it is possible to prevent. No Visible Bruises: What We Don't Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us is the product of copious, immersive research, an investigation into a universal and insidious violence and what can be done about it.

Snyder presents her findings in three parts, ordered as "The End," "The Beginning" and finally "The Middle." That is, she first studies what intimate partner violence looks like at its conclusion: homicide and regrets that various systems (judicial, law enforcement, advocacy, etc.) couldn't do more. Next, she investigates the beginning of such violence. Abusers often come from abusive home environments and, along with their victims, grow up in a society that values stoicism, control and violence in men, submissiveness and emotional labor in women. "The Middle" examines how services are provided to victims of domestic violence, and what changes should be considered.

No Visible Bruises sounds like an appallingly dark read, and it's true that the content is deeply disturbing. But by focusing on case studies--individuals' stories--Snyder returns humanity to the horrifying larger issue. These cases (including familicides, or murders of entire families, as well as homicides, private terrorism and abuse of all stripes) are indeed awful stories, but told with such compassion and curiosity, they turn out remarkably accessible.

In repeatedly facing the stereotypes and assumptions she brought to her research topic, Snyder gains credibility with her reader. She applies extra attention to breaking down those myths she once believed: for example, that "if things were bad enough, victims would just leave." Her years of research and immersion in the subject--riding along with law enforcement, shadowing advocates and interviewing survivors, families and abusers alike--lend her further authority. Snyder holds concern for abusers as well as their victims. She spends time with men involved in prevention campaigns, former abusers working to reset patterns and forge new ways to relate. She comes to see that shelters are not the answer, even while noting how much good they've done since the early days of recognizing domestic violence.

Perhaps most importantly, she gives context to the apparently senseless horror, placing domestic violence in relationship to issues of economics, education, employment, the criminal justice system and other, more "public" types of violence. The result is an impressive body of knowledge about domestic violence in the United State: what it looks like, its terrifying prevalence, what works and what doesn't in trying to stem the tide. No Visible Bruises speaks with urgency about solving a problem that, however invisible, affects us all. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: This thoroughly researched examination of the domestic violence epidemic is chilling but deeply important and surprisingly accessible.

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