Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 10, 2019

Bloom Books: Queen of Myth and Monsters (Adrian X Isolde #2) by Scarlett St. Clair

Bloom Books: Queen of Myth and Monsters (Adrian X Isolde #2) by Scarlett St. Clair

Blue Box Press: A Light in the Flame: A Flesh and Fire Novel by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Irh Press: The Unknown Stigma Trilogy by Ryuho Okawa

Other Press (NY): The Rebel and the Thief by Jan-Philipp Sendker, translated by Imogen Taylor

Holiday House: Welcome to Feral (Frights from Feral) by Mark Fearing

Charlesbridge Publishing: Too-Small Tyson (Storytelling Math) by Janay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Anastasia Williams

Berkley Books: Stone Cold Fox by Rachel Koller Croft


B&N Sale: Daunt Aims to 'Improve Shops,' Empower Staff

James Daunt

Waterstones CEO James Daunt, who will become CEO of Barnes & Noble when its sale to Elliott Management is concluded, will spend a "substantial" amount of time in New York initially getting to know B&N's business better, he told the Bookseller. Noting that the behind-the-scenes negotiations have been going on since October and taking much of his time, he said Waterstones COO Kate Skipper, who has been running Waterstones day-to-day, will continue to do so.

Daunt said his initial approach would be like his approach when he became head of Waterstones in 2011. "There were very good people within Waterstones when I arrived, and I would expect there to be people of similar capabilities within Barnes & Noble, and my job will be to empower them and set them on the right route." He added that he expected the new owners to invest in the business, "principally to improve its shops."

Concerning the stores, he observed that "at Waterstones I was told, and still get told, that we would have to close stores, but actually it is less about location and more about having the right kind of bookshop in whatever location it is. At Waterstones, we now do very well out of some of those shops that might have been earmarked for closure originally. My motivation is always to keep as many bookshops open as possible, and the U.S. looks quite under-bookshopped, at least compared to the U.K."

Daunt added that he will emphasize letting staff have bookstore locations serve their individual markets and not be cookie-cutter stores, telling the New York Times: "The main thing is that there isn't a template; there's not some magic ingredient. The Birmingham, Ala., bookshop, I imagine, will be very different from the one in downtown Boston. [Staff members] don't need to be told how to sell the exact same things in the exact same way."

Minotaur Books: A World of Curiosities (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel #18) by Louise Penny

B&N Sale: Riggio Calls Daunt 'a Bookseller Through and Through'

Len Riggio

On Friday, Barnes & Noble chairman Len Riggio wrote to B&N staff, in part, that "as it happens, I know James Daunt fairly well, and I am delighted to have him as our new leader. He is a bookseller through and through, and I expect he will make a big difference in our fortunes. Like me, James believes our culture has to be more store-centric, which means more localization of assortments and operations. It follows that he believes local managers must have more authority to get the job done."

Riggio said that during the months needed for the sale to go through--which requires a shareholder vote and regulatory approval--"our management team will work with James so that he can hit the ground running. They will also continue working on the many strategic initiatives, which are already underway." He offered "profound thanks" to the management team, mentioning by name Joe Gorman, Mary Ellen Keating, Al Lindstrom, Tim Mantel and Bill Wood, "for putting the company on its best footing in years. Their leadership has made a big difference in our prospects in the years to come."

Riggio noted that there were "many interested parties in the sale process, including others in our industry."

As for himself, Riggio said that he "will do everything in my power to help James during the transition and beyond. I believe in our people, and I believe in our mission. Working for a lifetime in a business that is consistent with my personal values has been nothing but a dream come true."

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati

B&N Sale: Industry's Positive Reaction

Industry figures in the U.S. and U.K. have responded favorably to Friday's news that Elliott Management, owner of Waterstones, will buy Barnes & Noble.

Madeline McIntosh, CEO of Penguin Random House U.S., told the Wall Street Journal: "We've had a great working relationship with Waterstones in the U.K. and James Daunt in particular, and based on that we expect to work productively with him in place at Barnes & Noble."

S&S president and CEO Carolyn Reidy told the New York Times, "James Daunt is a terrific bookseller, and his focus in the U.K. has been bringing customers in and making book retail exciting. It bodes well for not just having a solid Barnes & Noble, but for having a growing Barnes & Noble.... The loss of Barnes & Noble would have been catastrophic for the industry."

Mike Shatzkin, head of the Idea Logical Company, told the Times that new leadership will help the company. "Somebody else had to save Barnes & Noble--the present ownership succeeded in a completely different environment and was not ready to jump into the 21st century. The fact that [Elliott owns] Waterstones certainly puts them in the right direction. Their ability to influence the publishing industry is going to be stronger being in both markets."

In the U.K., the Bookseller quoted a range of publishers, who included:

Pan Macmillan managing director Anthony Forbes Watson: "The very striking and sustained transformation of Waterstones under James Daunt over several years, recently supported by Elliott Management, has been an extraordinarily positive development for all of those with a stake in the richness and diversity of the U.K. book ecosystem. I am therefore confident that today's news that James and Elliott are to extend the scope of their activities to the broader canvas of Barnes & Noble and the U.S. will be very well received by my U.S. colleagues and the wider market."

Charlie Redmayne, CEO of HarperCollins UK: "It is extremely important for the book industry as a whole to have a strong and growing Barnes & Noble. James Daunt has done an excellent job stabilising and now growing Waterstones back into a profitable and secure business. In my opinion Barnes & Noble will benefit hugely by having him at the helm."

Marcus Leaver, executive director of Welbeck: "It feels like the best book retailer of the last generation has handed over the baton to the best book retailer of this generation. Having both Waterstones and Barnes & Noble survive and then, hopefully, thrive is good news for all publishers."

Andrew Brewer, international sales director of Princeton University Press: "This is potentially excellent news for the future of the B&N chain. Having a vibrant bookselling chain situated, commercially, between the local independent sector and the online behemoths is essential to the health of bookselling generally. In the U.K., James Daunt has done a very effective job of making Waterstones stores more enjoyable to visit as well as profitable; Princeton UP looks forward to collaborating with him in the U.S. to do the same for B&N."

Barefoot Books: Save 10%

PRH Buying F+W Media Book Assets

Penguin Random House is buying the book publishing assets of F+W Media, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March. F+W, which publishes books and magazines on arts, crafts, collectibles and writing, has online education operations, subscription video sites, consumer and trade events and more, indicated on Friday in bankruptcy court in Delaware that it had accepted PRH's bid for its book assets, according to law360.

F+W publishes about 120 books a year and has a backlist of more than 2,000 titles. In 2018, the books division had sales of $22 million. F+W also publishes Writer's Digest, which for more than 90 years has offered books, magazines, competitions, conferences and online education materials for writers to hone their craft.

The F+W bankruptcy filing indicated that it was $105 million in debt and faced declining periodical subscriptions and advertising and resulting liquidity problems that it traced back to its attempts to shift focus to e-commerce in 2008. F+W had been restructured in 2017, trading most of its debt for equity ownership by lenders.

Ginger Fox: Free Freight and a Free Book Lovers Mug

Fairstein Dropped by Dutton

Linda Fairstein

Linda Fairstein, the prominent New York City sex-crimes prosecutor who became a bestselling crime novelist, was dropped by her publisher after the Netflix miniseries When They See Us, which premiered last week, "renewed focus on her role in the wrongful conviction of five teenagers for a brutal rape," the New York Times reported. Fairstein was working for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office during 1989's Central Park Jogger case.

On Friday, a spokeswoman for Penguin Random House imprint Dutton said Fairstein and Dutton "decided to terminate their relationship." Citing a "person with knowledge of the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details were confidential," the Times wrote that Dutton was buying out Fairstein's contract.

Since the Netflix film's release, Fairstein "has been the target of tremendous public outrage, including online petitions and a #CancelLindaFairstein hashtag," the Times wrote, adding that she has since resigned from a number of prominent boards, including her alma mater, Vassar College.

Last fall, the Mystery Writers of America withdrew Fairstein's selection as one of the two Grand Master Edgar honorees due to numerous protests. The MWA had said that when its board made the decision, it had been "unaware of Ms. Fairstein's role in the controversy. After profound reflection, the board has decided that MWA cannot move forward with an award that lacks the support of such a large percentage of our members."

Mississippi's Turnrow Book Co. for Sale

Founded in 2006 by Jamie and Kelly Kornegay and now owned by Fred Carl, Jr., Turnrow Book Co., Greenwood, Miss., is for sale.

The store said, in part, "Turnrow survived the financial crisis of 2008 and the rise of Amazon by adapting to online sales and curating an ever-evolving inventory of hand-selected books by its small staff. Frequently mentioned in national media as 'the most beautiful bookstore in America,' Turnrow has featured all manner of author visits, from intimate conversations to large-scale talks or panels with over 150 guests. Turnrow has hosted events with three Man Booker Prize winners, four Pulitzer Prize winners, two National Book Award winners, a Newbery Medal winner, a Caldecott Medal winner, and three James Beard Award winners. In the past four years, Turnrow has stepped up its commitment to local schools, bringing authors to visit with students and stocking classrooms and libraries with new books. One year ago, Turnrow was featured by the American Booksellers Association at its annual Winter Institute, which brought over a hundred booksellers and publishers from around the world to tour the store and downtown Greenwood. Turnrow was honored as Main Street Greenwood's Retailer of the Year for 2017 and as the Greenwood-Leflore Chamber of Commerce's Small Business of the Year for 2018."

Turnrow is also seeking a new general manager. For more information, contact the store via e-mail or by calling 662-453-5995.

Obituary Note: Maida Heatter

Maida Heatter, "whose cookbooks with recipes for star-spangled banana cake, brown sugar icing and other dessert fare earned her the nickname 'the Queen of Cake,' died June 6, the New York Times reported. She was 102. Heatter "had an early career as a fashion illustrator and jewelry designer before she opened a cafe, the Inside, in Miami Beach in the 1960s." She drew the attention of Times food editor Craig Claiborne, who wrote in a 1968: "She is hands down the foremost food authority in Florida." The Times began featuring her recipes.

In 1974, she published Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts, the first of many titles that included Happiness Is Baking: Favorite Desserts From the Queen of Cake, published two months ago. Among her other books are Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts (1980) and Maida Heatter's Cookies (1997). She won three James Beard Awards and was inducted to the foundation's Cookbook Hall of Fame in 1980 and again in 1998.

Heatter "brought a certain flair to her cooking classes and public appearances," the Times wrote. "In 1998, when her first book was inducted into the James Beard Foundation Cookbook Hall of Fame, she attended the awards ceremony at a Manhattan ballroom, where she pulled one of her best-known creations, Palm Beach Brownies With Chocolate-Covered Mints, from a Versace bag and tossed them to the crowd."

Baker and author Dorie Greenspan, who wrote the foreword to Heatter's last cookbook, told the Los Angeles Times: "Like many of my generation, I credit Maida Heatter's books with teaching me how to bake. Baking from her recipes was like having her with you in the kitchen--her voice was so present, so wise and so generous. Indelible, really--even now, there are moments when I can hear her in my head telling me not to worry when the batter curdles or the top of the cake cracks."

Nach Waxman, who has run the Manhattan cookbook shop Kitchen Arts & Letters since 1983, called Heatter "without a doubt, one of the most high-spirited, energetic and down-to-earth people I've ever dealt with. She was still calling up and ordering books from the store into her early 90s--interestingly, not as much on baking as on some of the newer regular cookbooks, because she wanted, as she once told me on the phone, 'to keep a hand in.' "

"A cookbook should be treated like a school textbook," she wrote in Happiness Is Baking. "When reading it, or cooking from it, keep a pencil handy for notations. Underline things you especially want to remember, make notes--just don't be afraid to write in it.... In the future, you will find that your own notes have added to the book and made it more valuable to you."


Image of the Day: Truth Worth Telling

Journalist Scott Pelley appeared at the Flamingo resort in Santa Rosa, Calif., earlier this week for his new book, Truth Worth Telling (Hanover Square). More than 200 people attended the event, which featured Pelley in conversation with radio station KSRO host Pat Kerrigan. It was part of the Sonoma County Speaker Series, produced by All Things Book, an indie pop-up events bookstore. Pictured: Vicki DeArmon, owner, All Things Book; Pelley; and Grace Bogart, All Things Book.

Happy 50th Birthday, Pegasus Books!

Congratulations to Pegasus Books, with three stores in Berkeley and Oakland, Calif., which is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a series of events starting tomorrow, June 11, and running through next Monday, June 17. Events include two book launches--45 Thought Crimes by Lynn Breedlove and The State of Water by Obi Kaufmann--literary trivia, a special "50 Years" edition of Pegasus's monthly reading series, and several author appearances, including Tom Dalzell, author of The Battle for People's Park, Berkeley 1969, in conversation with Steve Wasserman.

Silver Unicorn's Pride Month Logo

In a Facebook post, the Silver Unicorn Bookstore, Acton, Mass., noted that its logo "has gone rainbow in these cool new stickers we had made for Pride Month, and we'll be giving them away with each purchase of a Pride/LGBTQ book all month. So come in and stock up!!! PS--They're the perfect size to stick on the back of your phone case."

Chalkboard of the Day: Bards Alley

"Fact: There’s no such thing as too many books--just not enough shelves! This hilarious chalkboard sign was created by Bards Alley, the beloved indie bookstore and wine bar in Vienna, Va.," IndieBound tweeted, sharing a photo of the sign, which reads: "A book fell on my head. I have only my shelf to blame."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ash Carter on Colbert's Late Show, CBS This Morning

Good Morning America: Jennifer Weiner, author of Mrs. Everything: A Novel (Atria, $28, 9781501133480).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Ash Carter, author of Inside the Five-Sided Box: Lessons from a Lifetime of Leadership in the Pentagon (Dutton, $30, 9781524743918). He will also appear on CBS This Morning.

CBS This Morning: Tan France, author of Naturally Tan: A Memoir (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250208668).

Also on CBS This Morning: Louise Aronson, author of Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life (Bloomsbury, $30, 9781620405468).

Strahan and Sara: Chris Perondi, author of The Big Book of Tricks for the Best Dog Ever: A Step-by-Step Guide to 118 Amazing Tricks and Stunts (Workman, $17.95, 9781523501618).

Daily Show: Kwame Onwuachi, co-author of Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir (Knopf, $26, 9781524732622).

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Tim McGraw and Jon Meacham, authors of Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest, and the Music That Made a Nation (Random House, $30, 9780593132951). They will also appear on the View.

Tonight Show: Elaine Welteroth, author of More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) (Viking, $26, 9780525561583). She will also appear on Good Morning America.

Books & Authors

Awards: PubWest Book Design; Griffin Poetry

PubWest has announced the winners in 25 categories of the 2019 PubWest Book Design Awards, who can be seen here. The winner of this year's Judges' Choice Award is Cultures in Transition: Spirit-Heart-Soul (True North Editions), which judges called "a beautifully designed, printed, and bound photography book that explores the changes that people go through, the subtleties that make life evolve, and their spiritual guiding lights."


Autobiography of Death by Don Mee Choi, translated from the Korean by Kim Hyesoon; and Quarrels by Eve Joseph were the international and Canadian category winners respectively of the 2019 Griffin Poetry Prize, which honors "first edition books of poetry written in, or translated into, English and submitted from anywhere in the world." They each receive C$65,000 (about US$49,000). Nicole Brossard was this year's Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry's Lifetime Recognition Award recipient.

Book Review

Review: American Predator:

American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century by Maureen Callahan (Viking, $27 hardcover, 304p., 9780525428640, July 2, 2019)

On Thursday, February 2, 2012, Samantha Koenig was reported missing by her fellow barista at an Anchorage, Alaska, roadside kiosk. An obscured figure captured on security footage appears to have held the 18-year-old daughter of a local pot dealer at gunpoint for 17 minutes around 9 p.m. the previous night. "But what was really happening? It was too dark to really see. Why was the conversation taking so long?" Due to Samantha's father's criminal past, the ensuing investigation first grapples with the possibility that her disappearance was staged for ransom money, before diving headlong into an anxious manhunt in the Lower 48.

Maureen Callahan, the investigative journalist who first pursued this story for the New York Post, crafts a riveting true crime saga in American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century. With an even hand, she details the power struggles between the Anchorage criminal justice system and the FBI as their cooperative efforts close in on the insidious Israel Keyes, who seems to have materialized out of thin air. No criminal history, hardly any record of his existence at all. In an age of quantifiable Internet footprints, Keyes was the closest thing to a ghost that investigators could track down. Their only leads came from dumb luck.

And once Keyes landed in custody, luck was all law enforcement had on their side as departmental frictions increased and egos began overstepping protocol in pursuit of national glory for bringing Samantha home.

The lion's share of American Predator places readers in the tense interrogation room as Keyes recounts his chilling crimes, teasing investigators with the far-flung locations of bodies he buried, in exchange for better treatment in prison and protection for his 10-year-old daughter. For years, Keyes cached his trademark "kill kits" around the country, for whenever and wherever his murderous urges came to climax. In a gripping psychological game of cat-and-mouse, he seems to remain three steps ahead of the police team as they stumble over one another to solve each missing-person case he puts before them.

Callahan doesn't elide the truly gruesome nature of the violence in Keyes's wake; however, she still manages to maintain the dignity of those who lost their lives to this cruel individual's secret mission. American Predator reveals a horrifying truth about the human capacity for bloodlust. --Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: The 21st century's most meticulous serial killer baffles investigators with his forethought and ruthlessness in Maureen Callahan's riveting true crime narrative.

Deeper Understanding

Comics & Graphic Novels: Eisner Nominee Standouts

There's no red carpet (yet) but every July during Comic-Con International: San Diego, "the Oscars" of comics, the Eisner Awards--named after cartoonist and tireless comics advocate Will Eisner--are handed out in more than two dozen categories, honoring the best material being published in comics.

This year's nominees illustrate that rumors of the death of the comics industry have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, according to recent Bookscan data, comics and graphic novels are outperforming the rest of the print market, up 7.5% in units from 2018 over 2017 (Brian Hibbs, Comics Beat, May 17, 2019). However, the industry is changing. Leading the charge are three trends to spotlight: kids' comics, graphic novels and new readership. With these three directions in mind, here are some Eisner categories and 10 nominated titles to watch. (For the full list of nominees, click here.) Voting is open until June 14, and industry professionals including booksellers, creators, librarians and educators are eligible and encouraged to vote.

Kids' Comics
Petals by Gustavo Borges and Cris Peter (KaBOOM!, $16.99, 9781684152346). One of five nominees in Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8), this wordless graphic novel will appeal to fans of Sidewalk Flowers or Shaun Tan's The Arrival. Set in the depths of winter, Borges's title reads like modern-day fable dealing with love and sacrifice.

The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell (Knopf, $20.99, 9781524719388). One of five nominees for Best Publication for Kids (ages 9-12), this title will appeal to fans of Raina Telgemeier's Smile and Steven Universe. Heavy on wonder, the characters in Cardboard Kingdom transform through creative cardboard cosplay into a host of characters and situations. Rich visuals juxtapose their envisioned imaginative settings versus "reality," creating an inclusive, engaging title for a range of readers.

Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol (First Second, $12.99, 9781626724457). One of the five nominees for Best Publication for Kids (ages 9-12). Brosgol is the author of the award-winning graphic novel for teens Anya's Ghost. This autobiographical title deals with a common coming-of-age trope--summer camp--with a twist (Russian summer camp) and with a deft humor that's sure to resonate with young and older readers alike, especially adult fans of Sarah Andersen.

Middlewest by Skottie Young and Jorge Corona (Image, $9.99, 9781534312173). One of six nominees for Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17), this dark fantasy is both whimsical and stirring, dealing with a runaway boy, toxic masculinity and intergenerational family trauma that sparks the narrative. Oh, and there's a talking fox, too. Well known for his recent comedic turns on Deadpool and I Hate Fairyland, Skottie Young strikes a sincere balance, weaving a coming-of-age story both wondrous and weighty. Richly supported by Jorge Corona's lush, sweeping illustrations, this title will appeal to fans of Stranger Things and The Graveyard Book.

Graphic Novels
Man-Eaters by Chelsea Cain, Lia Miternique and Kate Niemczyk (Image, $12.99, 9781534311435). One of six nominees for Best New Series, Man-Eaters introduces us to a world much like our own, in which teenage girls await their first menstruation with some anxiety and trepidation--except that in this world, they could turn into man-eating monsters when their periods come. This title has crossover potential for young adult interest and readership. Recommended for fans of The Handmaid's Tale, Bitch Planet and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Bitter Root Vol. 1: Family Business by David Walker, Chuck Brown and Sanford Greene (Image, $16.99, 9781534312128). Another nominee for Best New Series, this title takes place in a parallel 1920s Harlem Renaissance and focuses on members of the Sangerye family, who have a very unusual filial skill--monster hunting. Film rights have already been optioned for this title. Recommended for fans of Supernatural and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Bitter Root deals with identity, belonging, and racism and discrimination that can turn monstrous.

Come Again by Nate Powell (Top Shelf/IDW, $24.99, 9781603094283). One of six nominees for Best Graphic Album--New (which also includes Sabrina by Nick Drnaso, the first graphic novel nominated for the Man Booker Prize), Come Again marks Nate Powell's return to writing and drawing after the National Book Award-winning March. Set in 1970s Arkansas and inspired in part by Powell's time there, this mysterious family drama skirts the line between gritty realism and eerie otherworldliness. Powell is nominated for two Eisners this year, including Best Writer.

New Readership
Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson and Emily Carroll (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $19.99, 9780374300289). One of five nominees in Best Adaptation from Another Medium reflects the significant growth in graphic adaptations especially for curriculum and attracting new readership. Speak: The Graphic Novel can be read in tandem with the original text to promote and encourage students to discuss further this award-winning realistic look at sexual assault, consent and trauma, as relevant today as it was when it debuted in 1999.

Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal (Drawn & Quarterly, $24.95, 9781770463356). One of five nominees in Best Humor Publication, Woman World started as an Instagram webcomic. Set in a post-apocalyptic world in which all men have died off and the few remaining visual remnants of masculine imagery include Paul Blart Mall Cop, this should appeal to New Yorker humor fans.

Mister Miracle by Tom King and Mitch Gerads (DC, $24.99, 9781401283544). One of five nominees in Best Limited Series, this title has five Eisner nominations--the most of any single title this year. Written by former CIA agent Tom King and focusing on Scott Free and Big Barda, two reluctant former warriors brought back into battle and wrestling with issues of PTSD, this limited 12-issue run is an excellent read on its own and serves as a compelling entry point for new readers unsure where to start with the DC spectrum of superheroes.

The Eisners are Friday, July 19, and I would urge all readers to treat this like the Oscars--of comics. Stage a mock Eisner competition/display at your bookstore or library; make bets with your friends, colleagues and family--will Mister Miracle escape with all the Eisners...? --Barbara Gordon

Barbara Gordon (real name: Amie Wright) is a librarian with more than 15 years of experience in the U.S. and Canada, including five years at the New York Public Library managing school outreach and working in collection development. By day, she is currently a public history grad student examining how educators use comics to teach history; by night, she is the president of the American Library Association's Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table.

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