Also published on this date: Tuesday, July 16, 2019: Maximum Shelf: A Good Neighborhood

Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 16, 2019


Atria Books: In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

Magination Press: Bee Heartful: Spread Loving-Kindness by Frank J Sileo, illustrated by Claire Keay

Dundurn Group: Never Forget: A Victor Lessard Thriller (A Victor Lessard Thriller #1) by Martin Michaud

Flatiron Books: Miss Austen by Gill Hornby

St. Martin's Press: Mind Over Weight: Curb Cravings, Find Motivation, and Hit Your Number in 7 Simple Steps by Ian K. Smith

News

Prime Day Strikes: Workers Walk Out in Minnesota, Germany

Amazon workers in Shakopee, Minn., and throughout Germany went on strike yesterday to demand better working conditions and higher wages as the annual Prime Day sales began.

According to CNBC, workers at the fulfillment center in Shakopee began walking out at around 3 p.m. EST on Monday, starting a planned six-hour strike that would span the morning and evening shifts. CNBC said around 30 workers were protesting outside the facility by 4 p.m. EST, while Fox Business reported that around 100 people were participating.

The workforce at the Shakopee facility, which is known as MSP1, is made up predominantly of workers of East African descent. Awood Center, a group that advocates for Somali and East African workers, has helped organize the Shakopee strike. In addition to wanting better working conditions and safer jobs, the striking workers contend that Amazon "has not acknowledged their religious practices," CNBC reported. They also demand Amazon take "concrete action" on issues like climate change.

Monday's protests mark the first time that Amazon workers in the United States have protested against the company on a major sales day. In Europe, however, workers have done it before, and over the past two days more than 2,000 workers at seven Amazon fulfillment centers throughout Germany have gone on strike, Reuters reported.

In response to the strikes, Amazon has said it already offers what the workers and various outside organizations are asking for, adding that it did not expect the protests to it affect its fulfillment capabilities.


New World Library: We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life by Laura McKowen


Indie Booksellers Counter 'Amazombie' Prime Day Blitz

As Amazon Prime Day enters (counter-intuitively) its second day, independent booksellers continue to offer an alternative message--as well as literal alternatives--through social media. Here are some highlights from yesterday:

DIESEL, A Bookstore in Brentwood, Santa Monica, Calif.: "On this #Primeday we at your local bookstore would like to remind you that Amazombie will never be a space to meet fellow fascinating book lovers of all stripes, in a friendly community setting."

 

Logo created by Ernio Hernandez at River Bend Bookshop, Glastonbury, Conn.

Greedy Reads, Baltimore, Md.: "It's Prime Day. Or as I like to call it, the Best Day to Shop Local. We are so happy to be a part of this community, and are grateful for everyone's support. In return, we promise not to work with ICE, and to always give our employees bathroom breaks."

The Brain Lair Bookstore, South Bend, Ind.: "On this #PrimeDay, remember that Amazon won’t entertain your kids with a Harry Potter Party #ShopLocal."

The Bookshop, East Nashville, Tenn.: "Last I checked, Amazon doesn't offer Saturday storytimes--and certainly not with our spirited and beloved @wildgreentide. Just one of the many things to consider this #primeday. Open 11 to 6 today if you prefer to shop at a store that pays local taxes, offers community-building events for local book lovers, regularly raises funds for social causes, offers non-algorithm recommendations, and where you'll be greeted with a *real* smile, not an arrow meant to look like one."

BookBar, Denver, Colo.: "Give #PrimeDay a pass and opt for #LimeDay instead. @BookBarDenver is featuring Key Lime Sangria all day for $5. When you #ShopLocal to keep your hard-earned dollars in our community. Aaaaand--stave off scurvy!"

Raven Book Store, Lawrence, Kan.: "happy #PrimeDay, shop local, don't cross picket lines." And: "to celebrate #PrimeDay we're paying federal taxes."

East Bay Booksellers, Oakland, Calif.: "What's this, we're hearing? This company, the one that cozies up with ICE, an organization independent bookstores have committed nearly $100k to resist, has its own special day? Weird."

Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, N.C.: "On this #PrimeDay, remember that Amazon won't bring scores of authors to your community for events each year."

Sherman's Books & Stationery, Boothbay Harbor, Maine: "Welcome to a very special #mainecrushmonday! Since it's also #primeday, we thought we'd highlight the benefits of shopping local and reading local, instead of using the large online retail store that shall not be named.... We're a part of the community, and downtown helps the local economy. Plus it's super fun to browse our bookstores! You get to see new things and meet new people. We can't tell you how many times complete strangers have connected by expressing their mutual love of a book and swapping book recommendations. It's a much more fulfilling feeling then adding something to a cart...."

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café, Washington, D.C.: A Prime Day chalkboard work in progress: "Why Kramerbooks is better than Amazon.com...."

One More Page Books, Arlington Va.: "We happen to think today is a prime day to shop at your favorite local indie! Keep your money where you live, support your neighbors, and engage with your community. No online retailer can give you what One More Page can!"


GLOW: St. Martin's Press: The New Husband by D.J. Palmer


Author/Indie Bookstore Prime Day Team

Here's a great example of how one author and one bookstore chose to face down Amazon Prime Day: yesterday morning, Shea Serrano, whose books include The Rap Year Book and the upcoming Movies (and Other Things), decided to mobilize his FOH Army with these tweets: "it's amazon prime day so we should find an indie bookstore and just order stuff from them today." And: "someone send me a good indie bookstore that we can direct everyone toward--let's go get some books--literally any books not just mine lol."

Raven Book Store, Lawrence, Kan., checked in: "we went viral a while back explaining why indies are good and Amazon is bad."

Then the fun began.

Serrano: "bang--there it is--Amazon Prime Day is today and tomorrow--their employees are on strike for better pay--let's go get some books from @ravenbookstore today..."

After settling on a goal of 100 books, Serrano began working Twitter: "i'm about to order a book from @ravenbookstore which means we only need 99 other people to do so to hit our goal--be a part of this--it's the tiniest resistance but it's a resistance nonetheless lol."

Serrano kept a running tally as the orders poured in: "lol i went to lunch and by the time i came back we jumped from 81/100 up to 128/100 lol there you go @ravenbookstore--128 orders online--that's the new record--and i'm sure we'll have a few more come in during the rest of the day."

Raven Book Store's FOH trophy

By early afternoon, Raven Book Store tweeted: "We'd like to thank @SheaSerrano and the #FOHarmy for making this the best #PrimeDay ever by smashing our daily record for website orders. As a token of our appreciation, we made a trophy for y'all."

Serrano replied: "we broke the daily record for online orders and they made us the best trophy i have ever seen in my life thank you @ravenbookstore."

Shortly after 3:30 p.m., Raven said the count had reached 265 orders and Serrano tweeted: "bang bang bang 265 ORDERS IN JUST A FEW HOURS BABYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY WE REMAIN UNDEFEATED."

Last night, Serrano was already looking ahead: "hell yeah--we might have to run this shit back tomorrow with another indie bookstore for day 2 of amazon prime day lol."

By 9 p.m., the tally had climbed even higher. Serrano: "bang--we were supposed to place 100 orders with @ravenbookstore today but we got a little too pumped and ended up getting 328 orders lol--sorry about that @ravenbookstore--have fun shipping them all out lol."

Raven's response: "better order more tape."


Dutton Books: The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare


Inez Munsch Named M.D. at Abrams & Chronicle Books

Inez Munsch

Effective September 23, Inez Munsch will become managing director at Abrams & Chronicle Books. Munsch is currently the U.K. and export sales director at Hardie Grant Publishing, which she joined in 2014. Prior to that, Munsch spent more than 10 years working at Bloomsbury Publishing in a variety of positions that culminated in her role as head of U.K. sales.

In her new position, Munsch will oversee a team of 23 sales, operations, marketing and publicity professionals from the new base in Smithfield, as well as an extensive sales team based in their respective territories, covering both the U.K. and export markets.

Munsch is succeeding Brenda Marsh, who is returning to the U.S. and leaving the company. Marsh became managing director of Abrams & Chronicle Books in June 2016 after two years at Abrams in the U.S., where she was v-p, director of business development. Before that, she held executive positions at Barnes & Noble for 15 years and earlier held sales and marketing positions at HarperCollins, Penguin and St. Martin's Press.

"Inez brings an extensive range of experience to her new role as m.d. of Abrams & Chronicle Books," said Michael Jacobs, president and CEO, Abrams. "She has worked across a broad spectrum of sales channels, in the U.K. and export markets, and with gift, trade, illustrated, and children's books. Her outstanding track record of developing and implementing successful sales strategies and her wealth of knowledge about the markets they operate in will help drive A&CB's continued growth."

Chronicle Books president Tyrrell Mahoney commented: "In addition to her considerable experience, Inez brings a passion for our publishing and a clear vision for the future. As our new managing director, Inez is certain to lead both the business and our talented and capable team to new levels of success in the U.K. and throughout Europe."

Munsch noted that Marsh "has achieved so much in her time at Abrams & Chronicle Books and I am honored to be stepping into her role. I'm really excited to have the opportunity to lead such an accomplished team, I have always admired the work that they do and the quality and variety of the lists that both Abrams and Chronicle Books publish and those of the lists they represent."


Soho Teen: Me and Mr. Cigar by Gibby Haynes


CBD Boom Prompts Christian Book Distributors' Name Change

 

After decades of being known by the acronym CBD, Christian Book Distributors has rebranded as Christianbook due to confusion regarding the increased popularity of cannabidiol (the other CBD), "a nonintoxicating component of cannabis that is formulated in a variety of products," the New York Times reported. Although the toll-free phone number for Ray Hendrickson's family-owned business is 1-800-CHRISTIAN, the company's initials have  been drawing a different clientele.

"A person may call up and say, 'Hey, I'm looking for my order,' " he said. "It's like, 'What did you order? Oh, I ordered gummies. You don't have the right company.' "

Hendrickson, who launched the company 40 years ago with his brother Stephen, now employs 600 people, selling Christian literature, DVDs, giftware and home-school products to churches, religious institutions and individuals.

"The problem is the other CBD is just so popular at this point in time that it just kind of overwhelms our brand," he added.

Hendrickson noted that even though Christianbook owns the web address cbd.com, search engines routinely turn up results for cannabis: "If you look at the main page, we're nowhere to be found.... I was driving my mom down the road recently. She saw a sign that said 'CBD sold here.' I was like, 'No, mom. That's not us.' "


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Firewatching by Russ Thomas


Notes

Image of the Day: Hope Rides Again

Partnering with Drip Cafe-Hockessin, Hockessin BookShelf, Hockessin, Del., hosted happy hour with Andrew Shaffer for his new Obama/Biden mystery, Hope Rides Again (Quirk Books). The event featured a book discussion, q&a and signing, and a portion of the cover charge went to the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children. Pictured: Shaffer with customer Ginger Emerson, who won the the raffle for a promotional poster, which he signed for her.


Happy 5th Birthday, Pageturners Bookstore!

Congratulations to Pageturners Bookstore, Indianola, Iowa, which is celebrating its fifth birthday on Saturday, July 27, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., with a full day of cake, presents and party games (and a 5% discount on everything in the store). Owned by Kathy Magruder, the store is on the square downtown and sells new and used books.


House of Anansi's Toronto Neighborhood: 'Newly Hip'

 

"Sterling Road is newly hip," the New York Times reported in a profile of the Toronto neighborhood that is getting a second life after having been dismissed for decades as a postindustrial wasteland, thanks in part to a Banksy exhibition in an empty warehouse last summer and the arrival of Toronto's Museum of Contemporary Art in the fall.

Among the "earliest adopters" who are also "reaping dividends from the street's new profile" is independent Canadian publisher House of Anansi Press, which arrived in 2015, "transforming a former garage into its headquarters and bookstore. The move proved prescient."

"With Banksy, we saw people come from all over the world," said president and publisher Sarah MacLachlan. "And MOCA shifted everything about how people think of this area." Sales at the bookstore have grown 40% this year over the same period in 2018. "Right now, people live in surrounding neighborhoods, but nobody lives on the street itself. In the coming decade, we'll have 540,000 square feet of new housing in about 900 housing units, along with 565,000 square feet of new office space."


Personnel Changes at BookPeople; Bookazine; Grove Atlantic; Chronicle

Cristina Lebrón has been named the events and marketing manager at BookPeople in Austin, Texas. She was most recently the events coordinator and book buyer for Spanish language books at Books & Books in Miami, Fla.

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Josh Harwood has joined Bookazine as Northeast sales director, servicing independent bookstores. He was previously director of national accounts at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and earlier was a field rep with Houghton Mifflin, Random House, William Morrow and Avon and the commission group Roghaar Associates.

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Nick Stewart joins Grove Atlantic as digital marketing manager. Previously he was marketing manager at Penguin Random House.

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Jamil Zaidi has Joined Chronicle Books as trade sales representative, Pacific Northwest. Previously he was the Pacific Northwest representative for Chickman Associates.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Colson Whitehead on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Colson Whitehead, author of The Nickel Boys: A Novel (Doubleday, $24.95, 9780385537070).


Sony, HarperCollins in Partnership Led by Gabler

Sony Pictures Entertainment and HarperCollins have formed a partnership with former Fox 2000 president Elizabeth Gabler to source literary material and produce film content across all platforms. The yet-to-be-named venture will be located on the Sony lot in Culver City, Calif., and begin operations later this summer, Deadline reported.

"For the past two decades our division has thrived by building a film slate based principally on adaptations of literary properties, both fiction and nonfiction," said Gabler, whose company has adapted such books as Life of Pi, Hidden Figures, Marley & Me, Love, Simon and The Hate U Give. "Our close collaborations with authors and their material gives us a tremendous advantage because the development process begins with a terrific story and great characters and even more so after publication, with the added bonus of audience pre-awareness. Additionally, when a film is in production and up through release, we collaborate closely with our authors, their representatives, and most importantly, the publishers, to maximize book sales in conjunction with the film. We have always felt that HarperCollins is part of our family and it is now an honor and a privilege to create a true partnership with Brian Murray and his amazing global team."

HarperCollins president and CEO Brian Murray commented: "No one in Hollywood has done a better job of bringing books to film than Elizabeth and her team, including many films based on HarperCollins titles. As a company, we invest more than $300 million in new works by authors each year. Now, through this partnership with Elizabeth and SPE, we will expand our investment in writers to include film, TV, and streaming opportunities, creating new possibilities for authors to have their books adapted and developed by the best literary team in history with the full support and capabilities of SPE."



Books & Authors

Awards: ITW Thriller Winners

The winners of this year's 2019 ITW Thriller Awards, sponsored by the International Thriller Writers, are:

Best Hardcover Novel: Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier (Minotaur Books)
Best First Novel: The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor (Crown)
Best Paperback Original Novel: The Lost Man by Jane Harper (Pan Macmillan Australia)
Best Short Story: "Nana" by Helen Smith (in Killer Women: Crime Club Anthology #2 (Killer Women Ltd.)
Best E-Book Original Novel: Pray for the Innocent by Alan Orloff (Kindle Press)
Best Young Adult Novel: Girl at the Grave by Teri Bailey Black (Tor Teen)

Other awards:
ThrillerMaster: John Sandford
Silver Bullet Award: Harlan Coben
ThrillerFan Award: "Mystery Mike" Bursaw
Thriller Legend Award: Margaret Marbury


Book Review

Review: And How Are You, Dr. Sacks? A Biographical Memoir of Oliver Sacks

And How Are You, Dr. Sacks?: A Biographical Memoir of Oliver Sacks by Lawrence Weschler (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28 hardcover, 400p., 9780374236410, August 13, 2019)

When journalist Lawrence Weschler first met the unconventional neurologist Oliver Sacks in June 1981, he hoped their encounter might produce enough material for a profile that would boost his fledgling career with the New Yorker. The piece never materialized, halted by Sacks because of his concern that it inevitably would reveal his homosexuality, but their relationship burgeoned into a deep friendship that ended only with Sacks's death in August 2015. And How Are You, Dr. Sacks?: A Biographical Memoir is culled from 15 volumes of notebooks compiled over four years in the early 1980s. It is Wechsler's fascinating account of their attachment and focuses on a period of time when he was "serving as a sort of Boswell to his Johnson, a beanpole Sancho to his capacious Quixote."

In that spirit, Weschler (Uncanny Valley: Adventures in the Narrative) serves up a potpourri of conversations, diary entries, interviews, letters and reportage to paint a vibrant portrait of his friend's fully engaged, at times frenetic, life. Though it inevitably covers some of the same ground as Sacks's own 2015 memoir, On the Move, this blend of journalistic objectivity and subjective engagement in Sacks's daily life enlarges and complements the neurologist's self-portrait.

By the time of the period that's at the heart of the memoir--what Weschler now sees as "the virtual hinge of [Sacks's] professional and creative progress"--Sacks already had come to public attention through his book Awakenings (later to become a movie starring Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro). Weschler describes the writer's block during those years that made Sacks's struggle to complete what he called the "leg book" (A Leg to Stand On) so difficult, even as he churned out captivating case studies like the ones collected in his bestseller The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and became "steadily more well known among the cognoscenti."

Weschler illuminates how the polymath Sacks's approach to treatment, focusing on his patients more as whole human beings and less as agglomerations of symptoms and syndromes, was of a piece with his embrace of every aspect of life. But for all Weschler's deep affection for Sacks, he doesn't shy away from the controversies that at times swirled around his subject's life and work, including his addiction to amphetamines early in his medical career and the critiques that Sacks was at times more fabulist than skilled neurological diagnostician. 

As Lawrence Weschler concedes, with obvious regret, someday a person who "will have to be a lot younger than I am now" is going to produce a full-length biography of Oliver Sacks. In doing so, that writer will be in Weschler's debt for the wealth of valuable source material his book provides. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: The story of a journalist's deep friendship with famed neurologist Oliver Sacks.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. It Wasn't Me by Lani Lynn Vale
2. Hot Seal Hero by Lynn Raye Harris
3. All Grown Up by Vi Keeland
4. Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins
5. Sinful Nights Bundle: Books 1-3 by Lauren Blakely
6. Bad Billionaires Box Set by Elise Faber
7. War by Laura Thalassa
8. Magic Secret by Meg Xuemei X
9. Accidental Knight by Nicole Snow
10. Port Danby Cozy Mystery Series by London Lovett

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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