Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 23, 2019

William Morrow & Company: The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

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

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy

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

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

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

Quotation of the Day

Key to Bookselling Success: 'A Kind of Stick-to-it-iveness'

"That's a complicated question. I don't know if there's an easy answer. Part of the answer is a kind of stick-to-it-iveness that we've had, to deal with the ups and downs, and to bring in supporters of the bookstore who were able to help get us over those rough times. But at the same time, I think we kept very close to our core values, which were really to serve our community. I'm not saying the other stores didn't, but it's just something we kept doing over and over again, because that's what we wanted."

--Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books locations in South Florida and the Cayman Islands, answering Boca magazine's interview question: "What did you do differently with this brand to outlive not only independent bookstores but most chains?"

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland


New Owners for Writers' Workshoppe and Imprint Books

Anna Quinn and Peter Quinn, owners of the Writers' Workshoppe and Imprint Books in Port Townsend, Wash., are selling the store to Samantha Ladwig and Thom Nienow, who will officially take over on October 1. The business combines a general-interest bookstore with a writing workshop that runs programs more than a dozen times each week. The Quinns have owned Writers' Workshoppe/Imprint Books for 12 years.

Thom Nienow and Samantha Ladwig

Anna Quinn wrote on Facebook that while the experience has been "wild, fantastic, exhausting and completely mind-blowing," they are ready for new creative spaces and pursuits. She added that they step away with confidence that the space "will continue to flourish, whisper, thunder and boom, in all the original and imaginative ways possible," under Ladwig and Nienow's leadership.

Ladwig has been a bookseller and workshop instructor at Writers' Workshoppe and Imprint Books for the past several years, and is a writer of essays and nonfiction. She said of the transition: "This next chapter is a huge honor and we are overwhelmingly grateful to Anna Quinn and Peter Quinn for this opportunity. We're also terrified and excited and nervous and giddy and a whole lot of other things, but mostly we're grateful."

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

B&N Closing Newport, Ky., Store

On September 7, Barnes & Noble is closing its store in Newport, Ky., in Newport on the Levee, according to Fox19. Several other longtime tenants, including Mitchell's Fish Market, have closed recently as part of the new owner's redevelopment plan.

The mixed retail/entertainment/office/residential center is directly across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, and includes an IMAX theater, an aquarium and a planned Ferris wheel.

"Maximizing views of the Ohio River and Cincinnati skyline are integral to our vision for the enlivened experience at Newport on the Levee," said Tim Perry, chief investment officer of North American Properties, the new owner of Newport on the Levee, said. "Reimagining the new Newport on the Levee sometimes requires a clear canvas, and the need to reconsider that building with its impact to the arrival and outdoor experience is critical for a welcoming and magnetically social epicenter."

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

F+W Book List Becoming Part of Penguin Publishing Group

Penguin Random House has completed the purchase of the U.S. book-publishing assets of F+W Books, which were sold as part of F+W Media's bankruptcy proceeding. The F+W list is now becoming part of the Penguin Publishing Group division. Sales and fulfillment for the F+W publishing program will continue to be handled by Two Rivers, part of Ingram Publisher Services.

F+W Books has focused on illustrated nonfiction books in art instruction, crafts, writing, genealogy, antiques and collectibles, and woodworking. Its backlist of 2,000 titles includes The Crystal Bible and the Writer's Market series.

Allison Dobson, president of Penguin Publishing Group, commented: "The nonfiction categories encompassed by the F+W list will expand and complement PPG's already very strong set of imprints and lists, and we are delighted to welcome the F+W authors into our Penguin family."

With the asset sale, Heidi Sachner has left her position as v-p of books at F+W Media. She will be working with the Penguin Publishing Group on a consulting basis to assist with the transition through the end of the year and can be reached via e-mail.

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

Amazon to Open Two More Warehouses in Ohio

Amazon plans to open two more Ohio fulfillment centers, in Akron and Rossford, which each will have about 700,000 square feet of space. The warehouses will include Amazon robots and will pick, pack and ship small items to customers such as books, electronics and toys.

J.P. Nauseef, president and chief investment officer of JobsOhio, said: "JobsOhio and our regional and local partners welcome these new facilities that will employ 2,500 Ohioans, revitalize an Akron neighborhood, and bring Amazon's largest Northwest Ohio investment to Rossford."

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine commented: "Amazon continues to demonstrate confidence in the great workforce and e-commerce business climate we have in Ohio. I'm pleased to welcome two additional investments from Amazon, which bring thousands of new jobs to Ohio and cutting-edge facilities to Akron and Rossford."

Amazon said that the two warehouses are being developed in partnership with Seefried Industrial Properties, Duke Realty, the Development Finance Authority of Summit County and the Wood County Port Authority.

Obituary Note: George Hodgman

George Hodgeman

George Hodgman, a longtime editor and author of the memoir Bettyville, died on Saturday, July 20, in New York City, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. He was 60.

Hodgman worked for many years as an editor at Simon & Schuster, Houghton Mifflin and Vanity Fair. In recent years, he returned to Paris, Mo., to care for his mother, Betty, who suffered from dementia and other ailments. In Bettyville (Penguin), he chronicled "their loving and humorous, yet sometimes testy, relationship. [The] memoir also reveals his difficulties growing up as a gay boy in small-town Missouri and his fear of coming out to his mother." The book, published in 2015, was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle prize in the autobiography category.

In an interview with the Post-Dispatch, Hodgman said: "You have to be really honest, and you have to treat the reader like a friend. If you're not willing to confide in the reader, you can't do a memoir."

Kris Kleindienst, co-owner of Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo., offered this tribute yesterday:

"I met George Hodgman in 2015, shortly before his outstanding memoir, Bettyville, was to be published. We agreed to meet at the Scottish Arms one Sunday for brunch and, among the various wide-ranging topics, that between us included a discussion of who's who of the publishing world, we hatched plans for Left Bank Books to host the St. Louis launch party for his book. I had already read an advanced copy of Bettyville and was more than a little starstruck. The book, like George, is tender, funny with a special flourish towards the absurd, and more than a bit profound without the slightest hint of pretension or self-consciousness. Bettyville, as did George, radiates a great love of family, friends, and neighbors. George is one of the most genuinely kind people I have ever met, even when he has been treated badly. And that was a higher than average experience for a gay man growing up an only child in a tiny rural Missouri town.

"We became immediate friends, something I realized later would be true of nearly everyone who met George. When you met him, or even just read his book, you wanted to be his friend so badly, you nearly imagined it so. And he didn't seem to mind, in fact, he treated nearly everyone as if they were his best friend. He was unfailingly generous with his time. He supported writers and independent bookstores alike. He was a reader at our first annual Bookfest St. Louis. Recently, I asked him if he would consider being in conversation at this year's Bookfest St. Louis with Ruth Reichl, another former editor of a Conde Nast publication. 'I don't know if I can persuade her to come, she has a busy schedule, too,' I wrote in an e-mail. Sure, he replied, he'd do anything he could to be of help, including talking to Ruth. Alas, it is not to be.

"George could tell you about an encounter with Jackie O. or his next-door neighbor in Paris, Mo., in nearly the same breath and give equal weight to both. George was an immensely talented writer and thinker, and after his book came out, he took to Facebook where thousands followed as he opined about his wide-ranging passions: from rescue dogs to historic preservation to the outrages perpetrated by the current administration, he was astute, knowledgeable and full of conviction. He was far better than any cable news magazine.

"It is physically painful to think of this world without him, to realize there will be no more readings in the bookstore or at Bookfest St. Louis, no more dinners filled with laughter, no more posts on social media. Even though we spent relatively little time in each other's actual company, I always knew he was an e-mail or text away and would, as he has said to countless lucky people, do anything for me if he could. Goodbye, dear friend! I would say may you rest in peace, but that feels wrong. What I wish for you is joy and laughter and rescue dogs in rambling old mansions full of people who love you. What I wish for the rest of us is that we are worthy of your memory, and that we may practice in our lives the kindness and unconditional love you have shown us."


Image of the Day: Moon Landing Treats

The BookMark, Neptune Beach, Fla., marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing by serving MoonPies--next to a larger table of books about space and the moon.

BiblioCactus Librería: 'A Connection to Home'

Roswell, Ga., "has the second largest population is those of Hispanic descent, according to the 2010 U.S. Census," Atlanta magazine noted in a feature article on Carlos Carrasquero, who moved to the metro area in 2003 and had a hard time finding books in Spanish for him and his family to read.

His dream of owning his own bookstore was realized in May with the debut of BiblioCactus Librería in a strip mall on Grimes Bridge Road. The shop, which carries more than 8,000 Latin American books--with an emphasis on titles from Venezuela--currently "operates as a membership book club rather than a traditional bookstore.... While it doesn't formally operate as a bookstore, members and visitors can also buy books off the shelves for less than $10 per book," Atlanta noted.

Carrasquero observed that in Venezuela, "the political situation was and continues to be dire. I started contacting friends in and around Caracas to find out how much it was to acquire used books from local authors and provide [the finders] with a small income.... At first, I had a group of seven to eight people helping me source books in Venezuela, but it quickly dwindled as people were leaving the country. People are distracting themselves with books due to the food and job crisis."

Eventually, a mother and daughter helped him by establishing a process where they would add their finds to a spreadsheet and Carrasquero purchased books in bulk from them. The funds helped the Venezuelan family stay afloat while they remained in the country.

"We've had Venezuelans come by and see authors that they haven't seen in a long time. They're very local. That's why we have a Venezuelan-focused area," he said. "But we've had people from Spain, Colombia, and all over come to visit or donate books. Some go straight to a certain section and ask if we have a particular author."

"Eventually, I would like to move to a separate brick and mortar bookstore, add new releases, and keep the club," he added. "Right now, I'm concentrating on building a community and spreading awareness about this resource."

B&N's July Book Club Pick: The Nickel Boys

Barnes & Noble has chosen The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday) as its July national book club selection. The novel will be the focus of a book club night at B&N stores around the country on Tuesday, August 13, at 7 p.m.

Liz Harwell, B&N's senior director of merchandising, trade books, said, "We're so excited to bring readers together in our stores to discuss The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead's brilliant and blistering story of two boys living in Jim Crow-era Florida. On the heels of his Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning bestseller, The Underground Railroad, Whitehead returns with a novel that is riveting and thought provoking."

For more information on the event, click here.

Personnel Changes at Macmillan

Filipe Silva has joined Macmillan as international sales manager, succeeding Holly Ruck, who was recently promoted to director, field sales. He will be responsible for sales in all open market territories, with direct sales responsibilities for the Philippines and Guam. He will work with accounts, Pan Macmillan UK international sales team, and sales representatives in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Most recently Silva founded Libros in Español, which sells Spanish-language books online. Earlier he worked at Penguin Random House for almost eight years overseeing the Latin America and Caribbean regions and at Baker & Taylor managing territories in the open market.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dr. Guy Leschziner on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Dr. Guy Leschziner, author of The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret World of Sleep (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9781250202703).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Laurie Gelman, author of You've Been Volunteered: A Class Mom Novel (Holt, $26, 9781250301857).

Books & Authors

Award: Will Eisner Comic Industry, Harper Lee Legal Fiction Winners

The 2019 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards were presented at Comic-Con International San Diego. See the full list of winners here.


Sharon Bala won the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction for her debut novel, The Boat People (Doubleday). Lee authorized the award, sponsored by the ABA Journal and the University of Alabama School of Law, to be given "to a book-length work of fiction that best illuminates the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change."

Describing news of the award as "an absolute honor," Bala said, "Writing this novel was a meditation on empathy. My greatest hope is that it has the same effect on readers." The Boat People chronicles the story of a group of Sri Lankan refugees who escape a bloody civil war only to arrive on Vancouver Island's shores to face the threat of deportation and accusations of terrorism.

Claire Hamner Matturro, a member of the selection committee, said, "The Boat People touched me, haunted me, and educated me--in much the same way To Kill a Mockingbird did when I first read it as an impressionable child. It's the kind of book I wish the whole world could read with an open mind and an open heart."

"The Boat People is timely and powerful. Even those who think they are versed in the various vantage points involved in the complex area of immigration will gain a deeper appreciation of the nuances by reading Sharon Bala's first novel," said Molly McDonough, editor and publisher of the ABA Journal. "The book explores the perspectives of desperate refugees; the attorneys who--voluntarily or not--are trying to help them; and the adjudicators who are asked to make potentially life-or-death decisions with little to no evidence."

Top Library Recommended Titles for August

LibraryReads, the nationwide library staff-picks list, offers the top 10 July titles public library staff across the country love:

The Right Swipe: A Novel by Alisha Rai (Avon, $14.99, 9780062878090). "An intelligent, multicultural contemporary romance. Rhi, CEO of the Crush dating app, and Samson, NFL star, embark on a joint project that turns into more than just talk. Issues of #MeToo in the tech industry and the NFL's concussion problem are woven in. For readers of the Forbidden Heart series, Elle Wright, and Alyssa Cole." --Jessica Werner, The Seattle Public Library, Seattle, Wash.

Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior (Berkley, $26, 9781984803788). "When Ellie walks into the Harp Barn, her life is bound to change. Dan the harpmaker is a sensitive soul who gives Ellie a harp. Ellie's husband Clive thinks the gift is inappropriate and doesn't support her desire to play, so she takes lessons behind his back. An engaging and tender book for fans of Fredrik Backman and Graeme Simsion." --Kathleen Harriott, Punta Gorda Public Library, Punta Gorda, Fla.

Inland: A Novel by Téa Obreht (Random House, $27, 9780812992861). "Obreht lays a mythical voice over an already dreamlike landscape of drought in Arizona. A mother and half-grown sons generate a powerful dynamic not often explored, and the youngest, who knows about scary beasts, brings magic and intuition. A journey into a barren world, inside and out. For fans of Larry Watson and Alice Hoffman." --Katherine Phenix, Rangeview Library District, Adams County, Colo.

The Last Widow: A Novel by Karin Slaughter (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062858085). "A fast-paced thriller in the Will Trent series has Will and Sara trying to prevent a deadly epidemic. The book tells the story of what is happening to three different people during the same short time periods, as they are unaware of the actions of the others. For readers who enjoy Tana French and John Sanford." --Susanne Guide, Union County Public Library, Liberty, Ind.

Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins (Berkley, $16, 9780451489425). "Explores the complex relationships between caregivers and their children, as four generations of one family reflect on their past, and the failing health of the family matriarch looms large. For readers who like fully developed characters with real-world problems, and fans of Jennifer Weiner and Susan Elizabeth Phillips." --Amanda Kowalcze, Green Hills Public Library District, Palos Hills, Ill.

Sapphire Flames: A Hidden Legacy Novel by Ilona Andrews (Avon, $26.99, 9780062952585). "The fifth Hidden Legacy paranormal adventure requires middle sister Catalina, now head of House Baylor, to use all her skills and poise to make the right decisions for herself and her family. For fans of Nalini Singh's Psy/Changeling series and Patricia Briggs' Moon Called." --Lynne Welch, Herrick Memorial Library, Wellington, Ohio

The Swallows: A Novel by Lisa Lutz (Ballantine, $27, 9781984818232). "A dark, satirical book that centers around a school and the revenge that we seek in times of humiliation. It's a twisty read that will have you following an investigation filled with secrets, lies, and threats. For readers who liked Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld and Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel." --Kathryn Neal, Skiatook Library, Skiatook, Okla.

Things You Save in a Fire: A Novel by Katherine Center (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250047328). "A traumatic event as a young woman has left firefighter Cassie with a hard shell which breaks apart as she learns about forgiveness, love, and friendship. With gripping firefighting scenes and a love story, this is perfect for fans of Jo Jo Moyes or Marissa de los Santos." --Alissa Williams, Morton Public Library, Morton, Ill.

The Warehouse: A Novel by Rob Hart (Crown, $27, 9781984823793). "Paxton and Zinnia are new employees at Cloud where they work, live, and have their productivity and location tracked through their smartwatches. Gibson is the dying industrialist who created the Cloud company and is touring the country visiting his facilities. This near-future dystopian sci-fi thriller made me leery of ever shopping online again. For fans of The Circle by Dave Eggers and Notes from the Internet Apocalypse by Wayne Gladstone." --Dan Brooks, Wake County Public Library, Raleigh, N.C.

The Whisper Man: A Novel by Alex North (Celadon, $26.99, 9781250317995). "Tom and his son Jake move to Featherbank to rebuild their life after the death of Tom's wife; unknown to them, the town has a dark history and another little boy has gone missing and Jake begins to hear whispers in his new house. For fans of Joe Hill and Paul Tremblay." --Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, N.J.

Book Review

Review: A Door in the Earth

A Door in the Earth by Amy Waldman (Little, Brown, $28 hardcover, 400p., 9780316451574, August 27, 2019)

Amy Waldman's follow-up to The Submission is a brilliant novel and one of the most incisive books written about America's endless war in Afghanistan. A Door in the Earth follows Parveen, an idealistic Afghan American anthropology student who travels to a tiny village in Afghanistan to conduct research and help out at a clinic set up by a famous American philanthropist named Gideon Crane. Parveen is one of many Americans who receives Gideon Crane's message with enthusiasm bordering on religious zeal. Crane is charismatic, with an unlikely story of redemption and a vision for winning Afghan support through "kind power." Through Crane's book Mother Afghanistan, Parveen feels connected to her country of birth in a way that has often proved elusive.

Because the story takes place in 2008, readers benefit from hindsight in a way that Parveen cannot. Some, for example, might note the similarities between Gideon Crane's story and that of Greg Mortenson, the controversial philanthropist and author of Three Cups of Tea. Parveen is young and idealistic, however, and she struggles to reconcile Crane's inspiring memoir with the Afghan community that she encounters. Parveen lodges in a home where Crane once stayed and soon discovers that the family so heavily featured in his book has a complicated relationship to the American. Gradually, Parveen replaces her simultaneously idealized and judgmental view of the family with a more nuanced one. In the process, Waldman not only demonstrates Parveen's immense privilege in comparison to the villagers, but fashions a critique of the way narratives can obscure and shape reality.

Parveen's village is far from the war at the start of the book. Soon, however, U.S. soldiers arrive, and the war follows them. The Americans offer aid in the form of a new, better road to the village, even though most of the villagers don't have cars. Parveen is haunted by one of her professor's sharp critiques of Crane's book: " 'Why kind power?' she said. 'Why not just kindness?' " Waldman questions whether true philanthropy is compatible with the intentions of an occupying force. Despite the benefits the Americans claim the road will offer the villagers, it is clear that the road will also make it easier to move American vehicles into the village. It's no surprise when insurgent attacks begin to threaten the project.

A Door in the Earth is more than a critique of strategy, of course. Parveen is a study in divided loyalties, not at home with the soldiers or the villagers. The idealism that brought her to the village is of little use when she gets there. While she is disturbed by Crane's inconsistencies, she soon realizes that the realities of poverty and war are much more pressing to the villagers than anything as abstract as truth. As the war creeps ever closer, Parveen is forced to make decisions that have no right answers, decisions that will have life and death consequences for the people around her. In the process, she leaves the easy certainties of youth behind. --Hank Stephenson, bookseller, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Shelf Talker: A devotee of a famous American philanthropist journeys to Afghanistan in 2008 and discovers that the reality is much more complicated than the one painted in the philanthropist's book.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. All Grown Up by Vi Keeland
2. Dax by Sawyer Bennett
3. Sea Witch Cozy Mysteries by Morgana Best
4. Age of Legend by Michael J. Sullivan
5. Bishop's Knight by Katie Reus
6. Port Danby Cozy Mystery Series by London Lovett
7. Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins
8. The Prenup by Lauren Layne
9. Love Machine by Kendall Ryan
10. The Inside Man by M.A. Rothman

[Many thanks to!]

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