Shelf Awareness for Monday, July 29, 2019

Del Rey Books: The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu

Jy: Enemies (Berrybrook Middle School #5) by Svetlana Chmakova

Entangled Publishing: Stealing Infinity by Alyson Noël

St. Martin's Press: The Matchmaker's Gift by Lynda Cohen Loigman

Legendary Comics YA: Enola Holmes: Mycroft's Dangerous Game by Nancy Springer, illustrated by Giorgia Sposito

Sourcebooks: Helltown: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer on Cape Cod by Casey Sherman

Soho Crime: Lady Joker, Volume 2 by Kaoru Takamura, translated by Allison Markin Powell and Marie Iida

Bantam: All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers


Community Responds to Call for Help by Calif.'s Napa Bookmine

After the rent for Napa Bookmine, Napa, Calif., jumped 70% on June 1, the bookstore made a public plea earlier this month for help from its customers, asking them to buy more books in-store and online, try the store's subscription service, attend a ticketed event and more. The response, co-owner Naomi Chamblin told the Napa Valley Register, has been "really incredible and positive. It makes me feel good that we'll get through the next year."

Napa Bookmine already has plans to move into a new, larger space with a cafe next year, but that location is still under construction, and Chamblin didn't want to close the store after the rent jump because it would confuse customers and result in staff layoffs. Thus, on July 17 she and Eric Hagyard made the public plea, writing in part, "Seventy percent! We are lucky we can sustain that at all, but to be honest, it hurts our business big time. On top of rent increases, we've recently had three wholesale gift companies raise their prices due to commodity increases and tariffs, forcing us to raise prices as well. And on top of THAT, the book [wholesaler] Baker & Taylor is closing its retail division, leaving us only one option from which to order books quickly (Ingram).

"We have the good fortune of having had almost six years to grow our business and can support this rent increase for a short period of time. We predicted this possibility when we opened, so our goal has always been to purchase our own space, a dream that is coming to fruition in 2020, where we will have much more control over our future by increasing our offerings with more square footage and a cafe.

"But for now, WE NEED YOUR HELP!"

Besides the concrete steps of making purchases, Napa Bookmine asked customers to "educate yourself and your friends about the negative impact of shopping on Amazon. Also, Amazon is the invisible backbone behind ICE's immigration crackdown." The store noted that it offers free local deliveries for online orders, recommended its free events, and even suggested customers nominate Napa Bookmine booksellers for holiday bonuses from James Patterson.

Napa Bookmine opened in 2013 and has a second location, a shop in the Oxbow Public Market.

Entangled Publishing: Stealing Infinity by Alyson Noël

Pages & Pages Booksellers, Sydney, Sold to Constant Reader

Jay Lansdown, owner of Constant Reader in Crow's Nest, New South Wales, just north of Sydney, has purchased Pages & Pages Booksellers in Mosman, also a northern Sydney suburb. 

Jon and Kate Page, owners of Pages & Pages, put the store up for sale earlier this summer, and planned to close the store if they could not find a buyer by August 30. Now, Lansdown and his team will take over in August and turn Pages & Pages into Constant Reader's second location. Lansdown is president of the Australian Booksellers Association. Jon Page is a former ABA president and will soon become assistant manager of the landmark Dymock's store in Sydney.

Chris and Phil Page originally opened Pages & Pages in 1995, in Sydney's Belrose neighborhood. They moved the store to Mosman in 1999, where it has remained. In 2014, the store was named Best Independent Bookshop at the Australian Book Industry Awards.

Constant Reader, meanwhile, opened in 1979 and has been in its current location since 1989. In 2012, founder Peter Kirby sold the store to then-manager Jay Lansdown.

GLOW: Park Row: The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West

Sydney's Lindfield Bookshop Closing

Another long-established bookstore in in the northern Sydney suburbs is marking a major change: sadly Lindfield Bookshop & Children's Bookshop is closing on August 24 after 46 years in business, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Scott Whitmont, who has owned the store for 20 years and earlier was manager and partner for five years with previous owner Max Oliver, told the paper: "I've done this for 25 years and they wanted me to commit to a long-term lease. I am passionate about what I do, but I'm 59 years old at the end of the year and I don't want to be stressing about the business. We people in books know, more than anyone else, there is always a new page to turn." He said he hopes to find a job in publishing.

He added: "Better for us to shut the doors, proud of the service we provided the community over four decades and under my stewardship for two decades, and move onto a next chapter than to face an uncertain future at a time of life when one is thinking of slowing down, not working harder, in a changing market."

In a Facebook post, he wrote to customers: "It is time to commit to a new shop lease with a rent level that would be difficult to maintain. We are fully aware how disappointing this news will be to our countless loyal customers, librarians, authors and publisher/distributor friends who have supported us for many years but I have concluded that after a quarter of a century in the business, it is time for me to begin a new chapter in my life.

"Karen, Ian, Angus, Margie, Ruth and Duncan join me in sincerely thanking you for your patronage and friendship over the years and we will miss our regular (in many cases weekly and in some cases even daily) interactions with you, sharing our stories and our favourite book recommendations."

Whitmont was long involved in bookselling organizations and is a former president of the New South Wales group of the Australian Booksellers Association.

MPIBA: Last Chance: The Great Summer Reading Guide

Obituary Note: Michelle Haimoff

Michelle Haimoff, author, journalist and essayist, died June 24 of liver cancer. She was 40.

Her novel, These Days Are Ours, was published by Grand Central in 2012, and her guide book, Secret New York: Exploring the City's Hidden Neighborhoods, was published by Interlink Books in 2007. She also wrote about gender matters and feminism, among other topics, in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Huffington Post and on her blog,

She is remembered for her "intelligence, articulateness, brilliant energy, passion and commitment to principles of justice and equality, as well as her legendary humor and wittiness. Perhaps most of all, she is remembered for the kindness, love and generosity she expressed toward family and friends. It's a cliche to say someone could light up a room. Michelle could light up lives."


Image of the Day: Husband & Wife Q&A @ Books & Books

Saturday night before an SRO audience at Books & Books' Coral Gables, Fla., store, journalist Jamie Gangel interviewed her husband, Daniel Silva, about his latest thriller featuring Gabriel Allon, The New Girl (Harper).

Robbie Robertson's Book-Inspired New Song

Musician Robbie Robertson, known for his role as lead guitarist and main songwriter for The Band, has released the first single from his upcoming album Sinematic, his first new album since 2011.

The single, a duet with Van Morrison called "I Hear You Paint Houses," was inspired by Charles Brandt's book I Heard You Paint Houses, about the hitman Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran, Variety reported. The book has also been adapted into a movie called The Irishman,  directed by Martin Scorsese, that will be released by Netflix later this year.

The release of the album Sinematic on September 20 will coincide with the release of the documentary Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, which in turn was inspired by Robertson's 2016 memoir Testimony.

S&S to Distribute Aconyte

Simon & Schuster is handling sales and distribution in the U.S. and Canada for Aconyte, the new fiction imprint of global games company Asmodee, starting with Aconyte's first releases, in late spring 2020.

Aconyte publisher Marc Gascoigne commented: "Aconyte's primary mission is to create spectacular thrillers and fantasy novels based around the most deeply realized of our game worlds--Arkham Horror, Legend of the Five Rings, Pandemic, Descent and Catan, to name just a few. With their impressive track record handling tie-in books based on world-famous properties, Simon & Schuster are the ideal partners to help launch our novels into the North American book trade."

Aconyte, whose headquarters are in Nottingham, England, with staff in several U.S. locations, is part of Asmodee's Entertainment division, which aims to take Asmodee's best intellectual properties into new formats. Asmodee has headquarters in Guyancourt, France, and has sold more than 34 million games in more than 50 countries.

Personnel Changes at Macmillan Children's Publishing; Penguin Press

Allison Verost has been promoted to senior v-p, deputy publisher at Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. She was formerly v-p, marketing and publicity.


Shina Patel has been promoted to marketing coordinator at Penguin Press.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson on Fresh Air

Strahan & Sara: Bella Thorne, author of The Life of a Wannabe Mogul: Mental Disarray (Rare Bird Books, $25, 9781644280560).

Fresh Air: Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson, author of Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781982112875).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Jose Antonio Vargas, author of Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen (Dey Street, $15.99, 9780062851345).

Movies: Mob Girl

Makeready studio announced that Jennifer Lawrence will star in Mob Girl, based on the book by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author Teresa Carpenter. The Wrap reported that the film will be directed by Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty, The Young Pope), who is producing alongside Wildside's Lorenzo Mieli. Lawrence will also produce with Justine Polsky via their production company Excellent Cadaver. Angelina Burnett (Halt and Catch Fire, The Americans) is adapting Carpenter's book, Mob Girl: A Woman's Life in the Underworld.

"Seeing this story from a woman's point of view is a fresh and exciting approach to telling a classic mob story," said Makeready CEO Brad Weston. "We could not imagine a more perfect team of stellar filmmakers, with Jennifer starring in a tour de force role and Paolo at the helm, to bring Arlyne's strength and unique perspective to life on screen."

Books & Authors

Awards: Ned Kelly Longlist; RITA Winners

The Australian Crime Writers Association has released the longlist for the 2019 Ned Kelly Awards. Winners will be announced September 6 as part of the BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival. To see the nominated titles in all three categories, click here.


The winners of the 2019 RITA Awards, sponsored by the Romance Writers of America, are:

Romance Novella: Bad Blood by M. Malone
Contemporary Romance Long: Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan
Young Adult Romance: My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma
Historical Romance Long: A Wicked Kind of Husband by Mia Vincy
Romantic Suspense: Fearless by Elizabeth Dyer
Paranormal Romance: Dearest Ivie by J.R. Ward
Erotic Romance: Three-Way Split by Elia Winters
Historical Romance Short: A Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen
Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements: The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano
Contemporary Romance Short: The Bachelor's Baby Surprise by Teri Wilson
Contemporary Romance Mid-length: Advanced Physical Chemistry by Susannah Nix
Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance: How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan
Best First Book: Lady in Waiting by Marie Tremayne

Midwest Connections August Picks

The Midwest Independent Booksellers Association has selected its Midwest Connections Picks for August. Under this marketing program, the association and member stores promote booksellers' handselling favorites that have a strong Midwest regional appeal.

The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal (Pamela Dorman, $26, 9780399563058). "Two sisters, one farm. A family is split when their father leaves their shared inheritance entirely to Helen, his younger daughter. Despite baking award-winning pies at the local nursing home, her older sister, Edith, struggles to make what most people would call a living. So she can't help wondering what her life would have been like with even a portion of the farm money her sister kept for herself."

We Will Tell You Otherwise by Beth Mayer (Black Lawrence, $18.95, 9781625570024). "Winner of the Hudson Prize in Fiction, We Will Tell You Otherwise is a commanding and powerful debut short story collection. Keenly observed, funny, and occasionally heartbreaking, we meet odd, engaging characters who ask us to listen and to take them seriously. With a compelling range of voice and form, Mayer's stories offer startling encounters with human nature, compassion, and hope."

State: A Team, a Triumph, a Transformation by Melissa Isaacson (Agate Midway, $27, 9781572842663). "State is the story of the Niles West high school girls' basketball team, who would go on to defeat eventual Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee's East St. Louis team in the 1979 Illinois state final. In telling their story. Isaacson shows readers how a group of 'tomboys' found themselves and each other, how basketball rescued them from their collective frustrations and troubled homes, and how the experience forever altered the course of their lives."

The Curse of the Werepenguin by Allan Woodrow (Viking, $17.99, 9780451480446). "When a mysterious baron sends for orphan Bolt Wattle, the boy hopes to find his parents, but instead gets turned into a werepenguin and has three days to reverse the curse, return to human form, and stop the Baron from taking over the country of Brugaria with his army of mind-controlled penguins."

Book Review

Review: The Grammarians

The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine (Sarah Crichton/Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27 hardcover, 272p., 9780374280116, September 3, 2019)

When they were children growing up in Larchmont, N.Y., Laurel and Daphne Wolfe were essentially fused particles; their mother feared that her identical twins wouldn't fit in as they went through life because "they seemed to fit nowhere but with each other." When they were five, their father brought home an anvil of a dictionary, sparking the twins' obsession with words, which, while initially a shared passion, ended up coming between them. Could it be that all the words in the world can be insufficient when it comes to making amends? In its opening chapter, which is set when the sisters are middle-aged, The Grammarians reveals that they haven't spoken in years.

How did it come to this? Here's a teaser: when each twin's attempt to hone a distinct identity through attending a different college failed, they both transferred to Pomona in California, after which they began their truly adult lives in an apartment in Manhattan's East Village in the late 1970s. Obliged to find work to pay the bills, the sisters moped down different career paths (Daphne took a job at an alternative journal, Laurel as a kindergarten teacher), but both later found their true callings: working with words, one grammatically, the other artistically. The book's sisterly negotiations play out against a backdrop of cultural upheaval: there's the Reagan presidency, the AIDS crisis, New York City's gentrification, the women's movement and, as the comically attuned Cathleen Schine wastes no opportunity to point out, sartorial turbulence.

Schine lays all this out with the deliberateness of someone setting a table with the good china. Her 11th novel, which follows note-perfect outings that include The Three Weissmanns of Westport and Fin & Lady, burbles with her customary witty and exacting observations: Laurel thinks of her fellow Jews as having "this deli-gathering hunter-warrior persona" and believes that the word "class" carries "its Marxist intransigence with it like a musty smell"; Daphne insists that "copyediting is helping the words survive the misconceptions of their authors." 

Because The Grammarians, which has the tempo of a character study, hasn't much by way of plot, it may take several chapters before the reader shares the author's conspicuous enchantment with her two protagonists, but it will happen. Neither Wolfe sister may feel that she will ever achieve her dream of landing on exactly the right words, but Schine pretty much finds them all. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: This sharp-witted novel X-rays the relationship of twin sisters who begin life with a love of words that later tears them apart.

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