Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Simon & Schuster: Launch a Reading Star With Ready to Read Campaign

Bramble: Pen Pal Special Edition by J.T. Geissinger

Sourcebooks Landmark: Long After We Are Gone by Terah Shelton Harris

Soho Crime: Broiler by Eli Cranor

Berkley Books: We Love the Nightlife by Rachel Koller Croft

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Waiting in the Wings by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, Illustrated by Eg Keller

Webtoon Unscrolled: Boyfriends. Volume Two: A Webtoon Unscrolled Graphic Novel by Refrainbow

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

Quotation of the Day

Bookstore Events: The Challenge of Combining Dialogue and Decorum


"These are very challenging situations for any establishment. People are angrier--that's not news. There's a lot of tension and stress in the air. It's a particular challenge for P and P and other bookstores that hold events open to the public, that believe in the mission to promote dialogue. But with that comes a certain need to maintain decorum and civility, so people can be heard. What's really bothersome is when people don't respect that code of behavior and ruin the event for everybody."

--Bradley Graham, co-owner of Politics and Prose bookstore, Washington, D.C., in a Washington Post story about protestors at an event for former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, whose new book is Beyond Charlottesville: Taking a Stand Against White Nationalism (Thomas Dunne Books). The disruption last Thursday marked the third author appearance this year at the store interrupted by a protest.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Assassins Anonymous by Rob Hart


Cinco Puntos Press: 'We're Safe, El Paso's Hurting'

John Byrd of Cinco Puntos Press, El Paso, Texas, sends this letter:


Lots of friends and colleagues from the publishing world have reached out to check on Cinco Puntos in the aftermath of the mass murder in our hometown of El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, August 3. I'm sending out this press release to let the publishing world know that all of Cinco Puntos' employees and their families are safe and unharmed.

That said, our city is hurting. The El Paso/Juarez community is large but also extremely interconnected. The trauma of this event will reverberate through individuals and families for years to come. If you are able to financially support the families who lost a loved one on Saturday, we suggest a donation to the El Paso Community Foundation. They've set up a special fund to help victims of this weekend's violence. If you have additional financial resources to send to our beloved border, we suggest the Annunciation House, which offers shelter, support and advocacy for migrants and refugees.

With love. Cinco Puntos.

Florida Bookstore for Sale: Email

Half Price Books Opening Store in Mishawaka, Ind.

Half Price Books will open a new location in Wilshire Plaza at the intersection of Grape and Douglas in Mishawaka, Ind., with a grand opening set for October 17, ABC57 reported. The closest Half Price Books is in Fort Wayne.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan

Iowa's Plot Twist Bookstore Closing

Plot Twist Bookstore, Ankeny, Iowa, which opened in 2016, is closing at the end of August, the store announced.

"Thank you for your support of Plot Twist and please know I am so glad to have had the opportunity to serve you and share my love of reading," owner Mary Rork-Watson wrote. "I encourage you all to support our local businesses."

The 1,400-square-foot store sold new books and gifts for all ages, and hosted community events.

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland

August Indie Next List E-Newsletter Delivered


Last Thursday, the American Booksellers Association's e-newsletter edition of the Indie Next List for August was delivered to more than half a million of the country's best book readers. The newsletter was sent to customers of 145 independent bookstores, with a combined total of 547,055 subscribers.

The e-newsletter, powered by Shelf Awareness, features all of the month's Indie Next List titles, with bookseller quotes and "buy now" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on the sending store's website. The newsletter, which is branded with each store's logo, also includes an interview (from Bookselling This Week) with the author whose book was chosen by booksellers as the number-one Indie Next List pick for the month, in this case The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday).

For a sample of the August newsletter, see this one from Tombolo Books, St. Petersburg, Fla. The next INL mailing will be on Thursday, September 5.


Casemate Group Distributing Dufour Editions, Dufour Client Publishers

Effective October 1, Casemate Group will handle distribution in North America of Dufour Editions, which publishes under its own imprint and is the distributor for dozens of British, Irish, and Scottish publishers. So far, 15 publishers have transferred to the new arrangement: Columba Press (including Currach), Dufour Editions, Eland Publishing, Gill Books (formerly known as Gill & MacMillan and including Collins Press), Goblinshead, Jantar Publishing, Liffey Press, O'Brien Press (including Brandon), Papillote Press, Salmon Publishing, Sandstone Press, Somerville Press, Vagabond Voices Publishing, Wordwell Books (including Eastwood), and Y Lolfa.

Casemate already handles distribution of several Scottish, Welsh, and Irish publishers, including Birlinn, Liberties Press, Colourpoint, Blackstaff, Enodare and Mercier Press. Several other client publishers, including Pen & Sword and Boydell & Brewer, have augmented their coverage of Scottish and Irish history and culture. As a result, the new agreement with Dufour and its distribution clients makes Casemate the largest distributor of Celtic books in North America.

On October 1, Dufour will stop taking orders and transfer stock to Books International, Casemate's warehouse partner in Dulles, Va. Dufour will continue to publish new titles, which will be distributed globally by the Casemate Group, in both print and digital formats, through Casemate's international print distribution operation, based in Oxford, England, and Casemate Digital, its U.S.-based e-book and audiobook distribution division.

Personnel Changes at Simon & Schuster; Workman Publishing

Leslie Davisson is joining Simon & Schuster's special markets sales team as national accounts manager. She lives in Portland, Ore., and will cover the West Coast specialty retail and wholesale territory. Her key national accounts will include Williams-Sonoma, Hot Topic, Sur La Table, Cost Plus World Market, Event Network, FedEx Office, Cabela's/Bass Pro, Nordstrom, Blick Art, and Crate & Barrel. She was most recently sales and marketing director at Pomegranate Communications and earlier held sales management positions at Lonely Planet, VIZ Media, and Chronicle Books.

She succeeds Helen Griffin, who has accepted a position at Ryland Peters & Small.


At Workman Publishing:

Amanda German has been promoted to gift sales coordinator within the gift sales department. Previously, she was national accounts assistant and before that worked in the school and library department at Macmillan Children's Publishing Group.
Ally McNamara has been promoted to sales coordinator within the trade sales department. She was formerly sales assistant in the trade sales department.
Katharina Gadow has joined the company as national accounts manager, online sales. Previously, she held a variety of sales positions at DK Publishing.
Dylan Hamilton has joined the trade sales department as sales assistant, national accounts. Previously, he was outside sales manager at Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver, Colo.
Abigail Sokolsky has joined the Workman imprint as publicity & marketing assistant.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jia Tolentino on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Jia Tolentino, author of Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion (Random House, $27, 9780525510543).

Good Morning America: Marty Smith, author of Never Settle: Sports, Family, and the American Soul (Twelve, $28, 9781538732991).

Daily Show: Senator Michael Bennet, author of The Land of Flickering Lights: Restoring America in an Age of Broken Politics (Atlantic Monthly Press, $27, 9780802147813).

TV: Three Women

Showtime has given a series commitment to Three Women, based on the book by Lisa Taddeo. Deadline reported that the network "landed the series, written and executive produced by Taddeo, in a bidding war, with 20 feature and TV offers from networks, studios and producers."

"In this time when gender relations are under thorough reexamination and introspection, Lisa Taddeo has written the book of the moment," said Jana Winograde, president of entertainment, Showtime Networks. "Her work fits seamlessly with the Showtime sensibility for exploring provocative and meaningful issues on screen, and we are beside ourselves with excitement at partnering with Lisa to explore these characters and themes."

Books & Authors

Awards: Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Shortlist

London bookseller Goldsboro Books has unveiled the shortlist for the £2,000 (about $2,430) Glass Bell Award, which celebrates "compelling storytelling with brilliant characterization and a distinct voice that is confidently written and assuredly realized," the Bookseller reported. The winner, judged by Goldsboro Books founder and managing director David Headley and his team, will be named September 16. The shortlisted titles are:

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott
VOX by Christina Dalcher
Snap by Belinda Bauer
Our House by Louise Candlish
The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven

Reading Group Choices' Most Popular July Books

The two most popular books in July at Reading Group Choices were The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess (Holt) and The Hello Girls: America's First Women Soldiers by Elizabeth Cobbs (Harvard University Press).

Book Review

Review: Gideon the Ninth

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (Tor, $25.99 hardcover, 448p., 9781250313195, September 10, 2019)

When it comes to epic fantasy, it's difficult to imagine a more purely fun read than Tasmyn Muir's Gideon the Ninth. Muir has received acclaim for her short fiction, and her debut novel is startlingly confident. She plunges the reader head-first into an unapologetically strange, complex and frequently disgusting universe ruled by powerful necromancers.

Muir positions her protagonist, Gideon Nav, amid foreboding gothic spaces and reanimated skeletons. It would be a stretch to describe Gideon as grounded--her awe-inspiring talent as a swordswoman is on repeated display--but she is perfectly happy to puncture the stuffy, self-serious air of her companions with crude jokes, puns and even a well-timed "that's what she said." She's genuinely funny and an immensely likable character to introduce readers to mysterious, deadly worlds.

The novel's action kicks off when Gideon finally receives a chance to leave her oppressive home planet as a cavalier, a kind of bodyguard. The Emperor has summoned representatives from the nine houses--a necromancer and a cavalier from each--to a huge, decaying palace where the houses will vie against each other to discover ancient necromantic secrets and attempt to become Lyctors, demigod-like members of the Emperor's inner circle. It's complicated. Thankfully, Muir grounds the strangeness in a few familiar conceits. When necromancers and cavaliers start to die in mysterious fashion, the novel begins to unexpectedly resemble a locked-room mystery, or perhaps even a particularly demented slasher movie.

The crux of the novel is the relationship between Gideon and her necromancer Harrowhark Nonagesimus (Gideon the Ninth does not skimp on delightfully odd names). Gideon and Harrowhark have carried on a vicious, sometimes violent feud since they were children, with its roots in a horrible tragedy that is not fully explicated until well into the novel. Despite their antagonism, they have an undeniable emotional connection, and much of the book's most interesting character work lies in deepening and complicating their relationship. Muir is adept at showing how closely love and hate can be entwined, and their evolving dynamic forms a compelling emotional through-line in a book that regularly features enormous monsters magically pieced together from hundreds of bones.

Apart from Gideon and Harrowhark's relationship, Gideon the Ninth is at its most thrilling in its action scenes. Even veteran fantasy readers can expect to be blown away by Muir's sheer creativity, especially in her descriptions of the necromancers at work. The skeletal constructs are a descriptive high point: "It was just simply, suddenly there, like a nightmare--a squatting, vertiginous hulk; a nonsense of bones feathering into long, spidery legs, leaning back on them fearfully and daintily; trailing jellyfish stingers made up of millions and millions of teeth all set into each other like a jigsaw." The climax of the story features a true show-stopper of a fight, its intricate choreography closely interwoven with the book's themes and relationships. Gideon the Ninth is simply one of the best and most original books in recent memory. --Hank Stephenson, bookseller, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Shelf Talker: Gideon the Ninth is a dense, impressively imagined debut about necromancers and swordswomen that wears its heart--and gonzo sense of humor--on its sleeve.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Cajun Fried Felony (Miss Fortune Mystery Book 15) by Jana DeLeon
2. Shelter for Koren (Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes Book 14) by Susan Stoker
3. Summer Snoops Unleashed by Various
4. Holly Winter Mysteries: Books 1-4 by Ruby Loren
5. The Wolf and His Wife by Penelope Sky
6. Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins
7. Finding Tomorrow by Denise Grover Swank and Christine Gael
8. Sweep of the Blade (Innkeeper Chronicles Book 4) by Ilona Andrews
9. A Ruthless Lust by Raquel Belle
10. Southern Gentleman by Jessica Peterson

[Many thanks to!]

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