Shelf Awareness for Thursday, August 15, 2019

Viking: The Bookshop: A History of the American Bookstore by Evan Friss

Pixel+ink: Missy and Mason 1: Missy Wants a Mammoth

Bramble: The Stars Are Dying: Special Edition (Nytefall Trilogy #1) by Chloe C Peñaranda

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout

Charlesbridge Publishing: The Perilous Performance at Milkweed Meadow by Elaine Dimopoulos, Illustrated by Doug Salati

Minotaur Books: The Dark Wives: A Vera Stanhope Novel (Vera Stanhope #11) by Ann Cleeves


N.K. Jemisin Is This Year's Indies First Spokesperson

N.K. Jemisin

Science fiction and fantasy author N.K. Jemisin will be the spokesperson this year for Indies First, the campaign supporting independent bookstores that takes place on Small Business Saturday, which this year is November 30, Bookselling This Week reported.

Jemisin the first author in history to win three consecutive Hugo Awards for Best Novel, all for her Broken Earth trilogy. She is also the winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel and the Sense of Gender Award for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, the first volume in her Inheritance Trilogy. She is published by Hachette's Orbit imprint.

In November 2018, Jemisin published How Long 'til Black Future Month?, a collection of short stories that, BTW said, "sharply examine modern society with thought-provoking narratives of destruction, rebirth, and redemption." The paperback edition was published on Tuesday.

Jemisin has already created a video, in which she encourages viewers to visit their local indie on November 30, the seventh annual Indies First Day. Appropriately the video was filmed at the Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, N.Y.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Indigo 1st Quarter: Sales Down, Loss Up; U.S. Expansion on Hold


At Indigo Books & Music, revenue in the first quarter ended June 29 fell 6.2%, to C$192.6 million (about US$144.7 million), and the net loss increased 24%, to C$19.1 million (about US$14.3 million).

Overall sales online and at stores open at least a year fell 7.6%. Online sales were down 14.8%, while sales in superstores open at least a year were off 6.5% while sales in small-format stores fell 2.4%.

Indigo, which has Indigo, Chapters, Coles, IndigoSpirit and the Book Company stores across Canada and a branch in Short Hills, N.J., attributed the declines to "softer consumer spending in the nonessential market space" and to stocking fewer promotional items and doing less discounting this year in an effort to improve profitability. The company added that "the book business has sustained historical trends." It has largely ended its extensive program of store renovations and supply chain improvements. Indigo noted that while book pricing on its website is competitive with Amazon, online consumers are especially price sensitive and missed the discounted promotional merchandise that the company is not buying anymore.

In part because of the inventory changes and drops in sales, Indigo has put expansion plans in the U.S. on hold. (In November 2017, Indigo said it would open three to five stores in the U.S. in two years. In the past year, the company said it would wait a year after opening its first U.S. store last October to consider further expansion in the U.S.)

In a conference call yesterday with analysts, asked about opening more stores in the U.S., CEO Heather Reisman indicated that it will wait at least until the end of the fiscal year next March to make a decision about opening more U.S. stores: "Because we're doing all this work on sort of revising our assortment, we're going to hold off any more new stores in this year," she said. "We're going to really look to advance the overall presentation to the customer. And once that happens we'll be in a better position to look at what our U.S. strategy is. We're not pulling away from the ambition at all. We just feel it is extremely important to get this sort of refocus of the core verticals to really do what we want them to do."

GLOW: Milkweed Editions: Becoming Little Shell: Returning Home to the Landless Indians of Montana by Chris La Tray

Latest Tariff Twist Exempts Bibles, Includes All Other Books

Two days ago, the Trump Administration partially reversed course on its latest round of tariffs imposed on goods imported from China, postponing a 10% tariff on a range of electronics, toys, clothing and children's books until December 15 and exempting Bibles and religious books completely. But all other books will be subject to 10% tariffs that go into effect September 1. An estimated 25% of books published by U.S. publishers are printed in China, including the majority of children's books and Bibles.

The 10% tariffs, announced earlier this month, were to be applied to $300 billion worth of goods, which followed a first round of 25% tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods. The tariffs, part of the Trump Administration's trade war with China, have been roundly criticized by business in general for their potential to drive up the cost of many products to U.S. retailers and consumers. 

For the first time seeming to acknowledge that tariffs are in effect a tax on U.S. importers and consumers and not paid by the Chinese government, President Trump was widely quoted as saying tariffs on some goods were delayed "so they won't be relevant in the Christmas shopping season. Just in case they have an impact on people."

In a statement, Association of American Publishers president and CEO Maria A. Pallante said that while the industry was satisfied that some types of books are either exempt from tariffs or will have them postponed, "we remain deeply concerned that a wide range of other books remain on the list, including American fiction and nonfiction books; art books; textbooks; dictionaries and encyclopedias; and technical, scientific and professional books. A tariff on books is a tax on information, and at odds with longstanding U.S. policy of not imposing tariffs on educational, scientific and cultural materials. Just as importantly these books are part of a vital economic engine that makes significant contributions to the U.S. economy, and supports American publishers, authors, illustrators, editors, and designers, as well as distributors and booksellers."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Four Weekends and a Funeral by Ellie Palmer

High Five Books & Art Always Coming to Florence, Mass.

High Five Books coming soon.

High Five Books & Art Always, a combination children's bookstore and art studio, is opening in October in Florence, Mass., the Daily Hampshire Gazette reported

The establishment, which will share a single space but be two separate businesses working in tandem, is part of a trend called co-retailing. Lexi Walters Wright is the owner of the children's bookstore, High Five Books, while Lindsay Fogg-Willits is the owner of Art Always.

High Five Books will carry everything from board and picture books to young adult titles, with a special emphasis on graphic novels, middle-grade books and picture books from local authors and illustrators.

Art Always, meanwhile, will offer art classes for children. It has been in business for 18 years, with Fogg-Willits most recently running the studio out at the Brushworks Arts & Industry Building in Florence. She has also taught art classes at Northampton High School and led the Deerfield Academy's Summer Arts Camp.

"We want the kids who come in to feel excited by the books that we're offering, but also excited by the classes Lindsay offers," Walters Wright told the Gazette.

Although she has no experience in bookselling, Walters Wright has more than two decades of experience as an editor, writer and non-profit employee. When she started thinking about opening a children's bookstore, she realized she needed more than just an inventory of titles, and she knew Fogg-Willits as her son's art teacher. They began talking, and soon realized that their interests and expertise would make for a good fit.

"The idea of High Five Books is an invitation for young people to connect with one another, to connect with their caregivers around stories," Walters Wright explained. "And also, to connect with their own passions."

Fogg-Willits told the Gazette: "Our hope is that we provide a place where people want to come, and that in doing that people who might not necessarily venture into a bookstore end up looking at books because they're there for the arts, and vice versa."

Md.'s Annapolis Bookstore to Close

The Annapolis Bookstore, Annapolis, Md., is closing September 1. In an open letter, owner Mary E. Adams said she made the decision "with very mixed emotions" and that it is "time for the next chapter in the life of the Annapolis Bookstore. I will stay in touch through the transition and as plans for the future are finalized."

Founded in 2004, the store carries new, used and antiquarian books, children's books and toys, extensive selections of books on Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay and the U.S. Naval Academy, as well as cards, games and puzzles.

In 2015, the store launched a sponsorship program, aiming to sign up 300 sponsors and raise $50,000 (it did raise at least $10,000). The following year, it was able to move into larger space.

Obituary Note: Charles Santore

Longtime children's book illustrator Charles Santore died August 11. He was 84.

Santore was best known for his luminous interpretations of classic children's stories such as Snow White, The Night Before Christmas, and Paul Revere's Ride. He was also well known for his celebrity portraits that ran on the cover of TV Guide. His honors include the Library of Congress's 2009 National Book Festival Artist, the Society of Illustrators' Award of Excellence, and the Hamilton King Award. His works are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the National Portrait Gallery, the Brandywine River Museum and many private collections.

Running Press Kids editors and creative director have fond memories of walking down Chestnut Street in Philadelphia to Santore's studio to review his gorgeous, intricate paintings, and to review pages of his forthcoming picture book, Jabberwocky, which is slated for publication in spring 2020. He will be sorely missed.


Image of the Day: Celebrating Susan Wiggs

Yesterday fans gathered to celebrate the launch of The Oysterville Sewing Circle (Morrow) by local author Susan Wiggs at Liberty Bay Books in Poulsbo, Wash.

IPS to Distribute Terra Galleria Press

Ingram Publisher Services is handling sales and distribution in the U.S. and Canada for Terra Galleria Press.

Terra Galleria Press, San Jose, Calif., is a new publisher specializing in photography books that "celebrate the diversity of our natural and cultural heritage." The press's initial focus is on books about U.S. public lands, with "the hope that they will help raise awareness and contribute to their preservation for future generations." Its first title is a revised and expanded edition of QT Luong's Treasured Lands: A Photographic Odyssey through America's National Parks.

Personnel Changes at Random House Group; Sourcebooks

Lindsey Kennedy has joined the Random House Group's publicity team as assistant director of publicity, Harmony Rodale.


Stefani Sloma has been promoted to assistant marketing manager, Casablanca, at Sourcebooks.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kitten Lady on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Hannah Shaw, author of Tiny But Mighty: Kitten Lady's Guide to Saving the Most Vulnerable Felines (Plume, $25, 9781524744069).

This Weekend on Book TV: The Mississippi Book Festival

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, August 17
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Live coverage of the Mississippi Book Festival in Jackson, Miss. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.) Highlights include:
  • 11:45 a.m. A discussion of outlaws in U.S. history with Eric Dolan, Tom Clavin and Peter Houlahan.
  • 1 p.m. A discussion of the Civil War and the history of the South with John Marszalek, Shelby Harriel, Ben Wynne and Jacquelyn Hall.
  • 2:30 p.m. A discussion of race and civil rights in the United States with Rebecca Tuuri, Shennette Garrett-Scott, Ted Ownby, William Sturkey and Dave Tell.
  • 3:45 p.m. A discussion of American true crime stories with Brad Schwartz, Casey Cep and Karen Abbott.
  • 5 p.m. A discussion of World War II with Michael Dobbs, Alex Kershaw and Sam Kleiner.
8:45 p.m. Christian B. Keller, author of The Great Partnership: Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and the Fate of the Confederacy (Pegasus, $28.95, 9781643131344).

10 p.m. Natalie Wexler, author of The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America's Broken Education System (Avery, $27, 9780735213555). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Burt Folsom, author of The Myth of the Robber Barons: A New Look at the Rise of Big Business in America (Young America's Foundation, $9.95, 9780963020314). (Re-airs Sunday at 1 p.m.)

Sunday, August 18
7:40 p.m. John C. McManus, author of Fire and Fortitude: The US Army in the Pacific War, 1941-1943 (Dutton Caliber, $34, 9780451475046).

11 p.m. Lyz Lenz, author of God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America (Indiana University Press, $22, 9780253041531), at Politics and Prose, Washington, D.C.

Books & Authors

Awards: Edge Hill Short Story Collection Shortlist

A shortlist has been released for the £10,000 (about $12,065) Edge Hill Short Story Prize, which recognizes excellence in a published single author short story collection. The winner will be named October 25 at Waterstones Piccadilly in London. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Sweet Home by Wendy Erskine
Live Show Drink Included by Vicky Grut
Mothers by Chris Power
Turbulence by David Szalay
The Sadness of Beautiful Things by Simon Van Booy
The Sing of the Shore by Lucy Wood

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, August 20:

A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century by Jason DeParle (Viking, $28, 9780670785926) chronicles multiple generations of a migratory Filipino family.

How the Brain Lost Its Mind: Sex, Hysteria, and the Riddle of Mental Illness by Allan H. Ropper and Brian Burrell (Avery, $27, 9780735214552) looks at the history of syphilitic madness and its relation to mental illness.

The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier by Ian Urbina (Knopf, $30, 9780451492944) explores lawlessness on the high seas.

The Warehouse by Rob Hart (Crown, $27, 9781984823793) takes place in a dystopian future where a single tech company has taken over most of the U.S. economy.

The Last Widow: A Novel by Karin Slaughter (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062858085) is the ninth thriller with medical examiners Will Trent and Sara Linton.

Carnegie Hill: A Novel by Jonathan Vatner (Thomas Dunne, $27.99, 9781250174765) finds a financier's fiancée questioning marriage.

The Cruel Stars: A Novel by John Birmingham (Del Rey, $28, 9780399593314) is the first entry in a new military science-fiction series.

Inch by Inch by Morgan Llywelyn (Tor, $26.99, 9780765388698) is the second book in an apocalyptic thriller trilogy.

As Many Nows as I Can Get by Shana Youngdahl (Dial Books, $17.99, 9780525553854) is a contemporary YA romance about two teens about to leave for college.

One More Wheel!: A Things-That-Go Counting Book (Odd Dot/Macmillan, $12.99, 9781250307590) is a counting board book featuring both animals and wheeled vehicles.

The Duchess in His Bed by Lorraine Heath (Avon, $7.99, 9780062676061).

Tangled Threat & Suspicious by Heather Graham (Harlequin, $7.99, 9781335774934).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

The Islanders: A Novel by Meg Mitchell Moore (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062840066). "In The Islanders, Moore tells a wonderful tale of forgiveness and love woven into the beautiful backdrop of Block Island, Rhode Island. A disgraced author must hit bottom before he can start to forgive himself and find his way back to life. A local shop owner must deal with the changes that have taken place in her life, including her daughter leaving home and some new competition that threatens her livelihood. Well-written with sharply drawn characters, this is more than a beach read but just as enjoyable." --Robert Angell, Spring Street Bookstore, Newport, R.I.

Say Say Say: A Novel by Lila Savage (Knopf, $24, 9780525655923). "Say Say Say is a small and subtle debut novel that packs an emotional wallop. Lila Savage's writing is so beautiful and vulnerable it's impossible to put down. This is the kind of novel that shines with such honesty and compassion you feel the need re-evaluate your life right along with the main character, Ella. I eagerly await reading anything else Savage writes." --Katerina Argyres, Bookshop West Portal, San Francisco, Calif.

Cherry: A Novel by Nico Walker (Vintage, $16.95, 9780525435938). "Cherry is a book for our times, a bit like if Jim Carroll, Denis Johnson, and Tim O'Brien had conspired to break your heart. Walker's writing is bare and essential, direct and unforgiving. Whether or not the reader has any sense of war, PTSD, or addiction, they will have a clearer one by the end of this blistering debut. I can't wait for an encore." --Mathew Clouser, BookPeople, Austin, Tex.

For Ages 4 to 8
Hum and Swish by Matt Myers (Neal Porter, $18.99, 9780823442867). "Hum and Swish has captivated my spirit and spoken to my soul! Matt Myers' fabulous illustrations and perfectly chosen words allow us to feel the wind and smell the ocean as we share Jamie's inspiring day at the beach. Moved by her surroundings, Jamie embarks on a solitary and very personal quest to explore and express what it means to create. Validating and mesmerizing, this book speaks to the artist inside all of us." --Kathy Neff, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.

For Ages 9 to 12
The Oddmire, Book 1: Changeling by William Ritter (Algonquin, $16.95, 9781616208394). "The Oddmire is just a great story, one of wonderment, magic, and family. It is reminiscent of the work of Kelly Barnhill, with its ode to otherness and a bit of darkness, but with humor and heart liberally sprinkled throughout. It will be an easy and fun book to sell to younger middle-grade kids who liked BOB and stories with just enough scary to send a bit of a shiver, but enough light to make it through to the end." --Liesl Freudenstein, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, Colo.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells (Simon & Schuster, $18.99, 9781534437906). "If you need to be reminded of how incredibly cool books with dragons are, you should really already be reading this book. Showcasing solid fantasy world-building, Rebecca Kim Wells' story starts when prophetic agents of the empire force Maren's girlfriend, Kaia, to leave her home. Maren follows in a rage and hatches a plan to steal a dragon from the stronghold and save the one she loves. Wells' writing is immersive; this is one of those novels you sink into. And, come on, there's dragons." --Nichole Cousins, White Birch Books, North Conway, N.H.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Heaven, My Home

Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke (Mulholland Books, $27 hardcover, 304p., 9780316363402, September 17, 2019)

Heaven, My Home is Attica Locke's fifth novel, and the second starring Texas Ranger Darren Mathews (Bluebird Bluebird). In the time between Trump's election and his inauguration, Darren has been assigned to look into the case of a missing child. In northeast Texas's Hopetown, on Caddo Lake, Darren's mission is not exactly to find the child, but to extract a confession--truthful or not--from a member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) for the murder of another ABT member. Darren's life is a mess: he's only just patched things up with his wife, and his mother is low-key blackmailing him in regards to the same murder.

He's conflicted in several ways. A nine-year-old boy is missing, and Darren should save him, but this is a nine-year-old racist-in-training, and that training is going well so far. Darren knows justice should be absolute and blind, but the ABT man he's being asked to frame was acquitted of another murder--of a black man--that he certainly did commit. Among the recurring questions of this novel: How far should forgiveness stretch?

Heaven, My Home is a rich, complex puzzle, with layers of characters: Darren's not-very-maternal mother, the two uncles who raised him (a law professor and a Ranger, respectively), his lawyer wife, the Rangers he associates with and those he doesn't, his white FBI buddy who prosecutes a black man for a hate crime. And, of course, the ABT and ABT hangers-on squatting in Hopetown, historically a freedmen's community and the last enclave of a small band of Caddo Indians. This sounds complicated, and it is, but Locke's absorbing prose, in a third person very close to Darren, keeps the reader well abreast of all the crisscrossing loyalties and betrayals intrinsic to these East Texas woods. This is a world where white families still remember which black families "stole" themselves away. Spouses cheat; close relatives feud; Darren is a deeply good man, unsure of how to right all of history's wrongs.

There is a warmth and intimacy to the portrayal of Darren's many internal struggles. This is a protagonist to love and sympathize with, although he is far from perfect. Locke's expression of very real and contemporary anxieties is nearly painfully spot-on. Her East Texas is redolent of fried hushpuppies and catfish. For Darren, "it was not his East Texas. It was zydeco where he wanted blues. It was boudin where he wanted hot links." It is a richly expressed place, filled with racial tensions and a fear of Trump's coming regime.

Both a fascinating, smartly plotted mystery and a pertinent picture of the contemporary United States, Heaven, My Home is refreshing, dour and thrilling all at once. Readers will be anxious for more of Ranger Darren Mathews. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: This scintillating murder mystery, set in Trump-era East Texas, with a black main cast and racial concerns, is gripping, gorgeously written and relevant.

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