Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Yen Press: The God of Nishi-Yuigahama Station by Takeshi Murase, Translated by Guiseppe Di Martino

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

Simon & Schuster: Register for the Simon & Schuster Fall Preview!

St. Martin's Press: Sacrificial Animals by Kailee Pedersen


Interabang Books Takes 'Direct Hit' from Texas Tornado

Interabang Books in Dallas, Tex., suffered major damage from an EF-3 tornado Sunday night that had winds up to 140 miles per hour and "tore through Preston Hollow, leaving the store closed Monday morning and its property inaccessible," the Dallas Morning News reported. The roof of the shopping center at Preston and Royal was stripped off of nearly the entire southern portion of the L-shaped building, and walls that separate the storefronts from each other were also damaged. D Magazine reported that "the strip mall is essentially a shell of what it was yesterday afternoon."

"The entire shopping center took a direct hit, and the damage is severe," said Kyle Hall, the bookstore's manager and partner. "I didn't realize how bad it was until I saw people on foot heading south on Preston."

Interabang closed at 6 p.m. on Sunday night, but Hall, who returned at 11 p.m. to check on the damage, said the landlord has informed him nobody can visit the property until authorities have deemed it safe to enter.

"Operating out of that location in the near future doesn't appear to be a possibility," he said. "I don't know if 'severe' is severe enough a word to talk about, you know, the extent of it."

He is hoping to relocate some planned community events to other locations. "We've just started to wrap our arms around that," he said, noting that so far Interabang hasn't contacted any of its partners about canceling or relocating events. "Any, any business we can do is especially vital to us right now." He added: "We will be back."

Founded two years ago, Interabang posted on Facebook yesterday: "We and our neighbors in the shopping center--the whole surrounding area, in fact, including schools and homes--took a serious hit from Sunday's tornado. We are not open now, but our planning for a reopening begins today. Stay tuned, and send those good thoughts our direction."

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Posman Books Opens in Alpharetta, Ga.

Posman Books has opened a 2,500-square-foot branch in a mixed-used development in Alpharetta, Ga., an Atlanta suburb. It's the bookseller's fourth store and features "books and other fun things," including a photo booth in the teen section and a moss wall, according to Posman v-p Robert Fader.

Posman had operated a holiday-themed popup store at the location late last year, then closed it to build out the space. The store is in Avalon, an 86-acre development that includes apartments, single-family homes, office space, retail space and a hotel.

The moss wall being installed at Posman Books at Avalon

The company earlier described the new store as a prototype--a "modern bookstore inspired by one of the most popular inventions of the late 1960s, the lava lamp.... The new store will place a strong emphasis on lighting, with a special focus on creating a warm, soothing space for shoppers to browse, skim and read."

In 2016, Posman opened a 2,300-sq.-ft. store in the historic Ponce City Market in Atlanta. The store offers books, toys, games, greeting cards and Ponce City Market merchandise such as tote bags and mugs.

Posman Books also operates bookstores in Manhattan's Rockefeller Center and Chelsea Market, and is in process of opening a fifth store in Boston's Back Bay. For 15 years, Posman Books had a thriving bookstore in Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal, which had to close in 2014 because of Terminal reconstruction. Earlier it had a store in Greenwich Village. Posman has also operated some college and school bookstores in the New York City area.

GLOW: Torrey House Press: Life After Dead Pool: Lake Powell's Last Days and the Rebirth of the Colorado River by Zak Podmore

Notes from Frankfurt, Part 2: Bookselling Without Borders at the EIBF

At the European and International Booksellers Federation conference at the Frankfurt Book Fair last Thursday, three Bookselling Without Borders scholarship winners, along with American Booksellers Association president Jamie Fiocco, appeared on a panel to discuss bookselling in the U.S. ABA CEO Oren Teicher moderated the discussion.

Chris McDonald, manager of Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vt., reported that his store--which he said is located in a very loyal, progressive area with a strong buy local movement--used to be very seasonal, with most of the year outside of Christmas and summer being "quite lean." But over the past 10 years, since co-owners Claire Benedict and Rob Kasow took over the store, there has been much greater outreach to local nonprofits, schools and libraries, resulting in a stronger year-round business. McDonald also noted that while Bear Pond Books isn't opposed to any technology, it is very much concentrated on the "bricks and mortar" aspect of the business, and offer a 10% discount for people who buy books online but pick up in store.

Oren Teicher, Chris McDonald, Jonathan Woollen, Lesley Rains and Jamie Fiocco

Jonathan Woollen, events coordinator at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C., said P&P hosts at least one event each day Monday through Friday and three events each day on Saturdays and Sundays at its flagship location, plus plenty at its other stores. In addition to author events, P&P hosts continuing-education classes, literary walking tours of D.C. and even long trips abroad. He noted that P&P has opened two new stores in the last two years and D.C. is in the midst of an indie bookstore boom, with five or six new stores opening since Woollen joined P&P.

City of Asylum Bookstore opened in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 2017 as the project of a long-established nonprofit that provides sanctuary to exiled writers from around the world. Manager Lesley Rains explained that the store was opened in theory to be a revenue generator for the nonprofit, and in terms of its inventory and events, the bookstore has embraced the nonprofit's ethos. The store focuses on international literature, literature in translation and work by marginalized voices from around the world. She said that connecting with and learning from established indie booksellers has been a huge help, and in that regard Twitter and social media have been great ways to reach out to other booksellers.

Fiocco reported that her 6,000-sq.-ft. store sells around 70% used books, 25% children's books, and "more and more nonbook." Although Flyleaf Books is located in a university town, she said, the store doesn't cater to students. Instead, lots of professors and university faculty shop at the store, and many of Fiocco's customers like to buy books to continue their learning. She added that she considers events as a type of marketing and tries to keep them "as free as possible," and many of the events feature lectures from university professors on topics like movies or economics. On the subject of trying to keep up with rapidly changing technology, Fiocco said she never turns anything away because it's electronic, digital or technology-based: "Our mission is to help customers find what they're looking for."


At a Bookselling Without Borders meeting on Friday morning, Europa Editions editor-in-chief Michael Reynolds shared some thoughts on the future of the program. He said the long-term goal is to make the program truly international, and hopes eventually to have a group of 10 booksellers from all over the world at each fair, rather than only three or four Americans. Over the past year, Reynolds said, he's made inroads with German publishers to help support the program, and he hopes to do the same with publishers from Italy, France and elsewhere in Europe. He also explained that the idea for the program came from international editors' trips, which he always felt should have included booksellers. --Alex Mutter

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

Obituary Note: Nick Tosches

photo: Sante D'Orazio

Music writer and biographer Nick Tosches, "who started out in the late 1960s as a brash music writer with a taste for the fringes of rock and country, then bent his eclectic style to biographies of figures like Dean Martin and Sonny Liston and to hard-to-classify novels," died October 20, the New York Times reported. He was 69. Tosches and fellow music writers Richard Meltzer and Lester Bangs "were labeled 'the Noise Boys' for their wild, energetic prose, a world away from fan magazines like Tiger Beat," the Times noted.

In 1977, Tosches published his first book, Country, and followed it up in 1984 with Unsung Heroes of Rock 'n' Roll. He then branched out into biography with Hellfire: The Jerry Lee Lewis Story (1982), Power on Earth: Michele Sindona's Explosive Story (1986) and his well-received Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams (1992), portraying Dean Martin as "a celebrity who beat the unrelenting fame machine, the one that often ground stars up and consigned them to early deaths."

"I would describe Dean as a noble character in an ignoble racket in an ignoble age," Tosches told the New York Times in 1992, adding: "Life is a racket. Writing is a racket. Sincerity is a racket. Everything's a racket."

Through the 1970s and into the '80s Tosches wrote for magazines like Fusion, Rolling Stone and Creem, "practicing a free-ranging brand of journalism that fell under the label 'gonzo,' " the Times wrote. In 1988, he published his first novel, Cut Numbers, followed in 1994 by Trinities. Tosches became a contributing editor to Vanity Fair in 1996, and an article on boxer Sonny Liston became the 2000 biography The Devil and Sonny Liston. That same year, The Nick Tosches Reader was released

His "most acclaimed and most audacious work of fiction," In the Hand of Dante (2002), "centered on a previously unknown manuscript of Dante's masterwork, The Divine Comedy, and a more or less fictional character named Nick Tosches who is called upon to authenticate it," the Times said. Me and the Devil (2012) "also featured a character named Nick who bore similarities to the author."

An interviewer said of Hellfire: "At the end of the book, you leave him very much alive, still roaming the earth, but pretty much facing the abyss." Tosches replied, "It's the way we all live. Shallow life, shallow ditch. Big life, big abyss."

Raven Book Store Writes to Jeff Bezos

Yesterday, on Twitter, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, Kan., posted this letter to @JeffBezos "from a small independent bookstore in the middle of the country":

Danny Caine, Raven Book Store

Last Wednesday a customer bought a stack of books from us. Right before he left, he asked me, "what parts of your business are affected by Amazon?" I blurted out, "every part." I had never articulated this before, but it's true. I know I'm not alone in saying this, and not just among bookstores, either. Your business has an unfair impact on every retail small business in America. I'm writing you to try to illustrate just how many people your business affects in a negative way.
Let's start with books, because that's where we overlap and books are my bread and butter. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it certainly seems like the book part of your business is modeled like this: sell books at a loss to hook people into Prime subscriptions, Kindles, Alexas, and other higher-margin products. While this strategy has worked really well for you, it's totally disrupted everything about the book business, making a low-margins business even tighter. Most dismayingly to us, your book business has devalued the book itself. People expect hardcovers to be 15 bucks and paperbacks to be under 10. Those margins are a nightmare for our bottom line, of course, but they also cheapen the idea of the capital-B Book. There's already enough happening to cheapen the idea of truth, research, and careful storytelling. We're dismayed to see the world's biggest book retailer reflecting that frightening cultural shift by de-valuing books.
This isn't just about business competition to us. We wish it was! We like business competition, we think it's healthy. But the way you've set things up makes it impossible to compete with you. Often the tech and e-commerce world brags about “disrupting” old ways of doing things with new, sleeker, more efficient tricks. But we refuse to be a quaint old way of doing things, and we are not ripe for disruption. We're not relics; we're community engines. We create free programming. We donate gift certificates to charity silent auctions. We partner with libraries and arts organizations. That stuff might seem small to someone aiming to colonize outer space, but to us and our community it's huge. Our booksellers are farmers, authors, activists, artists, board members, city council representatives. For so many places, the loss of an indie bookstore would mean the loss of a community force. If your retail experiment disrupts us into extinction you're not threatening quaint old ways of doing things. You're threatening communities.
When I taught high school English, we did a business letter unit. Part of what I taught was to make sure every business letter has some kind of request so it's not a waste of time or paper. So, what to request from you? Some of my peers want to break your company up. Some of them want to nationalize it. Some of them want it wiped off the earth. I see where they're all coming from, but I don't think that's what I'm after today. I could also request you stop profiting off ICE's violence, stop enabling counterfeit merchandise, stop fostering a last-mile shipping system that causes injury and death, stop gentrifying our cities, stop contributing to the police state with your doorbell cameras, stop driving your warehouse workers to exhaustion or injury, or so many other things. Perhaps I could just request an explanation of why this chaos and violence is apparently so essential to your strategy.
Or maybe I could request a leveling of the playing field. Small business owners are led to believe that if their idea is good enough, they can grow their business and create more jobs. Yet your company is so big, so disruptive, so dominant, that it's severely skewed the ability for us to do that. I think a big part of leveling the playing field would mean fair pricing on your part. For our part, we try to level things by being really good at what we do, and being really loud.  So we use our platform to try to teach people what's at stake as your company increases its influence and market share. I think it's starting to work. I get the feeling that we're seeing chips in Amazon's armor. Whenever we share stuff like this, it seems to resonate with our audience. Maybe someday you'll hear what we have to say. Maybe we can talk about it over pie and coffee at Ladybird Diner across the street, my treat. I'd love to show you around a vibrant community anchored by small businesses, here in Kansas, here on earth. Maybe it'll help you realize that some things don't need to be disrupted.
Danny Caine, Owner
Raven Book Store
Lawrence, Kan.


Image of the Day: Field Day

Indigo at the Mall at Short Hills, N.J., hosted a signing this past weekend by Sally Field for the paperback release of her memoir, In Pieces (Grand Central). Field (center) is pictured with Indigo booksellers.

McNally Jackson: 'The Very Model of a Modern Major Bookstore'

Richard Thomas

Actor Richard Thomas, who is currently appearing on Broadway as Hubert Humphrey in The Great Society, was profiled by the New York Post about "where you'll find him and wife Georgiana on those rare weekends when he's not performing."

Highlighting one of his favorite spots, Thomas channeled Gilbert & Sullivan: "When I'm downtown, I never miss a chance to go to the McNally Jackson bookstore--the very model of a modern major bookstore! I love just browsing along the shelves. Sometimes I'll have a coffee there, or we'll walk down the street to Café Gitane."

Road Trip: 'The 5 Coziest Bookshops in Dublin'

"Want a comfy place to get lost in a book?" Ireland Before You Die "rounded up the five coziest bookshops in Dublin," noting: "What better way to celebrate this literary tradition as the weather turns cooler than finding a cozy refuge to get lost in a new book? Take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life and escape to one of the coziest bookshops in Dublin."

Two Rivers to Distribute David & Charles

Ingram's Two Rivers Distribution has begun distributing print and e-book titles in North America for David & Charles. Until recently David & Charles was known as F&W Media International, but after a management buyout, the U.K. publishing house has returned to the David & Charles name.

Founded in 1960, David & Charles began by publishing books on Britain's canals and railways. It was acquired by F+W Publications in 2001 and expanded into other special interest categories, too, particularly craft and art.

David & Charles managing director James Woollam commented: "Securing this agreement was an important step in the newly formed David & Charles business. With opportunities for growth across trade and specialty retail accounts, we very much look forward to working with the Two Rivers team."

Sabrina McCarthy, v-p and general manager, Two Rivers Distribution Services, added: "Two Rivers is thrilled that James Woollam and team have successfully acquired the David & Charles and former SewandSo portion of the F&W list, and we look forward to continuing to represent their well-designed, enthusiast titles in the North American market."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: James Verini on Fresh Air

Good Morning America: Tari Prinster, author of Yoga for Cancer: A Guide to Managing Side Effects, Boosting Immunity, and Improving Recovery for Cancer Survivors (Healing Arts Press, $19.95, 9781620552728).

CNN's New Day: John Lithgow, author of Dumpty: The Age of Trump in Verse (Chronicle Prism, $19.95, 9781452182759).

Today Show: Alison Roman, author of Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over (Clarkson Potter, $32.50, 9780451497017).

Fresh Air: James Verini, author of They Will Have to Die Now: Mosul and the Fall of the Caliphate (Norton, $27.95, 9780393652475).

Ellen: Ali Wong, author of Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life (Random House, $27, 9780525508830).

The Talk: Elton John, author of Me: Elton John Official Autobiography (Holt, $30, 9781250147608).

The View: Cameron Douglas, author of Long Way Home (Knopf, $27.95, 9780525520832).

Watch What Happens Live: Jenna Dewan, author of Gracefully You: Finding Beauty and Balance in the Everyday (Gallery, $29.99, 9781501191510).

Daily Show repeat: Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, author of Ninja: Get Good: My Ultimate Guide to Gaming (Clarkson Potter, $19.99, 9781984826756).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Ronan Farrow, author of Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316486637).

TV: A Moveable Feast

Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast is in development as a TV series. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, along with the author's granddaughter, actress Mariel Hemingway, and producers John Goldstone and Marc Rosen are set to develop the memoir as a "Hemingway origin story." No outlet is attached yet, nor is there a writer to adapt the project. Scribner published A Moveable Feast in 1964, three years after Hemingway's death.

"A Moveable Feast has been my favorite book since I was 11 years old when my father took me to Paris," Mariel Hemingway said. "While reading the book together, he showed me where Papa lived (and daddy was raised), ate, wrote and dreamed of becoming a great writer. His deep love of my grandmother Hadley and his growing passion for art is an inspiring time at the beginning of his iconic career. I want to reveal on film the coming-of-age story that has captivated readers and burgeoning writers for several decades."

Books & Authors

Awards: Forward Poetry Collection Winner; Astrid Lindgren (Very) Longlist

Fiona Benson won the £10,000 (about $12,990) Forward Prize for Best Poetry Collection for Vertigo & Ghost, which "brings the violence of Greek myths into the #MeToo era," the Guardian reported. 

Chair of judges Shahidha Bari called the book "a work of unfaltering determination and self-inspection. It is an exhilarating collection that pulses with fury, fear and defiance--and enduring hope too."

Stephen Sexton's If All the World and Love Were Young won the £5,000 (about $6,495) Felix Dennis prize for best first collection, a "moving exploration of how video games shaped his grief over his mother's death," the Guardian noted.


The 237 candidates from 68 countries who have been nominated for the 2020 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award were made public last week at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The five million Swedish kronor (about $518,900) award is given annually to authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and reading promoters "to promote interest in children's and young adult literature." The candidates can be seen here.

Book Review

Review: Queen of Bones

Queen of Bones by Teresa Dovalpage (Soho Crime, $26.95 hardcover, 288p., 9781641290159, November 12, 2019)

The retired-detective-turned-Santería-priest Padrino gets a second chance to play savior in Teresa Dovalpage's continuing Havana Mystery series. She mines familiar territory from book one, Death Comes in Through the Kitchen (2018), using another bathroom murder to intertwine the lives of U.S. visitors with Cuban locals.

Two decades earlier, Juan escaped the island of his birth by raft, barely surviving the journey to Miami, Fla. He's now a former waiter and salsa dance teacher in Albuquerque, N.Mex., who, seven years ago, married his boss, Sharon, a local real estate agent who employed him to do "whatever" for her company. He's certainly enjoying "all the good things in life," yet his "Cuban tragedy" looms and he's finally about to make his first visit back to "deal with too much baggage" he's left behind.

Just days before Juan's departure, Sharon overhears a phone conversation she shouldn't have, discovers a mysterious photo on Juan's computer and--surprise!--books herself on his same itinerary. Ten years his senior, Sharon "sometimes had the nagging suspicion that Juan wasn't all that into her," although his assurance during the flight, "You did the right thing," calms her enough. But once in Havana, Juan reveals plans that don't include her, understandably making her more anxious.

When Sharon secretly follows him to his first reunion, she watches as Juan meets a buxom, platinum-blonde stranger. What Sharon can't know, and Juan is shocked to learn, is that "goofy, skinny Victor," Juan's best friend since third grade, has transformed into glamorous nightclub superstar Victoria Sunrise. For the next hour over Cafe Cubita, Victoria becomes Juan's ideal news source, reporting on relatives, friends, lovers. Most intriguing to Juan is the fate of his two former girlfriends: Elsa, his greatest love, who is now a high-power international businesswoman with a much-older Spanish husband and a college student son; and Rosita, his most regretful dalliance, who survived a breakdown and is now a makeup artist working at the city cemetery.

When Victoria later invites Juan back for lunch with Elsa, Juan can't refuse. But when he arrives, Victoria has already been found dead in the bathroom by her fiancé, Lázaro. Murder requires the reappearance of santero Padrino as the "on-the-side... private eye" to figure out what the police are clearly missing. Secrets are revealed, betrayals are avenged, body counts rise and the dead are finally laid to rest.

With more than a dozen titles published in both Spanish and English, Cuban-born New Mexico resident Dovalpage adeptly draws on her heritage, intertwining her native country's tumultuous history with the contemporary experiences of the Cuban diaspora. While the collision of past and present produces fatal results, the ensuing labyrinthine journey provides readers with plenty of compelling diversions along the way. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: A Cuban refugee returns to Havana to confront unfinished relationships from two decades past, but reconnecting with friends and lovers yields tragic consequences.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Sinners Are Winners (KPD Motorcycle Patrol Book 5) by Lani Lynn Vale
2. The Play by Karina Halle
3. The Oracle by Jonathan Cahn
4. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter
5. Getting Played by Emma Chase
6. Pets in Space 4 by Various
7. Sharpest Sting by Jennifer Estep
8. SEAL Justice (Brotherhood Protectors Book 13) by Elle James
9. Mr. Mayfair by Louise Bay
10. My Big Fat Fake Wedding by Lauren Landish

[Many thanks to!]

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