Shelf Awareness for Monday, September 11, 2017


Penguin Press: Winter by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Ecco Press: Varina by Charles Frazier

House of Anansi Press: The Break by Katherena Vermette

Algonquin Books: Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Small Walt by Elizabeth Verdick and Marc Rosenthal

Quotation of the Day

Watchung Booksellers: 'Our Business Model'

"We are aware that What Happened [by Hillary Rodham Clinton] is on sale via online purveyors for less. This is their business model: sell books at or below cost to mine personal data and sell other products. Our business model is to serve a vibrant, literary community, which means we need to sell books at the publisher's list price (of course, as members you enjoy a 10% discount on books). This has enabled us to be an integral part of your lives for the last 25 years--hosting and supporting authors, promoting literacy, helping young children learn the joy of reading, and supporting the many important institutions in town with donations and events. We are fiercely proud to be part of this community--and proud of our loyal customers. You are the reason why publishers have confidence in us. And we are ever grateful to you for your unwavering support."

--Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, N.J., in its newsletter to customers about the September 26 appearance by Hillary Rodham Clinton. The event sold out in an hour after it was announced.

Quirk Books: My Lady's Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris


News

HugoBooks Buys Atomic Cafe Location in Newburyport, Mass.

HugoBooks, whose bookstores include the Book Rack Bookstore, Newburyport, Mass., has bought the Atomic Café location next door to the Book Rack and renamed it Café Magna.

Atomic Café owners Andrew and John Mahoney continue to operate two other Atomic Cafés, in Marblehead and Beverly, and are expanding their wholesale coffee roasting and cold brew operations and couldn't give the Newburyport café the time and attention it deserved.

HugoBooks owners John Hugo and Catalina Cuervo have offices on the second floor above Magna Café and live with their two young children on the third and fourth floors of the building, which the Hugo family owns. "When approached by the Mahoneys about a possible sale of the café, it just seemed like a natural fit to take it over," Hugo and Cuervo said. The Mahoney brothers have agreed to "a lengthy and comprehensive training program through the fall."

Eventually Hugo and Cuervo plan to open Magna Café earlier in the morning, add music and book events at night and "of course whatever else the loyal Atomic patrons think we should change or improve!"

HugoBooks also owns Cabot Street Books in Beverly (attached to an Atomic Café), Spirit of '76 in Marblehead, and Campus Collection and Andover Bookstore, both in Andover.


Trinity University Press: Arte Kids - Bilingual Board Books


Michigan's Books & Mortar to Open Second Store

Last week, Jonathan Shotwell and Chris Roe, owners of Books & Mortar Bookshop in Grand Rapids, Mich., posted on social media that they "are thrilled to announce" the impending launch of a second store in the city called the Annex Paperie & Bookshop. "We have signed a lease and are excited to bring you details and updates soon! In the meantime, be sure to follow Annex on Instagram and Facebook, and of course, SPREAD THE WORD!"

The bookseller's website notes: "Stay tuned for all the details, including where we will be located and when we'll open." Books & Mortar opened last September.


Thomas Nelson: Perennials by Julie Cantrell


Hurricane Updates: Booksellers Helping Booksellers and Others

It's still early to report on the effects of Hurricane Irma on book people in Florida, but we fear the wind and flood damage in some areas is great and that there won't be power for days in major parts of the state. Coming so soon after Hurricane Harvey's destruction in Texas, we hope for the best (and hope that some people stop dismissing climate change and global warming so casually).

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) continues to work hard to support booksellers affected by Hurricane Harvey--and is gearing up to help those in Hurricane Irma's path.

Others have been helping Binc in its important work. The American Booksellers Association has made a special contribution of $5,000 to Binc and will match any additional contributions that Binc receives through September 15 up to another $5,000. ABA CEO Oren Teicher wrote (before Hurricane Irma neared Florida), "The booksellers affected by Harvey are hard at work in helping their communities rebuild; let's do what we can to support them."

Another fundraiser for Binc, Chuck Robinson, former co-owner of Village Books and Paper Dreams, Bellingham and Lynden, Wash., completed the first stage of his cross-country biking trip, which will benefit Binc and two other charities. He began on September 1, in North Dakota, where his first cross-country trip, in 2015, ended prematurely after a dog attack. He rested Friday and Saturday in Minneapolis--visiting several bookstores--and headed for Wisconsin yesterday morning. If all goes according to plan, he arrives in Bar Harbor, Maine, on October 12, after traveling about 2,000 miles. Some of his co-riders on parts of the trip are Binc's Lori Tucker-Sullivan, Richard Hunt of AdventureKEEN and Shelf Awareness's own Matt Baldacci.

Chuck Robinson

As on the trip in 2015, which raised nearly $30,000, Robinson is again pledging $1 a mile to Binc and two other charities. Keep up to date with his ride here and make your own pledge to support Robinson and Binc here.)

Chronicle Books raised $2,603.97 for the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund and the Texas Gulf American Red Cross from a bake sale in the lobby of the company's building in San Francisco. With a corporate match, the total donated was $5,207.94.

One bookstore is reaching out to help people and communities farther south affected by the hurricanes of the last few weeks. Through Friday, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y., is donating 10% of all sales in both its stores and online to Oxfam America for hurricane relief and rebuilding efforts in the Caribbean. As the store wrote, "We've been thinking a lot about what we can do to help our fellow humans affected by the many crises and natural disasters of recent weeks. We feel it's high time for us as a community institution to give back, and we want to direct our efforts to those most likely to be overlooked by the global community... As we did in 2010 and 2011 in the aftermath of the earthquake and cholera epidemic in Haiti, Greenlight is honored to partner with our community to pitch in and help. The more books your buy from your local independent bookstore next week, the more funds we can donate... We think independent bookstores, and the communities they serve, have a role to play in troubled times. With your purchase at Greenlight this week, your book-buying dollars can contribute to something greater... We hope you'll join us in offering our support to the organizations working to help the people of the Caribbean."


September Indie Next List E-Newsletter Delivered

Last Thursday, the American Booksellers Association's e-newsletter edition of the Indie Next List for September was delivered to nearly half a million of the country's best book readers. The newsletter was sent to customers of 118 independent bookstores, with a combined total of 465,000 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 My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent (Riverhead Books).

For a sample of the September newsletter, see this one from the Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass., which just began sending the e-version of the Indie Next List.


Obituary Note: Jerry Pournelle

Jerry Pournelle, a prolific author, editor and columnist on a variety of topics, including science fiction, military matters, space, technology and politics, died on Friday. He was 84. He also had positions in the aerospace industry and was a political advisor.

His first novel, Red Heroin, an action/adventure mystery, was published in 1968. Among his best-known books were Footfall and Lucifer's Hammer, both written with Larry Niven, two of many collaborations with Niven, one of several writers with whom he collaborated. He received five Hugo and three Nebula nominations and, in 1973, was the first winner of the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer (when the finalists included George R.R. Martin!).

Pournelle contributed for years to BYTE magazine and continued to write his Chaos Manor column/blog, maybe the first that looked at computers from the user's point of view, until his death. He also was science columnist for the National Catholic Press, a columnist for Analog SF Magazine and science editor/columnist for Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine. He was a past president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and last year won the National Space Society's Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award for lifetime achievement in "promoting the goal of a free, spacefaring civilization."

Cat Rambo, president of the SFWA, commented: "I frequently interacted with Jerry, sometimes agreeing, other times not so much, but always knowing our arguments were motivated by a mutual love of SFWA and the genre. As someone seeing behind the scenes of the Emergency Medical Fund (Jerry was one of the stewards), I came to realize how much generosity lurked in him, each time brought out by an applicant's situation. I will definitely miss Jerry and think of him with fondness."


Notes

Oblong's Dick Hermans: Indies 'Definitely Making a Come-back'

Dick Hermans

MainStreet Magazine featured a q&a with Dick Hermans, co-owner of Oblong Books & Music stores in Millerton and Rhinebeck, N.Y. Among our favorite responses:

Are independent bookstores viable?
Indies are definitely making a come-back. I think people realize that when you order from Amazon your money leaves the community. A local bookstore is something real in your life--it's positive, safe, and you interact with people. Everyone leaves our store happy. E-books were really hot, but they are now in gradual decline. Holding a book is a much better experience than reading on a screen, which a lot of us have to do all day long at work. The last 18 months have been the best ever for our two stores.

What's the secret of running a successful bookstore? How did you learn?
Like any retail store, you have to work hard. Key is staying informed about what your customers are asking for and matching your inventory to your customer base. In a rural area like ours, there are fewer people and you really have to control your inventory.

Why are you running for political office? Is that why your hair is shorter?
I'm running as a Democrat for a seat representing our area in the Dutchess County legislature because I believe that government can affect change and do things that help people. So many people are alienated from democracy and have lost faith in government. I'm willing to do a good job and work with everyone. I'm really trying to get elected and have a lot of support in Milan, where I grew up, and in Millerton. My hair is now shoulder length--much better for the summer. I've always worn my hair long and saved millions in barbershop bills.


Road Trip: '6 Incredible Book Shops in Omaha'

Noting that there "is nothing quite like the feeling of escaping into an incredible book," the Dodge Voice showcased "6 Incredible Book Shops in Omaha You Will Want to Visit Right Away," including the Bookworm ("small Omaha gem beloved by readers for its character and small business feel") and Our Bookstore ("every inch of this place feels like a secret you were lucky to discover").

"Luckily, Omaha has a collection of incredible bookstores to help you discover your next read," the Dodge Voice wrote. "We rounded up our absolute favorite shops in the area--all of which are carefully curated, brimming with character, and filled with friendly staff to point you in the right direction. Enjoy!"



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Patti Smith on the Tonight Show

Today:
Good Morning America: Yolanda Hadid, author of Believe Me: My Battle with the Invisible Disability of Lyme Disease (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250121653).

Today Show: Mike Lupica, author of Lone Stars (Philomel, $17.99, 9780399172809).

Also on Today: Christopher Kimball, author of Milk Street: The New Home Cooking (Little, Brown, $40, 9780316437288).

Tomorrow:
The View: Maria Sharapova, author of Unstoppable: My Life So Far (Sarah Crichton, $28, 9780374279790). She will also appear on Good Morning America and the Daily Show.

Tonight Show: Patti Smith, author of Devotion (Yale University Press, $18, 9780300218626).


On Stage: To Kill a Mockingbird

A new stage production of Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird will arrive on Broadway December 13, 2018. Playbill reported that Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, The West Wing) has written the new adaptation. Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher (Golden Boy, The King and I, South Pacific) will direct the Broadway premiere, which is produced by Scott Rudin.

Sorkin's work is "unrelated to another version of the play, previously staged in London and at the Guthrie Theatre, which is frequently produced by local and regional theatres across the U.S.," Playbill noted.


Books & Authors

Awards: McIlvanney Scottish Crime; Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing

The Long Drop by Denise Mina has won Bloody Scotland's £1,000 (about $1,320) McIlvanney Prize for Scottish crime book of the year.

Lee Randall, chair of the judges, gave this glowing review: "The Long Drop by Denise Mina transports us back to dark, grimy Glasgow, telling the social history of a particular strata of society via the grubby, smokey pubs favoured by crooks and chancers. She takes us into the courtroom, as well, where Manuel acted as his own lawyer, and where hoards of women flocked daily, to watch the drama play out. Full of astute psychological observations, this novel's not only about what happened in the 1950s, but about storytelling itself. It shows how legends grow wings, and how memories shape-shift and mark us. For my money, this is one of the books of 2017--in any genre."

---

Stef Penney won the £10,000 (about $13,200) Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize, presented by the Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation, for her novel Under a Pole Star, the Bookseller reported. Judge Corban Addison said Penney "truly evoked both the time and place that she was describing, created a compelling story that kept me coming back, that transported me to a place that I had never seen or really even spent much time thinking about, and gave me characters that I really did fall in love with."

The prize was one of four awarded during a ceremony last week at London's Royal Geographical Society. The £5,000 (about $6,600) adventure research award for Best Unpublished Manuscript, which includes guidance from literary agents Tibor Jones & Associates, went to Matthew Di Paoli for Holliday; the £1,000 (about $1,320) Author of Tomorrow award for writers under the age of 21 was given to Wilbur Bryant Dublin for The Safe-House Café; and a £1,000 special commendation was awarded to Frederick Morgan for Sir Hop.


Book Review

Review: Five-Carat Soul

Five-Carat Soul by James McBride (Riverhead Books, $27 hardcover, 320p., 9780735216693, September 26, 2017)

National Book Award-winner James McBride (The Good Lord Bird, Kill 'Em and Leave) delivers pure gold with Five-Carat Soul, a collection of short stories. Each piece in this compilation features compelling characters with distinctive luster. As the richness of their interactions and relationships builds, readers are sure to find the resulting treasure irresistible.

Five-Carat Soul starts with "The Under Graham Railroad Box Car Set." A toy collector discovers the gem of all gems: a one-of-a-kind toy train General Robert E. Lee commissioned Horace Smith to build for Lee's five-year-old son, Graham. But after Graham died unexpectedly, the slave tending him escaped with the train and its whereabouts remained unknown for over a century.

McBride also includes two sets of related stories: "The Five-Carat Soul Bottom Bone Band" and "Mr. P & the Wind." The first series features a ragtag bunch of kids from "The Bottom" in Uniontown, Pa., who start a band. The other employs zoo animals as the protagonists. Their casts struggle with their respective obstacles--for the kids their poverty, for the animals their imprisonment--to discover strong purpose in their lives. In these sections, McBride blends his unmistakable humor and insight to brew the satire for which he is so well regarded.

Among his other characters are a mixed-race orphan who thinks his father is Abraham Lincoln; a Ph.D. student researching an African American army unit in World War II; a boxer battling the Devil for his soul; and a White House stablehand who unknowingly inspires one of the greatest documents in U.S. history. None of McBride's characters want for depth or dimension. Their trials elicit empathy, while their humanity evokes amusement and recognition.

The ease with which McBride takes on the specific voice of each character is exceptional. Butter, the 14-year-old narrator of "The Five-Carat Soul Bottom Bone Band" stories, may not use perfect grammar, but his awareness of the world he lives in more than makes up for it: "In The Bottom, understanding don't come easy. It comes hard. And it don't never feel good neither." Using third person to tell "The Christmas Dance" allows McBride to give his readers an intimate sense of three men: two elderly World War II veterans and a young college student. And while his imagination illuminates all of the entries in this collection, nowhere is it more brilliant and animated than in the stories of "Mr. P & the Wind." In the voice of Get Along, Go Along, the zoo's lion, McBride looks at the world from behind the bars and enclosures of their prison, viewing humans in a curious light, "most of 'em who come to the zoo are scared of Higher Orders, even mice. We roared when we heard that."

Five-Carat Soul shakes with laughter, grips with passion and oozes wisdom. Readers should put aside any prejudices they might harbor about short fiction because together these stories are a masterpiece that will enrich everyone it touches. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Shelf Talker: An inspiring collection of short fiction by National Book Award winner James McBride that splendidly showcases his exceptional wit and wisdom.


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