Shelf Awareness for Thursday, May 14, 2015

Blackstone Publishing: An Honorable Assassin (Nick Mason Novels #3) by Steve Hamilton

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine

Running Press Kids: The Junior Witch's Handbook, The Junior Astrologer's Handbook, and The Junior Tarot Reader's Handbook by Nikki Van De Car

Scholastic Press: Ruin Road by Lamar Giles


Brookline Booksmith Adds Two More Co-Owners

Two additional co-owners have been named at Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass, joining majority owner Marshall Smith, who founded the bookstore in 1961, and Dana Brigham, manager for 34 years and a co-owner.

In a statement announcing the changes, Brigham said the new co-owners are "our two indefatigable assistant managers": Lisa Gozashti, "merchandising genius, backlist, calendars and art supplies buyer, and team member since 1999"; and Peter Win, "in charge of operations and personnel (I wanted to say personnel wrangler but he declined this title), and team member since 2010 (with a previous three year tour of duty before that)."

Evelyn Vigo, controller/treasurer and a co-owner of Brookline for 54 years, retired earlier this year. "She is much missed!" Brigham noted, adding that he and Smith "look forward to continuing on with the youthful energy, creativity and commitment Lisa and Peter bring to our ever-fuller table of selection, service and style in all we do here at the 'Smith.  

"Additionally, we have Tim Huggins, founder of Newtonville books among other bookish pursuits, as our new controller/treasurer. He is a terrific fit for us, and we're thrilled to have him join our team."

Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!

Bookstore Sales Jump 5.1% in March

March bookstore sales rose 5.1%, to $686 million, compared to March 2014, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. This was the first month this year that bookstore sales increased over the comparable month last year, and it was enough to push bookstore sales for the year to date into positive territory: bookstore sales in the first quarter of 2014 have risen 0.1%, to $2.8 billion.

Total retail sales in March were up 2.1%, to $441.9 billion. For the year to date, total retail sales have increased 2.3%, to $1,1224.2 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing a general line of new books. These establishments may also sell stationery and related items, second-hand books, and magazines."

Niche Bookstores 'Surviving and Thriving' in NYC

"By nature a used cookbook store is a very backwards-looking thing," said Bonnie Slotnick, the owner of Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks, at a panel discussion Tuesday night entitled "Niche Bookstores: Surviving and Thriving." The panel, held at the Penguin Random House offices in New York City, was sponsored by the Book Industry Guild of New York and also featured Mitch Cutler, the owner of St. Mark's Comics in the East Village, Otto Penzler, the owner of the Mysterious Bookshop in Tribeca, and Maria Herron, a shareholder and volunteer at Bluestockings in the Lower East Side. Boris Kachka, a journalist for New York magazine and author, served as moderator.

L.-r.: Boris Kachka, Maria Herron, Mitch Cutler, Bonnie Slotnick, Otto Penzler

"I think what keeps my store going is that some of the customer service on online bookstores is so terrible," Slotnick continued. Her store is on the Lower East Side and specializes in out-of-print and antiquarian cookbooks. "Customers want to have a conversation with somebody."

The panelists all rejected the notion that trends or fads have helped them stay in business and agreed on the importance of having deep community roots and longstanding personal ties with customers.

The most important thing, suggested Herron, is being "consistently involved in your community." She described Bluestockings, a volunteer-run, collectively owned bookstore, cafe and radical space, as an "oasis of adjusted priorities." She became a shareholder and volunteer, she explained, after being "floored" by the store's customer service, community atmosphere and the dialogue between customers and staff. She added: "You don't have to pay tuition or buy a book to be part of that conversation."

In addition to community ties and strong customer service, Penzler pointed to proprietary publishing and the selling of signed first editions and rare books as big reasons why he's still in business.

"A lot of my customers are collectors," said Penzler, who collects first editions himself. He started a signed first edition book club at his store years ago, which at various points has had more than 1,200 members. The only downside, he joked, is that now "nobody buys anything that isn't signed."

Cutler, whose store also attracts many collectors, said that new titles keep his store afloat. He also sells a great amount of collectible toys, figurines and other memorabilia.

"There is a desperate terror in the minds of collectors that is, oh my God, I'm missing something," said Cutler. And despite having not enough space in his shop already, it behooves him to "have as much as possible."

Later in the discussion, Cutler, Herron and Penzler reported having stronger holiday seasons last year than they've had for some time, and all four said they've seen some evidence of a rising interest in small businesses.

"There's a clash in the Lower East Side between what used to be there and the $14 cocktail places," said Herron. "People there identify by small businesses." --Alex Mutter

Brazenhead Books Owner: Losing Lease a 'Good Story'

"I'm going to go somewhere else. I think this place is perfect and people fall in love with it, but--not to blow my own horn, but it's just me. I'll do it again," Brazenhead Books owner Michael Seidenberg told Gothamist when asked what will happen once his lease is up in July. An extended interview with the bookseller, who has operated his bookstore/speakeasy secretly from a rent-controlled apartment on New York's Upper East Side since 2008, featured some notable exchanges, including:

Have you found a new location yet?
No. I think everyone assumes I have it figured out because I smile a lot, but they're mistaking my relaxed attitude for a solution. A guy offered me a space in this bizarre mansion on Sundays but then I'd have to move my stuff in and out, which is too much work. And this other guy wanted me to do it out of his apartment, but he wanted to sell snacks and drinks, and then it becomes something different. I am listening to every single offer because I don't know what I want, but I know what I don't want. I'm very picky.

Will the next location be as difficult to access as this one was?
I hope so. I'm off the grid, and that's where I like to do things. I don't like all the rules of the regular world. It becomes all about money if you go a more traditional route. I luckily have enough money that I only need to make very little.....


Is that why you don't do a lot of press?
That and also when I lost my lease I thought it would be projected as another negative New York story. 'Oh, we're losing one more.' And I thought, seriously? I did this for eight years, and the minute I have a problem hundreds of people are contacting me that I don't know? When I lost my lease I had dozens of lawyers calling to help. That's a good story, that's not a bad story. I feel the love. And I love the people that come here, I really do. I hope I find another spot so we can all still hang out and do what we do.

S&S, Foli Partner to Offer 'Geo-Location' E-Book Sampling

Simon & Schuster is teaming up with Foli, a digital content mobile distribution platform, to launch a new program designed to bring books to the attention of audiences at live events, to travelers at hotels and in airports and train stations, to visitors at museums and exhibitions, or to any geographical location. Using Foli's geo-location technology, S&S can deliver a specific title, or a selection of titles, to pinpointed locations, allowing consumers to read the publisher's books while they remain at the location.  

Effective immediately, S&S is offering a selection of 18 e-books via the Foli app at a number of hotels and airport lounges nationwide, including David McCullough's The Wright Brothers, Stephen King's Revival, Anna Todd's After, Walter Isaacson's The Innovators, Colm Toíbín's Brooklyn, Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project and Lisa Unger's Crazy Love You. The complete books will be available to guests for up to three days while they are at their location, with an option to purchase available at all times.

The new program will officially "take flight" May 15, when S&S offers the chance to read McCullough's new book to visitors at the National Air and Space Museum, at more than 50 major airports nationwide and at the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

"The possibilities for targeting where we can share our books are now virtually limitless, and we look forward to using Foli's capabilities in creative and timely ways to bring our books to readers," said Liz Perl, S&S executive v-p and chief marketing officer.

Obituary Note: Meg Richardson

Margaret (Meg) Richardson, a longtime publishing sales manager and buyer, died May 8 after a brief battle with cancer. Most recently, Richardson was sales manager for Red Wheel/Weiser, where she managed trade and gift reps, handled house accounts and coordinated the company's Edelweiss presence. Prior to that she held a variety of buying positions, including a 10-year tenure with Hudson News Group. There are no plans for a memorial service, but donations in her memory can be made to the American Cancer Society.


Image of the Day: Fierce Reads

The Fierce Reads Spring Fling tour launched at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park, Calif., this week. There was a full house to hear Marie Rutkowski, Lindsay Smith, Katie Finn and Lynn Matson talk about their newest books, moderated by Evelyn Skye. Highlight of the day was the photo booth where guests posed with authors and props, before helping themselves to pizza and bingo cards.

Audiobooks: Amy Poehler's Yes Please Going Vinyl

On September 1, HarperAudio will release a special vinyl edition of Amy Poehler's bestselling audiobook, Yes Please, that will include seven highlights from the work, featuring the voices of Poehler, Carol Burnett, Mike Schur, Kathleen Turner and a live recording from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles. Customers who purchase the vinyl will also receive a digital audio download of the full-length audiobook.

"Recordings published on vinyl and read by the author used to be the standard format for spoken word recordings, dating back to when Dylan Thomas first recorded for our Caedmon label in the 1950s," said Ana Maria Allessi, v-p, digital innovation and publisher of HarperAudio. "Yes Please is a terrific recording that exemplifies modern audiobook publishing at its finest and we're happy to be able to broaden its reach by releasing a vinyl edition."

Personnel Changes at Rizzoli Bookstore, Prospero's Books

At Rizzoli Bookstore, which will open in early summer at Broadway and 26th Street in New York City:

Chad Bunning has been hired as retail and operations manager. He has more than 20 years of bookselling and publishing experience and was most recently general manager of BookCourt in Brooklyn. Earlier he was a marketing manager at Knopf, Fodor's and Random House.

Chris Pangborn is joining the Rizzoli Bookstore as head buyer. He was formerly backlist buyer and head merchandiser at Shakespeare & Company, where he worked for more than 20 years. Earlier he was a classical and jazz music buyer in Cambridge, Mass.


Erika Walser has been promoted to sales manager of Prospero's Books, Manassas, Va. For nine years, she has worked alongside long-term sales manager Bob Chase, who retired yesterday.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Carol Alt on Access Hollywood

Tomorrow on Access Hollywood: Carol Alt, author of A Healthy You: Boost Your Energy, Live Cleaner, and Look and Feel Younger Every Day (Dey Street, $25.99, 9780062392978).

Movies: Paper Towns; How to Talk to Girls at Parties

A new trailer has been released for the film adaptation of John Green's novel Paper Towns. Time magazine noted the author had promised recently that the next trailer "would show off the new movie's light-hearted side after the first trailer suggested it was almost as serious as The Fault in Our Stars. 'There's a new trailer... that should make you feel less worried on the funny front,' he said. It doesn't seem like the movie's first commercial... but it does feature new footage of stars Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne in the movie hitting theaters July 24."


Nicole Kidman is reteaming with director John Cameron Mitchell (Rabbit Hole) for How to Talk to Girls at Parties, based on Neil Gaiman's short story, Indiewire reported. The cast also includes Elle Fanning, Ruth Wilson and Matt Lucas. 

This Weekend on Book TV: Gaithersburg 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, May 16
10 a.m. Live coverage of the 2015 Gaithersburg Book Festival in Gaithersburg, Md.

6:45 p.m. Mike Lee, author of Our Lost Constitution: The Willful Subversion of America's Founding Document (Sentinel, $27.95, 9781591847779). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

7:15 p.m. Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, author of Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield (Harper, $26.99, 9780062333810), at Book Passage in Corte Madera, Calif.

8 p.m. Barry Eichengreen, author of Hall of Mirrors: The Great Depression, The Great Recession, and the Uses-and Misuses-of History (Oxford University Press, $29.95, 9780199392001).

9 p.m. Dana Perino, author of And the Good News Is...: Lessons and Advice from the Bright Side (Twelve, $26, 9781455584901). (Re-airs Sunday at 5 p.m.)

10 p.m. Caroline Fredrickson, author of Under the Bus: How Working Women Are Being Run Over (New Press, $25.95, 9781620970102). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Marc Peyser, author of Hissing Cousins: The Untold Story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth (Nan A. Talese, $28.95, 9780385536011), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.

Sunday, May 17
1 p.m. Daria Roithmayr, author of Reproducing Racism: How Everyday Choices Lock in White Advantage (NYU Press, $25, 9780814777121). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

1:20 p.m. Edward Kleinbard, author of We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money (Oxford University Press, $29.95, 9780199332243). (Re-airs Monday at 1:20 a.m.)

3 p.m. Gernot Wagner, author of Climate Shock: The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet (Princeton University Press, $27.95, 9780691159478).

6 p.m. Margaret Regan, author of Detained and Deported: Stories of Immigrant Families Under Fire (Beacon Press, $25.95, 9780807071946).

7:45 p.m. George Mitchell, author of The Negotiator: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781451691375), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.

11 p.m. James Bradley, author of The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia (Little, Brown, $35, 9780316196673).

Books & Authors

Awards: PEN Literary; New Children's Author

The PEN American Center announced the 2015 PEN Literary Award winners. They will be honored June 8 in New York City at the annual awards ceremony, during which this year's recipients of the $25,000 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, $10,000 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay and $5,000 PEN Open Book Award will be named. The $10,000 PEN/Fusion Emerging Writers Prize winner will be announced later this month. This year's PEN Literary Award honorees include:

PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award ($10,000): War of the Whales: A True Story by Joshua Horwitz (S&S)
PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction ($10,000): Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink (Crown)
PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000): The Queen's Bed: An Intimate History of Elizabeth's Court by Anna Whitelock (Sarah Crichton Books/ FSG)
PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry ($5,000): Prelude to Bruise by Saeed Jones (Coffee House Press)
PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard by John Branch (Norton)
PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): Bob Ryan
PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship ($5,000): Stephanie Keuhn for The Pragmatist (Forthcoming from Dutton)
PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan, translated from the Pashto by Eliza Griswold (FSG)
PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): Baboon by Naja Marie Aidt, translated from the Danish by Denise Newman (Two Lines Press)
PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation: Burton Watson


Emma Cox's Malkin Moonlight won the inaugural New Children's Author Prize, which was launched last May by Bloomsbury Children's Books and the National Literacy Trust. Members of the public were invited to submit stories for 8-12 year olds with a chance to win a publishing contract with Bloomsbury. Cox was selected from more than 400 entries and her book will be published in summer 2016. The competition raised more than £20,000 (about $31,500) for the National Literacy Trust.  

Rebecca McNally, Bloomsbury publishing director and one of the judges, called Malkin Moonlight "a magical adventure written with real warmth, humour and a strong sense of jeopardy. The judges felt that Emma Cox had created a fully formed feline world and characters we really cared about--as well as a story that delivers excitement and adventure for 8-12 year olds. There were strong contenders on the shortlist, but Emma's story stood out for its flair, imagination and ability to engage readers' hearts and minds."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, May 19:

Maximum Ride Forever by James Patterson (Little, Brown, $19, 9780316207508) concludes the Maximum Ride YA series. (May 18.)

Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250065933) follows a movie location scout in a small Florida beach town.

I, Ripper: A Novel by Stephen Hunter (Simon & Schuster, $27.99, 9781476764856) is a thriller about Jack the Ripper.

The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9780544330146) continues the Ruth Galloway mystery series.

New York in a Dozen Dishes by Robert Sietsema (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22, 9780544454316) catalogues NYC's most iconic dishes, with recipes.

Now in paperback:
In Real Life: My Journey to a Pixelated World by Joey Graceffa (Keywords Press/Atria, $16, 9781476794303).

The 10 Pounds Off Paleo Diet: The Easy Way to Drop Inches in Just 28 Days by John Hastings (Oxmoor House, $16.95, 9780848744526).

Mayo Clinic A to Z Health Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention by the Mayo Clinic (Oxmoor House, $21.95, 9780848745790).

When Marnie Was There, a Japanese animated film based on the novel by Joan G. Robinson, has a limited U.S. release on May 22.

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 Wonder Garden by Lauren Acampora (Grove Press, $25, 9780802123558). "This collection of interlinked short stories is one of the best I've read in years. How many of us have often wondered what is going on inside our neighbors' houses? Acampora explores it all--the hopes, dreams, arguments, perversities, and disappointments. Though set in affluent, suburban western Connecticut, the stories' deeper themes are universal--think Chekhov and Cheever. Often dark, sad, and funny, and always intelligent and well-written, these stories leave the reader yearning for more by this wonderful new writer." --Bob Smith, UConn Co-op Bookstore at Storrs Center, Storrs, Conn.

Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250010117). "Have you ever read a book that stayed with you during the day while you were working, going about your daily routine? A book that made you want to turn on the news to see what was happening in the characters' lives--even though you knew that you were just reading a novel? Scottoline's latest, Every Fifteen Minutes, made me do just that! The story of Chief of Psychiatry Eric Parish, his troubled patient Max, and a murder for which Dr. Parish is suddenly seen as a 'person of interest,' along with other trumped-up charges against him, will not let readers put this book down until the stunning conclusion." --Nona Camuel, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, Ken.

Flying Shoes: A Novel by Lisa Howorth (Bloomsbury, $16, 9781620403037). "Howorth's debut novel is a Southern feast for the mind. As the mystery of the brutal death of a nine-year-old boy unfolds, the reader meets unforgettable characters, most notably Mary Byrd Thornton, a feisty, flawed, and often foul-mouthed wife and mother and the stepsister of the murdered child, who very reluctantly revisits the event after 30 years. Flying Shoes artfully steers the reader through some of the idiosyncrasies of life in a Southern town and deals with social and racial issues with the honesty and humor that only an insider can offer." --Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colo.

For Ages 9 to 12
The Last Dragon Charmer 1: Villain Keeper by Laurie McKay (HarperCollins, $16.99, 9780062308436). "What starts as a typical adventure story of a young prince being sent on a quest to slay a dragon with a faithful steed at his side suddenly turns upside down when the prince, his horse, and a young sorceress are plummeted to another realm--contemporary Asheville, North Carolina! This is the fresh and delightful setup for much adventure, humor, and education to come. It turns out that there is some magic--not all of it good--in this new realm of Asheville, and Prince Caden, Brynne, and Sir Horace (the horse) quickly get involved in solving the mystery of a missing local girl even as they try to find a way back to their own realm." --Leslie Hawkins, Spellbound Children's Books, Asheville, N.C.

The Water and the Wild by Katie Elise Ormsbee, illustrated by Elsa Mora (Chronicle, $16.99, 9781452113869). "Every year on her birthday, Lottie receives an anonymous letter granting her a wish from the magic apple tree in Thirsby Square. When the illness of her best friend, Eliot, takes a turn for the worse, Lottie asks for one thing: a cure to save his life. Instead of a letter, Lottie receives two sprites who take her through a door in the apple tree and into their world. There, she must weigh the importance of Eliot's life against the lives of an entire world of sprites. This is a fun debut, perfect for fans of the Chronicles of Narnia." --Brandi Stewart, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Ariz.

Children's Illustrated
George in the Dark by Madeline Valentine (Knopf, $16.99, 9780449813348). "This book is perfect to share with little ones who are afraid of the dark. It is the story of George, who is very brave during the day, with examples that include eating worms and standing up against bullies. Nighttime, however, is a different story. How will George conquer his fear of the dark? Read to find out!" --Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The Mountain Can Wait

The Mountain Can Wait by Sarah Leipciger (Little, Brown , $26 hardcover, 9780316380676, May 19, 2015)

Sarah Leipciger's debut novel, The Mountain Can Wait, centers on a family's shared and separate struggles in the wilds of British Columbia. Tom's wife left him when the kids were small. He hopes he can put in one last good year at work, sell his forest restoration company and provide for his children in his retirement. His son, Curtis, lives a few towns over, a young man on his own. Daughter Erin has begun to pull into herself, in typical teenage fashion. Around this nucleus are colorful characters like Tom's mother-in-law, angry and estranged, living off the land in a tiny island village; Tom's new girlfriend, a poet with an independent streak; and the tree planters and other employees of his company. Between hunting and foraging, idle drug use and countless cigarettes, this motley crew sharply evokes their environment in Leipciger's spare but feeling prose.

The biggest crisis of all is out of sight for much of the story, but bookends everything else that transpires: a hit-and-run that kills a teenaged girl and haunts the driver, who is slow to seek redemption. "She was an instant, the sulfuric flare of a match.... And there was a dull slap." This overarching tragedy shadows the rest of the action, as characters go on making their plans, unaware of how it will affect their lives.

In language that highlights natural beauty and the challenges of living in the bush, Leipciger explores what a sense of responsibility really entails, the finer points of family dynamics and the strong hold a place can have on a person, from Whistler to the tiny isles around Vancouver Island. Curtis struggles with the family tradition of hunting for their meat; he has trouble killing, even collecting tadpoles. But he will wreak havoc in just trying to survive, let alone impress his father. Tom is still troubled by the sordid details of his wife's demise, some years after she left. He loves his children, but despairs at knowing them at all.

The Mountain Can Wait concentrates on the difficulties of properly caring for loved ones, and the meaning of community. Set within British Columbia's stunning and intimidating back country, a mountain goat killed in one shot and a bear only wounded come to the forefront, too. As the title reflects, even the calamities Tom and his clan experience fade against such a backdrop. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: A hit-and-run fatality overshadows the life of a family and a community in the bush of British Columbia.

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