Shelf Awareness for Friday, May 15, 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

Quotation of the Day

Bookseller Ann Patchett: 'I've Learned So Much'

"[Owning a bookstore] gives back huge things to my writing and my life. Before Parnassus, I was somebody who just sat around and read Thomas Hardy. Now I am current and involved and stretched; I've learned so much about literature just by being a better, wider reader. I also think it's a new world order, and writers have to start taking more responsibility for the health of the industry. We all have to participate in having the world that we want: that's exciting and empowering."

--Ann Patchett, co-owner of Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn., in a Newsday article about her appearance this weekend at BookHampton in East Hampton, N.Y., for a talk entitled "Ann Patchett Tells You What to Read."

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


Paulina Springs Books, Redmond, Ore., for Sale

Brad Smith, and his sister, Cynthia Claridge, owners of Paulina Springs Books, which has stores in Sisters and in Redmond, Ore., are putting the Redmond store up for sale.

In a letter to customers posted on the stores' website, Smith and Claridge said that Smith's health has led to the decision to sell. "Since discovering my health condition, I've managed to work less, but not enough," he said.

The store, which opened in 2007, is "essentially a turn-key operation," Smith and Claridge wrote. "New owners will obtain a business with quality fixtures, a robust level of technology, and a strong selection of inventory. As operators, they will be able to focus on marketing, merchandising, outreach to the community and getting to know the clientele. They will have ample avenues to put their own mark on the business and create a successful venture."

They added: "The store has great potential to engage a larger percentage of the Redmond population. Our downtown core is becoming a vibrant and active component of the Redmond community. As it continues to develop, it will continue attracting more Redmond residents and new business. Our extensive product line (books, games, toys, etc.) positions the store well."

B&N's Forest Hills Store in NYC to Close

Queens, N.Y., "will be left with just one Barnes & Noble as of next year" when the bookstore at 7000 Austin St. in Forest Hills closes in January, the New York Daily News reported. The store opened in 1995. The last remaining B&N in Queens is in Bayside.

Jeff Kay, COO of Muss Development, which is B&N's Forest Hills landlord, told the Daily News the 22,000-square-foot retail space will be hitting the market: "We're talking to some national retailers."

Last October, B&N announced the impending closure store of its Fresh Meadows store in Queens because the company "could not reach a new lease agreement with the property owner." That decision sparked an unsuccessful online petition drive to save the bookstore, which was inspired by a similar effort that convinced the landlord to extend B&N's lease on a Bronx store for two years with no increase in rent.

Larry Dorfman New Book Trade Sales Manager at Capstone


Larry Dorfman has been named book trade sales manager at Capstone. He has more than 30 years of publishing experience, starting as a sales rep at Avon Books and Penguin, then moving into national accounts at Penguin and Simon & Schuster. He was also v-p of sales at Globe Pequot Press and director of national accounts at Abrams. Most recently, he was a publishing consultant and wrote the Snark Handbook humor series, published by Skyhorse Publishing. 

Dorfman replaces Paul Von Drasek, who retired in late February, but remained on a part-time basis consulting with Capstone through April. Dorfman is based in Hamden, Conn., making regular visits to Capstone's Minnesota offices.

Dorfman commented: "My great love after literature has always been children's publishing. From Beatrix Potter and the Stinky Cheese Man to the Wimpy Kid, kid's books have been the most fun to show, sell, talk about and discover."

Obituary Note: James Watson

British author James Watson died April 28 at age 78. The Guardian said Watson's best-known novel, Talking in Whispers, "was only one of many other titles in which Watson--unusually for someone who aimed his work at a young audience--vividly dramatized both the action and the politics of international crises of the 20th century."

Watson's books "shared a common thread: with stories that were exciting, informative and thought-provoking for young adult readers, each was centered around convincing teenage characters who made brave decisions and stood up against oppression of various kinds," the Guardian added.


Image of the Day: Under the Same Blue Sky

photo: Kelly Norrell

The Knoxville Writers' Guild hosted a launch party last week for Pamela Schoenewaldt's third historical novel, Under the Same Blue Sky (Morrow), at the Laurel Theater in Knoxville, Tenn.; more than 75 people attended. Schoenewaldt (l.) is pictured here with Flossie McNabb of Union Ave. Books, the bookseller for the event.

Toni Morrison's Next 'Bench by the Road' in Nyack, N.Y.

On May 18, Nyack, N.Y., will become the 14th location for Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison's "Bench by the Road Project," a name and concept taken from a 1989 interview with World Magazine where she spoke of the absence of historical markers that help remember the lives of Africans who were enslaved.

The Nyack Bench commemorates a former slave and Nyack resident, Cynthia Hesdra (1808-1879), who became an entrepreneur and abolitionist. Hesdra was enslaved at one point during her life, yet died a wealthy woman, accumulating properties and businesses in New York City and Nyack.

"The mission of the Nyack Commemoration Committee is to create a public commemoration of the experiences and contributions of African Americans in the Nyacks," said Bill Batson, chair of the Nyack Bench Project. "This commemoration will be a substantive display in a public space, letting people comfortably linger to reflect upon and celebrate our local African American history."

'Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Bookstores'

"For book lovers, there's no more magical place than the local bookstore. And while most of us have probably spent a significant amount of time wandering the aisles, few of us know what goes on behind the scenes," Mental Floss observed in revealing "17 behind-the-scenes secrets of bookstores."

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to #BEA15: Herald Square

When you're ready to take a break from BookExpo America at the Javits Center and soak up the New York City streets, just head east. You'll find a mix of hustle, neon, and a shady green park just five avenues away, at Herald Square. Here, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides takes you on a street-by-street tour.

Greeley Square
Herald Square is named for the New York Herald, once the most popular newspaper in the country, which had its offices here until 1921. Start your tour--or meet up with friends--at Greeley Square, an island of green tucked between Broadway and 6th Avenues, at 32nd Street. There, you'll find another ode to New York's publishing history: the statue of Horace Greeley, founder of the New York Tribune.

Fashion District
Before the turn of the 20th century, Herald Square was one of the raunchiest parts of New York, filled with dance halls and bordellos, but today the area bustles with shoppers flooding Macy's and the many other stores that line the streets. The stretch of 7th Avenue around 34th Street is known as Fashion Avenue for good reason. Don't miss the small Fur District on 7th Avenue between West 27th and 30th streets, where furriers still ply their trade.

Empire State Building
If shopping isn't your ideal, turn your eyes skyward. The Empire State Building towers over Herald Square, and the observation deck of this quintessential skyscraper is a great place to view the city. The 86th-floor observatory offers superb views, both from its indoor galleries and its 360-degree outdoor deck. Check the website for accurate wait times and to buy advance tickets. An Express Pass and access to the 102nd-floor observatory, 1,250 feet high, requires an extra fee.

Little Korea
After watching the sun dip into the horizon atop the Empire State Building, you may be ready for food--and drinks. There are no shortage of options in nearby Little Korea, which lines West 31st and 32nd Streets with neon lights, restaurants and karaoke bars.

If you're looking for a quick snack or a sampling of Korean fare, head to Food Gallery 32 (11 W. 32nd Street), a three-floor Asian food court with stalls offering buns, soups and stews, desserts and much, much more. Ask a New Yorker about Little Korea, however, and they'll likely tell you to go for the fried chicken. Wings are ubiquitous in the neighborhood, and one chain, Bon Chon, often gets top billing for making each wing to order and double-frying to achieve extra crispiness.

After a heavy meal, you'll be ready to experience Little Korea's nightlife. Reserve a private room for you and your BEA buddies at one of the many upstairs karaoke bars. For outgoing singers, Chorus Karaoke offers both private rooms and a bar setting, all decked out in futuristic, club-like decor. Last call is at 4 a.m.--leaving just enough time for you to head back to your hotel for a quick nap before hitting the Javits Center for another day at BEA.

For more ideas on things to do in New York City, check out DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: New York City.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Maureen Corrigan Talks About So We Read On

Today on Fresh Air: Maureen Corrigan, author of So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures (Back Bay, $16, 9780316230063).


Tomorrow on NPR's Weekend Edition: Nell Zink, author of Mislaid: A Novel (Ecco, $26.99, 9780062364777).

TV: The Magicians; Queen of the South

The official trailer is out for the adaptation of Lev Grossman's The Magicians, which the Syfy network recently gave a 12-episode series order to, Buzzfeed reported. The cast includes Jason Ralph, Stella Maeve, Hale Appleman, Arjun Gupta and Summer Bishil. Mike Cahill (I Origins) directed the pilot. The series will begin shooting in Vancouver, B.C., in July and is set to air in 2016.


USA Network has picked up its pilot Queen of the South, based on Arturo Pérez-Reverte's  bestselling novel La Reina del Sur, "to series with a 13-episode order for a 2016 premiere," reported. M.A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller (The Final Girls) wrote the pilot, which stars Alice Braga and was directed by Charlotte Sieling.

"From script to inception, Queen of the South had us hooked," said USA Network president Chris McCumber. "Alice Braga does an outstanding job playing Teresa Mendoza, a determined woman who defies all odds, to not only survive, but to thrive in an unfamiliar world."

Books & Authors

Awards: Agathas; Wolff Translator's; Bread & Roses

Winners of the Agatha Awards, which celebrate the "traditional mystery--books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie," were honored recently at the Malice Domestic convention in Bethesda, Md., last weekend. This year's winners are:

Contemporary Novel: Truth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan
First Novel: Well Read, Then Dead by Terrie Farley Moran
Historical Novel: Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen
Nonfiction: Writes of Passage: Adventures on the Writer's Journey, edited by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Children's/YA: The Code Buster's Club: The Mummy's Curse by Penny Warner
Short Story: "The Odds Are Against Us" by Art Taylor (EQMM)


Catherine Schelbert won the $10,000 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize, which honors an outstanding literary translation from German into English published in the U.S. the previous year, for her translation of Hugo Ball's Flametti: oder vom Dandysmus der Armen (Flametti, or the Dandyism of the Poor), published by Wakefield Press. Funded by the German government, the prize is administered by the Goethe-Institut New York.

The jury said Schelbert "rendered Ball's slangy, offbeat German into equally exuberant English. Her translation was far and away our first choice and makes this Dada classic at long last available to an English-speaking readership."


The Alliance of Radical Booksellers announced that Here We Stand: Women Changing The World, edited by Helena Earnshaw and Angharad Penrhyn Jones, won the Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing. The editors were presented with a check for £500 (about $790), which was funded by the General Federation of Trade Unions.

Guest judge Nina Power commented: "Anthologies can often be uneven affairs, but this collection was consistently moving, insightful and inspiring in equal measure. The editors deserve particular praise for having so brilliantly presented these essential accounts of women involved in so many areas of struggle."

Book Brahmin: Nick Cutter

photo: Kevin Kelly

Nick Cutter is the pseudonym for Craig Davidson, who has published four books: Rust and Bone, The Fighter, Cataract City and Sarah Court. His work has appeared in Esquire, GQ, the Cincinnati Review, Salon and elsewhere. Rust and Bone was made into a film in 2012, starring Marion Cotillard and directed by Jacques Audiard. Under the name Nick Cutter, he has released three novels: The Troop, The Deep and his newest, The Acolyte (ChiZine, May 5, 2015).

On your nightstand now:

Knucklehead by Matt Lennox. Young Canadian writer who wrote a very powerful book, The Carpenter, a few years back. Strong stuff.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.

Your top five authors:

Stephen King, Robert R. McCammon, Shirley Jackson, Thom Jones, Clive Barker.

Book you've faked reading:

I'm not sure I've ever faked reading a book. I've claimed to like a few books I haven't liked to spare someone's feelings maybe (and perhaps others have done me that same favor), but not very often.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter.

Book you've bought for the cover:

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. Cool cover, powder-blue background with a hand stuck with candy sprinkles. I think I realized it was at least partially BS halfway through, but still, it was a strong book.

Book that changed your life:

It by Stephen King. King changed my life, period. There are a dozen books of his I could put here, but why not go with It, which I think is his best--or if not, simply my favorite. The Losers Club--I was part of one of those growing up, so I can sympathize. We may not have had the adventures of those characters in the book, but still, reading it brought me back to those days.

Favorite line from a book:

"Revoke our time apart. Love me fierce in danger." That's the final line from James Ellroy's White Jazz. I'm pretty sure that's the exact line, but I'm quoting from long-ago memory. But it stuck. [Editor's note: that is the exact line.] There's also a great line from Newton Thornberg's Cutter and Bone that goes: "Humans are as alike as planets, and no amount of love or litany or scorn can arrest for one moment the terrible precision of their trajectories."

Which character you most relate to:

I guess I'd like to relate to the Cool Hand Lukes and Randall P. McMurphys of the literary realm, but, at best, I probably better relate to the Draglines and Billy Bibbits of this world. That's okay--they're great characters, too, in their own way.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Oh, any number could pop to mind here. Kids' books, really. But the great thing about having a young son is that you can, in a way, reread some books again--you read them to your kids, and in that way can relive all the excitement and awe you initially felt when you read them the first time.

Book Review

Review: War of the Encyclopaedists

War of the Encyclopaedists by Christopher Robinson, Gavin Kovite (Scribner, $26 hardcover, 9781476775425, May 19, 2015)

Gavin Kovite, who led an infantry platoon in Baghdad during the Iraq War, and Christopher Robinson, a Yale Younger Poets prize finalist, send their two young protagonists on a turbulent existential journey through a year and a half of the early 2000s in their first novel, War of the Encyclopaedists.

Mickey Montauk and his best friend, Halifax Corderoy, imbibe together at an Encyclopaedists' party--one in a series of ironic faux art shows with co-occurring booze-ups at Montauk's house--in Seattle the summer of 2004, with the assumption that they both will soon move to Boston for grad school. However, their lives take sharp turns during the party. Montauk gets the call that his National Guard unit is mobilizing and shipping out to Iraq. Meanwhile, Corderoy rudely breaks up with his artistic, recently evicted girlfriend, Mani. Montauk considers her a freeloader willing to move in with Corderoy just to solve her housing crisis. After a dazed Mani walks into the path of a car and suffers a broken leg, she learns who planted the idea to leave her in Corderoy's head and insists Montauk owes her couch-surfing privileges until he departs for Iraq, but she forbids him from telling his friend.

Corderoy goes to Harvard alone and quickly finds his cynical hipster act scores him no points with classmates or professors. His roommate, Tricia, has all the activist ambition and aspirations that he lacks. She obsesses over the possibility of going to Baghdad as an intern for an unembedded journalist. While Montauk goes overseas to experience both the horror and the camaraderie of modern warfare--leaving Mani with nowhere to go but her parents' house in Massachusetts to knit her broken bones and messy life back together--Corderoy flounders. The two best friends soon grow apart, staying only loosely in touch by editing a Wikipedia article about their erstwhile personas, the Encyclopaedists.

The 20somethings' search for meaning in a time of turmoil can resonate with readers of any generation but especially with those who came of age during the United States' invasion of Iraq. Kovite and Robinson perfectly capture the mistakes, confusion and vulnerability of early adulthood, as well as the bravado used to mask them. Episodes in which Montauk or Tricia convince themselves they can single-handedly accomplish meaningful good against either terrorist elements or the American military are particularly insightful and wrenching. Bittersweet but ultimately redemptive, the Encyclopaedists' adventures in growing up, romantic failures and gaining perspective may remind readers of the pains and possibilities that are encountered when one makes a way in the world. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: Two best friends in the early 2000s keep in touch via a Wikipedia article they co-edit while one of them serves on National Guard duty in Iraq and the other stumbles through graduate school.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Canadian 'BookManager Academy' Set for June

The inaugural BookManager Academy will be held June 12-14 in Kelowna, B.C. That may seem like a simple announcement, but the backstory for this event, which features BookManager and general bookselling education programs, roundtable discussions and brainstorming sessions, along with social events and networking opportunities, is considerably more intricate.  

Michael Neill, president/head programmer of BookManager and owner of Mosaic Books, said his company "has been a smaller part of some previous Western Book Reps Association fairs. When they mentioned the idea of holding the fair in our hometown of Kelowna, I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to expand the audience and include everyone using BookManager. Part of the draw for any conference is the location and what to do after the meetings. Kelowna is a pretty amazing medium-size city to explore."

Michael Neill

Thus far, BMA has received "an overwhelmingly positive response from booksellers across the country," noted Diana O'Neill, who handles sales and technical/data support for the company. "We currently have just over 100 booksellers registered, with 50-plus stores taking part. Besides all the B.C. stores coming, there are booksellers flying in from across the country--and there are even a handful coming from Oregon and California. What started out as a small initiative has grown into something that is going to be really great."

The American Booksellers Association's Winter Institute played a significant role in the genesis of BMA 2015. "Diana and I attended the [2014] Seattle event to introduce BookManager to U.S. booksellers," said Neill. "My daughter, Alicia, manages our bookstore and she has also attended past Winter Institutes, including Asheville. The different perspectives and experiences from people who share similar passions and challenges is the most significant take-away."

O'Neill recalled a pivotal WI9 moment for her: "One thing that really resonates with me still to this day, from Seattle's 2014 WI, is an International Booksellers Workshop that Michael and I stumbled into. This room was filled with the minds of what could easily be considered a tiny snapshot of a 'who's who' of the American bookselling industry, but we didn't know that at the time. We simply thought the discussion would be somewhat relevant to us, seeing as we're a part of the Canadian bookselling community.

"In this room chowing down on sandwiches and throwing ideas around were Mitchell Kaplan of Books & Books, BookPeople's Steve Bercu, Chuck Robinson from Village Books and a handful of others. As cheesy as this sounds--and I admittedly lack a better description--I left that room optimistically fired up from the exchanging of the 'big picture' ideas. And not just that, but I felt really lucky to be a sponge soaking it all up.

Diana O'Neill

"So what I ultimately took away is we have booksellers just like that here in Canada. And in my job, I'm so very fortunate to speak to loads of them, day after day. A few years ago the Canadian bookselling industry felt all doom and gloom, but we have some strong, smart booksellers up here doing solid work and turning things around. So this BMA is our opportunity to have sessions just like that, with booksellers from across the country to hopefully inspire each other and keep us on this steady, forward-thinking, positive track."

She added that BMA's organizers "are essentially testing the waters with this event in June; we are striving for a mini (or modest) Canadian WI of sorts, possibly something to grow along the lines of what the ABA successfully does each year. We are even copying what the ABA did this past year with their 'Town Hall' type forum, which we are going to open up to reps and booksellers. The staff here and all booksellers we have talked to are very excited about what this is shaping up to be. Depending on how everything goes, we are essentially looking at this as a pilot project for possible future events designed to inspire booksellers to start thinking about the brighter future that is currently upon us."

When I asked Neill what he hoped to accomplish with the inaugural BMA, he replied: "Too many of us no longer communicate face-to-face with our peers. The BookManager education will be valuable for many, but it will also be a catalyst for discussion during the social events where ideas for change really happen. The book industry had been fighting a few years of erosion both in numbers and morale. Many stores have since turned things around and I hope to see those booksellers sharing their enthusiasm and thirst for change." --Robert Gray, contributing editor (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)

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