Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 22, 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


Finally Found Books Becoming Nonprofit

Finally Found Books, Auburn, Wash., which has struggled financially since opening in 2013, has formed a nonprofit called the Washington Literary Organization that aims to buy the store as well as promote literacy, support schools, educators and libraries, and help the less fortunate receive books. Owner Todd Hulbert considers it "a viable model that other struggling bookstores can follow."

In January, Hulbert put the store up for sale, calling it "a very difficult and personally emotional decision." But he found no buyers and told the Auburn Reporter: "We started to see revenues go down substantially from the previous year, and things didn't get any better in February, March or April. I finally said, 'It's either time to shut it up, or we can look at forming a nonprofit.' "

Hulbert emphasized the advantages of a nonprofit: it can engage in tax-deductible fundraising, apply for grants, offer tax deductions for book donations, use volunteer staff, work with schools and libraries directly and network with other nonprofits.

Already, Hulbert told the paper, volunteers have taken on responsibilities "in the business and [to] support existing and upcoming literary programs" and a 13-member board has been formed.

The Washington Literary Organization's initial goal is to raise $10,000 for interim funding to form the nonprofit and offset the store's operating expenses while doing the secondary fundraising of $250,000. One-third of the secondary funding raised will be used as operating capital for the store while the other two-thirds will be used to purchase Finally Found Books's furniture, fixtures, equipment, inventory and goodwill.

Hulbert plans to stay on as interim store manager until a replacement is funded and trained, serve on the WLO board if elected, volunteer in the store several hours a week and be on call to consult.

The Reporter said, too, that various Finally Found Books programs will also be "beefed up," including training and internships that have included developmentally disabled interns; more gift certificates for teachers; more book and gift certificate donations to such causes and organizations as shut-in seniors, PTA auctions, fundraisers, Friends of the Library, the Veteran's Administration and churches.

New programs will include the collection and distribution of some 100,000 books in the first year for schools, libraries and other organizations and 200,000 in the second year; Traveling Story Time, which will offer readings at preschools and other children's gathering places; in-house events such as tutoring, reading hours and sign language classes; and providing meeting space for literary events.

In 2014, Finally Found Books had net revenues of $140,307.21, and in the first quarter of this year, net revenues were $32,364.93. The store's annual fixed expenses are about $70,000, and the proposed beginning annual payroll expenses are about $40,000. Other discretionary expenses include advertising, purchase of new books and inventory, professional trade groups and conferences, etc.

In early 2012, Hulbert bought Baker Street Books in Black Diamond, Wash., closed it to install new shelving, reconfigure the store and absorb some 100,000 volumes he had in storage. In July, he reopened the store as Finally Found Books. In September 2013, Finally Found Books moved to Auburn because sales were too low in Black Diamond. The store sells new and used titles.

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

Page One, Largest Bookstore in Taiwan, Closing

Page One's Taipei 101 store, the largest bookstore in Taiwan, will close at the end of July, according to China Times. It's also Page One's last bookstore in Taiwan. The company, which has headquarters in Singapore and sells primarily English-language books, closed its Sogo Department Store shop in Taipei in 2009.

Page One has been expanding in mainland China and now has five stores in the People's Republic, with three locations in Beijing, one in Chengdu and another in Hangzhou. It has a range of stores, including airport shops in Hong Kong. Its original flagship store, in Singapore, closed in 2012.

Zhang Ying, head of Page One's marketing department, said English-language books account for 65% of the books on sale at the three Beijing stores, where most patrons are people aged 20-35 and hold at least a college degree and have medium-to-high incomes.

New Bookshops with Singular Focuses

photo: Nicole Disser/

Pioneer Books, a new bookstore from Pioneer Works that hosted its grand opening last Tuesday in Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood, "is a remarkably small shop. Maybe the size of a very bitty studio apartment," Bedford + Bowery reported. Nonetheless, visitors will "find a very small yet very intriguing selection of reads."

The shop "has some selections from Pioneer Works resident artists and a long display case in the center devoted to book-sized works of a particular artist. And opening a bookshop makes sense for the arts organization, not only for the sake of marketing Intercourse, a hefty magazine now in its third issue, but because PW has plans to expand on its own small press, which puts out art books and chapbooks by artists involved with the organization," Bedford + Bowery wrote, adding: "But the shop isn't solely or even mostly about PW's books. There's a modest wall spotlighting a rotating small local press. Right now it's dedicated to Ugly Duckling Presse."

"It's almost like an installation, in a sense, because it's so small and ever changing," said bookseller Zach White. "I don't feel like it will ever be a place for 'I'm looking for this book, maybe Pioneer Books has it'--instead you'll come here and know that a book is gonna find you."


A new bookshop in Tokyo is even more focused. Wallpaper reported that Yoshiyuki Morioka, proprietor of the recently opened Morioka Shoten (Morioka Bookstore) in Ginza, carries only one book at any given time. The "featured book changes weekly and is occasionally accompanied by art works, photographs or other related items.... Sometimes the shop appears more like a gallery than an actual bookstore--but it's always the book that takes center stage."

Obituary Notes: James Salter; Belinda Hollyer

James Salter, "a writer who contemplated love, mortality and the lives of men of action in his novels and short stories and who built a quiet reputation as an extraordinary prose stylist," died Friday, the Washington Post reported, adding that he "was perhaps best known for a slim 1967 novel, A Sport and a Pastime." He was 90.

Noting that he "wrote slowly, exactingly and, by almost every critics estimation, beautifully," the New York Times said that Michael Dirda once observed "he can, when he wants, break your heart with a sentence."

For the New Yorker, Nick Paumgarten wrote: "The news, in its way unexpected, felt like one of those breath-stealing turns out of Light Years, his masterpiece, or All That Is, his final work. Both novels span decades, depicting fairly ordinary lives studded with such swipes of fate. Salter, though admired principally as a sculptor of sentences, may have been close to peerless (Alice Munro comes to mind, too) in his talent, and taste, for expressing the mercilessness of times passing."


Belinda Hollyer, a children's book author who also worked extensively in publishing, has died, the Guardian reported. She was 70. Hollyer moved from her native New Zealand to London in the 1970s and began her career working for the Macdonald Group. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, she held two senior management jobs--as managing director of Random House Children's Books and then as head of Philips Media's London office. In 2002, Hollyer's first novel for children, A Long Walk to Lavender Street, was published and several more followed, including River Song, "her most popular book"; along with poetry collections and history books for kids, the Guardian wrote.

Off the Beaten Path Mixes Books and Brews

This spring and summer, Off the Beaten Path Bookstore in Steamboat Springs, Colo., has been experimenting with a new event series called Books and Brews. Every Wednesday from 6-8 p.m., the store features a selection of craft beers from a local brewery, specials on cafe treats and drinks, book discounts and events, including open mics and poetry slams. The idea behind the series, explained Logan Farmer, Off the Beaten Path's receiver and events coordinator, is to create less of a traditional author event and more of a "literary happy hour," although authors still do sometimes drop by.

Books and Brews local author showcase featuring (l.-r.) Mason A. Crow, Linda Collison and Mary Kurtz
(photo: Diggie Vitt)

"We found a need for this in our town," said Emily Katzmann, events coordinator and bookseller at Off the Beaten Path. Katzmann and Farmer ran a six-week trial run of Books and Brews that began in March. It proved successful, especially the open mics and poetry slams, and the pair decided to bring it back for the summer. This week saw their fifth event in the summer series--a local author showcase--and presently they're booked through August.

"Every week we have a larger audience," said Farmer. Two weeks ago, Books and Brews drew roughly 30 people, and last week they had to push all of their bookshelves aside to accommodate the crowd. One of their most popular events was a visit by John Vaillant, author of The Jaguar's Children and The Tiger, on May 27.

Off the Beaten Path is a 2,700-square-foot indie bookstore and cafe selling both new and used titles. This year it is celebrating its 25th year in business. Steamboat Springs is an isolated mountain town some three and a half hours from Denver and, Katzmann said, one of the store's recurring challenges is getting authors to visit consistently. "We've tried to overcome that in different, innovative ways," she said.

Another challenge is the "boom and bust" cycle in Steamboat Springs tied to the seasons; the store took a hiatus from Books and Brews in the spring, and may take another in the fall, quieter times of the year. But then the program will return. "People want a chance to get on the mic and share. We plan to continue it." --Alex Mutter


Image of the Day: Riverhead Authors in the Bay Area

Riverhead authors Lauren Groff (author of Fates & Furies, on sale September 15), Claire Vaye Watkins (Gold Fame Citrus, September 29) and Laura Secor (Children of Paradise, February 2, 2016) meet with booksellers from the Bay Area last week. Among the guests: Kathleen Caldwell, A Great Good Place for Books; Stephen Sparks, Green Apple Books; Leigh Atkins, Kepler's; Melinda Powers, Bookshop Santa Cruz; Camden Avery, Booksmith; Susan Tunis, Bookshop West Portal; Vicki DeArmon, Copperfield's; Nick Pauley, Mrs. Dalloway's; Judy Wheeler, Towne Center Books; Pam Stirling, Diesel Oakland; and Paul Yamazaki, City Lights.

SubText Grand Opening on Friday

Subtext Books is holding the grand opening of its new location in downtown St. Paul, Minn., this Friday, June 26. According to the Pioneer Press, the celebration begins at 11 a.m., with "a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony and welcomes from Mayor Chris Coleman, city council member Dave Thune, county commissioner Rafael Ortega, state legislator Carlos Mariani and Metro Independent Business Alliance President Chris Hanson. Carol Connolly, St. Paul poet laureate, will read a poem written for the occasion. There will be coffee and cookies."

The store is also celebrating with several days of author (and musical) appearances.

The Guardian's 'Best Indie in the World': Powell's Books

Congratulations to Powell's Books, Portland, Ore., named "the best independent bookshop in the world" by the Guardian, with help from its readers. The entry reads:

"This legendary Portland shop is the world's largest used book store--the jewel in the crown of what is claimed to be the largest independent chain of bookstores on the planet. Powell's even provides a map for customers. 'It is amazing! It is a whole city block with several floors of books. Unlike ordinary bookstores, Powell's has a huge selection of every book imaginable. I took my retired English teacher father there and he went crazy. It also has a cafe and a selection of antique computers. It is an absolute paradise for bibliophiles!' said John R. Ewing Jr."

Other U.S. stores on the Guardian's list of 10 best indies in the world: at No. 4, City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, Calif.; No. 6, the Strand, New York City; and No. 7, Wild Rumpus, Minneapolis, Minn.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Colin Quinn on Conan

This morning on the Today Show: Mary Higgins Clark, author of The Melody Lingers On (Simon & Schuster, $26.99, 9781476749112).


Today on Diane Rehm: Evan Thomas, author of Being Nixon: A Man Divided (Random House, $35, 9780812995367).


Tomorrow on Fresh Air: Noah Charney, author of The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of the Master Forgers (Phaidon, $35, 9780714867458).


Tomorrow night on Conan: Colin Quinn, author of The Coloring Book: A Comedian Solves Race Relations in America (Grand Central, $26, 9781455507597).

Movies: Let It Snow; Eastwood Finds His 'Sully'

Here's something to beat the summer heat. Universal announced that it will release Let It Snow, based on a short story collection by John Green, on December 9, 2016. reported that the movie's plot "covers three unexpected romances which take place over the course of Christmas Eve." Bluegrass Films Scott Stuber (Ted series, Identity Thief) and Dylan Clark (Planet of the Apes series, Oblivion) will produce from Kay Cannon's screenplay (Pitch Perfect series).


"Clint Eastwood has found Sully," noted in reporting that the director and Warner Bros are negotiating with Tom Hanks to play Captain Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger in a film adaptation of the book Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters by Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow.

Books & Authors

Awards: Trillium

Kate Cayley won the $20,000 (about US$16,300) English-language fiction Trillium Book Award, which honors the best writing by Ontario authors, for her debut story collection, How You Were Born, Quillblog reported. Brecken Hancock took the $10,000 ($8,150) prize in the poetry category for her collection, Broom Broom. Winning the $20,000 French-language Trillium Book Award was Michel Dallaire for Violoncelle pour lune d'automne, with the $10,000 French-language children’s literature prize going to Micheline Marchand for Mauvaise mine.

Book Review

Review: Bull Mountain

Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich (Putnam, $26.95 hardcover, 9780399173967, July 7, 2015)

Rising out of northeast Georgia's Appalachian Highlands, fictional Bull Mountain stands near Atlanta, the self-proclaimed capital of the New South, and Augusta, the tony home of the Masters golf tournament, where bad behavior is defined as peeking at a banned cellphone. In Brian Panowich's arresting first novel, Bull Mountain is home to the Burroughs family, a six-generation clan of outlaws whose attachment to the land passes father to son, along with a violent distrust of outsiders. As the first of the Burroughs to try to go straight and come down off the mountain, McFalls County Sheriff Clayton Burroughs describes his family legacy to the federal ATF agent who's attempting to bust the family crime stronghold: "No one gets to tell them what they can and cannot do on their own land.... Not on their mountain.... You can't sneak up on the man who spent his whole life in the woods sneaking up on things." As the Burroughs generations passed, the family crimes evolved with the times. Whatever governments forbid, outlaws provide--be it poached meat and fur, moonshine, marijuana or, in the 21st century, methamphetamine. Clayton's father, Gareth, burned up in a crank cookhouse fire ("You'd think the high-and-mighty king of Bull Mountain wouldn't go out like some lowly city tweeker"), his brother Buckley was ambushed and killed by the feds, and his last brother, Hal, now runs the mountain with sociopathic violence and bootleg assault rifles from a Jacksonville, Fla., biker gang. Bull Mountain is a Cain-and-Abel story of Clayton and Hal, good and evil, law and outlaws--but it is also the story of family (the first word of the novel) and its tenacious hold on generations.

Ever since Daniel Woodrell successfully launched the niche genre of "country noir" in the '80s, bookshelves have filled with crime novels set in the rural mountains and backwoods of the South. A road-weary singer-songwriter and professional firefighter in east Georgia, Panowich plants his Bull Mountain squarely on those same shelves among the classic works of Woodrell, Larry Brown and James Lee Burke. It's that good. As in the best of this lot, his minor lowlife characters are often the most entertaining--criminals such as Hal's big, black enforcer Val ("like a mountain of Kentucky coal in a flannel shirt") or the aging mastermind behind the gun dealers ("a few gray survivors stretched over his bald head in a comb-over that even he had to know looked ridiculous"). There are few women on the mountain (in the roles of either mother or whore--or both) except Clayton's wife, Kate, who serves as an anchor in his conflicted life. After Panowich's plot follows its twisting path to a surprising ending, it is clear that this is but the first of what could be a Bull Mountain run of fine cracker crime fiction. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: This first novel by former musician and east Georgia firefighter Brian Panowich is a worthy addition to the growing canon of dope and deadbeat Southern "country noir."

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