Also published on this date: Wednesday, August 5, 2015: Kids' Maximum Shelf: The Full Moon at the Napping House

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 5, 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

What's in a Name? 'Conscious Trading'

"I came upon the term 'hand-selling' on Elinor Lipman's Facebook page, where she was extolling the virtues of booksellers who recommend books to customers…. It's interesting that a special term has been coined for what used to be a pretty basic interaction between clerk and customer--an exchange most of us took for granted. Once again, our experience of the modern world gallops far beyond our lexicon….

Stephanie Greene

"Recently, a nearby big box hardware store folded because it never managed to attract the necessary volume of customers to make the targeted profits corporate headquarters had in mind. Customer loyalty to our downtown hardware store where you can get everything from pot holders to Dremel tools--as well as priceless advice about how to solve household problems--was simply too strong.

"I don't know if there's a word for this sort of conscious trading, but if there isn't, there should be. Every small store downtown that's supported by the conscious choices of its customers is a victory for the good life. Perhaps if we're careful to name these experiences, we'll be less likely to lose them."

--Stephanie Greene, in a commentary on Vermont Public Radio

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


Calvin Crosby Is New NCIBA Executive Director

Cal Crosby

Calvin Crosby has been named the new executive director of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association. He will begin training with current executive director Hut Landon September 8, with the formal "passing of the torch" expected following the NCIBA Discovery Show, October 15-16.

"I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have Calvin succeeding me," said Landon, who has headed the association the past 15 years. "NCIBA has been such an important part of my life, and to know that the association will continue to flourish and innovate under Calvin's leadership is wonderfully gratifying. Calvin was a leader on our board for many years and fully understands the role NCIBA plays for our members."

In addition to a 10-year stint on the NCIBA board that included a term as president, Crosby's background includes more than two decades working at both Book Passage and Books Inc. in all aspects of bookstore operations. He has also been committed to bookseller education, having led or participated in sessions with the American Booksellers Association and with NCIBA. Most recently, he was the sales and marketing director of McSweeney's.

NCIBA has also hired longtime independent bookseller Ann Seaton, who has 35 years of bookselling experience, as administrator. She will leave her job as manager of Hicklebee's children's bookstore in San Jose, as well as her position on the NCIBA board of directors, to work four days a week for the association.

Brilliant Books Offers Refunds for Go Set a Watchman

Brilliant Books in Traverse City, Mich., is offering refunds on Harper Lee's new novel Go Set a Watchman. In an editorial posted on the store's website, owner Peter Makin wrote that Go Set a Watchman is "not a sequel or prequel to To Kill a Mockingbird. Neither is it a new book. It is a first draft that was originally, and rightfully, rejected." And in an interview with Melville House last week, Makin said that he offered the first refund for Go Set a Watchman after a customer said that she felt misled about the nature of the book.

"I immediately apologized, and offered her a refund, which she accepted," Makin told Melville House. "I realized that we needed to offer the same thing to all our customers, of which there were dozens across the country, and explain why. Hence the opinion piece."

The editorial encourages readers to view Go Set a Watchman as a work of scholarly curiosity, not a "nice summer novel," and says: "It is disappointing and frankly shameful to see our noble industry parade and celebrate this as 'Harper Lee's New Novel.' This is pure exploitation of a both literary fans and a beloved American classics (which we hope has not been irrevocably tainted)."

Makin also compares Go Set a Watchman with Stephen Hero, the rejected, original draft of James Joyce's novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. When Stephen Hero was eventually published, Makin notes, it was as an "academic piece for scholars and fans--not as a new Joyce novel."

Asked by Melville House if the store was still selling Go Set a Watchman, Makin said that it is. "We are a bookstore, so we wouldn't not carry it, but we do explain to folks what it is, so that they buy it with their eyes open."

Indigo First Quarter: Sales Rise; Net Loss Lower

In the first quarter ended June 27, revenue at Indigo Books & Music grew 2.3%, to C$184.9 million (about US$140.4 million), and the net loss was $9 million ($6.8 million), an improvement compared to a loss of $14 million ($10.6 million) in the same quarter a year ago.

The company noted that revenue grew despite operating two fewer superstores and five fewer small format stores, and said that at Indigo and Chapters superstores open at least a year sales grew 5.3% while at Coles and IndigoSpirit small format stores open at least a year, sales fell 1%. Sales from Indigo's online channel,, grew by 18.2%.

Indigo attributed overall sales growth to "the continued double digit growth of the General Merchandise business. On a comparable store basis, we also experienced positive growth in the Print business." The improvement in the net loss was attributed to "improved revenue performance and proceeds from the disposal of a lease."

CEO Heather Reisman commented: "This is the seventh consecutive quarter of revenue growth and the fifth quarter of profitability improvement, which confirms our strategy is taking us in the right direction. We are excited by the initiatives we are currently working on which will continue to build our growth momentum."

St. Martin's Moves Up Trump Book's Pub Date

In response to high demand and heightened interest in "the Donald's" controversial presidential campaign, St. Martin's Press has moved up the release date for Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success by Michael D'Antonio from January 2016 to October 6 this year. Published by the Thomas Dunne imprint, the book chronicles Trump's rise to wealth and fame, as well as the scandals and controversies that have marked his long career in the media spotlight.

NEA Makes $275,000 in Literary Translation Grants

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced $275,000 in recommended grants to 20 translators to support the new translation of fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry from 11 different languages into English. You can find a complete list of recipients here.

"The NEA is committed to providing Americans with diverse art experiences," said chairman Jane Chu. "Our support of literary translation provides opportunities for readers to expand their knowledge of other cultures and traditions while also experiencing some of the world's most talented writers."

This year's projects are for translation from Albanian, Chinese, French, German, Danish, Italian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Yiddish. According to the NEA, "the review criteria for these projects consisted not only of the translators' skill, but also the importance of a particular work of international literature to English-speaking audiences, including those authors and languages which are often underrepresented."

Obituary Notes: Robert Conquest; John Culhane

British historian Robert Conquest, "whose landmark studies of the Stalinist purges and the Ukrainian famine of the 1930s documented the extent of the horrors perpetrated by the Soviet regime against its own citizens," died Monday, the New York Times reported. He was 98. Conquest's 1960 book Power and Politics in the USSR "established him as a leading Kremlinologist," the Times wrote. His books included The Great Terror: A Reassessment; The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine; Stalin: Breaker of Nations; and The Dragons of Expectation: Reality and Delusion in the Course of History.

Conquest was known as a poet before he began writing history. With Kingsley Amis, he edited several volumes of the poetry anthology New Lines, and the two "also shared a love of science fiction that they indulged by editing Spectrum, a series of five anthologies that presented quality science-fiction stories from the 1940s and '50s," the Times noted.


Journalist, author and Disney animation historian John Culhane, who was also an inspiration for the characters Mr. Snoops in The Rescuers and Flying John in the "Rhapsody in Blue" segment of Fantasia/2000, died July 30, Variety reported. He was 81. In addition to several books on Disney animation, Culhane also wrote The American Circus: An Illustrated History and Special Effects in the Movies: How They Do It--Dazzling Movie Magic and the Artists Who Create It.


'Better Know a Bookseller': Skylight's Steven Salardino

Noting that "the booksellers in these stores all over the world really help keep us alive," the 33 1/3 blog's "Better Know a Bookseller" series featured a q&a with Steven Salardino, manager of Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif. Among our favorite exchanges:

If an anonymous donor gave you 1 million dollars to use expressly to invest in your store what would you do with it?
Get a zeppelin to hover above the store and do home delivery, convert the space so we could flip a switch and light the place up like a disco, or probably, more realistically, channel it into a system to help raise the pay of the booksellers and keep the store going long into the future.

What is your favorite time of day in your store?
Bookstores are great at night when people are coming in to see an author reading or hang out after dinner down the street. Rainy days are also fantastic times to be in a bookstore… at Skylight Books the smell of damp wood and brick makes the room so cozy.

What does the future look like for your store?
The future feels good. There are great books coming out all the time and in some ways we are even more excited by them because they are such a respite from all the phone/computer/television screens around. Skylight Books will continue to be here for your escape and education, fantasies and knowledge.

Ransom Riggs's Library of Souls #StayPeculiar Tour

Quirk Books has announced Ransom Riggs's Library of Souls #StayPeculiar Tour, celebrating the third book (to be released September 22) in the bestselling Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series. Check out the author's video for fans.

Each event on this five-city tour "is a peculiar celebration and each event will be unique," according to the publisher. Highlights include Riggs in conversation with Tahereh Mafi for an event hosted by Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex.; a performance by Sleeping at Last at Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, Ill.; and a Peculiar Costume Contest at Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, Ga.

To celebrate the tour, Quirk is running a VIP trip to meet Riggs on the Library of Souls #StayPeculiar Tour. Fans can share a peculiar picture of themselves (either in a peculiar costume or photoshopped) on Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Vine or in a blog post; tag it with #staypeculiar, and submit it to for a chance to win a trip for two to a tour city of their choice.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Charlotte DeCroes Jacobs on Diane Rehm

Tomorrow on Diane Rehm: Charlotte DeCroes Jacobs, author of Jonas Salk: A Life (Oxford University Press, $34.95, 9780199334414).

Movies: The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet

The first U.S. trailer has been released for Jean-Pierre Jeunet's The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, based on Reif Larsen's book The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, Indiewire reported. The film stars Kyle Catlett, Niamh Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter, Callum Keith Rennie and Judy Davis.

Books & Authors

Awards: NAIBA Books of the Year

Winners have been announced for the 2015 New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association Books of the Year Award. They will be honored October 3 at the NAIBA Fall Conference Awards Banquet in Somerset, N.J. This year's winners are:

Fiction: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf)
Nonfiction: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (Spiegel & Grau)
Children's literature: Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
YA & middle readers: El Deafo by Cece Bell (Abrams)
Picture book: Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato (Holt)

Book Brahmin: Mary Kubica

Photo: Megan Bearder

Mary Kubica, the author of The Good Girl, holds a B.A. in history and American literature from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and lives near Chicago with her husband and two children. Pretty Baby (Mira, July 28, 2015) is her second novel.

On your nightstand now:

An ARC of Jillian Cantor's historical fiction novel The Hours Count, which releases this October. I first became familiar with the author when I read her adult debut, Margot, a retelling of the story of Margot Frank, and was captivated at once by Jillian's simple but beautiful prose.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Hands down, The Eyes of the Amaryllis by Natalie Babbitt. It's one I've read again and again. I have entire excerpts memorized still, though I haven't read the book in years. I'm looking forward to the day my daughter is old enough that she and I can read it together.

Your top five authors:

Jodi Picoult, Anita Shreve, Ernest Hemingway, Tim O'Brien, Khaled Hosseini.

Book you've faked reading:

Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner, which was required reading for a college literature course. No matter how hard I tried to understand the book, I couldn't--which was really unfortunate because, knowing the storyline, it sounds fascinating.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Ann Hood's The Obituary Writer. I have been a champion for this lush, evocative novel since I first read it, and have shared my copy with a number of family members and friends. For me, it resonated deeply on many levels. It would be near impossible to read The Obituary Writer and not be touched in some way.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. The minute I laid eyes on the cover, I knew I had to have the book. I was drawn to the whimsy of the cover image, as well as the sense of mystery and potential danger.

Book that changed your life:

Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, which is unequivocally my favorite book of all time. For one, it was one of the books that encouraged me to pursue a career as a high school history teacher--which preceded my writing career. Secondly, it changed the way I looked at the world and mankind, and forced me to think about life and death in ways I hadn't done before. This is a book that every person needs to read.

Favorite line from a book:

"You don't have to live forever, you just have to live." --Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Which character you most relate to:

The character I most relate to is Claire in Ann Hood's The Obituary Writer, through her portrayals of marriage and motherhood and loss.

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

Anita Shreve's The Last Time They Met. I can't remember ever being so bowled over by an unexpected ending, and I'd love the chance to experience it all over again for the very first time.

Book you wish you'd written:

S.J. Watson's Before I Go to Sleep. This is one of the most brilliant suspense novels I've ever read. I am truly impressed and inspired by Watson's immense attention to detail, and the way he's able to lay clues with such precision and skill. He sets a high bar for other suspense authors to meet.

Book Review

Children's Review: The Hired Girl

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz (Candlewick, $17.99 hardcover, 400p., ages 12-up, 9780763678180, September 8, 2015)

Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs wants to write in her diary with ''truth and refinement'' as her beloved teacher Miss Chandler suggests, but how can she when her drudging life of privy-scrubbing for her family is so terribly vulgar?

Joan is smart--very smart--and wants nothing more than to get an education and become a schoolteacher as her late mother wanted. There's one hulking obstacle, and that's her father, a bitter man who calls her ''an ox of a girl.'' The year is 1911, the place rural Pennsylvania, and opportunities for farm girls are few. Luke, Joan's brother, says women and cows are stupid--except for his sister. Indeed, it's little wonder that Joan, too often compared with ruminants, feels like ''the unluckiest girl who ever lived.'' She vows to escape to the big city, reasoning that if she's going to live a life of servitude, she might as well at least be paid $6 a week for it.

Fueled by desperation and the $29 her mother sewed into her doll's apron, Joan is able to flee by train to Baltimore. A romantic sort, she changes her name to ''Janet Lovelace'' and winds up in the wealthy Rosenbachs' elegant Jewish home as a hired girl, ''a kind of Gentile Cinderella.'' What she knows of the world comes from novels like Ivanhoe and a stereopticon of European photographs, and her frank naiveté leads Mrs. Rosenbach to comment that ''at any rate'' Janet hadn't been taught to be anti-Semitic. Janet is an aspiring Catholic, and her crash course in Judaism is not only instructive for the uninitiated, but often farcical, as when she infuriates the elderly servant Malka by unwittingly violating kosher traditions. Janet's earnest theological musings are humorously contrasted with more worldly concerns, from stylish hats to stray cats to her ardent, forbidden love for the Rosenbachs' charismatic artist son, David. She writes, ''I think of myself as somebody disguised as the hired girl,'' and the truth is, the line blurs for the Rosenbachs, too... to a point.

Fans of Little Women, rejoice. Joan's impassioned diary, inspired by Schlitz's own grandmother's journals, explores themes of faith and feminism, love and literature, culture and class in early 20th-century America, all the while charming readers with a vivid cast of characters. --Karin Snelson, book editor and reviewer

Shelf Talker: Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz fabricates the deliciously dramatic diary of a bookish Pennsylvania farm girl who escapes to Baltimore in 1911 to forge a new life for herself.

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