Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Simon & Schuster: Fall Cooking With Simon Element

Ace Books: Dungeon Crawler Carl by Matt Dinniman

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Millicent Quibb School of Etiquette for Young Ladies of Mad Science by Kate McKinnon

Annick Press: Bog Myrtle by Sid Sharp

Minotaur Books: Betrayal at Blackthorn Park: A Mystery (Evelyne Redfern #2) by Julia Kelly

Tor Books: Blood of the Old Kings by Sung-Il Kim, Translated by Anton Hur

Del Rey Books: The Book of Elsewhere by Keeanu Reeves and China Miéville

Quotation of the Day

'The Return of Bookselling'

"I think the most interesting [change] is one we are still riding right now: what I'd call 'the return to the bookstore.' Over the past couple of decades, some of our customers were tempted to fill their book needs elsewhere--at inexpensive retail outlets, online, through e-books, etc. But many of those customers have returned to our stores these past few years with a renewed sense of commitment. Our customers' awareness of the importance of shopping local, the pleasure of the physical book, the value of browsing a well-curated selection, and the fulfillment that is gained by interacting in person, in a real space with other readers engaged in the activity of sharing and exchanging ideas, is greater than it's ever been."

--ABA v-p Robert Sindelar, managing partner of Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park and Seattle, Wash., in a q&a with Bookselling This Week

G.P. Putnam's Sons: William by Mason Coile


Montgomery's Capitol Book & News Co. to Close

Capitol Book & News Company, Montgomery, Ala., will close in January after 65 years in business. Owners Cheryl and Thomas Upchurch, who purchased the store from founder Vic Levine in 1978, wrote: "We are retiring from the book business, and closing the bookstore effective sometime in January. We'll operate normally through Christmas, and after that we'll stay open long enough to sell all the inventory, or return to the publishers whatever we can't sell....

"We've spent over 40 years (37 of them as owners of Capitol Book) in a business we love, and now we want to take it easy for a while. We're really looking forward to it. Our only regret is that we won't have an independent bookstore to visit in Montgomery.

"Well, that's not our only regret. We'll miss all of you, too. You have meant more to us than you can ever know. We owe nearly everything we have to you, and we'll never forget it.... Thank you for every minute of the past 37 years.

Harpervia: The Alaska Sanders Affair by Joël Dicker, Translated by Robert Bononno

'Experiential' Indie Bookshop to Open in London

Rohan Silva and Sam Aldenton plan to open an 830-square-foot "experiential" independent bookshop on Brick Lane in east London in December. The Bookseller reported that the entrepreneurs "are the founders of Second Home, an old carpet factory off Brick Lane that the pair transformed into a £3 million [about $4.5 million] 'utopian workspace' for creative companies."

"Designed to attract Millennials," the bookshop "will house a bar, DJ turntables and an in-house printing press," the Bookseller wrote, adding that a recent job ad in the publication for a general manager "caused a stir on social media and resulted in 'hundreds' of applicants for the position, Silva said, when it called for 'a highly dynamic and bookish general manager to help create an interdisciplinary space that crosses books with booze with an in-house printing operation and DJ sets.' "

"This is a golden moment for bookshops," Silva said. "We are passionate about books and ideas, and beautiful physical books are such wonderful things to be exposed to.... We are thinking about the bookshop as an experience where you can see physical books being printed and bound, adding texture. These are the things a physical bookshop can do that Amazon can't."

The possibility exists that another location in a different city could open next year "if the venture is successful, with the potential to start a chain," the Bookseller wrote.

General Retail Sales in October: Slightly Lower than Expected

"Balmy October days failed to inspire people to shop for winter coats, but the retail sales results were even a little worse than forecast," Alpha Now reported. For the month, sales at stores open at least a year (excluding drugstores) decreased 0.7% at the eight retailers tracked by Thomson Reuters, compared with analysts' projection of a flat month and a 2.5% jump a year earlier.

CEO Changes at Human Kinetics

Effective January 1, Skip Maier becomes CEO of publisher Human Kinetics, succeeding Brian Holding, who has held the position for the past 18 years and is moving into the role of CEO Emeritus. Maier is currently director of HK's journal division. Prior to joining HK, he worked for the American Psychological Association as director of journal services, and as group leader in publishing services for Cadmus Professional Communications.

"We were fortunate to find within our company a person who not only possessed the skills to lead HK into the rapidly changing future of publishing, but who was philosophically aligned with the management approach and values of the company since our beginning," said Rainer Martens, the company's founder and president.

He also noted that Holding "provided superior leadership to Human Kinetics, resulting in HK being recognized as one of the best small publishers in the United States and world leader in publishing resources for the physical activity and health fields. We are very fortunate that Brian will remain with the company, providing counsel to our leadership team and expanding our business internationally."

Obituary Note: Rena Wolner

Rena Wolner, a pioneering publishing executive who was the only woman to be appointed president and publisher of three leading mass-market book publishing companies, died November 7. She was 70. In a tribute, Penguin Random House wrote that Wolner's "legacy to us is greatness: greatness she helped bestow upon Bantam and Berkley, and through them, also to Random House, Penguin and Penguin Random House. She was a great as a publishing leader, and even greater as a person. Our loss is great."

She began her publishing career at Bantam Books in 1968 as an assistant in the contracts department, rising to the position of associate publisher and deputy to company president Oscar Dystel. In 1978, she became v-p and publisher of the Berkley Publishing Corporation, and went on to serve as president of Pocket Books in 1985, and in the same capacity at Avon Books, before becoming a consultant to then CEO Phyllis Grann at the Putnam Berkley Group until Wolmer's retirement in 1994.

"With her distinctive Boston accent, her great publishing mind and a heart to match, Rena was a president and a publisher who was as smart about and attentive to the details as she was to the big picture; she was simultaneously a collaborative team player and an independent thinker," PRH wrote. "Thriving at a time when there were fewer women in the top publishing-leadership jobs than there are today, she inspired and motivated a generation of women executives, always making time to encourage them in their careers, helping them learn from missteps and championing them at their best."


Image of the Day: Thank You Note

Last week, a lively group of Pacific Northwest booksellers and librarians were invited to Seattle's Local 360 to celebrate Illuminae (Random House), first in a planned YA trilogy by Australian authors Amie Kaufman (the Starbound Trilogy) and Jay Kristoff (the Lotus War trilogy). Here, Kristoff and Kaufman thank Shelf Awareness reviewer Kyla Paterno, who called Illuminae "a game-changer for its genre." --Karin Snelson

'Curious Persistence' of Poetry Bookshops

Berl's Brooklyn Poetry Shop "is among a crop of poetry stores in U.S. cities with robust literary communities, including Boulder, Cambridge, Milwaukee, and Seattle," the New Yorker reported, noting that their presence "would seem, at first glance, to defy the ongoing concerns among brick-and-mortar retailers.... But the theory now goes that stores that do one thing well or create an experience--niche retail, as it's sometimes called--can thrive."

Jared White, owner of Berl's, "was inspired to develop a business plan for a storefront after seeing the balance sheet that the independent Greenlight Bookstore, an institution in nearby Fort Greene, had posted online," the New Yorker wrote. "Their numbers were amazing," he said.

He doesn't consider Berl's "to be niche retail, per se," the New Yorker noted, adding that White "is also aware that 'waves of gentrification,' as he put it, have helped to keep the store afloat. The countercultural appeal of poetry, like that of art, makes it a relatively easy sell to a population willing to shop for things that they don't necessarily need but might covet as a form of self-expression. That niche is centuries old, and enduring."

#HarryPotterBookNight 2016 Theme: 'A Night of Spells'

"A Night of Spells" will be the theme for the second Harry Potter Book Night, which is scheduled for February 4, 2016, the Guardian reported, noting that it "will follow the huge success of last year, with fans organizing 10,500 parties and #HarryPotterBookNight trending for most of the day."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Joe Klein on Diane Rehm

NPR's On Point: Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, author of The Cosmopolites: The Coming of the Global Citizen (Columbia Global Reports, $12.99, 9780990976363).

CBS's the Doctors: Amber Rose, author of How to Be a Bad Bitch (Gallery Books, $28, 9781501110115).

Diane Rehm: Joe Klein, author of Charlie Mike: A True Story of Heroes Who Brought Their Mission Home (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781451677300).

The Wendy Williams Show: Christie Brinkley, author of Timeless Beauty: Over 100 Tips, Secrets, and Shortcuts to Looking Great (Grand Central Life & Style, $30, 9781455587940).

Tavis Smiley: Kevin Powell, author of The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy's Journey into Manhood (Atria, $26, 9781439163689).

Conan: Jesse Eisenberg, author of Bream Gives Me Hiccups (Grove Press, $26, 9780802124043).

Movies: Q; The Glass Castle

Screenwriter Allan Loeb (Collateral Beauty, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) will adapt Evan Mandery's novel Q, which is set up at Lionsgate. Matt Tolmach, Erwin Stoff and Francis Lawrence are producing, reported, adding that the book "was being developed by Tolmach initially, but Stoff had also read the book and loved it. So they talked and they decided to produce it."


Woody Harrelson "is in talks" along with Brie Larson (Room) to star in Lionsgate's The Glass Castle, based on the memoir by Jeanette Walls, reported. The project is being directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12), with Gil Netter (Life of Pi, The Blind Side, Marley & Me) producing.

Books & Authors

Awards: Prix Femina; Irish Book Shortlists

Scottish author Kerry Hudson won France's Prix Femina for translated fiction for Thirst (La couleur de l'eau, translated by Florence Lévy-Paoloni), the Guardian reported. Judges called the novel "a very moving history, which hangs on the fates of two marginalized people."

The Prix Femina for best novel in French went to Christophe Boltanski's La Cache, while the prize for best essay went to Emmanuelle Loyer's biography of Claude Levi-Strauss.


Finalists have been named in 12 categories for the 2015 Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards, which "recognize and celebrate the very best of Irish literary talent," the Bookseller reported. Winners will be named November 25. Shortlisted for the Eason Novel of the Year are Tender by Belinda McKeon, Miss Emily by Nuala O' Connor, The Green Road by Anne Enright, The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray, Beatlebone by Kevin Barry and The Little Red Chairs by Edna O' Brien. Check out the complete Irish Book Awards shortlists here.

Book Review

Review: American Blood

American Blood by Ben Sanders (Minotaur Books, $24.99 hardcover, 9781250058799, November 17, 2015)

New Zealand author Ben Sanders (Only the Dead) makes his bow stateside with a high-speed thriller that will appeal to fans of Lee Child and C.J. Box.

Marshall Grade oversteps his bounds when he starts to investigate the disappearance of a young woman in Albuquerque, N.Mex. Once an NYPD officer, Marshall cannot reconcile himself  to keeping his head down, an essential part of life in the federal witness protection program. Thanks to an undercover operation gone awry a few years ago, the mob wants Marshall in a body bag. If the hired killer known only as the Dallas Man finds him, Marshall knows his erasure will be swift and efficient. Still, the missing woman looks enough like someone he once knew to draw Marshall out, hoping that helping her will give him respite from his guilt over the mistakes that landed him in witness protection. Unfortunately, his investigation pits him against drug traffickers, and the shockwaves not only trigger the attention of sympathetic narcotics agent Lauren Shore but also that of the Dallas Man, who begins an inexorable journey to find Marshall and kill him.

Eschewing any words unnecessary to the pell-mell advancement of the plot, Sanders's tense voice lends a gritty heft to the time-honored story of a man blessed with what Bryan Mills (Taken) would call "a very particular set of skills." Handy with a weapon and possessing a quick mind, Marshall matches wits with thug after thug. While finding the missing woman remains his priority, the pertinent question becomes whether or not Marshall will meet someone more dangerous than himself first.

As the title American Blood suggests, copious pints are shed in varied and gruesome fashions. Knives, hand-to-hand combat and the requisite array of firearms come into gory play as the bad guys do their dirty deeds and Marshall blasts a path through them. Although the pacing leaves no time for navel gazing, character development is not lost in the shuffle. The Dallas Man in particular intrigues: a hitman extraordinaire who dispatches targets with cold precision, yet calls his young daughter every time he needs distance from the reality of his life. Whether following the seedy exploits of meth dealers or the frustrated efforts of the agent assigned to keep Marshall safe, Sanders keeps forward momentum at maximum velocity, and manages to slip in a few nifty plot twists at the last second, including a terrific hook that sets up a sequel. Regardless of whether the announced motion picture starring Bradley Cooper makes it to production, American Blood is a thrill ride more than worth the admission. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: This rapid-fire crime thriller from a New Zealander was optioned by Warner Bros. while still in the proposal stage.

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