Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, November 24, 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

Amazon 'Made Us Stronger'

"When I bought the shop, Amazon was just getting started. We didn't have a computer or any kind of POS. There were always stacks of catalogs to look through and file! Above the Treeline and Edelweiss has significantly changed our inventory management. Having to compete against Amazon has made us stronger by focusing us on what we do best--curation, customer service and a smile. We also figured out that we didn't need the whole pie--just our part--to be profitable and happy."

--ABA board member Valerie Koehler, owner of Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex., in a q&a with Bookselling This Week

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


Walls of Books to Open in Washington, D.C.

Coming soon: Walls of Books

A Walls of Books store will open on December 12 at 3325 Georgia Ave., N.W., in Washington, D.C., reported.

The 2,400-square-foot Walls of Books store will carry some 30,000 new and used books in English and Spanish and have couches and chairs for customers. "People like bookstores," owner Pablo Sierra said. "This is where I wanted to open up. I like this community and I wanted to provide something to it."

According to the store's website, Sierra is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va. He spent eight years in the navy and eight years in management.

Walls of Books is run by Shane Gottwals and has expanded as a franchise operation to include 15 stores opened or preparing to open. Gottwals opened his first store, Gottwals Books, in Warner Robins, Ga., in 2007.

'Petite Grand Opening' for Scrawl Books in Reston, Va.

Scrawl Books, located in Urban Pop in Reston, Va., will host a "Small Business Saturday Petite Grand Opening" this Saturday, November 28, featuring food, prizes and special guests. Owner Rachel Wood, a librarian and Reston resident with more than 20 years experience connecting books with people, told Reston Now: "We have had [books] coming in the last month or so, and I will have daily restocking from my vendors." She added that the store will be at Urban Pop "until we are ready to go somewhere else," and she's still looking for a long-term, bigger space.

Stan Jantz Named ECPA Executive Director

Stan Jantz

Effective December 1, Stan Jantz is becoming executive director of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. He has been interim director of ECPA since former president and CEO Mark Kuyper was hired in June as executive director of the Book Industry Study Group.

Jantz has worked in the Christian book industry his entire professional life. He was president of Fellowship Bookstores for many years and more recently was publishing director for Regal Books and interim CEO for Gospel Light Publishers. He is also co-writer, with Bruce Bickel, of more than 60 books.

"We anticipate a robust future for ECPA under the leadership of Stan Jantz," said ECPA board chair Dwight Baker of the Baker Publishing Group. "Stan is well prepared to shape ECPA in a manner that serves our members well, and he will strengthen our professional ties to the urgent needs of the church. The importance of Christian literature cannot be overstated, and God has blessed our publishing community with this assignment."

Amazon to Open Brooklyn, N.Y., Distribution Center

Amazon will open a distribution center at Liberty View Industrial Plaza in the Sunset Park neighborhood, the Brooklyn Paper reported, adding that the online retailer has signed "a seven-year lease for an undisclosed chunk of the massive industrial building."

"We'd like to know what the local employment impact would be, especially owing to a number of different reports about unfair labor practices at Amazon facilities," said Ryan Chavez of the environmental justice group Uprose. He also expressed concern regarding the impact of the company's delivery trucks on the area: "Sunset Park is already home to a number of different industrial facilities that depend on trucks. Amazon will have to address the environmental and public health impacts their trucks could have on the community."

New Zealand to Tax E-Books from Overseas Retailers

Beginning in October 2016, the New Zealand government will collect a 15% goods & services tax on e-books and other digital products purchased online from overseas retailers, Books+Publishing reported. The move follows an August announcement that Australia "would apply a 10% GST to all goods purchased online from July 1, 2017, after earlier announcing it would extend the GST to digital downloads."

Saying that the legislation "goes only halfway to rectifying the GST problem with foreign retailers and benefits only big businesses engaged in selling videos, music and e-books," Booksellers NZ CEO Lincoln Gould called for the GST to be extended to physical products. "It does not help small retailers, such as bookshops, that face an ever-increasing uneven playing field, where they have to collect GST for the government on the sale of small value goods, while the offshore online retailer does not... This will mean that Amazon, for instance, will be required to collect GST on the sale of an e-book, or an audiobook to a New Zealand purchaser, but not on the sale of a printed book."


Image of the Day: Bill Nye's Science Guys

From Keebe Fitch, manager of McIntyre's Books, Pittsboro, N.C.: "Bow ties were in abundance Friday night at McIntyre's. The bookstore welcomed a huge crowd for Bill Nye and his latest work, Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World."

Cool Idea of the Day: Free Parking

A recent e-newsletter from the Regulator Bookshop, Durham, N.C., noted: "We've had enough of looking out our window at the empty parking lot across the street. Since the city won't admit they made a mistake making this a paid parking lot, we're taking matters into our own hands. We are declaring, henceforth, that you no longer need to pay to park in the Ninth Street lot, no matter what day or time you park there. Here's how it will work:

  • "Bring your parking ticket (the one you get from the meter in the lot) with you to the bookstore....
  • Spend $10 or more before tax at the Regulator, show us your ticket, and we'll give you a dollar off your bill.

"Other Ninth Street merchants will be joining in this effort soon--look for upcoming announcements."

Personnel Changes at Bookmasters, Perseus

Dan Verdick has been named to the new director of national sales position at Bookmasters. He was formerly v-p of national accounts for Children's Plus and earlier held sales and marketing positions at MBI Publishing/Motorbooks, ABDO Publishing, Pinnacle Publishing, Fairview Press, Redleaf Press and the University of Minnesota Press.


At Perseus Books Group:

Leslie Jobson has been promoted to senior manager, field sales. She was formerly the primary sales contact for all Perseus Distribution and Legato clients and has been with the company for eight years.

Louisa Brody has been promoted to senior manager, group marketing. She joined the company five years ago.

Book Trailer of the Day: On the Run

On the Run by Tristan Bancks (Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers), in which the author writes his book as he walks on the beach.

Media and Movies

TV: Game of Thrones

"So does this or does this not show Jon Snow, Kit Harington's lead character who was supposedly knocked off" during Game of Thrones season 5 finale? noted that "HBO seems to be fanning those flames today with teaser art showing a bloody face that sure seems to look like Snow. Teaser, indeed."

Media Heat: Tom Jones on Today

Morning Joe: Karl Rove, author of The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters (Simon & Schuster, $32.50, 9781476752952). He will also appear on Fox Business's Cavuto Coast-to-Coast and Fox Radio's Tom Sullivan Show.

The Today Show: Tom Jones, author of Over the Top and Back: The Autobiography (Blue Rider, $26.95, 9781592409617).

Diane Rehm: readers review My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (Europa Editions, $17, 9781609450786).

Live with Kelly and Michael: Mariah Carey, author of All I Want for Christmas Is You (Doubleday, $17.99, 9780399551390).

The Tonight Show: Nathan Lane, co-author of Naughty Mabel (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781481430227).

Daily Show repeat: Timbaland, co-author of The Emperor of Sound: A Memoir (Amistad, $26.99, 9780061936968).

Diane Rehm repeat: Anne Tyler, author of A Spool of Blue Thread (Knopf, $25.95, 9781101874271).

Tavis Smiley: Jewel, author of Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story (Blue Rider, $27.50, 9780399174339).

The Tonight Show: Daniel Humm, co-author of The NoMad Cookbook (Ten Speed Press, $100, 9781607748229).

Books & Authors

Andrews McMeel Bringing Sherlock Sam Series to the U.S.

We're happy to report that Andrews McMeel Publishing has acquired the Sherlock Sam series by A.J. Low, originally published by Epigram Books in Singapore, as part of its AMP! Comics for Kids line.

Illustrated by Andrew Tan, the series stars Sherlock Sam, a smart, amusing, observant 10-year-old whose formal name is Samuel Tan Cher Lock, and Watson, his reluctant, droll robot sidekick. The series is, as AMP described it, "a fresh, cross-cultural twist on the classic Sherlock Holmes series tailored for middle-grade readers." The books are a delightful read, we can attest, and besides the thrill and fun of the mystery, they provide a fascinating look at Singapore, its history and the many cultures and traditions of its diverse population. The first two books in the series, Sherlock Sam and the Missing Heirloom in Katong and Sherlock Sam and the Ghostly Moans in Fort Canning, will be published simultaneously in June 2016, and more editions will follow in 2017. Nine books in the series have been published since 2013 by Epigram.

A.J. Low is the pen name of husband-and-wife team Adan Jimenez and Felicia Low-Jimenez, who commented: "We are very excited to be published by Andrews McMeel and are proud to share the things we love about Singapore with new readers. We can't wait for kids to join Sherlock Sam, Watson, and rest of the Supper Club on their sleuthing adventures!"

Andrews McMeel president and publisher Kirsty Melville said, "We are thrilled to add this distinctive series to our AMP! Comics for Kids line and to introduce Sherlock Sam, a character already beloved in Singapore, to young readers in North America. His plucky smarts and spirited curiosity entertain in words and pictures to intrigue and delight readers."

We at Shelf Awareness are delighted for the authors, who are friends and colleagues. Adan Jimenez is a regular contributor to Shelf Awareness, writing the monthly "Stand Up Comics" column, and Felicia Low-Jimenez's day job is division manager, merchandising, at Books Kinokuniya in Singapore.

Awards: Hans Christian Andersen; MWA Awards

Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami won the 500,000 kroner (about $71,320) Hans Christian Andersen Prize, Denmark's top literary award, Yahoo News reported. The jury praised Murakami's "bold mix of classic narrative, pop culture, Japanese tradition, dreamlike realism and philosophical debate." The prize-giving will take place in Odense, Andersen's hometown, in October 2016.


Author Walter Mosley has been chosen as the 2016 Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, and will receive the award at the 70th annual Edgar Awards Banquet in New York City on April 28, 2016. At the same time, two Raven Awards will be presented, to "mentor, teacher, scholar and editor" Margaret Kinsman and to Sisters in Crime, the group of women mystery writers initially convened by Sara Paretsky in 1986, and the Ellery Queen Award will be given to Janet A. Rudolph, director of Mystery Readers International, editor of the Mystery Readers Journal and teacher of mystery fiction.

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:

Carrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of a Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator by Homer Hickam (Morrow, $25.99, 9780062325891). "This thoroughly delightful story chronicles Hickam's parents' road trip from their coal-mining town in West Virginia to Orlando, Florida, to return Elsie Hickam's pet alligator, Albert, to a home in a more suitable climate. Along the way, the travelers--Homer Sr., Elsie, Albert, and an elusive rooster--encounter famous American authors, movie stars, and minor league baseball teams and become embroiled in union strikes and bank robberies. It's hard to say what is true and what isn't, but either way, Carrying Albert Home is a very enjoyable journey!" --Lori-Jo Scott, Island Bookstore, Kitty Hawk, N.C.

Along the Infinite Sea: A Novel by Beatriz Williams (Putnam, $26.95, 9780399171314). "Heroines in different decades, Annabelle and Pepper both know the peril of loving a man seemingly always just beyond their reach as well as the need to escape in order to survive. Williams' novel follows Annabelle through the hurdles life throws her way in the years preceding World War II in Europe as well as the parallel trials and tribulations of Pepper during the 1960s. These complicated women meet when Pepper sells her restored Mercedes to Annabelle as a way to raise money for her own escape plan. Together, Annabelle and Pepper come to rescue each other and learn that sometimes love can survive life's trials." --Dell Marie Swearer, Bluebird Books, Hutchinson, Kan.

Viking Bay: A Kay Hamilton Novel by M.A. Lawson (Signet, $9.99, 9780451472540). "As recounted in the first book in this series, Rosarito Beach, Kay Hamilton went rogue when working for the DEA and was fired. She now has the perfect job working for the Callahan Group, a top secret agency that does the government's dirty work. Lawson has found the perfect vehicle for Kay's daredevil personality and her no-holds-barred action when she is trying to right a wrong or bring someone to justice. A rogue agent in a rogue agency suits Kay to a T and makes for nonstop action and a great, entertaining read." --Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, S.C.

For Ages 4 to 8
Lenny & Lucy by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead (Roaring Brook Press, $17.99, 9781596439320). "A dash of Maurice Sendak and a soupçon of Judith Viorst mingle with the heartfelt storytelling we have come to expect from Philip and Erin Stead. This is an earnest, sweet, imaginative tale that follows young Peter as he moves to a new home. Peter's emotions change from disappointment, fear, and loneliness to hopefulness with the help of a few new friends, who 'keep the dark woods on the other side where they belong.' " --Leslie Hawkins, Spellbound Children's Bookshop, Asheville, N.C.

For Ages 9 to 12
Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick (Random House, $13.99, 9780385386173). "This graphic novel is spot-on for middle-grade readers, offering just the right balance of action, emotional investment, and giggle-inducing references to bodily functions. Running gags will make readers laugh out loud, and the proof of the power of friendship will make them a little teary. I can't wait to read what's going to happen in the next volume!" --Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, Wash.

For Teen Readers
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy (Balzer + Bray, $17.99, 9780062327185). "Willowdean Davis is fat. And you can either back her up or back off. She is self-confident, fearless, funny, and comfortable in her own skin. Life in Clover City, Texas, has been just fine. She's got her best friend, Ellen, and she survives the Miss Blue Bonnet Clover City pageant each year. Willowdean's mother is a former Miss Blue Bonnet and chairs the pageant. It's only when she meets Bo, a cute co-worker who seems to like her as much as she likes him, that she begins to doubt herself. To find her self-confidence again, Willowdean enters the pageant to prove that she deserves the spotlight as much as anyone else. Murphy tells Willowdean's story with wit, sass, and kindness." --Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The Challenge of Things: Thinking Through Troubled Times

The Challenge of Things: Thinking Through Troubled Times by A.C. Grayling (Bloomsbury USA, $26 hardcover, 9781632862464, December 8, 2015)

This collection of brief, provocative essays by A.C. Grayling (The Good Book; The God Argument) continues his case for philosophy's contribution to the public conversation about real-world questions. As Grayling describes in his introduction, the essays are "a miscellany unified by the effort to... explore, and to suggest perspectives upon, different facets of this time in our world." Written in the shadow of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they extend his arguments to geopolitics and the seismic changes now sweeping the globe.

The first essay critiques the label "The Great War" for World War I as being misleading by tidying our perceptions of the war and understating both its ongoing impact and its relative scale. It's an important point, but Grayling then turns the essay into a surprising defense of the study of history. He acknowledges the futility of George Santayana's famous call to remember the past to avoid repeating it, contending that the greater importance of studying history is to keep alive the hope of wisdom, to remember those who lived it and died for its causes, and to remind us that the end of war does not end conflict.

Grayling is transparent about his ideological leanings and can be scathing to reinforce his point: in his essay on the modernizing of the Chinese economy and its practice of "re-education through labour," he comments, "How membership of the World Trade Organisation was given to a country whose economy benefits from slave labour on such a scale would be a mystery if morality ever played a part in monetary considerations."

While the first half of the book addresses the negative, the second half celebrates the positives in our changing world. He analyzes the bedrock necessity of free speech and when it should be limited, the paradoxes of sleep, whether success can be defined by what we achieve, whether happiness is the point, what makes a good teacher, why the arts matter and the role of science in artistic expression.

Many of the essays have previously been published as editorials and book reviews; Grayling is a frequent contributor to the Economist, Financial Times, the Guardian, New Statesman, New York Review of Books, Prospect magazine and elsewhere. Each essay is a jewel, giving new relevance to a familiar issue; taken together, they are a spirited defense of the importance of philosophy and the humanities in general while calling us to rethink some of our most fundamental assumptions. --Jeanette Zwart, freelance writer and reviewer

Shelf Talker: Philosopher and writer A.C. Grayling dissects the conflicts and promise of our changing world with these brief, elegant inquiries into a host of contemporary issues.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Easy Melody (The Boudreaux Series Book 3) by Kristen Proby
2. The 20/20 Diet by Phil McGraw
3. First 100 Words by Roger Priddy
4. The Elf on the Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda B. Bell
5. Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles, Volume 2) by Ilona Andrews
6. Billionaire Unbound (The Billionaire's Obsession Volume 8) by J.S. Scott
7. Reckless in Love (The Maverick Billionaires, Book 2) by Bella Andre and Jennifer Skully
8. When I Was Yours by Samantha Towle
9. Something About Lorelei by Sandi Lynn
10. The English Brothers Boxed Set (The Blueberry Lane Series) by Katy Regnery

[Many thanks to!]

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