Also published on this date: Wednesday, December 9, 2015: Maximum Shelf: Breaking Wild

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, December 9, 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


Matt Baldacci Joining Shelf Awareness

Matt Baldacci, Shelf's new director of business development.

John Mutter and Jenn Risko, the founders of Shelf Awareness, are very pleased to announced that Matt Baldacci is joining the company as director of business development. The appointment is effective tomorrow, December 10.

"We have worked with Matt since the beginning of Shelf Awareness, when he was associate publisher of St. Martin's Press, which has grown to become one of our key advertising partners," Jenn said. "He knows first-hand the influence and effectiveness of our content and products, and he may even know more publishing folks than we do!"

Besides St. Martin's, Matt has worked at S&S Children's, Simon & Schuster, DK and Scholastic. He will be based in Summit, N.J., near New York City. His e-mail address is

"I am very happy to be joining the Shelf and to have the opportunity to help bring books and readers together," Matt said. "Throughout my career, I have focused on bringing books to readers and have both admired and used all that the Shelf has to offer to accomplish my marketing objectives. Now, I will be at the forefront of many new initiatives the Shelf team is creating, and I am eager to help build on the success the team has already enjoyed."

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

Books-A-Million Stockholders Vote to Go Private

At a special meeting yesterday, Books-A-Million stockholders voted to take the company private. Under the plan, the Anderson family--led by executive chairman Clyde B. Anderson, some senior management and others--is buying the approximately 41.8% of the company that it doesn't already own for $3.25 a share. The deal, valued at about $21 million, is expected to close "on or about" tomorrow, December 10.

Some 66.3% of the company's outstanding common stock not owned by the Anderson family or company officers was voted in favor of plan; of all company stock, including shares owned by the Andersons and company officers, some 88.3% were effectively for the plan.

The transaction is being financed through a combination of the contributions of the BAM shares owned by the Anderson family and any management rollover participants, and borrowings of approximately $21 million under the company's existing credit facilities.

The Anderson family made an initial offer of $2.75 a share on January 29. A special committee of directors independent of the Anderson family approved the deal, which was approved by the board in July.

In April 2012, the Anderson family made a similar offer to buy the company, bidding $3.05 a share. At the time, it owned 53% of the company. In July 2012, the Anderson family withdrew its offer after meetings with the Books-A-Million board of directors and a special independent committee that had been set up to evaluate the offer.

Under the Books-A-Million, Books & Co., Bookland and 2nd & Charles names, Books-A-Million has 257 stores in 32 states and the District of Columbia and sells online at It also owns Yogurt Mountain, a retailer and franchisor of 40 self-serve frozen yogurt stores, and owns and operates several shopping centers through its Preferred Growth Properties subsidiary. The roots of the company, which was founded by the Andersons, go back to 1917; it went public in 1992.

Powell's Chicago Closing University Village Store

Powell's Books Chicago, which specializes in used, rare and discounted books, is closing the store in University Village that it opened in 2012, effective December 23. The store had earlier been occupied by a Barbara's Bookstore, which closed because of a lack of traffic.

On its website, Powell's wrote that when approached by the University of Illinois at Chicago about taking over the former Barbara's site, "Having a strong belief in the brick and mortar bookstore and what it brings to a community, Powell's owner Brad Jonas was excited to have a bookstore that included an event space....

"While the issues faced by the previous tenant were taken into consideration before opening, it became clear that the location of the store would be the biggest challenge. Despite our efforts to stock the store with amazing books, to promote the store through print and online advertising and host some incredible authors and events, we were not able to get enough people to come to the neighborhood. In the end there were simply too few customers walking in the door to make the business profitable."

Powell's closed its Lincoln Avenue location last year. It still has a store in the Hyde Park area. Powell's in Chicago has connections to Powell's Books in Portland, Ore., but is a separate business.

Half Price Books Opening in Decatur, Ga.

Half Price Books is coming to Decatur, Ga., according to Georgia is the 17th state to get one of HPB's 125 stores, with more planned for East Cobb County and the Atlanta market. "We don't have any debt. Our model is we know how many stores we can open," said Kathy Doyle Thomas, HPB executive v-p and chief strategy officer. "We believe our model is going to work, and we have nice slow growth."

That model has been working since the company "was started by a couple of hippies back in the early '70s," as Thomas described. Half Price Books buys and sells a range of books, CDs and DVDs. It also stocks remainders and new bestsellers. No definite opening date has been announced for the Decatur store, thanks to uncertain construction and permit timetables.

Obituary Note: Timothy Seldes

Literary agent and editor Timothy Seldes died of complications from pneumonia at age 88 this past Saturday, according to the AP (via Newsday).

Seldes came from a creative family: his sister was Tony-winning actress Marian Seldes, his father the drama critic and author Gilbert Seldes, and his uncle the press critic George Seldes.

Timothy Seldes entered the book business working as a clerk in Manhattan at a Doubleday store, with later stints at Macmillan and Harcourt Brace. Most of his editing work occurred at Doubleday where, as managing editor, his authors included Isaac Asimov and Richard Wright. In 1972, Seldes purchased the agency Russell & Volkening and represented clients from Anne Tyler and Eudora Welty to Saul Bellow and Nadine Gordimer. Seldes sold Russell & Volkening to Lippincott Massie McQuilkin in 2012 and had been retired since then.

"The space Tim Seldes will leave behind is enormous," Tyler wrote to the AP. "He was so vibrant and engaged and such a celebrator, and a wonderful friend to writers."


Image of the Day: Mummy Time

Over the weekend, illustrator Lisa Brown appeared at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn, N.Y., to promote her latest book, Mummy Cat by Marcus Ewert (Clarion/HMH). Brown read from the book and talked about the hieroglyphics and the story within the story. She also spoke about the author, her good friend Marcus Ewert (who could not be there), and how they teamed up to create the book. Following her presentation, she invited children in the audience to "mummify" her, which included wrapping her in gauze. Some of her good friends, including illustrators Sergio Ruzzier, Sophie Blackall, Edward Hemingway and Jon Scieszka, came by to celebrate as well. Pictured: Ruzzier, Blackall, Brown and Hemingway.

Pennie Picks Precious Gifts

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen Precious Gifts: A Novel by Danielle Steel (Delacorte, $28, 9780345531032) as her pick of the month for December. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"I've been in the book-buying industry for nearly all of my adult life. There have been certain constants--and I include Danielle Steel novels among those constants. She's not only a prolific writer, but she is truly one of the nicest authors I've ever met. For that reason, I'm pleased to say that her new novel, Precious Gifts, is this month's book buyer's pick.

"When Paul Parker passes away, his three daughters are surprised by the inheritance left them by the man who was more interested in being a bon vivant than in being a father. The biggest surprise, however, is left for his ex-wife, the girls' mother. It not only shakes her world, but also sets her free.

"One of the best gifts you can give yourself this season is to take the time to read this book."

Personnel Changes at Sourcebooks

At Sourcebooks:

Molly Fletcher and Christina Rapacchietta have joined the e-commerce division as marketing coordinators. Both attended the Denver Publishing Institute in 2015.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Michael Lewis on Colbert's Late Show

Conan: Sarah Vowell, author of Lafayette in the Somewhat United States (Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594631740).

Last Call with Carson Daly: Ron Perlman, author of Easy Street (the Hard Way): A Memoir (Da Capo Press, $16.99, 9780306824180).

The Daily Show: Michael Strahan, co-author of Wake Up Happy: The Dream Big, Win Big Guide to Transforming Your Life (Atria/37 INK, $26.99, 9781476775685).

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Michael Lewis, author of The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine (Norton, $15.95, 9780393353150).

The Tonight Show: Jim Gaffigan, author of Food: A Love Story (Three Rivers Press, $15, 9780804140430).

Books & Authors

Awards: Green Carnation; 800-CEO-READ; PEN

Marlon James, who won the Booker Prize in October, has won the Green Carnation Prize, honoring LGBT writers and given in partnership with Foyles bookstores, for A Brief History of Seven Killings (Riverhead), the Bookseller reported..

Chair of judges Niven Govinden said: "We were bowled over by both the ambition of this novel and its sheer visceral power. A story that crosses Jamaica and America, spanning decades and voices; fiction embedded in historical fact; that explores complex webs of crime, politics and power, unspoken truths of desire and sexuality, and the rare messianic hold that singers can have on the collective consciousness; never feeling anything less than urgent, vital, and alive."


The shortlisted titles for the ninth annual 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards, which will be presented at an awards ceremony and business book industry celebration in New York City on Thursday, January 14, are:

General Business: We Are Market Basket: The Story of the Unlikely Grassroots Movement That Saved a Beloved Business by Daniel Korschun and Grant Welker (AMACOM Books)

Leadership & Management: Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family by Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia (Portfolio)

Innovation & Creativity: How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery by Kevin Ashton (Doubleday)

Marketing: The Compass and the Nail: How the Patagonia Model of Loyalty Can Save Your Business, and Might Just Save the Planet by Craig Wilson (Rare Bird Books)

Sales: The Revenue Growth Habit: The Simple Art of Growing Your Business by 15% in 15 Minutes Per Day by Alex Goldfayn (Wiley)

Entrepreneurship: Boss Life: Surviving My Own Small Business by Paul Downs (Blue Rider Press)

Personal Development: Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle (Penguin Press)

Finance & Economics: America's Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve by Roger Lowenstein (Penguin Press)


PEN America has announced the longlists for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award and the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing. PEN America has already announced the longlists for the debut fiction and essay prizes. Other PEN America prize longlists will be announced today and tomorrow. The announced longlisted titles may be viewed here.

Book Brahmin: Michael Bible

Michael Bible is originally from North Carolina. His work has appeared in Oxford American, the Paris Review Daily, Al Jazeera America, ESPN: The Magazine, and New York Tyrant. His debut novel, Sophia (Melville House, December 1, 2015), tells the story of the unholy Reverend Maloney and his best friend, a chess prodigy named Eli, as the two make their way across the U.S., on the run from the law and from a blind headhunter called Jack Cataract.

On your nightstand now:

A strange little book called Água Viva by Clarice Lispector. It's not a novel exactly, more a juggernaut of language from a great Brazilian genius.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. In my freshman composition class, I found a copy of it left by someone from an Honors English class I couldn't get into because my test scores were so bad. I was blown away by Whitman's weirdness. I read it every day instead of listening to the teacher. I eventually stole it and read it till the pages fell out.

Your top five authors:

Samuel Beckett: When I taught Waiting for Godot years ago, it was the one book that caused the frat boys who slept during most classes to wake up and suddenly say, "This isn't art!" One could only hope for such success.

David Markson: On one of my first trips out of the South to New York, I walked into the Strand looking for the strangest book I could find. I saw a display of Markson's books and picked up This Is Not a Novel. I was angry that no one had told me about him before. Like Beckett, he somehow manages to write experimental page-turners.

Frank Stanford: The Dixie Rimbaud. His collected poems were finally published this year, and I hope every college poet runs out to buy a copy. There is no other writer that puts that much blood on the page.

William Faulkner: Not sure what I can say about him except that he failed out of college, was a horrible poet, lied a lot about his military service--a deeply flawed man who wrote hands-down the best books of the 20th century.

Flannery O'Connor: A writer who understood the depths of human evil and altruism. Her work, like all good writing, approaches the reverence of prayer. When I read her stories, it seems as natural as breathing.

Book you've faked reading:

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller. I've tried like five times and can't get through it.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Finnegans Wake by James Joyce. Sometimes it's seen as the most difficult or abstract book out there but really there is so much in it for anyone who takes the time. Such a massive, arrogant idea of a novel. Makes everything else seem puny.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Policeman's Beard Is Half Constructed by Racter. A book written by a computer.

Book you hid from your parents:

Run with the Hunted by Charles Bukowski. I was given this book by an inspiring teacher at the boarding school I was sent away to. She was my poetry teacher, and I wrote a poem about drinking and thought I was going to get in trouble, but instead she gave me Bukowski and told me not to tell anyone about it. I owe that teacher my life.

Book that changed your life:

Ray by Barry Hannah. I read this book at a low point in my life and it changed what I thought literature to could be. I became convinced I needed to study with the madman that wrote it. There is such a load of crap that is sold you in the classroom about novels. The plot should ride this arc, the characters should grow, etc. Ray stood out to me because it resists all that. It has an insistence of voice, a velocity not fueled by plot. Every sentence is on fire from beginning to end.

Favorite line from a book:

"I am a dragon. America the beautiful, like you will never know." --from Airships by Barry Hannah

Five books you'll never part with:

The King James Bible. It's hard to diminish its impact on me. I heard it from the pew on Sunday mornings before I knew how to read. Its cadences are in my DNA. As a work of truth, it's hard to get behind. As a work of literature, there is nothing greater.

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. I could get lost in those minds any day. Benjy's chapter, sure, but Quentin had a profound impact on me as a young man.

The Stranger by Albert Camus. Every time I've read this book, it amazes me with how pure it is. It doesn't seem written, ever; it unfolds with such subtly that it creates a sensation beyond reading.

In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan. Not his most well known, but for my money his best. There is a pleasure in Brautigan that destroys the pretensions of those claiming to practice high art.

The Life You Save May Be Your Own by Flannery O'Connor. There's so much to explore in these stories. They get deeper with each read for me, so wild and funny and dark.

Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson. This is one book that I do part with often, really. I keep giving it away. But there's always another copy to replace it. It never gets old.

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

The Dream Songs by John Berryman. I read this book when I was young it never left me. It was at times a terrifying book to be inside of. I love it.

Book Review

Children's Review: The Night Parade

The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $16.99 hardcover, 320p., ages 9-12, 9781492623243, January 5, 2016)

In a suspenseful middle-grade fantasy debut evocative of Neil Gaiman's Coraline and classic films like Jim Henson's Labyrinth and Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away, Kathryn Tanquary drops a peer-pressure-prone Japanese teenager into the realm of the fantastic, pitting her against the rules and powers of magical beings.

Thirteen-year-old Saki Yamamoto has zero interest in Japanese traditions, especially if it means spending summer vacation with her family in her grandmother's remote mountain village and missing all the fun her friends will have back home in Tokyo. This visit marks the first time her family will celebrate Obon (a Buddhist festival to honor one's ancestors) without Saki's grandfather, who died three years back. Spending weeks with constant reminders of Grandpa's absence holds no appeal for Saki. Most horrifying of all, Grandma's village has no cell signal.

When a group of "delinquent village kids," led by a manipulative mean girl named Yuko, dares Saki to ring a sacred bell at her family's ancestral graveyard shrine at night, she must follow through or risk losing their approval. "A death curse, her fears whispered," but she rings the bell anyway... and gets busted by her furious father as her new "friends" scatter in the darkness. Later that night, she awakens to the presence of a four-tailed fox spirit, the first of her three spirit guides, who tells Saki she has summoned her with the bell, and that, sure enough, a death curse hangs over her household. To find someone who can combat the curse, Saki must walk in the Night Parade. She is afraid, but "[t]he forest was awake with sounds, alive and eager. It called to her, drawing her closer to the door. One look, just one."

The Night Parade--Hyakki Yagyō in Japanese--consists entirely of spirits, and any human who comes across it may die or be taken by the creatures. In Tanquary's version, the spirits follow a pilgrim's path to a mountaintop shrine. Over the course of three nights, accompanied by her spirit guides (fox, tengu and tanuki), Saki faces ogres, shrine guardians, a deceptively kind witch with a faceless son, and many other typical denizens of Japanese mythology as she completes a series of tasks to lift her family's curse (and possibly save the world). Along the way, she learns that breaking rules and showing disrespect in the spirit world have serious consequences that no amount of excuses can avert.

This dark adventure serves as a terrific introduction to Japanese legends, with the weird and wondrous on full display, from grinning weasels to insect soldiers to giant boars with wind chimes hanging from their tusks. Tanquary uses English words for spirits whenever possible, but creatures without Western equivalent may require a quick web search for readers unfamiliar with Japanese lore. While sometimes spooky, the spirit-world characters are also frequently comical--the flatulent tanuki (a raccoon dog spirit guide who calls Saki "Sweetheart") is a perfect example.

Saki learns the hard way to put down her cell phone and give family and tradition their due. As she courageously faces her surreal quest, she also learns to believe in herself, and readers know she will take that newfound perspective back to Tokyo with her. The magic in these lessons, however, outweighs any didacticism. Expect this solid fantasy for tween readers to inspire interest in myth, magic and--quite likely--manga. --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth services librarian, Latah County Library District (Idaho)

Shelf Talker: A Tokyo middle-schooler named Saki gets caught up in the dangerous Japanese spirit world when her family spends the summer in her grandmother's rural village.

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