Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Flatiron Books: The Courting of Bristol Keats: [Limited Stenciled Edge Edition] by Mary E Pearson

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Chronicle Books: Taste in Music: Eating on Tour with Indie Musicians by Luke Pyenson and Alex Beeker

Doubleday Books: Death at the Sign of the Rook: A Jackson Brodie Book by Kate Atkinson

Groundwood Books: Who We Are in Real Life by Victoria Koops

Agate Bolden: 54 Miles by Leonard Pitts Jr.

Quotation of the Day

Louise Erdrich: 'A Renaissance of Little Bookstores'

"I think we're actually experiencing a renaissance of little bookstores. Oh, my gosh, you should have been there on Indie Day! It was just packed, and people were so excited. I think a lot of people like Kindles, but they aren't enough, or maybe their Kindle died or they dropped it in the bathtub. I don't know. People seem to like both. People seem to like bookstores a lot.

"I think that the making of a book is like making a bicycle. You can make a lot of different types of books, but you can't improve on a basic technology there. It's pretty cool. A well-made book is the best technology for books. It's not expensive. If you throw it in the river, you're not going to lose a lot. You can carry it anywhere, give it away. I love them."

--Louise Erdrich, author and owner of Birchbark Books, Minneapolis, in a q&a with City Pages about her new novel LaRose, "mercy and vengeance, addictions, and the Twin Cities' bookshop renaissance." 

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Queens Bookshop Initiative Launches Kickstarter Campaign

The Queens Bookshop Initiative, which aims to open a bookstore in Queens, N.Y., has launched its Kickstarter campaign and raised more than $15,000 toward its goal of $70,000--with 43 days to go. The money will be used for inventory, point-of-sale systems and marketing.

The initiative is led by Vina Castillo, Natalie Noboa and Holly Nikodem, all of whom have bookselling and bookstore management experience. The trio has pointed out that after the closing last year of Barnes & Noble stores in Forest Hills, Bayside and Fresh Meadows, Queens, with a population of 2.3 million, now has just one bricks-and-mortar bookstore selling new books, Astoria Bookshop.

FSG Creates Experimental MCD/FSG Imprint

Sean McDonald

Farrar, Straus and Giroux is creating MCD/FSG, an imprint headed by Sean McDonald that will publish "work and experiment with publishing styles, forms, and genres that are at the edges of FSG's traditions and/or are new enough to have no tradition--publishing in new formats and exploring new perspectives on literary publishing."

FSG president and publisher Jonathan Galassi called McDonald "one of the most inventive, intuitive, and adventurous publishers of his generation.... I expect MCD/FSG will bring a fresh spirit and a new kind of creativity to the house."

McDonald, who is publisher of MCD/FSG and continues as v-p and director of digital and paperback publishing and publisher of FSG Originals, said: "When Jonathan suggested this--to create what he called a kind of lab in which we could find new ways to grow our business, and to grow the range of how and what FSG publishes--it felt like a dream come true: to get to build a team and try something new, but still work with my colleagues here, who I already know to be scary smart, impassioned, and inspiring. I can't imagine a better set-up." Before joining FSG six years ago, McDonald worked at Riverhead Books, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday and Arcade Publishing.

Daphne Durham has been named executive editor of MCD/FSG. She is a 15-year veteran of, where she has been editorial director in books and editor-in-chief and publisher of Amazon Publishing. She will work from Seattle.

In a related change, Emily Bell, now senior editor, FSG, will take on the additional role of director, FSG Originals.

Obituary Note: Doug Mendini

Doug Mendini, a longtime sales executive at Kensington Publishing, died last Saturday at his home near Milford, Pa. He was 62.

From 1990 to 2014, he worked for Kensington in a variety of positions, including national accounts director.

Mendini was also a novelist, playwright and nonfiction writer specializing in Hollywood. Some of his shows were produced off-off Broadway, including Overeating Causes Death and A Good Sport. Under the pseudonym Julian Biddle, he was the author of What Was Hot, a history of pop culture, and 214 Ways to Say I Love You. He also contributed articles to Entertainment Weekly and Country Living.

#BEA2016 Buzz Books: Children's and Early Readers

With a list of children's and early readers titles, Shelf Awareness concludes our series on upcoming books for the summer and fall that independent booksellers around the country are most looking forward to. Installments on young adult and middle grade, nonfiction and fiction (part one and part two) ran over the past four issues.

Leading today's list is When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin. Ben Coffin, a former foster kid and a shy bookworm, finds an abandoned pup on Coney Island. Ben names the dog Flip, and caring for the dog leads Ben to making friends with a girl named Halley. Halley convinces Ben to collaborate with her on a novel, but soon Ben's home life begins to unravel. Becky Anderson, owner of Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, Downers Grove, and La Grange, Ill., said the book's combination of friendship, family, loss and lots of humor make it a "read for everyone." It will be available on June 7 from Dial Books.

In Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson (Walden Pond Press, June 21), Topher, Brand and Steve are students of an amazing teacher named Ms. Bixby. She's the kind of teacher who makes kids really care about school and feel good about themselves. The three boys are surprised when Ms. Bixby announces that she won't be finishing the school year and decide to give Ms. Bixby a perfect last day. Janet Geddis, owner of Avid Bookshop in Athens, Ga., recommended the book, saying its tearful moments are more than matched with moments of adventure.

Author Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrator Anne Wilsdorf have reunited for Sophie's Squash Go to School (Schwartz & Wade). Arriving in stores on June 28, Sophie's Squash Go to School is a sequel to 2013's Sophie Squash and follows Sophie as she goes to school for the first time. She brings her best friends--two squash she grew and named Bonnie and Baxter--but no one else is interested in making friends with squash, and she'll have to work at making friends with other children. Suzy Takacs, owner of the Book Cellar in Chicago, Ill., chose this charming children's book.

Next up on today's list is the picture book My Dad Used to Be So Cool by Keith Negley, the story of a new father who no longer plays in a band, rides a motorcycle or gets new tattoos, and a son who thinks his dad is still really cool. "When I first read this book, I thought, finally--a picture book other dudes can purchase for their friends on the way to becoming new fathers," said Jill Saginario, bookseller at Papercuts J.P. in Boston, Mass. "The perfect baby shower gift for the men and women in your lives with a self-deprecating sense of humor and an inward cringe every time they catch glimpses of their Harley gathering dust next to their minivan." It'll be out from Flying Eye Books on July 12.

Writer Jory John and illustrator Bob Shea, the creators of the picture book I Will Chomp You!, have teamed up again for Quit Calling Me a Monster!, coming from Random House Books for Young Readers on August 23. Quit Calling Me a Monster! is about Floyd Patterson, who, despite his best efforts, can't get people to see past his pointy teeth and shaggy fur. A choice of Christine Onorati, owner of WORD Bookstores in Jersey City, N.J., and Brooklyn, N.Y.

On August 26, the story of Little Elliot and Mouse will continue with Little Elliot, Big Fun by Mike Curato. Elliot and Mouse take a trip to the amusement park, and at first Elliot isn't having much fun at all, until Mouse helps Elliot overcome his fears. This followup to Little Elliot, Big City and Little Elliot, Big Family will be available from Holt.

Kate Beaton, the author of The Princess and the Pony and Hark! A Vagrant, returns on September 13 with King Baby (Arthur A. Levine Books). Recommended by Becky Anderson of Anderson's Bookshop, this picture book is a hilarious take on what happens in every household when a new baby arrives. Said Anderson: "The illustrations are a riot and truly express the way a baby becomes a king or queen!"

Penguin Problems is the first collaboration between Jory John, author of I Will Chomp You! (and the aforementioned Quit Calling Me a Monster!), and Lane Smith, author of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. In Penguin Problems, a disgruntled penguin levels with the reader that life in Antarctica is not all that it's cracked up to be. According to Anderson, Penguin Problems will have "adults laughing right along with kids." It'll be in stores on September 27 from Random House Books for Young Readers.

On October 4, author Kate Hoefler makes her picture book debut with Real Cowboys. Illustrated by Jonathan Bean, Real Cowboys offers a poetic and heartfelt look at cowboys and the notions of them as rough-and-tumble wild men. Jill Saginario of Papercuts J.P. praised the book's "inclusive, fully saturated retro-style" illustrations, adding that they are a "perfect complement to this amazing picture book breaking down misconceived ideas about the ultimate manly men." Look for Real Cowboys on October 4 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers.

Written by Cynthia Voigt and illustrated by Paola Zakimi, Teddy & Co. (Knopf Books for Young Readers, November 1) follows a group of lost toys that includes Teddy, a bear with philosophical tendencies, a hungry snake, an elephant who cooks, an introverted penguin and two goofy pigs. When two new toys arrive--a rabbit and a beautiful doll--their community drastically changes. Suzanna Hermans of Oblong Books & Music, Rhinebeck and Millerton, N.Y., called Teddy & Co. an instant classic. Said Hermans: "I absolutely loved it."

Rounding out today's list is Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Animal Infographics by Steve Jenkins. In this illustrated work of nonfiction, Jenkins uses creative, accurate infographics to show readers the number of animal species around the globe, the collective weight of all the insects in the world, the immense distances that animals can travel and much, much more. Sure to be a hit with animal lovers, Animals by the Numbers will be out from HMH Books for Young Readers on November 1. --Alex Mutter


Image of the Day: Phoebe and Her Unicorn at BookPeople

For Children's Book Week, Dana Simpson, creator of Phoebe and Her Unicorn (AMP Comics), visited BookPeople of Moscow, Moscow, Idaho. Here, she poses with store owner Carol Spurling (l.).

Mugshot of the Day: Allison Leotta

Saturn Booksellers in Gaylord, Mich., used some money the store won from Sisters in Crime to build a "mug shot station." Here, author Allison Leotta, who visited the store for her new novel, The Last Good Girl (Touchstone), poses. When not in use for pictures, Saturn uses the shelves to display books for upcoming mystery events.

IPG Adds 27 Publishers

Independent Publishers Group and its subsidiaries have added 27 publishers.

Distributed by IPG, effective earlier this year:

Ragnarok Publications, Crestview Hills, Ky., founded in 2013, with 50 titles focussing on speculative fiction and genre anthologies.

Odyssey Books & Maps, Hong Kong, the only English-language travel publisher in China.

Micro Publishing Media, Stockbridge, Mass., a micro publisher and retailer of unusual items.

Thorntree Press, Portland, Ore., publisher of nonfiction books on relationships, especially nontraditional ones like polyamory.

NOAH Publications, Brooklin, Maine, publishes calendars and books with wooden boat photographs by Benjamin Mendlowitz.

RHINO Poetry, Evanston, Ill., releases an annual poetry collection by new and established writers.

Top That Publishing, U.K., a children's publisher focusing on titles up to age 12. IPG will distribute fully "Americanized" versions in the U.S. and Canada. Top That has 100 million books in print in 70 countries.

Distributed by IPG, effective July 1:

Alterna, Boston, Mass., founded in 2006, a creator-owned publisher of comics and graphic novels.

Self-Counsel Press, Vancouver, Canada, a self-help book publisher specializing in law, small business management, finances and taxes.

Future House Publishing, Provo, Utah, publishes science fiction, fantasy, children's and middle-grade books.

Sassi Junior, Italy, publishes children's books about the environment on light-brown recycled paper.

Kuperard, U.K., specializes in guides to other countries and customs; IPG will distribute its CultureSmart and Simple Guide titles.

Next Step Test Prep, Evanston, Ill., provides test prep and tutoring programs; IPG will distribute its MCAT workbooks.

Amazing People Worldwide, U.K., is a multimedia publisher of biographical stories.

Distributed by IPG's Trafalgar Square subsidiary effective July 1:

Saraband, Glasgow, publishes nonfiction, literary and historical fiction; its Contraband
imprint publishes mysteries and thrillers.

Sladmore Gallery, London, an art gallery of bronze sculpture that publishes exhibition
catalogs and monographs.

Pangolin London, London, an art gallery that showcases contemporary and post-war sculpture.

Bowman Sculpture, London, a sculpture gallery, with the world's largest Auguste Rodin collection.

The Next Big Think, Australia, publishes gift book series called "greeting books."

Shogam Publications, Australia, produces books on Buddhism accessible to general readers.

Istros Books, London, specializes in literature from Southeastern Europe and the Balkans.

Black & White Publishing, one of Scotland's largest independent publishers, with 300 titles across a range of genres.

Distributed by River North Editions, IPG's academic distribution arm, effective June 1:

Wake Forest University Press, Winston-Salem, N.C., a major publisher of Irish poetry and literature in the U.S.

Barbican Press, London, an independent literary press.

University Press of Quebec, Quebec City, Canada, is a leading francophone academic publisher in Canada with 1,300 titles. IPG will distribute its new line of English translations.

Distributed by IPG Spanish Books, IPG's Spanish-language arm, effective July 1:

Malpaso, Barcelona, which has 75 backlist titles of original and translated work.

Grupo RCA, Madrid, which has four Spanish-language imprints.

Media and Movies

TV: Bettyville

Shirley MacLaine and Matthew Broderick will star in Bettyville, a new dramedy series from Paramount Television based on journalist George Hodgman's bestselling memoir, the Hollywood Reporter wrote. John Hoffman (Looking, Grace and Frankie) is adapting the book for TV and serving as showrunner on the series. He will executive produce with Archer Gray's Anne Carey and Amy Nauiokas (The Diary of a Teenage Girl), as well as Hodgman.

"Paramount TV could not be in better hands than those of Shirley MacLaine and Matthew Broderick, two incredibly versatile talents who know how to marry drama with comedy, which is at the center of this fantastic story," said the company's president Amy Powell. "We're eager to watch as Shirley and Matthew bring these complex and captivating characters to life."

Media Heat: Nathaniel Philbrick on Diane Rehm

Fresh Air: Bronwen Dickey, author of Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon (Knopf, $26.95, 9780307961761).

CNN's New Day: Sydney Blumenthal, author of A Self-Made Man: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. I, 1809-1849 (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781476777252).

Diane Rehm: Nathaniel Philbrick, author of Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution (Viking, $30, 9780525426783).

Fox's the Real: Katie Chin, author of Katie Chin's Everyday Chinese Cookbook: 101 Delicious Recipes from My Mother's Kitchen (Tuttle Publishing, $24.95, 9780804845229).

Nightly Show: Angie Martinez, author of My Voice: A Memoir (Celebra, $27, 9781101990339).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Anderson Cooper, co-author of The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss (Harper, $27.99, 9780062454942).

Comedy Central's At Midnight: Jen Kirkman, author of I Know What I'm Doing--and Other Lies I Tell Myself: Dispatches from a Life Under Construction (Simon & Schuster, $24, 9781476770277).

Books & Authors

Awards: British Book Industry; Ondaatje; Desmond Elliott; CrimeFest

Among winners of the British Book Industry Awards, as reported by the Bookseller:

Book Retailer of the Year: W.H. Smith Travel, for its "impressive" comp-store sales gain and expansion in the U.K. and abroad.

Independent Bookshop of the Year: Winstone's, Sherborne, England, which showed "strong, market-beating sales growth," "exceptional" customer service, and outreach.

Children's Bookseller of the Year: Eason, the Irish bookseller, which reported double-digit growth, in part by launching a seven-week Children's SpringFest and a YA book convention.

Bookshop Manager of the Year: Jonny Green, manager of Waterstones Piccadilly for "inspirational leadership" and having a transformative effect on sales and service at the company's flagship store.

Young Retailer of the Year: Marian Mouzinho of Blackwell's, for revolutionizing Blackwell's children's bookselling in Newcastle.

Outstanding Contribution to the Book Trade: James Patterson. Enough said.

Publisher of the Year: Transworld for having "led the way" as print book sales grew for the first time since 2007.


The shortlist for the £10,000 (about $14,440) RSL Ondaatje Prize, given to "a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, evoking the spirit of a place," is:

The River by Jane Clarke
The Great Explosion by Brian Dillon
Weatherland by Alexandra Harris
Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev
The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks
This Divided Island by Samanth Subramanian

The winner will be announced May 23.


The shortlist has been announced for the £10,000 (about $14,440) Desmond Elliott Prize, which honors a first novel written in English and published in the U.K. The winner will be revealed June 22. This year's Desmond Elliott shortlist:

The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
The House at the Edge of the World by Julia Rochester
Mrs. Engels by Gavin McCrea


Finalists have been named for this year's CrimeFest Awards in several categories. Winners will be announced May 21 during CrimeFest in Bristol, U.K.

Book Review

Review: Homegoing

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Knopf, $26.95 hardcover, 9781101947135, June 7, 2016)

With her first novel, Yaa Gyasi crafts a captivating and potent narrative. Homegoing alternates between the parallel lineages of Ghanaian half-sisters Effia and Esi. Born in the 18th-century in Fante village, Effia never knows her mother, Maame, a slave to the girl's father who flees to the nearby Asante village, where she later gives birth to Esi. As the girls age, Effia is given in marriage to a British slave trader, "all the better for [the village's] business with them." Meanwhile, Esi, captured and raped by slavers, bears a family destined for continued abuse--bought, sold and shipped to the New World. Demonstrating a firm grasp on several hundred years of Ghanaian and American history and brutal details of the African slave trade, Gyasi portrays the effect of personal and political decisions unto the seventh generation.

Years pass but family ties bind the sisters' offspring. Their hopes, regrets and secrets alike are handed down like the twin glimmering black-gold stones that Maame bestowed upon both girls. Each of Gyasi's 14 main characters face distinct quandaries of submission and resistance to social systems of oppression.

Quey, Effia's son by the British governor, grows up in affluence until his hopes of true happiness are dashed when his Fante uncle pressures him into a political marriage to the Asante king's captive daughter. "This was how they lived there, in the bush: Eat or be eaten. Capture or be captured. Marry for protection." Half a world away, his cousin Ness is also forced into marriage, but by a slave owner aptly referred to as "the Devil."

With each chapter, Gyasi delves into pivotal moments for specific members of the family tree. Each narrative is rich with poignant details about the lingering colonial influence of Christian missionaries in Ghana or the infuriating machinations of Jim Crow laws in the U.S. Joy is elusive, but not unattainable. It can be found when Willie (Esi's great-great-granddaughter) sings and imagines "that sound came from a cave at the very bottom of her gut... she was a miner reaching deep down inside of her to pull something valuable out." And it can be found in the clear-eyed and rowdy boyhood friendship Quey shares with a Fante chief's son. And even though chapters open and close on a single character in but a moment of time, the other branches of their family tree linger in the background like faint fires from distant campsites, until they converge at last in the moving final chapter.

Rarely does a grand, sweeping epic plumb interior lives so thoroughly. Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing is a marvel. It reminds readers that, every step of the way, the African diaspora has been shaped by individuals at their best and at their worst, vulnerable human beings craving the safety of a place to call home. --Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: In Yaa Gyasi's momentous first novel, seven generations of one Ghanaian family experience the far-reaching consequences of the African slave trade and diaspora.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Stuck-Up Suit by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward
2. The Exception by Sandi Lynn
3. When I'm With You (Hope Town Book 3) by Harper Sloan
4. Forever, Please (Please Series Volume 4) by Willow Summers
5. Ladies Man by Katy Evans
6. Mr. Perfect by JA Huss
7. Shameless by Lex Martin
8. Delta: Revenge by Cristin Harber
9. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (Addison Holmes Mysteries Book 5) by Liliana Hart
10. Eidolon by Grace Draven

[Many thanks to!]

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