Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 23, 2016

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

Children's Institute: 'Dedicated to Acceptance, Understanding'

"As we begin this celebration--and any gathering of indie booksellers is always a celebration--we are all reminded that there are people in Orlando tonight who are not celebrating and likely won't be able to celebrate for a long time to come. On behalf of all of you, we want to remember them these next few days; and dedicate ourselves to reject violence and hate--and to join together as Americans to build a society where acceptance and understanding are the norm.

"Booksellers have an important role to play in building that society. And as we work together over these next 45 hours, let's keep thinking about all the ways we can contribute--and make a difference."

--Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association, speaking Tuesday evening at the welcome reception of the Children's Institute in Orlando, Fla.

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


B&N 4th Quarter: Sales Off, New Concept Store Debuts in October

In the fourth quarter ended April 30, consolidated sales at Barnes & Noble fell 3.7%, to $877 million. For the full fiscal year, consolidated sales fell 3.1%, to $4.16 billion. The consolidated net loss from continuing operations in the fourth quarter was $30.6 million, compared to a net loss of $3 million in the same period a year earlier. For the year, consolidated net earnings from continuing operations were $14.7 million, compared to net earnings from continuing operations of $32.9 million the previous year.

Excluding non-recurring costs, the fourth quarter consolidated net loss would have been $17.8 million (instead of $30.6 million), which met analysts' expectations. And although revenues were $12.2 million lower in the quarter than what analysts expected, Wall Street reacted positively to the report: in after-market trading, B&N stock rose 6.3%, to $11.10 a share.

In the quarter, retail sales, including Barnes & Noble stores and, fell 2.2%, to $850 million, and for the year, retail sales fell 1.9%, to $4 billion. Retail had an operating loss of $34.9 million in the quarter and an operating profit of $113.3 million for the year. Nook products had an operating loss of $23.1 million for the quarter and $98.6 million for the year.

Sales at stores open at least a year fell 0.8% in the quarter and were flat for the year. Sales of "core" products, excluding Nook products, at stores open at least a year fell 0.8% in the quarter and rose 0.4% for the year.

B&N CEO Ron Boire commented: "As we look ahead to fiscal 2017 and beyond, we are focusing on executing a number of initiatives to grow bookstore and online sales, reduce retail and Nook expenses and grow our membership base. We believe our marketing, merchandising and membership initiatives will lead to increased traffic and conversion in our stores. We are also excited about our plans to open four new concept stores, opening later this year, beginning with the first store opening this October in Eastchester, N.Y."

For the current fiscal year, which began May 1, B&N expects sales at bookstores open at least a year to range between flat and a gain of 1%.

Carol's Books in Sacramento, Calif., to Return

Carol's Books, the African-American bookstore in Sacramento, Calif., is near to reopening after being shut for nearly five years, the Sacramento Observer reported.

On June 28, 2011, an old water main burst on Sacramento's Del Paso Boulevard, flooding Carol's Books and other nearby businesses. According to store owner Sharon Wright, most of the store's inventory was damaged in the flood. And although a specific reopening date has not been set, the newspaper wrote, the walls have been repainted and the shelving is new, which suggests that the store will reopen in the near future.

Old Books on Front Street Opening B&B Upstairs

Old Books on Front Street, Wilmington, N.C., is building a bed-and-breakfast above the store that should open this fall, according to StarNews. The B&B is tentatively named the Top Shelf and will consist of one apartment with a full bath and kitchenette and space for up to five people. Managing partner Gwenyfar Rohler told the paper that she borrowed the idea from the Sylvia Beach Hotel, a literary B&B in Newport, Ore.,

StarNews described the location as "a bibliophile's delight. Sunlight already beams through stained-glass images of books. The sitting room floor is largely taken up by an oversized Scrabble board painted on the floor." The bedroom wall will feature a large map of North Carolina by local artist Jill Webb that will show the birthplaces and hometowns of famous Tar Heel authors, borrowing from a map drawn up by the Rev. E.T. Malone Jr.

Obituary Note: Benoîte Groult

Benoîte Groult, "who became a leading French feminist and writer in the second half of her life," died June 20, the New York Times reported. She was 96. Groult's 1988 novel Les Vaisseaux du Cœur (Salt on Our Skin) "was branded pornographic in some literary circles because of its vivid depictions of an extramarital affair and female sexuality," the Times wrote.

Groult published more than 20 novels, as well as a memoir, My Escape: An Autobiography. Her last work, Ainsi Soit Olympe de Gouges, was released when she was 93. In a recent interview with Ouest-France, she reflected on de Gouges and, when asked what advice that 18th century feminist would have for women today, replied: "She would have said: 'Don't get married, it's not worth divorcing. Stay free and write what you want, in words that are yours.' "

City of Asylum Books to Open in Pittsburgh, Pa.

"I believe strongly in the opportunity here to bring previously under-read works from all parts of the world to our community," said Lesley Rains, manager of City of Asylum Books in Pittsburgh, Pa., which will open in early September. The store is affiliated with the nonprofit City of Asylum, which provides sanctuary to exiled poets and writers and runs literary-themed community programs. "[City of Asylum] wants to create a space and store that's different from anything in Pittsburgh," Rains added.

Lesley Rains

City of Asylum Books will be part of a larger retail space called Alphabet City. One third of Alphabet City will consist of a restaurant, another third will be a community space by day and an event space by night, and the other third will belong to City of Asylum Books. The store will have about 1,500 square feet of retail space, and to accommodate the possibility of very large events, every bookshelf will be movable. Rains plans to stock 10,000-12,000 books at launch and gradually increase to an overall stock of about 15,000 titles. The majority of those books, Rains said, will be new, and there will be a small selection of used titles as well. And though City of Asylum Books won't be a specialty store in the sense that it focuses on only one or two genres, the inventory will fit in with City of Asylum's overall mission.

"There will be works in translation, global literature, American literature from underrepresented groups, but in as many genres as we can fill," Rains explained. There will also be cookbooks, children's books, books on cultural studies and much more. Many of City of Asylum's used books will be out-of-print works in translation. "The idea is to bring new kinds of works to as many people as possible, but you might not be able to find the new James Patterson here."

Before signing on to be the manager of City of Asylum Books, Rains owned and operated her own independent bookstore in Pittsburgh, East End Book Exchange, for five years. She sold the store earlier this year before joining City of Asylum, and prior to opening her own store in 2011 she was an academic. According to Rains, City of Asylum's mission and its reputation in Pittsburgh drew her to joining the organization.

"It's a very well regarded organization," said Rains. "They've been doing important work for the past decade now. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up."

Future home of Alphabet City

Beyond bringing underrepresented books to new audiences, City of Asylum Books hopes to create a hub for Pittsburgh's literary community. To that end, events will be a major part of City of Asylum Books; Rains expects to host multiple events per week and is already filling up the calendar for this fall. Plans for the store's grand opening celebration are taking shape, and the store's inaugural reader will be Svetlana Alexievich, the Nobel Prize-winning author of Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster (Dalkey Archive Press in hardcover; Picador in paperback). Also on the docket for September is a visit from Idra Novey, the author of the novel Ways to Disappear (Little, Brown). Rains is also considering ways to partner with and feature local and self-published writers.

"The store will be a community space first and foremost," Rains said. "A space where local writers can bring their works."

Besides book events, City of Asylum Books will also host music events, with weekly performances, along with things like banned film nights and other screenings.

The Alphabet City space is still under construction with a prospective move in date of August, and Rains is busy sorting out POS systems, setting up publisher accounts and building inventory lists. On opening day, the staff will most likely consist of Rains and one other person, though she may add more staff members as time goes on (the Alphabet City restaurant will be operated and managed by a different group).

Rains said she eagerly anticipates opening day, saying, "I just hope that people visit the store with open hearts and open minds." --Alex Mutter


Image of the Day: Children's Institute in Orlando

Fittingly, Newbery-charmed Kate DiCamillo (Raymie Nightingale)--who has roots in Florida--was the keynote speaker at the opening breakfast of American Booksellers Association's fourth ABC Children's Institute (#Ci4, #kidstute) in Orlando, Fla., yesterday. Some 228 booksellers gathered at the Wyndham Orlando Resort International from as far away as Australia for a variety of sessions on children's bookselling, a reception featuring 54 children's and teen authors, and to hear speakers such as Dave Barry and Julia Alvarez. There were very few dry eyes in the house as DiCamillo talked about living mermaids, glass-bottomed boats and the power of stories to connect people. Here, DiCamillo (l.) and Pauline McLeod of Riverbank Books in Bulimba, Queensland, Australia.

'Quiet Majesty of America's Public Libraries'

Over the past 18 years, photographer Robert Dawson has captured nearly 700 public libraries across 48 states, and the Library of Congress recently purchased a full collection of his library photographs as part of its permanent archive. CityLab featured a selection of those images, many of which were featured in Dawson's 2014 book The Public Library: A Photographic Essay (Princeton Architectural Press).

Libraries are "not just a nice add-on," he said, noting that across the U.S. they are "providing the basic things that have become essential to functioning in our society.... I'm as cynical as anyone, but visiting these libraries, I really found that most people have more in common than not. They go to work, work hard, love their families, and love their communities. There's a lot that we share, and the public library is another one of those things."

Dawson is on a six-week trip across Europe to photograph libraries there. He told CityLab he is currently in Germany, where newly arrived refugees use libraries to immerse themselves in the local language and culture: "It's a different kind of story here."

Personnel Changes at Peachtree

At Peachtree Publishers:

Emily Dowdell has been named publicity and marketing associate and will lead the publicity and marketing department. She joined the company in 2015 from Abrams.

Elyse Vincenty has been promoted to publicity and marketing assistant. She is a former intern and interdepartmental assistant and will continue assisting the sales team.

Media and Movies

This Weekend on Book TV: Roosevelt Reading Festival

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, June 25
1 p.m. Coverage from the 2016 Roosevelt Reading Festival, which took place on June 18 at the FDR Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, N.Y. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

5:45 p.m. Diane Guerrero, co-author of In the Country We Love: My Family Divided (Holt, $26, 9781627795272). (Re-airs Sunday at 9:15 a.m.)

7 p.m. Eric Metaxas, author of If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty (Viking, $26, 9781101979983). (Re-airs Sunday at 4:15 p.m.)

8:15 p.m. Debbie Cenziper and Jim Obergefell, authors of Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062456083). (Re-airs Sunday at 1:30 p.m.)

9:15 p.m. Melissa Deckman, author of Tea Party Women: Mama Grizzlies, Grassroots Leaders, and the Changing Face of the American Right (NYU Press, $35, 9781479866427), at Kramerbooks and Afterwords in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 3:30 p.m.)

10 p.m. Pamela Haag, author of The Gunning of America: Business and the Making of American Gun Culture (Basic Books, $29.99, 9780465048953). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. J. Kael Weston, author of The Mirror Test: America at War in Iraq and Afghanistan (Knopf, $28.95, 9780385351126), at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 2:30 p.m.)

Sunday, June 26
5:30 p.m. Adam Hochschild, author of Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780547973180), at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Monday at 7 a.m.)

7 p.m. Mark Zwonitzer, author of The Statesman and the Storyteller: John Hay, Mark Twain, and the Rise of American Imperialism (Algonquin, $35, 9781565129894).

8 p.m. Wenonah Hauter, author of Frackopoly: The Battle for the Future of Energy and the Environment (The New Press, $27.95, 9781620970072). (Re-airs Monday at 5 a.m.)

10 p.m. Stacey Dash, author of There Goes My Social Life: From Clueless to Conservative (Regnery, $27.99, 9781621574132). (Re-airs Monday at 6 a.m.)

11 p.m. Mark Landler, author of Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the Twilight Struggle Over American Power (Random House, $28, 9780812998856).

Books & Authors

Awards: Princess of Asturias; PEN Ackerley; Society of Authors

Richard Ford has won the 2016 Princess of Asturias Award for Literature. The jury said, "His work forms part of the great tradition of the 20th-century American novel. Author of works such as The Sportswriter, Lay of the Land and Canada, his characters, plots and story lines are defined by an ironic, minimalist sense of epic. The careful attention to detail in his descriptions and his sombre, dense gaze at the daily lives of anonymous, invisible people meld with the desolation and emotions emanating from his stories. All this makes Ford a profoundly contemporary narrator, as well as the great chronicler of the mosaic of interwoven tales that is American society."


English PEN has released a shortlist for the £3,000 (about $4,410) PEN Ackerley Prize, which is awarded to "a literary autobiography of outstanding merit, written by an author of British nationality and published in the U.K. in the previous year." The winner will be announced July 12. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Pour Me: A Life by A.A. Gill
Dead Babies and Seaside Towns by Alice Jolly
Kid Gloves by Adam Mars-Jones


The Society of Authors distributed £86,000 (about $126,465) to writers at the organization's annual Authors' Awards ceremony. Among the honorees, Alex Christofi took the £10,000 (about $14,705) Betty Trask Prize for "a first novel of outstanding literary merit by an author under the age of 35, writing in a traditional or romantic style." Andrew McMillan received two honors--the Somerset Maugham Award and an Eric Gregory Award--for his poetry collection physical.
You can see a complete list of winners here.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, June 28:

House of Nails: A Memoir of Life on the Edge by Lenny Dykstra (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062407368) is the autobiography of the former baseball star, businessman and felon.

My Father Before Me: A Memoir by Chris Forhan (Scribner, $26, 9781501131264) is the portrait of a poet's troubled father.

The Games by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316407113) is a thriller set during the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. (June 27.)

Ghosts of War: A Pike Logan Thriller by Brad Taylor (Dutton, $27, 9780525954927) is the 10th thriller with counterterrorism agent Pike Logan.

A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl (Viking, $26, 9780399562211) follows the former star of a sci-fi TV show taking her son on a road trip.

A Certain Age: A Novel by Beatriz Williams (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062404954) focuses on wealthy people in Jazz Age New York City.

The Day of the Donald: Trump Trumps America by Andrew Shaffer (Crooked Lane Books, $14.99, 9781683310457) is a parody thriller about a Donald Trump presidency.

The Dark Side by Anthony O'Neill (Simon & Schuster, $16, 9781501119569) is sci-fi noir set on a colonized Moon.

American Babe: A White Girl Problems Book by Babe Walker (Gallery, $16, 9781501124846).

Dating Tips for the Unemployed by Iris Smyles (Mariner, $15.95, 9780544703384) is a collection of 24 humorous, interconnected short stories.

The Free State of Jones: Mississippi's Longest Civil War by Victoria E. Bynum (University of North Carolina Press, $18, 9781469627052) has been re-issued as a tie-in to Free State of Jones, a Civil War film starring Matthew McConaughey, which opens July 24.

The BFG, based on the book by Roald Dahl and directed by Steven Spielberg, opens July 1.

The Legend of Tarzan, loosely based on the stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs, opens July 1. Alexander Skarsgård stars as the titular wild man.

Our Kind of Traitor, based on the book by John le Carré, opens July 1. Damian Lewis, Ewan McGregor and Stellan Skarsgård star in this thriller about a Russian oligarch's attempted defection. A movie tie-in (Penguin Books, $16, 9780143129646) is available.

Life, Animated, based on Ron Suskind's nonfiction book about his autistic son, opens July 1. A movie tie-in titled Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism (Kingswell, $14.99, 9781484741238) comes out July 12.

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:

I'm Thinking of Ending Things: A Novel by Iain Reid (Gallery/Scout Press, $22.95, 9781501126925). "With his debut novel, Reid sets an extremely high bar for all future psychological thrillers. The entire story takes place in little over 24 hours as Jake and his girlfriend travel to meet and have dinner with his parents. In the narration by the unnamed girlfriend, something unsettling surfaces early and builds with the passage of every page. Readers will become riveted, reading faster and faster as the 'unsettling' becomes frightening, and then terrifying. Recommended for all who enjoy a good mind-twisting scare!" --Nancy Simpson-Brice, the Book Vault, Oskaloosa, Iowa

My Best Friend's Exorcism: A Novel by Grady Hendrix (Quirk Books, $19.99, 9781594748622). "Abby and Gretchen are the best of friends. They have navigated through all the adolescent pros and cons that came with growing up in the late '80s: zits, big hair, getting the nod from senior class heartthrob Tommy Cox, and--demonic possession? Written in Hendrix's unique, darkly comedic, and slightly twisted voice, My Best Friend's Exorcism is that quirky and satiating page-turner that fans of Horrorstor have been salivating for." --Angelo Santini, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, Mich.

The Insides: A Novel by Jeremy P. Bushnell (Melville House, 9781612195469, $16.95). "With wildly inventive ideas, compelling suspense, and surprising emotional depth, The Insides captured my attention and imagination right from the start. Bushnell is a playful and adventurous writer, coloring outside the lines of genre, breaking the real world open and building his own between the cracks. In a feat of literary street magic, he blends the ordinary and the surreal together into a harmony that feels perfectly right and true even as it disorients the senses. The result is a quirky paradox of a novel: fierce yet tender, lighthearted yet severe, weird yet natural." --Jason Foose, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Ariz.

For Ages 4 to 8: Revisit & Rediscover
The Empty Pot by Demi (Square Fish, $7.99, 9780805049008). Originally published in 1990. "How will the emperor of China choose his successor? He devises a contest, then drives through his empire handing out seeds to all of the children. Little Ping, son of the emperor's gardener, faithfully plants and waters his seed, but nothing grows. When the day comes to share their plants, Ping is ashamed of his empty pot, but bravely presents it with unexpected results. Told with a light hand and gorgeous illustrations, this is a lovely, timeless story celebrating persistence, courage, honesty, and integrity." --Elizabeth Bluemle, the Flying Pig Bookstore, Shelburne, Vt.

For Ages 9 to 12: Revisit & Rediscover
The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens (Yearling, $7.99, 9780375872716). Originally published in 2011. "This first book in a fantasy trilogy has it all: abandoned children, missing parents, mysterious new worlds, time travel, and an enchanted atlas that may hold some answers. Three ordinary kids try to sort things out, find the truth about their parents, and get back home, but certain forces they encounter keep trying to steal the atlas from them. Full of action and drama, very likable characters, some droll dwarves, an elegant witch, and a dose of humor, this is a book that middle-grade fantasy readers can get lost in. They will be begging for the sequels!" --Carol Moyer, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, N.C.

For Teen Readers
Ruined by Amy Timtera (HarperTeen, $17.99, 9780062396600). "After her parents, the king and queen of Ruina, are murdered and her sister kidnapped, Emelina Flores embarks on a clever--yet dangerous--plan to infiltrate the enemy kingdom of Lera and get her revenge. She kills Crown Prince Casimir's fiancée and assumes her identity so that she can get close enough to murder him and his family. But what if Em and Cas fall in love? With its perilous action, romance, magic, rivalry, and deceit, Ruined is a great choice for fans of epic fantasy." --Alyssa Raymond, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, Colo.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The House at the Edge of Night

The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner (Random House, $27 hardcover, 9780812998795, July 12, 2016)

Catherine Banner's first adult novel, after her Last Descendants YA trilogy, is a magically irresistible family saga about four generations of the Esposito family whose café, the House at the Edge of Night, on the small fictional Sicilian island of Castellamare, is the center of the community and the collector of its many stories.

In the years before World War I, Amadeo Esposito, a foundling from Florence, has transcended his circumstances and become a physician. He arrives in Castellamare with a red leather notebook in which he records the folk tales the islanders recount. Among his first storytellers is the beautiful schoolteacher Pina Vella, who tells him how Sant'Agata, Castellamare's patron saint, saved the island from a plague of sorrows.

Amadeo and Pina soon marry. Their son is born on the same night that the wife of il conte, Castellemare's titled nobleman, gives birth to a boy, a child who is soon rumored to be Amadeo's, too. Disgraced, Amadeo loses his position as the island physician. To support their growing family, Amadeo and Pina open their café. Three subsequent generations of Espositos continue operating the business, as the postwar years give way to the Depression and the Second World War, through to the great recession of 2009. All the while, as constant as the ice cream and arancello they serve, the Espositos gather the locals at the café to talk and gossip, through loves and betrayals, marriages and estrangements, friendships, grudges, rivalries and the moments of unexpected grace.

This wonderful novel offers much to savor. The locals are as cruel and as generous as the famous world figures bending history in the background. No matter what the current generation of Espositos faces, the community gathers and life unfolds, its dramas underscored by the annotated tales from Amadeo's notebook that open each section. The local and global intertwine. History intrudes on the present as members of each generation hold the sorrows and grudges of their forebears.

Banner's island setting is especially well done--a rich and fabulous creation, full of texture and detail. Islands are inherently set apart, places in parentheses, and there is something mythical about Castellamare and the House at the Edge of the Night. Characters who don't stray far from home nevertheless seem larger than life. Emotions are deeply felt, consequential and operatic in this small place. All of the people here have lives that matter because they live them fully, and readers are lucky for it. --Jeanette Zwart, freelance writer and reviewer

Shelf Talker: The House at the Edge of Night, about the family who runs a café on a small Mediterranean island, is a richly themed and magical fairy tale of a novel.

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