Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Algonquin Young Readers: the Beautiful Game by Yamile Saied Méndez

Berkley Books: Books that will sweep you off your feet! Enter Giveaway!

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber

Quotation of the Day

PRH's Markus Dohle on the Power of Print

"Also gratifying is the strength and stability of our physical book sales. You will recall that we never bought in to the gloom and doom about the future of print. Instead we said that print would always be important, even as digital became more so. We made significant improvements in both, and the care we've taken with our physical supply chains, operations, and distribution centers is especially paying off now as consumer demand for physical remains robust."

--Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, in a letter to staff about the company's financial performance this year. (Sales at PRH in the first half of 2016 fell 10.7% to €1.5 billion, or about $1.67 billion, largely because of "an expected decline in e-book sales in the U.S. and U.K. due in part to new retail sales terms," offset somewhat by "steady physical book sales and growth in the audio format," parent company Bertelsmann said.)

Blackstone Publishing: Rogue Community College: A Liberty House Novel by David R Slayton


Oakhurst, Calif.'s Branches Books & Gifts Moves, Celebrates

Branches Books & Gifts, Oakhurst, Calif., has, as announced earlier this summer, moved to a new, 1,500 square foot location. Owner Anne Driscoll, manager Shelby Collings and booksellers Ruth Demers and Chloe Dean closed the old shop last week and "with the help of family, friends and some major packing skills," moved and re-opened Friday morning.

"I am absolutely thrilled with the way everything turned out," Driscoll said. "There are designated spaces for everything, and it has a wonderful energy already. We are so excited to have more room and more shelves! Many people think we are a new store in the area, which just solidifies that this was the absolute correct decision to relocate, expand and be in a more central location."

Branches is celebrating the move this coming weekend, beginning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, September 2, at noon, hosted by the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce. On Saturday, the store will have a princess story time with a photographer on hand. Branches is also having prize drawings and giveaways through Labor Day.

Larry Norton New GM of INscribe Digital

Larry Norton

Larry Norton has been named executive v-p and general manager for INscribe Digital, the e-book distributor that was purchased last month by Independent Publishers Group. He replaces Anne Kubek, who is leaving the company as part of the sale.

Norton is a book industry veteran and has worked in sales at William Morrow and Simon & Schuster and was senior v-p for business development and publisher relations at Borders Group.

"Larry is one of the best things to come out of our acquisition of INscribe Digital," Joe Matthews, CEO of IPG, said. "He's an experienced leader with a proven ability to engage, guide and support publishers large and small."

Norton called IPG "a great home for INscribe Digital. We can now deliver services across the entire publishing spectrum. I look forward to continuing the groundbreaking work of Anne Kubek," who is also a Borders veteran.

With headquarters in San Francisco, INscribe Digital has distributed more than 65,000 e-book titles on behalf of major book publishers, university and independent presses, literary agents and authors through its Athena content delivery platform. INscribe Digital also offers solutions for book production, conversion, marketing and distribution and says that "strong retailer relationships" enable it to "deliver customized marketing and sales solutions for diverse clients at a range of retailers globally."

Amazon Opening Another Warehouse in Illinois

Amazon plans to open another warehouse in Illinois, in Monee, in the suburbs south of Chicago. The 850,000 square foot facility will focus on "small items" such as books, electronics and consumer goods.

"We feel very fortunate that Amazon has decided to build another fulfillment center in Will County, bringing the total facilities here to four," Will County Executive Lawrence Walsh commented.

The warehouse should open in the second half of 2017, according to the Chicago Tribune. The paper said Amazon will get a tax break from the state, an amount that has not yet been determined, adding, "Amazon will be able to credit employee withholding taxes against its corporate income tax bill for up to a decade if the state determines it has met the tax credit program's requirements."

Last week, Amazon said that next year it's opening an Amazon Books store in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood.

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
A Forty Year Kiss
by Nickolas Butler
GLOW: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler is a passionate, emotionally complex love story that probes tender places within the heart and soul. When 60-somethings Charlie and Vivian--married then divorced in their 20s--reunite after four decades, they are swept up by the very best of what their romantic relationship once offered. "Anyone who has ever thought about what might have been will find this book fascinating," says Shana Drehs, senior editorial director at Sourcebooks Landmark. "The story is a brilliant exploration of a second chance at love, always realistic but never saccharine." As Charlie and Vivian build a bridge from past to present, their enduring love paving over potholes, Butler (Shotgun Lovesongs) raises questions about how life changes people--or does it?--and delivers another heartening, unforgettable novel. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

(Sourcebooks Landmark, $27.99 Hardcover, 9781464221248, 
February 4, 2025)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Biggest Bookstore Boot Camp in Years

Last week, 30 people representing 20 new bookstores across the country and in the Caribbean participated in "Bookstore Boot Camp," run by the Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates and co-sponsored by the American Booksellers Association. It was the largest class in the last dozen years, and "85% of workshop attendees were committed to opening in the near future or were already open," Donna Paz Kaufman said proudly. The group met in Franklin, Mass., and went on a field trip to host bookstore An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Cafe in Plainville, the beautiful new store owned by Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney (in the dark T-shirt in the back row).

The next Bookstore Boot Camp is scheduled for March 28-31, 2017 on Amelia Island, Fla., with prerequisite online training available now.

Innisfree Bookshop, Serving Meredith, N.H., Since 1984

Innisfree Bookshop, a 5,000 square foot general interest bookstore in Meredith, N.H., has thrived since 1984, the Laconia Citizen reported. Jim Meryman and Laura Mamarelli are the store's co-owners, and while Meryman still does most of the store's buying, the shop is managed by Beverly Newton, who has worked at Innisfree since 1996.

The store carries books for children, teens and adults, and everything from fiction to nonfiction, literary classics to beach-reads and international bestsellers to New Hampshire-focused history books. As for non-book products, Innisfree Bookshop has a variety of games, puzzles, toys and stuffed animals. During the summer months, the store has six full-time employees and two part-timers; in the winter, the store usually transitions to three full-time staff and four part-timers. The store is busiest in the summer, during fall foliage and before Christmas.

"It's exciting to share my thoughts and opinions about books, and hear the same from customers," Newton told the Citizen. "I like sharing books that I have read with other people. The customers here are often interested in finding out what our staff is reading. It's extremely satisfying to see kids come in excited about getting a new book."

Personnel Changes at Chronicle Books

Effective September 6, Kristin Norell is joining Chronicle Books as international sales director. She was most recently v-p of international sales for World Book Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company, where she managed all the print, digital and licensing activity for the publishing program outside the U.S.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jesmyn Ward on Diane Rehm

PBS's Well Read: Robert Moor, author of On Trails: An Exploration (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781476739212).

Diane Rehm: Jesmyn Ward, author of The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race (Scribner, $25, 9781501126345).

Wendy Williams repeat: Marcia Clark, author of Blood Defense (Thomas & Mercer, $15.95, 9781503954007).

Also on Wendy Williams: Nina Parker, author of South of France Cookbook (Weldon Owen, $35, 9781681880532).

TV: The Luminaries

BBC will adapt Eleanor Catton's Man Booker Prize-winning novel The Luminaries as a six-part drama series, which will also be written by the author. Filming of the hour-long episodes, produced by Working Title Television for BBC Two, begins in 2017 in New Zealand.

"Learning to write for television has been a bit like learning a new musical instrument: The melody is more or less the same, but absolutely everything else is different," Catton said. "I'm having enormous fun, learning every day, and just so excited to see the world of the novel created in the flesh."

Books & Authors

Awards: SCBWI Book Launch Winner

Nancy Bo Flood, author of Soldier Sisters, Fly Home (Charlesbridge), has won the 2016 Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Book Launch Award, which provides authors or illustrators with $2,000 in funds to supplement the promotion and marketing of newly published works for children. Flood proposes to use her grant to visit Navajo schools, both to promote writing and literacy and to show students a positive portrayal of their own culture in contemporary literature. Kathleen Burkinshaw was the Honor Award winner for The Last Cherry Blossom (Sky Pony Press). 

"In today's publishing world, most books need help to be discovered and find an audience," SCBWI executive director Lin Oliver said.

Reading with... Michael Reynolds

photo: Paola Quintavalle
Michael Reynolds joined Europa Editions, where he is the editor-in-chief, in 2004. Authors he has worked with at Europa include Alina Bronsky, Rebecca Connell, Amélie Nothomb, Elena Ferrante, Chantel Acevedo, Jennifer Tseng, Joan London and Charlotte Wood. He is also the author of a collection of short stories, a book for children and several translations, including three crime novels by Carlo Lucarelli and Viola Di Grado's 70% Acrylic 30% Wool. He was born in Australia in 1968 and now lives in New York.

On your nightstand now:

The Ethics of Ambiguity by Simone de Beauvoir, A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (gotta keep up!), Reading Rilke: Reflections on the Problems of Translation by William H. Gass, Outline by Rachel Cusk and La pelle by Curzio Malaparte.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I didn't grow up with a lot of books so it's pretty slim pickings. I remember Caps for Sale vividly, and I remember being very fond of it. I also remember an old set of World Books that I loved to thumb through.

Your top five authors:

I'm afraid they're going to seem very canonical: James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Henry James, Leo Tolstoy and Shakespeare.

Book you've faked reading:

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. On the Road by Jack Kerouac.

Book you're an evangelist for:

To the Lighthouse and Jacob's Room, both by Virginia Woolf. It's awful that so few people read Woolf for pleasure these days. She's thought of too frequently as difficult or outdated, and she is neither. Her prose is thrilling and her characters ring as emotionally and psychologically true to me today as I'm sure they did to readers in her day.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Emma by Jane Austen (the Penguin Threads edition)

Book you hid from your parents:

Can't think of any. I think I hid the entire reading habit from them for a long time after it took.

Book that changed your life:

All of them, but most significantly Dubliners by James Joyce.

Favorite line from a book:

"His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead." --from "The Dead" in James Joyce's Dubliners

Five books you'll never part with:

Rimbaud's Illuminations (purchased new in 1983); Ginsberg's Collected Poems 1947-1980 (purchased new in 1989 at City Lights); The Big Question by Wolf Erlbruch (the first book beloved by my oldest daughter, first read c. 2008); I pisolini di Polly by Peter Newell (the first book that made my second daughter laugh until she cried, c. 2013).

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

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. The Odyssey by Homer. (I can't decide between them.)

Book Review

Children's Review: The Best Man

The Best Man by Richard Peck (Dial/Penguin, $16.99 hardcover, 240p., ages 9-12, 9780803738393, September 20, 2016)

"I hope my story doesn't preach, and I hope it's not political," says Newbery Medalist Richard Peck (A Year Down Yonder) in the introduction to his insightful and witty middle-grade novel The Best Man. "I hope it's a story about love and loss and laughter and family. About how people live today, American people, with their young ones looking up to them."

Peck needn't have worried... there's plenty of homespun wisdom here, but no hint of preaching. He says in his reader's note that he wanted to bring all the recent news of same-sex marriage to the youngest readers, because "the standardized test and textbook haven't caught up," but if this was Peck's primary goal, one would hardly know it because he takes his sweet time (and it is sweet time) getting there. Peck's wandering, anecdote-rich narrative is set in Chicago, and told in the dryly funny voice of an immensely likable, if slightly oblivious boy named Archer Magill.

This story (which Archer calls a "Tale of Two Weddings") opens with a "train wreck" of a wedding in which a six-year-old Archer's tight white velvet shorts split open as he's hiding under his grandparents' porch trying to dodge his duties as ring bearer: "Boys aren't too interested in weddings," he explains. This slapstick fiasco also marks the beginning of his enduring friendship with fellow ring bearer Lynette Stanley, who "took the rap" for Archer and his You Tube-posted posterior, a bossy, seemingly omniscient girl who never stops being bossy over the years.

Time jumps forward to Archer in the fifth grade, and his four man-heroes are gradually introduced: his grandfather, his dad, his uncle and Westside Elementary's first male teacher, Mr. McLeod, "a blue-eyed National Guardsman." As Lynette Stanley points out, "you really have to spell things out" for Archer, so he doesn't catch on that two of these men are gay, and readers might not guess they're gay either until they're told. Once he knows, the boy wonders if he might be gay, too. Archer asks, "Uncle Paul, do you think I might be gay?" " 'I don't know,' he said. 'Do you moisturize?' "

Peck says so much with so few words. When Archer's grandfather is ailing, his mom says she needs her son with her: "I hadn't been needed before," says Archer. "It made me taller." Simple phrases such as "Kids know most things before their grown-ups know they know" ring true and resonate, while Peck playfully mocks trends like wheatgrass smoothies, which Lynette says taste like "an open field, with cow pies."

The Best Man closes with a second wedding, as promised, between Uncle Paul and Mr. McLeod. It's a family affair that Grandma declares another porch wedding, and Archer's dad officiates ("Though the world fall apart,/ Stand heart-to-heart"). Archer and Lynette are at this one, too, six years later--this time on the porch, not under it. A modern-day delight with a satisfyingly old-fashioned feel. --Karin Snelson, children's & YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: In Newbery Medalist Richard Peck's wise and wonderful middle-grade novel, fifth-grader Archer Magill has four male role models and discovers that two of them are gay.

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