Also published on this date: Wednesday, February 15, 2017: Maximum Shelf: My Last Lament

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Atlantic Monthly Press: Those Opulent Days: A Mystery by Jacquie Pham

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

Carolrhoda Lab (R): Here Goes Nothing by Emma K Ohland

Allida: Safiyyah's War by Hiba Noor Khan

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley


Maine's Blue Hill Books Bought by Longtime Employee

Samantha Haskell

Effective February 1, Nick Sichterman and Mariah Hughs sold Blue Hill Books in Blue Hill, Maine, to their long-time employee and working partner, Samantha Haskell. Sichterman and Hughs, who founded the store in 1986 and put it up for sale last year after deciding to retire, lauded Haskell as "one of the young, smart, and talented booksellers" who are becoming owners of established bookstores as owners are looking to retire.

Sichterman added: "Mariah and I have long thought that Samantha would be the best person on the planet to take over the store when we retired, and luckily, she was interested. The last couple of months have been busy--Christmas and the mechanics of transitioning to the 'Era of Samantha'--too busy to orchestrate a campaign of letting our customers in on the news. This is a start."

Blue Hill Books is a 1,700-square-foot store on two levels in Blue Hill, the commercial center of the Blue Hill Peninsula, the peninsula just to the west of Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park in Downeast Maine.

PM Press: P Is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi, Illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi

Second International Book Fair Scholarship Will Send Three Booksellers to Turin

Europa Editions, which last year sponsored its first International Book Fair Scholarship--a program that sends U.S. independent booksellers to international book fairs--is expanding the program. Now with the Other Press as a partner, the scholarship program will send three U.S. booksellers to the 2017 Turin Book Fair, May 18-22, in Turin, Italy.

The program aims to connect U.S. booksellers with "the greater world of international book publishing, to build bridges and foster a sense of global citizenship among booksellers and book industry professionals" and give booksellers "the opportunity to learn about the international bookselling scene first-hand at one of the biggest and best gatherings of the worldwide publishing community."

The selected booksellers will have attend panels, meetings and parties with international booksellers, authors and publishers. The Turin Book Fair will host a pop-up indie bookstore where scholarship winners can mingle and meet with international colleagues.

Booksellers interested in international literature and fostering relationships with the international bookselling community are encouraged to apply. Scholarships include travel, accommodation and per diem. For more information and to apply, visit or call 212-868-6844.

Last year, Ariana Paliobagis, owner of Country Bookshelf in Bozeman, Mont., won the first International Book Fair Scholarship and attended the Frankfurt Book Fair for the first time, which she called a rewarding, educational experience.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

DeAndra Beard Cultivates Community with Beyond Borders Cultural Center

DeAndra Beard (center) at the ribbon-cutting for Beyond Barcodes

"The overall mission of this space is common language, common ground, close knit community," said DeAndra Beard, owner of Beyond Barcodes Bookstore in Kokomo, Ind. The bookstore is part of a larger space in downtown Kokomo called Beyond Borders, also owned by Beard, that includes Bind Cafe and Beyond Borders Language Learning center. "Everything we do is to create this common ground, to make everybody in the community feel like this is their space."

Beyond Borders opened near the end of 2014 and initially shared the space with an educational toy store. After the toy store owners--who also happen to be the landlords--retired, Beard decided to expand Beyond Borders by adding the bookstore and cafe in early 2016. Now, Beard is looking to buy the building and is turning to her community for help: she has 60 days to go on a crowdfunding campaign on, with a goal of $40,000.

"We're in a wonderfully difficult position," Beard said, explaining that though she has the full support of the building's owners, the difficulty is raising enough capital. The theme of her crowdfunding campaign is "cultivating roots in the community," and she is depending on her community "to partner with us, to help us become a permanent fixture here."

Beyond Barcodes sells all new books with a multicultural focus. Beard estimated that about 80%-85% of the titles in store are "by and about people of color from around the world." The store carries fiction, nonfiction, young adult and children's titles, with a broad theme of social justice, human rights, family and "good stories." There are also resource books and materials for educators and activists. The store hosts frequent book-related events, including writing workshops and signings with local writers of color, and many nonbook events as well. There have been multicultural dance classes, plenty of live music and, starting last summer, town hall meetings that, according to Beard, have put the store "on the map." The town hall series, called We the People, offers a public forum for community members to discuss local and national issues, often about race and racial reconciliation.

"For a town that has never had a public forum and has had this historic blight, it has been amazing," said Beard. "That series of conversations has been huge for us."

The cafe, which shares one large, open space with the bookstore, offers a full breakfast and lunch menu along with coffee, tea and pastries, and every month the menu focuses on a type of cuisine from a different region or country. Last October, the cafe's focus was Mexican; in November, it was Colombian; in December, the cafe served Indian; in January, the food was German. Tis month's menu features a pan-Caribbean theme, with Beard planning to focus on specific Caribbean countries in the future. And though it is not yet open, Beard plans to turn the building's second floor into a bed and breakfast called Urban Oasis, with the breakfasts coming from Bind Cafe. The language learning center, meanwhile, is separated from the cafe and bookstore, and has grown to offer courses in Spanish, Portuguese, American Sign Language, English as a Second Language and French. Classes meet twice per week for a 10-week period, and there are six language instructors.

Before she opened Beyond Barcodes, Beard spent seven years as a middle school Spanish teacher. She grew up in Kokomo and became a teacher after living elsewhere for a time. She realized from watching her students and listening to the things they said that Kokomo was still deeply divided, much as it had been while she was growing up. Her students' behavior was a "microcosm of what's happening in the greater community," and her decision to open the language learning center came after she realized that she needed to "get out of the school to get into the community."

Her students "really reflected the thoughts and attitudes of the community I live in," recalled Beard. "It was sad to see some of the same things and racial attitudes [as when I grew up]."

Beard has a deep connection to the building, beyond her time owning and operating a business there: around 60 years ago, her father was a janitor in the building next door. He worked in that building for 10 years, alongside Beard's grandfather and several other family members, until he graduated from high school.

"As a black family in this community, we have the opportunity to go from janitors to building owners in one generation," said Beard. "I'm working hard to make it happen." --Alex Mutter

Amazon to Begin Collecting Sales Tax in Arkansas

On March 1, Amazon will begin collecting sales tax on sales in Arkansas, the AP reported. The state House and Senate recently moved forward on separate measures, one to require online retailers to collect sales tax on Arkansas sales and the other to require online retailers to notify Arkansas customers that the owe the state sales tax and to provide a list of all such purchases to the state.

Republican state Senator Jake Files, who proposed the Senate bill, has estimated it could bring in between $32 million and $100 million a year.

The state has forecast a $57 million revenue shortfall this year, which may lead to budget cuts. Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson said any additional revenue from online sales tax will go to cutting the state's income tax rather than filling budget gaps.

Obituary Note: Jiro Taniguchi

Jiro Taniguchi, "a legend in Japan's comic art of manga" whose legacy is "an international following for his exquisite line drawing of scenes from everyday life," died February 11, AFP reported. He was 69. Announcing his death on its website, Taniguchi's French publisher Casterman praised the artist's character, describing him as an "extraordinarily kind and gentle person. The humanism that imbued all his work is familiar to his readers, but the man himself was much less well-known, naturally reserved in character and more inclined to let his work speak on his behalf."

AFP noted that Taniguchi "first shot to fame in Japan at the end of the 1980s with the first volume of The Times of Botchan, which centers around Natsume Soseki, one of Japan's greatest writers. Just over a decade later, he hit the international manga scene with A Distant Neighbourhood, about a Japanese salaryman who travels back to his childhood--widely seen to this day as his masterpiece."

"He was seen by French readers, illustrators and publishers as a god, while he presented himself as a regular guy," fellow manga artist Tori Miki said on Twitter. In 2011, the French government awarded Taniguchi the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters.


Image of the Day: Happy Galentine's!

Main Street Books in Davidson, N.C., hosted a mashed-up Leslie Knope-style Galentine's Day celebration/Blind Date with a Book. The store teamed up with Ben & Jerry's for a ticketed party with a full ice cream sundae bar, wine and cheese. Guests browsed their potential blind dates (all hardcovers provided by the store), displayed on a long table with their enticing descriptions. Then each guest got a number and exchanges were made according to "white elephant" rules--selection and stealing of books got quite feisty! The most-oft stolen books in the exchange were Diane Chamberlain's signed Pretending to Dance, Edna O'Brien's Little Red Chairs, Gloria Steinem's My Life on the Road and Phillipa Gregory's Taming of the Queen.

Little Free Library Design Competition Winners

The Chronicle Books Choice winning design

Chronicle Books has announced the winners of the first Little Free Library Design Competition, which the publisher sponsored in partnership with the Little Free Library organization and the American Institute of Architects San Francisco. View all the winners and honored designs here.

Designers were challenged to create an LFL that "would be durable in all weather, usable at night, accommodate the height difference between adult and child readers, and suit the community where it is sited." The judging panel received 300 submissions from 40 countries, including the U.K., India, China, Iran, Germany, Italy and Japan.

Judges selected Owlie by Bartosz Bochynski (FUTUMATA/London) as the overall winner. Owlie is a wooden owl, standing approximately four feet tall. Books are accessed through plexiglass doors in the back and are visible though its eyes. A metal roof protects it from the elements. As Bochynski explained, Owlie "is made from affordable and ecological materials, and it can accommodate around 40 books which are visible in her eyes. There is a shelf for kids' books, a shelf for adult books, and a shelf for a notebook for visitors' comments. All shelves are highlighted with the LED lighting." Competition judge Renée Elaine Sazcı of AIASF noted: "I love that in the evening, with the help of the LED lights, the owl's eyes light up as a feature. This not only attracts people, but creates safety for the tiny library."

The Chronicle Books Choice winner by Rachel Murdaugh and Clark Nexsen (Asheville, N.C.) is a free-standing kiosk with a hinged frame and optional fold-down seat. It would ship in a flat pack and could be assembled with the included hardware and instructions. Chronicle's design team praised it as "a thoughtful and impressive alignment of style and substance, and the materials chosen were very smart from a production standpoint."

New Podcast: Literati Bookstore's 'Shelf Talking'

The debut episode is available for Shelf Talking, the official podcast of Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich. The podcast, which features "recordings from recent in-store events alongside exclusive interviews and content," is hosted by bookseller Sam Krowchenko.

Bookstore Sidewalk Chalkboard of the Day: The Book Nook

Posted on Facebook by the Book Nook in Ludlow, Vt., as a big snowstorm began working its winter magic:

"The #snow has started. Happy #Winter! Happy #reading curled up at home with a good book."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Bernie Sanders on Conan

Conan repeat: Senator Bernie Sanders, author of Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In (Thomas Dunne, $27, 9781250132925).

First Book Trailer to Screen at SXSW

The book trailer for Jared Young's 2016 novel Into the Current has been nominated for a South by Southwest film design award and will be the first book trailer to screen at the festival. Quillblog reported that the trailer "is nominated for excellence in title design, alongside Hollywood and Netflix blockbusters like Stranger Things, Jessica Jones, The Crown and Doctor Strange." Young, who works for the creative agency Macmillan in Ottawa, collaborated on the project with motion designer Chris Moberg. The SXSW ceremony takes place March 14 in Austin, Tex.

Books & Authors

Awards: Colby Winner

David J. Barron has won the 2017 William E. Colby Award for his book, Waging War: The Clash Between Presidents and Congress, 1776 to ISIS (Simon & Schuster). The prize is awarded annually by Norwich University in Northfield, Vt., to "a first solo work of fiction or nonfiction that has made a major contribution to the understanding of military history, intelligence operations or international affairs."

Colby judges said that Waging War "details the history of the ongoing struggle between U.S. presidents and Congress over who has the power to declare and wage war, beginning with George Washington and the Continental Congress and continuing through current-day conflicts described as the Global War on Terror."

Barron is a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and former S. William Green Professor of Public Law at Harvard Law School. He previously served as the Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice.

The award and a $5,000 honorarium provided by the TAWANI Foundation will be presented to Barron at Norwich University during the 2017 William E. Colby Military Writers' Symposium at the "Meet the Authors" Dinner on April 13.

SCBWI's Narrative Art Award Replaces Tomie dePaola Prize

Effective this year, the Tomie dePaola Award will become the Narrative Art Award, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators has announced. A rotating panel of judges from the SCBWI board of advisors will provide an assignment and will judge the submissions annually. The first assignment of the Narrative Art Award will be announced in July, with submissions due in September. The winner, to be unveiled in November, will attend the SCBWI 2018 Winter Conference. 

According to the SCBWI, the assignment will always require three images, in the format of panels, to show sequence and narrative. The theme and specific assignment changes each year. The prize continues to be a trip to the SCBWI New York Winter conference, with tuition, travel and hotel included. The winning piece will be displayed during the New York VIP Party and Portfolio Showcase. SCBWI is also continuing the tradition of having an online gallery to display submissions to the award for anyone who wants to participate.

Reading with... Ragnar Jónasson

photo: Sigurjon Sigurjonsson

Ragnar Jónasson was born in Iceland and works as an attorney and writer in Reykjavík. Before embarking on a writing career, he translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic. Jónasson is the co-founder of the Reykjavík international crime writing festival Iceland Noir and has appeared on panels at crime fiction festivals, including Bouchercon and Left Coast Crime in the U.S. His thriller Snowblind (Minotaur, January 31, 2017) is his first to be translated into English

On your nightstand now:

Sophie Hannah's new Poirot book, Closed Casket. I enjoyed her first one in the series, and it was cozy to have a Christie for Christmas.
Joël Dicker's The Baltimore Boys. His Harry Quebert book was outstanding, my favorite read of 2014, so I'm really looking forward to this one.
P.D. James's The Mistletoe Murder, a collection of Christmas mysteries.
The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena, a real page-turner.
Also, I'm constantly re-reading Agatha Christie, at the moment it's The Sittaford Mystery.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I read quite a lot when I was a child, and one of my favorite authors was Icelandic children writer Ármann Kr. Einarsson, but I don't think his books were translated into English.

Your top five authors:

In this respect, I'll stick to the field of crime writing, where my top five authors would be Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, S.S. Van Dine, P.D. James and Stieg Larsson. Three of those belong to the Golden Age, while P.D. James is probably the best crime author of the recent decades. Stieg Larsson represents my interest in Nordic crime, and I loved his books.

Book you've faked reading:

Can't think of any. I can admit though that I feel I should read more by Iceland's Nobel laureate, Halldór Laxness. I've read some of his novels, of course, but not all of them. A magnificent author.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I'm always recommending that people read The Greenhouse by Icelandic author Audur Ava Ólafsdóttir. One of my all-time favorite books. Also, I strongly encourage English-language readers to read books by excellent Icelandic novelist Ólaf Ólafsson, as many of his books are available in English, the most recent one being Restoration.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Almost every book! I buy a lot of books, and if it's not an author I know, but the cover is good, I usually buy it!

Book you hid from your parents:

I don't remember having done that, actually. They have always encouraged me to read as much as I can.

Book that changed your life:

I would have to say Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie. That was the first Christie book I ever read, at the age of 11, and that led me to eventually translate and write crime fiction.

Favorite line from a book:

"The truth is not to be found in books, not even good books, but in people with a good heart." --Halldór Laxness

Five books you'll never part with:

Many more than five, I'm sure, but to name a few: the first edition of my first published book; first editions of my father's and my grandfather's books; the first ever Icelandic translation of Agatha Christie, from 1941; and, of course, my signed Agatha Christie book, as well as my signed P.D. James books.

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

Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, no question. A superbly clever book.

Book Review

YA Review: Goodbye Days

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner (Crown, $17.99 hardcover, 416p., ages 14-up, 9780553524062, March 7, 2017)

Carver Briggs is a "seventeen-year-old funeral expert." After attending three consecutive services for his three best friends Mars, Eli and Blake, this may be the only thing he can say about himself anymore.

It's tragic enough that Carver's friends were killed in a driving-while-texting car accident, but Carver feels responsible for it: it was his text that Mars was responding to when the accident happened. ("Where are you guys? Text me back.") Consumed by guilt, the aspiring author from Nashville can no longer write: "Your writing only has the power to kill," he tells himself. Wracked with grief, terrified by the potential lawsuit against him and bewildered by his new closeness with Jesmyn, Eli's girlfriend ("Ex-girlfriend? They never broke up"), Carver is foundering: "I once thought heartbreak was akin to contracting a cold or becoming pregnant. It only comes one at a time. Once you get it, you can't get it again until you're done with the first round." But it turns out your "love heart, separate from your grieving heart, or your guilt heart, or your fear heart" can all be individually broken in their own way.

Carver's acute sensitivity drags him through each hellish day as he begins his senior year under the pall of friendlessness and blame. Eli's twin sister, Adair, cannot forgive him, nor can Mars's father, the formidable Judge Frederick Douglass Edwards, who sets in motion the criminal investigation into Carver's role in the accident. When Blake's grandmother asks Carver to take part in a "goodbye day" with her--one final chance to do all the things they imagine Blake might have wanted to do on his last day--a seed is planted. Although Blake, Eli and Mars come from three families who have reacted very differently to their respective sons' deaths, Carver begins to wonder if it wouldn't be helpful for each family to have a goodbye day to help them move forward.

In his gorgeous, devastating YA novel, Jeff Zentner (The Serpent King) explores the tormented inner life of a teenager in crisis. Although many will never experience tragedy on the scale Carver does, virtually everyone at some point goes through the kind of hardship that can drive a person deeply inward. With the help of a caring, funny therapist, memories of his sweet, smart and goofy friends, and Jesmyn, Carver struggles to find a way out of pure despair by recognizing that the living "still have to live." --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: Seventeen-year-old Carver grapples with grief, guilt, fear and love in this exquisite and tragic YA novel by Jeff Zentner, author of The Serpent King.

Powered by: Xtenit