Shelf Awareness for Monday, May 1, 2017

S&S / Marysue Rucci Books: The Night We Lost Him by Laura Dave

Wednesday Books: When Haru Was Here by Dustin Thao

Tommy Nelson: Up Toward the Light by Granger Smith, Illustrated by Laura Watkins

Tor Nightfire: Devils Kill Devils by Johnny Compton

Shadow Mountain: Highcliffe House (Proper Romance Regency) by Megan Walker


Third Independent Bookstore Day Shines Across the Country

The third annual Independent Bookstore Day was another striking achievement. Reports over the weekend from booksellers, social media posts and our own intrepid investigations indicated that stores were busy, staff enthusiastic and that the mix of IBD exclusives, author appearances and other special events were embraced by customers. We have a lot of coverage here and will have more tomorrow.

Lines at Women & Children First

Despite cold, relentless rain, Independent Bookstore Day at Women & Children First, Chicago, Ill., was "a staggering success," according to co-owner Sarah Hollenbeck. Sales were up 61% compared to IBD last year. "The checkout line never let up and it definitely felt like the holidays came early!" Hollenbeck gave all the credit to the ChiBA (Chicagoland Independent Bookstore Alliance) and the #MyChicagoBookstore Challenge--more than 30 people visited 10 bookstores in the Chicago area and earned a 10% discount at all the participating bookstores for a year.

Women & Children First also offered snacks from neighborhood coffeeshops and bakeries, and hosted a panel discussion, as part of its the Conversation literary series, about "why books matter now and how we encourage more people to read more challenging books and the publishing industry to publish them." Of the exclusive IBD offerings, Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell was particularly popular: half a dozen people who were waiting in line when the store opened at 8 a.m. pounced on the store's small stack.

Annie Philbrick, owner of Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn., and Savoy Bookshop & Café, Westerly, R.I., called IBD "a perfect day" at both stores "for a variety of reasons." Staff used some "creative whimsy" in decorating the stores with balloons and literary chains of books pages, and served a one-year anniversary cake at Savoy (where customers joined in to sing "Happy Birthday." Activities included author signings with Ann Haywood Leal and Barbara Delinsky. At the Savoy, members of the Rhode Island Preservation and Heritage Commission who were in Watch Hill for their annual conference visited the store. "Beautiful weather made the day even better," Philbrick added.

Ronald Rice with Cathy Fiebach at Main Point Books.

Many stores featured the newly issued paperback edition of My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop, edited by Ronald Rice, illustrated by Leif Parsons, with a foreword by author Richard Russo and an afterword by Emily St. John Mandel. This edition of the tribute to independent bookstores is an updated version of the 2012 hardcover, with essays by 93 writers about their favorite indies. Black Dog & Leventhal timed the release of the paperback to IBD. Editor Ronald Rice, an industry vet, was at Main Point Books, Wayne, Pa., on Saturday.

Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif., had "a great and fun indie bookstore day," manager Steven Salardino reported. Total in-store sales were just a bit shy of last year's IBD sales, which was higher than expected because Skylight hosted "two sold-out offsite events with Elizabeth Warren that evening that made the day incredibly emotional for us" and because of the Festival of Books the previous weekend. "But our customers came through and piled the titles on the checkout counter," Salardino added. "It felt like all the book lovers in Los Angeles were really behind us and wanted to celebrate books and independent bookstores." The bestselling IBD items at Skylight were Michael Chabon's The Sandmeyer Reaction and A Literary Cocktail Party.

Local publisher titles on display just prior to opening at Another Read Through

Another Read Through, Portland, Ore., "spread the independent love" yesterday with a warehouse sales featuring six local indie publishers: Forest Avenue Press, Hawthorne Books, Tin House, Ooligan Press, Atelier26 Books and Microcosm. They brought new stock marked down 50%. Anyone who purchased three of more of the books was entered into a raffle for gift cards to a range of independent bookshops and restaurants up and down the street.

Owner Elisa Saphier reported that the store didn't attract as many people as expected because of "one of our first nicer Saturdays" in a while, "but everyone who did come in was excited to see such great titles by the local publishers offered at such a discount.... When people came through who didn't know that we were doing this, their eyes lit up and they raced into the loft to see what the publishers were offering. I think it was a combination of book readers loving a good sale and the knowledge that these publishers put out such high quality and diverse work.... Almost no one could buy just one."

Saphier added that she wants to do the warehouse sale biannually, with one always on Independent Bookstore Day. "We're always trying to find ways for local authors/publishers/shops to work together and strengthen each other, and this is one of my favorites."

Strong sales at Bookshop Santa Cruz.

At Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif., Saturday was "a very successful (and fun!) Independent Bookstore Day," said owner Casey Coonerty Protti. Sales rose from last year's IBD and were up more than 70% compared to a typical Saturday in April.

A line formed outside the store before 9 a.m., and many customers took photos in the Team Hogwarts vs. Team Star Wars photo booth, made literary bike wheel cards and alternative little golden books (with anti-Trump themes), spun the prize wheel, did scavenger hunts of book covers, met local authors, and participated in a family book art project--all capped with the third annual literary trivia night. The most popular IBD items were the Jeffers print, the Gaiman anthology, Nightingale vinyl, the literary condoms and A Literary Cocktail Party.

"A good time was had by all and I heard many, many customers say they came in because they love and value independent bookstores so much," Protti added.

IBD was "a great day" at Island Books, Middletown, R.I., reported owner Judy Crosby, with "good business and lots of fun had by all." The store offered "speed dating with books," consisting of brown-paper-wrapped recent ARCs with the first page glued to the outside, as well as a literary quiz, which had 20 multiple-choice questions and two matching quizzes with 10 items in each. "Both of these activities kept people in the store for quite some time and customers really interacted with one another," Crosby said. In addition, Island Books gave away Chronicle's "see things differently" reusable shopping bags with a purchase of $50 or more, which "encouraged people to up their purchases, making it a good day sales-wise, too."

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Indie Bookstore Day: Pictures of Love and Appreciation

Lots of bookstore love at Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass. (photo courtesy Pocket Change Lit Magazine)

Shelf Awareness reviewer Harvey Freedenberg conducted a q&a with Susan Perabo (The Fall of Lisa Bellow) at Midtown Scholar in Harrisburg, Pa.

The crowd at Books & Mortar, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Shelf Awareness's own Kristianne Huntsberger (l.) and Marilyn Dahl (with Paul Gjording) completed the Seattle Bookstore Challenge: 12 hours, 2 ferries, 19 indie bookstores!

Booksellers at Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C., offer a "mass high five from P&P to everyone who visited for Bookstore Day today!"

GLOW: Workman Publishing: Atlas Obscura: Wild Life: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Living Wonders by Cara Giaimo, Joshua Foer, and Atlas Obscura

#AFI2017: Canada Celebrates Authors for Indies Day

On Saturday, while booksellers across the U.S. hosted myriad events marking Independent Bookstore Day, their Canadian colleagues were celebrating Authors for Indies Day, during which writers spent quality time on the sales floors of their favorite indie bookshops chatting with customers, signing books and even handselling a bit. More than 600 authors participated this year in 90-plus bookshops. Hop aboard the social media version of the #AFI2017 bus for a quick virtual tour of the festivities:

Authors for Indies: "A dangerous carful of Canadian authors on the way to their next #AFI2017 bookstore."

Book City‏, Toronto: "The waiting. The waiting. At last @Authors4indies day has arrived at the Danforth! #AFI2017." And: "Best shirt, worn by @mflowrites for @Authors4indies: 'I'd be more interested if you were a book.' #BWV."

Paragraphe Bookstore‏, Montreal, Que.: "Booksellers for a day! Authors Ariela Freedman and Bonnie Farmer are @ParagrapheBooks to help us out on Authors for Indies day."

Bookmark PEI

Bookmark PEI, Charlottetown: ‏"Our staff dressed up today to honour Canadian writers from the past! From left we have Susanna Moodie (Lori), Gabrielle Roy (Olivia), Stephen Leacock (Adam), L.M. Montgomery (Marlene), Robertson Davies (Dan), and Mordecai Richler (Ryan)."

Books On Beechwood‏, Ottawa: "@Authors4indies is underway here! Come down to meet some great local authors, buy books, enter draws, receive door prizes, and so much more!"

32 Books & Gallery‏, Vancouver, B.C.: "Too much fun #AFI2017 today @CathieBorrie @GrantLawrence @CeaPerson! Thanks for supporting #local #bookstores! #books."

Lexicon Books, Lunenburg, N.S.: "How adorable are these cookies? If you are in the Lunenburg area and are in the market for some books head over to @lexiconbooks to celebrate #authors4indies day!"

Lighthouse Books, Brighton, Ont.: "Wow. What a fantastic day! 8 fabulous authors, 9 awesome spot prizes, probably 100 'Lindt or Lighthouse' chocolate draws, what feels like a million pictures (some highlighted here...) and too many great book conversations to count, we survived Authors for Indies Day 2017. HUGE thank you to all of the authors and organizers but most importantly, our amazing customers for coming out and supporting Lighthouse Books. One thing is surely clear--Brighton supports local business!"

Author Louise Penny finds a new use for the scanner.

Brome Lake Books, Knowlton, Que.: "Having a great day at Authors for Indies. Louise Penny took over the cash but unfortunately she thought the scanner was a murder weapon! Eventually we got her back to the signing table where she was much more helpful."

Whodunit Mystery Bookstore, Winneped, Man.: "We had a wonderful time with Authors for Indies, and a lovely visit from Sherri Smith. Thanks to everyone who visited and all those who provided support. Stay tuned for draw winners, and thank you once again!"

Another Story‏, Toronto: "Thank you to our wonderful authors & customers who made @Authors4indies such a success today! Can't wait until next year! #Authors4Indies."

Munro's Books, Victoria, B.C.: "#cake is going DOWN!! #AFI2017 #authors4indies @Authors4indies #books #canlit." And: "There's another hour or so to catch our Authors for Indies crew hard at work serving cake and selling books! Thanks to these wonderful folks for sharing their support of independent bookstores. #bookstores #AFI2017 #authors4indies."

Type Books, Toronto: ‏"Thanks, everyone! @Authors4indies is already hopping at 10 AM!" And later: "A big thank you to all our author-booksellers and everyone who dropped by yesterday! We had a blast at @Authors4indies. Hope you did, too!"

Authors for Indies: "As the third Authors for Indies Day in Canada comes to a close, we want to thank all the wonderful authors, bookstores, and book lovers who came together to make this celebration happen. It is so inspiring to see how much support, and how much cake, we will all offer in the name of something we love! Please keep sharing pictures of your book hauls for the day, and keep dropping by your favorite indies all year. #AFI2017 #OhCanada #IndieBookstoresForever."

Weldon Owen: The Gay Icon's Guide to Life by Michael Joosten, Illustrated by Peter Emerich

Books Are Magic Opens in Time for IBD

Brooklynites welcomed Books Are Magic.

Books Are Magic has opened! The new Brooklyn, N.Y., bookstore owned by author Emma Fusco-Straub and her husband, Michael Fusco-Straub, opened for the first time, earlier than planned, on Saturday, from noon to 4 p.m., in time for Independent Bookstore Day and opened again on Sunday for four hours. Today, Books Are Magic is marking its official opening--with full hours.

In a message to customers, the owners wrote, "We can't promise perfection, but we promise to do our very best! There are books on the shelves and smiling booksellers at the ready."

They're still working on the store's website, which will be "incredible and gorgeous and also offer the opportunity to buy/reserve books and merchandise online. Stay tuned for that, but in the meantime, we've posted all our events! Check them out! There are so many things to look forward to, we can't quite believe it."

They've also posted a wonderful video featuring many writer friends and the Fusco-Straub family (at the end).

Graphic Universe (Tm): Hotelitor: Luxury-Class Defense and Hospitality Unit by Josh Hicks


Gibson's Bookstore Named 'Best of New Hampshire'

Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H., was named best bookstore in Yankee magazine's Best of New Hampshire 2017 Editors' Choice Awards. The citation read: "An independent establishment since 1898, Gibson's does everything right--from its thoughtfully curated staff picks to its roster of more than 100 author events each year--in a space that practically demands that you claim a nook with a stuffed chair, while its displays pull you in like a friend with an armload of books. In 2013, Gibson's relocated to a bigger space, becoming northern New England's largest indie bookstore; its 10,000 square feet encompass the local independent toy store that it bought and folded into its layout, as well as a True Brew Café outlet."

Consortium Adds Four Publishers

Effective June 1, Consortium Books Sales & Distribution is adding four new publishers for the fall 2017 season:

Catalyst Press, an independent press that was founded this year by Jessica Powers. The press seeks to publish books that will spark a catalyst for change in the world through the lens of the African or indigenous experience. Story Press Africa, Catalyst's children's and graphic novel imprint, in collaboration with Jive Media Africa, publishes stories by Africans about Africa that revisit history in authentic, challenging and frequently controversial ways.

Cinestate, an entertainment company founded by film producer Dallas Sonnier (Bone Tomahawk, Bad Milo) and publisher Will Evans of Deep Vellum Publishing that seeks out "bold, authentic" stories that will flourish in films, books and audio.

Conundrum Press, founded by Andy Brown in 1996 in Montreal, Canada, an anglophone press. Originally focusing on chapbooks, short stories, novels, comics and zine collections, Conundrum has moved to Nova Scotia and now focuses exclusively on literary graphic novels.

Scribe Publications, which began in 1976 focusing on "serious nonfiction." It now publishes more than 65 titles annually in Australia, more than 40 in the U.K. and more than 40 in the U.S. Its titles span fiction and nonfiction, with an emphasis on politics and current affairs, biography, history, science and health.

Personnel Changes at Crown

Kathryn Santora has joined the Crown Publishing Group as publicity manager, Crown Archetype, Three Rivers Press and Harmony Books. She was formerly publicity manager at Regan Arts and earlier was a senior publicist at Atria.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ben Bernanke on CBS This Morning

Morning Edition: Gabourey Sidibe, author of This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9780544786769). She will also appear tomorrow on Wendy Williams and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Good Morning America: Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant, authors of Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilence, and Finding Joy (Knopf, $25.95, 9781524732684).

Fresh Air: W. Kamau Bell, author of The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell (Dutton, $28, 9781101985878). He will also appear tomorrow on the Daily Show.

NPR's Here & Now: Barbara Lynch, author of Out of Line: A Life of Playing with Fire (Atria, $26, 9781476795447).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Neil deGrasse Tyson, author of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (Norton, $18.95, 9780393609394). He will also appear tomorrow on CBS This Morning.

CBS This Morning: Ben Bernanke, author of The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath (Norton, $19.95, 9780393353990).

Harry: Michael Psilakis, author of Live to Eat: Cooking the Mediterranean Way (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316380133).

Live with Kelly: Beth Behrs, author of The Total ME-Tox: How to Ditch Your Diet, Move Your Body, & Love Your Life (On Your Own Terms) (Weinstein Books, $26, 9781602863088).

Wendy Williams: Jessica Seinfeld, author of Food Swings: 125+ Recipes to Enjoy Your Life of Virtue & Vice (Ballantine, $32, 9781101967140).

Last Call with Carson Daly: Bassem Youssef, author of Revolution for Dummies: Laughing through the Arab Spring (Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062446893).

Movies: The Exception

A clip is out for A24's The Exception, a film adaptation of Alan Judd's novel The Kaiser's Last Kiss. IndieWire reported that the movie, which premiered on DirecTV this week and will have its theatrical release in June 2, stars Christopher Plummer, Jai Courtney and Lily James. The Exception marks the film debut of Leveaux, a theater director who's been nominated for five Tony Awards. 

Books & Authors

Awards: RSL Ondaatje Shortlist; Sunday Times EFG Short Story; NAIBA Legacy

Finalists have been named for the £10,000 (about $12,890) Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, honoring "a book of the highest literary merit--fiction, nonfiction or poetry--which best evokes the spirit of a place." The winner will be announced on May 8. This year's shortlisted titles are:

The Outrun by Amy Liptrot
In a Land of Paper Gods by Rebecca Mackenzie
Augustown by Kei Miller
Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain by Barney Norris
Golden Hill by Francis Spufford
The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain 


Bret Anthony Johnston has won the £30,000 (about $37,460) Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, the richest in the world for a single short story, for his story, "Half of What Atlee Rouse Knows About Horses."

Judge and journalist Mark Lawson commented, "Great short stories achieve a breadth of meaning far greater than the length of their telling. In Bret Anthony Johnston's story, a small patch of Texas cattle country opens up long vistas on love, death, memory and the survival instinct, human and equine. Johnston showed brilliance over the long distance in his novel, Remember Me Like This, and now proves equally adept at brevity. Small details from American and animal lives take on vast significance, and every line has the kick of a horse."

Johnston is director of creative writing at Harvard University.


Richard Ford will receive the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association's 2017 Legacy Award, which honors an author for his or her body of work that members have enjoyed reading and selling. Ford will receive the award at the NAIBA Awards Banquet on Saturday, October 7, in Cherry Hill, N.J., during the association's fall conference.

Ford is the author of the Bascombe novels, which include The Sportswriter and its sequels; Independence Day, the first novel to win the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award; The Lay of the Land; Let Me Be Frank with You; and Canada. He has also written the short story collections Rock Springs and A Multitude of Sins and the memoir Between Them: Remembering My Parents.

Book Review

Review: A French Wedding

A French Wedding by Hannah Tunnicliffe (Doubleday, $25.95 hardcover, 320p., 9780385541848, June 6, 2017)

Hannah Tunnicliffe's novels bring people together with food and striking locales. In The Color of Tea, melt-in-your mouth French pastries sweeten the story of an expatriate who opens a café in Macau, China. In Season of Salt and Honey, Sicilian American cuisine and characters spice up one woman's journey to overcome grief. And in A French Wedding, a former Parisian restaurateur serves as private chef for six college friends--and their significant others--who gather in a small French coastal town to eat, drink and be merry. Their celebration marks the 40th birthday of Max Dresner, a party boy and rogue rock star who's reassessing his life.

The first part of the novel is set with details about Juliette, a workaholic French chef who faces the breakup of a meaningful romantic relationship and tries to manage Delphine, her Paris eatery. Added to Juliette's already full plate are her elderly and infirm parents who live miles away in Douarnenez, a coastal town in northwestern France. When Juliette chooses to give up ownership of Delphine and care for her parents, she fears her dreams are forever shattered.

The second part is like a main course and takes place months later, over one long weekend in Max Dresner's renovated Douarnenez getaway. Juliette, hired by Max as a housekeeper, tends to his guests: "old friends... more like family" who studied--and bonded--at Camberwell, an arts college in London, 20 years earlier. The group includes Nina and Lars, college sweethearts, and their 15-year-old daughter, Sophie; Rosie and her surgeon husband, Hugo, an outsider to the clique; Eddie, who used to date Rosie in college, and his current girlfriend, Beth, an American hairdresser, younger than Eddie and the rest; and Helen, a free spirit and avant-garde art gallery owner, to whom Max intends to finally propose marriage over the weekend.

While throughout the reunion the guests savor Juliette's gourmet food and the wine flows, spirits ultimately sour. Hugo feels threatened by Eddie and the others. Sophie longs to escape the grownups' quest to reclaim their youth. The gals don't know what to make of Beth unabashedly going topless on the Brittany beach. And then Soleil arrives, Helen's younger half-sister, who is less than impressed by the group. Add percolating secrets, old resentments and an unexpected illness, and it looks like Max's birthday party--and his sincere intent to publicly profess his love for Helen--may fall flat.

Tunnicliffe's well-drawn characters are forced to reconcile the past and face up to emotional midlife struggles. Juliette emerges as a stabilizing presence for the old friends and her own story, like dessert, caps off the last part of the novel. It takes place one year later and offers a bittersweet, yet deeply satisfying conclusion for all. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines.

Shelf Talker: Close-knit college friends with a long, sordid past reunite in the French countryside to celebrate the 40th birthday of one of their own.

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