Also published on this date: Wednesday, May 24, 2017: Maximum Shelf: Little Fires Everywhere

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 24, 2017

University of Texas Press: Grief Is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating Loss by Lisa Keefauver

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!

Berkley Books: The Hitchcock Hotel by Stephanie Wrobel

Queen Mab Media: Get Our Brand Toolkit

Ballantine Books: Gather Me: A Memoir in Praise of the Books That Saved Me by Glory Edim

Ace Books: Rewitched by Lucy Jane Wood

Graywolf Press: We're Alone: Essays by Edwidge Danticat

St. Martin's Press: Runaway Train: Or, the Story of My Life So Far by Erin Roberts with Sam Kashner


Wesleyan R.J. Julia Bookstore Opens

The Wesleyan R.J. Julia Bookstore in Middletown, Conn., opened yesterday with a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring university president Michael Roth, R.J. Julia Booksellers owner Roxanne Coady, Mayor Daniel Drew and other dignitaries, the Hartford Courant reported, noting that the store, located at 413 Main St., is "a business many expect will anchor a new social hub for the downtown area."

"The opportunity we have is to be a new standard for college bookstores," said Coady, whose team will operate the bookstore. "In 27 years as a bookseller, what I've learned is books change a life. We really have the opportunity to change lives."

"We have a lot of exciting things going on but this one is a cut above," Mayor Daniel Drew noted. "This is a true community effort. This isn't just a nice single project. This is a transformational moment for the city of Middletown. This is going to be one of those moments people look to to understand the trajectory of Middletown's growth and success."

The bookstore's cafe, called grown, is run by Middletown native Shannon Allen and her husband Ray Allen, a former UConn and NBA basketball player. It serves all-organic food with gluten-free and vegan options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

"We are here in a role of support, so that as people are coming in and creating this new community and discovering new books and their love of learning and reading and shopping and sharing, they can also share a meal," Shannon Allen said. "Food is the great equalizer."

Giving the university more visibility to the community on Main Street is part of the goal: "You will meet people you wouldn't have met otherwise. You will find books you didn't know you wanted," said Roth. "You will have a great meal at grown where you will sit down and read a book and make a friend and be part of this great city of Middletown and this great university at Wesleyan. Those are powerful synergies."

The bookstore is fully open to the public, and grown will launch soon. A grand opening celebration is scheduled for June 3.

BINC: Click to Apply to the Macmillan Booksellers Professional Development Scholarships Partners with Pottermore on HP Digital Audiobooks has partnered with Pottermore to offer eight of J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World digital audiobooks through independent bookstores nationwide. The titles include all seven novels in the Harry Potter series, as well as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

"Harry Potter titles have always held a special place within independent bookstores--on the shelves and in the hearts and minds of booksellers. Now in digital audio, current and future generations of Wizarding World fans can discover and rediscover these stories through their beloved local bookstores," said Stephanie Ballien, director of marketing.

Margie Scott Tucker of Books Inc., which has 11 locations in the San Francisco Bay area, said, "Books Inc. is thrilled to be able to offer J.K. Rowling audiobooks to the loyal customers of our partner stores. With summer approaching, these audiobooks will be perfect for family road trips or long plane rides, and our customers will love being able to immerse themselves in the timeless stories and magical world that J.K. Rowling has created."

American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher noted that "for two decades, the Harry Potter titles have held a singular spot on the shelves of independent bookstores, as young readers--who are now themselves parents of young readers--discovered the wonders of an amazing story and great writing. Indie booksellers look forward to this new opportunity to share J.K. Rowling's remarkable series in digital audio."

Watkins Publishing: Fall Into Folklore! ARCS Available On Request

Odyssey Bookshop Adding College Clothing, Sidelines

The Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, Mass., will be adding Mount Holyoke College-branded clothing and other items to its inventory. Noting that the indie bookstore "has sold textbooks for Mount Holyoke students since 2001 and often co-hosts events with faculty, student organizations and departments," the college said Odyssey will have selected items, which are often referred to as "spiritwear" or "spiritgear," available June 15, while a "much wider selection will be available by July 1, and a full complement by the end of August, in time for the fall semester."

"When we were planning the new Community Center, our goal was to design the very best use of the building, with the focus on improving student life and creating better spaces for students to gather," said Shannon Gurek, v-p for finance and administration, the school's treasurer and head of the committee overseeing the move. "We have a long relationship with the people at the Odyssey Bookshop for textbook sales. They've wanted to take over selling spiritwear and College merchandise. It seemed like the right time to give them the opportunity."

The Campus Store in Blanchard Campus Center will be open during Commencement weekend and through Reunion II, after which it is closing. The transition to the Odyssey will end a long relationship between the college and Follett campus stores.

"Ending our relationship with Follett was not an easy decision," Gurek said. "They have been a partner for many years and we will miss their presence on campus--especially the store employees who have been serving our community for decades."

Odyssey owner Joan Grenier plans to order some items from Alta Gracia Apparel, which she said is the only collegiate apparel company that pays a living wage to its workers. "The Odyssey is very excited about the opportunity to develop an even closer relationship with the Mount Holyoke community of students, staff, faculty and alumnae," she added. "We are researching new items to carry and keeping up with evolving trends. We welcome suggestions of products that the college community would like to see the store carry."

Rolley Is New Director of PEN World Voices Festival

Chip Rolley

PEN America has named Chip Rolley as the new director of the PEN World Voices Festival, as well as senior director of literary programs. The former artistic director of the Sydney Writers' Festival joins a team that includes festival general manager Kim Chan and director of public programs Clarisse Rosaz Shariyf. Dates for the 2018 PEN World Voices Festival will be announced later this summer.

The 2017 PEN World Voices Festival, under the theme "Gender and Power," featured more than 70 events. "Watching from 9,000 miles away as both democratic values and the space for art, culture and free expression came under attack in my home country, I felt compelled to return after more than two decades living abroad," Rolley said. "This opportunity to lead the world's only literature festival with a focus on human rights and social justice at this tenuous political moment in the United States is both my privilege and my responsibility as a literary citizen."

Suzanne Nossel, executive director of PEN America, noted that Rolley's "role in raising the profile and expanding the scope of the renowned Sydney Writers Festival and his passion to use literature as a bridge to understanding at a time of rising isolation and polarization make him the ideal person to bring PEN World Voices to the next level of impact both for its core audience in New York City and its expanding reach around the world. This is a moment of tremendous growth and challenge for PEN America and we are delighted to welcome Chip to this essential role on our team."

BookExpo 2017: Young Adult Editors' Buzz Panel

Our look at some of the most anticipated events at BookExpo 2017 continues today with the Young Adult Editors' Buzz Panel, scheduled for June 1. The four titles featured here were selected by committees of booksellers, librarians and publishing professionals, and they run the gamut from fantasy to nonfiction. An article about the six adult editors' selections ran yesterday; the series will conclude tomorrow with a look at the Middle Grade Editors' Buzz Panel.

Author and illustrator Tillie Walden grew up figure skating. For 10 years, figure skating was the cornerstone of her identity: she spent almost all of her free time on the ice, either practicing or competing. In her new graphic memoir, Spinning, Walden recounts how, as she went to a new school, became interested in art and fell in love for the first time, she began to wonder if all the time and effort spent skating was worth it and whether the sport would have a place in her future. Gradually Walden realized that in order to grow as a person, she would have to leave behind something that she once loved.

Heather Hebert, manager of Children's Book World in Haverford, Pa., called Spinning a "moving graphic memoir" as much "about skating as it is about coming of age, coming out, and taking control of one's life." She praised the intimacy and honesty of the storytelling, along with Walden's "superb" artwork, and said: "It will have readers engaged from the first page." Spinning will be available September 12 from First Second Books.

In Tochi Onyebuchi's fantasy debut Beasts Made of Night (September 12, Razorbill), mages in the city of Kos can pull past sins out of people in the form of monstrous creatures known as sin-beasts. Seventeen-year-old Taj is an aki: a person indentured to the mages for the purpose of killing the sin-beasts that they summon. Though being an aki allows Taj to provide for his family, every time he kills a sin-beast he is irreversibly marked both physically and mentally, and most aki end up insane. Taj's already dangerous life becomes even more perilous after he is ordered to kill a sin-beast pulled from a member of the Kos royalty and learns of a conspiracy plotting to destroy the city.

"Beasts Made of Night is a wholly original and immersive debut fantasy steeped in Nigerian influences," wrote Allison Senecal, bookseller at Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins, Colo. Onyebuchi's invented magic system is "pure awesome," and the first-person narrative moves at a brisk pace. Senecal hopes that Beasts Made of Night heralds a sorely needed rise in "non-Western, non-white-written epic fantasy."

Arriving October 10 from Algonquin Young Readers is Samantha Mabry's All the Wind in the World. In the arid, inhospitable Southwest, two lovers named Sarah Jacqueline Crow and James Holt toil together in the maguey fields. They're saving up money to head east while trying to keep their relationship a secret, but a sudden, terrible accident forces them to start from square one with new jobs on another ranch called the Real Marvelous. The Real Marvelous is rumored to be cursed, and it's not long before everything Sarah Jac and James have worked for begins to fall apart.

"It is a story of two people trying to survive the best they can so they can be together," said Rachel Strolle, teen bookseller at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, Downers Grove and La Grange, Ill. Mabry's evocative writing made her feel, she continued, that she was living alongside Sarah Jac and James at the Real Marvelous as their suspicions grow that the curse is real. "I knew from the start that this book would be one that stands out on my bookshelf, and I can't wait to share it with everyone."

The final young adult editors' buzz selection is The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives. Journalist and author Dashka Slater tells the true story of two high school students in Oakland, Calif., named Richard and Sasha, whose lives overlapped for a total of eight minutes on a city bus. During those eight minutes Richard, a black public school student from a tough neighborhood, left Sasha, a genderqueer, middle-class white student at a private school, severely burned after lighting her skirt on fire. Though 16 at the time, Richard faced life imprisonment for hate crimes. In The 57 Bus, Slater explores how and why the crime happened, and what has happened since.

"I wish The 57 Bus was required reading in all high schools across the country," said Heather Hebert of Children's Book World. "Not only is this nonfiction book beautifully written and meticulously researched, but it is pieced together in such a way that it continuously challenges the readers to think beyond what they hear, beyond what they are shown, beyond what they assume. This is a book that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it." It's available October 17 from Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers. --Alex Mutter


Image of the Day: Philbrick's Valiant Ambition Tour Launches

National Book Award winner Nathaniel Philbrick visited the Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley, Pa., to kick off the tour for the paperback of his most recent book, Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution (Penguin). Pictured: (l.-r.) manager Mary Ferris, Philbrick, Kristin Pidgeon and owner Susan Hans O'Connor.

Happy 10th Birthday, River Lights Bookstore

Congratulations to River Lights Bookstore in Dubuque, Iowa, which will mark its 10th anniversary with a celebration on June 3 featuring door prizes, goodies for the kids, special discounts and cake. Noting that "our years on Main Street have been a wonderful adventure and we have loved being a part of the revitalization of the district," owner Sue Davis said the bookshop's customers are "passionate about literature and value real books and honest recommendations. Their support over the years has allowed this indie bookstore to thrive in Dubuque."

Davis is personally celebrating 30 years as a bookseller. She recalled "having learned the trade from Margaret and Martha Fuerste while working at Inn Books. After Margaret closed that store, six of us including the Fuerstes, Ellen Haley, Sue Simon and Elinor Weis opened River Lights Bookstore in Plaza 20 and then later moved to Wacker Plaza. When my partners decided to move on to other adventures, I decided to continue doing what I love and the 1000 Block of Main seemed like the perfect place. I was able to start from scratch at 1098 Main and design my ideal indie bookstore. Focusing on personal attention, community involvement, devotion to the cause of literature and a commitment to local authors."

Over the past decade, River Lights "withstood the opening (and closing) of Borders. Witnessed the rise and decline of e-books. And has weathered the storm of online mega-retailing. What has always set River Lights apart is our passion for literature, the events we host and the personal service we offer. The Indiebound tagline has always said it best... Culture, Community, and Connectedness," Davis observed.

She also praised the bookstore's staff, who "have diverse expertise in varying book genres and talents for merchandising that add to our ambiance," as well as "the unwavering support of my husband Steve Oeth, my children Emma and Walter, and my designer (and friend) Carla Heathcote. I couldn’t have gotten this business off the ground without Elizabeth Eagle nor found my footing without Marie Moronez."

Powell's CEO Miriam Sontz: 'Portrait of a Bookseller'

Powell's Books, Portand, Ore., focused its most recent "Portrait of a Bookseller" blog series on the company's CEO Miriam Sontz. Among our favorite q&a exchanges:

Powell's CEO Miriam Sontz

How would you describe your job?
I try to provide a framework and let everyone else paint inside that frame.

What is the best part of your job?
I can leave my office at any time and walk through the store and be reminded of the power of books.

Why do you think bookstores remain so popular in the digital age?
Bookstores are an incredible cauldron of serendipity. What comes next into your field of vision is a combination of randomness and curation by staff, a totally human and irreplaceable experience. I can walk down the same aisle every day and see something different.

What makes for a good book in your eyes?
A good book takes my singular view of the world and turns it into a prism.

Personnel Changes at Doubleday

At Doubleday:

John Pitts has been promoted to v-p, executive director of marketing. He was previously v-p, director of marketing.

Judy Jacoby has been promoted to v-p, creative marketing director. She was previously v-p, director of advertising and promotion.

Lauren Weber has been promoted to assistant marketing director. She was previously associate marketing manager.
Sarah Engelmann has been promoted to marketing manager. She was previously marketing assistant.
Hannah Engler has joined Doubleday as marketing assistant.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Andy Cohen on the Talk

NPR's Morning Edition: Samin Nosrat, author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781476753836).

The Talk: Andy Cohen, author of Superficial: More Adventures from the Andy Cohen Diaries (St. Martin's Griffin, $16.99, 9781250145710).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Jessica Seinfeld, author of Food Swings: 125+ Recipes to Enjoy Your Life of Virtue & Vice (Ballantine, $32, 9781101967140).

Movies: Seducing Ingrid Bergman; The Breadwinner

Jessica Chastain will star in Seducing Ingrid Bergman, based on the 2012 novel by Chris Greenhalgh, Deadline reported. Chastain's Freckle Films has joined YRF Entertainment to produce the project from a script by Arash Amel.

"We are thrilled to be working with YRF and Arash Amel on Seducing Ingrid Bergman," said Chastain and Freckle Films' president of production and development Kelly Carmichael in a statement. "This is a captivating story about a deeply moving romance between two remarkable people."


A teaser trailer has been released for the upcoming animated feature The Breadwinner, adapted from the YA novel by Deborah Ellis, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Directed by Nora Twomey, the project is from Ireland's Cartoon Saloon and is executive produced by Angelina Jolie along with GKIDS' CEO/founder Eric Beckman and president David Jesteadt. A fall release is planned.

"I am proud to be a part of this beautiful film with this timely and very important subject matter," said Jolie. "Millions of girls around the world have to grow up before their time, working to provide for their families at a very young age and in difficult circumstances. They have the strength to do what no one should ask little girls to do. I hope this film is able to bring this discussion to a broader audience. As much as it is an important and very meaningful film, it also stands on its own as a great piece of art. Director Nora Twomey and her team have done something very special. They have breathed life into the characters and paid respect to the subject matter and to a country where women often struggle."

Books & Authors

Awards: Nebulas; Chautauqua; Anthonys

Winners of the Nebula Awards, sponsored by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, are:

Novel: All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)
Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy: Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine (Tor)
Novella: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire ( Publishing)
Novellete: "The Long Fall Up" by William Ledbetter (F&SF 5-6/16)
Short Story: "Seasons of Glass and Iron" by Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood)
Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation: Arrival, directed by Denis Villeneuve, screenplay by Eric Heisserer
Damon Knight Grand Master Award: Jane Yolen
Kevin O'Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA Award: Jim Fiscus
Solstice Award: Peggy Rae Sapienza (Posthumous), Toni Weisskopf


Peter Ho Davies won the 2017 Chautauqua Prize for his novel The Fortunes (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Presented by the Chautauqua Institution, the award celebrates "a book of fiction or literary/narrative nonfiction that provides a richly rewarding reading experience and honors the author for a significant contribution to the literary arts." Davies receives $7,500 and all travel and expenses for himself and his family for a one-week summer residency at Chautauqua from July 8 to 15. A public reading will take place July 12 on the institution's southwestern New York grounds.

"We are thrilled to shine a national spotlight on Peter's latest work by presenting our highest literary honor, the Chautauqua Prize," said Michael E. Hill, the organization's president. "It is very fitting that, during his visit, our community will be engrossed in questions of identity, religion and community."


Finalists for this year's Anthony Awards, which are given at the annual Bouchercon World Mystery Convention, have been announced. Shortlisted for best novel are You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott (Little, Brown); Where It Hurts by Reed Farrel Coleman (Putnam); Red Right Hand by Chris Holm (Mulholland); Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman (Morrow); and A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny (Minotaur). You can view the complete list of Anthony nominees here. Winners will be announced during this year's Bouchercon, which will be held October 12-15 in Toronto, Canada.

Reading with... Jan-Philipp Sendker

photo: Frank Suffert

Jan-Philipp Sendker is the author of The Language of Solitude (Atria, May 2, 2015), the second installment of his China trilogy, after Whispering Shadows. His debut novel, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, has been translated into 35 languages and has sold 2.5 million copies worldwide. Born and raised in Germany, Sendker was a foreign correspondent in the U.S. and Asia for Stern magazine, before becoming a novelist. He lives in Potsdam, Germany, with his family.

On your nightstand now:

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. How to Live by Sarah Bakewell. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. Montaigne: The Essays by Michel de Montaigne. And I just finished and removed from my nightstand Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi. A great read!

Favorite book when you were a child:

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. Pippi was everything I was not but wanted to be: Outrageous. Daring. Brave. Independent. A truly free spirit. I adored her!

Your top five authors:

Thomas Bernhard. Albert Camus. Haruki Murakami. Philip Roth. Goethe.

Book you've faked reading:

I never do. In school we had to read the classic Buddenbrooks by the German author Thomas Mann. Like most of my classmates I found it boring, stopped after 50 pages and handed in a blank sheet of paper for the exam. Still the same. If I can't finish a book, I do not pretend I did.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. The writing is superb, so poetic and lyrical. The love story extremely powerful, the emotions so deep that I had to stop reading several times. It brings a culture and its people (in this case India) alive in a way only very few books do.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I don't. I find some covers more appealing than others and they might catch my attention, but I would not buy a book because of the beauty of its cover. It is different with titles. Sometimes I buy a book just because I love the title. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez or The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers are just wonderful titles--and wonderful books.

Book you hid from your parents:

Since my parents had to hide books from their parents, they were very liberal and open minded, so I could read whatever I wanted. At times I liked comics a lot and the magazine Mad, which my parents disapproved of. They thought it was a waste of time.

Book that changed your life:

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, my first novel. I had been dreaming of becoming a novelist since I was a child and the success of the book has enabled me to live my dream and to keep writing novels. But I guess that is not what you mean.

In another way it was the works of the French existentialist writers Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. Camus' novels The Stranger and The Plague had a deep impact on my thinking as a young adult.

Favorite line from a book:

"I ought never to act except in such a way that I could also will that my maxim should become a universal law." --the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. I remember when I read it for the first time as a young adult it opened my eyes to how simple life could be if we all followed these words--and how difficult it is.

Five books you'll never part with:

No matter how hard I tried, I could not make up a "never part" list because books change--or is it me? Whenever I reread a book, it seems to be a different one; some stand the test of time, some fail it. A number of times I read a book again and found less emotional, less impressive than I remembered it. So I guess the only book I will never part with is my own notebook.

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

The Red and the Black by the French writer Stendhal. I remember that it is such a powerful love story that it swept me away. For days I was overwhelmed by the passion and compassion on those pages, and could not think of anything else.

More than a few people believe that the time of the novel as an art form is over. Do you agree?

I absolutely disagree. I strongly believe in the power of literature and novels, and think it is as much alive and relevant to people as it was 100 or 200 years ago.

Book Review

YA Review An Uninterrupted View of the Sky

An Uninterrupted View of the Sky by Melanie Crowder (Philomel/Penguin Random House, $17.99 hardcover, 304p., ages 12-up, 9780399169007, June 13, 2017)

"I don't go looking for fights. It's just, they always seem to be looking for me." Seventeen-year old Francisco knows he has a temper, but his half-Aymara background can make him a target in his hometown in Cochabamba, Bolivia. "So what if I am hiding my dark skin and my campesino roots under modern clothes and ready fists?" While Francisco's father, a cab-driving poet, longs to see Francisco head to university and continue his education, Francisco has another plan: in six weeks, he'll graduate high school, and he and his best friend Reynaldo will set up their own shop selling futbol jerseys. But Francisco's world is turned upside down when his father is arrested on false drug charges and his mother abandons the family, forcing Francisco and his younger sister, Pilar, to move into the local prison with their father. Prison is a dangerous place for anyone, let alone children, and Francisco can stay only until his 18th birthday; after that, he'll have to leave. Staying with their father means constant danger for Francisco and especially Pilar, but the only alternative is to make the journey to his grandparents in their small community on the high plains known as the Altiplano, where he and Pilar can be free but will be separated from their father. With his birthday rapidly approaching and danger increasing daily, Francisco knows time is running out for him to make a decision that will change all of their lives forever.

Inspired by true events, An Uninterrupted View of the Sky by Melanie Crowder (Audacity; Three Pennies; Parched) is a gut-wrenching tale of a family caught up in the unfair justice system of late 1990s Bolivia, specifically the harsh anti-drug law known as the 1008. Targeted for their poverty and lack of education, Francisco's father and a number of other men have been wrongfully arrested and imprisoned with no access to lawyers, no court dates and no hope in sight. Before leaving her family, Francisco's mother notes, "I've never heard of a single person who got out after being arrested because of the one thousand eight."

Francisco is a wonderfully complicated character whose narration resonates long after the book's end. His internal and external struggles, from adjusting to prison life and caring for his sister to reconciling his feelings about his indigenous background, add layers of depth to an exquisite coming-of-age tale. Balancing the complexities of systematic injustice with heartfelt poetry from Francisco and his father, An Uninterrupted View of the Sky breathes beauty and meaning into the darkest of situations. --Kyla Paterno, former children's & YA book buyer

Shelf Talker: Abandoned by his mother, a 17-year old boy must decide whether to live with his father in a Bolivian prison or journey with his younger sister to live with their grandparents.

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