Also published on this date: Thursday, June 22, 2017: Maximum Shelf: Empire Made

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 22, 2017

Aladdin Paperbacks: The First Magnificent Summer by R.L. Toalson

Del Rey Books: Thief Liar Lady by D.L. Soria

Chronicle Books: Is It Hot in Here (or Am I Suffering for All Eternity for the Sins I Committed on Earth)? by Zach Zimmerman

First Second: Family Style: Memories of an American from Vietnam by Thien Pham

Harvest Publications: The Dinner Party Project: A No-Stress Guide to Food with Friends by Natasha Feldman

Wednesday Books: Guardians of Dawn: Zhara (Guardians of Dawn #1) by S. Jae-Jones

Quotation of the Day

'To Rediscover What a Physical Book Is Really Worth'

"So, not surprisingly, I would like to suggest that physical books, and buying books in a book shop, is critical for the health of the industry.... I can't help but feel if you are trying to make a case for the wonders of reading you need a vehicle that supports it, that gives the efforts of authors and all those involved to bring the book to market a little monument that reflects the hard work. Physical books fit that bill. As I say to my sons: when you hold a book, you are holding someone's head in your hands.  

"Even if all of this can be dismissed as aesthetics, in a world where the Internet of things brings convenience and increasingly personalized suggestions, the effort of going into a bookshop, finding a book, buying it, carrying it and then reading it, looks to me like a refreshing change. A cheaper, more democratic experience than going on a retreat or taking up a short course to educate yourself and give yourself a break. The small effort that is required is the key element that delivers the greater sense of well-being. I have had many memorable experiences buying something in a shop, but cannot recall many lifechanging clicks made while buying on the internet. Holding a book in your hand as you sit, absorbing the thoughts of another human being through the medium of print, seems to me up there as an experience with enjoying fine wine or a meal.

"Please understand that this is not an attempt to hark back to some golden time, when books were books. This is not an apology for reading on paper; I fully embrace and enjoy the digital as well as the physical. Indeed, for me, the beauty of the current state of affairs is that we have the chance to rediscover what a physical book is really worth."

--Siôn Hamilton, in a piece for the Bookseller headlined "What 15 years at Foyles taught me about the future of bookselling."

Blackstone Publishing: All Is Not Forgiven by Joe Kenda


B&N Fiscal Year: Sales Drop 6.5%, But Company Has Net Gain

In the fiscal year ended April 29, total sales at Barnes & Noble fell 6.5%, to $3.9 billion, and net income was $22 million compared to a net loss of $24.4 million in fiscal year 2016.

In the fourth quarter, total sales fell 6.3%, to $821 million, and the net loss was $13.4 million, an improvement on the $30.6 million net loss in the same period a year earlier.

Sales at stores open at least a year fell 6.3% both during the fiscal year and in the fourth quarter. Online sales rose 2.9% in the quarter and 3.7% during the fiscal year.

The company predicted that during fiscal year 2018, sales at stores open at least a year will decline "in the low single digits."

Demos Parneros, who was named CEO in April, commented: "While fiscal 2017 proved to be a challenging year for the company, we reduced costs by $137 million, enabling us to sustain our profitability level. In fiscal 2018, we are focusing on ways to improve the business and reignite sales through an aggressive test and learn process and companywide simplification process that will take out costs."

KidsBuzz for the Week of 03.27.23

Renovations Planned for Bookbug in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Beginning next month, Bookbug bookstore, Kalamazoo, Mich., "will be renovating a large neighboring space, deepening our inventory, and expanding our literary, community and event services to meet the incredible demand of our vibrant, supportive community," the store announced yesterday, adding: "Stay tuned for details on how you'll be able to find more great books, hear more relevant voices, and enjoy thoughtful nourishment in one small, earnest, growing corner of Kalamazoo."



Finan Leaving ABA to Become NCAC Executive Director

Chris Finan

American Booksellers for Free Expression director Chris Finan is leaving the American Booksellers Association, effective July 7, to become the executive director of the National Coalition Against Censorship, Bookselling This Week reported. In addition to the ABA, members of the NCAC include the Association of American Publishers, the American Library Association, the College Art Association, the Dramatists Guild and PEN America.

"NCAC is a very broad representation of people, groups, and professions, and ABA is one of the participating organizations that has been part of NCAC since the beginning, so in a real sense, I am going to continue to work for booksellers on First Amendment and free speech issues," said Finan.

ABA CEO Oren Teicher commented, "Chris and I have worked together for 30 years, first in his capacity at Media Coalition and later, of course, for ABFFE, which continued after ABFFE became part of ABA as the American Booksellers for Free Expression. When I became ABA’s COO, there was only one choice to succeed me at ABFFE, and that person was Chris. There is no one--and I mean no one--with greater knowledge and expertise in all things related to free expression and the First Amendment than Chris Finan. Booksellers and ABA have been most fortunate to have had him as our advocate all these years, and to say we will miss him is a big understatement. But we understand that this opportunity with NCAC was one that was difficult to pass up, and we wish him the best."

Finan became the president of ABFFE in 1998. The organization merged with ABA in 2015, and was renamed ABFE. Finan joined the NCAC Board of Directors soon after he started with ABFFE, and later served as chair for several terms. He is also currently the chair of Media Coalition.

"I’m immensely proud of the role that booksellers have played in maintaining civil liberties during some very dangerous times for free speech. It’s been a great privilege to work on their behalf," said Finan.

As ABA reviews the best way to organize ABFE moving forward, Teicher said that the ABA's 'commitment to these issues remains central to everything we do. First Amendment/free expression matters will remain at the forefront of what ABA is all about."

Irony Update: Amazon Patents Anti-Showrooming Technology

"Oh the irony," Mashable observed in reporting on Amazon's new patent "to block you from online price checking in its stores." Under the title "Physical store online shopping control," the system "would intercept certain URLs, search terms, and other web activity that takes place on its in-store Wi-Fi." Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos first filed for the patent in 2012.

"Systems and methods for controlling online shopping within a physical store or retailer location are provided," the patent's abstract explains. "A wireless network connection may be provided to a consumer device at a retailer location on behalf of a retailer, and content requested by the consumer device via the wireless network connection may be identified. Based upon an evaluation of the identified content, a determination may be made that the consumer device is attempting to access information associated with a competitor of the retailer or an item offered for sale by the retailer. At least one control action may then be directed based upon the determination."

The Seattle Review of Books' headline opted for a post-irony alternative: "Amazon develops anti-showrooming software and irony is dead."


Scuppernong: 'Proof that Bookstores Are Alive & Well'

Brian Lampkin, co-owner with Steve Mitchell of Scuppernong Books in Greensboro, N.C., "disputes the notion that independent bookstores are a struggling breed," the News & Record reported. "Independent bookstores have just had this resurgence," he said. "They did disappear, but I think people just missed them. People missed what they did for the community. People thought books were going to die like CDs, but the book has a certain kind of life. Books are still beautiful objects."

Scuppernong "is more than a bookstore. It's a gathering place for the community, a space for dialogue," the News & Record wrote.

"It's an important addition to downtown, and an expansion of Greensboro's intellectual life," said regular customer Anna Fesmire. "It's a place to not only buy books, but to talk about books, to talk about ideas.... The anonymity of the online world has a toxic side and it's important to have a space where people can meet face to face and have civilized conversations."

Acknowledging the liberal sensibilities of the store, Lampkin said they nonetheless seek to "promote conversation" between people of different political persuasions and will special order almost any book: "We definitely have our own political vision. It's undeniable. It's here. But we don't want to close off conversation either.... I do have a strong view of the First Amendment, and our obligation is to get books to people.... We're a small bookstore, though, and we have to curate. We're not censoring. But of the thousands of books published every week, we pick only very few to bring into our store."

Bookstore Chalkboard of the Day: By Hand, Ink

By Hand, Ink on Hilton Head Island, S.C., shared an image of its sidewalk chalkboard on Facebook yesterday, noting: "We have great beach reads, mountain reads, desert reads, in-flight reads, weekend in the country reads, and just chillin' in the hammock reads. C'mon in and find some for yourself or someone else! We offer complimentary gift wrap, and we ship everywhere, too!"

Personnel Changes at Crown

In the Crown Publishing Group's publicity department:

Liz Wetzel is promoted to publicity manager, Crown, Hogarth, Tim Duggan Books, and Broadway Books.
Maya Lane has been promoted to associate publicist, Crown Archetype, Three Rivers Press, and Harmony.

Bookish Trailer of the Day: A Hermione Granger Tribute

As part of its kick-a** characters series, Penguin Random House offers an animated video tribute to Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series. Warning for the handful of you who haven't read the series: the video is full of spoilers.

Media and Movies

This Weekend on Book TV: The 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 24
10:30 a.m. Zoe Quinn, author of Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate (PublicAffairs, $27, 9781610398084), at BookExpo.

12 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. Coverage from the 14th annual Roosevelt Reading Festival at the FDR Presidential Library & Museum in Hyde Park, N.Y., which took place on Saturday, June 17. Highlights include:

  • 12 p.m. Steve Twomey, author of Countdown to Pearl Harbor: The Twelve Days to the Attack (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781476776460). (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)
  • 12:45 p.m. Adrian Miller, author of The President's Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas (University of North Carolina Press, $30, 9781469632537). (Re-airs Sunday at 12:45 a.m.)
  • 1:30 p.m. Howard Blum, author of The Last Goodnight: A World War II Story of Espionage, Adventure, and Betrayal (Harper Perennial, $16.99, 9780062307804). (Re-airs Sunday at 1:30 a.m.)
  • 2:15 p.m. Kathyrn Smith, author of The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR, and the Untold Story of the Partnership That Defined a Presidency (Touchstone, $16.99, 9781501114977). (Re-airs Sunday at 2:15 a.m.)
  • 3 p.m. Geraldine Hawkins, author of Elliott and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Story of a Father and His Daughter in the Gilded Age (Black Dome Press, $22, 9781883789848). (Re-airs Sunday at 3 a.m.)
  • 3:45 p.m. Joseph Lelyveld, author of His Final Battle: The Last Months of Franklin Roosevelt (Knopf, $30, 9780385350792). (Re-airs Sunday at 3:45 a.m.)

5:45 p.m. Herb Boyd, author of Black Detroit: A People's History of Self-Determination (Amistad, $27.99, 9780062346629). (Re-airs Monday at 1:15 a.m.)

7 p.m. Newt Gingrich, author of Understanding Trump (Center Street, $27, 9781478923084). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

8 p.m. Gay Talese, author of High Notes: Selected Writings of Gay Talese (Bloomsbury, $20, 9781632867469). (Re-airs Sunday at 5 p.m.)

10 p.m. Jonathan Morduch and Rachel Schneider, authors of The Financial Diaries: How American Families Cope in a World of Uncertainty (Princeton University Press, $27.95, 9780691172989). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Mark Pendergrast, author of City on the Verge: Atlanta and the Fight for America’s Urban Future (Basic Books, $30, 9780465054732), at Tall Tales Books in Atlanta, Ga.

Sunday, June 25
1 p.m. David Cuillier, co-author of The Art of Access: Strategies for Acquiring Public Records (CQ Press, $40, 9781604265507). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

7 p.m. Ted Spitzmiller, author of The History of Human Space Flight (University of Florida Press, $39.95, 9780813054278).

7:50 p.m. Leland Melvin, author of Chasing Space: An Astronaut's Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances (Amistad, $25.99, 9780062496720), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.

11 p.m. Haroon Moghul, author of How to Be a Muslim: An American Story (Beacon Press, $17, 9780807020746).

Books & Authors

Awards: International Dublin Literary; Society of Authors

Angolan author José Eduardo Agualusa's novel A General Theory of Oblivion (translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn) won the €100,000 (about $111,445) International Dublin Literary Award, which "aims to promote excellence in world literature" by honoring a novel written in English or translated into English. The prize receives its nominations from public libraries in cities around the globe and recognizes both writers and translators. Agualusa received €75,000 and Hahn €25,000.

The judging panel said: "Even while A General Theory of Oblivion details starvation, torture and killings and revolves around our need to forget, its tone and message are concerned with love. It is love that redeems Ludo and others, and it is love for the novel's Luanda setting that steeps the narrative in idiosyncratic detail. The writer gives his readers both understanding and hope, taking Angolan stories and making them universally applicable. No one is truly alone in José Eduardo Agualusa's Luanda beehive, and his characters make us, too, feel deeply connected to the world."

Hahn is donating half of his winnings to help establish a new prize for debut literary translation--the TA First Translation Prize, which will recognize "excellent debut literary prose translation published in the U.K." It is also being supported by the British Council and will be run by the Society of Authors alongside its nine other translation awards.


The Society of Authors distributed £94,000 (about $118,955) to writers at the organization's annual Authors' Awards ceremony. Among the honorees, Daniel Shand's Fallow took the £10,000 (about $12,655) 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." You can see a complete list of winners here.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, June 27:

Seven Stones to Stand or Fall: A Collection of Outlander Fiction by Diana Gabaldon (Delacorte, $30, 9780399593420) contains seven stories based on the Outlander series.

But Seriously by John McEnroe (Little, Brown, $29, 9780316324892) is the memoir of the tennis star/tennis commentator, a followup to 2002's You Cannot Be Serious.

Murder Games by James Patterson (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316273961) follows an expert on criminal behavior hunting a serial killer in New York City. (June 26.)

Fateful Mornings: A Henry Farrell Novel by Tom Bouman (Norton, $25.95, 9780393249644) is the second mystery featuring rural Pennsylvania police officer Henry Farrell.

Spoonbenders: A Novel by Daryl Gregory (Knopf, $27.95, 9781524731823) follows a con man who lies his way into a government study on telekinesis, where he meets his future wife--a real psychic.

The Sisters Chase by Sarah Healy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9780544960077) is about two sisters made homeless by their mother's death.

Shark Drunk: The Art of Catching a Large Shark from a Tiny Rubber Dinghy in a Big Ocean by Morten Stroksnes (Knopf, $26.95, 9780451493484) chronicles two Norwegians hunting a Greenland shark.

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780544968844) is a thriller about a serial killer whose death may not mean the end of his murders.

Black Panther: World of Wakanda by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay (Marvel, $17.99, 9781302906504).

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple (Back Bay, $16.99, 9780316403450).

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:

The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (Flatiron, $26.99, 9781250080547). "Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich didn't set out to investigate the murder of six-year-old Jeremy Guillory in Louisiana; it was the case she happened upon as a young law school intern in 1992. In a fascinating twist, this becomes not only the true story of a heinous crime for which the perpetrator is in prison, but also of the investigation that unlocks the author's memories of her own youth, a childhood in which she and her sisters were repeatedly sexually abused by their maternal grandfather. As Marzano-Lesnevich moves backward and forward in time between the young man who killed Jeremy and her own life, the reader is swept along on a current of dismay and awe: dismay that human beings can do these things to each other, and awe that the author could face such demons and move on. I've never read another book like this." --Anne Holman, the King's English, Salt Lake City, Utah

Chemistry: A Novel by Weike Wang (Knopf, $24.95, 9781524731748). "The unnamed narrator of Wang's winning and insightful novel is working on her Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry, but the chemistry she really needs to learn is the one that makes relationships click. The prodigy daughter of high-achieving Chinese American parents, she's always strived to meet their demanding expectations. Then, suddenly, she just can't. Her lab work falters. She's unable to accept or decline her boyfriend's marriage proposal. But when she has a breakdown and loses in both academia and in love, she finally realizes how angry she is. Coming to terms with her past becomes her next project, and soon she can see her parents in a new light--and they aren't the fierce tiger couple they'd always seemed to be." --Laurie Greer, Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.

The Muse: A Novel by Jessie Burton (Ecco, $15.99, 9780062409935). "Burton's follow-up to The Miniaturist also takes place in the art world, but this time the settings alternate between London in the 1960s and pre-Civil War Spain in the 1930s. In 1967, a long-lost work by a dead Spanish painter turns up in London. Is it really an original Isaac Robles? Or is there a more complicated story behind the intriguing painting? A fun read with interesting meditations on the purpose and making of art." --Susan Taylor, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y.

For Ages 4 to 8
Morris Mole by Dan Yaccarino (Harper, $17.99, 9780062411075). "When you think about cute animals, moles aren't usually the first to come to mind. But this adorable picture book may just change that! Morris Mole is an unlikely hero, but he's out to accomplish big things through hard work, a willingness to step up, and determination. With charming illustrations and a lovable hero, this is a definite must-read." --Emily Lloyd-Jones, Gallery Bookshop & Bookwinkle's Children's Books, Mendocino, Calif.

For Ages 9 to 12
Dragon's Green by Scarlett Thomas (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781481497848). "Scarlett Thomas has created a world every bit as vivid and magical as Harry Potter's. Effie's father insists there's no such thing as magic, although her grandfather is reputed to have practiced it. When her grandfather dies and leaves her his library, Effie finds out how much magic there actually is in this world--and in the Otherworld. Unfortunately, a dark mage is after Effie's grandfather's books, and he doesn't care who he hurts to get them." --Nancy Banks, City Stacks Books and Coffee, Denver, Colo.

For Teen Readers
The Black Witch by Laurie Forest (Harlequin Teen, $19.99, 9780373212316). "The Black Witch is a 600-page epic fantasy that grabbed me and wouldn't let go until I read the whole thing over one weekend. The first in a new YA series, this book has everything--suspense, a fantastic world, magic, dragons, hints of romance, and important things to say about interpretations of history and acceptance. I will warn you, though, there is one major flaw with this book--the next one isn't available to read yet and the wait is going to be interminable!" --Carrie Deming, the Dog Eared Book, Palmyra, N.Y.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Impossible Views of the World

Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives (Penguin Press, $25 hardcover, 304p., 9780735221536, August 1, 2017)

A novel set in a large musty New York City museum with a notable collection of 19th-century American decorative arts might sound like a bad middle school field trip. However, poet Lucy Ives's novel Impossible Views of the World is a savvy, snarky, self-deprecating week in the life of her young Ph.D. narrator Stella Krakus. An assistant curator ("What is for all intents and purposes an entry-level position... until the boomers disperse and perish"), she is in the late stages of an unpleasant divorce and negotiating an on-again, off-again affair with a colleague. Both keep her up at night, but the latter troubles her most. "The problem of being, and/or totally not being, in love with someone you work with is that there is not very much wiggle room in which to figure this irksome dialectic out."

When another curator disappears in the midst of setting up a financially critical exhibit sponsored by a global water conglomerate, Stella's life takes a turn. Asked to pick up the work by her distracted boss, Stella discovers in the curator's desk a cryptic photocopy of an exquisitely detailed map depicting the mysterious township of Elysia. Ives smoothly sidesteps from a story of an over-educated, looking-for-love millennial "reared in the neurotic northern reaches of Manhattan's Upper East Side" to an art history detective mystery. Stella may be an ambivalent romantic partner, but she's a dogged researcher when it comes to deciphering a conundrum.

The charm and energy of Impossible Views of the World rest in Ives's uncanny eye for the subtle tells of romance, the idiosyncrasies of the NYC young, and the details of 19th-century furniture and art. When Stella critically observes early American Dutch knock-off portraits, she comments: "You have centuries of ridiculously, hubristically accomplished painting in the Netherlands, and then you get to ye olde New World, and crap looks like this." Never satisfied with her appearance, Stella abhors her dinner party look of "sloppy neglect or an academically aggressive attempt to be hip that went way, way in the wrong direction." And Ives gets in her licks on Williamsburg, too, with its "design girls in polyester and thin little bandmates whose tattoos appear to outweigh them... languorous Swedes engrossed in life-style banter... designers who were teenagers in 1991 with Swiss-made glasses and three-thousand-dollar attachés." A clever curatorial mystery, a love-gone-wrong rom-com or a sharp-witted story of a young New York woman, Impossible Views of the World is way more fun than a rainy afternoon in the American Objects wing of a cavernous museum. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: A bit mystery, a bit rocky romance, a bit hipster lit--Impossible Views of the World is a diverting dip into 19th-century American art and tangled love at a New York City museum.

KidsBuzz: Highwater Press: Heart Berry Bling by Jenny Kay Dupuis, illus. by Eva Campbell
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