Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, June 28, 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


'Write an Essay, Win a Bookstore!'

After more than a decade of running From My Shelf Books & Gifts in Wellsboro, Pa., co-owners Kevin and Kasey Coolidge are "ready to move on to new pursuits. But they're not selling their bookstore using a traditional method. They're offering one person the chance to win a bookstore for $75," according to the shop's blog.

The contest is straightforward: pay a $75 entry fee and write a 250-word essay about why a bookstore is important to a community. Entries must be postmarked by March 31, 2018. If 4,000 people enter the contest, the Coolidges will select the top 20, then a panel of impartial judges will choose a winner. If 4,000 entries are not received, all entry fees will be returned, and the couple will continue to run the bookstore.

"My husband and I grew up here, and Wellsboro deserves a bookstore," said Kasey. "Kevin thought it would be nice to be able to pay it forward and give someone else the opportunity, especially since starting a business is hard."

"For $75 and an essay, someone could win their own bookstore," Kevin added: "We need to at least 4,000 entries in our contest to cover our current inventory, shelves, signage and six months of paid rent." At least 4,000 entries at $75 each would yield $300,000.

Entries must be postmarked by March 31, 2018. "We do hold the right to extend the deadline for 60 days depending on the number of entries received by then," he noted. For the list of rules and an entry form, visit the bookshop's website or Facebook page beginning July 1, or contact the owners at 570-724-5793.

Coolidge said he got the idea from reading about an essay contest to live in and run an inn for a year. He remarked: "I didn't want to run an inn, but it seemed like a cool idea."

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

At HarperCollins, General Counsel Changes

Effective September 30, Christopher Goff is retiring as senior v-p and general counsel at HarperCollins. At the same time, William Adams, currently senior v-p, associate general counsel at Penguin Random House, is joining HarperCollins as general counsel worldwide.

HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray called Goff "a guiding force at HarperCollins for 28 years. He has played an integral role in the growth we've seen over the last decade. In addition, he has navigated some of the most interesting and challenging issues the publishing industry has faced in recent history. Chris's leadership has been a great asset to the organization and he will be greatly missed."

Goff, who joined the company in 1989, handling legal affairs for the children's book group, Zondervan and Lippincott, commented: "I have spent nearly three decades as part of the HarperCollins organization and it's been a wonderful experience. There have been many exciting challenges and opportunities, including in particular the advent and growth of digital publishing. I'm honored to have been part of the business."

Goff was promoted to deputy general counsel in 1997 and general counsel in 2004. He helped manage the company's acquisitions of Black Sparrow Press, Thomas Nelson and Harlequin.

Speaking of Adams, Murray said, "His extensive experience in the book and media industries makes him uniquely qualified for this expanded general counsel role. Our broad global footprint creates both new challenges and new opportunities. Bill will be instrumental in streamlining our legal and compliance strategy and execution around the world."

Adams said, "I've known Chris and members of his team for years and have the very highest regard for them and for HarperCollins. I could not be more excited to be stepping into this role and working with everyone in the New York office and worldwide."

Adams has spent 18 years in the legal department at PRH and earlier was an associate at Davis Wright Tremaine and at Debevoise and Plimpton.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

Libro to Open in Novel: New Memphis Bookstore Signs Restaurant

Novel, the bookstore that is opening in August in Memphis, Tenn., in the location of the shuttered Booksellers at Laurelwood, will have a restaurant called Libro, which will be owned and operated by the family that runs Ecco restaurant in Midtown and Fratelli's Café at the Memphis Botanic Garden, the Commercial Appeal reported.

Libro will take up about 3,100 square feet of space, and the bookstore will have 10,000 square feet in the Laurelwood Shopping Center. Booksellers at Laurelwood, which closed in February, occupied 25,000 square feet of space, which owner Neil Van Uum said was too large. A group of investors organized and is opening Novel on the same site, but in a smaller version.

Sabine Bachmann, who will own Libro with her sons Armando Gigliano and John-Paul Gagliano, said, "We're trying to see what the market demands. We're going to do a little breakfast, a nice lunch and some really nice desserts and even a coffee and wine and champagne bar. And also in the early afternoon we'll serve some small plates. And we'll have some dinner items.''

Oprah's Book Club Pick: Behold the Dreamers

Oprah Winfrey has chosen Imbolo Mbue's Behold the Dreamers as the latest Oprah's Book Club Pick. The debut novel tells the story of two fathers--a working-class immigrant from Cameroon who is hired as a chauffeur by a top Lehman Brothers executive in the fall of 2007, just before the financial crisis--and how their families become inextricably linked.

Winfrey said that Behold the Dreamer is "about race and class, the economy, culture, immigration and the danger of the Us vs. Them mentality. And underneath it all comes the heart and soul of family love, the pursuit of happiness and what home really means."

A native of Limbe, Cameroon, Mbue has been a U.S. resident for more than a decade and lives in New York City. Behold the Dreamers won the 2017 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was named by the New York Times and Washington Post as one of their Notable Books of 2016.

"Fifteen years ago, I walked into a public library and borrowed my first Oprah's Book Club selection--Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon--and was so inspired by it that I began writing without thinking much of where my writing would lead me, never quite imagining that it would someday lead to this humbling privilege," Mbue said.

Obituary Note: Tom Kremer

Tom Kremer, founder of Notting Hill Editions and the Essay Prize, died June 24, the Bookseller reported. He was 87.  Kremer launched Notting Hill Editions at the age of 80 "to revive the lost art of the essay. His passion for the form, an essayist himself, author to The Missing Heart of Europe (June Press), has led to publication of more than 50 titles."

A spokesperson for the publisher said: "His energy, charisma, and determination to succeed inspired all of us at Notting Hill Editions, and he will be sorely missed."

In an interview published by the Bookseller just last week, Kremer said, "Everybody else forgot about the essay because you couldn't make money out of it anymore. We not only wanted to bring back the essay, we wanted for it to be a commercial reality. These remarkable things [essays] won't exist and won't be published if you are not around.... Our basic idea is that what is being communicated should be simple, original, profoundly interesting--and that you don't need 800 pages." 


Image of the Day: A Mobile Bookshop to Die For

Avid Bookshop at Five Points in Athens, Ga., hosted a block party in celebration of David Sedaris's visit to its new store to promote Theft by Finding (Little, Brown). During the event, which was attended by more than 400 fans, Avid set up a mobile bookshop. In tribute to Sedaris's bizarre sense of humor, Avid's electrician loaned them his hearse for a book display. Avid events director Rachel Watkins commented, "The fact that our electrician uses a hearse as a work vehicle speaks volumes to Avid's overall quirkiness!"

Cool Idea of the Day: 'Move & Read!'

Posted on Facebook yesterday by Horton's Books & Gifts, Carrollton, Ga.: "Move & Read! Find one of our rocks hidden alongside the Carrollton Greenbelt, then return it to Horton's to claim your prize! #ShopLocal #CarrolltonRocks".

Irish Independent Bookshops 'Are Flourishing'

Irish independent bookshops "are flourishing," the Journal reported, noting that "ahead of Independent Bookshop Week, we spoke to several independent booksellers on how they're surviving in the Amazon age, how they differentiate themselves and the joys of a good book."

Bob Johnston, who founded Dublin's the Gutter Bookshop in 2009, said, "It was just one of those things that I always wanted to do. So I did it. And it was the best thing I ever did.... I knew from the word go that you had to offer something that would slightly differentiate you from the rest. We have a small shop so we need to be careful what we pick, without being snobby. We have everything from the latest thriller to Beckett, but we simply say no to a lot of stuff. And it works in our favor."

Vinny Browne of Charlie Byrne's Bookshop in Galway, said, "You won't go just anywhere and find this stuff. The main thing is to offer is just such a diverse mix of stuff.... People come in and appreciate that.... The indie bookshop will reflect the owner's enthusiasm and interests. We do events that bring the community in, and I think we do it a lot better than the chains. We know our customers and they know us."

Maria Dickenson of Dubray Books, with eight locations across the country, observed: "A lot of people come in looking for guidance on what to read, and the engaged staff in these shops offer just that. We've seen a much more positive energy around the bookshop in recent years.... These kind of book shops offer a unique space to discover new books. There’s a certain nostalgia element to what we offer, and that pulls people in too."

PRHPS to Distribute DC Entertainment in U.K., Ireland

Effective September 1, Penguin Random House Publisher Services will handle sales and distribution of DC Entertainment in the U.K. and Ireland. It already represents DC Entertainment in all other territories.

"We are thrilled to expand our 10-year partnership with DC to now include the U.K. and Ireland," Jeff Abraham, president of Penguin Random House Publisher Services, said. "Together, we have seen tremendous growth in DC sales into the book trade channels and believe that there is opportunity to further expand its potential with this extremely important territorial addition."

John Cunningham, senior v-p of sales and trade marketing of DC Entertainment, added: "Our longstanding partnership with PRH has been a critical element of DCE's publishing successes in recent years. Extending that partnership is equally critical for DCE's growth in the future, as we add new products to our line."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Rep. John Lewis on CBS This Morning

CBS This Morning: Rep. John Lewis, co-author of March (trilogy slipcase edition: Top Shelf, $49.99, 9781603093958).

Today Show: Brad Thor, author of Use of Force: A Thriller (Atria/Emily Bestler, $27.99, 9781476789385).

At Midnight repeat: Eddie Izzard, author of Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens (Blue Rider, $28, 9780399175831).

Podcast: Book Off!

BBC Radio 2 producer Joe Haddow has launched Book Off!, a podcast "in which authors, comedians and figures from the music and film worlds will argue the case for one book that is of importance to them," the Bookseller reported, adding that each show "will invite two guests to 'pitch' a book they love and feel everyone should read; Haddow will choose a winning title, based on the passion and persuasiveness of each pitch, at the end of the episode."

The inaugural guests were authors Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train) pitching Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale; and Irish novelist John Boyne presenting The Go Between by L.P. Hartley. The second episode will feature Lionel Shriver and Tracey Chevalier; the third John Niven and Viv Groskop. 

TV: Fahrenheit 451; Castle Rock

Laura Harrier (Spider-Man Homecoming) has been cast as Millie, fireman Montag's (Michael B. Jordan) "social media-immersed wife whose consumption of all things digital results in a disconnected marriage," in the HBO Films' adaptation of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Deadline reported. Soufia Boutella and Lily Singh also star in the project directed by Ramin Bahrani, who is co-writing the script with Amir Naderi.


Jane Levy (Suburgatory) will co-star opposite André Holland in Hulu's upcoming series Castle Rock, from J.J. Abrams and Stephen King, Deadline reported, adding that "also boarding the show in a key role is an actress closely associated with King's cinematic world, Carrie star Sissy Spacek."

From from Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television, Castle Rock "is named after the fictional town in King's native Maine that is featured prominently in a number of his novels, novellas and short stories," Deadline wrote. 

Books & Authors

Awards: New England; Wainwright Golden Beer Book

Nominees for the 2017 New England Book Awards, honoring a title about New England, set in New England or by an author residing in New England and sponsored by the New England Independent Booksellers Association, are:

News from the End of the World by Emily Jeanne Miller (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett (Tin House)
Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan (Knopf)
Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti (Dial Press)
Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck (Morrow)

Down City by Leah Carroll (Grand Central)
Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (Flatiron Books)
Glass Universe by Dava Sobel (Viking)
Notes on a Banana by David Leite (Dey Street Books)
Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel (Knopf)

Poet's Dog by Patricia MacLachlan (Katherine Tegen Books)
Some Writer by Melissa Sweet (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Perfect Day by Lane Smith (Roaring Brook)
Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk (Dutton Books Young Readers
When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin (Little, Brown Young Readers)

Young Adult:
Bull by David Elliott (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (Katherine Tegen Books)
Iron Cast by Destiny Soria (Amulet Books)
Queer, There, and Everywhere by Sarah Prager (HarperCollins)
Wrecked by Maria Padian (Algonquin Young Readers)

Winners will be voted on by NEIBA member booksellers. The awards will be presented during NIEBA's annual awards banquet on September 19 in Providence, R.I.


A shortlist has been unveiled for the £5,000 (about $6,395Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize, which celebrates the best books about nature, the outdoors and U.K. travel. The winner will be announced August 3. The seven shortlisted titles are:

Love of Country by Madeleine Bunting
The Otters' Tale by Simon Cooper
The Running Hare by John Lewis-Stempel
Where Poppies Blow by John Lewis-Stempel
Wild Kingdom by Stephen Moss
The January Man by Christopher Somerville
The Wild Other by Clover Stroud 

Reading with... Deborah Moggach

Deborah Moggach is the author of many novels, including The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Tulip Fever, and two collections of stories. Her screenplays include Pride and Prejudice, which was nominated for a BAFTA. Her latest novel, Final Demand, is published by Overlook Press (June 6, 2017).

On your nightstand now:

The Past by Tessa Hadley, who is just about my favourite living novelist. Read her and you'll find out.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Just William by Richmal Crompton. So terribly funny--I still laugh when I read it.

Your top five authors:

Beryl Bainbridge, Arnold Bennett, Tessa Hadley (see above), J.G. Farrell and Agatha Christie (I know her prose is a bit clunky, but I'm utterly hooked on her plots).

Book you've faked reading:

Herzog by Saul Bellow. I've actually tried to read it a couple of times, and gave up.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett. A panoramic novel about two sisters that takes us through events from Victorian times to the 20th century, and a true masterpiece--now largely forgotten.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Essex Serpent, a recent bestseller by a first-time author that has the most ravishing jacket. Book covers are hugely improving, as an inducement to wean readers off e-books.

Book you hid from your parents:

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller. Though actually my parents (who were both writers) were pretty liberal.

Book that changed your life:

I can't think of one. I think, in subtle ways, all the wonderful novels I've read.

Favorite line from a book:

Re-running a bottle-top factory in Anne Tyler's Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant: "It's not half as exciting as it sounds."

Five books you'll never part with:

A novel each by my favourite authors (see above).

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

The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell. A revelation. I loved every single sentence and can remember my joy when I first read it. And indeed, read it again.

Book Review

Children's Review: The Apprentice Witch

The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol (Chicken House/Scholastic, $16.99 hardcover, 336p., ages 8-12, 9781338118582, July 25, 2017)

Arianwyn Gribble is mortified when her magical assessment by the Civil Witchcraft Authority goes horribly wrong. Instead of focusing on the four cardinal glyphs, her mind is taken over by a larger, bolder symbol, an impossible one that "didn't really exist except in her imagination." The evaluation gauge undergoes a power surge and fails to pick up the required level of magical energy. Arianwyn's humiliating result is officially classified as "ungraded." Instead of the bright silver star of a fully trained witch, a "dull bronze disc" is pinned to her coat. The moon brooch identifies her as an apprentice who "has not yet reached the maturity of her powers."

Nevertheless, her service is needed (it helps that Grandmother, on the Council of Elders, has some say in the matter). Arianwyn takes a position in the small town of Lull, near the Great Wood. Rich in natural magic, "a quiet and pleasant town to live in," Lull has been without a witch for many years and is willing to welcome an apprentice. Provided, as the mayor puts it, she can "fulfill her role without incident." But Lull is not as idyllic as Mayor Belcher advertises. En route to the town, Arianwyn finds herself fighting off a dangerous dark spirit creature. When she begins a spell to banish it, the mysterious glyph flashes before her eyes and her mind goes blank. Arianwyn and her fellow passengers scramble to escape, leaving the dark spirit stunned but not banished. Worse, she may have created a dangerous rift, an opening into the world "anything could get through from the void." Arianwyn is sure that her performance could not have been more pathetic.

Settling into her new home, a musty charm shop named the Spellorium, Arianwyn manages to make charms and deal with the less dangerous beasts that plague the neighborhood. Gradually, she grows more confident and the townsfolk come to accept her. She enjoys the staunch support of best friend Salle (who was involved in the initial melee with the dark creature), and a strange kinship with the other spirit creatures she encounters. Even her district supervisor, while initially skeptical, begins to understand that some great power lurks within the awkward apprentice. All seems to be going well until the mayor's niece arrives, none other than sneaky, cruel Gimma Alverston who taunted Arianwyn mercilessly in school. Something huge, dark and twisted is haunting the Great Wood, and dangerous patches of hex mold are spreading about the area. And why does Arianwyn keep seeing visions of that strange, "tempting and terrifying" glyph?

Feeling at once fresh and familiar, James Nicol's enchanting debut will charm fans of Jennifer Nielsen, J.K. Rowling and Eva Ibbotson. The world of The Apprentice Witch is comfortable, funny and well-imagined. Underneath all the magic, fey creatures and monsters, Arianwyn's struggles with self-doubt will ring true with readers. A few loose plot points hint at a sequel, but this one stands strongly on its own. --Lynn Becker, blogger and host of Book Talk, a monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI

Shelf Talker: Distracted by a mysterious magical glyph, a witch-in-training fails her evaluation and is sent off to a remote town, in disgrace, as an ungraded apprentice.

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