Also published on this date: Wednesday, August 9, 2017: Maximum Shelf: The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Algonquin Young Readers: the Beautiful Game by Yamile Saied Méndez

Berkley Books: Books that will sweep you off your feet! Enter Giveaway!

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


Williams Bookstore Opens in Williamstown, Mass.

The Williams Bookstore in downtown Williamstown, Mass., which aims to serve both Williams College students and the larger community, opened this past weekend, iberkshires reported.

The three-story building has some 14,200 square feet of space, about a third of which will be rented out as office space. Trade books are on the first floor "because it's a community bookstore as well as a college bookstore," said construction manager Michael Wood. The first floor is also the site of the Uptown Tunnel Coffee café, run by Tunnel City Coffee. Upstairs is a conference room as well as school supplies, clothing, gifts and course materials.

Operated by Follett, the store is replacing Water Street Books. The building cost $10 million to construct, according to the Berkshire Eagle.

Manager Richard Simpson said that the new retail space may be slightly smaller than the old space, "but we're using it more efficiently. You'll see there are a lot more faceouts. You see the books are displayed better. It's much brighter, and I think there's a better continuity throughout the store.
"And it's more flexible. You can actually move the shelves if you want to. Water Street had a nice, maze-like feel to it. But it was very difficult to move sections."

Blackstone Publishing: Rogue Community College: A Liberty House Novel by David R Slayton

Books on B Eyes September Opening

Renee Rettig

Renee Rettig, former manager of the Book Shop in Hayward, Calif., which closed last February, is eyeing a September opening for her new store Books on B, at 1014 B St. The East Bay Times reported that Rettig "still greets many of the Book Shop's longtime customers each day in downtown Hayward with a warm smile, simple hug and conversation as she supervises work on what will be her own independent book store."

"This has exceeded my wildest dreams; I never dreamed that anything like this was going to happen at this stage of my life," she said. "I always thought it would be a nice thing, but I had a very happy existence being a manager of an independent book store. I had the rug pulled out from under me, but it was only for the flicker of a moment because of the way in which this community has come forward and shown what this means to them.... I live and put my head down in San Leandro, but I'm alive and awake in Hayward. This place speaks to me."

The day after the Book Shop closed, an e-mail newsletter sent to customers urged them to support an online fundraising campaign for Rettig's Books on B initiative. By April, she had raised nearly $67,000 in her IndieGoGo campaign that had aimed to raise $55,000.

"There's a dollar value but there's a deeper one, and it just keeps on going," she said. "People felt the need and rose to the occasion, and that's the most powerful thing about this: People were willing to not let something die because they saw an opportunity in which they could make a difference. Each person together has been a powerful instrument of change, which is great because I think we all feel powerless in this world. This world can be a dark, dangerous and volatile place, and I wanted to make a harbor."

Indigo First Quarter: Sales Jump 6.8%; Net Loss Cut

In the first quarter ended July 1, revenue at Indigo Books & Music rose 6.8%, to C$206.3 million (US$162.7 million), and the net loss was C$5.3 million (US$4.2 million) compared to a net loss of C$9 million (US$7.1 million) in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue growth was "strong" in bricks-and-mortar operations and "continued to surpass expectations" online, the company said. "This performance was driven by continued double digit growth in the general merchandise business, with exceptional growth in the Lifestyle, Paper and Toy categories. The core trade book business remains healthy, showing growth over last year despite no blockbuster title launches this quarter."

Total comparable sales, which includes both online sales and comparable store sales, increased by 5%.

Indigo noted that during the quarter it opened two more of its renovated new concept stores, in Oshawa and Ancaster, modeled on the Sherway Gardens store that opened in Toronto last year. The company said that "these newly renovated stores, which reflect Indigo's transformation from a bookstore to a cultural department store for booklovers, are all a great success, showing strong revenue growth and improved retail performance metrics. On the basis of these compelling results, the Company will continue to roll out this concept to more stores in the coming quarters."

CEO Heather Reisman commented: "Our outstanding first quarter performance, with strong growth across channels and categories, as well as greatly improved profitability, is a clear reflection of our customers' passion for our brand and the strong engagement of our employees. We are thrilled with our results and energized to keep up the momentum to continue delivering the best customer experience in the market."

Amazon Names Aussie Country Manager, Leases Warehouse

Amazon has appointed Rocco Braeuniger country manager for Australia "as it prepares to roll out a full retail offering locally," the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Currently director of consumables at Amazon Germany, Braeuniger has worked at the online retailer for 11 years in positions including director of outdoor products and category lead in sports and leisure.

Amazon also confirmed previous reports that it will open its first Australian fulfillment center in Dandenong South, just southeast of Melbourne. "This is just the start," said Robert Bruce, Amazon Australia's director of operations. "Over time, we will bring thousands of new jobs to Australia and millions of dollars of investment as well as opening up the opportunity for thousands of Australian businesses to sell at home and abroad through Amazon Marketplace."

Australian Booksellers Association CEO Joel Becker told Books+Publishing that the ABA has requested meetings with the Premier of Victoria, as well as the Victorian ministers for innovation, small business and creative industries. "Our concerns are rooted in the apparent impact that Amazon has had on local communities and economies in the U.S., U.K. and other markets, as well as the possible impact on our own (Australian) tax base; and to get an assurance that they will be playing by the same rules as businesses within Australia without any special privileges or subsidies." Becker said the ABA would "continue to work actively on behalf of our membership to ensure a level playing field, and tax fairness."

Obituary Note: Roger W. Carlson

Roger Carlson

Roger W. Carlson, founder and longtime owner of Bookman's Alley in Evanston, Ill., died on August 1. He was 89.

In 1979, after working in advertising sales at Fortune, National Geographic and Parade, he founded Bookman's Alley in a warehouse and built it into "a sprawling complex filled with books, antiques and artwork." Because of health problems, he had to close the shop in 2013. The following year Bookends and Beginnings opened in the Bookman's Alley space.

When he first opened, Carlson said his goal was to create a used bookstore that didn't have the "same atmosphere as a soup kitchen." To that end, "the decorations--the top hats, the model ships, the presidential busts--are almost as important as the books. Toy airplanes are perched atop bookshelves, across the hall from a 19th century printing press."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
A Forty Year Kiss
by Nickolas Butler
GLOW: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler is a passionate, emotionally complex love story that probes tender places within the heart and soul. When 60-somethings Charlie and Vivian--married then divorced in their 20s--reunite after four decades, they are swept up by the very best of what their romantic relationship once offered. "Anyone who has ever thought about what might have been will find this book fascinating," says Shana Drehs, senior editorial director at Sourcebooks Landmark. "The story is a brilliant exploration of a second chance at love, always realistic but never saccharine." As Charlie and Vivian build a bridge from past to present, their enduring love paving over potholes, Butler (Shotgun Lovesongs) raises questions about how life changes people--or does it?--and delivers another heartening, unforgettable novel. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

(Sourcebooks Landmark, $27.99 Hardcover, 9781464221248, 
February 4, 2025)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Best Picture

We Go On, a short film written by Corey Mesler (left), owner of Burke's Book Store, Memphis, Tenn., won the $10,000 top award at the second annual Memphis Film Prize. The film, directed by Matteo Servante (r.), is about two men living out their final days in a hospice facility.

City Lights Unveils New Banner Series

In a collaboration with the New American Story Project, Centro Legal de la Raza and Forward Together, San Francisco's City Lights Booksellers and Publishers has unveiled its new banner series on the façade of the building, featuring images created by Micah Bazant and the words of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish--"Nothing is harder/ on the soul/ than the smell of dreams/ while they are evaporating"--followed by a banner reading: "Stop the Deportations!"

In addition, the staff at City Lights has curated a reading list under the title "Strange Days: A Summer of Love Counternarrative," recommending books that illuminate "some of the political and cultural undercurrents of America in 1967."

Personnel Changes at Melville House

At Melville House:

Stephanie DeLuca has joined the company as director of publicity. She formerly worked at Simon & Schuster for 10 years, most recently as publicity manager at Gallery Books.

Alexandra Primiani has joined the company as senior publicist. She was formerly a publicist at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and at Riverhead Books.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter, author of Extreme Measures: Finding a Better Path to the End of Life (Avery, $27, 9781101982556).

Today Show: Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle: A Memoir (Scribner, $17, 9780743247542).

The View repeat: Newt Gingrich, author of Understanding Trump (Center Street, $27, 9781478923084).

TV: The Truth

The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships by Neil Strauss has been acquired by Scott Steindorff and Dylan Russell's Stone Village Television Productions, which plans to develop it as an 8-10-hour limited TV series, Deadline reported. Strauss will executive produce with Steindorff and Russell.

"Neil's story and book uncovers the truth about relationships at the deepest level," said Steindorff. "This story explores the real essence of love and relationships."

Strauss added: "From the moment I first met with Stone Village, I knew they had to adapt this book. They weren't just interested in telling the story. They were interested in creating a paradigm shift."

Books & Authors

Awards: ALTA National Translation

The American Literary Translators Association has announced shortlists for the 2017 National Translation Awards in Poetry and Prose, honoring "translated fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction that includes a rigorous examination of both the source text and its relation to the finished English work." The winning translators, who receive a $2,500 each, will be named at ALTA's annual conference, held October 5-8 in Minneapolis. The NTA shortlisted titles are:

Berlin-Hamlet by Szilárd Borbély, translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet (New York Review of Books)
Canto General by Pablo Neruda, translated from the Spanish by Mariela Griffor (Tupelo Press)
The End of the Dark Era by Tseveendorjin Oidov, translated from the Mongolian by Simon Wickhamsmith (Phoneme Media)
Tasks by Víctor Rodríguez Núñez, translated from the Spanish by Katherine Hedeen (co•im•press)
Valdivia by Galo Ghigliotto, translated from the Spanish by Daniel Borzutzky (co•im•press)

I Am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist, translated from the Swedish by Marlaine Delargy (Text Publishing)
No Knives in the Kitchens of This City by Khaled Khalifa, translated from the Arabic by Leri Price (American University of Cairo Press)
The Party Wall by Catherine Leroux, translated from the French by Lazer Lederhendler (Biblioasis)
A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler, translated from the German by Charlotte Collins (FSG)
Zama by Antonio di Benedetto, translated from the Spanish by Esther Allen (New York Review of Books)

Reading with... Matthew Zapruder

photo: B.A. Van Sise

Matthew Zapruder is the author of Why Poetry, a book of prose about poetry (Ecco, August 15, 2017), and four poetry collections, most recently Sun Bear (Copper Canyon). An associate professor in the MFA program at Saint Mary's College of California, he is also editor at large at Wave Books, and from 2016 to 2017 held the annually rotating position of editor of the poetry column for the New York Times Magazine. He lives in Oakland, Calif., with his wife and child.

On your nightstand now:

Galley of Stephen Elliott's new book of essays, Sometimes I Think About It. New biographies of John Ashbery (The Songs We Know Best, which focuses on his early life) and of Gwendolyn Brooks (A Surprised Queenhood in the New Black Sun). A marvelous new chapbook of Douglas Crase's poetry, The Astropastorals (which has a reproduction of Trevor Winkfield's incredible painting of the author on the cover). Zadie Smith's Swingtime.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The three books I can remember having the biggest effect on me were D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths, which I read obsessively; Watership Down; and the Anne McCaffrey series Dragonriders of Pern.

Your top five authors:

Oof. Okay. In no particular order, here are seven, sorry: John Keats, Emily Dickinson, James Tate, Frank O'Hara, José Saramago, Javier Marías and Elena Ferrante.

Book you've faked reading:

Ulysses. Never read the whole thing.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I jumped on the Stoner bandwagon, which my friend Steve Almond has been justifiably pulling for years. It's a gorgeous, heartbreaking, perfect book by John Williams, a book that is now legendary. I think the poetry book I've not only recommended but actually bought for other people the most is Yannis Ritsos's collection of short poems, Exile and Return, translated by Edmund Keeley. I just looked it up and am stunned to discover it's published by Ecco, who is publishing Why Poetry.

Book you've bought for the cover:

A recent reissue of Kafka's The Castle, one of my favorite books. The title is handwritten over a blue cover that, when you look closely, reveals itself as the outline of a tower. A single drawn eye floats in the middle of the cover. It's eerie and perfect.

Book you hid from your parents:

When we were pretty young, my brother and I actually had that mythic experience of finding some porn in the woods (well, not the woods, but a tiny patch of trees, etc., at the end of our street)--not just magazines but actual books. We were too innocent to understand what we were looking at, though there was certainly a vague yet palpable sense of horror. I believe one of the books was called Dial O for Orgy, which I only much later realized was a parody of Dial M for Murder, though I don't remember its contents. Also in the pile was Xaviera Hollander's memoir, The Happy Hooker. One of the magazines featured someone who went by the moniker "White Chocolate," though thankfully I have completely blocked out those images. Though we were young, we absolutely knew that we were supposed to hide these texts and for the most part successfully did, until I think my brother brought one of the magazines to school and all hell broke loose.

Book that changed your life:

Dial O for Orgy. Also, James Tate's The Lost Pilot.

Favorite line from a book:

"Darkly he rose, and then I slept" from "A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island," in The Selected Poems of Frank O'Hara, edited by Donald Allen.

Five books you'll never part with:

I only have one: the original Oxford University Press edition (from the World's Classics series) of The Lost Domain, a translation by Frank Davison of Alain-Fournier's Le Grand Meaulnes. It is nearly pocket sized, and its cover is pink, with a line drawing of a stone gate. I first read this classic of French literature in high school French class, and barely understood a word of it. Much later I came across this edition in some used bookstore and bought it impulsively. I fell completely in love with the story of young French provincial boys who wander into a great romantic adventure. Alain-Fournier was killed in 1914, in the First World War, and this is his only book.

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

The Lost Domain.

Book of poetry you would recommend to someone who never reads it, but wants to start:

Pablo Neruda's Odes to Common Things. I am partial to Margaret Sayers Peden's translations in Selected Odes of Pablo Neruda, probably because they're the first ones I read, but I recommend any translations of them that seem conversational, simple and direct.

Book Review

YA Review: The Stars Beneath Our Feet

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore (Knopf, $16.99 hardcover, 304p., ages 10-up, 9781524701246, September 19, 2017)

Wallace (Lolly) Rachpaul feels a "joy-grabbing stone" in his chest. His older brother, Jermaine, was shot and killed at a nightclub a few months back and Lolly, heartbroken, keeps erupting in anger. "Despondent" is how Mr. Ali, the social worker at his afterschool program, describes him. Lolly is scared, too. Living in the St. Nick projects in Harlem, he's always on guard: "Where I live," he thinks, "it's all about borders. And territories. And crews." When he was younger, he could walk anywhere, but now that he's 12, the neighborhood divisions have become sharper. Some of the older kids in the neighborhood are pressuring Lolly and his best friend, Vega, to join a "crew," but what Lolly really wants to do is stay under the radar and keep working on the one thing that, as he says, "Makes me me": Legos.

Following the kit instructions to the letter has always been important to him, but on the first Christmas after Jermaine's death, "something had grabbed on to [him]" and he throws all his carefully built Lego buses, buildings and airplanes onto the floor and begins creating cities without his beloved blueprints. When his mother's girlfriend starts bringing home garbage bags full of cast-off Lego bricks from her custodian job at a toy shop, Lolly's ambitions--and his city--grow.

Soon, thanks to Mr. Ali's kind intervention, he moves his building site to an unused storage room at the community center. Alone in the room, he finds a measure of peace for the first time in months. "I was creating my own new world and getting lost in it," he says. When a girl he and his classmates call Big Rose shows up at the door one day, wanting to build, too, Lolly is furious: "My world felt hijacked." Building Legos has always taken Lolly "to that spot a long time ago" when his family was still intact. Little by little, though, with Rose on her side of the room and Lolly on his, he finds that it might not be so bad to share his passion for building--or even for a future that does not involve becoming a member of a gang. His new approach to designing structures from scratch, inspired by his travels through New York City to visit the buildings he reads about in a book about architecture, starts to carry him toward a future that has more hope and possibility than he imagined.

David Barclay Moore's magnificent debut novel, The Stars Beneath Our Feet, is named for the glittery stars on the sidewalk Rose creates in her perfect replica of the projects, representing the lives lost in their community to drugs and despair. Rose frequently repeats, almost chanting, the words her grandmother once told her: "Your mama, your daddy--they were buried under the ground, but they're stars now, girl, stars beneath our feet." But this is a story about making choices. "The folks you hang out with can raise you up or bring you down low," Lolly discovers. It's up to him to choose. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: After his older brother is killed, a 12-year-old boy uses his love of building with Legos to deal with the strain of living in a Harlem neighborhood fraught with drugs and gangs.

The Bestsellers

Top Book Club Picks in July

The following were the most popular book club books during July based on votes from book club readers in more than 47,000 book clubs registered at

1. A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman
2. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
3. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
4. Small Great Things: A Novel by Jodi Picoult
5. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
6. The Underground Railroad (Oprah's Book Club) by Colson Whitehead
7. Lilac Girls: A Novel by Martha Hall Kelly
8. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
9. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
10. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

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