Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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

Wednesday Books: When Haru Was Here by Dustin Thao

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

Tor Nightfire: Devils Kill Devils by Johnny Compton

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


SIBA in NoLA: Community & Commerce

The fall regional season kicked off this past weekend with a vibrant Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance show, held this year at the Sheraton in New Orleans, La. SIBA organizers reported that show registrations were up 4% this year from last, with 72 bookstores registered, including 10 first-timers. Because of Hurricane Irma and ensuing travel difficulties, eight stores were unable to attend, including Books & Books in Coral Gables, Fla.

Before the show officially opened on Friday, SIBA offered an interactive workshop called "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Addressing Stereotypes and Creating a Welcoming Environment," run by Ilsa Govan and Caprice D. Hollins of Cultures Connecting; the well-received session will be repeated at the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association show next month. That evening, Baker & Taylor treated booksellers to a raucous bus tour to Garden District Books, Octavia Books and Tubby & Coo's Mid-City Books, followed by dinner. Back at the hotel, the popular TRIO Live made its seasonal debut. For this exhibit, musicians and visual artists create a song or a work of art inspired by a book (see this season's titles here). Following SIBA, the exhibit travels to member bookstores.

At "The First 180 Days" reception: Broche Fabian, Quail Ridge Books; publisher Lee Boudreaux; Dave Lucey, Page 158 Books; ABA board president Robert Sindelar.

Early the next morning, SIBA began officially with the annual meeting/town hall breakfast. Board president Doug Robinson of Eagle Eye Book Shop in Decatur, Ga., reported that SIBA is in a "good financial situation," with a board reserve fund of more than $100,000, and that the organization now has 138 members, down three from last year. A topic that was not on the agenda, but which came up frequently during the show was SIBA executive director Wanda Jewell's planned move to California. Off the record, several members explained that while Jewell does an excellent job, they feel the organization's director should reside in the region, in keeping with its aim to promote local businesses.

At the Sunday breakfast, Rick Bragg (far l.) introduced (l.-r.) Brendan Reichs, Nic Stone and Jonathan Miles. (photo: S.P. Rankin)

Among the crowded events schedule, standouts included a session on "Profiting from Trends," with Doug Robinson and SIBA assistant executive director Linda-Marie Barrett, that explored how stores can spot and capitalize on popular trends. Past trends like Pokémon Go and fidget spinners, even eclipse glasses, all brought customers into stores; the challenge is spotting the trend in time. Customers are interested in "becoming a better version of themselves," Robinson said, and stores can help in numerous ways: book subscription programs; building and curating personal libraries; book clubs promoted through social sites like MeetUp; and bringing events and pop-up exhibits into the community. Barrett pointed to the value of the "virtual experience economy" and the trend toward valuing group, rather than individual, experiences; displays like "What Our Community Is Reading" can build on that. Booksellers in the audience noted their success with podcasts ("From the Front Porch," produced by the BookShelf in Thomasville, Ga., was one example)--they're low-budget and easy to produce, and can have a big reach.

Kwame Alexander with SIBA board member Erica Merrell and SIBA assistant executive director Linda-Marie Barrett.

Other morning panels focused on social media, maximizing backlist, and inventory activism, which discussed ways booksellers can help and impact their communities--a theme throughout the show. Afternoon panels focused on authors: local, thrillers, women, YA, cookbooks and many more.

During the show, Kwame Alexander, author of 24 books--including The Crossover, which won the 2015 Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor, and his latest, Solo--received the inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award. The award honors writers who have achieved a lasting impact on their literary community, supported independent bookstores and other writers, and whose writing focuses significantly on their home place. The honor includes donations to the Pat Conroy Literary Center and to a literary entity close to the heart of the winner.

During a wide-ranging q&a on Thursday with SIBA board member Erica Merrell (Wild Iris Books, Gainesville, Fla.), Alexander said, "When I read Pat Conroy's cookbook, I wanted to live that life. He was all the things a writer should want to be... all the things I've wanted to be." He added, "Every indie bookstore I've been to is bridging the gap between community and commerce."

Next year's show will take place in Tampa, Fla. --Robin Lenz

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Seattle Mystery Bookshop to Close

The Seattle Mystery Bookshop in Seattle, Wash., will close on September 30, owner J.B. Dickey announced in a long blog post yesterday. Founded 27 years ago by the late William D. Farley--who sold the store to Dickey in 1999--Seattle Mystery Bookshop ran a successful IndieGoGo campaign early last year that raised $50,000 and "bought us a year," Dickey said. Last month, he put the store up for sale, but that effort hasn't worked out.

"We're all heartbroken to close the shop," Dickey wrote. "I personally feel as if I have failed Bill. But we all fought hard to keep it going for years but the sharp bottom line is people have not been buying enough books from us to keep it working for a long time. Time to say goodbye."

In the post, Dickey blamed a variety of factors, including "massive changes in the world of bookselling" and "the overall economy." These factors included chain store deep discounting, the rise of e-books, the Great Recession's hit on disposable income, generational changes in attitudes about books and book collecting, problems getting publishers to send mystery authors to the store and difficulties with the store's neighborhood and Seattle.

Dickey signed off: "I want to thank all of those loyal customers who have been regulars over the years. It's been a gas. What happens next? It's a mystery."

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

O No: Amazon Opening Ohio and Oregon Warehouses

Amazon is opening new warehouses in Ohio and Oregon. The Ohio fulfillment center will be in Monroe, near Cincinnati, and will be the company's fourth warehouse in the state. Amazon's other Ohio warehouses are in Etna and Obetz, both near Columbus, and it recently announced plans for the third warehouse, in North Randall, near Cleveland.

The Monroe warehouse will have a million square feet of space and handle larger items such as sports equipment, gardening tools and pet food, the company said.

Amazon's new warehouse in Oregon will be in Portland and is its third fulfillment center in the state. The other two warehouses are in Troutdale, near Portland, and Salem. Amazon also has a sortation center in Hillsboro and a Prime Now hub in Portland.

Like the Ohio warehouse, the new Oregon warehouse will have a million square feet of space and handle larger items such as sports equipment, gardening tools and pet food, the company said.

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

'Knowledge Matters': Theme for University Press Week

The Association of American University Presses has chosen "#LookItUP: Knowledge Matters" as the theme for the sixth annual University Press Week, which will run November 6-11.

During the week, the AAUP will host online celebrations of the theme via a blog tour and a new #ReadUP Medium channel. Partners including Ingram, Baker & Taylor and NetGalley will also mark the week online through special messages and marketing.

In addition, panels focusing on the theme will be held at the Texas Book Festival and the Boston Book Festival, and university presses are teaming with bookstores, libraries and other venues to bring the "#LookItUP" theme to the reading public. In New York City, for example, Book Culture will host a panel about publishing with university presses on November 8. And more than 30 university presses will take part in an "Indies First" campaign run by the American Booksellers Association during UP Week.

AAUP executive director Peter Berkery commented: "University presses publish the most important scholarship in every field, from politics and journalism to science and religion. Facts, knowledge, and expertise are our lifeblood, and the increasing number of people questioning their validity is highly disturbing. Knowledge does matter, expertise does matter, and we want to promote these truths as much as possible."

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

Kids' Next List E-Newsletter Delivered

On Thursday, the first part of the e-newsletter edition of the American Booksellers Association's autumn Kids' Next List was delivered to more than a third of a million of the country's best book readers, going to 370,394 customers of 112 participating bookstores. The second part of the autumn Kids' Next List will be sent on October 19.

The e-newsletter, powered by Shelf Awareness, features autumn Kids' Next List titles, with bookseller quotes and "buy now" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on the sending store's website. The newsletter, which is branded with each store's logo, also includes an interview (from Bookselling This Week) with the author and/or illustrator whose book was chosen by booksellers as the number-one Kids' Next List pick, in this case Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, author and illustrator, respectively, of The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse (Candlewick).

For a sample of the newsletter, see this one from Books on Broad, Camden, S.C.


Image of the Day: What Happened in D.C.

In the only speaking event on her bookstore tour, last night Politics and Prose hosted Hillary Clinton at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., where co-owner Lissa Muscatine, who was chief speechwriter for Clinton at the White House and State Department, interviewed her before a sold-out audience. Here Muscatine holds What Happened (Simon & Schuster) while Clinton holds the picture book version of It Takes a Village (S&S/Paula Wiseman Books).

Bookstore Chalkboard of the Day: Otto Bookstore

A bookstore chalkboard outside Otto Bookstore in Williamsport, Pa., offered this joke:

"Did you hear about the library that fell into the ocean?
It caused a title wave! :)"

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ellen Pao on the Daily Show

Fresh Air: E.J. Dionne Jr., Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann, authors of One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported (St. Martin's Press, $25.99, 9781250164056).

Ellen: Megyn Kelly, author of Settle for More (Harper, $16.99, 9780062495143).

Conan: Jeff Bauman, co-author of Stronger (Grand Central, $8.99, 9781478920403).

Daily Show: Ellen Pao, author of Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change (Spiegel & Grau, $28, 9780399591013).

Movies: Summer of Night; Time Salvager

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions "has stepped up to buy a package based on the Dan Simmons horror novel Summer of Night," Deadline reported. Isaac Ezban will direct a script by Ben Poole; Ehren Kruger and Daniel Bobker are producing.


Zak Olkewicz will adapt the Wesley Chu sci fi novel Time Salvager for Paramount, Deadline reported, adding that Michael Bay "is attached to direct, with his Transformers compatriots Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian producing." Olkewicz is currently adapting the R.L. Stine novel series Fear Street for Fox and Chernin Entertainment, with Leigh Janiak directing.

Books & Authors

Top Library Recommended Titles for October

LibraryReads, the nationwide library staff-picks list, offers the top 10 October titles public library staff across the country love:

Seven Days of Us: A Novel by Francesca Hornak (Berkley, $26, 9780451488756). "The Birch family will be spending the Christmas holiday in quarantine, thanks to eldest daughter Olivia's recent relief work in a disease-infested Liberia. She has returned to England but must be in quarantine for seven days. This family has not ever spent that much time in each other's company. Each person has secrets that are slowly revealed over the course of the seven days. It is particularly interesting to watch them become the family that they should have been all along: supportive and loving. An enjoyable read." --Cheryl Braud, Iberia Public Library, New Iberia, La.

The Last Mrs. Parrish: A Novel by Liv Constantine (Harper, $25.99, 9780062667571). "Daphne seems to have hit the jackpot by marrying Jackson Parrish. They live in a lovely Connecticut mansion and travel around the world, all the while raising two beautiful daughters. When Mrs. Parrish meets Amber, a kindred spirit, Daphne instantly feels a connection, perhaps someone to fill the endless void of sorrow that has plagued her since her sister's death. We learn that nothing is what it appears to be. The author sets an atmospheric pace for this story, leading up to its dramatic conclusion." --KC Davis, Fairfield Woods Branch Library, Fairfield, Conn.

The Last Ballad: A Novel by Wiley Cash (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062313119). "The story of little-known union hero Ella May Wiggins is central to this look at unionization during the late 1920s. Once she sings her first song at a union rally, she becomes a beacon for others. As her story becomes intertwined with the violence and fear of the clash between owners and workers, we are swept up in a powerful novel that exposes the prejudice and hatred among races, genders, and economic classes. The stories of Ella, her children, and friends woven throughout cement Cash's place among our great living writers. This one will be a huge book discussion hit!" --Ron Block Cuyahoga County Public Library, Brooklyn, Ohio

From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty (Norton, $24.95, 9780393249897). "America's favorite mortician takes you on a tour of death cultures around the world in her latest book. Sharing what she's learned, Doughty presents everything from composting bodies to ma'nene', a ritual of periodically exhuming corpses to clean and redress them as a sign of respect. She encourages us to consider our options and become less distant from physically caring for the deceased and ultimately our own mortality. We've all got it coming. Honest, yet gentle and with the appropriate amount of humor, Doughty makes the morbid very readable." --PJ Gardiner, Wake County Public Libraries, Raleigh, N.C.

The Rules of Magic: A Novel by Alice Hoffman (Simon & Schuster, $27.99, 9781501137471). "The Rules of Magic is the prequel to Hoffman's Practical Magic. Here we learn the background of sisters Franny, Jet, and their brother Vincent. The story begins with all three as teens, ostracized for being witches. Their mother sets up rules designed to suppress their natural ability. When the siblings are sent to visit their aunt they learn family secrets and find out who they truly are. I was enraptured by this fabulous book, which is filled with magic and charm." --Terri Smith, Cornelia Habersham County Library, Cornelia, Ga.

The Stolen Marriage: A Novel by Diane Chamberlain (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250087270). "Interracial marriage, money fraud, and adultery are just a few elements of this historical fiction. Set during WWII, sweet Tess has dreamed of marrying Vincent Russo since she was a teenager. Plans have been made and a date has been set, but several decisions made in the course of the engagement will cause a detour in both Vincent's and Tess's lives. Will they be able to find their way back to one another?" --Debbie Frizzell, Johnson County Library, Overland Park, Kan.

Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks (Knopf, $26.95, 9781101946152). "Hanks writes about characters that he would love to play in the movies, had they been written. This collection of stories holds a myriad of emotions, settings, and time periods with two common threads: the typewriter and uncommonly normal men and women. You love the characters because you have something in common with all of them--some win, some lose, some are heroic and some timid, but they are all borne of the human existence and go largely unnoticed. Hanks's charm and wit come through." --Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, Tex.

We're Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True by Gabrielle Union (Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062693983). "Union writes with such heart and energy that it really does feel like she's talking to you while you share one (or several) bottles of wine. She touches on so many topics, including infidelity, women's sexual health, and teaching young black men to protect themselves in a world that fears them. She also manages to talk about multiple famous people without sounding fawning, with the exception of Prince, which makes sense because... it's Prince. I thoroughly enjoyed this title and can't wait to put it in the hands of others." --Lisa Hoffman, Bloomfield Public Library, Bloomfield, N.J.

Strange Weather: Four Short Novels by Joe Hill (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062663115). "Hill's four short novels expose the individual and societal pressures that motivate our sometimes fateful decisions. The first story is a coming-of-age tale with an added bit of horror. The second story is an unflinching look at what has become a common tragedy: mass shooting. The third story is an unrequited-love-meets-the-Twilight-Zone story that touches on loneliness. The final story is poignant and introspective. All four tales often gave me pause and made me think. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of character-driven works of horror and/or drama." --Jennifer Wilson, Delphi Public Library, Delphi, Ind.

Manhattan Beach: A Novel by Jennifer Egan (Scribner, $28, 9781476716732). "Anna and her father Eddie arrive at the home of Dexter Styles on Manhattan Beach searching for a job during the Depression. After Eddie goes missing five years later, Anna supports her mother and sister by working at the Brooklyn Naval Yard. One night, Anna approaches Styles for information about her father. They become involved, but he is still marked by his past relationship with Eddie. Egan's description of New York in the '30s and '40s is so immersive that you feel like you're waking up when you have to put the book down." --Barbara Birenbaum, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, Calif.

Book Review

Review: Admissions: Life as a Brain Surgeon

Admissions: Life as a Brain Surgeon by Henry Marsh (Thomas Dunne Books, $26.99 hardcover, 288p., 9781250127266, October 3, 2017)

At age 67, Henry Marsh (Do No Harm), a leading British neurosurgeon, has dying on his mind. He's heading toward retirement, his father had dementia and, as a doctor, Marsh is more aware than most of the fragility of life and the capriciousness of death.

In 2014, Marsh bought a derelict cottage on a canal, with the aim of fixing it up as a woodworking space: "Now that I am retiring, I am starting all over again... but now I am running out of time." He still has a few weeks to go at work, so on a Monday morning, he worries about finding a bed for a patient scheduled for surgery--no bed, no surgery--and "the usual collection of disasters and tragedies at the morning meeting." As Marsh ruminates on the quality of today's health care, he rails at the current medical climate that calls for operating needlessly to maintain life, when doing so results in the "cruel and obscene joke" of vegetative states. He says, "Our moral duty in life is to reduce suffering."

This is brought into sharp focus with his pro bono work at a Kathmandu clinic. The patients' illnesses and sufferings are often terrible: they are more advanced, they are often treated with medicines of little or no efficacy and the people have unrealistic expectations of what physicians can achieve. When an operation goes wrong, doctors can be threatened with violence or demands for money. Neurosurgery is of dubious value in a poor country like this. Yet, in Nepal, he felt a deep contentment, "in remission, with the future postponed." In contrast, his last pro bono work in Ukraine ends in bitterness and regret.

Marsh is disarmingly forthcoming about his craft: "As the French surgeon René Leriche observed, we all carry cemeteries within ourselves... headstones for all the patients who have come to harm in our hands." The conundrum: to become good, surgeons have to practice and they sometimes make fatal mistakes; after all, "triumphs wouldn't be triumphant if there weren't disasters."

He seasons his medical stories with chapters on his parents, his woodworking (he's disappointed that he's run out of tools to buy) and his childhood. There is plenty of clinical detail for the medically inclined, and deft descriptions of Nepal and Ukraine.

Marsh writes, "I had always loved my work, even though it was so often painful." That love is clear in Admissions. In spite of frequent dark musings, he takes joy in his craft, in his family, his friends and his cottage on the canal. He may have dying on his mind, but he still has much to do and much to give. --Marilyn Dahl

Shelf Talker: On the eve of retirement, Henry Marsh takes stock of his life as a leading British neurosurgeon, writing passionately and candidly about his profession.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. We Own Tonight by Corinne Michaels
2. Protecting Dakota by Susan Stoker
3. My Angel (Bewitched and Bewildered Book 9) by Alanea Alder
4. The Wicked Horse Boxed Set by Sawyer Bennett
5. Dirty Filthy Rich Love by Laurelin Paige
6. The Magician's Diary (Glass and Steele Book 4) by C.J. Archer
7. What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada
8. Pitch Please (There's No Crying in Baseball Book 1) by Lani Lynn Vale
9. Deathtrap (Crossbreed Series Book 3) by Dannika Dark
10. When We Touch by Tia Louise

[Many thanks to!]

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