Shelf Awareness for Friday, October 13, 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


Hachette Folding Weinstein Books

The Harvey Weinstein sex assault and harassment scandal that led to the movie mogul's firing from the Weinstein Company has claimed a book world entity. Hachette Book Group announced yesterday that effective immediately, it is closing Weinstein Books, a partnership of Hachette's Perseus Books and the Weinstein Company. Titles currently under the Weinstein Books imprint will be published by the Hachette Books imprint, and the Weinstein Books team will join Hachette Books.

Weinstein Books was founded in 2001 as Miramax Books by Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob Weinstein. The imprint was re-formed as Weinstein Books after the 2005 "divorce" of Miramax and Disney. In 2009, Weinstein Books became a joint partnership of the Weinstein Company and Perseus Books Group. When Perseus sold its publishing businesses to Hachette last year, Weinstein Books was included.

Headed by publishing director Georgina Levitt and editorial director Amanda Murray, Weinstein Books has published about 10 books a year in the areas of memoir and biography, fiction, health and wellness, self-help and relationships, popular culture and entertainment and movie tie-ins.

Major titles have included Finding Me by Michelle Knight, who survived the Cleveland kidnappings; titles by media figures Tim Russert and Mika Brzezinski; and YA novels including the Haunting of Sunshine Girl series.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

The Book Cellar Opens in Lake Worth, Fla.

The Book Cellar opened last week in Lake Worth, Fla., and hosted a packed opening party Friday night. The 2,300-square-foot bookstore sells new books for all ages and across all genres, while sideline offerings include cards, journals and other paper goods. Co-owner Arvin Ramgoolam noted that because Lake Worth is a beach town and Palm Beach, which neighbors Lake Worth to the north, is "the home of James Patterson," the store also features a strong selection of mysteries and crime books.

Ramgoolam owns the Book Cellar with his wife, Danica Ramgoolam, and his sister-in-law Tamara Ayraud, who is the manager. The Ramgoolams also own and operate indie bookstore Townie Books in Crested Butte, Colo., which they opened in 2011. They said they "hope to replicate some of that small-town charm in the Palm Beach area" with their new store and wanted to bring "something fun and cool to the neighborhood that would not only benefit the existing retail" but also "provide good jobs and an amenity to the town itself."

The store is located in a newly renovated space in downtown Lake Worth, on the corner of Lake Avenue and South J Street. The party on Friday night featured music and food, with the staff on hand to meet and greet Lake Worth residents and shoppers. The owners have plans for events with local authors and expect to add a wine bar in the near future.

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

California Fires Update: Bookstores Offering Help

As the terrible wildfires in Northern California continue to rage, leaving many homeless, more nearby bookstores are rallying to help. DIESEL bookstore in Larkspur and East Bay Booksellers (formerly DIESEL) in Oakland are collecting children's books for, as DIESEL put it, "the thousands of children who have lost their community and home libraries." Awaiting news of their homes, those children, it said, "are afraid, and bored, in the shelters, away from their homes, their pets, and their books." Owner Brad Johnson wrote, "In the coming weeks, the losses suffered by children will be particularly hard. Books are a respite even in the best of times, and we want to make sure shelters are well-stocked with books that will continue to spark flights of fancy and joy."


Point Reyes Books, Point Reyes, is donating a percentage of sales this weekend to North Bay Fire Relief. Owners Molly Parent and Stephen Sparks wrote, "In the last few days, the town of Point Reyes has been a destination for many evacuees and the generosity on display as the community sprung into action has been incredible. To all who are affected and all who have stepped in to help, you're in our thoughts."

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

President Clinton to Present Literarian Award; New NBF Deputy Director

Bill Clinton
Dick Robinson

At the 68th National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner on November 15 in New York City, President Bill Clinton will present Scholastic chairman, president and CEO Dick Robinson with the 2017 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. The award was announced last month.

The National Book Foundation described Clinton as "a longtime supporter of the arts, avid reader, and author," adding that after leaving office, "he has demonstrated a continued commitment to the health and success of communities through his ceaseless humanitarian work and the founding of the Clinton Foundation. A celebrated writer himself, President Clinton's dedication to education has raised the cultural value of literacy and great writing across the country."


In other National Book Foundation news, Beth Harrison, formerly assistant executive director for development & external relations at the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, is joining the Foundation as deputy director.

Previously, she served for 11 years at the Academy of American Poets, most recently as interim executive director. Prior to that, she was development specialist for literary publishing at the Community of Literary Magazines & Presses. She began her career in publishing, having worked for Princeton Architectural Press, Oxford University Press and the Quarterly. She is also founding editor of the literary magazine Spinning Jenny.

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

Foyles Launching Subscription Book Club

Later this month, U.K. bookstore Foyles is planning to launch "A Year of Books," a subscription book club that will initially be offered in six packages: hardcover fiction, paperback fiction, hardcover nonfiction, paperback nonfiction, children's and fiction in translation, the Bookseller reported. Prices will range from £135-£250 (about $175-$330) per year.

"We are going to be relaunching what was a very important part of our business in the 1950s and 1960s, what was known then as the Foyles Book Club," said CEO Paul Currie. "We are going to be relaunching it as a subscription service, a personally curated range of books that are targeted at groups of people that value reading as part of their lifestyle. We believe that the curation and the development of the range of books that go into the subscriptions will be unique. We are really excited about that and we think it will lead onto a lot of future development."


Image of the Day: Different Days

Main Street Books in St. Charles, Mo., hosted the launch of former owner Vicki Berger Erwin's middle-grade historical novel Different Days (Sky Pony Press). Inspired by true events in the life of Doris Berg Nye, Different Days is set in Hawaii in the days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and deals with the internment of German Americans in the U.S. Pictured: Erwin with co-owners Andy and Ellen Hall.

Road Trip: '5 Unique, Independent Chicago Bookstores'

Noting that "there's no better place to find a good read than to pay a visit to a local, independent bookstore," Choose Chicago showcased "five unique Chicago bookstores where a good book is always easy to find," adding that the city "is lucky to have a number of independent booksellers, where good service, a community spirit and great literature go hand in hand." The shops featured included Women & Children First Bookstore, City Lit Books, Bucket O' Blood Books & Records, Read It & Eat and Open Books.

Personnel Changes at Workman

At Workman:

Christi (Sheehan) Hagemann has joined the company as publicist. She formerly worked at DK.

Neil Hiremath has joined the digital operations department as manager. He was formerly an operations, finance and sales consultant for publishing and media startups and before that had 10 years of planning and operations experience in comic book publishing, most notably at DC Comics.

SarahMay Harel has joined the company as assistant, digital & web operations.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Walter Isaacson on CBS Sunday Morning

CBS This Morning: Nate Blakeslee, author of American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West (Crown, $28, 9781101902783).

CBS Sunday Morning: Walter Isaacson, author of Leonardo da Vinci (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781501139154).

TV: Paddington

Just weeks before the U.K. release of Paddington 2 (It hits U.S. theaters in January.), Studiocanal announced it has put an animated TV series in development based on the lovable bear created by Michael Bond. Deadline reported that a series is planned for launch in late 2018 or early 2019 "and is part of Studiocanal parent Vivendi's overall strategy to further expand the franchise which also includes Paddington Run, an official mobile game. The first Paddington film, produced by David Heyman, grossed $268M worldwide."

Books & Authors

Awards: PNBA BuzzBook; Astrid Lindgren; Wales Book of the Year

Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation by Monique Gray Smith (Orca Book Publishers) won the BuzzBooks contest earlier this week at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association annual trade show, in Portland, Ore. Nearly 200 punch cards were handed out to attendees who visited eight exhibits for publisher quick pitches on recent and upcoming titles across several genres. The booksellers and librarians then voted for the book they were "most excited to recommend to patrons of Northwest libraries and bookstores."

Orca Book Publishers described Speaking Our Truth this way: "For more than 150 years, thousands of indigenous children were forced by the Canadian government to attend schools designed to eradicate the cultural identities of indigenous peoples. This book takes readers on a journey toward reconciliation as we come to terms with the long-term effects of Residential (Boarding) Schools. Healing requires education and increased understanding of the impacts still being felt by survivors and their families."


The 235 candidates from 60 countries who have been nominated for the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award were made public yesterday at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The five million Swedish kronor (about $617,000) award is given annually to authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and reading promoters "to promote interest in children's and young adult literature." The candidates can be seen here.


Shortlists have been unveiled for the Wales Book of the Year. Category winners, who will be announced at an awards ceremony in Cardiff on November 13, receive £1,000 (about $1,320), while the overall winners in English and Welsh language are given an additional £3,000 (about $3,965). The English-language shortlisted titles are:

What Possessed Me by John Freeman
The Other City by Rhiannon Hooson
Psalmody by Maria Apichella

Pigeon by Alys Conran
Cove by Cynan Jones
Ritual, 1969 by Jo Mazelis

Creative Nonfiction
The Tradition by Peter Lord
Jumpin' Jack Flash by Keiron Pim
The Black Prince of Florence by Catherine Fletcher 

Reading with... Roz Chast

photo: Bill Hayes

Roz Chast has loved to draw cartoons since she was a child growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y. She attended Rhode Island School of Design, majoring in painting because it seemed more artistic. However, soon after graduating, she began drawing cartoons once again. Her cartoons have been published in the New YorkerScientific American, the Harvard Business ReviewRedbook and Mother Jones. She is the author of Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? and Theories of Everything.Her most recent book is Going Into Town (Bloomsbury, October 3, 2017).

On your nightstand now:

Where The Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River by David Owen: He is a terrific writer and also a friend. I tend to read more fiction than nonfiction, but his books are always engaging.

The Brooklyn Nobody Knows: An Urban Walking Guide by William Helmreich: I'm starting to write a book about Brooklyn, where I grew up. This book covers neighborhoods that are not usually written about, like Mill Basin and Canarsie.

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes: It's been there for at least six months. But I WANT TO READ IT, and someday I will. What's more interesting than the mystery of the constant voice, the constant chatter, that narrator of our experience, that we all have in our heads?

On my iPad, I'm reading Noah Hawley's Before the Fall. It's a real page-tapper.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Wizard of Oz--I made my dad read it to me four times. Obsessed.

Your top five authors:

Charles Dickens, Alice Munro, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edith Wharton, Dorothy Parker, Patricia Highsmith, Thomas Mann, Ian Frazier, Shirley Jackson, George Saunders, Herman Melville, Jennifer Egan, Richard Yates and this doesn't even include my favorite graphic novelists/memoirists. I'm not good with math, sorry.

Book you've faked reading:

Quite a bit of Shakespeare in junior high. Julius Caesar just didn't do anything for me when I was 11. Thank God for Cliffs Notes.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Stern by Bruce Jay Friedman: One of the funniest books I've ever read in my entire life. Really dark, really angry, really hilarious.

Also Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville: I think about this book and its most famous sentence--"I would prefer not to"--at least once a day. Bartleby is about extreme passivity: what happens when one decides that one is NOT going to "keep on keeping on."

Last but not least, The Strange Life of Ivan Osokin by P.D. Ouspensky: A novel about how we are doomed to repeat our mistakes--even if a magical occurrence enabled us to live our lives over and over again--until we realize profoundly the mistakes we've made and take responsibility for them. I've heard it was the basis of Groundhog Day.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Hmmmm... maybe art books?

Book you hid from your parents:

Zap Comix. They would not have UNDERSTOOD. They even hated Archie and Veronica.

Books that changed your life:

Monster Rally--a collection of cartoons by Charles Addams. Also Addams and Evil, Black Maria, Drawn and Quartered--all by Charles Addams. My hero, my inspiration.
MAD magazine
Zap Comix
American Splendor

Favorite line from a book:

"I would prefer not to." --Bartleby the Scrivener.

Five books you'll never part with OR would take to a desert island:

Anna Karenina
Tender Is the Night and The Great Gatsby
The Magic Mountain
The Talented Mr. Ripley
War and Peace

The first four because I've read them all at least twice, and have loved them more on repeated readings. There seems to be something in all of them that reveals more of themselves upon not only repeated readings, but on letting five or 10 years pass in between rereadings. The first time I read Anna Karenina, when I was 17, all I cared about was Anna and Vronsky. I completely missed the fact that she was an opium addict. I didn't really understand much of the politics. Reading it a second time was like reading a whole different book. The last one--War and Peace--I've never read. I think maybe being stranded on a desert island would be a good place to read it. I hope so, because if it isn't, I'll be very disappointed, and also angry with Tolstoy.

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

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Books you have read recently and loved:

The North Water by Ian McGuire
The Idiot by Elif Batuman
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

The first 20 or so pages of these books allowed me to escape myself and fall into the parallel universes that these authors had created. "Grateful" doesn't even begin to describe it.

Book Review

Review: Strange Weather

Strange Weather: Four Short Novels by Joe Hill (Morrow, $27.99 hardcover, 448p., 9780062663115, October 24, 2017)

Strange Weather, Joe Hill's follow-up to his horror epics The Fireman and NOS4A2, is a collection of four wildly different novellas that celebrate the breadth of Hill's twisted imagination. Each brief novel can be read in a sitting or two, and their compact size often serves to magnify the mystery and apprehension that fuel great horror fiction. The stories are long enough, however, to allow for Hill's expert characterization--carefully establishing sympathetic characters grounds the strange, nightmarish scenarios and insures the readers' investment in the torments that await each character.

The first short novel is "Snapshot," set in 1988. It is a surprisingly sweet and personal-seeming story of a lonely boy, Michael Figlione, who looks out for his former babysitter, an older woman struggling with something like dementia. She claims that a man has been snapping Polaroids of her when her husband isn't watching and warns Michael: "Don't let him take a picture of you. Don't let him start taking things away." Naturally, Michael soon encounters "the Polaroid Man" and learns the disturbing truth behind the dozen or so photo albums stacked in the backseat of his Cadillac.

"Loaded" is a more realistic and politically charged story ruminating on America's gun culture, racial inequities in policing and mass shootings. It is a violent, bloody polemic aimed at the controversial idea that only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun. Hill makes his position very clear while still crafting a chilling look at how ignorance and rage can lead someone down a dark path, culminating in a few truly harrowing set pieces.

"Aloft" skews more Twilight Zone than the others, offering a fantastical story about a reluctant skydiver stranded on a bizarre cloud. The cloud--or whatever it is--possesses a strange intelligence that the protagonist must puzzle out while sorting through his unrequited feelings for a friend. The less said about the premise, the better--unspooling the mystery is half the fun. Finally, "Rain" is in some ways similar to The Fireman, striking an apocalyptic chord with its story of a devastating, nail-like rain that shreds anyone and anything unlucky enough to be outside when the storm breaks over Boulder. This story of heartbreak and survival might be familiar to fans of Hill's work, covering some of his favorite themes while indulging in his gift for ghoulish imagery: "She lifted her hands, a woman surrendering to an advancing army, and I saw that her palms and forearms were stuck with hundreds of needles, so she looked like a pale pink cactus."

Hill never shirks from delivering the gory goods for genre fans, but his horror is far from cynical. Instead, Hill finds striking, unusual ways to dramatize fears of aging and illness, guns, loneliness and grief. His intentions and limitless creativity are extremely well suited to short fiction, and one hopes that another collection is forthcoming. --Hank Stephenson, bookseller, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Shelf Talker: Strange Weather is a collection of four short novels showing off Hill's impressive range as a horror storyteller.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: #BookshopDay, 'Core Values' & 'Seizing the Nettle'

For me, bookshops are important not so much for any business or economic reason, although a case could certainly be made for both. They're important because they perpetuate and enhance the idea of books as a form of communication, as a meaningful, human interaction. I write so people will read. I read, because someone had something they wanted to say to me. Books are personal. The best bookshops understand that and celebrate it, in a way that online retailers never can. --Author Tilly Bagshawe

Bookshop Day was celebrated last Saturday in the U.K. and Ireland, and I just wanted to give a shout-out to our bookselling friends across the pond. #BookshopDay is the annual centerpiece of Books Are My Bag's nationwide campaign to highlight booksellers.. This year marked the fourth since @booksaremybag first launched and BAMB distributed its one millionth tote bag, which prompted the #oneinamillion contest.

"Reaching our one millionth supporter is a hugely exciting milestone, and we're delighted to be able to show our thanks to bookshop lovers across the U.K. and Ireland with this fabulous prize," said Meryl Halls, head of membership services at the Booksellers Association. "It is wonderful to see the book industry coming together to support bookshops with the amazing prizes they have donated. We wish everyone the best of luck, and look forward to hearing all about our supporters' favorite bookshops."

A lot of good things happened on #BookshopDay.

Showing off the bags at Harris & Harris

Booksellers celebrated. A tweet from Harris & Harris Books in Clare was suitably typical and atypical: "What a splendid #bookshopday with lots of happy bookish shoppers. The homemade Rhubarb Gin and Plum Gin are going down a storm, more than the basket goodies. I know, I was surprised too."

Publishers celebrated. QuercusBooks‏ went on a #BookshopDay tour, having "hidden 13 authors from The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler in bookshops around the country. Pop in, snap a photo and sharewith #ForgottenAuthors and win this very lovely prize." An example: "Next up is @Ink84Books in Highbury! These guys have got so much love for @booksaremybag! Definitely visit if you’re in the area." 

I was particularly drawn to something Penguin Random House UK did in preparation for #BookshopDay: "To get you in the mood, we met up with four brilliant bookshops": Libreria, Gay's the Word and Dulwich Books in London and Mr. B's Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath."

At each stop, booksellers were asked a few questions. This was my favorite: What are your core values? It's a question we all ask ourselves in the book trade. It's a good question. So were their answers.

Libreria: "Always trying to re-imagine and be as creative as possible for our customers, for the people who come to Libreria and are looking for something a bit different. We want to present an experience that is completely different from not only your normal retail experience, but also your normal bookshop experience. The thematic shelving means that there's always an element of surprise, and I suppose that's partly key to why our customers come back as well."

Gay's the Word Bookshop: "Community, comprehensiveness and compassion. There's something essentially affirming for an LGBT person, especially if they're from a society or a country that doesn't have an enlightened approach to LGBT people, to come in and to be physically surrounded by a collection of writing that affirms their identity. That's an incredibly profound, political, philosophical, powerful experience. I've seen people break down in tears in that moment, and I've totally appreciated why. It goes back to Gay's the Word being an emotional space. It's a small little shop, in a small street in Bloomsbury, but it stocks a rich comprehensive range of literature, much of which has, in many ways, attempted to be suppressed over the years. So the fact that it exists and celebrates our right to articulate and our identity and ourselves is even more powerful."

Dulwich Books: "We believe in stocking a huge range of books, and absolutely not underestimating the customer. If you display and talk about books properly, you can put out choices that may not be so obvious. We're also quite political; we're all quite politically engaged here so we have certain beliefs about the democratic engagement that an independent bookshop can give you."

Mr. B's Emporium

Mr. B's Emporium: "We try to convert one book agnostic every day and enthuse ten book addicts every day. We're a home for people that are geeky about books, and an open door to those who don't know what to do in a bookshop, or where to start, who have fallen out of love with reading or who have never been in love with reading. They're the people that are even more important in a way, and it's one of the best parts of the job to be confronted like that."

For Faber, author Kate Hamer wrote that the reason many independent bookshops are currently thriving is "because so many of the indies have seized the nettle; they have become a comforting resource on the high street offering friendship, coffee and real expertise based in a passion for books. Some of them have a whole variety of bookclubs and provide comfortable and intriguing meeting places where sellers, readers and writers can meet to share the books they love."

In recent months, the core values of many indie booksellers in the U.S. have been called into action in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, as well as the fires currently ravaging Northern California. And they have responded. Seizing the nettle indeed.

--Robert Gray, contributing editor (Column archives at Fresh Eyes Now)

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