Shelf Awareness for Monday, November 13, 2017

William Morrow & Company: Death of the Author by Nnedi Okorafor

St. Martin's Press: Disney High: The Untold Story of the Rise and Fall of Disney Channel's Tween Empire

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Graphix: 39 Clues: One False Note (39 Clues Graphic Novel #2) by Gordon Korman, Illustrated by Hannah Templer

Running Press: Enter For a Chance to Win a Moonlit Explorer Pack!

Quill Tree Books: The Firelight Apprentice by Bree Paulsen

Quotation of the Day

Oren Teicher: 'Bookstores Prime Venue for Discovery'

"Our publishing colleagues realize that online retailers can't match physical bookstores as the prime venue for discovering new titles and new authors. They know that it's within the four walls of your bookstore that buyers can browse in an unparalleled way and find and purchase their next great read. From the publishers' perspective, these offers and fundamental changes are helping to sell more books in more stores, and are maximizing the value of the indie channel and helping to strengthen the industry as a whole."

--Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association, in a letter to members that, in part, urges them to take advantage of a range of new offers and policy changes from publishers.

Zest Books: The Gender Binary Is a Big Lie: Infinite Identities around the World by Lee Wind


MPIBA Executive Director Laura Ayrey Burnett Resigning

Laura Ayrey Burnett

Laura Ayrey Burnett is resigning as executive director of the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association. She has been executive director since 2010, and the MPIBA board noted that during her tenure, "bookstore memberships continued to rise, ad revenues rose consistently, and the annual Discovery Show attendance doubled." The board, which has appointed a search committee to find a new executive director, said it wishes Laura well.

Laura said she is resigning in order to spend more time with her family, adding, "I have truly valued our relationships and consider all of you in the region my friends." She can be reached here.

This marks the second recent change involving regional booksellers association heads. Last month, Steve Fischer, executive director of the New England Independent Booksellers Association since 2006, announced plans to retire.

GLOW: Flatiron Books: Private Rites by Julia Armfield

Hummingbird Digital Adds Format Option

Hummingbird Digital Media, which offers bookstores and others free, branded platforms for the sale of e-books and audiobooks from more than 3,400 publishers, has added a feature allowing stores to exclude formats on their digital storefronts, for example, opting to sell just e-books or just audiobooks.

The option came at the suggestion of Allison Hill, CEO of Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, Calif., and Book Soup, West Hollywood, who already had a vendor for audiobooks and wanted to sell only e-books via Hummingbird, said Hummingbird president and chief visionary officer Steve Mettee.

"Our software has always allowed the exclusion of categories from our huge catalog," Mettee continued. "We did that at request of religious merchants who didn't want it to seem like they were marketing erotica.

"We find now that some merchants are excluding everything but children's titles and we have at least one merchant who excludes everything except history."

Alex Baker: Exceptional Design And Creative Services For The Publishing Industry

Steve Kessel to Head All Amazon Physical Retail

Amazon has made senior v-p Steve Kessel in charge of all bricks-and-mortar operations, including Amazon Books, Whole Foods, Prime Now (the quick-delivery service) and convenience stores, according to the Wall Street Journal, adding, "The goal is to ease changes across those platforms as Amazon tries to reinvent the way consumers shop in stores."

During "years overseeing Amazon's digital strategy," Kessel led the team that developed the Kindle as well as the Fire tablet. After a four-year sabbatical, he returned to the company in 2015 to "reimagine the in-store experience."

Obituary Note: Pat Hutchins

Pat Hutchins, author and illustrator of many popular picture books, died on November 7. She was 75. Hutchin's career in children's book publishing began with Rosie's Walk, a 1968 ALA Notable Book. In 1974, she won the Kate Greenaway Medal for The Wind Blew, which she wrote and illustrated. Altogether she created more than 40 books for young readers, including Good-Night, Owl! and Titch. She was married to illustrator Laurence Hutchins, who illustrated some of the books she wrote.


Image of the Day: #MyChicagoBookstore Bus Tour

This past weekend, the first #MyChicagoBookstore bus tour wended its way from Bookends & Beginnings to Women & Children First Bookstore and then to the Book Cellar. Twenty-three people bought a ticket to ride the bus to all three stores, with lunch at farm-to-table restaurant Farmhouse in Evanston. Organizers hope this is the first in an ongoing series of bus tours linking all 25 ChIBA bookstores in a celebration of Chicago bookstore tourism.

Pictured at Women & Children First: (seated) Nina Barrett of Bookends & Beginnings with WCF's Sarah Hollenbeck; and the bookstore tourists standing in back.

'Bill Clinton Loves' AIA St. Louis Bookstore

"Who'd have thought that one tiny St. Louis bookstore could entice the former leader of the free world to stop his motorcade and do a little shopping?" asked Riverfront Times in reporting that President Bill Clinton last week visited the American Institute of Architects St. Louis bookstore "so that he could pick up a few items for himself and for his grandchildren."

Clinton was "pumped" to visit the store, according to Kathleen Bauer, community director for technology incubator T-REX, which owns the historic Lammert Building that houses AIA St. Louis. Riverfront Times noted that "his Secret Service squad urged him multiple times to wrap up his shopping and photo ops. And what did Clinton walk out with? The presidential shopping list included Book of Bones, The Most Awesome Arch, a set of notecards featuring the art of Chiura Obata, and Hero Decks, a collection of playing cards starring the Cardinals' best players past and present. Not a bad haul from one of the city's design gems."

Personnel Changes at Getty Publications; Abrams

At Getty Publications, Maureen Winter has been promoted to associate publisher. Previously she was sales & marketing manager. Before joining Getty Publications, she worked for Hachette Book Group, where she was associate publisher of Black Dog & Leventhal.


Maya Bradford has been promoted to senior publicist, adult trade, at Abrams. She was formerly publicity manager. In addition to her publicity duties, she will work with Abrams ComicArts to help identify potential acquisitions in the graphic novel category.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Joe Biden on Today, Ellen, Colbert's Late Show

CBS This Morning: Meg Jay, author of Supernormal: The Untold Story of Adversity and Resilience (Twelve, $28, 9781455559152).

Fresh Air: Gregory Boyle, author of Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781476726151).

MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports: Walter Isaacson, author of Leonardo da Vinci (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781501139154).

The View: Jenifer Lewis, author of The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir (Amistad, $25.99, 9780062410405).

Ellen: Joe Biden, author of Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose (Flatiron, $27, 9781250171672). He will also appear on the Today Show and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Late Late Show with James Corden: Jason Segel, co-author of Otherworld (Delacorte, $18.99, 9781101939321).

CBS This Morning: Tina Brown, author of The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983-1992 (Holt, $32, 9781627791366).

Hallmark Channel's Home & Family: Elizabeth Heiskell, author of What Can I Bring?: Southern Food for Any Occasion Life Serves Up (Southern Living, $30, 9780848754389).

Dr. Oz: Carl Lentz, author of Own the Moment (Simon & Schuster, $24.99, 9781501177002).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Tyler Perry, author of Higher Is Waiting (Spiegel & Grau, $26, 9780812989342).

Also on the Late Show: John Avlon, author of Washington's Farewell: The Founding Father’s Warning to Future Generations (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781476746463).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Christian Siriano, author of Dresses to Dream About (Rizzoli, $45, 9780847858385).

Tonight Show: Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush, authors of Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life (Grand Central, $28, 9781538711415).

Movies: True History of the Kelly Gang; White Fang

Russell Crowe, Nicholas Hoult, George MacKay and Essie Davis will star in True History of the Kelly Gang, based on Peter Carey's Booker Prize-winning novel, Variety reported. Filming is planned for March in Australia. Justin Kurzel (Assassin's Creed) will direct from a script by Shaun Grant. The cast also includes Travis Fimmel, Sean Keenan, Dacre Montgomery, Harry Greenwood, Thomasin McKenzie and Earl Cave.

Kurzel said the book "always felt like the true spirit of Ned Kelly. Unsentimental, brutal, raw and visceral. His story is one of the great odysseys in history, and I feel excited to be bringing it to the screen with a fresh cinematic eye. This is a really unique and modern cast, and I am so proud to be working with such a talented ensemble of new faces and celebrated actors."


Parks and Recreation alums Rashida Jones and Nick Offerman "are reuniting to voice the lead roles in White Fang, the animated film based on Jack London's classic 1906 novel," Deadline reported. Oscar winner Alexandre Espirages (Mr. Hublot) is directing from a screenplay by Dominique Monfery and Serge Frydman.

Books & Authors

Awards: Neustadt Winner; PNBA Book Shortlist

World Literature Today announced that Edwidge Danticat won the $50,000 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, which "recognizes outstanding literary merit in literature worldwide." Robert Con Davis-Undiano, the magazine's executive director, called Danticat a "master writer whose newest work promises even greater heights."

Achy Obejas nominated Danticat and was one of eight jurors for the prize. In her nominating statement, Obejas said Danticat's work "addresses how the specter of history haunts the unresolved present" and undermines the future unless people find a way to redeem it.


The shortlist for the 2018 PNBA Book Awards, selected by a committee of Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association bookseller members, consists of:

All's Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson (Dial Books for Young Readers)
American War: A Novel by Omar El Akkad (Knopf)
The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken (Dial Books for Young Readers)
Dead Feminists: Historic Heroines in Living Color by Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring (Sasquatch Books)
The Hope of Another Spring: Takuichi Fujii, Artist and Wartime Witness by Barbara Johns (University of Washington Press)
Idaho: A Novel by Emily Ruskovich (Random House)
Little Blue Chair illustrated by Madeline Kloepper (Tundra Books)
The Selected Short Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin: The Found and the Lost; The Unreal and the Real by Ursula K. Le Guin (Saga Press/S&S)
Speed of Life by J.M. Kelly (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)
This Is How It Always Is: A Novel by Laurie Frankel (Flatiron)
Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean by Jonathan White (Trinity University Press)
You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir by Sherman Alexie (Little, Brown)

PNBA will announce the six winners of the 2017 Pacific Northwest Book Awards in early January.

Book Review

Review: A Hundred Small Lessons

A Hundred Small Lessons by Ashley Hay (Atria, $26 hardcover, 304p., 9781501165139, November 28, 2017)

Taking its title from a Michael Ondaatje poem, A Hundred Small Lessons is a reflective, mystical meditation on interconnectedness and shared experiences. ("For his first forty days," Ondaatje writes in "The Story," "a child is given dreams of previous lives./ Journeys, winding paths,/ a hundred small lessons/ and then the past is erased.") With parallel narratives and quietly evocative prose, Ashley Hay (The Railwayman's Wife) unfolds the similarities between two women of different generations, alongside their shifts in identities and expectations, as they grow as mothers amid the familiar questions, decisions and insecurities.

At age 89, Elsie Gormley prides herself on living independently in the Brisbane home that has "held her voice, her husband's, her children's, and now their children's in turn--echoes and repetitions lodged in around the baseboards." After Elsie suffers a fall and reluctantly moves into an assisted living community, her beloved home is sold to Lucy Kiss and Ben Carter, a young married couple with a toddler. With the house serving as the connection between their families, Lucy begins to feel a bond with Elsie, whose emotional presence becomes stronger even as she declines physically and mentally. Upon discovering a hidden box of old, mysterious photographs, Lucy's curiosity intensifies, as does her sense that Elsie represents her vardøger, a spiritual predecessor "who traveled ahead of you in time." ("She'd typed a paper for someone once--a professor in London, who specialized in Norse mythology--and she'd liked the sound of these creatures. 'They never threaten, never frighten,' he told her. 'Some people hear the vardøger; some people see them.' ")

A Hundred Small Lessons is a novel of small mysteries and coincidences that will prompt readers to reflect on how one life can be commingled with the past as well as being a first draft of the future. "Maybe these days most of us are vardøger, living versions of a finite set of lives.... Did you have just one vardøger, scurrying ahead, or did new iterations of yourself peel off whenever you made a decision?" Just as our stories and nuances have a way of becoming invisibly etched into the walls, floorboards and foundation of a beloved home, the same is true of our shared experiences alongside others traveling a familiar path. --Melissa Firman, writer, editor and blogger at

Shelf Talker: Two women residing in the same house at different times take comfort in their shared life experiences.

The Bestsellers

Top Book Club Picks in October

The following were the most popular book club books during October based on votes from book club readers in more than 48,000 book clubs registered at

1. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
2. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
3. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
4. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
5. Lilac Girls: A Novel by Martha Hall Kelly
6. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
7. Small Great Things: A Novel by Jodi Picoult
8. The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
9. A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman
10. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

 [Many thanks to!]

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