Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, November 22, 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

Editors' Note

Happy Thanksgiving!

For the rest of the week, we're taking a break to give thanks for many things so this is our last issue until Monday, November 27. Enjoy the holidays, and may all booksellers have an excellent Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Indies First celebrations! (Feel free on Sunday to send reports about Indies First, with pictures if possible, to

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Quotation of the Day

The Holidays: An Indie Bookstore Buyer's Perspective

Greenlight owners Jessica Stockton Bagnulo and Rebecca Fitting

"In the two weeks before Thanksgiving, your store then transforms like a peacock, spreading its wares out as if opening its magnificent tail. Your staff unfurls all the books and gifts from their drab cardboard boxes, spreads them out across your store in all their colorful, magical glory, flaunting all that's been lovingly amassed. And then there is the pregnant pause. This magnificent peacock stands stock still on the lawn so that everyone can see it. And you wait, the calm before the crazy. Because of retail necessity, because you need to be 'ready,' you've done all this before holiday sales actually kick in.

"You fret because you have absolutely no idea how it'll all turn out. It's a giant leap of faith."

--Rebecca Fitting, co-owner and head buyer at Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, in a tumblr post headlined "The Holidays at Greenlight: The Buyer’s Perspective"



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


MahoganyBooks Opens Friday in D.C.'s Anacostia Arts Center

MahoganyBooks, a new independent bookstore with a focus on books for, by and about people of the African Diaspora, will open this Friday in the Anacostia Arts Center in Washington, D.C. The store will have an open floor plan with moveable displays to allow for large, in-store events, and mobile cashiers and iPad stations for customers to research and order books. Along with in-person events, MahoganyBooks will host virtual events, including online interviews. The store will also feature Duende District Bookstore, an intersectional, multicultural pop-up bookstore based in D.C., as a long-term presence. MahoganyBooks will be the Anacostia neighborhood's first physical bookstore to open in more than 20 years.

Co-founders Derrick and Ramunda Young started MahoganyBooks in 2007 as an online bookstore, eventually expanding into physical book sales at community events in the greater D.C. area. Though the store will open this Friday, the Youngs will host a "first look" reception at MahoganyBooks on the evening of December 4 for bookstore supporters and community members. A grand opening celebration is planned for Black History Month, next February.

"It is important we create a rich, concerted space where readers and writers connect and discuss issues of yesterday and today that impact our culture and how we see ourselves," said Derrick Young.

"I am very excited to partner with MahoganyBooks in their first physical store space and to bring a Duende District pop-up to Anacostia," said Duende District owner Angela Maria Spring, who debuted the pop-up at the Artomatic arts festival earlier this year.

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

Wi13: Scholarship Winners Chosen

The American Booksellers Association has named 78 booksellers as winners of scholarships to the ABA's annual Winter Institute this coming January in Memphis, Tenn. Bookselling This Week reported that 67 are recipients of scholarships from Wi13's publisher sponsors, covering the conference fee; up to four nights plus tax at the host hotel, the Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel; and transportation costs up to $400.

"We are enormously grateful for the generous support of our publisher sponsors, without whom the Winter Institute would not be possible," said Matthew Zoni, ABA director of development & publisher relations. “This year, we have more bookseller scholarship recipients attending than ever before, and we encourage all ABA members to join us in thanking our publisher sponsors for their ongoing commitment to independent bookselling."

Five ABA members will attend the institute on scholarships from the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, and five more on scholarships courtesy of the ABA. One of the ABA scholarships honors the late Avin Mark Domnitz, ABA’s CEO from 1997 to 2009, and is awarded to a bookseller at a store participating in this year’s ABACUS Survey. In addition, Candlewick Press has once again awarded a scholarship to a bookseller active in the Candlewick Handselling Indie Recognition Program.

A gathering of scholarship recipients and their sponsors is planned for Monday evening, January 22, at The Cadre, prior to the Wi13 Welcome Reception.

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

Amazon Store Pops Up Briefly in London's Soho Square


Although Amazon has not yet opened a physical store in the U.K., the company is showcasing its Black Friday sales offerings at a pop-up store this week in London's Soho Square. Business Insider reported that the 3,000-square-foot location "is designed to look and feel like a home. It contains a kitchen, living room, bedroom, gaming zone, kids room and a creative area. Customers can take part in workshops and win prizes at the store, where there will also be a number of special guests." The pop-up store is open to the public November 21-24.

B&N Opens New Concept Store in Ashburn, Va.

Barnes & Noble is opening its latest new concept store today at One Loudoun, a mixed-use community in Ashburn, Va., about 30 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. The Times-Mirror reported that the 17,000-square-foot space combines a bookstore with the B&N Kitchen, offering beer, wine and a "fast casual dining experience."

"You come into the store and you can see everything. This is a community bookstore. It's very expansive, it's not a library look," said store manager Christoper Louderback.

Carl Hauch, B&N v-p, stores, described the One Loudoun shop as in some ways a "test model" for the café concept, though "books will always be at our core.... It's a great location to be in Ashburn, and the community is growing."

Obituary Note: Jill Barklem

Children's books writer and illustrator Jill Barklem, "whose intricate Brambly Hedge stories have delighted children for decades," died November 15, the Guardian reported. She was 66. Her books, which "tell the tales of a community of mice in the English countryside," have sold more than seven million copies.

Barklem first conceived the stories in the 1970s, and went on to publish Spring Story, Summer Story, Autumn Story and Winter Story in 1980; followed by The Secret Staircase, The High Hills, Sea Story and Poppy's Babies. In 1996, the stories were adapted for television, using the voices of actors including Jim Broadbent and June Whitfield.

Noting that the staff at Barklem's publisher, HarperCollins Children's Books, were deeply saddened by the news of her death, executive publisher Ann-Janine Murtagh said: "Her exquisite Brambly Hedge stories have enchanted children and many adult admirers across the world for more than 35 years. Jill was a lovely person with a rare talent to turn her astute observation of the English countryside into an enchanting miniature world. Her enduring stories about the mice of Brambly Hedge remain as beautiful today as when she first created them and will continue to be treasured by future generations."


Image of the Day: The Lahaska Bookshop's Grand Opening

The Lahaska Bookshop in Peddler's Village, Lahaska, Pa., celebrated its grand opening last week. The event was launched with a children's hour of storytelling and music, followed by a blessing and a ribbon-cutting ceremony, after which guests enjoyed appetizers, local wine and beer tastings and live music. Glenda Childs, owner of the Lahaska Bookshop and the Doylestown Bookshop in Doylestown, Pa., welcomed everyone and thanked Doylestown Bookshop manager Jennifer Brenninger and Lahaska Bookshop manager Nathan Halter, and the staffs of both bookstores, for their work in getting the store ready. "They all continue to make my dream come true," Childs said.

Pictured: (from l.) Doylestown Bookshop manager Jennifer Brenninger; Doylestown and Lahaska Bookshops owner Glenda Childs; Lahaska Bookshop manager Nathan Halter; managing partner Allen Childs; Joanne Murray, attorney at Antheil Maslow & MacMinn; Monument Bank president Chris Nardo; and Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce president & CEO Vail Garvin.

Island Books 'Best Bookstore' of Western Washington

Island Books in Mercer Island, Wash., was selected "Best Bookstore" by voters in King 5/Evening Magazine's "Best of Western Washington" contest. On tumblr, Island Books owner Laurie Raisys and her staff said the contest is "a time honored tradition around these parts. It's a chance for local businesses to be chosen as 'the best' in their category by popular vote....

"It's true, we campaigned. We asked you to vote for us on our website and social media pages. And we worked--hard--this year, as we have every year, to be the best small town bookstore we could possibly be. We ordered, we shelved, we stacked, we carried out trash and recycle, we listened, we suggested, we fought with each other, we hugged each other, we wrote blogs and newsletters, we set up events, we wrapped gifts, we rearranged store sections, we read our books, we swiped credit cards and made change, we stayed late for meetings, we researched, we made displays, we went to conferences, we gave prizes, and day after day we loved the store and we loved you, our customers and community.

"Oh, and since we aren't ones to pass up a chance for a celebration, there will be one coming soon. Stay tuned for details. Thank you for making this a banner year for Island Books. We are humbled and honored, and we couldn't have done it without you!"

Personnel Changes at Laurence King Publishing

Alex Coumbis has joined Laurence King Publishing as a senior publicist. She is the first employee based in New York City.​

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Andy Weir on CBS This Morning

Access Hollywood: Chris Matthews, author of Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit (Simon & Schuster, $28.99, 9781501111860).

CBS This Morning: Andy Weir, author of Artemis (Crown, $27, 9780553448122).

Face the Nation: Nancy Koehn, author of Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times (Scribner, $35, 9781501174445).

Also on Face the Nation: Walter Isaacson, author of Leonardo da Vinci (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781501139154).

TV: The Alienist

A new trailer has been released for TNT's The Alienist, based on a series of novels by Caleb Carr and executive produced by Cary Fukunaga (True Detective) and Jakob Verbruggen, IndieWire reported. The project stars Daniel Brühl, Dakota Fanning, Luke Evans, Douglas Smith and Ted Levine.

In addition to executive producing, Fukunaga is on the writing staff with Hossein Amini (Drive). For directors, Fukunaga and Verbruggen (who also directs) have brought in James Hawes (Black Mirror) as well as David Petrarca (Game of Thrones, Jessica Jones).

This Weekend on Book TV: Jeff Fager on 60 Minutes

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, November 25
3 p.m. Tom Shachtman, author of How the French Saved America: Soldiers, Sailors, Diplomats, Louis XVI, and the Success of a Revolution (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250080875). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 a.m.)

5 p.m. Linda Nathan, author of When Grit Isn't Enough: A High School Principal Examines How Poverty and Inequality Thwart the College-for-All Promise (Beacon Press, $26.95, 9780807042984). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

5:50 p.m. Mike Wallace, author of Greater Gotham: A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919 (Oxford University Press, $45, 9780195116359). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

7 p.m. Rebecca Fraser, author of The Mayflower: The Families, the Voyage, and the Founding of America (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9781250108562). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 a.m.)

8 p.m. A book party for Kenneth T. Walsh, author of Ultimate Insiders: White House Photographers and How They Shape History (Routledge, $29.95, 9781138737600). (Re-airs Sunday at 9:15 a.m. and Monday at 6:15 a.m.)

8:45 p.m. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie delivers the second annual Eudora Welty Lecture at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 1 p.m.)

10 p.m. Christopher Bedford, author of The Art of the Donald: Lessons from America's Philosopher-in-Chief (Threshold Editions, $19.99, 9781501180347). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Michael Korda, author of Alone: Britain, Churchill, and Dunkirk: Defeat Into Victory (Liveright, $29.95, 9781631491320). (Re-airs Sunday at 7 p.m.)

Sunday, November 26
12 a.m. Robert Weil, editor-in-chief and publishing director of Liveright, receives the Biographers International Organization's 2017 editorial excellence award. (Re-airs Sunday at 5:20 p.m.)

8 p.m. Jeff Fager, author of Fifty Years of 60 Minutes: The Inside Story of Television's Most Influential News Broadcast (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781501135804).

11 p.m. John Hechinger, author of True Gentlemen: The Broken Pledge of America's Fraternities (PublicAffairs, $28, 9781610396820), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.

Books & Authors

Awards: Scotiabank Giller Winner; Costa Shortlists

Michael Redhill won the C$100,000 (US$78,300) Scotiabank Giller Prize, presented annually "to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English," for his novel Bellevue Square. The other five finalists received C$10,000 each.

The judges wrote: "To borrow a line from Michael Redhill's beautiful Bellevue Square, 'I do subtlety in other areas of my life.' So let's look past the complex literary wonders of this book, the doppelgangers and bifurcated brains and alternate selves, the explorations of family, community, mental health, and literary life. Let's stay straightforward, and tell you that beyond the mysterious elements, this novel is warm, and funny, and smart. Let's celebrate that it is, simply, a pleasure to read." 


Shortlists for the 2017 Costa Book Awards have been released. Category winners, who each receive £5,000 (about $6,620), will be announced January 2, with the overall £30,000 (about $39,715) Costa Book of the Year winner named January 30. The nominees:

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor
Under a Pole Star by Stef Penney
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
Tin Man by Sarah Winman

First novel
The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times by Xan Brooks
Montpelier Parade by Karl Geary
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
The Haunting of Henry Twist by Rebecca F John

Once Upon a Time in the East: A Story of Growing Up by Xiaolu Guo
A Bold and Dangerous Family: The Rossellis and the Fight Against Mussolini by Caroline Moorehead
In the Days of Rain by Rebecca Stott
Fragile Lives: A Heart Surgeon's Stories of Life and Death on the Operating Table by Stephen Westaby

Kumukanda by Kayo Chingonyi
Inside the Wave by Helen Dunmore
On Balance by Sinéad Morrissey
Useful Verses by Richard Osmond

Children's book
Moonrise by Sarah Crossan
Wed Wabbit by Lissa Evans
The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
The Explorer by Katherine Rundell 

Reading with... David Patrikarakos

photo: Fay Koutzoukou

David Patrikarakos is a British writer and journalist. He has reported from three continents, from the Congo to Iraq to Ukraine and written for many pre-eminent British and American publications. His book Nuclear Iran: The Birth of an Atomic State (2012) was a New York Times "Editors' Choice" and a Sunday Times "Must Read." His new book, War in 140 Characters: How Social Media is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century, was just published by Basic Books.

On your nightstand now:

Hilary Mantel's A Place of Greater Safety. She is, in my opinion, the greatest living British novelist. Like most people, I came to her through her two books on Thomas Cromwell: Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Since then I have been gradually working my way through her back catalogue.

Favorite book when you were a child:

There are too many to choose from: I loved Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl, but I generally read anything I could get my hands on in those days.

Your top five authors:

Hmmm... this is hard, and it changes. But right now and in no particular order--apart from number one. Number one is immutable.

1. Shakespeare--it's clichéd but no one comes close.

2. Charles Dickens--a master of prose and the depiction of the city. Also still laugh-out-loud funny after two centuries.

3. Evelyn Waugh--wonderful prose, fantastic writer, horrible human being.

4. George Eliot--Middlemarch is the greatest novel written in English. And (not that the character of the writer should affect judgment of the work--see Waugh above) she was pretty badass, too.

5. P.G. Wodehouse--a master of English prose and arguably the finest comic novelist ever.

Book you've faked reading:

Ulysses--I never could get through it properly. Certain parts are incredible and I return to it from time to time--but reading the thing from cover to cover--not yet.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess. Everyone knows A Clockwork Orange, mainly because of Kubrick's film. But Burgess admitted he knocked it out in about six weeks for money and never liked it all that much. Earthly Powers is both one of the best books on the 20th century and of it.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I don't tend to buy books for their covers--I collect vintage posters instead. But I do think the Penguin Modern Classics series have some gorgeous covers.

Book you hid from your parents:

None. Books were everywhere in our house.

Book that changed your life:

Hamlet--it blew me away, both in its use of language and understanding of human nature.

Favorite line from a book:

Again, there are many, but the first one that ever struck me was, "My name is Charles Highway, though you wouldn't think it to look at me." It's from Martin Amis's The Rachel Papers.

Five books you'll never part with:

With this question it's more about certain copies I have that I associate with periods of my life. The title itself you can always buy again.

The copy of Hamlet owned by Martin Amis when he was a student at Oxford that I bought from a book dealer.

The copy of Hamlet I studied at school.

My first edition of Gore Vidal's essay collection United States.

Robert Graves's Good-Bye to All That. It was largely responsible for the war poet phase I went through in my teens, which I consider to be fairly formative in terms of my literary tastes.

The Inimitable Jeeves--I read it in hospital after an operation and I laughed so much they thought I'd tear my stitches.

If I may add one more... the first proof of my latest book, War in 140 Characters--receiving that in the mail was a special moment.

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

The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis--but only if I was 13 again.

Book Review

Children's Review: Top Elf

Top Elf by Caleb Zane Huett (Scholastic, $16.99 hardcover, 288p., ages 8-12, 9781338052121, September 26, 2017)

Ollie Gnome, an 11-year-old elf, loves Christmas more than anything in the world. In Santa's Workshop near his North Pole home, he studies "mapomatics, toyology, list-erature and Santa Studies," and he creates new toys in the Games & Puzzles (G&P) department. His best friend Celia Pixie is a genius inventor at G&P. Every July 2 ("the middlest day of the year"), all the elves gather for Santa's traditional kick-off speech, in which he, with his wife and four children alongside, exhorts his workers to make it the best Christmas ever. But this year, Santa has a shocking surprise in store. After generations of Santas dating all the way back to the original Kris Kringle Claus, the current Mr. and Mrs. Claus have decided that keeping the magical power of Christmas in the family is "unfair to you, unfair to the world, and unfair to Christmas." He announces that there will be a competition to determine the next Santa. This person--whether human like the Claus family or elf like everyone else--will inherit the mysterious Quantum Kringle, a small globe containing the magic that allows Santa to deliver presents to children all around the world in just one night.

Needless to say, the North Pole is in an uproar. The unfortunately named Klaus Claus, Santa's oldest son, who had been on track to inherit the title, is furious. His younger siblings are bemused. And the elves go "bonkers." Who will enter the Santa Trials? Who will win?

Ollie and Celia decide to enter, if only to keep their nemesis, Buzz Brownie, from winning. "Bigger than everybody," Buzz "thought he could do whatever he wanted, and mostly what he wanted to do was pick on everybody else."

Thus begins six months of insane challenges, packed as full as Santa's sleigh with family rivalries, strokes of technological brilliance, masterful strategizing, colossal failures and a strange old guy masquerading as a child competitor ("I am always fly, as the kids--uh, as... we say. You know--kids like me. Just like me. A kid. In fact, just the other day, someone pointed right at me and said, Look at that kid!")

Caleb Zane Huett's debut novel is fun and exciting, perfect for readers who will not be shocked at the idea of a Santa named Matthew or technology-fueled sleighs. The cast of characters is broad, and includes a reindeer punk rock band (Treason 4 the Season), a perpetually grease-stained Mrs. Claus, who's in charge of Wish Generator maintenance and repairs, and cameos by a bickering Heatmiser and Snowmiser. And, of course, Ollie. Ollie is charmingly reminiscent of Keats in Christian Burch's The Manny Files, swooning over fabulous Big Red Suit designs and always believing the best in everyone, even as they are taking advantage of him. Top Elf is an exhilarating Christmas read, any time of the year. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: North Pole elves and humans compete to become the next Santa, building the fastest sleigh, downing the most cookies and milk, and designing the best Big Red Suit in this hilarious debut novel.

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