Shelf Awareness for Thursday, December 21, 2017

Blackstone Publishing: An Honorable Assassin (Nick Mason Novels #3) by Steve Hamilton

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine

Running Press Kids: The Junior Witch's Handbook, The Junior Astrologer's Handbook, and The Junior Tarot Reader's Handbook by Nikki Van De Car

Scholastic Press: Ruin Road by Lamar Giles

Quotation of the Day

'Books with My Kids' Faces on It'

"People come in here and say, wow, I've been looking for books with my kids' faces on it. And to know that we can provide books with their kids' faces on it... this helps with kids' self-esteem, identity, self-love."

--Ramunda Young, co-owner of MahoganyBooks, the Washington, D.C., bookstore that opened in the Anacostia neighborhood in November, in a profile of the store in Washingtonian magazine.

Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!


AAP Sales: August Sales Fall 1.5%; Children's/YA Up 2.9%

In August, total net book sales in the U.S. fell 1.5%, to $2.113 billion, compared to the same period in 2016, representing sales of 1,204 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers. For the first eight months of the year, total net book sales are down 0.6%, to $9.74 billion. 

In August, adult book sales were down 0.3%, to $439.5 million, while children's/YA book sales rose 2.9%, to $169.2 million. Religious books and university press books had strong Augusts, rising 7.8% and 9.8%, respectively. All e-book sales were down 7.1%, to $95.3 million.

For the first eight months of the year, adult book sales were up 1%, while children's/YA book sales were down 2.5%.

Sales by category in August compared to August 2016:

Jackson Hole Book Trader Reopens with New Owner

Jackson Hole Book Trader at the Powderhorn Mall in Jackson, Wyo., has reopened under new ownership. The News & Guide reported that Susie Temple purchased the store, which carries new, used and rare titles, from Cindy Parker and her daughter, Allison, last March, but "waited for summer to wrap up before reinventing and remodeling the space."

"From the beginning I knew I was going to change virtually everything and start a new chapter that reflected more who I am and what I want this space to be," Temple said.

A complete inventory was performed with the help of Christy Smirl, of Foxtail Books and Library Services. "I needed her to organize and modernize and help me," Temple said. "She's a librarian, and she came in, helped us do the first organization.... Now she's doing social media, Facebook, Instagram and our website."

Next came the space remodeling, with the assistance of Jen Langston of Langston Interiors in North Carolina. The News & Guide noted that they "started the process with a fact-finding mission in New York City. They hit nine bookstores in two days, with two--Three Lives & Company in the Village and Books Are Magic in Brooklyn--'connecting the dots,' Langston said." 

Book Trader closed in November for remodeling and reopened December 13 as "one big, open space, with shelves lining the walls, tables in the center with popular titles as well as exquisite art books. There is a bright, cozy space in the rear for children's literature.... Used and new books share the shelves," the News & Guide wrote.

Temple said she has avoided stocking books other stores in Jackson have, including art and design shops and her old favorite, Valley Bookstore.

Co_Lab Books Debuts in Baltimore

Co_Lab Books launched this month with a soft opening in Baltimore's Old Goucher neighborhood. A grand opening is planned for January. Baltimore Magazine reported that "when architects Megan Elcrat and Phillip Jones opened Co_Lab co-working space in the spring of 2016, they envisioned the front portion of the building would one day become a bookstore with a focus on architecture and design. That time has come."

"We were hungry for a design bookstore in Baltimore. We just thought there was a hole there," said Elcrat. "We're trying to be more holistic about design.... Having a storefront presence is kind of an excuse to hang out with people."

The bookshop's "look is clean and minimalistic, modern with wooden shelves, paintings by local artists on the walls, and a large, well-lit wooden table at its center, ideal for browsing some of the large art books," Baltimore Magazine wrote, adding that subject matter includes architecture theory and criticism, how-to guides, typography, crafts and DIY, city living and urban planning, with a Baltimore section that will expand next year.

Elcrat told Technically Baltimore that while bookselling is now big business online, a design bookstore with one-of-a-kind offerings has real-life appeal: "A design bookstore is a very particular thing that you really should see in person. Some of these books are really beautiful and I think they deserve a brick and mortar space."

Reed Out, BolognaFiere In as CCBF Manager

BolognaFiere, organizer of the Bologna Children's Book Fair, signed an agreement in November with the Shanghai XinHua Distribution Group Co. Ltd. to oversee the Shanghai International Children's Book Fair (CCBF), beginning with the 2018 fair next November, the Bookseller reported. Reed Exhibitions Greater China will no longer manage CCBF. BolognaFiere is also launching the first New York Rights Fair, which will be held May 30 to June 1 next year, the same dates as Reed's BookExpo.

"With this new initiative we are proposing the creation of an exhibition network involving the main international markets also for the Children's Book Fair," said Gianpiero Calzolari, president of BolognaFiere. "It is an exhibition model that BolognaFiere has developed also for other leading global events and has demonstrated its strategic value to the exhibiting companies and for international operators. Children's publishing will now have, alongside the key annual event in Bologna, two new initiatives, one in the U.S.A. and another in China: two appointments that will provide a boost to the publishing trade with the U.S. and Chinese markets."

Lanny Zhang, v-p, Reed Exhibitions China, commented: "We would like to thank our partners, exhibitors and visitors alike for the support they have given to CCBF. The fair has become enormously successful and has more than doubled the number of exhibitors--and seen a five-fold increase in the number of visitors--in its five years of life. More importantly, it has been responsible for helping to develop and grow children's reading and the book market in China. We can indeed be hugely proud of this legacy. However the time has come to recognize our success and move on."

The Book House Coming to Millburn, N.J.

"It's not just about opening a bookstore," said Nadege Nicoll, children's book author and owner of the Book House in Millburn, N.J., which should open in mid-January.

"I really want to do something for the people around me locally," Nicoll explained. "I want to open a bookstore featuring local artists and local authors and local people with whatever talents they have."

The 1,500-square-foot independent bookstore will carry new books for all ages, and Nicoll plans to have an opening-day inventory of around 4,000 titles, with 20%-30% of the book stock dedicated to literature for children and teens. For adults, the store will carry a little bit of everything, including fiction, nonfiction, cooking, sports and self-help. For children and teens, Nicoll said she is being very selective and "trying to be careful not to shelve titles just for the sake of it." At least initially, the store will sell only new books, though Nicoll said she may experiment with used books eventually.

The Book House will also have a small cafe area offering tea, coffee and some simple baked goods. For now, Nicoll has no plans for anything more complicated than cookies or brownies at the moment.

"I want people to come and grab a book, have a coffee and relax," said Nicoll. "It's not supposed to be stressful."

A major part of Nicoll's plan is to feature a good selection of books from local, independent writers and, as a self-published author herself, she's had her own books carried in bookstores, sometimes on consignment and sometimes bought outright. She said her preference will likely be toward starting with a consignment program. As for nonbook items, Nicoll wants to feature the work of artists and artisans from the Millburn community, including paintings, photographs, handmade jewelry and more, but her plans for that are still "very loose" at the moment. Any other sidelines in the store, such as journals, notebooks, calendars or cards, she added, will "stay very close" to the book industry.

Concerning events, Nicoll said that she has a "million" ideas, everything from traditional author signings and book club meetings to more unusual events like literary trivia nights. She expressed a particular interest in hosting author panels at her store; she said that she's been on many such panel discussions herself through various author associations in New Jersey. Nicoll also intends to organize events around community interests in a way that can bring together people of different backgrounds--as an example, if someone in her community wrote a book about Indian food, she might host an Indian food night at her store featuring the author and the book.

Before she started writing books in 2013, Nicoll had "absolutely no background in the industry." She'd studied business in college and worked for various large corporations until she decided to leave her job to raise her kids. The decision to start writing, she said, came almost spontaneously: she simply wanted to do something creative with her time. In the years since, she's published five books for children between third and sixth grade. The theme of all of her work is, she said, "trying to see the world through the eyes of kids," and four of her books are about how children see their parents and are more funny than serious. Her most recent book is more serious; it discusses the refugee crisis in a way that children can understand while exploring empathy.

Nicoll added that writing about the refugee crisis got her more involved working in her community and, ultimately, on the path to opening a new independent bookstore. She recalled that with "everything that's going on in the world and all the tension," she wanted to create a space where community members could simply let their guards down and be together. And since her plans for the bookstore have become public, the community response has been fantastic.

Concerning the news that Indigo Books & Music, Canada's bookstore chain, will open its first international location next summer in the Mall at Short Hills in Millburn, Nicoll said, "I believe that my store is different from a big chain or from online retailers. I am trying to develop a very strong community feel, and hopefully, that remains unique. So this shouldn't impact my business model too much. It's actually a stronger incentive to create the community hub I have in mind."

Nicoll related that some people have told her they've been waiting for a local bookstore their whole lives. "It's very uplifting, but now the pressure is on. I have to deliver." --Alex Mutter


Image of the Day: 'Every Book Is a Tardis'

Kurtis Lowe of Book Travelers West took this photo of owner Lisa Reid in the new Tardis featured in her store, Lucy's Books in Astoria, Ore.

Why a Tardis in a bookstore? Reid explained: "Every book is a Tardis, so a Tardis in a bookstore seems reasonable."



Wedding Photo Shoot at Ada's Technical Books

Posted recently on Facebook by Ada's Technical Books & Café, Seattle, Wash.: "A few weeks ago, Sane Weddings and Offbeat Bride joined forces to put together a styled wedding shoot in The Lab at Ada's (our event space) and we couldn't be happier with how it turned out! A genderfluid, geeky, beautiful celebration of partnerships in their many forms? Yep, that's our kind of party."

Offbeat Bride wrote: "Ok, so can we talk for a second about the models here, Sarah and Matt? These two are dear friends who are also coworkers at Ada's Technical Books, roommates, oh AND they co-produce burlesque shows together with OK FINE Collaborations. This is all to say, they spend a lot of time together, but are 100% not romantic partners. (Much to the confusion of Matt's grandparents).... Matt and Sarah have a relationship that includes work, play, performance, and domesticity... you can see from their smiles in these pictures how close they are, and I love this shoot as a way to celebrate that meaningful relationships aren't JUST about romantic partnerships."

Personnel Changes at Chronicle Books

Joyce Lin has joined Chronicle Books as the food & lifestyle publicist. She was formerly a culinary publicity associate at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Walter Isaacson on Fareed Zakaria GPS

CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS: Walter Isaacson, author of Leonardo da Vinci (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781501139154).

The Real repeat: DeVon Franklin, co-author of The Hollywood Commandments: A Spiritual Guide to Secular Success (HarperOne, $25.99, 9780062684257).

Harry repeat: Candace Cameron Bure, author of Staying Stylish: Cultivating a Confident Look, Style, and Attitude (Zondervan, $22.99, 9780310088059).

Movies: The Goldfinch

Ashleigh Cummings has landed the role of Pippa in The Goldfinch, the film adaptation of Donna Tartt's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Variety reported. She joins a cast that includes Ansel Elgort as Theo, Aneurin Barnard (Dunkirk) as Boris and Willa Fitzgerald as Kitsey. Directed by John Crowley (Brooklyn), the film will go into production at the beginning of 2018. 

This Weekend on Book TV: George Saunders

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, December 23
3:45 p.m. George Saunders, author of Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel (Random House, $28, 9780812995343), at the Miami Book Fair.

5:45 p.m. Brian Dear, author of The Friendly Orange Glow: The Untold Story of the PLATO System and the Dawn of Cyberculture (Pantheon, $40, 9781101871553), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.

6:50 p.m. Noam Cohen, author of The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball (The New Press, $25.95, 9781620972106).

8:45 p.m. Rachel Botsman, author of Who Can You Trust?: How Technology Brought Us Together and Why It Might Drive Us Apart (PublicAffairs, $27, 9781541773677).

10 p.m. Scott Kelly, author of Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery (Knopf, $29.95, 9781524731595). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Edward Ayers, author of The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America (Norton, $35, 9780393292633).

Sunday, December 24
12:10 a.m. Mark Updegrove, author of The Last Republicans: Inside the Extraordinary Relationship Between George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush (Harper, $29.99, 9780062654120).

Books & Authors

Awards: PEN America Literary Awards Longlists

PEN America has released longlists for its 2018 Literary Awards, featuring nearly 70 titles in seven categories. Finalists will be announced in January, and winners will be revealed at the Literary Awards Ceremony on February 20 in New York. See the longlists here.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, December 26:

The Wanted by Robert Crais (Putnam, $28, 9780399161506) continues the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike mystery series.

The Fortunate Brother by Donna Morrissey (Canongate Books, $24, 9781786890573) is a murder mystery set in Newfoundland.

Death at Nuremberg by W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV (Putnam, $29, 9780399176746) is book four of the Clandestine Operations Cold War thriller series.

The Pink Hat by Andrew Joyner (Schwartz & Wade, $17.99, 9781524772260) is a picture book celebrating the worldwide women's marches of 2017.

Dear Girl by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Paris Rosenthal (HarperCollins, $17.99, 9780062422507) is a picture book urging all girls to love who they are.

Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book by Dan Harris and Jeffrey Warren (Spiegel & Grau, $26, 9780399588945) is an ABC News anchor's guide to meditation.

Pretty Intense: The 90-Day Mind, Body and Food Plan That Will Absolutely Change Your Life by Danica Patrick and Stephen Perrine (Avery, $30, 9780735216563) is a race car driver's fitness guide.

Assassin's Fate: Book III of the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy by Robin Hobb (Del Rey, $9.99, 9780553392968).

A Distant Heart by Sonali Dev (Kensington, $15.95, 9781496705761).

All the Money in the World, based on the book Painfully Rich by John Pearson, opens December 29. Ridley Scott directs the story of the kidnapping of teenager John Paul Getty III and his billionaire grandfather's refusal to pay the ransom. A movie tie-in edition (William Collins, $15.99, 9780008292041) is available.

Molly's Game, based on the book by Molly Bloom, opens December 29. Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner and Michael Cera star in the true story of woman who ran high-stakes private poker games. A movie tie-in (Dey Street, $15.99, 9780062838582) is available.

Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, based on the memoir by Peter Turner, opens December 29. Jamie Bell stars as a young actor in a relationship with a successful older actress. A movie tie-in edition (Picador, $16, 9781250194930) is available.

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Improvement: A Novel by Joan Silber (Counterpoint, $26, 9781619029606). "Improvement is a wide-ranging novel told in stories that connect disparate people through time and place to one tragic accident. Kiki, a free-spirited young adult of the 1970s turned wise woman, is the novel's lodestar. Silber masterfully pulls together the threads of lives in places as remote as rural Turkey and as common and close as New York City like a finely made Persian rug." --Arsen Kashkashian, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, Colo.

The Ice House: A Novel by Laura Lee Smith (Grove Press, $25, 9780802127082). "Laura Lee Smith continues to impress with her second novel, The Ice House. It's a lovely story full of heart and wry humor that manages to convey life in all its rich, messy, tragic wonder. Johnny MacKinnon has it good but seems to be on the verge of losing it all. The ice company he runs in Florida is in trouble with OSHA, and then he discovers that he may have a brain tumor. While he is supposed to be taking it easy as he waits to find out the diagnosis, Johnny decides he must try to mend his estranged relationship with his son in Scotland and with the granddaughter he's never met. The result is a touching, funny, heartbreaking ride you won't soon forget." --Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.

They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us: Essays by Hanif Abdurraqib (Two Dollar Radio, $16.99, 9781937512651). "With the depth and versatility of an immensely talented poet and the strong, perceptive wit of a cultural critic, Hanif Abdurraqib shows us his tremendous ability to bend language to his will in this collection of essays. For him, like for many of us, music is an entrance into a larger discussion of our emotions and our collective cultural understanding. Deftly moving from ruminations on Chance the Rapper, Atmosphere, and Future, to Bruce Springsteen, Fall Out Boy, and Johnny Cash, Abdurraqib is able to traverse conversations on black excellence, grief, and hope. This book taught me something fresh about humanity with every turn of the page, and it will stay with me for a long time to come." --Matt Keliher, SubText Books, St. Paul, Minn.

For Ages 4 to 8
How to Find an Elephant by Kate Banks, illustrated by Boris Kulikov (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16.99, 9780374335083). "In How to Find an Elephant, Mr. Kulikov's illustrations cleverly hide the elephant our hero is searching for, and the colors are sweet and fine. But Ms. Banks' words, including instructions on how best to find an elephant, lead a young reader through the jungle with a rocking beat. Don't forget the crickets, which will sing you to sleep!" --Rene Kirkpatrick, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

For Ages 9 to 12
The Player King by Avi (Atheneum, $16.99, 9781481437684). "In this fictionalized account of British history, a young orphan working as a scullion in a pub is taken in by a mysterious friar. After he is taught the manners and skills necessary to act the part of a prince, he challenges the King of England to the throne. Avi's colorful vocabulary and descriptions of medieval England and Ireland combine with an intriguing plot to paint a vivid picture of 15th-century life." --Liza Bernard, Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, Vt.

For Teen Readers
The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody (Simon Pulse, $17.99, 9781481499187). "Set entirely in the Denver International Airport, The Chaos of Standing Still is an intricate, moving, funny, and thought-provoking story of coping with loss and allowing love to bloom. Underneath it all, conspiracy theories abound about the real-life and very weird paintings and sculptures at the airport. Brody is already well-established as a skilled writer of young adult and middle grade books, but this one is a real standout. Great for high school-age teens and many adults." --Len Vlahos, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colo.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The Juniper Tree

The Juniper Tree by Barbara Comyns (New York Review Books, $14.95 paperback, 192p., 9781681371313, January 23, 2018)

The Brothers Grimm fairy tale "The Juniper Tree" features a wicked stepmother. A pious wife desperately wants a child; her wish is granted, but she dies just after giving birth to a son. Her husband buries her under a juniper tree and remarries, but his new wife, favoring her own daughter, cooks her stepson into a stew and feeds it to his father. Her daughter buries the boy's bones under the juniper tree with his mother. He is reincarnated as a bird, who sings to the townspeople about his murder.

Barbara Comyns's The Juniper Tree, originally published in 1985, bears an epigraph from the fairy tale: "My mother she killed me, my father he ate me," but from there diverges sharply from the original. In 1980s London, Bella Winter has had a run of bad luck. Her pretty face has been badly scarred in an automobile accident. She has only recently escaped a manipulative relationship with a selfish man and withdrawn from her unloving mother. She has a young daughter of mixed race she calls Marline, born out of wedlock and fathered by a man whose name she didn't catch. In the opening pages, she is jobless and homeless, but she is resourceful and unsentimental, and soon finds a home and vocation in a small antiques shop. The friendship of an upper-class couple, Bernard and Gertrude, completes her happiness, and she spends long, sweet afternoons with Gertrude sitting under the juniper tree in the couple's garden. She even sees a fragile reunion with her mother. This contentment is shattered, however, when Gertrude's longed-for pregnancy ends in both birth and death. Bella plays an increasingly large role in helping Bernard run his household with the baby, Johnny, and Marline becomes like a sister to the boy. When Bernard convinces Bella to marry him, however, her life takes a turn toward the Brothers Grimm.

Bella is a remarkable narrator and protagonist. Practical, independent, resilient, she builds a neat life for herself and her daughter, meeting all their needs and bothering no one. The friendship of the wealthier couple, which brings her such joy, turns out to be a curse, and Bella the tragic hero. Comyns turns the fairy tale on its head and complicates it with class and racial tensions, mental illness and the timeless struggle of a young woman to chart her own course. This is a richer, more relevant, modern rendering of the classic, heartbreaking in its fine attention to detail and its realistic, hardy heroine. While no knowledge of "The Juniper Tree" is necessary to appreciate this version, those familiar with the original will appreciate many subtle references. This edition includes a brief, helpful introduction by critic Sadie Stein, offering context within Comyns's body of work. The Juniper Tree is a poignant, quietly disturbing novel for fans of strong female protagonists and dark fairy tales, and anyone who roots for the underdog. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: A Brothers Grimm fairy tale recast in 1980s London features a single mother fighting against long odds for her place in the world.

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