Shelf Awareness for Monday, January 8, 2018

Scholastic Press: Future Hero by Remi Blackwood

Sourcebooks Explore: Black Boy, Black Boy by Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond, illustrated by Ken Daley

Berkley Books: Pride and Protest by Nikki Payne; A Dash of Salt and Pepper by Kosoko Jackson; Astrid Parker Doesn't Fail by Ashley Herring Blake

Soho Crime: Cruz by Nicolás Ferraro, translated by Mallory N. Craig-Kuhn

Ace Books: Station Eternity (The Midsolar Murders) by Mur Lafferty

St. Martin's Press: Maame by Jessica George


Fire and Fury Keeps Burning

The furor over Michael Wolff's book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (Holt) continued on Friday and over the weekend.

President Trump and his supporters kept attacking the book--thereby increasing publicity for the book and the public's interest in it. For example, on Saturday at a press conference, Trump said, "I consider it a work of fiction and I consider it a disgrace." On Sunday, he tweeted, "I've had to put up with the Fake News from the first day I announced that I would be running for President. Now I have to put up with a Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author."

For his part, Wolff told the Hollywood Reporter, "I hear that the president is very angry, or, let me be precise: I hear that he is truly bouncing off the walls."

Stephen Colbert may have put the situation best when he tweeted, "One of the most surprising parts of Fire and Fury is how Donald Trump accidentally started a national book club."

If the book retailing world has any regrets, it's that it can't fully meet Fire and Fury demand. From indies to Barnes & Noble to Amazon, booksellers of all kinds said they don't have enough copies or don't have any because they didn't receive shipments in time for the new pub date last Friday. (Some shipments were delayed by frigid, stormy weather in the Northeast last week; others were scheduled to arrive in time for the original pub date of tomorrow.)

Brazos Bookstore in Houston, Tex., created a display of books to read "while you wait for Fire & Fury."

Like many stores, Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, N.J., didn't anticipate the demand for the book ("Who reads Trump books--and tabloid-y ones?"), but "when the hoopla started, I back-ordered several more," owner Margot Sage-EL wrote. "Now we have a truckload on back order." She observed that she doesn't know when they'll be arriving and worries that "it'll be a glut when every source gets them at the same time."

Changing Hands, Tempe and Phoenix, Ariz., tweeted that it had sold out of its initial order and expects more this week, adding, "And thanks for shopping indie. So gratifying to know that books and readers have the power to terrify a president who thinks nothing of violating your First Amendment rights."

The 20 copies of Fire and Fury that the Country Bookshelf in Bozeman, Mont., will receive today are all spoken for, and the store has reordered but doesn't know when they will arrive, according to owner Ariana Paliobagis. "We were a bit behind in getting Fire and Fury," she added, but books usually arrive the day before pub date "since we are a bit off the beaten path."

Kramerbooks in Washington, D.C., which sold out of its initial order within minutes, tweeted that it expects more copies today, and suggested some alternatives.

As at many indies, Barnes & Noble and Amazon didn't have full supplies of the book. At B&, Fire and Fury is listed as "temporarily out of stock online" and "available on January 19." On Amazon, it's listed as "usually ships within 2 to 4 weeks."

Audio Fire and Fury
Demand for the audiobook version of Fire and Fury, read by Holter Graham, with an author's note read by Michael Wolff, made the audio edition an instant No. 1 bestseller at all the partner indies of, according to CEO Mark Pearson. The company is offering the book for 99 cents with membership and created an enhanced page for the book and included a free excerpt. In addition, Macmillan has agreed to make the audiobook free to all booksellers for the month of January through's ALC program.

Some booksellers are highlighting the audiobook version in lieu of the hard-to-find print version. At Village Books and Paper Dreams, Bellingham and Lynden, Wash., for example, the stores sold out of their initial shipment of the print edition, which co-owner Paul Hanson said was "not large because we didn't hear of the hype until it was too late." (The stores have taken more than 50 orders for the book, which it will be able to fulfill when copies arrive this week.)

In the meantime, Village Books promoted the audiobook, picking up "a good number of sales and new customers." Hanson added that it helps that the audio has "a good reader," Holter Graham.

Fire and Fury Reactions
The Astoria Bookshop, Queens, N.Y., announced that it is donating profits from Fire and Fury to the Voting Rights Initiative and the N.Y. Immigration Coalition because "ensuring that every citizen has the ability to vote, and that immigrants have access to healthcare, housing, education, and legal representation are two missions that we believe will make America a better place for everyone who lives here."

The store noted, "We believe the current occupant of the White House has fostered a toxic national environment. We are hopeful for a future where honest, thoughtful political discourse is once again possible."

On Friday, Tom Steyer, former hedge fund manager, major Democratic donor and leader of a campaign to impeach the president, told KQED that he has read the excerpts from Fire and Fury and plans to give copies to everyone in Congress. "When we started this impeachment petition on October 20, we felt every subsequent day would bring information that would bolster our argument [that] this was a dangerous, unfit president who needed to be removed from office," Steyer said. "From what I can tell, this book makes that case in very bold letters." As a result, he's bought 535 copies of Fire and Fury for "citizen-volunteers" to give to the office of every senator and representative.

Solid State Books in Washington, D.C., had one of the most amusing comments on the general situation, tweeting: "If you're still, like, looking for Fire & Fury, it doesn't take, like, a very stable genius to know, that, like, we have bigly numbers of copies, like, arriving Monday morning. It's gonna be huge!"

Disney-Hyperion: Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad

B&N Stock Falls 13.8%, Near All-Time Low

On Friday, Barnes & Noble stock fell 13.8%, to $5.60 a share, hitting a 52-week low during the day and closing near its all-time low, set shortly after the company went public in 1994.

The selloff, which occurred on five times the usual volume, was in reaction to B&N's announcement late Thursday that sales during the nine-week holiday period ending December 30 dropped 6.4%, to $953 million, and that for fiscal 2018, it is revising downward its predictions for comp-store sales to mid-single digits from flat and for consolidated EBITDA to a range of $140 million-$160 million instead of $180 million.

B&N noted that sales at stores open at least a year during the period also fell 6.4%. Book sales fell 4.5% and declines in gift, music and DVD categories "accounted for nearly half of the comparable store sales decrease." The company blamed lower store traffic.

The results were all the more surprising to investors because the company had indicated late last year that early holiday season trends were encouraging.

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 06.27.22

Illinois's Stone Alley Books Closes

Stone Alley Books and Collectibles, the new and used bookstore in Galesburg, Ill., closed at the end of the year, the Register-Mail reported. Ben "Stone" Stomberg, who founded the store in 2009, told the paper that "traffic just completely stopped. You know it could happen, and hope it never does. You can handle slow, but the store was just empty."

Stone Alley shared a building with For the Win, a gaming and comic store, which has closed for a week but will reopen later in the month.

Stomberg said: "I'll miss the customers. There're comic book customers who have come in every week since day one and people who would hang around and talk about books." He added, "The outpouring of kindness since the announcement has made it hard to be bitter. It's been really nice."

Blackstone Publishing: Beasts of the Earth by James Wade

Denver's BookBar Partners with DCPA for 'Micro Theater'

BookBar in Denver, Colo., has partnered with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts to host a series of micro theater productions later this year. Scheduled for October and November 2018, the short performances, designed for audiences of 10-15 people, will take place throughout the bookstore, including in BookBar's children's room, reading room, patio, BookBed and even aboard Mavis the Magical BookMobile. The DCPA put out a call for playwright submissions on January 4; the five winners will each be awarded $1,000 and have their plays produced as part of an evening of micro theater at BookBar.

Owner Nicole Sullivan said she couldn't be more excited to not only partner with the DCPA but to also "take our commitment to creating a literary community space to a whole new level of activity that will bring together literature and theater."

Penn State University Press: The Seven Democratic Virtues: What You Can Do to Overcome Tribalism and Save Our Democracy by Christopher Beem

More Changes at the New York Times Books Desk

After Jennifer Szalai's recent promotion to nonfiction book critic, the New York Times has made three other staff changes. Greg Cowles is becoming senior editor for the Times books desk, helping to oversee the Book Review's weekly publication and to devise strategy for the desk's reviews, news and feature coverage. A Times editor for 13 years (four years on the copy desk, followed by nine years as a preview editor for fiction and poetry), he will continue to edit poetry reviews and will edit the "By the Book" series.

Tina Jordan, a longtime books editor at Entertainment Weekly, replaces Cowles as one of the fiction preview editors and will be an "Inside the List" bestseller columnist. She will work on literary fiction, as well as science fiction and fantasy, horror, thrillers and romance coverage for the Times.

Emily Eakin has also been named preview editor, covering fiction and nonfiction reviews and editing essays for the Book Review. Most recently a senior editor at the New Yorker, Eakin is a Times veteran, having worked as a culture reporter covering intellectual politics and scholarly debate for the Arts & Ideas section. 


Image of the Day: Crais at Diesel

Diesel, a bookstore in Brentwood, Calif., was the first stop on Robert Crais's 10-city indie bookstore tour for his 21st book, The Wanted (Penguin), and he drew a standing-room-only crowd. Pictured: (l.-r.) store manager Mo Figuls, Crais and Cheryl Ryan, events coordinator.

Cool Idea: Handselling Books for Dinner Parties

Taylor Rose Berry, owner of Harbor Books, Sag Harbor, N.Y., was showcased by the Daily Beast for her shop's book catering program "whereby dinner party hosts, looking for a goodie bag gift beyond a box of chocolates, send her the names of their guests, alongside some other information--their bio, their interests, their reading habits, and the like. Berry then selects a book for the host to give to each guest as a gift, something of a Cyrano in other words for Hamptons hosts who fret that their literary reach exceeds their grasp."

"Dinner party hosts don't just want to give away wine or soap," Berry said. "They want a conversation piece that everybody will appreciate. We've done Christmas parties, birthday parties, weddings, and I like to think that every time they look at the book they will remember the night."

East Hampton lawyer Leonard Ackerman, known in the area for his dinner parties, said Berry "has an incredible ability to find someone the right book without meeting the recipient. I tell her I am looking for a book for a male, or a female, or a gay person, and then I tell her about the things they are interested in: gardening, or politics, and they have read everything on the subject, and she always finds something new. It's like having your own personal editor of the book review."

Media and Movies

Bookish Golden Globe Awards: Big Win for Big Little Lies

Last night's Golden Globe Awards featured numerous book-to-screen adaptations as nominees, though only three took home trophies, led by the HBO series Big Little Lies, which garnered multiple honors. Winning productions that started as books or have book connections included:

Big Little Lies, based on the novel by Liane Moriarty: best movie or limited series; Nicole Kidman (actress in a movie or limited series); Laura Dern (supporting actress in a series, miniseries or TV movie); Alexander Skarsgård (supporting actor in a series, miniseries or TV movie)

The Handmaid's Tale, based on the novel by Margaret Atwood: best drama; Elisabeth Moss (actress in a drama)

The Disaster Artist, based on the memoir by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell: James Franco (actor in a comedy or musical)

Media Heat: Michael Wolff on Colbert's Late Show

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Melissa Hartwig, author of The Whole30 Fast & Easy Cookbook and The Whole30 Day by Day (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9781328839206 and $19.99, 9781328839237).

Harry: Kristen Kish, co-author of Kristen Kish Cooking: Recipes and Techniques (Clarkson Potter, $40, 9780553459760).

Daily Show: Ashley Graham, co-author of A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like (Dey Street, $15.99, 9780062667953).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Michael Wolff, author of Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (Holt, $30, 9781250158062). He is also on CBS This Morning.

Good Morning America: Tracy Anderson, author of Total Teen: Tracy Anderson's Guide to Health, Happiness, and Ruling Your World (Rodale Kids, $19.99, 9781623369323).

Also on GMA: Andi Dorfman, author of Single State of Mind (Gallery, $25, 9781501174223).

Wendy Williams: Yolanda Hadid, author of Believe Me: My Battle with the Invisible Disability of Lyme Disease (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250121653).

The Talk: Monica Berg, author of Fear Is Not an Option (Kabbalah Centre Publishing, $14.95, 9781571899644).

Books & Authors

Awards: Order of Canada

Several writers were honored recently with appointments to the Order of Canada, which recognizes "outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation," including Alberto Manguel, who was named an Officer of the Order of Canada by Governor General Julie Payette for "contributing to our knowledge and understanding of literature as an anthologist, translator, editor and novelist."

Other O.C. recipients included Lee Maracle for her "contributions to Canada's literary landscape and for her influential voice in cultural relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada," and Émile Martel for his "devotion to promoting and expanding Canada's cultural horizons as a diplomat and as an award-winning author, and for his sustained promotion of freedom of expression."

Members of the Order of Canada (M.C.) inductees included Marilyn Baillie for "her contributions to children’s literature, education and the arts in Canada," Michel Noël for his "promotion of Indigenous culture as a writer and government official, and for his work to improve cultural exchange in Canada," and Christl Verduyn for her "contributions to Canadian studies, notably as a professor and author, and for her commitment to making Canadian literature accessible to a broader audience."

Book Review

Review: When Montezuma Met Cortés: The True Story of the Meeting that Changed History

When Montezuma Met Cortés: The True Story of the Meeting that Changed History by Matthew Restall (Ecco, $35 hardcover, 560p., 9780062427267, January 30, 2018)

In When Montezuma Met Cortés, Mesoamerican scholar and historian Mathew Restall dismantles the 500-year traditional story of the "Conquest of Mexico." He begins his history in 1519, with the meeting of the Aztec leader and Spanish conquistador in Tenochtitlan, the sophisticated island capital of the Aztec Empire, now the sprawling metropolis of Mexico City.

The traditional story is one "in which civilization, faith, reason, reality and a progressive future are victorious over barbarism, idolatry, superstition, irrationality, and retrogressive past." It is built on a self-serving second letter from Cortés to Spain's King Carlos V (the first letter was lost), a questionable translation of Montezuma's address to Cortés and a subsequent slew of historical and literary embellishments. In short, this historic meeting stands as a symbol of the whole history of European colonization of the Americas--the United States included.

Restall debunks what he calls "mythistory." He also questions its dependence on a dubious historical process that ignores the fact that "history is encounter... the sum of all the narratives of those encounters." To transform events into a single interpretation is to create "an appealing tale to mask the unappetizing mess that is reality." A Penn State professor of colonial Latin American history and a prolific author, Restall (The Conquistadors) knows his Mexican history and is sufficiently fluent in a half-dozen languages to do his own translating of primary sources.

When Montezuma Met Cortés digs deep into the details of 16th-century exploration and imperialism (including 150 pages of footnotes and bibliography), but it also rolls along easily with Restall's colloquial asides and skeptical common sense. For example, while Cortés and his Spanish apologists paint him as a loyal heroic soldier with a gift for strategy and diplomacy, Restall uncovers evidence that he was a middling sailor, mediocre leader and voracious womanizer. (This could perhaps describe most of the conquistadors--a peccadillo of those attracted to the life.) Cortés got rich from his years in Mexico, but he built that wealth "with such duplicity, avarice, and self-righteousness that he spent the rest of his life fighting lawsuits, official investigations, and accusations of all kinds."

Similarly, Montezuma was not the submissive sycophant portrayed in the first meeting with Cortés, but rather a shrewd leader checking out his adversaries. As Restall suggests: "Montezuma was not afraid of the Spaniards; he was hunting them." But regardless of the real nature of that historic meeting, the result was a barbaric war with massive casualties on both sides. The ultimate fall of the indigenous empires of the Americas led to their "mass enslavement, sexual exploitation, forced conversion, and subordination as pacified residents." Restall acknowledges that the historical details are ambiguous, but "those blurred lines are not just an issue that historians must tackle; they are History." When Montezuma Met Cortés is a fine example of that kind of history--blurry lines and all. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: In When Montezuma Met Cortés, a heavily researched, spirited history, Latin American scholar Matthew Restall reshapes the Spanish-Aztec story.

AuthorBuzz: St. Martin's Press: Corinne by Rebecca Morrow
Powered by: Xtenit