Shelf Awareness for Monday, February 12, 2018

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


Not Again: Flood Damages Pa. Children's Bookstore

Magers outside Booktenders' Secret Garden in (photo:

Yet another bookstore flood occurred last month: on January 8, water cascaded down from the ceiling into the back third of Booktenders' Secret Garden Children's Bookstore, Doylestown, Pa. Owner Ellen Mager, who was beginning to plan the celebration of the 35th anniversary of her store, was on hand. The owner of a neighboring store grabbed a recycling bin and put it "under the worst of the waterfall," she recalled. "I pulled as much inventory, collectable titles, and artwork as I could toward the front of the store until they came and turned off the water."

The store's Wall of Fame.

Most board books and picture books--two of the store's largest sales areas--books with plush, classics/award winners, beginning readers and half of the signed books were lost. Luckily, the store's Wall of Fame--which displays more than 200 notes and signatures from visiting authors and illustrators over the last 24 years--was saved, along with the computer and correspondence.

In the following weeks, customers came and helped Mager build a "book fair" list for the store's damaged inventory: more than 15 boxes with $6,500 in stock (including $1,400 in collectibles and just under $1,000 in artwork).

The store was closed until January 26, and the reopening has been slow, "with the insurance return even slower to replace lost inventory," Mager wrote. The 35th anniversary celebration, which had been planned for January, will take place late this month or early February.

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

Chicago's Volumes Bookcafe Launches Indiegogo Campaign

Kimberly and Rebecca George, sisters and co-owners of Volumes Bookcafe in Chicago, Ill., have launched an Indiegogo campaign with the goal of raising $60,000, Chicago Reader reported. Within two days the campaign raised more than $9,000, and as of this morning was nearing $15,000.

"In order for us to continue to bring the unique programming to the community and keep our bookstore running another year, we need help," the George sisters wrote on Indiegogo. "We need at least $60k to pay off some debts so that we can keep going."

Some rewards for contributing to the campaign include handmade literary pins, personalized lists of book recommendations, tote bags, signed books from Chicago authors and more. The campaign has about two months left to go.

The sisters opened their store in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood in March 2016. They offer some 300 free events per year, including story time sessions twice per week. They plan to create a community supported bookstore program, through which customers pay in advance for future book purchases and receive around 5% off, and to publish the store's first literary anthology, Bookstore Erotica.

Pictures from an Exhibition: ALA Midwinter Kicks Off in Denver

The American Library Association's 2018 Midwinter Conference, in Denver, Colo., kicked off Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the exhibit hall officially and an opening session featuring activists Patrice Cullars and Marley Dias.

Librarians, authors, illustrators, publishers and book industry folk of all types spent the weekend talking books on the conference floor and attending panels, while committees met behind closed doors to decide the winners of the Youth Media Awards (to be announced today).

Barb Genco (Library Journal) and Neal Porter (Neal Porter Books) raise a glass at Holiday House's annual ALA get-together.

Jessica Powers (Broken Circle, Black Sheep Press) and Xelena González (All Around Us, Cinco Puntos Press) pose with their books on the ALA conference floor.

Jessica Kensey and Patrick Downes, along with their dog Rescue, spoke about service animals and their forthcoming picture book, Rescue & Jessica (Candlewick, April).

Matthew Burgess with his picture book about E.E. Cummings, Enormous Smallness (Enchanted Lion).

Kidnapped Hong Kong Bookseller Plans Bookstore in Taiwan

Lam Wing-Kee (via)

Lam Wing-kee, one of the five Hong Kong booksellers kidnapped by China in 2015 because their bookstore, Causeway Bay Books, sold titles critical of the Chinese leadership, has said it is "almost certain" he will open a bookstore in Taiwan, Taiwan News reported, citing an interview with Deutsche Welle radio.

If the bookstore in Taiwan is successful, Lam said, he would consider opening a new bookstore in Hong Kong.

Last year, Lam said that "a group of pro-democracy activists from Hong Kong" would fund a store in Taiwan, but that he would be only an advisor.

Lam spent eight months in detention in China before being released. Upon his return to Hong Kong, he confirmed that he had been seized, interrogated and mistreated.

The proposed bookstore in Taiwan will sell books banned by China, and the store would find ways to send the books to Chinese customers if requested.

Obituary Note: Nigel Viney

Nigel Viney, who "worked in London publishing during the sixties and seventies, culminating in the role of managing director of Heinemann and serving on the board for many years," died January 9, the Bookseller reported. He was 95. Viney began his career in the trade as a bookseller, first at Blackwells in Oxford then at Dennys in London. He joined William Heinemann in 1963 as production manager, "subsequently moving into editorial, where he was engaged in projects including editing the official life of Churchill over many volumes, initially working with Randolph Churchill and latterly with Martin Gilbert."

Laura Morris, who worked with Viney while at Secker and Warburg, then sister company to Heinemann, said: "Witty and charismatic, his good temper and sense of humor made him a hugely popular figure, not only at Heinemann but also in the wider publishing and printing worlds. He managed to make routine production meetings sparkle with fun: he would always concentrate on the elements of a book which surprised him, and if that led into an amusing anecdote of two, so much the better. His zest for life was never far from the surface."

In retirement, Viney wrote several books, including The Great Paintings of England (1989), Images of Wartime--British Art and Artists of World War I (1991), and The Bluffer's Guide to Consultancy (2005).

"He continued to keep up with old publishing friends and colleagues well into his nineties, driving himself to wherever a genial group was gathered, and he never tired of sharing and swapping mischievous memories," Morris noted.


Image of the Day: Writers Gather for The Wife

Barnes & Noble on Manhattan's Upper East Side hosted Alafair Burke (The Wife, HarperCollins) in conversation with Megan Abbott. Pictured: Lee Child, Alafair Burke, Megan Abbott and Chris Pavone.

Bookish Cartoon of the Day: Author Event Q&A Time

from the Guardian

Scottish cartoonist and illustrator Tom Gauld explored the "awkward author events" moment known as q&a time in the Guardian, which noted: "If you think it's easy for an author to field questions from their readers, think again."

Literati Bookstore's Success 'Rooted in Connection'

"For bookstores to survive these days, they have to be more than bookstores," Mike Gustafson, co-owner of Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich., told Forbes magazine in a recent profile of the business. "Bookstores have to provide not only great books, but a service."

Recalling their decision to open Literati in 2013, Hilary Gustafson noted that Ann Arbor has "always been a book town and has a rich history of bookselling. There was this vacuum that was created. We saw it as a market opportunity to open a store here that was the right size, being really community oriented."

The "dynamism of the physical book has brought the store far--it's now one of the premier destinations in downtown Ann Arbor, with three aesthetically pleasing stories of books inside the warm, welcoming space," Forbes reported, adding: "The success of the store is rooted in connection. When they opened, the Gustafsons made a concerted effort to interact with the community, both in public events and online."

"For us, it's been invaluable to have that digital connection," Mike Gustafson said. "When we opened, we had to get the word out. So several months before we opened, we made the decision to put ourselves out there and be very transparent and show people behind the scenes imagery and processes. And bookstores 30 years ago didn't have that ability to connect with customers directly."

"We knew we wanted to be a community space," Hilary added. "That was always part of our business plan, to have a robust events schedule and to have book clubs and to be a meeting place."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kate Bowler on Fresh Air

Morning Joe: Joseph A. Califano, Jr., author of Our Damaged Democracy: We the People Must Act (Touchstone, $27, 9781501144615).

Fresh Air: Kate Bowler, author of Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved (Random House, $26, 9780399592065).

Watch What Happens Live: Jake Shears, author of Boys Keep Swinging: A Memoir (Atria, $26, 9781501140129).

Steve Harvey: Rickey Smiley, author of Stand by Your Truth: And Then Run for Your Life! (Gallery, $25.99, 9781501178603).

Megyn Kelly: T Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper, authors of Changers Book Three: Kim (Black Sheep, $11.95, 9781617754890).

Steve Harvey: Holly Robinson Peete, co-author of Same But Different: Teen Life on the Autism Express (Scholastic Press, $9.99, 9780545094696).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Massimo Bottura, author of Bread Is Gold (Phaidon Press, $39.95, 9780714875361).

Movies: Movies: Girl in the Spider's Web; This Is Where It Ends

Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread) "is set to join Sony and MGM's The Girl in the Spider's Web, the studio's sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," based on David Lagercrantz's novel, continuing the series by Stieg Larsson, Variety reported.

Krieps joins a cast that includes Claire Foy as Lisbeth Salander, Sylvia Hoeks (Blade Runner 2049) as Salander's twin sister, and Claes Bang (The Square) as the villain. Directed by Fede Alvarez (Don't Breathe), the film is currently in production in Berlin and Stockholm. Steven Knight wrote the screenplay with the team of Alvarez and Jay Basu.


Director/producer Lysa Heslov (Served Like a Girl) will direct This Is Where It Ends, based on Marieke Nijkamp's YA novel. Deadline reported that the film rights were recently optioned by the Gotham Group, producers behind The Maze Runner franchise.

"In writing This Is Where It Ends, Marieke Nijkamp gave rise to what is unfortunately a very real and relevant issue," said Dominique Raccah, CEO and publisher of Sourcebooks, which published the novel. "In doing so, she also created a safe space for teens and adults to discuss gun violence, bullying, and the many faces of love. I'm so grateful to the Gotham Group and Lysa Heslov for seeing the significance of this story and helping it reach an even larger audience."

Heslov commented: "When I read This Is Where It Ends, I knew immediately it was a timely and immensely important piece. I feel passionately that this is a story that desperately needs to be told."

Books & Authors

Burningham, Oxenbury Honored for Lifetime Achievement

John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury have been honored with the first-ever double BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award, which celebrates the body of work of an author or illustrator who has made an outstanding contribution to children's literature. Previous recipients include Shirley Hughes, Judith Kerr and Raymond Briggs.

The couple, who married in 1964, have won several literary awards individually but have collaborated on only one book together, There's Going to Be a Baby (2010). Burningham's works include Borka: The Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers; Husherbye; Avocado Baby and Granpa. Oxenbury is best known for illustrating titles such as The Three Little Wolves; Ten Little Fingers & Ten Little Toes; and We're Going on a Bear Hunt.

"I'm so very flattered when I hear people now say they love my books and that something I did 50 years ago still works and is enjoyed by their family," Burningham said.

Oxenbury commented: "It's particularly lovely as we have been awarded this honor jointly--and to get an award from BookTrust who know everything there is to know about children's books is just wonderful."

BookTrust CEO Diana Gerald said, "John always creates such funny and lovable characters. His books evoke such fond memories for me and he has had an extraordinary impact in terms of child development. Helen's illustrations and writing are so warm, so elegant and yet so forward thinking; her work enables children from all walks of life to see their faces in the pages.

"We have taken the unprecedented decision to honor them both because choosing between two giants of children's books proved near impossible, and we felt that both their brilliance should be recognized. Acknowledging these two titans of industry is a tremendous honour and they are both so equally deserving."

Awards: Stella Longlist

A longlist has been released for the A$50,000 (about US$39,090) Stella Prize, which recognizes and celebrates Australian women writers' contribution to literature. The judges said the list "reflects the sheer volume of high-quality books that are being published in Australia. What a cornucopia of literary riches! As judges we were impressed with the strength of submissions from so many fine writers. The value of the book as artifact was evident in the attention publishers and designers invest to make books attractive to read and to hold in our hands. Noticeable was the caliber of books from small publishers as is reflected in our longlist." The shortlist will be announced in March and a winner named in April. View the Stella Prize longlist here.

Book Review

Review: The Coincidence Makers

The Coincidence Makers by Yoav Blum (St. Martin's Press, $26.99 hardcover, 304p., 9781250146113, March 6, 2018)

Yoav Blum raises fascinating questions about destiny and free will in this fast-paced novel exploring otherworldly dimensions. In The Coincidence Makers, Blum has created a rich fantasy that focuses on trained and skilled secret agents who work--along with bureaucratic forces much greater than themselves--to orchestrate events that nudge ordinary people toward changing the course of their lives.

Everything happens for a reason in Blum's fictional world--traffic, a flat tire, a spark of inspiration, a spilled cup of coffee. In the opening scene of the novel, one professional Coincidence Maker--aka CM--employs his skills to bring together two strangers, a student and a waitress, through a series of seemingly random events. A host of unexpected complications makes the CM's job all the more challenging, as glitches in his mission force him to troubleshoot creatively and think on his feet in order to achieve the desired aim.

This set-up establishes the foundation for all that will follow in this smartly crafted novel that focuses on three trainees--Guy, Eric and Emily--who have been rigorously educated on the intricacies of coincidences and the roles they, as CMs, are expected to play in shaping human destiny. Nothing is left to chance as the trio study and pass tests on detailed subjects ranging from "Introduction to Serendipity" to "Classical Theories in Coincidence Making and Research Methods for Enhancing Cases and Effects" and "Human Boundaries." They demonstrate mastery in their influence of dreams and luck, thought control and serving as imaginary friends to a diverse range of the human population.

The CMs seek to accomplish their assigned goals based on their own strengths and weaknesses. Eric is a showman who has been known to grandstand in creating very complex coincidences that have lead to accidents, death and even murder. Emily is bright and highly sensitive, but tight-lipped in talking about past assignments. And Guy, while adept, is riddled with self-doubt and haunted by a past that broke his heart.

When the CMs are asked to put what they've learned into practice for a complicated assignment involving a former imaginary friend case, the stakes grow higher. The mission forces the CMs to reassess their roles in relation to humankind and how their efforts very often lead others--sometimes, even themselves--to find deeper meaning and purpose in life and in love.

Blum cleverly probes the cause and effect of life, while exploring the hearts, motivations and questioning nature of people. This makes his carefully constructed fictional universe all the more plausible and captivating--especially as the plot intensifies and unravels in surprising ways. As in Giving the Moon, a collection of his short fiction, Blum immerses readers in an adventurous supernatural world, one that dramatically investigates the tenuous scrim between fantasy and reality, the living and the dead. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: A suspenseful novel about secret operatives who cleverly orchestrate and execute forces of destiny.

The Bestsellers

Top Book Club Picks in January

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

1. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
2. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
3. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
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 Alice Network: A Novel by Kate Quinn
7. A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman
8. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
9. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
10. Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

Rising Stars:
Ready Player One: A Novel by Ernest Kline
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

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