Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, February 20, 2018

 Kokila: Everything We Never Had by Randy Ribay

Nancy Paulsen Books: Sync by Ellen Hopkins

Running Press Adult: Cat People by Hannah Hillam

Beaming Books: Must-Have Autumn Reads for Your Shelf!

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger

Severn House: A Messy Murder (Main) (The Decluttering Mysteries #4) by Simon Brett

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

Quotation of the Day

Hachette Livre CEO: 'The E-Book Is a Stupid Product'

"I think the plateau, or rather slight decline, that we're seeing in the U.S. and U.K. is not going to reverse. It's the limit of the e-book format. The e-book is a stupid product.... We, as publishers, have not done a great job going digital. We've tried. We've tried enhanced or enriched e-books--didn't work. We've tried apps, websites with our content--we have one or two successes among a hundred failures. I'm talking about the entire industry. We've not done very well."

--Hachette Livre CEO Arnaud Nourry in an interview with 

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Restaurant of Lost Recipes (A Kamogawa Food Detectives Novel) by Hisashi Kashiwai, Translated by Jesse Kirkwood


BookExpo: 'Reimagining... to Deliver More Value'

BookExpo has announced several initiatives in the wake of a recent "listening tour," during which the organization met with independent booksellers, publishers, distributors and librarians, as well as American Booksellers Association leadership. Subsequently, show organizers shared "how we are reimagining BookExpo to deliver the new value the industry is asking for," and detailed "the actions we are taking to build more value."

In addition to the ABA "Meet the Editors" program, BookExpo will collaborate with the ABA to add a new program called "Editor's Hours," which is designed to enable "exhibitors to offer more informal 'chats' between booksellers and editors right in their booths. Publishers will provide BookExpo with the editors and imprints being featured and we will promote them in a master schedule shared with booksellers. This will be held on all days of the show." The Meet the Editor's program will continue to run the morning of Wednesday, May 30, in publishers' offices throughout New York City.

Inspired by the popularity of the ABA's Publicist Speed Dating program, BookExpo will add a "Publicists In-Booth Meet-Up" program, to be held on Friday, June 1. This will be supported with the launch of the BookExpo Connect app enabling publishers to list their publicists' availability for in-booth meetings.

As part of its focus on adding new bookseller attendees from outside the Northeast, BookExpo has a dedicated person focused on new stores and stores that have not attended recently. This will be supported with the launch of a scholarship program to be rolled out in March. With the ABA, BookExpo is offering booksellers $200/night hotel rooms and "NYC on a dime" travel and dinner discounts. ABA booksellers at BookExpo will also have access to "a concierge in each aisle who can quickly connect booksellers to the proper person in exhibitors' booths to facilitate a conversation."

Responding to requests for more platforms to showcase authors, BookExpo is adding two stages featuring "highly promoted programming with authors," and will bring back "our successful Thursday evening Main Stage program with a soon-to-be-announced author."

To deliver more media coverage and PR for the industry, BookExpo is adding a virtual press room for exhibitors and booksellers to upload press releases, with the organization's PR agency matching these stories to the appropriate media. In addition, media tours for "key press" will be arranged to visit booths.

The trade show floor will feature a new area dedicated to sidelines and café product vendors.

Plans also call for an expansion of BookCon's audience "far beyond its original YA core by adding key genres like mystery/thriller, sci-fi, romance, family activities and more. BookCon will draw influencers that can provide useful insights to help the industry plan sales and marketing efforts."

"As you can see, our customer research is enabling us to rewrite the BookExpo story with reimagined value," noted Brien McDonald, BookExpo & BookCon event director. "But this is just the start. We will continue to build and reimagine BookExpo to best serve the industry now and into the future."

Harpervia: Only Here, Only Now by Tom Newlands

Battle Creek Books Gets New Name, Location

Battle Creek Books, which announced in November that it would close if a buyer could not be found, will remain open under the same ownership, but with a new name and location. The Enquirer reported that the bookshop "is staying on West Michigan Avenue. However, that West Michigan Avenue is going to be the one in Marshall and not Battle Creek in just a couple of months."

In addition to the move to 114 W. Michigan Ave. in downtown Marshall, the business will be called the Mitten Word Bookshop. Battle Creek Books is closing March 17, and while an opening date for the Mitten Word has not been officially set, co-owners Jim and Ginny Donahue hope to have it open by mid-April.

The genesis of the decision came after Jim Donahue read that some independent bookstores were tying in with coffee shops and breweries "to make them more of a destination." He subsequently contacted Dark Horse Brewing Co. in Marshall, which led to an introduction to the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance.

"They were incredibly enthusiastic about inviting a bookstore over," Donahue said. "They have several storefronts. They have a good occupancy rate, but also a few spaces open. It seemed like a way to continue the joy of selling books and meeting new people. We're still in Calhoun County. MAEDA has been very welcoming, encouraging."

Wanted: Indie Bookstore in Trenton, N.J.

The city of Trenton, N.J., is partnering with the Trenton Downtown Association and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority "to offer financial incentives for an independent bookstore willing to set up shop in the city's downtown area," Bookselling This Week reported.

Trenton hired Eric Maywar, owner of the used bookstore Classics Books & Gifts and previously a project manager for the Trenton Downtown Association, as an economic development specialist "to scout out the best businesses in the region and explore whether they would be interested in opening an additional location in a new market," BTW wrote.

"We didn't know exactly what [kinds of businesses] we wanted, but we wanted to make sure that it wasn't just three people at City Hall making the decisions, so we did outreach into the community, both the people that live here and the people that work here, and asked them what they would like to see," he said. "We visited community groups and we had an online survey, which the local paper wrote about so that people would go on there and we could hear from a lot of different people."

The survey showed that what people wanted most was 1) a high-end bakery and 2) an independent bookstore that sells new books. "People we talked to were very excited that there would be new places they could shop here in the city. I think there's definitely a demand here on the consumer side to shop locally," said Maywar. "Part of it is there's a desire in the city to spend locally and keep that money here, where it can create jobs."

Thus far, two candidates have expressed interest in opening a bookstore and six have expressed interest in opening a bakery, he added. "We made a list of all the bookstores that were well-regarded within an hour's drive and started reaching out to them, giving them the demographics, selling them on the incentive package we put together, and giving them some periodic updates about new folks coming in and activity going on in the area."

Maywar noted that it would be ideal to hear from existing indie bookstores seeking to open a second spot or to relocate: "It's always great to have somebody that has a brand, that already understands how the business works, that has cut their teeth on customers, that understands how to make sure they have the proper inventory. Having somebody with that experience is always a good place to start."

Booksellers interested in learning more can contact Maywar at

National Geographic Launches Under the Stars Imprint

This fall, National Geographic Kids Books will launch Under the Stars, a fiction imprint primarily aimed at middle grade readers (ages 8-12). Plans call for releasing one fiction series per year, focusing on one or more core National Geographic subjects. The series will also serve as the publisher's first global franchise to include consumer products, family entertainment centers, family travel and education.

The initial Under the Stars title will be Trudi Trueit's Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret (September 4), part of a seven-book series, and filled with real-world science, code-breaking and a narrative that follows "12-year-old Cruz, along with a diverse group of his fellow students, as he plunges into a world of critical missions while also having to turn in his homework on time."

"We've spent the last few years developing riveting fictional stories like Explorer Academy for this new imprint," said Erica Green, National Geographic Kids Books editorial director. "We hope the characters in these books will offer inspiration, by helping kids and adults alike ultimately want to explore and protect our planet. Each book published through Under the Stars will be steeped in fact and real-world investigation and will showcase characters and illuminate situations that embody our remarkably talented explorers and how they interact with the world."

Jennifer Emmett, senior v-p of content for National Geographic Kids, commented: "We hope to use these books to continue to carry forth our founders' commitment to quality, innovative storytelling and bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration."


Image of the Day: Congratulations, Shelf Awareness!

At PubWest's annual conference last week in Pasadena, Calif., Shelf Awareness co-founders Jenn Risko and John Mutter (above, flanking American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher) received the Rittenhouse Award, which honors "those who have made a real contribution to the western community of the book." PubWest executive director Kent Watson commented: "In creating Shelf Awareness, John and Jenn took a spark of inspiration that has now turned into a daily publishing, bookseller, and reader frenzied fire. Shelf Awareness is a trusted source for news and information for everyone interested in the printed and (e-printed) word." And in his introduction, Teicher said in part, "I appreciate that the book business is not without many challenges as we grapple with the changing ways in which consumers access content, but I can say--without any equivocation whatsoever--that the innovative and creative ways in which our friends at Shelf Awareness have helped make books and  news about our business more readily available has made a real difference for the good. On a personal note--I've been in this business now for almost 30 years--and I've had the privilege of knowing and working with many remarkable people, both in bookselling and in publishing, but I can't think of two people with higher integrity than Jenn and John. They make our business better, every single day. No one knows more about the book business than John and Jenn. They seem to know everyone, and everyone knows them."

Boswell Book Company 'Keeps the Reading Light Burning'

Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis., is "a shining example of perhaps the final hope for bookstores: the independent, neighborhood bookstore," the Record noted in a "Mandatory Milwaukee" series piece headlined "Boswell Book Company keeps the reading light burning on Downer Ave."

Owner Daniel Goldin's bookstore "continues to thrive in a harsh brick-and-mortar climate," the Record wrote, adding: "Yes, the store carries a ton of contemporary and classic fiction along with a quality selection of specialized nonfiction books (history, science, music, urban planning, etc.), but it's the 'neighborhood' part of 'neighborhood bookstore' that sets it apart....

"Boswell is indeed rooted in its community. It's synonymous with the East Side, synonymous with Downer Avenue. And in a time when the simple act of walking into a store and buying a book can seem revolutionary, it's synonymous with the light and intelligence of 'local' in the darkness and confusion of the world at large."

Personnel Changes at HarperCollins

Angela Craft has been promoted to marketing director for Avon and Harper Voyager. She has been with Morrow for more than two years.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Joseph A. Califano, Jr., on Balance of Power

Bloomberg's Balance of Power: Joseph A. Califano, Jr., author of Our Damaged Democracy: We the People Must Act (Touchstone, $27, 9781501144615).

Harry: Ali Rosen, author of Bring It!: Tried and True Recipes for Potlucks and Casual Entertaining (Running Press, $25, 9780762462728).

The Talk: Patricia Heaton, author of Patricia Heaton's Food for Family and Friends: 100 Favorite Recipes for a Busy, Happy Life (Morrow, $29.99, 9780062672445).

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

Watch What Happens Live: Van Jones, author of Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together (Ballantine, $27, 9780399180026).

Movies: The Last Thing He Wanted

Anne Hathaway "is in negotiations to star in Mudbound director Dee Rees' political thriller, The Last Thing He Wanted," Deadline reported. Based on the 1996 novel by Joan Didion, the project will be produced by Elevated's Cassian Elwes, who optioned the book to develop in partnership with Rees following their collaboration on Mudbound. The film is currently in pre-production.

Deadline noted that Marco Villalobos "wrote the transfer which will see Hathaway as a woman alone and unrelenting in a race against time. At the tipping point of the Iran Contra affair's arms-for-drugs plot, hardscrabble journalist Elena McMahon finds herself on dangerous ground when she abandons coverage of the 1984 presidential campaign to fulfill her bed-ridden father's last wish."

Books & Authors

Awards: Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary

Michael Frank won the the £4,000 (about $5,590) Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize, which is "awarded to the best book, fiction or nonfiction, to translate the idea of Jewishness to the general reader," for his family memoir The Mighty Franks, the Bookseller reported.

Describing the book as "beautifully written, perfectly paced, uncomfortable, tender and surprising," Times Literary Supplement fiction and politics editor Toby Lichtig, who was one of the judges, said The Mighty Franks "is a dazzlingly vivid portrait of an eccentric Los Angeles family. Frank's paternal aunt and maternal uncle were married; his grandmothers shared a flat. The whole clan lived within minutes of one another. Presiding over this claustrophobic set up was the domineering presence of the author's aunt: a successful and vivacious Hollywood screenwriter who demanded total devotion and availability from those on whom she showered her affections.

"Although it wears its Jewishness lightly, the background culture pulses unmistakably throughout: in the pull of the old world of Mitteleuropa, in the growing pains of American assimilation, in the vexed and complex domestic dynamics at its heart. This is both a book about a very specific Jewish family and in some sense about all families. As such it should be read, reread and enjoyed by everyone."

Reading with... Maria Vale

Maria Vale is a journalist who has worked for Publishers Weekly, Glamour, Redbook and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Trained as a medievalist, she tries to shoehorn the language of Beowulf into things that don't really need it. She currently lives in New York with her husband and two sons. Her debut novel is The Last Wolf, just out from Sourcebooks Casablanca.

On your nightstand now:

A Book of Silence by Sara Maitland, because I have become increasingly aware of the worth of all varieties of silence.

Also, When We Die: The Science Culture, and Rituals of Death by Cedric Mims, for a book I want to write but nobody wants to read, about the love between a waitress and the Angel of Death.

Favorite book when you were a child:

E.B. White's Charlotte's Web. Then Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

I was a big fan of Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone books, but have never revisited them, in case it turns out to be a juvenile enthusiasm that doesn't hold up. I'd be curious to hear from any of your readers who loved them as teens and still find them satisfying.

Your top five authors:

I don't know why this is so hard. Mostly because I'm more of a book-by-book reader. Still, there are writers I have never been disappointed by: Margaret Atwood, Robertson Davies, Gabriel García Márquez, William Ian Miller (this odd man out is a U. of M. law professor who wrote brilliantly on courage, disgust, faking it and medieval law) and the great, inimitable Terry Pratchett.

Remember when War, Pestilence and Famine have their horses nicked at the inn? "It's going to look pretty good, then, isn't it," said War testily, "the One Horseman and Three Pedestrians of the Apocalypse."

The one thing I've learned in this life is never read Discworld with your mouth full. It always ends in humiliation. RIP Sir Terry, you gave it your all.

Book you've faked reading:

I pretended once that I was in the middle of reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I'd actually read and enjoyed An Abundance of Katherines and Looking for Alaska. But as soon as I started with TFIOS, I knew this was going to be more pain than I wanted. I don't know who I lied to about it, but whoever it is, I am sorry. I don't think I read more than 20 pages.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I can't do this. I cannot do one book. Seven books I've recommended over and over and over again:

I love Grendel by John Gardner. This slim, perfect retelling of Beowulf from Grendel's perspective is about belonging and alienation and true monstrousness.

Independent People by Halldor Laxness. Bjartur of Summerhouses is stubborn and unyielding, but the early 20th-century Icelandic countryside Laxness describes would chew up and spit out anything else.

Excellent Cadavers: The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic by Alexander Stille. A perfect Greek tragedy about heroism and fate.

The Filter Bubble by Eli Pariser. Important for understanding how we curate our own news.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik. A magical world and a powerful book about nature and the right kind of love.

Gulag by Anne Applebaum. The most brilliant interweaving of research and narrative.

Into Their Labours trilogy. John Berger brings lyrical prose and piercing insight to the unmistakably hard life of Savoyard peasantry.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I've never bought a book just for the cover. I have to want the words inside. Penguin redesigned the cover for Mary Karr's Liar's Club a couple of years back. I'd read it before and enjoyed it, then lost my copy in some move. If the cover hadn't been so perfect, I probably wouldn't have bought it.

I'm more likely to feel viscerally angry when a writer I love gets a shabby cover. It happens more often than it should.

Book you hid from your parents:

Fanny Hill. Got it in a used bookstore and this particular edition said, as I recall, A Memoir of the Adventures of Fanny Hill. I thought it would be like Moll Flanders.

It wasn't.

Book that changed your life:

Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman. By the end, my heart was an empty husk and I was speechless. Grossman writes about World War II from the perspective of a Soviet Jew. A brilliant journalist, his clear, plain writing brought home the tragic vastness of the war, of the Soviet experience, and the decency of individuals even when hope is lost.

I will never read it again.

Favorite line from a book:

Also hard. If there is only one, it has to be poetry. I've always liked this from Mary Oliver's "The Summer Day":

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?"

Five books you'll never part with:

These are objects with some intrinsic significance. Some are great. Some aren't.

My copy of Suzuki Beane by Sandra Scoppettone. I lived with my divorced, graduate student mother in a semi-permanent state of flux so this baby beatnik was my Eloise.

My marked-up copy of Emerson's Self-Reliance and Other Essays.

My marked-up copy of Victor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning.

Star Fleet Technical Manual (Training Command Star Fleet Academy): a reminder of the unspeakable nerdiness that I sometimes manage to disguise.

My grandfather fled Estonia early in the 20th century. He inscribed his prayer book to me when I was 12. At the time, he had 13 grandchildren, so it made me feel special.

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

Great world building is always most immersive the first time. So, both The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear, especially Patrick Rothfuss's descriptions of Adem. For the same reason, Ursula K. Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness. Patrick Ness's The Knife of Never Letting Go and N.K. Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.

Book you are willing to lend:

Only if I hate the book.

The corollary to this is if I like a book, I'm pretty generous about buying it for friends. This is to disguise the essential fact that as much as I love you, I'm still not lending you my books.

Book Review

Review: Too Afraid to Cry: Memoir of a Stolen Childhood

Too Afraid to Cry: Memoir of a Stolen Childhood by Ali Cobby Eckermann (Liveright, $25.95 hardcover, 224p., 9781631494246, March 6, 2018)

Ali Cobby Eckermann (Inside My Mother) is part of the Stolen Generation, children of Aboriginal descent forced by the Australian government to leave their birth families between 1905 and 1969. In Too Afraid to Cry, Eckermann gives voice to the estimated 100,000 victims of this tragic period in Australian history.

Raised on a farm by loving German Lutheran parents with their other children ("two from the mission and the two babies from a special house where babies are given away to families"), Eckermann describes her early childhood as nearly idyllic: visits from extended family, sing-alongs with relatives, time spent caring for the farm animals and exploring nature. Yet she carried dark, damaging secrets; at age seven, she was sexually abused by a family acquaintance. "When he sat down, he started rubbing my legs. I felt the icy wind inside my head begin to blow. I could not move. The icy wind is very dangerous.... And the icy wind was screeching around and around inside my whole body."

That abuse--as well as assaults and bullying by others--led Eckermann into a self-destructive lifestyle that masked her feelings of loss and trauma. She spent her teen years "sprinkling LSD and speed through my diet of alcohol and marijuana," becoming pregnant at 18 and giving her baby up for adoption. Eckermann would eventually search for, and become reunited with, her son, as well with as her Aboriginal family, who shared with her the circumstances of her birth and their collective grief upon learning she had been stolen.

Eckermann's spare prose evokes a child-like innocence. Interspersed between her stark narrative are raw poems reflecting a simmering anger, ferocity and the strength that results from understanding one's heritage. ("I was born Yankunytjatjara my mother was Yankunytjatjara my family is Yankunytjatjara I have learnt many things from my family elders I have grown to recognise that life travels in circles--Aboriginal culture has taught me that.") In 2017, Eckermann was awarded the Windham-Campbell Prize for poetry.

In the dedication of Too Afraid to Cry, Eckermann writes that her memoir is "a story of healing not burdened by blame." Her focus remains solidly on the former while never wavering from the many ways her childhood was stolen. --Melissa Firman, writer, editor and blogger at

Shelf Talker: A poetic memoir by an Aboriginal woman who was stolen as a child from her birth family.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Hail Mary (Hail Raisers Book 6) by Lani Lynn Vale
2. Hostage by Skye Warren and Annika Martin
3. The Burnside Mystery Series by David Chill
4. Sex, Not Love by Vi Keeland
5. Your Endless Love (The Bennett Family Book 9) by Layla Hagen
6. Gargoyle Guardian Chronicles Omnibus by Rebecca Chastain
7. Midnight Blue by L.J. Shen
8. Change of Fortune (A Miss Fortune Mystery Book 11) by Jana DeLeon
9. The Baby Plan by Tia Siren
10. Be Mine... Or Else by Alexa Riley

[Many thanks to!]

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