Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Mariner Books: The Redemption of Bobby Love: A Story of Faith, Family, and Justice by Bobby and Cheryl Love

St. Martin's Press: The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: New from Here by Kelly Yang

Other Press: The Anomaly by Hervé Le Tellier, translated by Adriana Hunter

Poisoned Pen Press: The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections by Eva Jurczyk

Berkley Books: The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St James


Waterstones Plans Controversial 'Unbranded' Edinburgh Shop

Waterstones plans to open Stockbridge Books, one of its "unbranded stores," in Edinburgh next spring. The Bookseller reported that the shop "will be located in a new development at Raeburn Place in the Stockbridge area."

A Waterstones' "stealth bookshop" in Suffolk.

"Waterstones is delighted to be opening a bookshop in Edinburgh's Stockbridge," Waterstones CEO James Daunt said. "It is an area of the city in which we have long wished to have a shop and Raeburn Place Foundation's development offers a wonderful space in which to do so. It will be a tad smaller than our Princes Street flagship and, like every good bookshop, will draw its personality from its community and neighboring shops. In consequence, we will be calling it Stockbridge Books and look forward greatly to its opening."

Critics of the planned new store accuse Waterstones of reneging on an earlier pledge by Daunt that unbranded shops would not open in areas that are already home to independent booksellers. The Guardian wrote that "the plans have drawn the ire of Golden Hare Books, which is also based in Stockbridge. The retailer pointed to comments last year by [Daunt], who said of the new stores: 'They are very small shops in towns that had independents and very much wish they still had independents but don't.' "

"We can see why they are opening here because it's a vibrant community, and the fact is that it is more about the name than the shop opening," said Julie Danskin, manager of Golden Hare Books. "It's about the fact that this will be masquerading as an independent bookshop. James Daunt talks a lot about an even playing field and working with independent brands, but this is essentially backtracking on his previous statements. We don't have plans to go anywhere and really hope that people will choose to support us, but if more chains open up then we are going to see a homogenization of streets."

Golden Hare Books tweeted: "We have built our independent business. We do it for the love of books and people. We love being part of our community, Stockbridge, and want to be there for many years to come. Only you can help us do this. If you do, Waterstones cannot hurt us. Please choose to shop indie."

Fellow indies expressed their support and frustration on Twitter, including:

Lighthouse Bookshop, Edinburgh: "SHAME on @Waterstones for their Stockbridge plans! Over and over they stated they would NOT open shops in neighborhoods where an indie bookshop already existed & ASSURED the book trade they wouldn't MASQUERADE as an indie--'Stockbridge Books' is just that!"

Big Green Bookshop, London: " 'Unbranded branches, says Daunt, will not threaten independents...' Well that's exactly what this unbranded Waterstones is doing."

Gutter Bookshop, Dublin, Ireland: "Fine to let customers decide between supporting @Waterstones or supporting a local indie bookshop--but don't open a fake indie with all the buying power, support & discounting that a real indie could never afford!"

LittleApple Bookshop, York: "Well, we are proof that having a Waterstones just round the corner is not a death knell for a small bookshop. However, the unbranded element of the Stockbridge Waterstones is very mischievous. We sympathise!"

Author Val McDermid: "We have a perfectly good indie bookshop in Stockbridge, thank you. Waterstones accused of breaking pledge not to take on independents."

In an update, Golden Hare tweeted: "We have been overwhelmed by your love and support. Don't worry, we're not going anywhere."

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Mina by Matthew Forsythe

Amazon: Another Ohio Warehouse; Playing Hardball with HQ1 City

Amazon plans to open its sixth warehouse in Ohio, in West Jefferson, near Columbus, by the end of next year. The company currently has two warehouses in Ohio and is opening two more this year and another, besides the West Jefferson one, next year. The 855,000-square-foot West Jefferson warehouse will be Amazon's fourth in central Ohio and will primarily stock general consumer items, including books, electronics, housewares and toys.

While local officials praised the company for adding a warehouse that will employ 1,500 people (West Jefferson Mayor Ray Martin said the new warehouse "will help us build a stronger community for all"), Amazon appears to have successfully played hardball with its hometown city government over a proposed tax on large companies that aimed to raise funds to fund affordable housing and fight homelessness--addressing problems created in large part by the expansion of Amazon.

According to the New York Times, the Seattle City Council yesterday passed a scaled-back version of the bill after Amazon expressed displeasure and indefinitely shut down two major building projects. The proposed annual tax would have been $500 per full-time employee at large employers, which would have raised about $75 million. The new version is $275 per head, which is estimated to raise less than $50 million. (As a point of reference, Amazon's market capitalization is about $777 billion.)

After the vote, Amazon said it would restart one of the two building projects but was noncommittal about the other. In a statement, Amazon v-p Drew Herdener said, "We remain very apprehensive about the future created by the council's hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses, which forces us to question our growth here."

Denene Millner Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Ashes of Gold by J Elle

Sidelines Snapshot: Chocolates, Games, Cards and Journals

Book Soup in West Hollywood, Calif., carries many of the same gift and nonbook lines as its sister store, Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, Calif., but buyers Alison Keyes and B.J. Hegedus have helped give the former a different feel by carefully selecting its sideline offerings.

Rustico's composition journal

Hegedus explained that Book Soup's customers tend to have a keen appreciation of design and gravitate toward unusual, different and less mainstream items. Some of the store's most popular nonbook items are dolls and plush toys made in Australia, leather goods and journals produced by Utah company Rustico, notebooks and journals from PrintFresh, and candles from a variety of suppliers such as P.F. Candle Co., Voluspa and Greenmarket Purveying.

John Kelly chocolates

Hegedus and Keyes have also had success with chocolates from two local suppliers, John Kelly Chocolates and Compartes, both based on the westside of Los Angeles. Other popular gift lines include Blue Q socks, Michael Roger journals, Kikkerland keychains, crystal paperweights by Ben's Garden and Blackwing pencils. Hegedus noted that every so often they bring in unusual pieces made by artisans and designers to create an interesting balance with the smaller items they stock and sell everyday. One such item was a marble bust of Napoleon Bonaparte, which Hegedus said sold in only three hours. Similar items with "good dramatic appeal" include mermaid bookends and a gold shark meant to lie flat on a desk.

Red Cap Cards

At the two Greenlight Bookstore locations in Brooklyn, N.Y., co-owner Rebecca Fitting reported that "stationery is always incredibly strong," and has actually been on the rise over the past few years. Greenlight has always done well with Good Paper cards, a line of handmade, fair trade cards produced in the Philippines and Rwanda. Fitting pointed to Red Cap Cards as another important line, explaining that it's recently added a lot of diversity to its offerings, and said she has liked what she's seen of Night Owl Paper Goods' recent, "adorable" releases. She added that she and co-owner Jessica Stockton Bagnulo have been "obsessed" lately with notebooks, blank journals and cards from Blackbird Letterpress that feature quotes from and pictures of powerful women.

One of eeBoo's popular games.

When it comes to children's sidelines, Fitting said that the stores "always carry" toys and games from eeBoo and that she and her colleagues "really like them as a company." She described their offerings as "toys and puzzles and games" that kids and parents can "both feel good about." Beyond products from eeBoo, Toysmith and House of Marbles, which Greenlight carries year-round, the bookstore's toys and games are often seasonal. Some current spring-focused offerings include make-your-own bird house kits and solar paper crafts. She also said Greenlight sells a ton of kites; at the moment she has two types of low-priced, assemble-yourself kites from House of Marbles.

Time for tea at Village Books.

Kelly Evert, co-owner and head gifts buyer at Village Books and Paper Dreams in Bellingham and Lynden, Wash., said that paper goods, including stationery, cards, calendars and journals, have been doing so well recently that it's been "thoroughly surprising," and added that some of the store's best card lines are Rifle Paper Co., Taku Graphics, Compendium and Cardthartic. When asked about other perennial favorite gift items, Evert pointed to chocolates from Seattle Chocolate and Theo Chocolate; tea from several producers, including Tea Forte and Republic of Tea; Blue Q socks; soap from Pre de Provence; puzzles and games such as Tenzi and Happy Salmon; and a plethora of gift items from Kikkerland.

Dog leashes on display at Village Books.

Village Books and Paper Dreams is essentially a single business comprised of a bookstore and a full-fledged home decor and gifts store, and as such the selection of nonbook items is extensive. The store carries a variety of items one might not expect to find in a bookstore, such as hammock swings made by Magnolia Casual, dog collars and leashes, and even bras, which are some of Village Books' bestselling items. Evert noted that while the inventories of the two halves of the business used to be kept separate, they've been increasingly combined over the past several years. She added she prefers not to use the term sidelines, as it implies someone who sits out and doesn't typically contribute, while at her store gifts and non-book make up a full half of the business. (See more about Village Books and Paper Dreams in the following article.) --Alex Mutter

Disney-Hyperion: Solimar: The Sword of the Monarchs by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Washington's Village Books Hosting New Cafe

Village Books and Paper Dreams, Bellingham, Wash., is welcoming a new restaurant in its mezzanine: Evolve Chocolate + Café, co-owned by Chef Christy Fox and Shannon Fox, which will open in June and is known, the store wrote, for its "award-winning truffles, sipping chocolates and unique flavor profiles. The Foxes have sold their small-batch chocolate confections at wine, food and chocolate festivals from Seattle to San Francisco as well as the Bellingham and Edison farmers markets, Washington wineries, and at their popular 'pop-up' chocolate lounges around Bellingham for the past five years." Chef Christy Fox also has nearly 30 years of experience working in regional fine dining restaurants.

In addition to the restaurant, which will offer "an array of sweets, sips and savories," the Foxes will maintain a booth at the Saturday Bellingham Farmers Market and will open a sidewalk café at Village Books' parkside entrance near the Village Green during the Wednesday Fairhaven Market and Saturdays for Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema movies. They will also host champagne soirees, high tea and author/book-themed dinners in their private event space. The Foxes will launch a Kickstarter campaign to support the café.

Since opening in its current Bellingham space in 2004, Village Books has had several cafés in the store. Chef Charles Claassen, who took the reins in late 2010, is selling the café to pursue other interests. While Evolve Chocolate + Café is under construction, Village Books is reconfiguring the rest of the mezzanine level with new areas for writers and events.

New Press: Congratulations to Nobel Prize Winner Abdulrazak Gurnah


Image of the Day: Scene of the CrimeCon

The staff of Post Hill Press ran the official bookseller booth at the second annual CrimeCon in Nashville, Tenn., a convention centered on anything and everything True Crime. Pictured: (l.-r.) author and former FBI profiler James Fitzgerald with Post Hill staffers Billie Brownell, Alana Mills and Michael Wilson.

Happy 20th Birthday, Doylestown Bookshop!

Congratulations to the Doylestown Bookshop, Doylestown, Pa., which is celebrating its 20th anniversary on Saturday, May 26, 12-4 p.m., with live music, story time, cake, a champagne toast--and, most strikingly, a 2 p.m. panel discussion on "20 years of independent bookselling," with American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher, Doylestown Bookshop owner Glenda Childs, previous owner Patricia Gerney and longtime staff members Nathan Halter (also formerly of the ABA) and Krisy Paredes.

'Children's Bookstores Worth Traveling For'

Highlighting "9 children's bookstores worth traveling for," Lonely Planet wrote: "We are in a golden age of children’s literature, and this love is felt most intensely in children’s bookstores, many of which are so special and imaginative that you could plan a whole family vacation around them. If anyone can keep your kids busy for a few hours, it’s a passionate (and patient) children’s bookseller."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Michael Pollan on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Michael Pollan, author of How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence (Penguin Press, $28, 9781594204227).

Today Show: Sharlee Jeter and Sampson Davis, authors of The Stuff: Unlock Your Power to Overcome Challenges, Soar, and Succeed (Gallery/Jeter Publishing, $27, 9781501175152).

The View: Donald Rumsfeld, author of When the Center Held: Gerald Ford and the Rescue of the American Presidency (Free Press, $28, 9781501172939).

Watch What Happens Live: Keith Hernandez, author of I'm Keith Hernandez: A Memoir (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316395731).

Tonight Show: Chrissy Metz, author of This Is Me: Loving the Person You Are Today (Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062837875).

TV: I Feel Bad

NBC released a trailer for I Feel Bad, based on Orli Auslander's I Feel Bad: All Day. Every Day. About Everything, a book of illustrations with accompanying captions. The cast includes Sarayu Blue, Paul Adelstein, Aisling Bea, Zach Cherry, Johnny Pemberton and James Buckley. Aseem Batra is writing and executive producing. Julie Anne Robinson will direct and executive produce the pilot. Amy Poehler, Dave Becky and Josh Maurer also executive produce. The series premieres this fall.

Books & Authors

Awards: Ondaatje Winner; Shirley Jackson Finalists

Pascale Petit has won the £10,000 (about $13,550) Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize for Mama Amazonica. This is the first time the award, given to "a distinguished work of fiction, nonfiction or poetry, evoking the spirit of a place," has been won by a work of poetry.

One of the judges, Eva Hoffman, described Mama Amazonica this way: "In Pascale Petit's evocations, the Amazon rainforest comes alive, with human characters as much a part of nature as the creatures and plants living there--alluring and frightening, violent and vulnerable, dangerous and endangered. A feat of imaginative intensity, this is also an act of reckoning and reparation, in which deep empathy for a disturbed mother is transmuted into the exacting beauty of poetic language."


Finalists have been named in six categories for this year's Shirley Jackson Awards, which recognize "outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror and the dark fantastic." The winners, voted upon by a jury of professional writers, editors, critics and academics, will be announced July 15 at Readercon 29, Conference on Imaginative Literature, in Quincy, Mass.

Top Library Recommended Titles for June

LibraryReads, the nationwide library staff-picks list, offers the top 10 June titles public library staff across the country love:

Bring Me Back: A Novel by B.A. Paris (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250151339). "Intensifying psychological suspense. Twelve years after Finn's girlfriend Layla disappeared, a discovery raises new questions." --Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, Mass.

There There by Tommy Orange (Knopf, $25.95, 9780525520375). "A large cast of interwoven characters depicts the experience of Native Americans living in urban settings. Perfect for readers of character-driven fiction with a strong sense of place." --Abby Johnson, New Albany-Floyd County Public Library, New Albany, Ind.

Us Against You: A Novel by Fredrik Backman (Atria, $28, 9781501160790). "The citizens of Beartown are about to lose their beloved hockey team and their rivals could not be happier. The narrator has you wondering who is going to die and why events occur as they do." --Gail Christensen, Kitsap Regional Library, Bremerton, Wash.

The Word Is Murder: A Novel by Anthony Horowitz (Harper, $27.99, 9780062676788). "A playful commentary on the mystery genre itself and the first in a promising new series. The author, Horowitz, plays the part of the narrator, and gets caught up in solving a murder with Daniel Hawthorne, an out-of-work detective." --Amy Whitfield, Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, N.C.

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier (Minotaur, $26.99, 9781250154194). "A suspenseful thriller told from multiple perspectives. A Seattle detective must unravel a web of secrets dating back to his high school days." --Gail Roberts, Fairfax County Public Library, Fairfax, Va.

Dreams of Falling by Karen White (Berkley, $26, 9780451488411). "Set in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, this story does what Southern fiction does best: family, lies, and secrets. For fans of Patti Callahan Henry and Mary Alice Monroe." --Leanne Milliman, Charlevoix Public Library, Charlevoix, Mich.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (Berkley, $15, 9780451490803). "A wonderfully sweet and erotic romance featuring an autistic heroine who hires a hot male escort to teach her how to enjoy sex, but learns so much more." --Elizabeth Gabriel, Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee, Wis.

All We Ever Wanted: A Novel by Emily Giffin (Ballantine, $28, 9780399178924). "Great storyline that is relevant to issues both facing young people today and the people raising them. The story keeps you guessing." --Sarah Trohoske, Erie County Public Library, Erie, Pa.

Little Big Love by Katy Regan (Berkley, $26, 9780451490346). "A portrait of a family and a boy's search for the father who left them, told from multiple perspectives with authentic, likeable characters."  --McGee, Lake Travis County Library, Austin, Tex.

How Hard Can It Be?: A Novel by Allison Pearson (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250086082). "Kate is holding it all together, unemployed husband, kids, and parents. So, she reinvents herself as someone younger to secure a job with the hedge fund." --Toni Nako, The Public Library of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio

Book Review

Review: Us Against You

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman (Atria, $28 hardcover, 448p., 9781501160790, June 5, 2018)

With each new book, Fredrik Backman, author of A Man Called Ove, Britt-Marie Was Here and Beartown, manages to raise the stakes of exceptionalism. Through Backman's astute examination of humanity, Us Against You will elicit snickers and full-blown belly laughs. It will rip out hearts, then replace them stronger than before. Most of all, it is sure to prompt readers to examine their lives in order to be better people, if only in microscopic ways.

The depth of this sequel to Beartown seems endless, encouraging several readings. Just one is insufficient to luxuriate in Backman's splendid style and still catch the multitude of wise gems nestled into this dynamic novel masking itself as an enchanting tale of a hockey team and its community.

Backman's omniscient narrator, a resident of Beartown, explains a major theme: "The truth about most people is as simple as it is unbearable: we rarely want what is best for everyone. We mostly want what's best for ourselves." Through a series of events involving a range of believably flawed characters and a struggling hockey team, this theme is reinforced repeatedly.

Peter, the club's general manager, was forced to make an unimaginable decision at the conclusion of Beartown. The fallout from that decision opens Us Against You: the town's hockey program is dangerously close to bankruptcy; its demise appears inevitable. That is, until an anonymous new sponsor offers to save the team--with certain stipulations.

Ana, a teenager who lives with her father in Beartown, feels more comfortable in the forest than anywhere else. Her father's alcoholism demands she assume the responsibilities of an adult long before any child should. And her best friend's struggles with posttraumatic stress disorder require Ana's empathy, support and love. She regularly gives of herself, but in a moment of weakness triggered by hurt and embarrassment, Ana makes a choice that throws the town into violent turmoil. 

Richard Theo is a politician who presents himself as an advocate for his constituents but is ultimately and deceitfully advancing his own agenda. He knows that "political elections are simple: when everything is going well, when people are happy, then the establishment wins. But when people are angry and arguing, people like Richard Theo win. Because for an outsider to win power requires a conflict. But if there's no conflict? Then you have to create one." Theo creates more than one.

Backman juggles these characters, as well as four teenage boys who battle to bring together the Beartown hockey A-team, and a gang of supporters who aren't opposed to violence to get what they want. His balancing act is masterfully executed with empathy, humor and ingenuity, emphasized by the pitch-perfect portrait of a tired, crumbling small town. Fans of Backman will not be disappointed. His work continues to amaze and captivate, enlighten and thrill. Those unfamiliar with his novels need to pick them up posthaste; Us Against You is a perfect one to grab. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Shelf Talker: In the sequel to Beartown, the residents of a small, embattled town struggle to maintain their beloved hockey team amid violence, deceit and hate.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Bro Code by Kendall Ryan
2. Maybe Don't Wanna (The Simple Man Series Book 2) by Lani Lynn Vale
3. When Evil Comes to Play (The Veil Diaries Book 5) by B.L. Brunnemer
4. Duchesses in Disguise by Grace Burrowes, Emily Greenwood and Susanna Ives
5. Plus One by Aleatha Romig
6. Unbound by John Shors
7. Love at Last (Love in Bloom: The Bradens at Peaceful Harbor Book 7) by Melissa Foster
8. Come As You Are by Lauren Blakely
9. Bound by Duty by Valerie Hansen
10. Lost Creed (Ryder Creed Series Book 4) by Alex Kava
[Many thanks to!]

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