Also published on this date: Wednesday, May 16, 2018: Maximum Shelf: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Atheneum Books for Young Readers: Our Pool by Lucy Ruth Cummins

Tor Teen: The Hunting Moon (The Luminaries #2) by Susan Dennard

Atria Books: The River We Remember by William Kent Krueger

Berkley Books: Iris Kelly Doesn't Date by Ashley Herring Blake

For Dummies: For Dummies series


Blackwell's, Five Leaves Among British Book Award Winners

Blackwell's was named Book Retailer of the Year and Nottingham's Five Leaves Bookshop took the Independent Bookshop of the Year crown at Monday night's British Book Awards celebration in London, where prizes were given in numerous book industry categories, the Bookseller reported.

"It's terrific for everyone that Blackwell's is properly back in the game," the judges said, citing the company's revitalization process. "The DNA of the business is fabulous and the booksellers are exceptional."

Five Leaves Bookshop "achieved double-digit sales last year due to a combination of fantastic service, stock that is finely tuned to its market, a thriving book group, a packed events program and effective local partnerships," said the judges, adding: "This is a very good bookshop--but so much more. It's genuinely collaborative, generous and public-spirited and has a stack of energy... Five Leaves is a very high-class literary bookseller indeed--long may it prosper."

The Book Nook in Hove was awarded Children's Bookseller of the Year for "superb customer service," which led to a substantial increase in sales in 2017. The shop was also praised for its extensive support for local schools, teachers and child literacy; its energetic events program at schools and festivals as well as in-store; and its lively marketing via e-newsletters, social media and quarterly flyers--and a Book Nook-branded car.

Individual Bookseller of the Year honors went to Blackwell's Greig Watt, "whose store at the University of Aberdeen was at risk of closure when he became manager in 2015, but he has since transformed it into one of the chain's most respected locations," the Bookseller wrote.

The Outstanding Contribution to the Book Trade award went to former Hachette UK CEO Tim Hely Hutchinson, who "bowed out at the top of his game at the end of 2017, having created a legacy over his 40-year career that will endure for many decades to come," according to the citation. "There are few executives still working in publishing today who have managed to combine longevity with success; leadership with understanding; steel with warmth. His contribution to the book trade has not just been outstanding, it has been shaping, nurturing and inspiring."

British Book Award trade winners also included HarperCollins (Publisher of the Year), Faber & Faber (Independent Publisher of the Year), Bloomsbury Children's Books (Children's Publisher of the Year), Viking (Imprint of the Year), Simon Prosser (Editor of the Year) and Madeleine Milburn (Literary Agent of the Year), among others.

Philip Pullman was named Author of the Year and Axel Scheffler Illustrator of the Year. The British Book Award-winning titles were: 
Book of the Year and Fiction Debut Book: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Children's Book (joint winners): The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and The Lost Words by Jackie Morris & Robert Macfarlane
Crime & Thriller: The Dry by Jane Harper
Nonfiction Lifestyle: 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver
Nonfiction Narrative: Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Fiction: Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor
Audiobook: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman, narrated by Michael Sheen

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster: Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 1421 by T.J. Newman

Bookstore Sales Up 3.5% in March

March bookstore sales rose 3.5%, to $734 million, compared to March 2017, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. This marked the second straight month with a gain in bookstore sales, after a half year of declines.

For the year to date, bookstore sales were $2.74 billion, down 2.8% compared to the first three months of 2017. The cumulative loss for 2018 so far is attributable to January results, when bookstore sales fell 8.6%.

Total retail sales in March rose 5.6%, to $511.9 billion. For the year to date, total retail sales have risen 5.4%, to $1,394.8 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing new books."

Simon & Schuster: Recording for the Simon & Schuster and Simon Kids Fall Preview 2023

Today Is Tracy K. Smith Day in Minnesota

Tracey K. Smith
(photo: Rachel Eliza Griffiths)

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has declared May 16 Tracy K. Smith Day to honor the U.S. Poet Laureate, who is speaking today in Minneapolis at Talk of the Stacks at the Hennepin County Library on Nicollet Mall, the Star Tribune reported.

The governor's proclamation noted that Smith's works "have been published since 2003 by Minneapolis independent publisher Graywolf Press, one of Minnesota's award-winning publishers of diverse and singular voices; and Smith's newest book, Wade in the Water, was published in April 2018 by Graywolf Press."

Graywolf publisher Fiona McCrae commented: "That Tracy K. Smith is being recognized by the Governor in this way is a great thing for poetry in general, and for her wise, expansive, questioning poetry in particular. Graywolf is so proud to have published Tracy K. Smith's books of poetry, and have delighted in all her awards and honors, including the Pulitzer Prize. It is hard to think of a more perfect Poet Laureate for America at this challenging hour, and we are so grateful to the Minneapolis Public Library for hosting her visit to the Twin Cities."

Shelf Awareness Job Board: Click Here to Post Your Job

St. Charles's Main Street Books Turns 25

Congratulations to Main Street Books in St. Charles, Mo., which opened 25 years ago, on May 15, 1993. Co-owner Emily Hall, who has owned the store with her parents Ellen and Andy for a little over four years, said that they're planning a big celebration for July that will coincide with Find Waldo Local 2018. Hall hopes to have the store's two previous owners on hand to talk about the longevity of Main Street Books, and wants to share the festivities with as many customers and local authors as possible.

"Basically the plan is to just invite the folks who have helped us along the way," explained Hall. "We're here because people still like to buy books."

Hall and her family purchased the 1,800-square-foot, general-interest store in February 2014. They carry predominantly new books with a small selection of used titles and, according to Hall, the store has particularly strong children's, local and state history and young adult sections. As for food or drink, Hall said there's a coffee shop down the street and it would be a "cold day in hell" before she tried to step on their toes.

Main Street Books has resided in its current location, a building in St. Charles's historic district constructed in 1821, since 2006. The store's original location, said Hall, was a building that used to be a schoolhouse in the 1800s, and while it had "incredible ambience," it was set back about 200 feet from the sidewalk and drew little foot traffic. Hall added that when the store moved, business jumped by around 30%.

Andy, Emily and Ellen Hall

In the years they've owned the business, Hall and her parents have made several changes and renovations. Hall said the biggest renovation was to the store's second floor, which used to be an apartment with a full kitchen--the completely redone kitchen is now the store's chapter book room. They've made smaller changes as well, such as replacing old furniture, fixtures and carpet. On the technology side, they recently upgraded to a new POS system.

Hall reported that she and her family have increased the number of author events that Main Street Books hosts, and also increased the store's sales almost every year since they took over.

When asked about future changes, Hall answered that they'll probably continue to make minor cosmetic changes here and there, and she's made it her goal to do more off-site author events. Beyond that, she said, they'll simply continue doing the best they can to cater to their customers.

Said Hall: "We couldn't operate anywhere else but St. Charles." --Alex Mutter

Obituary Note: Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe (via)

Tom Wolfe, a legendary journalist and novelist "whose technicolor, wildly punctuated prose brought to life the worlds of California surfers, car customizers, astronauts and Manhattan's moneyed status-seekers in works like The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, The Right Stuff and Bonfire of the Vanities," died May 14, the New York Times reported. He was 88. Beginning in the 1960s, Wolfe's "use of novelistic techniques in his nonfiction... helped create the enormously influential hybrid known as the New Journalism."

Describing him as an "unabashed contrarian," the Times wrote that Wolfe "was almost as well known for his attire as his satire. He was instantly recognizable as he strolled down Madison Avenue--a tall, slender, blue-eyed, still boyish-looking man in his spotless three-piece vanilla bespoke suit, pinstriped silk shirt with a starched white high collar, bright handkerchief peeking from his breast pocket, watch on a fob, faux spats and white shoes. Once asked to describe his get-up, Mr. Wolfe replied brightly, 'Neo-pretentious.' "

From 1965 to 1981, Wolfe produced nine nonfiction books, including The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, while continuing "to turn out a stream of essays and magazine pieces for New York, Harper's and Esquire. His theory of literature, which he preached in print and in person and to anyone who would listen was that journalism and nonfiction had 'wiped out the novel as American literature's main event,' " the Times noted.

Bonfire of the Vanities, his first novel, was a runaway bestseller, but "divided critics into two camps: those who praised its author as a worthy heir of his fictional idols Balzac, Zola, Dickens and Dreiser, and those who dismissed the book as clever journalism, a charge that would dog him throughout his fictional career," the Times wrote. Wolfe published three more novels: A Man in Full, I Am Charlotte Simmons and Back to Blood.

"What I hope people know about him is that he was a sweet and generous man," Michael Lewis told the Associated Press. "Not just a great writer but a great soul. He didn't just help me to become a writer. He did it with pleasure."

Gay Talese noted: "He was an incredible writer. And you couldn’t imitate him. When people tried it was a disaster. They should have gotten a job at a butcher’s shop."

In a New Yorker tribute, Adam Gopnick observed that Wolfe "was--as even those of us who did not share his politics and often deplored his taste and even doubted the fashion wisdom of all the white suits have to admit--one of the central makers of modern American prose.... Possessed of perhaps the best pure eye and ear for American manners since Sinclair Lewis, he can be described in one way with certainty: no account of American letters in the last half of the twentieth century can be credibly written in which Tom Wolfe will be ignored."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Imaginary Alphabet
by Sylvie Daigneault
GLOW: Pajama Press: The Imaginary Alphabet by Sylvie Daigneault

Lazy, lemon lollipop-licking lemurs join a menagerie of other merry and meticulously embellished animals in an extravagant abecedary for a wide-ranging audience. Publisher Gail Winskill admired author/illustrator Sylvie Daigneault's "stunning" previous work. But, Winskill said, "nothing prepared me for the beautiful art and clever alliteration" of The Imaginary Alphabet. Confident in the book's "appeal to readers of all ages, especially wordsmiths and art lovers," Winskill knew "within a matter of minutes" she wanted to publish it. With an elaborate search-and-find accompanying its alliterative linguistic delights, this playful and ornately illustrated alphabet book is a visionary accomplishment. --Kit Ballenger

(Pajama Press, $22.95 hardcover, ages 3-7, 9781772782998, September 19, 2023)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Creative ROI at Story & Song

Donna Paz Kaufman, co-owner (with husband Mark) of Story & Song Neighborhood Bookstore Bistro, Fernandina Beach, Fla., as well as the bookstore training group Paz & Associates, shared a photo of recent artwork created on the bookshop's chalkboard wall by young artist Camie Warner.

"We just had to send this to you," Paz Kaufman said. "Not that we can take credit for this amazing art, but that we were gifted this and two other pieces of art during a visit by a grandfather and his three talented granddaughters. The art was drawn on a half-wall that we painted with chalkboard paint, thinking the toddlers and elementary school children would have fun in The Second Story for Art & Creativity. Who knows what would surface as people browse the bookstore and are inspired.

"When people ask about the Return on Investment for bookselling, we think about how you can never put a price on something like this. Customers have come to see the art in person and there's so much excitement about the talent that surrounds us."

'Best Independent Bookstores in New England'

Yankee magazine asked associate editor Joe Bills, who is also co-owner of Escape Hatch Books in Jaffrey, N.H., for a list of his favorite bookstores in the region.

Joe Bills

"Do you share our love for independent bookstores?" Bills wrote. "Fortunately, New England is home to many fine shops carrying a wide assortment of books, many with additional used selections and some serving coffee. What more could you ask for?...

"It has been said that I never met a bookstore I didn't like, and I think that is probably true. Big or small, focused or eclectic, bookstores are entertainment, education, relaxation and inspiration all at once. New England is blessed by many wonderful bookstores, and yes, I like them all. But there are some I love."

Left Bank's Bookshop Cat Spike 'Owns the Place'


"When Spike was just a kitten, he ended up on the streets of St. Louis, Mo., left to fend for himself," the Dodo wrote to introduce its profile of the cat who "wandered by Left Bank Books, an independent bookstore, one day, and when staff members saw the tiny black kitten all alone, they knew exactly what they had to do. They took him into the bookstore and adopted him as their store cat, and nearly 11 years later, he's still there, and loves every minute of his job as a bookstore cat."

"He has everything he needs: food, water, endless new books to sleep under," said Lauren Wiser, marketing and publicity manager. "We say he's our night manager. He keeps an eye on all the books until the shop opens in the morning."

She added that Spike "loves working at the bookstore. He even has his own Staff Pick page on the website. His favorite things to do are sleep in the display window so people outside can adore him, sleep under a bright light where it's warm, sleep in a director's chair downstairs in the used books, sleep on top of new displays (to make sure people notice them, of course) and interrupt staff meetings."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Tig Notaro on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Tig Notaro, author of I'm Just a Person (Ecco, $14.99, ).

Pickler & Ben: Siri Daly, author of Siriously Delicious: 100 Nutritious (and Not so Nutritious) Simple Recipes for the Real Home Cook (Oxmoor House, $26.99, 9780848755805). The episode will repeat on CMT tomorrow.

CBS This Morning: Ken Langone, author of I Love Capitalism!: An American Story (Portfolio, $28, 9780735216242).

The View: Bret Baier, co-author of Three Days in Moscow: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Soviet Empire (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062748362).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Jake Tapper, author of The Hellfire Club (Little, Brown, $27, 9780316472319).

Movies: How to Build a Girl

Beanie Feldstein (Lady Bird, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising) will star in the film adaptation of Caitlin Moran's novel How to Build a Girl, which was recently chosen for Emma Watson's feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf. Deadline reported that the "comedic coming-of-age story from U.K. producer Monumental Pictures will start shooting on location in the U.K. from July. Director Coky Giedroyc, whose TV credits include episodes of The Killing and BBC drama The Hour, will helm the feature from the screenplay by U.K. broadcaster and author Moran." The producers describe the lead character as "one of the great female literary icons on a par with Elizabeth Bennet and Bridget Jones."

"We could not be more excited for Johanna Morrigan to burst onto the big screen," said Alison Owen (Suffragette), who is producing with Debra Hayward (Les Miserables). "We searched high and low for a girl who could match the boundless wit, sparkle and big heart of Caitlin's super-heroine and feel incredibly lucky to have found her in the effervescent Beanie Feldstein."

"How to Build a Girl will be outrageously funny and utterly affecting, even heart-breaking," added Hayward. "With Coky Giedroyc at the helm of Caitlin's swashbuckling script, we are blessed to have a director who can deliver all this in spades."

Books & Authors

Awards: Best Translated Book Finalists

Finalists in both poetry and fiction categories have been selected for the 2018 Best Translated Book Award, sponsored by Three Percent. The fiction category includes books from eight countries and six languages, while the poetry finalists feature books from six countries.

Winners from both categories will be announced May 31 in New York City as part of the New York Rights Fair. Winning authors and translators each receive $5,000. The announcement will be preceded at 4:30 p.m. by a panel, "Translated Literature Today: A Decade of Growth." This year's BTBA finalists are:

Suzanne by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, translated from the French by Rhonda Mullins (Canada, Coach House)
Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson, translated from the Icelandic by Lytton Smith (Iceland, Open Letter Books)
Compass by Mathias Énard, translated from the French by Charlotte Mandell (France, New Directions)
The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán, translated from the Spanish by Will Vanderhyden (Argentina, Open Letter Books)
Return to the Dark Valley by Santiago Gamboa, translated from the Spanish by Howard Curtis (Colombia, Europa Editions)
Old Rendering Plant by Wolfgang Hilbig, translated from the German by Isabel Fargo Cole (Germany, Two Lines Press)
I Am the Brother of XX by Fleur Jaeggy, translated from the Italian by Gini Alhadeff (Switzerland, New Directions)
My Heart Hemmed In by Marie NDiaye, translated from the French by Jordan Stump (France, Two Lines Press)
August by Romina Paula, translated from the Spanish by Jennifer Croft (Argentina, Feminist Press)
Remains of Life by Wu He, translated from the Chinese by Michael Berry (Taiwan, Columbia University Press)

Hackers by Aase Berg, translated from the Swedish by Johannes Goransson (Sweden, Black Ocean Press)
Paraguayan Sea by Wilson Bueno, translated from the Portunhol and Guarani to Frenglish and Guarani by Erin Moore (Brazil, Nightboat Books)
Third-Millennium Heart by Ursula Andkjaer Olsen, translated from the Danish by Katrine Øgaard Jensen (Denmark, Broken Dimanche Press)          
Spiral Staircase by Hirato Renkichi, translated from the Japanese by Sho Sugita (Japan, Ugly Duckling Presse)
Directions for Use by Ana Ristović, translated from the Serbian by Steven Teref and Maja Teref (Serbia, Zephyr Press)
Before Lyricism by Eleni Vakalo, translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich (Greece, Ugly Duckling Presse)

Reading with... Chibundu Onuzo

photo: Blayke Images

Chibundu Onuzo was born in Nigeria in 1991 and is the youngest of four children. She is currently studying History at Kings College, London. Welcome to Lagos (Catapult, May 1, 2018) is her U.S. debut.

On your nightstand now:

The Wonder Spot by Melissa Banks
Tangerine by Christine Mangan

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

Your top five authors:

Sefi Atta
Yewande Omotoso
Leo Tolstoy
John Steinbeck
Hilary Mantel

Book you've faked reading:

There aren't many books I've faked reading, but there are some I've pretended I haven't read. They were so bad, they were good.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Everything Good Will Come by Sefi Atta. Before Eleanor Ferrante's Neapolitan series explored female friendship, there were the female protagonists of Atta's novel: Enitan and Sheri. The novel starts with their friendship in their childhood and follows them until they become adults. It's set mostly in Lagos and this novel really showed me how one could write about a city. I don't have enough superlatives for this book. I've read it at least seven times and each time, it gets better.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I don't really buy books for their covers. I'm more of a blurb person when it comes to deciding to purchase a book. But I will borrow a book from the library if it has an eye-catching cover. The last I can remember was Bitter Sweets by Roopa Farooki.

Book you hid from your parents:

My mother hated us borrowing books from friends because she was convinced we would lose them, or tear them, or get food stains on them. It is true that these things, especially number three, sometimes happened, so we had to hide borrowed books from her.

Book that changed your life:

The Bible

Favorite line from a book:

"God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind." --2 Timothy 1:7

Five books you'll never part with:

Sefi Atta's Everything Good Will Come
Bessie Head's When Rain Clouds Gather
Wọle Soyinka's Aké
Peter Enahoro's How to Be a Nigerian
Chinua Achebe's Arrow of God

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

Frederick Cooper, Africa Since 1940: The Past of the Present. I had to go and sit in a quiet room and think after I read this book.

Innocence by Penelope Fitzgerald. This book was so light and sparkling.

Book Review

Review: From Twinkle, with Love

From Twinkle, with Love by Sandhya Menon (Simon Pulse, $18.99 hardcover, 336p., ages 12-up, 9781481495400, May 22, 2018)

At 16, Twinkle Mehra is the youngest junior at her Colorado Springs charter high school. She doesn't have a cell phone and she can't drive because she doesn't have her license (nor a car). Twinkle knows "[s]ome might call people like [her] losers," but Twinkle prefers the term "groundlings"--channeling the poor who stood in front of Shakespeare's stages, unlike the privileged in their "silk feathered hats" comfortably seated at a distance. For much of her life, being "Invisible Twinkle," even "disposable wallflower Twinkle," hasn't been all bad, especially since she had Maddie Tanaka as her best friend. But now that Maddie has left her to join the silk-hatted, Twinkle has plenty of time to figure out why Maddie feels she's not "BFF material" anymore. Somehow, she's going to transform herself into "someone people recognize, maybe even someone who tells stories others want to hear."

For as long as she can remember, Twinkle has wanted to be a filmmaker. She's even crafted her own "mission statement" (with Maddie's encouragement): "to change lives with my films and show the world what a Desi girl can do." With the school's "biggest event of the year," the Midsummer Night festival, approaching, Twinkle gets her chance to take the director's chair. She finds her ideal producer in film critic-wannabe Sahil Roy, who happens to be the brother--genetically a twin, socially so different--of the boy Twinkle has been crushing on forever. Her actors are the same kids who barely ever noticed her; her sets the homes and parties she's never been invited to before. In just three weeks, Twinkle will make her film debut... with, of course, plenty more drama behind the scenes. Difficult truths and painful accusations will need to be resolved, new alliances will be made, secret admirers will be unmasked and Dracula and other monsters will all need to be confronted (and tamed).

India-born, Colorado resident Sandhya Menon's (When Dimple Met Rishi) second teen rom-com, From Twinkle, with Love, clearly celebrates the influence of her self-confessed "steady diet of Bollywood movies," as revealed in her author bio. She transfers her filmi devotion to the page as Twinkle tells her story through journal entries addressed to her "fave female filmmakers"; Menon also highlights Hollywood's shameful 7% female directorial representation, further emphasizing that "[i]f you factor in race, that number goes way down." Between Twinkle's entries, Menon inserts Sahil's confessional blog and his texts to his best friends, along with mysterious e-mails Twinkle receives from a fan calling himself "N." While Twinkle's is clearly the directing voice, Menon makes sure she gets a diverse, committed supporting cast and crew to help her sparkle and shine. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: 16-year-old Twinkle Menon goes from being virtually invisible to commanding the spotlight when she makes her debut film with a crew of unexpected new friends.


We Feel Bad

In Tuesday's issue of Shelf Awareness, a media item about NBC's upcoming series I Feel Bad misidentified the book on which the show is based as a novel. Orli Auslander's I Feel Bad: All Day. Every Day. About Everything is actually a book of illustrations with accompanying captions. The correction has been made in the online edition. Apologies for the error.

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