Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Quercus: The Father by Anton Svensson

Workman: The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Mangini

Simon Pulse: The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder

Hachette Books: Shrill by Lindy West

Random House Trade: A Small Indiscretion by Jan Ellison

Quotation of the Day

Amazon's 'Darker, More Ominous Side'

"The convenience and discounted prices afforded by Amazon have endeared the company to many customers, making it among the most popular in America. Amazon contends that the traditional book industry needed shaking up and that its efforts have connected more authors to more readers.

"But critics cite a darker, more ominous side to Amazon's behavior that includes bullying publishers, playing favorites with authors, engaging in predatory pricing, and preying on retailers who use its platform. Further, the online giant's downward pricing pressures are said to have made publishers more risk averse and reduced opportunities and pay for many authors."

--Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine, owners of Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C., in an essay "The Downsides of Amazon's Dominance," published on P&P's Bookmark.

Soho Press: Mort(e) by Robert Repino


News

California's Librería Martínez Becoming Community Center

Librería Martínez, the longtime Latino bookstore in Santa Ana, Calif., that grew out of the barber shop run by founder Rueben Martínez, is becoming a community cultural and educational center and will no longer sell books, the Orange County Register reported. The store, officially called Librería Martínez de Chapman University, will be renamed Centro Comunitario de Educación.

In 2012, after some financial difficulty, Chapman in nearby Orange took over operation of the bookstore. Last year the store created more space for reading and learning areas. Martínez's book collection will remain.

Because of online competition, the bookstore is "not a viable economic proposition," said Margaret Grogan, dean of the College of Educational Studies at Chapman. "While you can certainly generate some funds through sales of books, when you stay focused on the commercial aspect, you are not able to continue to develop the cultural and educational side of it as much."

According to Chapman's Happenings blog, the new Centro Comunitario de Educación is offering "a wide range of programs for community residents of all ages, partnering with such organizations as Padres Unidos, El Sol Science and Arts Academy, the Santa Ana Unified School District, Santa Ana College and other local community colleges." The center offers a Reading Starts Early program for preschool students that aims to instill a love books and a Teen Mentoring Program, in collaboration with Chapman's Student Civic Engagement initiatives, "to support mentees in career and college exploration and to engage them in their community, as well as adult education classes, hosting book clubs, poetry workshops and much more." The center also presents literary and arts events that are open to the community.

Martínez said that he was "a little bit sad, but I'm over it now because it's still educational and there's still going to be books. It's not like it's a complete failure.... You know, good things do come to an end and others start."

Martínez, 75, is a presidential fellow at Chapman, where he has sought to encourage diversity. In 2004, he received a MacArthur Foundation genius grant.


Soho Crime: Gold of Our Fathers by Kwei Quartey


Hong Kong Booksellers Update

The five employees of Hong Kong publishing company Mighty Current and its bookstore, the Causeway Bay Bookstore, whose disappearances were condemned last month by the American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers, the Authors Guild, PEN American Center and the European and International Booksellers Federation, have been confirmed as being detained in mainland China. Their mysterious, extrajudicial abductions were possibly prompted by the upcoming release of Xi Jinping and His Lovers (described as a work of fiction based on true events in the Chinese leader's romantic life), according to the BBC.

The book's co-author, who writes in the United States under the pen name Xi Nuo, promised to release the book online. Xi Nuo said he was responsible for the book, not the captured booksellers. "Why doesn't the government come to New York and sue us?" he said.

The Chinese government claims the two men in Hong Kong and one in Thailand traveled to mainland China willingly (the other two were already there). Mighty Current co-owner Gui Minhai was last seen in Thailand in October before appearing on Chinese state TV in January, where he claimed to have returned to China to answer for a decade-old car accident. Lee Bo, the last bookseller to disappear, reportedly left his travel papers home in Hong Kong.

1908 Books, another Hong Kong book store specializing in books banned in the People's Republic, closed on February 1, according to Radio Free Asia. The store has not yet released a statement, though sources said it had been struggling financially.


Simon & Schuster: The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle


Angela Bole Named CEO of IBPA

Angela Bole

At the Independent Book Publishers Association, Angela Bole, who has been executive director since 2013, has become CEO, a new position.

Before joining IBPA, Bole worked at the Book Industry Study Group for six years, successively as marketing and communications manager, associate director and deputy executive director. She is on the board of directors of BISG and the International Digital Publishing Forum.

"IBPA is extremely fortunate that Angela Bole has agreed to stay at the helm for another three years," said IBPA chair Peter Goodman, founder and president of Stone Bridge Press. "Publishers face many challenges, and the industry landscape is changing rapidly. Angela has amply demonstrated that she brings a robust managerial skill set as well as a rich vision of where IBPA should and can go to serve its membership."


Random House: Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld


Obituary Notes: Margaret Forster; Michael Brick

British author Margaret Forster, who wrote more than 40 books, including the 1965 novel Georgy Girl, which was adapted into a popular film, died yesterday, the Bookseller reported She was 77. Chatto & Windus, her publisher, said it was "deeply saddened by the news.... Her books were both critical and popular successes throughout this long and productive career. She was also a wonderfully perceptive reader and an avid enthusiast and supporter of new writing."

Alison Samuel, her long-term editor, noted: "She was a favorite author to edit--no nonsense, funny, feisty, responsive, and she sent the best postcards. I can't believe I won't see her distinctive handwriting again. What a very sad day." Forster's works include Lady's Maid, The Unknown Bridesmaid and Keeping the World Away.

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Michael Brick, a journalist "who covered crime in New York, education in Texas and extreme sports nationwide," died yesterday, the New York Times reported. He was 41. Brick was the author of Saving the School: The True Story of a Principal, a Teacher, a Coach, a Bunch of Kids, and a Year in the Crosshairs of Education Reform.


Shelf Awareness Seeks Ad Sales & Marketing Assistant

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Notes

Image of the Day: Butterfly Sisters

When these four authors gathered for a writing retreat at Newbery Honor author Kirby Larson's home, all four of the children's book manuscripts they worked on wound up having a butterfly in them somewhere, entirely coincidentally. All the MSs will be published this year.

Left to right: Kirby Larson (Audacity Jones to the Rescue, Scholastic); Winston the Wonder Dog; Susan Hill Long (The Magic Mirror, Knopf); Augusta Scattergood (Making Friends with Billy Wong, Scholastic) and Barbara O'Connor (Wish, FSG).


Cool Idea of the Day: 'Don't Buy My Book' Event

The Annapolis Bookstore in Annapolis, Md., hosted a launch party for Claude Berube's newest thriller, Syren's Song (Naval Institute Press), that had an unusual twist. The event was billed a "Don't Buy My Book & Talk," for which the price of admission was the purchase of a book not written by Berube.

"It was 100% his idea," said Mary Adams, the store's co-owner and founder. "Claude is a great supporter of indie bookstores and ours, especially. He wanted to inspire other authors, especially local authors, to try the same thing."

According to Adams, the event went very well, with people buying a variety of books and most buying more than one. Some attendees, she said, decided to buy Berube's book in addition to a book by another author, while others stuck more to the letter of the law and came back later in the week to buy Syren's Song. "No one left without a purchase," she added.

Berube is a local author as well as an instructor at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. During the event, Berube informed the audience that he in fact wrote most of Syren's Song at the bookstore's cafe. Syren's Song is a geopolitical thriller about a former Naval Officer who receives a letter of marque to combat a marine terrorist organization; it is the second of Berube's Connor Stark novels.

"Don't get me wrong--I want to sell my books, but more important than that is having the personal touch that a local independent bookstore can provide," Berube said. "All I asked of the people who joined us was to purchase a book that wasn't mine so they could support the store as well. As writers, we're really fortunate when bookstores provide a venue for us and sell our books. I thought this would be a small way to give back to this particular bookstore."

Adams said that since the event, she's received several inquiries from authors interested in doing similar things. She also hopes to have Berube back in store whenever his next novel is out. Said Adams: "Now we're just waiting for his next novel, so we can have another Don't Buy My Book night." --Alex Mutter


The Book Cellar a 'Vital Part' of Chicago Scene

The Book Cellar has "become a vital part of Chicago's literary and cultural scene," the Chicago Review of Books noted in a q&a with owner Suzy Takacs. Among our favorite exchanges:

What's your favorite part of the store?
My favorite part of the store is the people. The people who shop here, the authors and representatives from publishers who have become my friends, and the terrific people that work with me and help me get everything done. I've watched neighborhood kids grow up here. I once helped a customer with her prenatal care when I was a nurse practitioner, and that baby was an intern at the store last summer.

What would surprise people about running a bookstore?
One thing I didn't realize is that it doesn't go away or give me a break. I could keep working 24/7 and the work would still wouldn't be complete. It's not a nickel-and-dime business, it's a nickel-and-penny business.

What do you see in the Book Cellar's future?
I would love to see the Book Cellar continue to grow in book sales, continue to be an integral part of the Chicago community and the writing community, and continue to be able to host interesting author events.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Joel Grey on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Joel Grey, author of Master of Ceremonies: A Memoir (Flatiron Books, $27.99, 9781250057235).

Racheal Ray: Jill Andres, co-author of The Marriage Test: Our 40 Dates Before "I Do" (Berkley, $16, 9780425282755).

Tomorrow:
Diane Rehm: Erika Christakis, author of The Importance of Being Little: What Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups (Viking, $28, 9780525429074).

CNBC's Squawk Box: Jeff Kinney, author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid #10: Old School (Abrams, $13.95, 9781419717017).

E! News: Teresa Giudice, co-author of Turning the Tables: From Housewife to Inmate and Back Again (Gallery, $26, 9781501135101).

Bloomberg Radio's Bloomberg Surveillance: Alec Ross, author of The Industries of the Future (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781476753652). He will also appear on Sirius XM's Stand Up! with Pete Dominick.


TV: #Girlboss; A Discovery of Witches

Christian Ditter (How to Be Single) will direct the upcoming Netflix series #Girlboss, based on Sophia Amoruso's book, Variety reported. Kay Cannon is the showrunner, and will exec produce the series with Charlize Theron, Beth Kono, Laverne McKinnon and Amoruso.

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Bad Wolf is developing a drama based on A Discovery of Witches, the first installment in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. Deadline reported that the production company "has acquired TV rights and is developing a drama based on the book with a view to adapting all three in the series." Life On Mars' Ashley Pharoah is adapting the novel for the screen while Harkness will also pen several episodes."


Books & Authors

Awards: NAACP Image Literature; Arabic Fiction

This year's winners in the literature category of the NAACP Image Awards, which were presented over the weekend in Los Angeles, are:

Fiction: Stand Your Ground by Victoria Christopher Murrary (Touchstone)
Nonfiction: Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga by Pamela Newkirk (Amistad)
Debut Author: The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma (Little, Brown)
Biography/Autobiography: Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Spiegel & Grau)
Instructional: Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family by Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams (Clarkson Potter)
Poetry: How to Be Drawn by Terrance Hayes (Penguin)
Children: Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jamey Christoph (Albert Whitman & Company)
Youth/Teens: X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon (Candlewick)

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The shortlist for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction is:

Numedia by Tareq Bakari (from Morocco)
Destinies: Concerto of the Holocaust and the Nakba by Rabai al-Madhoun (Palestine)
Mercury by Mohamed Rabie (Egypt)
Praise for the Women of the Family by Mahmoud Shukair (Palestine)
A Sky Close to Our House by Shahla Ujayli (Syria)
The Guard of the Dead by George Yaraq (Lebanon)

The winner will be named April 26 during the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.


Book Review

Review: Meathooked

Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession with Meat by Marta Zaraska (Basic Books, $26.99 hardcover, 9780465036622, February 23, 2016)

Polish-Canadian science journalist Marta Zaraska prefaces her history of humans eating meat by mentioning scientific studies of its harmful effects on health, the environment and (of course) animals, but Meathooked is more a fascinating story of our growing global consumption of meat than a political diatribe. Zaraska notes the statistical increase in a carnivore's risks of contracting colorectal cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. She references popular studies showing that "each burger contributes as much to global warming as driving an average American car for 320 miles." She repeats animal rights observations about over-crowded cages and feedlots, non-anesthetized chicken beak and pig tail amputations, and slaughterhouse stress. Yet we keep consuming more and more meat--and not just in the United States. The projected fastest-growing demand for meat is in Asia, where it will increase by 56% over 10 years. What makes humans devour so many ribs and chops--what has us hooked on meat?

Zaraska's story begins a few billion years ago, when bacteria first shed their rigid cell walls and took to eating one another. Quickly she steps along a historical timeline that includes the still-existent carnivore worm, prehistoric cephalopods and arthropods, and, finally, our African hominin ancestors, standing on two legs and drifting from a diet of plant fiber, seeds and nuts to their first taste of meat. Some might argue that it's been downhill from there, but Zaraska spends several chapters explaining the human biochemical need for protein, iron and vitamin B12, which meat readily provides. She takes us through the importance of genetics, taste, texture and scent to the evolution of meat eating. After all this science, Zaraska suggests that humans can certainly survive without meat--perhaps even survive longer--but there is something more than science to our craving for bacon and a succulent rack of lamb. A vegetarian, she admits to her own occasional slip, like a cheesesteak at Pat's King of Steaks in Philadelphia, where she reports, "It's good, very good. I can truly see (or rather taste) what all the fuss is about."

If nutrition and science are not the primary drivers of meat eating, social, cultural and economic factors may be the culprits. Zaraska explores the impact of the meat industry's subsidies, the developing world's desire to emulate the behavior of the wealthier West, the advertising juggernaut selling both the sizzle and the steak, and the off-putting historical arrogance of vegetarian movements. She touches on efforts to mimic meat's taste in foods like soy burgers, to make insects more palatable (such as Cricket energy bars in the U.S.), and to create in vitro meat--although the latter at "$330,000 per five ounces is a bit pricey." In the end, a more vegetarian diet might be best for humans and for Earth, but as Zaraska concludes: "The meat hooks are far too strong for that." --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: With science, history, anecdote and wit, science writer Marta Zaraska explores the causes and effects of the growing global appetite for meat.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. The Baller by Vi Keeland
2. Fractured Era: Legacy Code Bundle by Autumn Kalquist
3. Beautiful Burn (The Maddox Brothers Book 4) by Jamie McGuire
4. Leighann Dobbs Cozy Mystery Collection by Leighann Dobbs
5. Forever Hidden (Forever Bluegrass #2) by Kathleen Brooks
6. I Bring the Fire by C. Gockel
7. Big Rock by Lauren Blakely
8. Sin & Suffer by Pepper Winters
9. Enshrine by Chelle Bliss
10. Happily Ever Alpha Paranormal Romance Boxed Set by Various

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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