Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Penguin Press: Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968 by Ryan H. Walsh

Scribner Book Company: The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson

St. Martin's Press: After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

Little Brown and Company: The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison

Houghton Mifflin: Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein: Based on a True Story by Jennifer Roy with Ali Fadhil

News

Macmillan Paying $20 Million to Consumers in Agency Model Cases

To settle the e-book agency model suit brought by U.S. states and a consumer class-action suit, Macmillan will pay $20 million to consumers, $3 million in legal fees to the states and $2.5 million in fees to the consumer suit lawyers, according to court filings cited by Bloomberg.

Earlier this year, Macmillan was the last of the five major U.S. publishers to settle the e-book agency model suit brought by the Justice Department. Co-defendant Apple has not settled and goes to trial soon.


GLOW: Grove Atlantic: The Mercy Seat by Elizabeth H. Winthrop


German Amazon Workers Authorize Strike

Workers in two Amazon facilities in Germany--in Leipzig and Bad Hersfeld--have voted to authorize a strike, Reuters reported. The negotiator for the trade union Verdi said that a strike against Amazon could come within weeks.

Amazon, which employs some 9,000 people in Germany, has refused to negotiate on a collective bargaining agreement with the union.

Reuters said that in Leipzig, the union wants "starting pay of 10.66 euros ($13.89) an hour, compared with 9.30 euros now. In Bad Hersfeld, they want pay of 9.83 euro to be increased to 12.18."

Peer Steinbrueck, the Social Democratic candidate for Chancellor in the national elections scheduled for September, visited Bad Hersfeld yesterday and met with labor representatives as well as the head of Amazon operations in Germany.


Clarion Books: The Stone Girl's Story by Sarah Beth Durst


McNally Jackson Branches Out into 'Goods for the Study'

From the "Shopping" section of New York magazine, in its entirety:

Sarah McNally, owner of the beloved Nolita bookstore McNally Jackson, is unveiling a second shop, just around the corner, dedicated not to literature but to what she broadly calls 'the life of the mind.' Opening May 5, Goods for the Study (234 Mulberry St., nr. Prince St.; 212-219-2789) will stock new and vintage furniture and office supplies aimed at giving work spaces a more 'distinct character.' The current selection includes a cherrywood drafting table ($700), Milanese oak-and-leather desk chairs ($2,000), maple-wood tape dispensers by British designer Simon Donald ($42), hand-bound notebooks from Germany's Bindewerk (from $9), and scissors made by samurai-sword craftsmen ($64)."


Oxford University Press: Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship by Nadine Strossen


BAM Converting Columbia Store into 2nd & Charles

Books-A-Million is converting its store on Harbison Boulevard in Columbia, S.C., into a 2nd & Charles, its used brand, the State reported. The BAM closed earlier this month and is apparently being remodeled.

BAM has nine 2nd & Charles locations, which "buy and sell books, movies, music, video games, game systems & accessories, comics and more." The company is also planning to open a 2nd & Charles in Beaumont, Texas. BAM opened its first 2nd & Charles in 2010.


William Morrow & Company: My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie


Half Price Books Openings, Closings

Half Price Books is closing its store in Irving, Texas, after it was unable to move into "about half of the former Barnes & Noble space on MacArthur," according to the Dallas Morning News. Two B&N stores closed in Irving late last year. Half Price senior v-p Kathy Thomas said that there was "a spike in sales" but not enough.

In other company news, Half Price, which has 117 stores, opened a store in Chicago over the weekend and plans to open another in Austin, Texas, in July, the paper wrote. Stores in Seattle and Kansas City will be relocated this summer.


Notes

Image of the Day: 'Fiction Is Truer Than Most Nonfiction'

At a talk called "Concept to Completion," hosted by the Gene Barnett Literary Society of Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, N.J., Pulitzer Prize-winner Elizabeth Strout spoke about her new novel, The Burgess Boys (Random House), craft and the importance of fiction. "Fiction is truer than most of the nonfiction we read because in fiction one can stay closer to the facts," she said. "Novels are there as a social tool to bring the news and make readers understand that people are more alike than they are different. And while those differences can be significant, the only way we can really touch each other's shoulders is through fiction. We only have each other." Asked about books on craft that have influenced her writing, she cited War and Peace and The Journals of John Cheever, adding, "These books are not specifically about craft, but they've greatly instructed me in my work." --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines


Read Humane: Penguin Helps Cats and Dogs

Since four-legged customers are a common sight at Aaron's Books in Lititz, Pa., participating in Penguin Group USA's Read Humane campaign "seemed a great fit for us and for our community," said store owner Sam Droke-Dickinson.

Launched in 2012, Read Humane fights animal cruelty, tying in with National Pet Month in May and supporting the Humane Society of the United States. Special editions of six animal-themed titles highlight the campaign with Read Humane seals on their covers and further information inside: Rescue My Heart by Jill Shalvis, Hounds Abound by Linda O. Johnston, Till Death Do Us Bark by Judi McCoy, The Cat, the Wife and the Weapon by Leann Sweeney, File M for Murder by Miranda James and Double Booked for Death by Ali Brandon.

As part of the campaign, the publisher is donating $25,000 to the Humane Society, regardless of book sales. Funds are allocated directly to the organization's Animal Rescue Team, which works with law enforcement to investigate illegal animal cruelty as well as save animals from puppy mills, fighting rings and other life-threatening situations. The group also does disaster relief work, which is one reason Debbie Beamer, the owner of Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop in Mechanicsburg, Pa., is participating in the promotion.

"This is an opportunity to bring to everyone's attention to the services the Humane Society provides," Beamer said. "Many people seem to think of them as an organization that takes in abandoned animals, but they do so much more." For example, when Hurricane Sandy struck last fall, the Humane Society rescued animals from devastated communities and provided pet owners with assistance, including temporarily caring for furry family members whose humans were recovering from the storm.

The Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop will showcase the featured mysteries in store and make all of the Read Humane titles available through its website. In addition to promoting the campaign with an e-mail blast to customers and on its Facebook page, Beamer is reaching out to local media to encourage them to cover the initiative.

At Aaron's Books, a pre-packed display of the Read Humane titles will appear alongside an assortment of other dog- and cat-related books. Droke-Dickinson plans to promote the campaign in the store's newsletter, linking to pet adoption nonprofits in the area, as well as invite a local dog rescue and foster group to host a "meet and greet" at the store.

More than 3,000 retailers nationwide are participating in Read Humane, from independent bookstores to Barnes & Noble and CVS. Marketing and publicity initiatives include advertising in USA Today, Entertainment Weekly and other publications; coverage on Fresh Fiction, RT Book Reviews Online and more than 25 additional book blogs; and a Twitter campaign (#readHumane).

Read Humane was inspired partly by the publisher's Read Pink campaign, which is now in its fourth year and supports breast cancer research and awareness, and also by the many writers on its list whose books feature animals. This year's Read Humane spokesperson, Jill Shalvis, is the author of the Animal Magnetism series, contemporary romances centered on a kennel owner, a veterinarian and other characters who care for critters.

Representing Read Humane is a chance for Shalvis to champion a cause that's "near and dear" to her. Among the animals that she has given a home to are a kitten found in a box, a duck saved from the side of the road and a black lab adopted from an animal sanctuary. "Every pet we've rescued has turned out to be a special addition to the family," she said. "I would love it if others got that message and tried it for themselves. Want a cat or a dog?  Go to your shelter and rescue one. You won't be sorry." --Shannon McKenna Schmidt


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kay Bailey Hutchison on the Daily Show

Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Lindy Boone Michaelis, co-author of Heaven Hears: The True Story of What Happened When Pat Boone Asked the World to Pray for His Grandson's Survival (Tyndale House, $15.99, 9781414383248).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Paul Farmer, author of To Repair the World: Paul Farmer Speaks to the Next Generation (University of California Press, $26.95, 9780520275973).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Kay Bailey Hutchison, author of Unflinching Courage: Pioneering Women Who Shaped Texas (Harper, $27.99, 9780062130693).


Fitzgerald's Film Loot, 50 New Great Gatsby Pics

According to F. Scott Fitzgerald's handwritten ledger chronicling his film payments from 1919 to 1938, the author earned $16,666 for the film version of The Great Gatsby. "Math wizards can computate what these numbers mean in today's dollars. But, hey, isn't that price for a treatment what MGM is still paying?" Deadline.com wrote regarding the documents, which were released as the May 10 opening of Baz Luhrmann's new adaptation of the classic novel approaches.

Also Warner Bros. has unveiled "a plethora of images" to further illustrate that the film "is a literal feast for the eyes, and it's detailed no better than in these still images. The opulence, the bright colors, and the wealth literally dripping from the ceiling is all highlighted, and set against the flawless cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan," Indiewire wrote.


TV: Bigfoot

FX has put in development Bigfoot, an animated comedy series based on Graham Roumieu's books In Me Own Words, Me Write Book and I Not Dead. Deadline.com reported that the project is written by Matt McKenna (American Dad) and executive produced by Seth Rogen.



Books & Authors

Awards: Desmond Elliott Longlist

The longlist has been announced for the £10,000 (about US$15,400) Desmond Elliott Prize, which honors a first novel published in the U.K. The shortlist will be released May 23 and a winner named June 27 in London. This year's Desmond Elliott longlist:

The Marlowe Papers by Ros Barber
The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence
The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan
The Palace of Curiosities by Rosie Garland
Petite Mort by Beatrice Hitchman
The Fields by Kevin Maher
Signs of Life by Anna Raverat
Seldom Seen by Sarah Ridgard
Jammy Dodger by Kevin Smith
The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace


Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan: A Beautiful Collaboration

I'll Be Seeing You (Harlequin Mira, $15.95, May 28, 2013) is the moving story of two women whose pen-pal relationship helps them to cope with the struggles and tragedies of World War II. Its authors are Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan, best friends who have never met in person. Hayes, an author and teacher, lives in Connecticut with her husband and three daughters. Nyhan, an author and professor, lives in the Chicago area with her husband and family. In their separate careers, Hayes (as Suzanne Palmieri) is the author of the novel The Witch of Little Italy (March, St. Martin's Griffin); Loretta Nyhan's YA novel is The Witch Collector (April, Harper Teen). In this IM conversation that spanned three time zones, Hayes and Nyhan share the story of their collaboration as well as their thoughts on the power of friendship.

How did you two meet?

Hayes: We fell in love with each other online, through words.

Nyhan: We still haven't met in person. I followed Suzy's blog, and she followed mine. We had mutual writer friends. After a while we started reading each other's work, then we started talking on the phone, then we decided to write a book together.

Hayes: We both had books out on submission to publishers at the same time, and we were waiting. I was venting on the phone to Loretta and said, "Why not try to do something just for us?" We decided on writing e-mails in character. We both adore history and women in history. I wrote the first e-mail (the first letter in the book) and waited for her to answer me. At first, it was not intended to be a novel.

Nyhan: I knew it was going to be a novel when I got the first letter. I was consumed by the need to write back! My character, Rita, came to me fully formed. She was a gift.

Were your original drafts kept for the finished product?

Hayes: We have an amazing editor who fell in love with the book but had some great ideas. In order to implement those ideas, guess what we did? We did it all over again, letter by letter.

Nyhan: Some plotlines needed streamlining, and we added a character and changed a few. It was just as much fun the second time.

Rita and Glory's friendship sustains them. What does the camaraderie of women mean to you?

Loretta Nyhan

Nyhan: I've gotten to the point in my friendship with Suzy where I can't imagine not having her in my life. I talk to her in my head, just like Rita talks to Glory in the book. When we eventually meet, I think my heart will burst.

Hayes: Women are busy. We have families and jobs and dreams. It's hard, so hard to make and keep up with good friendships. If this book, in any way, can make someone reach out to an old friend, or make a new one who will help heal her stressed out soul, then we will have done a great thing. And, with Loretta--she's my best friend and I've never met her. I tell her everything. It's like being 15, 25 and 80 all at the same time. I will weep when I meet her. She has no idea how she has grounded me. I'm a better wife, mother, friend, writer.... I'm better at everything from knowing her and writing with her. I want other women to feel the same thing. Old friend, new friend... whatever. Get a pen and write a letter!

Nyhan: We all have difficult times, and it's so important to know when you reach your hand out, there will be someone to grasp it, to tell you everything is going to be okay. Women are so good at supporting each other, to simply say, "I'm here for you." No judgment, no demands, just strength.

Aside from friendship, what aspect of the book most stands out in your minds?

Suzanne Hayes

Hayes: Romance. How men and women work through their relationships and how sharing these relationships with a woman you trust can save, strengthen, broaden the base of that romance just by "being there," sharing her own stories. Her own battles. That nothing, NOTHING is too hard to face when you have someone there waiting for you on the other side.

Nyhan: We are all so stressed, so overworked... the popularity of social media shows how much we want to connect with others in a meaningful way. This is what sustains us.

Can you tell us about your next joint novel?

Hayes: It's about two sisters who lose everything and must move to New York City in 1917 to follow their brother. Downton Abbey meets Iron Jawed Angels meets Boardwalk Empire.

Nyhan: New York at the dawn of the U.S. involvement in World War I. Back alley nightclubs and tenement apartments. Wealthy Park Avenue matriarchs and Chinatown drug dens. So much fun. And we switched up the personalities--Suzy is the more buttoned-up character and I'm the free spirit this time. --Jaclyn Fulwood


Book Review

Review: Bad Boy: My Life On and Off the Canvas

Bad Boy: My Life on and Off the Canvas by Eric Fischl, Michael Stone (Crown, $26 hardcover, 9780770435578, May 7, 2013)

Eric Fischl's iconic painting Bad Boy is a dim, dreamy scene of 20th-century suburban unease: a voluptuous naked woman luxuriates on a sun-slatted bed, playing with her toes, legs open; she appears oblivious (or indifferent) to the young boy standing at the foot of the bed, his back to the viewer, staring down at her--and reaching one hand into her open purse behind him.

The painting is about "desire, voyeurism, appropriateness, and boundaries," Fischl writes in his memoir, also titled Bad Boy. Like much of his work, Bad Boy explores the taboo, drawing attention to the contradiction between public appearances and private truths. It's an uncomfortably Oedipal scene, one that "equates the boy's moment of sexual discovery to a theft."

Fischl also suggests the painting is in some sense autobiographical, a depiction of the confusion and chaos underneath the shiny, idyllic surface of his suburban youth. The son of a latently creative, "ferociously" alcoholic mother and an ineffectual father, Fischl grew up on Long Island in New York in the 1950s and '60s amid dysfunction and denial. The "numbing disconnect" between his family's public and private lives, so traumatic for Fischl as a child, eventually became the force that drove his creativity. "Each one of my paintings is like a journey, a process to excavate nuggets of emotion, artifacts of memory, the treasures buried in my subconscious," he writes.

Bad Boy chronicles Fischl's maturation into an extraordinarily successful artist, particularly as a narrative painter during a period in which the art world revered formalist abstraction and conceptual art. A part of the wildly innovative, excess-fueled downtown New York scene of the 1980s, Fischl rocketed to art stardom following the 1982 exhibition of Bad Boy--then struggled to stay true to his art as the art world became the art market.

Fischl's memoir is an engrossing account of that heady time, and he writes candidly, without apology, about his own struggles and process. The book gets slightly less interesting as it goes on, however: the stuff of his earlier years (like his experimentation with different media, and his evolving relationship with his wife, painter April Gornik) is more compelling than more recent material about playing tennis and vacationing in St. Barts with his famous friends. Still, Bad Boy is worth a read, even for those uninterested in Fischl's work: his memoir, like his art, tells a good story. --Hannah Calkins

Shelf Talker: Eric Fischl chronicles his evolution from "suburban bad boy" to premier American narrative painter in this candid, insightful memoir.


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