Also published on this date: Wednesday, February 19, 2014: Kids' Maximum Shelf: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Harper: Only Killers and Thieves by Paul Howarth

Mira Books: Rosie Colored Glasses by Brianna Wolfson

Little Brown and Company: The Which Way Tree by Elizabeth Crook

Bloomsbury: Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen

Soho Crime: The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

Shadow Mountain: Christmas Jars Collector's Edition by Jason F. Wright

Quotation of the Day

Amazon 'Probably Destroyed a Million Jobs'

"Amazon didn't create any jobs. Amazon probably destroyed a million jobs in our economy."

--Nick Hanauer, quoted in a Seattle Times profile that focuses on his political activism, including efforts to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Hanauer "was the first nonfamily investor in Amazon.com in 1995, betting all the cash he had at the time--$45,000--on the nascent Internet bookseller. When he sold his Amazon stock in 2000, it was worth more than $100 million," the Times wrote.

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky: The Very Very Very Long Dog by Julia Patton


News

New Literary Prize Honors Carla Cohen

Anthony Marra's novel A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and David Finkel's book Thank You for Your Service are the inaugural winners of the Carla Furstenberg Cohen Literary Prize. The award was created by family and close friends of the late Carla Cohen, co-founder of Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C. It will be presented annually to authors of first or second books in fiction and nonfiction--judged by two independent juries--with the winner in each category receiving $5,000. The 2013 winners will be honored May 11 at Politics & Prose.

"Carla's legacy lives," said David Cohen, her husband and chairman of the prize's board. "Two talented writers exemplify a new generation of probing, resilient and compassionate writing. Anthony Marra and David Finkel have an uncommon understanding and feel of courage and building lives under continuing adversity. I can see Carla thrusting Marra's and Finkel's into customers hands and telling them and me, 'You just have to read these books.' Who says there's no future for serious books that dig deeply?"

This year's fiction judges were Cohen's longtime Politics & Prose co-owner Barbara Meade, P&P book buyer Mark LaFramboise and novelist Howard Norman. Nonfiction judges were author Rick Atkinson, NPR producer Darcy Bacon and America's Promise president and CEO John Gomperts. According to prize organizers, the jurors, who were chosen by a board, "represent readers who have been part of the Politics & Prose community and reflect the values that Carla Cohen brought to the endeavor. Neither the Cohen family nor the Politics and Prose current owners, Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine, and staff had nor will have a veto over the selections."


Siglio Press: The Stampographer by Vincent Sardon


Blue Frog Books Opens

"Disappointed by a lack of bookstores in the area and eager to fill that void," Penny Coleman and Robert Vedro have opened Blue Frog Books in Howell, Mich., the Livingston Daily Press & Argus reported.

"It's a risk; it absolutely is," said Coleman. "But it's a risk I'm more than willing to take to try to get that bookstore back in the community so people can have a place to go and find a book rather than just (buying it online). There's so much more to the book-buying process than just clicking 'buy.' "

She called Blue Frog Books a dream come true: "People who dream, they usually dream about doing something and it goes away. But this dream wasn't going away."

Two years ago, Coleman attended a Paz and Associates' prospective booksellers workshop in Florida that was co-sponsored by the ABA. She recalled there were "a surprising number of people there from all around the country. Like-minded people who realize the value of a book and what a bookstore can do for a community."

Describing himself a "numbers guy," Vedro, Coleman's brother-in-law, said he still needed to be convinced, but after he attended BookExpo in New York, "I was just amazed with the passion book readers have for their stories, for their authors. So I really think there is a need here, and we just want to fill that need."

"We tried to come up with a general all-around bookstore with something for everyone," Vedro added.


PuddleDancer Press: Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, 3rd Edition: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships by Marshall B. Rosenberg


Graphic Arts Books Buys Companion Press Trade Titles

Graphic Arts Books, Portland, Ore., has acquired the trade titles and publishing rights of Companion Press of Bozeman, Mont., which will join and help expand Graphic Arts Books and WestWinds Press. Graphic Arts Books will publish one forthcoming Companion Press title this year and will add "the Companion Press Series" to all reprints and reissues of Companion Press titles.

"The Companion Press list gives us a well-established and respected presence in California as well as representative titles in the Southwest, Northwest, Alaska and the Rockies," said Douglas Pfeiffer, Graphic Arts Books publishing director. "Through this acquisition, we continue to fulfill our mission to be a strong regional publisher throughout all parts of the United States."

Jane Freeburg, who founded Companion Press in 1987, called Graphic Arts Books "a great fit" for the press, "where the legacy of Companion Press titles, photographers and authors will live on."


Freeform: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton


Obituary Note: Mavis Gallant

Mavis Gallant, the internationally celebrated Canadian short story writer who lived and worked for most of her life in Paris, died yesterday, CBC reported. She was 91. The New Yorker published 114 of her stories and "nurtured her early career long before she was recognized in Canada," CBC wrote.

The Guardian noted that Gallant's "body of work--a dozen collections of short stories, two novels, a play and numerous essays and reviews--more than fulfilled her belief that style is 'not a last-minute addition to prose, a charming and universal slipover, a coat of paint used to mask the failings of a structure.' "


Notes

Image of the Day: Glitter and Glue

Kelly Corrigan launched the national tour for her new memoir, Glitter and Glue (Ballantine), at a benefit lunch for the Community Fund of Darien, Conn., hosted by Barrett Bookstore, at the Country Club of Darien. Above, the author flanked by Barrett Bookstore manager Libby Stowell (l.) and events coordinator Rosanna Nissen (r.). Right: the audience displays their copies of Glitter and Glue.


Cool Idea of the Day: Fiction Addiction's 'Trust Fall'

In January, Jill Hendrix, owner of Fiction Addiction, Greenville, S.C., sent an e-mail to customers asking, "How much do you trust Fiction Addiction? Will you take a trust fall with us?" Noting that she had fallen in love with a debut hardcover novel (that would be released in February) and had "coerced" friends, family and staff to read it, Hendrix proposed the following deal: "I know you will all love it as well, but I'm afraid that the title/cover will turn you off. So, what I want to know is whether you'll agree to pre-order this book, sight unseen, just based on our love for it if we give you a full money-back guarantee if you read it but don't love it as much as we have."  

Monday, she offered an update on Facebook: "We had a great response to our Trust Fall promotion; 53 of you have now picked up your book and we're starting to get some feedback from those who've read it. So far, we've heard it's 'captivating'... 'all I want to do is sit here and keep reading [it]'... and 'I'm enjoying the heck out of it.' If you've read or started the book, please let us know your thoughts. But try to keep the title and author secret for a little while longer as we still have about 15 people who haven't yet picked up their book. If you didn't already take the fall, we have extra copies available--just let us know you're interested!"


Recruiting a Roller Derby Bookseller Team

The most recent edition of Algonquin Books Blog's "The Lucky Tour" found "intrepid former Algonquin intern David Bradley" visiting the Book Table, Oak Park, Ill., where he asked owner Jason Smith if anyone on the staff had an unusual talent that would be fun to reveal.

"One of our booksellers is on a roller derby team!" Smith replied. "And she wants to get an entire team of roller derby booksellers, so if anyone is interested, get in touch with us."


Patsy Jones Joining Hachette Nashville as V-P Marketing

Effective February 24, Patsy Jones joins Hachette Nashville as v-p of marketing. She was formerly v-p of sales and marketing for books at Anderson Merchandisers for five years, and before that held a variety of marketing and buyer positions at Books-A-Million over 15 years, most recently as senior v-p of merchandising and sales.

In her new job, Jones will be located in Nashville and head the advertising, marketing and publicity efforts for the FaithWords, Center Street and Jericho Books imprints.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Trevor Cox on Fresh Air

Today on Fresh Air: Trevor Cox, author of The Sound Book: The Science of the Sonic Wonders of the World (Norton, $26.95, 9780393239799).

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Tomorrow on MSNBC's NewsNation: Zachary Karabell, author of The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers That Rule Our World (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781451651201).

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Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Richard Powers, author of Orfeo (Norton, $26.95, 9780393240825). As the show put it: "Richard Powers says his new novel, Orfeo, reveals that there's little difference between a passion and an idea. The book is about Peter Els, a retired composer trying to recover his lost muse at the end of his life. When Els combines this search with his second passion, for home microbiology, he inadvertently sets off the alarms of Homeland Security and becomes the target of a nationwide manhunt. Powers discusses the slow 'germination' of ideas behind this cutting-edge story of musical microbiology, and the rival versions of modernity that its main character has spent his artistic lifetime trying to reconcile."

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Tomorrow on Dr. Oz: Majid Fotuhi, co-author of Boost Your Brain: The New Art and Science Behind Enhanced Brain Performance (HarperOne, $25.99, 9780062199270).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Marwan Muasher, author of The Second Arab Awakening: And the Battle for Pluralism (Yale University Press, $30, 9780300186390).

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Stanley McChrystal, author of My Share of the Task: A Memoir (Portfolio, $20, 9781591846826).


TV: Flowers in the Attic Sequel

Rose McIver (Masters of Sex, Once Upon a Time) will star as Cathy in Petals on the Wind, Lifetime network's upcoming sequel to its adaptation of V.C. Andrews's Flowers in the Attic. Entertainment Weekly reported that McIver "will inherit the role from Kiernan Shipka, who played Cathy from ages 12 through 15 in the first film. The novel on which Petals is based picks up immediately where Flowers leaves off, covering a sequence of events that take place over the course of 12 years; Lifetime's movie version will take a different approach, beginning a decade after the events of the first movie." Heather Graham and Ellen Burstyn will reprise their roles from the first movie.


Movies: Unbroken Preview; Classic Harlan Ellison Story

During the Sochi Olympics telecast over the weekend, Universal Pictures debuted a preview video of Unbroken, the film adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand's book directed by Angelina Jolie from a screenplay by William Nicholson, Richard LaGravenese, and Joel Coen & Ethan Coen. The preview, narrated by Tom Brokaw, "combines glimpses of the film, which stars Jack O'Connell as [1936 Olympian Louis] Zamperini; archival footage from the '36 Games in Berlin; and interview footage with Zamperini himself, who is now 97," the Los Angeles Times reported. Unbroken is scheduled for a Christmas Day release.

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For the first time, Harlan Ellison is allowing a film to be developed based on " 'Repent, Harlequin!' Said The Ticktock Man," a story he published in Galaxy magazine in 1965 that went on to win several awards, including a Hugo and a Nebula. Deadline.com reported that Ellison "has granted an option directly" to J. Michael Straczynski (World War Z, Thor, Babylon 5). To obtain the rights, Straczynski "had to deliver a finished screenplay to Ellison... Only then did Ellison grant the option," Deadline.com noted, adding that Straczynski will now look for production partners and a director, "and the first parties he will approach will be Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro."


Books & Authors

Awards: Kitschies; SoA Translation

Ruth Ozeki won the £1,000 (about US$1,670) Kitschies Red Tentacle prize for A Tale for the Time Being. Presented by the Kraken Rum, the Kitschies "reward the year's most progressive, intelligent and entertaining works that contain elements of the speculative or fantastic." The Golden Tentacle for a debut novel went to Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie; the Inky Tentacle (cover) to The Age Atomic by Adam Christopher, art by Will Staehle; and the Black Tentacle, the judges' discretionary award, to Malorie Blackman.

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Seven translators received prizes totaling more than £19,000 (about US$31,750) at the Society of Authors' Translation Prizes in London. See a complete list of winners here.


Book Brahmin: Bill Cotter

photo: Leon Alesi

Bill Cotter is a rare book dealer in Austin, Tex. He was born in Dallas in 1964, and moved often before landing in Austin in 1997. He has spent a lot of time in psychiatric hospitals. He is the author of two works of fiction, Fever and the new The Parallel Apartments (McSweeney's, February 11, 2014). His short stories have appeared in the Paris Review, McSweeney's Quarterly, New Orleans Review and elsewhere. He won a Pushcart Prize for his essay "The Gentleman's Library," published in the Believer in June 2012. Cotter lives with the storyteller and performer Annie La Ganga.

On your nightstand now:

Dog of the South by Charles Portis, X'ed Out by Charles Burns, The Art Forger's Handbook by Eric Hebborn.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Hergé's The Calculus Affair. My family lived in Iran from '73-'76, and some of the only English books for children available at the international bookstores in Teheran and Ahwaz were the anesthetic fairytales and tedious mystery-adventure stories of the beloved and dumbfoundingly productive Englishwoman, Enid Blyton. I read many, many of these, and shibboleths of a para-British literary upbringing still occur in my syntax and grammar. It was after I swore off my last Blyton--The Book of Brownies--that I discovered Tintin. Even now, re-readings of The Calculus Affair soothe, startle and inspire.

Your top five authors:

Nadine Gordimer, José Saramago, A.M. Homes, Montaigne, Larry McMurtry.

Book you've faked reading:

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I've tried reading this, I have, but there's no greater readerly suppressant than a trilogy of flagstones that begins with the assumption that the reader has already worked his or her way through The Hobbit, another book I've lied about having read.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Oxford English Dictionary. Everyone should own or have access to this, either the shelf-splintering 20-volume edition (plus Additions, in three volumes), or the one-volume microprint edition (with flea-glass), or even the elegant online edition--the maturation, usage and meanings of 600,000 English words are nowhere more steeply examined than in this book, arguably mankind's greatest scholarly achievement (excepting, maybe, China's Yongle Encyclopedia). Just open it and start reading.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Pim and Francie by Al Columbia. I was attracted to the sinister ink-and-pencil, tape-masked cover drawing of two footloose, four-fingered cartoons that look to be on their way to inhabit somebody's nightmare. Come to find out it's worse than that. No graphic novel (nor any work of fiction, for that matter) has laid the creeping harrows on me like Pim and Francie did. The ruined landscape imagined by Columbia is verily Boschian in its horror, though even Bosch never rendered knives in such a ghastly manner.

Book that changed your life:

Montaigne's Essays. An "essay," as defined by high school English teachers everywhere, is a series of words organized to form a three- to five-page work of nonfiction in which the author's chosen subject is analyzed, interpreted or guessed at; this work is often presented to an instructor in essay-writing not as a written piece with intrinsic literary merit, but as an assertion of the author's understanding of and ability to commit an essay, which is then graded a C- and refunded to the author for revision. This process vests the high-school English student with a just loathing of essays, either the reading or the writing of them. Why I picked up Montaigne in my 30s I don't remember, but essays like "On Solitude," "How Our Mind Tangles Itself Up," "On Drunkeness," "On Books" and many others entirely subtracted my high-school notion of the genre, and in a way gave me permission to write.

Favorite line from a book:

"Come screeching up to the crosswalk, bucking and skidding with a bottle of rum in one hand and jamming the horn to drown out the music... glazed eyes insanely dilated behind tiny black, gold-rimmed greaser shades, screaming gibberish..., a genuinely dangerous drunk, reeking of ether and terminal psychosis."  --Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

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

Blindness by José Saramago.

Books you wish you could unread and have back the hours lost on them:

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown; Ulysses by James Joyce; The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie; Star: A Novel by Pamela Anderson.


Book Review

YA Review: The Here and Now

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares (Delacorte, $18.99 hardcover, 256p., ages 12-up, 9780385736800, April 8, 2014)

What if the only way to live in the future is to return to the past? Ann Brashares's (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) latest novel, The Here and Now,  explores that tantalizing possibility.

Narrator Prenna James, 17 years old, comes from a world very different from ours. In her time, near the end of the 21st century, climate change has turned the world into an overheated, damp wasteland where food is scarce and plague runs rampant. Prenna is chosen to be one of the Travelers, a select group of citizens immune to the plague who will travel back to 2010 and work from there to avert disaster. Though she's been warned to avoid relationships with so-called "time natives," as Prenna comes of age, she grows dangerously close to Ethan. Though the 12 rules governing Prenna and her people are meant to preserve time and its "natural sequence," the mission of the group was supposed to be preventing the plagues and devastation of the future. Prenna begins to wonder if perhaps the only way to save the future is to break the rules designed to protect it. Ethan and Prenna, after a surprising encounter with a homeless man they call Ben Kenobi, set out to defy time and change the future--no matter the consequences.

Brashares imagines a horrifying trajectory: children too terrified to go outside, governments collapsing for lack of resources, mosquitoes carrying pandemic plagues. Skillfully weaving together time travel, planetary devastation, climate change, plague and young love, the author creates an engaging, adventurous tale. Though Prenna and Ethan’s romance is a central plot point, it never overwhelms Prenna’s overriding mission to save the future.

The author glosses over the more technical details of time travel and what makes it possible; telling the story from Prenna's viewpoint makes this the logical approach. Brashares carefully avoids info-dumps, and does not rely on futuristic technology to make her story work. Her novel brings to light ethical questions: What are humans doing to the environment? Can we stop it? Is it ever okay to change the past? Is it ever permissible to take one life if that will save countless others?  Not all plot threads are tied up, which may frustrate some readers, but the door seems open for a sequel. --Kyla Paterno

Shelf Talker: In a departure from the author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, two tweens from different time periods fall in love while attempting to save the world from destruction.


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