Shelf Awareness for Thursday, March 20, 2014


DC Comics: DC Super Hero Girls: Past Times at Super Hero High by Shea Fontana, Agnes Garbowska, and Yancey Labat

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: The Explorer by Katherine Rundell

Andrews McMeel Publishing: Big Nate: A Good Old-Fashioned Wedgie by Lincoln Peirce / Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy: Disco Fever by Doug Savage

Shadow Mountain: Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

Workman Publishing: Hog Wild!: A Frenzy of Dance Music by Sandra Boynton

News

Hillary Clinton's Next Chapter--Her Book--Almost Done

photo: Cameron Blaylock

Hillary Clinton gave a simultaneously amusing and heartfelt keynote at the annual meeting of the Association of American Publishers yesterday in New York City, discussing her publishing experience, her upcoming book and publishing in general.

In an introduction, S&S CEO Carolyn Reidy noted that, including the forthcoming book, she has published four books by Clinton, all of which have been "much anticipated, much discussed and, I'm happy to report, much purchased." Clinton writes all her books, including revisions, Reidy said, and as for the upcoming one, "I can tell you the world will be happy again."

Clinton praised editor Jonathan Karp and Reidy, who, she said, has with this project shown "the kind of care and passion she brings to everything she does, including working with prickly, stubborn authors."

The new book, which Simon & Schuster is publishing in June, is about her experiences as Secretary of State. Clinton hopes, as she intends with all her books, to "captivate, educate and inspire all at once," she said. The book deals with a range of subjects, "from the Crimea to climate change" and is, she joked, "just another light summer read."

At the moment, she's mulling over titles. Possibilities include one that "plays off my love of all things Tina Fey: Bossy Pantsuit." But because of "one of those words," that title will not be used. A contender is 120 Countries and It's Still About My Hair.

She described a kind of idyllic existence "at our farmhouse in Chappaqua" that she imagined following her resignation as Secretary of State, but "it hasn't worked out that way. If you saw my study at home, you'd think it was an episode from Hoarders." Clinton still writes longhand and keeps all her drafts. "I have barrels and barrels of old drafts."

Clinton noted that besides Karp and Reidy, she has "two fantastic editors: Bill and Chelsea." Her husband and daughter "encourage me to keep going, to put things on page, to provide context."

In conclusion, she urged publishers to support First Book, the program that seeks to place books in homes of low-income families. Reading and singing to children is so important, she continued. "It fuels brain development and puts them on the path to developing their potential… Without access to books, kids have substantially lower vocabularies, which creates an achievement gap down the road."

She also praised publishers, saying that "as an old-fashioned reader who loves books, thank you all very, very much." While she didn't mention a possible run for president in 2016, she did exit the room with a very campaign-like wave. --John Mutter


Frankfurt Book Fair: Frankfurter Buchmesse U.S. Booksellers Prize


AAP: Copyright Issues on the Agenda

In remarks opening the annual meeting of the Association of American Publishers yesterday, Carolyn Reidy, CEO of Simon & Schuster and outgoing AAP president, recounted achievements during the past year. These included:

  • In the trade area, AAP staff has facilitated meetings of independent publishers with key book buyers in the New York metro area to present adult and children's titles to both librarians and booksellers.
  • The Independent Publishers Committee has convened educational sessions, in person and via webinar, on topics like new ways to promote books and reach special markets, and continues to support the art of storytelling with events like the second annual Twitter Fiction Festival.
  • The Association of Educational Publishers merged with the AAP's School Division to form the PreK-12 Learning Group.
  • The drive to increase public funding for instructional materials resulted in California in the creation of a special $1.25 billion fund for materials and technology to implement Common Core Standards and in Texas with an $848 million biennium appropriation for instructional materials.
  • In professional and scholarly publishing, the new CHORUS service--a public-private partnership of publishers, federal agencies, libraries and others--will increase public access to peer-reviewed articles reporting on federally funded research.
  • The AAP continued "the industry's historic engagement" on First Amendment and freedom of expression issues, including censorship battles concerning classic titles such as Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, Invisible Man and House of the Spirits. (This year the American Library Association awarded its annual Freedom to Read Roll of Honor to the AAP's Judy Platt.)


A major item on the agenda for the coming year involves copyright. (Reidy called "the protection of publishers' intellectual property rights" the central role of the AAP.) The issue is coming to the fore again in part because last year the Register of Copyrights called for a comprehensive review of U.S. copyright and the creation of "the Next Great Copyright Act." As a result, the House Judiciary Committee has started to hold hearings, and the U.S. Patent and Trade Office has sought comments on copyright issues. The matter will move slowly Reidy emphasized, noting that the last major copyright reform act passed in 1976 and stemmed from similar hearings that took place in the 1950s. Still, it is important for publishers to "act now" to make sure that publishers' and authors' interests are taken into account, she said.

Publishers have all the more work today because they're at a disadvantage in the new digital world. "The major technology and internet companies--many of whom are also our customers and partners in digital commerce, search, marketing, and other enterprises--have invested hundreds of millions of dollars, and used their unique resources, to influence legislation and regulation that are good for their businesses but unquestionably devalue copyright," Reidy said.

Moreover, much of the public believe "that copyright and its proponents belong to a pre-digital paradigm: that publishers, studios, and music companies are sticking their fingers in the dike to hold back the tide of digital progress, progress defined without regard to its impact on artistic work and intellectual property," she said. "The larger, public discussion about the role and future of copyright has been rather one sided, and we haven't done all that we should. We have seen technology companies and Internet advocates quickly mobilize the public, in huge numbers, to act on their behalf…. There is no question about the vibrant contribution we make to the life of this country, its citizens, and the rest of the world, yet our accomplishments, in both print and the new world of digital, have been undersold… we need to shift the dialogue from 'will publishing survive,' to how we are taking our industry forward, seizing unprecedented opportunities for transforming the very nature of the book, for disseminating information, and for distributing content."


AuthorBuzz for the Week of 08.22.17


Penguin Random House Buying Santillana Trade Operations

Significantly expanding its Spanish- and Portuguese-language publishing, Penguin Random House is buying the Spanish-language, Portuguese and Brazilian trade book businesses of Santillana Ediciones Generales from PRISA. Santillana Ediciones operates in Spain, Portugal and Latin America, including Brazil. The deal does not include Santillana's children's and young adult literature geared to schools and educational institutions.

The acquired Spanish-language business will be merged with Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial in Spain, Portugal and Latin America. Penguin Random House Brazil will acquire Santillana's Brazilian trade publishing business, Objetiva. The Spanish-language imprints include Aguilar, Alfaguara, Punta de Lectura, Suma de Letras, Taurus, and in Brazil, Alfaguara, Foglio, Fontanar, Objetiva, Ponto de Leitura and Suma de Letras.

In a note to staff, Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle said that "Santillana's outstanding publishing houses and rich frontlists and backlists make them the perfect partner for Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, creating an unrivaled roster of Spanish and international authors that we will bring to a greater worldwide audience. In Brazil, our acquisition of Santillana's Editorial Objetiva, together with our 45% stake in Companhia das Letras, will substantially expand our presence in one of South America's leading trade book markets."


DK Publishing: Star Wars Made Easy: A Beginner's Guide to a Galaxy Far, Far Away by Christian Blauvelt


Obituary Note: Marie Nightingale

Marie Nightingale, "one of Nova Scotia's most prolific and well-known culinary writers," died March 15, Quillblog reported. Her 1970 cookbook, Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens, sold more copies than any other Nova Scotian cookbook. A 40th anniversary edition was released in 2010.


Notes

Image of the Day: A Yellow Watermelon

Recently, the Friends of the Coffeeville (Alabama) High School staged a play of resident Ted Dunagan's first novel, A Yellow Watermelon (now out in paperback from NewSouth). Set in the 1940s, it's the story of a white boy who befriends a black child and then steps forward to uncover the duplicity and racist attitudes of the town's leading citizen.

The project was inspired by the play based on Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird that's presented annually in nearby Monroeville, Ala. A Yellow Watermelon: The Play, written by local playwright Cathi Gunter, was a fund-raiser for the restoration of the high school. The event included an essay contest for middle-schoolers and a q&a with Dunagan.


Indies in Bangor, Maine, 'Adapt to Changing Marketplace'

Veteran booksellers in Bangor, Maine, discussed "the secrets to their businesses' longevity" with the Daily News, which noted that indies offer "shelf after shelf of books, full of new people and new worlds waiting to be discovered, with a familiar face ready to serve as a guide--and time and space for a leisurely perusal."  

"We're a general bookstore with an inventory weighted toward state of Maine cultural and historical themes and as many Maine authors as we can afford, since the beginning. A lot of customers look to us for that," said Marc Berlin, owner of BookMarcs Bookstore.

Citing the store's "relatively small size and lower overhead" as keys to survival, he added: "We're closer to our customers, more customer-oriented. Also, despite the parking complaints, being downtown helps somewhat. During the summer, a lot of people passing through like to come downtown. There are people who stop here every year.... I've been fortunate in having terrific employees over the years who are very interested in customer service. They've really extended themselves in helping customers find the books they're looking for. I've learned from my employees and my staff, and that's part of the fun of it."

For almost 30 years, the Briar Patch "has been a place for children and their parents to discover fun," the Daily News wrote. Owner Cathy Anderson said her store had its best-ever sales year in 2013. "We have a niche. Once people who buy children's books come here, they realize what a comprehensive selection we have, and they usually come back.... We've got a knowledge base that you can't get from Amazon or a big-box store." She also credited her location. "Downtown Bangor has been on the upswing for several years. Young people are investing time and energy down here. Also people have grown more aware about shopping at local, independent stores."


New Details on Harry Potter-Diagon Alley Expansion

More details have been released about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter--Diagon Alley, which will open this summer at Universal Studios Florida. The Huffington Post reported that visitors will "ride the Hogwarts Express train and experience the British countryside just as the characters did in the book and movie series. Guests will appear to magically pass through a brick wall and board a train with steam and a whistle.... During the ride, characters and magical creatures from the book will be spotted. Among them: Hagrid on a flying motorbike, the Weasley twins on brooms, and the Knight Bus in London traffic."


Personnel Changes at HarperCollins

Effective today, Rosanne Romanello is joining HarperCollins Children's Books as senior publicity manager. She formerly worked at EVINS, a marketing and public relations firm with a focus on luxury goods and services. She began her career in the publicity department of Penguin Book Group's Berkley/NAL division.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook

Today on Fresh Air: Jack Bishop and Julia Collin Davison of America's Test Kitchen and authors of The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook (Cook's Illustrated, $26.95, 9781936493616).

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Tomorrow on MSNBC's NOW with Alex Wagner: Adam Braun, author of The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change (Scribner, $25, 9781476730622).

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Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Tim Conway, co-author of What's So Funny?: My Hilarious Life (Howard, $25.99, 9781476726502).

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Tomorrow night on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Keith Ellison, author of My Country, 'Tis of Thee: My Faith, My Family, Our Future (Gallery/Karen Hunter, $25, 9781451666878).


TV: Game of Thrones; Victor Hugo's Ugly

A new trailer has been released for the fourth season of Game of Thrones, which returns to HBO April 6.

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FremantleMedia International and director Roland Joffé (The Killing Fields, The Mission) "are putting a new spin on Victor Hugo's classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame," Deadline.com reported, adding that Joffé "will write a retelling of the story titled Ugly," which "will trace the titular character's journey and aims to show what it means to be human regardless of outward appearances."

Calling the project a "further move by Fremantle into scripted drama," Deadline.com noted that FremantleMedia North America had acquired rights to the Neil Gaiman's American Gods for a potential series.


Movies: The Giver; Joe

The first trailer has been released for The Giver, based on Lois Lowry's classic and "one of the first modern dystopic tales written explicitly for a younger audience," Entertainment Weekly reported. The film, which stars Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes, Meryl Streep, Odeya Rush and Taylor Swift, is scheduled for an August release.

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The film adaptation of Joe, adapted from Larry Brown's novel, premiered at SXSW in Austin, Tex., last week and will be released nationally April 11. Directed by David Gordon Green, the film stars Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan and Adriene Mishler. Although there is no movie tie-in edition, a paperback reprint of the novel featuring a new jacket design releases next week from Algonquin.


This Weekend on Book TV: Virginia Festival of the Book

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, March 22
12 p.m. Book TV offers live coverage from the Virginia Festival of the Book of a panel on African-American History. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

2 p.m. Book TV offers live coverage from the Virginia Festival of the Book featuring Laura Gottesdiener, author of A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home (Zuccotti Park Press, $14.95, 9781884519215). (Re-airs Sunday at 1:15 a.m.)

8 p.m. John Rizzo, author of Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA (Scribner, $28, 9781451673937).

8:45 p.m. Masha Gessen, author of Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot (Riverhead, $16, 9781594632198). (Re-airs Sunday at 10:45 a.m.)

10 p.m. After Words. Demographics expert and Weekly Standard columnist Jonathan Last interviews Paul Taylor, author of The Next America: Boomers, Millennials and the Looming Generational Showdown (PublicAffairs, $26.99, 9781610393508). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. & 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Myra MacPherson, author of The Scarlet Sisters: Sex, Suffrage, and Scandal in the Gilded Age (Twelve, $28, 9780446570237), at Books & Books, Coral Gables, Fla. (Re-airs Sunday at 5:15 p.m.)

Sunday, March 23
8:45 a.m. Diane Jacobs, author of Dear Abigail: The Intimate Lives and Revolutionary Ideas of Abigail Adams and Her Two Remarkable Sisters (Ballantine, $28, 9780345465061). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

1:20 p.m. Richard Miniter, author of Eyes on Target: Inside Stories from the Brotherhood of the U.S. Navy SEALs (Center Street, $25, 9781455575695). (Re-airs Monday at 1:20 a.m. & 7:45 a.m.)

1:35 p.m. David Harsanyi, author of The People Have Spoken (And They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy (Regnery, $27.99, 9781621572022). (Re-airs Monday at 1:35 a.m.)

1:50 p.m. Kevin Freeman, author of Game Plan: How to Protect Yourself from the Coming Cyber-Economic Attack (Regnery, $27.95, 9781621572008). (Re-airs Monday at 1:50 a.m.)

6:45 p.m. Peter Stark, author of Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire--A Story of Wealth, Ambition and Survival (Ecco, $27.99, 9780062218292).

8 p.m. Book TV features coverage of the $50,000 Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History in New York City. (Re-airs Monday at 5 a.m.)

10 p.m. Sylviane Diouf, author of Slavery's Exiles: The Story of the American Maroons (NYU Press, $29.95, 9780814724378).


Books & Authors

Awards: Arthur C. Clarke; Romance; Christian Book; New England

This year's shortlist has been announced for the £2,014 (about US$3,350) Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction novel of the year. The winner will be named May 1 as part of the SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival. The shortlisted titles are:

God's War by Kameron Hurley (Del Rey)
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
The Disestablishment of Paradise by Phillip Mann (Gollancz)
Nexus by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot)
The Adjacent by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)
The Machine by James Smythe (Blue Door)

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Veronica Henry won the Romantic Novelists' Association's £5,000 ($8,270) Romantic Novel of the Year award for A Night on the Orient Express, which also took the contemporary romantic novel category. Other category winners were Jennifer McVeigh's The Fever Tree (epic), Christina Courtenay's The Gilded Fan (historical), Milly Johnson's It's Raining Men (romantic comedy) and Imogen Howson's Linked (YA).

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The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association has announced 36 finalists in seven categories for the 2014 Christian Book Award program, honoring "Christian publishing's best book and Bible releases of the year." The winner in each category will be announced at the industry's award banquet on April 28 at Focus on the Family, held opening night of the ECPA Leadership Summit.

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Winners of the 2014 New England Society Book Awards, sponsored by the New England Society in the City of New York and honoring "books of merit that celebrate New England and its culture," are:

Fiction: Sight Reading by Daphne Kalotay (HarperCollins)
Nonfiction, Contemporary: Lifesaving Lessons by Linda Greenlaw (Viking)
Nonfiction, History & Biography: Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick (Viking)
Art & Photography: A Lifetime of Vermont People by Peter Miller (Silver Print Press)

The awards luncheon and book signing will take place on April 16 at the Grolier Club in New York City.


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, March 25:

A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power by Jimmy Carter (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781476773957) explores global trends of violence against women.

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington (Harmony, $26, 9780804140843) discusses the meaning of success.

Tempting Fate by Jane Green (St. Martin's Press, $25.99, 9780312591847) follows a woman who has an affair.

The Alpine Yeoman by Mary Daheim (Ballantine, $26, 9780345535337) continues the Emma Lord mystery series.

Falling Out of Time by David Grossman (Knopf, $24.95, 9780385350136) centers on a villager searching for his dead son.

Death on Blackheath by Anne Perry (Ballantine, $27, 9780345548382) continues the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Victorian mystery series.

The Eternal Nazi: From Mauthausen to Cairo, the Relentless Pursuit of SS Doctor Aribert Heim by Nicholas Kulish and Souad Mekhennet (Doubleday, $27.95, 9780385532433) chronicles the hunt for a concentration camp doctor.

Now in paperback:

Shadow Spell: Book Two of the Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy by Nora Roberts (Berkley, $17, 9780425259863).

Hunting Season: A Novel by Andrea Camilleri and Stephen Sartarelli (Penguin, $15, 9780143126539).

Under the Dome: Part 2: A Novel by Stephen King (Pocket, $8.99, 9781476767284).


Book Review

Review: Jump Soul: New and Selected Poems

Jump Soul: New and Selected Poems by Charlie Smith (W.W. Norton, $26.95 hardcover, 9780393240221, March 24, 2014)

Georgia-born Charlie Smith, a writer with impressive range, has published eight previous collections of poetry and seven novels. In Jump Soul, his new poems are a mature vision of the considerable promise and pleasures of his earlier work, the best of which are included here. They are fierce, lyrical and fully accommodate the opposites held in each moment.

Smith's impact as a young poet was immediate: his first collection, Red Roads, was a National Poetry Series selection, and George Plimpton once introduced him as a young William Faulkner. His early themes--family, the failures to erase the distance between the people one loves, the power of memory, the inevitability of loss--are the stuff of life and of poetry, but Smith wakes them up with explosions of words and images. His narrators sometimes guard against the inevitability of loss with a world-weary cynicism, and the pursuit of pleasure is a barrier against "the kick of death." Other poems draw on memory to find promise in a world where pain is not vanquished but does not prevent pleasure, where "the red flowers/ returned to the trees/ as if winter was nothing to them, nothing at all."

Many of Smith's selections are longer, confessional works. In "As for Trees," his character remembers his boyhood to count "the stupendous oaks and hickories I climbed,/ catafalques and monuments, broken-down harassed, improvident trees,/ unconnected, poorly constructed unsought after trees...." Later in the poem, as the trees shift meaning and become symbols for the people he's lost, the word pleasure remains.

This recognition of the paradox of loss in the midst of life's fullness is especially pronounced in the new selections, many of which are among Smith's best. They are more bittersweet and more direct. "Life on Earth" is especially successful; it's bleak and gorgeous, layering images that are always concrete and grounded with almost violent energy, showing how the discarded remnants of natural beauty in the shadow of the Metropolitan Museum triggers a moment where something else shifts: "Yet even here, even now, some assistant/ leaning on his life to come--loss then fade away--makes up his mind."

Smith's ability to make those connections--between the dark and the light, between seemingly unrelated images--to allow us to see something new, marks him as a major poet. The kinetic energy of his words and the concrete and grounded imagery make this volume a pleasure to read. --Jeanette Zwart

Shelf Talker: Charlie Smith's new poems (and the best from his eight previous collections) reward readers with the pleasure of words and a fresh look at universal truths.


Deeper Understanding

Stand Up Comics: Four Titles for a Range of Readers

Stand Up Comics is a regular column by Adan Jimenez. These titles need no introduction: just read the column, then read some good comics!

The Massive Vol. 1: Black Pacific written by Brian Wood, art by Kristian Donaldson and Garry Brown (Dark Horse)
The Massive takes place in a near-future Earth that has been ravaged by multiple environmental and social disasters. The Kapital is searching for its sister-ship, the Massive, which has gone missing somewhere in the now-inundated world. It continues to adhere to environmentalist group Ninth Wave's core mission of saving the world by saving the oceans, but how do you save a world that has, for all intents and purposes, already ended?

The Massive takes the position that if we do nothing about the environmental issues we currently face, we will find ourselves in a world thrown into chaos by radically altered weather patterns. And on top of that, Wood creates some amazing characters that you can't wait to learn more about.

Brian Wood has made a name for himself by creating multiple, much-lauded, creator-owned series, including DMZ, Supermarket and Northlanders, that deal with a range of political and social issues. The Massive continues in this tradition--but at the same time, it's very different.

Handselling Opportunities: People who are politically active and worried about the environment, and people who enjoy environmental science fiction, or "green fiction." And if they come back for more, you can show them the second volume, Subcontinental.

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff (First Second)
Delilah Dirk is an adventuring swashbuckler of indeterminate origins who literally crashes into the life of Selim, the eponymous Turkish Lieutenant. Selim is in the employ of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, who is the worst sort of boss, when Delilah attempts to steal some scrolls and is caught. As Selim details all the rather outlandish information he's recovered from the would-be-thief for the sultan, Delilah makes her daring escape and accidentally implicates Selim, who was just trying to do his job. And so begins the partnership of a simple man and a rather complicated woman.

Tony Cliff originally published Delilah Dirk as a webcomic before getting picked up by First Second, a publisher who has a pretty amazing track record. The story is reminiscent of Dungeons & Dragons games, with Delilah filling the role of warrior/rogue, and Selim filling the role of mage/cleric, but without the benefit of magic (he's basically a bookish coward who can't shoot a magic missile). Cliff's art is clean and his faces are very expressive, but I do occasionally feel no sense of motion, which is not the greatest thing in a comic about buckling your swashes.

Handselling Opportunities: Anybody looking for a good adventure yarn featuring a strong, yet imperfect female protagonist, and Dungeon Masters looking for new ideas for their games.

Lazarus Vol. 1: Family written by Greg Rucka, art by Michael Lark, Stefano Gaudiano, Brian Level and Santi Arcas (Image Comics)
The wealthiest families have carved up the world and rule their domains as fiefdoms. The 1% have literally taken over the globe. The few people who can provide a valuable service to these families are well cared for; all others are considered waste. Forever (Eve for short) is the Lazarus of the Carlyle family: the sword against her family's enemies, and the shield that protects them from other families. She has been given the best her family can offer, including genetics, training, technology and assets. She is an almost unkillable daughter, sister, bodyguard, detective, general, one-woman black ops team, diplomat, executioner and science experiment all rolled into one.

Rucka is known for creating strong female characters, including Carrie Stetko (Whiteout), Batwoman, Tara Chace (Queen & Country), Renee Montoya (Gotham Central) and Sasha Bordeaux (Checkmate). He's created another one in Forever Carlyle, a woman who craves her family's love more than anything else, possibly because she was genetically engineered that way.

The first volume of Lazarus is a complete story that builds a world and introduces all the major characters (and a fair number of minor ones, too). I have always enjoyed Michael Lark's art, going back to Scene of the Crime. He has a very noir quality, and he always uses shadows and grime well, an antithesis to the very polished and slick comic art that's prevalent nowadays.

Handselling Opportunities: Occupy Wall Street-type activists, and people who enjoy their dystopias from the point of view of those most likely responsible for them.

Johnny Hiro Vol. 2: The Skills to Pay the Bills by Fred Chao (Tor)
John Hiro is a 20-something New Yorker. He works at a sushi restaurant that pays him a meager wage, rents an apartment in Brooklyn that's heavily subsidized (thanks to his constantly traveling writer friend who owns it), and takes his girlfriend, Mayumi, on nice trips upstate when he can afford it. Occasionally, he fights competing sushi chefs, catering companies and giant monsters.

Johnny Hiro is difficult to categorize. It starts off as a collection of slice-of-life vignettes with humor, drama and philosophy included in roughly equal measures. But then you realize John Hiro lives in a New York that is more magical than you first realized. For one thing, it gets attacked by giant gorillas (and other giant monsters) on a somewhat regular basis, and competing sushi restaurants have gang-style turf wars on its streets. At its heart, however, Johnny Hiro is about the difficulties of adult life in a big city: trying to chase your dreams while making sure you can pay your bills, trying to be a good partner to the person you've chosen to be with, while at the same time worrying you'll never be good enough for them. It is something most of us are extremely familiar with (or perhaps it's just me), and it makes Johnny Hiro not only a hilariously entertaining read but also a powerfully poignant one as well.

Even though this is a second volume, it works quite well as a stand-alone collection (though some characters are not reintroduced), but the first volume, Half Asian, All Hero, is also highly recommended.

Handselling Opportunities: Anybody who has ever chased their dreams, so basically everybody who has ever lived. And seriously, just handsell both volumes at the same time.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

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

1. Crashed (The Driven Trilogy #3) by K. Bromberg
2. Oh Myyy! (There Goes the Internet) by George Takei
3. Just to Be With You: The Sullivans by Bella Andre
4. Lucky 7 Bad Boys Contemporary Romance Boxed Set by Various
5. Toxic by Rachel Van Dyken
6. Deadly Dozen: 12 Mysteries/Thrillers by Various
7. Make Me: Twelve Tales of Dark Desire by Various
8. The Private Club: Three Days by J.S. Cooper
9. The Knight and Maggie's Baby by Lisa Mondello
10. Beyond Me by Jennifer Probst

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


AuthorBuzz: Surviving Cyril by Ramsey Hootman
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