Also published on this date: Wednesday, April 30, 2014: Maximum Shelf: That Night

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Little Brown and Company: The Balcony by Jane Delury

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

Tarcherperigee: F You Very Much: Understanding the Culture of Rudeness--And What We Can Do about It by Danny Wallace

Katherine Tegen Books: Another Quest for Celeste (Nest for Celeste #2) by Henry Cole

News

California Gears Up for First Bookstore Day

With just three days to go until the first-ever California Bookstore Day this Saturday, May 3, all eyes are on indie bookstores. Nearly 100 stores across the state are planning parties and events and offering 13 limited-edition books and art pieces specially created for the day. A map of participating stores is here.

Pete Mulvihill, one of the owners of Green Apple Books in San Francisco, came up with the idea for California Bookstore Day, which soon was adopted by the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association. The list of sponsors is long, and includes author James Patterson, who contributed $15,000 as part of his campaign to support independent bookstores.

As NCIBA executive director Hut Landon told the San Francisco Chronicle, "Indie bookstores collectively are healthy and thriving, selling more books than ever while maintaining their leadership roles in community Shop Local movements. What better time to throw a party?"

California is home to plenty of authors, and stores will showcase their favorite locals for the occasion--Isabel Allende, Wendy MacNaughton, Megan McDonald and Michael Pollan are among those on board. Dave Eggers will be making the rounds to four Bay Area stores on Saturday. At {pages} in Manhattan Beach, YA bestseller DJ McHale is on the program, while Vroman's in Pasadena will feature a performance of LA Noir Unscripted by the ImproTheatre, and has invited its neighbors, the founders of Prospect Park Books, over for a game of literary trivia. At Book Shop Santa Cruz, a local brewery will provide libations for its trivia session. Hicklebee's in San Jose hand-made scratch-off "Golden Tickets" offering prizes to young readers.

Books Inc. made a video to promote the events at all of its stores--speed dating, Breakfast Bingo, contests for kids, cocktails and, at its store in the Castro, a special appearance by everyone's favorite storytime drag queen, Mutha Chuka. 

The list of exclusive California Bookstore Day items includes a limited-edition Neil Gaiman story inspired by Sleeping Beauty; a signed and numbered (and doodled upon) edition of a George Saunders speech; a Don DeLillo stencil; Do You Smell Carrots?: A Joke Book for Kids, with contributions from Lemony Snicket, Jon Scieszka, Katherine Applegate, Jeff Kinney and others; and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius tote bag.

"We're ready to go," said Samantha Schoech, the event's producer. Come Saturday, California will inaugurate Bookstore Day--perhaps the start of an event that will spread to the entire nation. --Bridget Kinsella


Page Street Kids: Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Meyer


To Kill a Mockingbird Goes Digital

"I'm still old-fashioned. I love dusty old books and libraries," said Harper Lee. "This is Mockingbird for a new generation."

For the first time, To Kill a Mockingbird will be available as an e-book and enhanced e-book, as well as digital audiobook narrated by actress Sissy Spacek. HarperCollins is releasing the digital editions on July 8 to coincide with the 54th anniversary of the book's original publication by J.B. Lippincott and Co., which eventually became part of what is now HarperCollins Publishers. Random House will assume the e-book and digital audio rights in the U.K.


Soho Crime: My Name Is Nathan Lucius by Mark Winkler


Obituary Note: William H. Honan

Author and journalist William H. Honan, who wrote several books and was the culture editor at the New York Times during the 1980s, died on Monday, the Times reported. He was 83. For many years, Honan hosted New York Is Book Country, a Times-sponsored annual event to benefit the New York Public Library.


Ecco Press: Tangerine by Christine Mangan


G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Mercy Seat
by Elizabeth H. Winthrop 

In Jim Crow-era Louisiana, a handful of townspeople contemplate the impending execution of 18-year-old Willie Jones. As they consider their own roles in the young black man's fate, some with regret, others with a certain sort of vicious pride, author Elizabeth H. Winthrop builds a taut, yet tender portrait of racism, justice and our legal system in The Mercy Seat. Winthrop’s skillful plaiting of multiple viewpoints into an aching, quietly powerful tale is both impressive and effective--you will see yourself in one or more of the characters, and it will make you uncomfortable. But you'll thank Winthrop for the opportunity, which might be the most wondrous work of The Mercy Seat in the end. This is Winthrop's break-out book. --Stefanie Hargreaves, editor, Shelf Awareness for Readers 

(Grove Press, $26.00 hardcover, 9780802128188, May 8, 2018)

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Notes

Image of the Day: Colby Award

At the 19th annual William E. Colby Military Writers' Symposium, held recently at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt., Logan Beirne received the William E. Colby Award for his book, Blood of Tyrants: George Washington & the Forging of the Presidency (Encounter Books). The award recognizes a first work of fiction or nonfiction that has made a significant contribution to the public's understanding of intelligence operations, military history or international affairs. Here, he is seen signing books for Norwich cadets, students, alumni and faculty. Also featured at the event were John L. Borling, author of Taps on the Walls: Poems from the Hanoi Hilton (Master Wings Publishing), and Douglas Macgregor, author of Warrior's Rage: The Great Tank Battle of 73 Easting (Naval Institute Press).  (photo: Mark Collier)


Water Street Bookstore: Where 'Worlds Collide'

Five bestselling children's authors converged on Exeter, N.H., High School last Friday for the last stop on Scholastic's week-long Worlds Collide book tour, which included Seattle, Houston and Chicago. SeacoastOnline reported that the "original location for the tour stop, the Cooperative Middle School, ran out of its 600 spots for the event so quickly that it was moved to the high school, where 1,000 people could go to the event."

photo: seacoastonline.com

Joining special guest Rick Riordan were James Dashner (the Infinity Rings series and the Maze Runner series), Gordon Korman (the 39 Clues), Brandon Mull (the Spirit Animals series) and Jude Watson (the 39 Clues). All have written books for Scholastic's multiplatform series.

"It's about building a community around the written word," said Dan Chartrand, owner of Water Street Bookstore, which hosted the authors. "Getting children to read is (the authors') missions and that's Water Street Bookstore's mission too.... It definitely speaks volumes about the area and how important it is for the community and for children and young adults to read. There's people coming from a long ways away."

The bookshop's children's events coordinator is Heather Robicheau, who applied for the tour to stop in Exeter. "Stuff like this doesn't come around often, so when it does, we go all out," she said. In her application letter, she interviewed kids in the bookstore about what it would be like if the authors came to town.

"What I love about what she did is, in her proposal, she incorporated the voices of children and young adults," said Chartrand.


Road Trip: 'Best Bookstores in Montreal'

Although "Montreal lost a treasure when Nicholas Hoare closed its doors in 2012," the Bookshop Blog observed that the Canadian city "still offers a number of bookstores that are worth a visit for their unique interiors, personalized or specialty offerings, exceptional service or simply if you enjoy leafing through bound volumes amongst fellow book lovers."

Included among "some of the best English language book shops" in Montreal were the "Big Ones" (Chapters and Indigo), as well as indies Paragraphe Bookstore ("a quiet and inviting boutique shop"), Argo Bookshop ("more than an intimate book buying experience, it is a community") and Drawn and Quarterly ("focus is mainly on comics, graphic novels and promoting local or obscure talents," but it "also offers a comprehensive collection of literary magazines, journals and reviews and small press publications").


New York, New York, It's a Booksellers' Town

Describing the list as "only a handful of the bookshops NYC has to offer," Buzzfeed showcased "14 New York City bookstores you should visit before you die." And DNAInfo pointed out "where to find thriving indie bookstores in New York City," noting that the "owners and managers of several of the city's thriving literary stores said their secret is a combination of attracting loyal customers devoted to supporting small shops and diversifying their business model to offer more than just books."

"For us, it's being an event space, both public and private, that really helps to sustain us," said Heidi Tannenbaum, store manager of Housing Works.

Andrew Unger, manager at BookCourt, observed: "The biggest thing for a store is being in a neighborhood where people read a lot of books. One of the reasons we do so well here is because books are so important to the people who live here."

BookCourt's Sophie Stewart stressed the importance of "being in a neighborhood where people... make a conscious decision to support businesses as opposed to doing the easy thing... They understand that where you spend your money on that one book makes a difference as to whether the store can stay in business or not. That's really nice, and it's those people who help keep stores open."


British Library Unveils £33-Million Newspaper Reading Room

Who says newsprint is dead? The British Library unveiled its new £33-million (US$55.5 million) "state-of-the-art reading room," replacing the Colindale newspaper library, which closed last year. The Newsroom offers more than 750 million pages of newspapers and magazines and 4.8 million archived websites in a collection that "dates as far back as the English Civil War and constitutes an unrivaled record of society, people, politics and events."

"The opening of the Newsroom means that news and newspapers are no longer the Cinderella of the library's collections, but are now at the very heart of the British Library's offering to researchers," said Library CEO Roly Keating. "By moving the collection out of Colindale and into the world-class storage facility at Boston Spa, we're ensuring this vast, precious and incredibly fragile resource is available not just for today's researchers, but also future generations."


Book Trailer of the Day: The Essential Ellen Willis

The Essential Ellen Willis, edited by Nona Willis Aronowitz (University of Minnesota Press), collects 53 essays on politics and culture by the late rock and music critic whose work appeared in the New Yorker, Rolling Stone and the Village Voice, among others. Aronowitz, Willis's daughter, and Aaron Cassara produced the trailer, which includes appearances by Irin Carmon, Jay Rosen, Alix Kates Shulman, Jennifer Baumgardner, Daphne Brooks and Stanley Aronowitz.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Emma Donoghue on KCRW's Bookworm

This morning on Fox & Friends: Tina Traster, author of Rescuing Julia Twice (Chicago Review Press, $24.95, 9781613746783).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Farnoosh Torabi, author of When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women (Hudson Street Press, $25.95, 9781594632167).

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Tomorrow on Katie: Jennifer Esposito, author of Jennifer's Way: My Journey with Celiac Disease--What Doctors Don't Tell You and How You Can Learn to Live Again (Da Capo, $25.99, 9780738217109).

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Tomorrow on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live: Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, authors of The Very Fairy Princess: Graduation Girl! (Little, Brown, $18, 9780316219600).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Marlo Thomas, author of It Ain't Over... Till It's Over: Reinventing Your Life--and Realizing Your Dreams--Anytime, at Any Age (Atria, $27, 9781476739915).

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Tomorrow on the Queen Latifah Show: Ziggy Marley, author of I Love You Too (Akashic Books, $15.95, 9781617753107).

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Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Emma Donoghue, author of Frog Music (Little, Brown, $27, 9780316324687). As the show put it: "Emma Donoghue's historical novel Frog Music, set in 1870s San Francisco, opens with the murder of the eccentrically modern Jenny Bonnet, a gun-slinging frog-hunter known for her bar fights and repeated arrests for cross-dressing. The book follows her relationship with Blanche la Danseuse, a prostitute who, prior to meeting Jenny, left her child at a baby-farm. Here, Victorian is not Victorian in the traditional sense of the word, and the past seems prescient. Donoghue found the San Francisco she uncovered while researching for her novel far more modern than the Dublin she grew up in a century later."

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Tomorrow on the View: Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos, authors of Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen (Clarkson Potter, $32.50, 9780385346054).

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Tomorrow on the Talk: Paul Stanley, author of Face the Music: A Life Exposed (HarperOne, $28.99, 9780062114044).

Also on the Talk: Marie Osmond, author of The Key Is Love: My Mother's Wisdom, A Daughter's Gratitude (NAL, $16, 9780451240323).

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Tomorrow on the Steve Harvey Show: Lauren Streicher, author of Love Sex Again: A Gynecologist Finally Fixes the Medical Problems That Are Sabotaging Your Sex Life (It Books, $26.99, 9780062301512).

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Tomorrow night on Jimmy Kimmel Live: "Science Bob" Pflugfelder, co-author of Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle (Quirk Books, $12.95, 9781594746765).


TV: The Astronaut Wives Club; BBC's Classic Adaptations

Joel Johnstone (Getting On; The Newsroom) has been cast as Gus Grissom in ABC’s 10-episode series The Astronaut Wives Club, with a script by Stephanie Savage based on Lily Koppel’s book. The project is directed by Nick Cassavetes.

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Four 20th century literary classics will be dramatized on BBC One in a single season. The Telegraph reported that the works are D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover, Laurie Lee's Cider with Rosie, L.P. Hartley's The Go-Between and J.B. Priestley's play An Inspector Calls. The works were chosen by BBC One controller Charlotte Moore "because of their representation of Britain on the brink of great social and cultural change," the Telegraph noted.


Movies: The BFG; The Snowman

Steven Spielberg will direct an adaptation of Roald Dahl's novel The BFG, Variety reported, adding that DreamWorks acquired rights to the book in 2010. Melissa Mathison is writing the script for the film, which will be produced by Frank Marshall, with Michael Siegel and John Madden executive producing. Although Madden was originally going to direct The BFG, he will focus instead on the sequel to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Production begins on The BFG in first quarter of 2015, with a planned 2016 release.

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Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) is directing an adaptation of Jo Nesbø's The Snowman for Working Title Films and Universal. Variety reported that when Working Title "originally optioned the book, the idea was to create a series similar to the Alex Cross films that have starred Morgan Freeman and most recently Tyler Perry."



Books & Authors

Awards: Wellcome Book; Christian Books

Andrew Solomon's Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity won the £30,000 (US$50,411) Wellcome Book Prize for a title on a medical theme. Chair of judges Andrew Motion said the book has "already been widely praised but I hope this lifts it to another level. Anyone who has ever had anything to do with a family should read it--and that's everybody," the Guardian reported.

Solomon said he was accepting the prize on the behalf of the families he interviewed, "who told me their stories with such bracing honesty and such unyielding passion," and spoke of his admiration "for the human spirit that allowed so many of them to end up grateful for lives they would once have done anything to avoid, that allowed them to love and fight for children whom so much of society might have dismissed."

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The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association chose Kevin DeYoung's Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem (Crossway) as its Christian Book of the Year and announced the Christian Book Awards category winners:  

Bibles: The MacArthur Study Bible NIV, John MacArthur, general editor (Thomas Nelson)
Bible reference: Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (2nd Edition) by Joel B. Green, Jeannine K. Brown & Nicholas Perrin (InterVarsity Press)
Children: The Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie, illustrated by Christine Kornacki (Ideals Publications)
Fiction: Iscariot: A Novel of Judas by Tosca Lee (Howard Books)
New author: Falling Into Place by Hattie Kauffman (Baker Books)
Nonfiction: C.S. Lewis: A Life by Alister McGrath (Tyndale House)\
Inspiration: He Walks Among Us: Encounters with Christ in a Broken World by Richard & Renee Stearns (Thomas Nelson)


Book Brahmin: Greg Iles

Greg Iles spent his youth in Natchez, Miss., and studied the American novel under acclaimed Southern writer Willie Morris at the University of Mississippi. His new novel, Natchez Burning (Morrow, April 29, 2014), continues the story of Penn Cage, protagonist of The Quiet Game, Turning Angel and The Devil's Punchbowl. Iles's novels have been published in more than 35 countries and made into films. He is a member of the lit-rock group the Rock Bottom Remainders and lives in Natchez with his two teenage children. He's on Twitter @GregIles.

On your nightstand now:

The Jack Taylor novels by Ken Bruen; The Elements of Gnosticism by Stuart Holroyd; the memoirs of David L. Cohn; The Good Lord Bird by James McBride; Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor; The New Mind of the South by Tracy Thompson.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Arty the Smarty by Faith McNulty. My first literary agent, Natasha Kern, told me that our favorite earliest book offers a key to our true identities. Arty the Smarty was perfect for a toddler thriller writer.

Your top five authors:

I'm not listing the classics here. That would be like saying my favorite songwriter is Mozart. Let's say "best works written post-1945" (and asking for only five is just cruel): Robert Penn Warren, Patrick O'Brian, Martin Cruz Smith, Stephen King and William Manchester.

Book you've faked reading:

Half the novels I was assigned to read in college. I read most of those books years later, but--cringe--not at the time. I became a very skilled faker. Probably the most egregious fake, being raised in Faulkner country, was the Bible in its entirety. I've read parts, but certainly not the whole thing. (I also happen to be a huge fan of Moby-Dick, which a lot of authors have confessed to fake-reading.)

Book you're an evangelist for:

A Woman in Berlin, the anonymously published diary of a German female journalist who lived through the mass rapes by the Red Army after the fall of Berlin. One of the most harrowing first-person accounts ever set to paper. The lesson: women truly are stronger than men.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity, with the spike through the seashell. That's one of the most effective jacket graphics ever, for some Jungian reason I'll never understand. Another jacket deserves mention, because it scared the hell out of me as a child: The Magus by John Fowles, with some sort of Anubis-beast on the cover. I saw it as a boy in Mexico City, and I felt like that creature was watching me out of the book.

Book that changed your life:

J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Hobbit never did it for me, but Rings seemed so real that it made me doubt the barrier between reality and dreams. As I got older, I realized that those books represented the triumph of imagination over reality, and yet still communicated something about reality. That seemed a worthy goal to which to aspire, especially for a kid with an active imagination.

Favorite line from a book:

"She knew she wasn't dreaming; in the absolute dark she could hear the tiny clicks her eyes made when she blinked." --Thomas Harris, from The Silence of the Lambs. That level of observation almost amounts to insight.

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

The Lord of the Rings.


Book Review

YA Review: Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders

Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders by Geoff Herbach (Sourcebooks Fire, $16.99 hardcover, 320p., ages 12-up, 9781402291418, May 6, 2014)

Geoff Herbach proved with his debut novel, Stupid Fast, that he could tap into the mind of a teen on the periphery. In his latest book, by turns funny and poignant, he introduces 16-year-old Gabe Johnson, who buys pop to support the Minnekota Lake Area High School band, in which he plays the trombone. Caught directly after allegedly stealing money from the machine, he unspools his story to his defense attorney.

Gabe--also known as "Chunk"--started putting on weight after his mother abandoned him and his father for a Japanese architect she met on the Internet. As Gabe puts it, "Stress makes a hole in me that needs filling." He fills it with bottle after bottle of Code Red Mountain Dew ("I figured I was paying myself by drinking all that pop," he reasons). But when the high school hikes the price of the soda bottles (from $1.50 to $2.25!), Gabe suspects something fishy. He discovers a plot hatched by the head of the school board, Mrs. Kaus, and the principal, Mr. Deevers, to disband the band and start a dance squad of cheerleaders that includes Kailey Kaus (daughter of the school board head) with the pop proceeds. Add to that the fact that Kaus Company owns the soda machines, and a true conspiracy begins to unfold. Not only does Gabe's love of the endangered band up the emotional ante, but the teen's beloved band teacher drowns his sorrows and gets arrested for drunk driving, and Gabe's best friend, Justin, goes to the other side (he starts dating Janessa Rogers, one of "the evil Charlie's Angels" and a member of the dance squad). But Gabe also attracts new friends: RC III, the African American quarterback who's new to town, and "Gore," a goth girl named Chandra who works with Gabe and RC III at the local donut shop.

Through narrator Gabe's eyes, Herbach deftly walks the tightrope between stereotypes and real people painted in broad strokes, and manages to work in a few surprises. Gabe's grandfather helps him get into shape, and a supportive English teacher offers counsel, and the two help compensate for the teen's absent parents. Some readers may question Justin's sudden turnabout, but Gabe's gradual maturation remains entirely credible, and his winning sense of humor ("Thank God we don't have capital punishment in Minnesota. Die pop robber! Zap!" he tells his attorney) carries the novel. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: The author of Stupid Fast delivers another funny, poignant novel about an unlikely hero determined to save his high school's marching band.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

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

1. The Fixed Trilogy by Laurelin Paige
2. Night After Night by Lauren Blakely
3. Fighting to Forget by J.B. Salsbury
4. Their Virgin Secretary by Shayla Black and Lexi Blake
5. Tall, Dark, and Deadly by Lisa Renee Jones
6. Forever Trilogy by Sandi Lynn
7. A Negotiated Marriage by Noelle Adams
8. The Addison Holmes Mystery Box Set by Liliana Hart
9. Story Selling by Nick Nanton and J.W. Dicks
10. Bender (the Core Four) by Stacy Borel

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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