Also published on this date: Wednesday, June 11, 2014: Maximum Shelf: 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, June 11, 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

News

Amazon Punishing Warner Home Video, Too; U.K. Website Protest

Amazon has expanded its public battle against suppliers, adding a major Hollywood studio to the list: the company has stopped taking orders for upcoming Warner Home Video features, including The Lego Movie, 300: Rise of an Empire, Winter's Tale and Transcendence, the New York Times reported. The tactic, of course, is one of the features Amazon's current battle against Hachette in the U.S. and Bonnier Group in Germany--and doesn't count the quiet battles against publishers that we are hearing about.

As a result, Amazon is "basically telling its customers to go elsewhere" for such major June releases as The Silkworm by J.K. Rowling and Lego, the Times wrote. "The confrontations indicate that Amazon's long-stated desire to sell everything to everybody might be taking a back seat... a very un-Amazon thing to do."

The "slowdown" with Warner Home Video started in mid-May. The Times noted, "Amazon's tactics with Warner Home Video are unlikely to provoke as much of an uproar [as with book publishers], since DVDs do not carry the cultural weight of books. And the films are readily available from other vendors, including Target and Barnes & Noble. Neither does Amazon seem to be imposing lengthy shipping delays on the DVDs once they go on sale, one of the things that provoked particular ire with Hachette."

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A faux paperback edition of A Living Wage for All Amazon Workers! was briefly available for order on Amazon.co.uk earlier today for £7.65, which the product description called "the living wage rate across the U.K. outside London where most of Amazon's warehouses are located." The Guardian reported that the description also noted "over 62,000 people have called on Amazon to end poverty pay in 2014--but Amazon has yet to take our demand seriously so we've brought it direct to Amazon.co.uk," and asked readers to "review this product below and let Amazon know that it's time to pay the human cost of its operations."

The product listing protest was the handiwork of the Amazon Anonymous campaign. Emily Kenway, who has led the operation, said this morning's move was intended to "draw attention to the issue and provoke Amazon into taking it seriously."

"By 11 a.m. [6 a.m. EST], the listing was no longer available to view on Amazon's site," the Guardian noted, adding a familiar refrain: "The company has not yet responded to a request for comment." More than 100 reviews had been written before it was removed.


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


Monkey See Monkey Read for Sale

Monkey See Monkey Read, Northfield, Minn., is for sale. Owner Jerry Bilek said on Facebook that the 1,200-square-foot store, which he founded in 2006, has been profitable every year and that all fixtures, a new POS system, the store website and about $60,000 in inventory are included in the sale. Northfield is home to two liberal arts colleges, Carleton and St. Olaf, and the store is in "a charming building from the 1870s."

Bilek, who was earlier a buyer at the St. Olaf College bookstore and a Borders bookseller, said, "After 22+ years of bookselling, it's time for a change." He may be contacted at info@monkeyread.com or 507-645-6700.


Siglio Press: The Stampographer by Vincent Sardon


B&N Closing Phoenix Store

Barnes & Noble will close its store at the Ahwatukee Foothills Towne Center in Phoenix, Ariz. The Foothills News reported that the store "has been a staple in the complex for many years. The next closest Barnes & Noble store to Ahwatukee is at the Chandler Fashion Center."

"The Ahwatukee store lease will expire in early September, and the store will be closing on August 2," said David Deason, v-p of development at B&N. "We look forward to serving our customers at one of our 13 other Phoenix metro area Barnes & Noble locations and at BN.com."


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


Penguin's Norman Lidofsky to Retire

Norman Lidofsky will retire at the end of 2014 from his position as Penguin Group USA's president, director of paperback sales. In a staff memo yesterday, Penguin Random House U.S. president and COO Madeline McIntosh praised Lidofsky as "a generous and thoughtful colleague, an inspiring leader, and above all--a consummate salesman working unceasingly in support of Penguin's books, authors, and publishers."

Lidofsky "has led the way in building the trade paperback program into an industry force," she added. "He has helped to keep Penguin Classics vibrant, sustaining its presence as one of the most trusted and recognized sources of classic literature in the world.... He has helped Plume come into its own.... And he was instrumental in the birth of Riverhead Books 20 years ago. Penguin Random House would not be the company it is today without Norman's 32 years of sales leadership, book passion, and dedication."


Freeform: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton


Obituary Note: Eric Hill

Eric Hill, author and illustrator of the Spot the Dog children's book series who "topped bestseller charts with his brightly-colored picture books about the mischievous yellow puppy," died last Friday, the Guardian reported. He was 86.

"We are deeply saddened by the death of author and illustrator Eric Hill," his publisher, Puffin Books, observed, adding that his books "have sold over 60 million copies around the world since Spot's debut in 1980, but Eric was singularly uninterested in public appearances and the trappings of fame and often referred to himself simply as Spot's Dad."

Francesca Dow, managing director of Penguin Random House U.K. Children's, praised Hill as "a master of simple design. He created one of the world's most loveable children's book characters... Puffin is proud to publish Eric Hill and will ensure Spot continues to delight children for generations to come."


Notes

Image of the Day: Harlow and Indiana Visit a Bookstore

The popular Instagram feed @harlowandsage features Brittni Vega's dogs Harlow and Indiana, and will become a Putnam book, Harlow & Sage (and Indiana) this October (sadly, Sage died last year). Last weekend, Brittni and her husband, Jeff, stopped by a few dog-friendly bookstores in San Francisco. Here, Brittni, Jeff, Harlow and Indiana visit with Kepler's manager Amanda Hall and buyer Marilyn Smith.

photo: Lindsay Wood


Great Beginning for Bookends & Beginnings

Congratulations to Bookends & Beginnings, Evanston, Ill., which is holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony tomorrow at 3 p.m., featuring Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, and a grand opening weekend, this Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

The store is marking its opening with a celebration of books and reading called My Top Three, under which the store is asking customers to share a list of their three favorite books. The Mmayor will reveal her top three books and, over the weekend, any customer who fills out a My Top Three list will be entered into a raffle for one of three prizes:

  • A $100 gift certificate to Bookends & Beginnings.
  • A necklace-and-earring set from Die Kunstwerkstatt Berlin, the line of handcrafted jewelry created by Frauke Löhr that Bookends & Beginnings exclusively imports from Germany.
  • A beautiful book box in the shape of a leatherbound classic from Enchanted Boxes of Cambridge, Mass.

"Right off the bat, we want to start a conversation with our customers about what they feel most passionate about reading," owner Nina Barrett said. Her husband and business partner, Jeff Garrett, added: "We'll be collecting these lists on an ongoing basis from our staff, from visiting authors, from public personalities, and of course from customers, and using them as inspiration for displays and events in the store."

In addition to the My Top Three celebration, the first 40 families who come in on Saturday with a child under the age of two will receive a free copy of a new board book by Tokyo artist Yusuke Yonezu, We Love Each Other, published by Michael Neugebauer Editions.


Oblong Books & Music 'Keeps Local in the Family'

Oblong Books & Music, with locations in Millerton and Rhinebeck, N.Y., "has proven that independent book stores still have an important role to play in our communities," Independent We Stand reported in its profile of father/daughter team Dick Hermans and Suzanna Hermans: "While their family history in the area dates back to the 1680's and the store name derives from a border dispute of that era, Oblong's retail enterprise is a model of the modern independent bookstore."

Suzanna, who currently serves on the board of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and is president of the New England Independent Booksellers Association, "grew up in the Millerton store," then jumped into full-time bookselling after college in 2007, IWS wrote, adding that she  "has proven to be a passionate and energetic bookseller who literally has taken the stores to a new level."

"Keeping it local and independent is what makes Oblong unique," IWS concluded. "Each of their stores has its own character and thrives because of Oblong's dedication to meeting the needs of everyone who walks in the door or visits their website,"


Remembering Ann Jonas

"Reflections: Remembering the Work of Ann Jonas" opens tomorrow in the Youth Wing of the Brooklyn Public Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, N.Y. The exhibit, which will run through September 21, 2014, celebrates the life, words and artwork of children's book creator Ann Jonas, who died last September at the age of 81.


Sidelines Buyer Alert: New Balance 'Authors Collection'

New Balance will introduce its "Authors Collection" this summer. The line "is inspired by American novels and their creators," Sneaker News reported. "The result is an earthy set that channels a library-like aesthetic of leather bound books and the sort of tweed clad folks behind them."

"Our muse for the New Balance Made in USA collections has always been the storied history of the United States," Ben Cuthbert, associate product manager for New Balance's lifestyle department, told Boston magazine. "No one captures the essence, spirit and the American experience better than American authors and the stories they have told throughout history. For the Made in USA Authors Collections, we pay homage to great American authors by building a collection inspired by their stories and moments."

Women's Wear Daily reported that Bespoke, "the most premium of the three packs, will include two 998 colorways in Horween leather with waxed laces. Only 300 limited-edition styles will be created. The Distinct collection references iconic figures from classic Wild West novels--the prosecutor, the outlaw and the conductor--while the Connoisseur series recasts pivotal points in American history in earthy neutrals with graphic insoles."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Hillary Rodham Clinton on NPR's Fresh Air

Tomorrow morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Lynn Sherr, author of Sally Ride: America's First Woman in Space (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781476725765).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Rob Lowe, author of Love Life (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781451685718). He will also appear on NPR's Diane Rehm Show.

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Tomorrow on NPR's Fresh Air: Hillary Rodham Clinton, author of Hard Choices (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781476751443).

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Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, authors of Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062218339).

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: James Webb, author of I Heard My Country Calling: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781476741123).

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Tomorrow night on Conan: Michael Lewis, author of Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt (Norton, $27.95, 9780393244663).


TV: The Leftovers Trailer

A new trailer is out for HBO's The Leftovers, based on the novel by Tom Perrotta. Writer/producer Damon Lindelof has "changed his approach to storytelling" since Lost, Indiewire reported, noting that he recently told the New York Times: "The Leftovers is not constructed as a cliffhangery show. It's not built to be like, oh, my God, we've got to watch the next episode immediately. But at the same time, it is built so that when one episode ends, you want to keep watching the show. So by virtue of that, [we are] finding the spirit of: Well, what will make someone excited to watch The Leftovers this Sunday night?" The show premieres June 29.



Books & Authors

Awards: John W. Campbell; Ditmar

Strange Bodies by Marcel Theroux (FSG) won this year's John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science fiction novel, and Sarah Pinsker's "In Joy, Knowing the Abyss" (Strange Horizons 7/1/13 and 7/8/13 ) took the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best short fiction. The awards will be presented during the Campbell Conference Awards Banquet, held June 13-15 at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

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Fragments of a Broken Land: Valarl Undead by Robert Hood won the best novel category for this year's Ditmar Awards for Australian Science Fiction. You can find a complete list of Ditmar winners and finalists here.


Book Brahmin: John Brandon

John Brandon has been the Grisham Fellow in Creative Writing at University of Mississippi and the Tickner Writing Fellow at Gilman School, in Baltimore, Md. His work has appeared in the Oxford American, GQ, Grantland, ESPN the Magazine, the New York Times Magazine, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, the Believer and other literary journals. He lives in St. Paul, Minn., and teaches at Hamline University. After three novels--Arkansas, Citrus County and A Million Heavens--Further Joy (McSweeney's, June 3, 2014) is his first story collection.

On your nightstand now:

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt, Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion and The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton.

Your top five authors:

Joy Williams, Charles Portis, Cormac McCarthy, Barry Hannah and Flannery O'Connor.

Book you've faked reading:

Outside of The Turn of the Screw, which I liked, I've read very little Henry James--nothing against him, just happenstance. When people talk about his books, I smile appreciatively then quickly finish my drink so I have to go fetch another.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Sharpshooter Blues by Lewis Nordan, one of the best books I've read.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I replaced my One Hundred Years of Solitude so I could have the one with the green jungle art framed in yellow.

Book that changed your life:

The End of Vandalism by Tom Drury changed my writing life. At the time I read it, I was struggling to put humor on the page without silly punch lines. I was struggling to incorporate the comic without giving up my claim to gravitas. Drury's deadpan answered all my questions.

Favorite line from a book:

How about: "She was eighty-one years old and childishly ravenous and hopeful with a long pigtail and a friendly unreasonable nature." That's Joy Williams, from the story "Traveling to Pridesup."

Which character you most relate to:

That's a tough one. There aren't many main characters happy enough that I can easily see myself in them. I'm generally upbeat, and there's not much I want that I don't already have. But I guess sometimes I feel like one of the boyfriends in a Mary Robison novel. Don't ask me to explain that.

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

Mrs. Hollingsworth's Men by Padgett Powell.


Book Review

Children's Review: Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue by Alison Jay (Barefoot Books, $16.99 hardcover, 32p., ages 4-8, 9781782850427, June 30, 2014)

Alison Jay's (Picture This; ABC: A Child's First Counting Book) signature oil paintings, with their crackling varnish finish, nearly always signal adventure mixed with mystery. This time, she invites readers to join her boy hero at the shore, making friends and rescuing a beached octopus.

Some key clues to this wordless escapade appear on the cover: a boy and girl intent on capturing a small orange octopus in a blue bucket stand on the edge of a tidepool near a candy-stripe lighthouse on a windy day. On the first spread, Jay backs up to show a panoramic view of the ocean, with the lighthouse, a row of houses on the nearby cliff, seagulls circling, a whale exhaling. In two side-by-side full-page illustrations, we view the lighthouse from the outside, and see a boy in striped pajamas looking through the window with his spotted dog; we then switch perspectives to the view the boy sees from inside. Next, the boy, sporting red shorts with blue bucket in hand, takes his dog (carrying a red sand shovel in its jaws) outside; his gray-and-white cat follows. This full-bleed, full-spread image suggests that beach activities go on far past the pages' edges. In the images that follow, the artist gives youngsters much to take in on the busy shore: a scuba diver, a woman in pink walking her poodle, the boy's spotted dog cavorting with a Dachshund, a girl in a sailor dress carrying a net. Four vertical panels chronicle the boy and girl joining up to search for seashells, as the waves grow rougher and clouds move in. Everyone takes cover, and Jay depicts the boy and his father, snug inside the lighthouse, their cat and dog slumbering serenely through the storm.

The next day, the boy and girl meet up again and spy a beached giant orange octopus, tangled in a fishing net. A mix of full-page and panel illustrations chronicle the efforts of the children and various animals of land and sea, as they free the critter and tow it back to the sea. Jay endows her animal characters with personality without anthropomorphizing them. Her crackling varnish suggests the heat of a summer day, and the details about each person and animal on the shore (a man tubing, another surfing, a poodle chasing the boy's cat) gives youngsters an abundance of subplots to follow upon repeated readings. Jay's subtle message--that with nature's bounty one need never be bored--permeates every page. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: Alison Jay's wordless summer adventure, in which a boy makes a friend, a storm hits, and they save a beached octopus, begs for repeated visits, to savor every detail.


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