Shelf Awareness for Friday, June 20, 2014


Thomas Nelson: The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton

Katherine Tegen Books: The Someday Suitcase by Corey Ann Haydu

Soho Crime: Murder in Saint-Germain (Aimee Leduc Investigation #17) by Cara Black

Counterpoint: The Widow Nash by Jamie Harrison

DK Publishing: Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia by Adam Bray, Cole Horton, and Tricia Barr

Soho Crime: Death on Nantucket (Merry Folger #5) by Francine Mathews

DC Comics: Doom Patrol Vol. 1: Brick by Brick (Young Animal) by Gerard Way, illustrated by Nick Derington

Quotation of the Day

Jamie Ford on the Many Values of a Healthy Literary Ecosystem

"[W]e need more bookstores and libraries. They're tactile. They're immersive. They're humane. They've always been trendy. But more than that, they are staffed by dedicated booklovers who curate collections of actual books, and books are the written record of the human condition. So buy online, but also buy local when you can--that way you're supporting a healthy literary ecosystem.

"After all, I met my wife at the public library and proposed in a bookstore. And you can't do that on a Kindle. (Though I'm sure someone is working on it)."

--Author Jamie Ford in a post on the Hive blog

G.P. Putnam's Sons: You Were Here by Gian Sardar


News

Third Place Delivers on Silkworm

First reports from Third Place Books, in Lake Forest Park and Ravenna, Wash., show that the store's hand delivery yesterday of The Silkworm by J.K. Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith (Little, Brown) to customers who had ordered it in advance went well. The package included ARCs of Neverhome by Laird Hunt (also Little, Brown) and one lucky recipient received a copy of The Silkworm with an authenticated bookplate signed by Rowling. Here Third Place managing partner Robert Sindelar (above)--who was accompanied late in the day by author Maria Semple--ready to hit the road, and a happy recipient (right).


KidsBuzz for the Week of 4.24.17


Book King in Rutland, Vt., to Close

Book King, Rutland, Vt., will close at the end of July "after 43 years, four locations and two owners," the Herald reported. Owner Elizabeth Dulli made the announcement in an e-mail Wednesday, adding: "I want to take a moment to thank all our loyal customers. Your patronage has been much appreciated and it has been a pleasure serving you over these last 5½ years that we have been open at this location." Book King was launched in 1971 by the late Steve Eddy, who sold the business to Dulli, a former employee, in 2009.


Breathing Books: The Book No One Ever Read by Cornelia Funke


Amy Stolls Named NEA's Director of Literature

Amy Stolls has been appointed director of literature for the National Endowment for the Arts. She has served as acting director of literature since May 2013 and will continue to oversee the NEA's grant awards in literature, which includes grants to organizations for publishing and audience and professional development projects, as well as for fellowships to individual poets, prose writers and translators. Stolls is the author of the YA novel Palms to the Ground and another novel, The Ninth Wife.


Blue Juice Comics: Current Releases - Click to Request an Arc


Heather Fain Adds New Marketing Position at Hachette

At Hachette Book Group, Heather Fain has been appointed senior v-p, director of marketing strategy, a new central marketing function. She continues as deputy publisher of Little, Brown.

Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch said that during her 13 years at Little, Brown, Fain has "demonstrated constant innovation in marketing and superb partnership with editors, publicists, agents, and authors. HBG's marketing strength is something we are all justifiably proud of, and this new approach will allow us to raise our marketing to even greater heights."


Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: Poorcraft: The Funnybook Fundamentals of Living Well on Less (Poorcraft #1 ) by C. Spike Trotman



Notes

Image of the Day: The Letterpress Shakespeare

Guests gathered at the British Residence in New York City Wednesday night to celebrate the launch of the Folio Society's The Letterpress Shakespeare. The collection brings together Shakespeare's complete works in 39 large-format, artisanally made and letterpress-printed volumes. Joe Whitlock Blundell, production director of the Folio Society's Limited Edition Programme, discussed the design goals and philosophy behind the project, and actor Richard Stern recited the famous "Queen Mab" speech from Romeo and Juliet. Each copy of The Letterpress Shakespeare is individually numbered and priced at $545. --Alex Mutter


Kramerbooks One of D.C.'s '10 Amazing Late Night Restaurants'

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café was named one of "10 amazing late night restaurants" in Washington, D.C., by Serious Eats, which noted that the "diverse, roiling milieu of Dupont Circle spills into Kramerbooks in between its bookshelves and into the diner, making for an always-diverse dining crowd there for a full meal or just a post-book-shopping snack."


GBO Picks Decompression

The German Book Office has chosen as its June Book of the Month Decompression by Juli Zeh, translated by John Cullen (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, $25.95, 9780385537582), "a psychological thriller in the tradition of Patricia Highsmith about two couples caught in a web of conflicting passions while deep-sea diving off the beautiful Canary Islands."

Juli Zeh won the Thomas Mann Prize last year. Her novels include Eagles and Angels, which won the German Book Prize, Gaming Instinct, In Free Fall and The Method. John Cullen has translated more than 15 books from the French, Italian, German and Spanish and began his association with Nan A. Talese/Doubleday in 1995. Last year, two of his translations were short-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award: Margaret Mazzantini's Don't Move from the Italian and Yasmina Khadra's The Swallows of Kabul from the French.


Cool Idea of the Day: Firefighter Story Times

Seattle's Fire Department and Public Libraries are partnering once again for Firefighter Story Times, a reading program aimed at increasing literacy and raising awareness of home fire safety. The event had traditionally been held in October, but last year was moved to summer.
 
During June and July, Seattle firefighters are reading No Dragons for Tea: Fire Safety for Kids (and Dragons) by Jean E. Pendziwol, illustrated by Martine Gourbault (Kids Can Press) to preschool children at seven libraries in the city. They focus on important fire safety messages, and also allow the children to explore a fire engine and try on the firefighters' protective gear.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: David Gilbert on Fresh Air

Today on Fresh Air: David Gilbert, author of & Sons (Random House, $16, 9780812984354).

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Today on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews and Daily Rundown with Chris Todd: Marion Barry Jr., co-author of Mayor for Life: The Incredible Story of Marion Barry, Jr. (Strebor Books, $25, 9781593095055).

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Today on MSNBC's Morning Joe and the Cycle: A.J. Baime, author of The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780547719283).

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Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Bruce Kraig, author of Man Bites Dog: Hot Dog Culture in America (Taylor Trade, $19.95, 9781589799325).

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Tomorrow on the Tavis Smiley Radio Show: C.J. Farley, author of Game World (Black Sheep/Akashic Books, $11.95, 9781617751974).

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Sunday on CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, authors of All the President's Men (Simon & Schuster, $17, 9781476770512).

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Sunday on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Show: Annabelle Gurwitch, author of I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50 (Blue Rider Press, $25.95, 9780399166181).

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Sunday on HBO's Last Week Tonight: Jón Gnarr, author of Gnarr: How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World (Melville House, $23.95, 9781612194134).


TV: On the Set of Downton Abbey, Season 5

The Hollywood Reporter offered a first look at the upcoming season of Downton Abbey "as it goes on location to England's Highclere Castle with stars Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville and Maggie Smith, creator Julian Fellowes and more.... As they wait to film another of Downton's carefully appointed dining scenes, the cast and crew reflect on the streak of success none of them could have imagined."


Books & Authors

Awards: PEN Pinter Prize; Encore; Colorado Book

Salman Rushdie has won the 2014 PEN Pinter prize, which will be presented on October 9 at the British Library, the Guardian wrote. Panel chair Maureen Freely commented: "This prize is English PEN's way of thanking Salman Rushdie not just for his books and his many years of speaking out for freedom of expression, but also for his countless private acts of kindness. When he sees writers unjustly vilified, prosecuted or forced into exile, he takes a personal interest."

For his part, in a statement Rushdie thanked English PEN and Harold Pinter for coming to his defense when he needed help.

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Evie Wyld's All the Birds, Singing won the £10,000 (US$17,000) Encore Award. The Bookseller noted that the prize, "which has run since 1990, is open to all writers who have previously published a novel."

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Colorado Humanities named 16 category winners for the annual Colorado Book Awards.


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcovers
Bird Box: A Novel by Josh Malerman (Ecco, $25.99, 9780062259653). "Imagine a world invaded and devastated by a monster that, if gazed upon, makes the viewer insane and prone to acts of violence. Insert into this world a young mother living in a shrouded house with two young children whom she has trained from birth to listen, but never to look. Now, she is going to take them blindfolded on a trip 20 miles downriver in a canoe in hopes of a better life. This is the world of Bird Box that will keep you up reading well past your bedtime. Creepy, wonderful, and un-put-downable." --Lori Haggbloom, Books Inc., San Francisco, Calif.

Jack of Spies: A Novel by David Downing (Soho Crime, $26.95, 9781616952686). "This thought-provoking and moving historical epic about a British man with linguistic talents who gradually becomes a spy takes place in the year before World War I breaks out. Women were fighting for the right to vote and oppressed peoples all over the world were rebelling against colonial power structures. Downing captures all these complexities without slowing down the pace of this gripping thriller. Highly recommended!" --Bina Valenzano, the BookMark Shoppe, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Paperback
We Need New Names: A Novel by NoViolet Bulawayo (Back Bay Books, $15, 9780316230841). "Bulawayo gives her character Darling an emotionally powerful voice while telling her story in such sparse and brilliantly crafted sentences, I had to put the book down just to savor the writing and take a break from the heartbreaking scenes of the strife in Zimbabwe. Bulawayo takes us on one young immigrant's journey from a country being destroyed by violence to one where the grandness and wealth are overwhelming and the Midwestern cold is piercing. This is a debut novel not to be missed!" --Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn.

For Teen Readers
The Truth About Alice by Jen Mathieu (Roaring Brook Press, $16.99, 9781596439092). "Free-spirited, bold, and beautiful, Alice has always been the object of boys' lust and other girls' jealousy and admiration at her small-town high school. After a party, rumors about Alice start to spread: she's a slut, she had sex with two boys in one night, and she was responsible for the death of one of them. Told from multiple perspectives, The Truth About Alice details what it means to be bullied and what it takes to stand against it. At times harshly funny, at times heart-wrenching, this is ultimately a hopeful story." --Emily Ring, Inklings Bookshop, Yakima, Wash.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Brahmin: Rick R. Reed

photo: Madison Parker

In his work, Rick R. Reed explores the romantic entanglements of gay men. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of novels, novellas and short stories, including Dinner at Home (Dreamspinner Press, May 9, 2014).  Lambda Literary Review described him as "a writer that doesn't disappoint." Reed lives in Seattle, Wash., with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier.

On your nightstand now:

I just finished Catherine Ryan Hyde's When I Found You and was amazed at her depth of characterization and the simple kindness that radiated from the story. There was such complexity and depth of emotion in the novel that, by the end, I was sobbing. Right now, I'm reading Help for the Haunted by John Searles, a book that purports to be about paranormal activity, but what it's really about is families--what holds them together and tears them apart.

Favorite book when you were a child:

A passion for the movie version of The Wizard of Oz led me to the L. Frank Baum books. I'm old enough to recall that the broadcast of the movie every spring was a big event for my friends and me. This was before videotapes, DVRs and streaming, so you only had one chance each year to see the movie. I was delighted to find not only the book that inspired the movie in our local Carnegie library one Saturday, but the whole series of Oz books. I read them all, then started over and read them all again.

Your top five authors:

Ruth Rendell: The doyenne of British mystery, in my opinion. She is an astute observer of the human condition and that comes through in her suspenseful, well-crafted and gripping books, which transcend genre. Her books really should be classified as literature and will be one day, I think.

Patricia Highsmith: No one shines a light on the darkest depths of the human spirit better than Highsmith. Her deceptively simple prose exposes us at our worst and leaves us aching for redemption, which she may or may not allow us to have.

Flannery O'Connor: Are you seeing a theme here? Dark women? Dark deeds? Twisted psyches? O'Connor is awe-inspiring in her homespun, yet gothic, short stories set in the South. Stories like "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" stick with me to this day and continue to influence me.

Stephen King: Okay, King himself has said he is the literary equivalent of McDonald's. But I think he's smart enough to know he's selling himself short. I've been reading him since I was a teenager and some of his work approaches the brilliant. Of any contemporary author, he is the one who will still be remembered a century from now. He is the Dickens of our times.

James Purdy: He's one of the best and most-underrated voices in 20th-century literature. His prose is lyrical and unique. His stories explore the human longing for connection with such incredible poetry and depth that they remain imprinted on one's brain long after reading.

Book you've faked reading:

Honestly, I don't know that I've faked reading anything. I like everything from trashy bestsellers to small, independent gems to the classics. I will admit that these days I have a predilection for the former. I just want to be entertained! Now, if you'd asked which book I wish I could read but have to admit I haven't a clue about, it would be Finnegans Wake by James Joyce.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I tell everyone I know that my favorite book of all time and the one they must read (for its humor, its horror and its heart) is John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. The only reason I didn't list Toole above is because his life was cut so tragically short that we really have no body of work to consider. But Confederacy is ribald, hilarious, scorching and brilliant.

Book you've bought for the cover:

K.Z. Snow's novella Visible Friend has one of the most beguiling and intriguing covers I've ever seen. It's stark and beautiful and the words beneath the cover live up to cover artist Anne Cain's incredible artwork.

Book that changed your life:

James Purdy's In a Shallow Grave showed me that colloquial, ordinary speech could be both poetic and powerful. The book is, or should be, a classic of 20th-century American literature and demonstrated to me that a simple story illustrating the longing for human connection could be mesmerizing and, really, life-changing. This is one book that made me not only want to be a writer, but a good one.

Favorite line from a book:

"It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not."--Paul Auster, City of Glass. I am a connoisseur of first lines, and who couldn't keep reading after an opening like that? I love Auster's blend of the mystical and the real.

Which character you most relate to:

*Blush.* The first thing that came to mind was Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. I don't even know if it was in the book, but the last line of the movie, "There's no place like home," resonates so deeply with me, it's sort of a guiding principle. Because, really, what's more important that what that line encompasses?

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

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty gripped me totally when I read it at age 14. I want to see if it would have the same effect.


Book Review

Review: Landline

Landline by Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin's Press, $24.99 hardcover, 9781250049377, July 8, 2014)

Rainbow Rowell follows up her runaway young adult hits Eleanor & Park and Fangirl with a sparkling romantic comedy for adults. The sitcom-style premise sets the stage for the adroit relationship analysis we've come to expect from Rowell.

Separated from her husband by several states at Christmastime, Georgie talks to Neal on the phone every night. There's just one quirk: Georgie's nighttime calls from the landline in her old room at her mother's house don't reach Neal as she knows him in 2013. Instead of talking to her husband and the father of their two small daughters, Georgie finds herself talking to a Neal from the past, during a Christmas break when they'd broken up, days before Neal surprised her by showing up at her family's house and proposing.

Neal thinks he's talking to the Georgie from his time and wants to fix their fight, but present-day Georgie knows their marriage turned out far from perfect. Neal is a great stay-at-home dad, but Georgie has repeatedly put her career as a TV comedy writer in Los Angeles ahead of their family. In fact, Neal in her time isn't speaking to her after she stayed behind in California for an important meeting instead of going to Nebraska with him and the girls to visit his mother for Christmas. The opportunity to relive their past casts Georgie's mistakes in sharp relief, but she's not sure if she's supposed to use the opportunity to repair her relationship or end her marriage before it begins.

Rowell takes a seemingly fluffy concept and gives it such thoughtful treatment that disbelief easily falls by the wayside. Slipping effortlessly between Georgie and Neal's slow-blooming courtship and their complicated present, Rowell explores how the seeds of strife are sometimes sown in the happy beginnings of a relationship when one partner sacrifices too much for love. She also illustrates how easily we can take people for granted when problems are glossed over rather than discussed, how we sometimes know we've crossed a hurtful line and pledge empty internal vows to make restitution later. At the same time, she reaffirms the power of love and shared history: "When Georgie thought about divorce now, she imagined lying side by side with Neal on two operating tables while a team of doctors tried to unthread their vascular systems." Georgie may have the chance to right the wrongs of the past by simply undoing it, but readers will hope she instead has the bravery to fight for a rare and believable love. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: In this romantic comedy that features a surprising gateway to the past, wry humor balances a serious meditation on taking love for granted.


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: The Siren Song of a Foreseeable Future

I recognize the symptoms. My annual bout of late spring future shock is an aftereffect of BookExpo America, attacking an immune system thoroughly weakened by conversations regarding the "foreseeable future" of the book world; ritual harvesting of ARCs (books from the future); and enhanced anxiety about a potential Cyborgian literary dystopia (see McSweeney's "The Future of Books," year 2070).

Scalzi and Preston

This year my future shock began even earlier than usual, during a BEA presentation called "Where Near-future Techno-thrillers and Sci-fi Meet." When the conversation turned to "envisioning" things to come, Douglas Preston said it is "impossible to predict the future," and John Scalzi added: "We expected rocket cars and got the Internet and cell phones."

The symptoms returned this week when Amazon unveiled the Fire Phone. After noting its features in her New York Times piece, Claire Cain Miller deftly played the unforeseeable future card: "Amazon must be thinking: What if, say, a contact lens could do all that? The Fire is Amazon's stepping stone to the future, and for now that just happens to be in the form of a phone." 

Scary though it may be, we love to think about the future, even though rocket cars so often turn out to be cell phones. During BEA, Jacob Weisberg of the Slate Group interviewed Walter Isaacson about his upcoming book The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution (Oct.), which explores the past to explain where the present came from to those of us living now... in a future. My prediction: I will read this book.

"When you and I were first going on the Internet, we probably did it with training wheels," Isaacson said, citing those ubiquitous AOL startup CDs from a couple of decades ago. Cue the nostalgic, infuriating sound of dial-up, a neo-ancient siren song luring us to the Information Superhighway.

Isaacson and Weisberg

Isaacson said the future has traditionally been made by innovators and "the secret of innovation is putting together the right team." Calling his book "a series of lessons in collaboration," he added that the best innovation requires "a diverse set of people working in proximity," where they can bump into each other, work as teams, even "finish each other's sentences.... You need to have that primordial stew that brings people together."

Who leads this team? "If there were one simple answer, we wouldn't have a 500-page book," Isaacson quipped. "Almost every great innovator in this book was somebody who knew how to collaborate." He also emphasized the importance of merging creative with technological: "Joining the liberal arts with technology; that is the great theme of this book."

How does this affect the future of the book business? Isaacson observed that unlike the music and magazine trades, "the publishing industry is quite healthy," and stressed the continuing importance of the organized "team effort" that traditional publishing still represents in nurturing a writer, bringing out the best book possible and getting it to readers.

He utilized an additional team effort while writing The Innovators: "I realized that the Internet was invented for collaborative creativity," so he posted chapters from early drafts on Medium, where the public commented and added margin notes. "I got 18,000 comments," he said. "The good news is a lot of it you can ignore," but many of the contributions, including substantial input from Stewart Brand, improved the final book.

Even that term "final book" may be considered illusory now. Isaacson said he could imagine a "next phase of the publishing industry" in which "we could take this book and say, 'How do we make an enhanced book from that?'... I would like it to be a wikified book in which I get to play curator." He quickly added he saw no conflict between print and electronic books. "I think we've reached the equilibrium," Isaacson observed, adding that when we consider all the things a print book can still do better than a digital one, "it's amazing what a wonderful technology paper is."  

Regarding the Amazon vs. Hachette controversy, he said Amazon "has done a lot of innovation and that's good," but expressed concern that profit appears to be increasingly the motivation for Bezos's moves: "I think he is in danger of losing that sense of putting the customer first.... It's also about the perception that publishing and selling a book is not the same as selling a button-down oxford shirt."

BEA future shock. Weeks later, I'm still slightly dazed, stumbling along in the muddled present, and still no rocket car in sight. Perhaps I'll cede the final words on the subject to an author both Isaacson and I rank among our favorites. From Walker Percy's Lancelot: "To live in the past and future is easy. To live in the present is like threading a needle." --Robert Gray, contributing editor


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

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

1. Slade (Walk of Shame #1) by Victoria Ashley
2. Until Nico by Aurora Rose Reynolds
3. The Marshalls Boxed Set by Jean Brashear
4. Wedding Series Boxed Set by Patricia McLinn
5. Twisted Together by Pepper Winters
6. Pulse (Book One) by Deborah Bladon
7. My Skylar by Penelope Ward
8. Dirty Angels by Karina Halle
9. Ghost-in-Law Boxed Set by Jana DeLeon
10. Pulse (Book Two) by Deborah Bladon

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


KidsBuzz for the Week of 04.24.17
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