Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 26, 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

More on B&N: Wall Street Likes Split; Hachette Sales 'Uptick'

Wall Street liked the news yesterday that Barnes & Noble's board has approved the splitting of the company into two separate public companies--B&N Retail and Nook Media, including B&N College. B&N stock rose 5.3%, to $21.65 a share, on a day when the Dow Jones was up 0.3%.

During yesterday's conference call with analysts (via SeekingAlpha.com), B&N executives elaborated on quarterly and fiscal year results. Among the highlights:

B&N CEO Michael Huseby and B&N Retail Group CEO Mitch Klipper both said that B&N has seen an "uptick" in sales of Hachette Group titles but wouldn't say by how much. Huseby added, "We are supporting Hachette, which we consider to be a good strong publishing partner, and the authors that work from them. Our main interest is making sure that the customers who want those books are getting them, and getting them as quickly as they can. So we are trying to help Hachette fulfill that objective, whether it's an e-book or physical book. You can go on our website at bn.com and see what we're doing with e-books for Hachette. You can go in our stores and see what we're doing with physical books with Hachette, and you can compare them to other purveyors of reading material."

During the fiscal year ended May 3, B&N opened three trade stores and closed 17, winding up with 661. During the year, B&N College opened 30 stores and closed 16, ending with 700. The total store count on May 3 was 1,361, which was identical to the previous year. During the current fiscal year, B&N plans to close about 20 trade stores and has no plans to open any.

In the quarter ended May 3, B&N Retail's bestsellers spanned "the adult, young adult, fiction and nonfiction categories," according to Klipper. He cited YA titles The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and Allegiant by Veronica Roth, fiction titles The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, as well as nonfiction titles Heaven Is for Real by Todd Burpo, Grain Brain by David Perlmutter, Duty by Robert Gates and Flash Boys by Michael Lewis.

Klipper added that B&N is "encouraged" by summer titles including "blockbusters such as Hillary Clinton's Hard Choices and Diana Gabaldon's Written in My Own Heart's Blood." He also mentioned The Silkworm by J.K. Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith, Invisible by James Patterson, Four by Veronica Rhodes and Greek Gods by Rick Riordan.

Klipper also spoke enthusiastically about the toys and games and gift departments, which "continued their outperformance" during the fiscal year. The company is focused on creating "a unique carrier department with a bias towards educational toys and games and specialty, hobbies and collectibles.... We believe that we are just scratching the surface with the specialties, hobbies and collectibles that have further room to grow this business, which include high-end collectibles such as Lego Architecture, Metal Earth, DC and Marvel."

During the current fiscal year, B&N expects sales to decline in the low single-digits in both trade and college bookstores open at least a year.

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Most media accounts in the last 24 hours have emphasized the sales drops at both Nook and the trade stores, but some noted that the trade stores remain highly profitable. Barron's quoted one observer as saying that "the split news should keep a floor under the stock because the value of the company's lucrative and underappreciated retail stores alone probably exceeds that of the entire current market value of the company."

Still, speaking with the New York Times, James L. McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research, was particularly grim when talking about the trade stores. "You're only managing how quickly it will continue to decline."

The Wall Street Journal compared the proposed split with other "corporate restructurings in the media industry in the past couple of years, as companies have spun off weaker businesses to better highlight the value of stronger parts," including Time Inc. from Time Warner and News Corp. from what is now called 21st Century Fox.


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


FAA Grounds Amazon Prime Air

The Federal Aviation Administration has ruled that Amazon cannot use drones to deliver packages as part of its Prime Air initiative for now. Ars Technica reported that the "revelation was buried in a FAA document (PDF) unveiled Monday seeking public comment on its policy on drones, or what the agency calls 'model aircraft.' "

In the announcement, the FAA referred to Amazon Prime Air, which was revealed last year, as an example of what is barred under regulations that allow the use of drones for hobby and recreational purposes. The FAA specifically cited "delivering packages to people for a fee" as not being in compliance, adding in a footnote: "If an individual offers free shipping in association with a purchase or other offer, FAA would construe the shipping to be in furtherance of a business purpose, and thus, the operation would not fall within the statutory requirement of recreation or hobby purpose."

Although the FAA had previously declared the commercial operation of drones to be illegal, a federal judge ruled in March those regulations were enacted illegally "because it did not take public input before adopting the rules, which is a violation of federal law," Ars Technica wrote. Flight regulators have appealed the decision and the agency has promised it will revisit the issue.

In a q&a on its Prime Air Web page, Amazon expresses hope that "the FAA's rules will be in place as early as sometime in 2015. We will be ready at that time."


Siglio Press: The Stampographer by Vincent Sardon


Binc Foundation Launches Matching Grant Pilot Program

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation has launched a Matching Grant Pilot Program, designed to aid a bookstore employee experiencing a financial hardship that is outside of the Foundation's core areas of assistance. To apply for the Matching Grant Program, a bookseller's sponsor (owner, store manager or regional bookselling association executive director) submits an application for the grant on the bookseller's behalf. Once approved, bookstores can raise funds by any method they choose and Binc will match the donations dollar-for-dollar up to a maximum of $2,000. These funds can be paid to a third party--e.g., a  doctor--or paid directly to the bookseller.

For more information and details on how to apply for the Matching Grant Pilot Program, contact Binc's Matching Grants page or call the Foundation at 866-733-9064.


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


Carnegie Medal Judges Criticized for This Year's Winner

The judges for this year's CILIP Carnegie Medal, the U.K.'s top prize for children's literature authors, "have rallied in the face of an extraordinary attack on the winning novel from the Telegraph, which called Kevin Brooks's The Bunker Diary a 'uniquely sickening read' which 'seems to have won on shock value rather than merit,' " the Guardian reported.

While the award judges praised the novel as "an entirely credible world with a compelling narrative, believable characters and writing of outstanding literary merit," Telegraph literary critic Lorna Bradbury labeled it "a vile and dangerous story" that was "much nastier" than other current dystopian YA fiction, the Guardian wrote.  

Helen Thompson, chair of the CILIP Carnegie judging panel this year, countered that The Bunker Diary was "absolutely the book Carnegie should be championing--superbly well-written, atmospheric, and loved by readers.... Published as a young adult novel, not a children's book, The Bunker Diary is clearly aimed at an older audience, as can be seen from both the cover, and the description on the back of the cover. Age or 'warning' stickers are misleading and condescending--although I'm sure the publisher would be thrilled to have a warning sticker. Sales would go through the roof."

Brooks observed: "I've got no problem with anyone having their opinion, but this just doesn't stack up. The Bunker Diary is a book about dark and disturbing subjects--it has to contain dark and disturbing things. And it is aimed at teenagers, who I know from personal experience are perfectly capable of dealing with that.... I'm not writing about this in a provocative, gratuitous, glamorizing way--it's all written about realistically and thoughtfully. And I disagree that it lacks redemption--yes it doesn't have a happy ending, but within the story there is genuine kindness and love and protection, and if that is not a positive look at how humans can behave in a desperate situation, I don't know what is."


Freeform: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton


Notes

Image of the Day: Fare Thee Well, John Mason!

Last night at the Scholastic offices, CEO Dick Robinson (l.) and Ellie Berger (r.), president of the trade publishing group, waxed poetic about John Mason (c.), director of library and education marketing, who's retiring after 30 years at the company. Mason, known for stepping into the roles of Johnny Carson, James Lipton and even Rocky Balboa in service of promoting Scholastic's authors said, "It all came naturally to me." He added that, having read to his three daughters while they were growing up, "It was a blessing to pass that on to others."


'Wheel of Books' at British Museum Bookshop

Lumsden Design has created a new bookshop for the British Museum that fits into the arced wall of the Great Court's Reading Room. Design Week reported that "bespoke" designed retail space "now provides an alternative entrance and exit to the ground floor of the Reading Room.... The glass-fronted shop has a large window display area so Lumsden has created a 2m-diameter wheel made up of 300 books as a focal point, which can be seen across the Great Court."


Happy 45th Birthday, Left Bank Books!

Congratulations to Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo., which is celebrating its 45th birthday the weekend of July 11-13, with a 25% sale for members of Friends of Left Bank who have a Publisher or Editor level membership, and a Writers Under Glass event on Friday, July 11, at 5 p.m. At the event, authors Mark Tiedemann (Gravity Box and Other Spaces)--who's also a bookseller at Left Bank--Ann Leckie (Nebula winner Ancillary Justice), Kevin Killeen (Try to Kiss a Girl) and Scott Phillips (Hop Alley) will write live in the store's window from prompts that customers choose. There will also be cake, drinks, prizes and more.


Library Cards from Across the U.S.

Showcasing a photo tour of library cards from across the U.S., Buzzfeed noted: "From the papyri scrolls of ancient Alexandria, to Benjamin Franklin's Junto in Philadelphia, to the 'bookless' library in San Antonio, to the very mobile Lower Ninth Ward Street Library in New Orleans, libraries hold the knowledge of a culture--and are greater than the sum of their holdings."


Media and Movies

Movies: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay; A House in the Sky

"Let the long, ecstatic, marketing material extravaganza of the Mockingjay publicity campaign begin," the Wrap declared in featuring Lionsgate's teaser for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, which showed President Snow (Donald Sutherland) "delivering a 'televised' speech filled with propaganda and lined with sinister undertones. As you can see, he's joined by boy wonder Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), who got nabbed at the end of the last movie, Catching Fire."

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Annapurna Pictures has optioned the memoir A House in the Sky by Amanda Linhout and Sara Corbett for Rooney Mara (Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) to star in and co-produce, the Wrap reported.


This Weekend on Book TV: James Webb

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, June 28
7:15 p.m. John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky, authors of Obama's Enforcer: Eric Holder's Justice Department (Broadside Books, $27.99, 9780062320926). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 a.m.)

8:15 p.m. Heather Williams, author of Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery (University of North Carolina Press, $30, 9780807835548). (Re-airs Sunday at 1 p.m. and Monday at 1 a.m.)

9 p.m. James Webb, author of I Heard My Country Calling: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781476741123). (Re-airs Monday at 2 a.m.)

10 p.m. Kwasi Kwarteng, author of War and Gold: A Five-Hundred-Year History of Empires, Adventures, and Debt (PublicAffairs, $28.99, 9781586487683). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Jo Becker, author of Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality (Penguin Press, $29.95, 9781594204449).


Sunday, June 29
12 a.m. Dan McMillan, author of How Could This Happen: Explaining the Holocaust (Basic, $27.99, 9780465080243).

8 a.m. Lynn Sherr, author of Sally Ride: America's First Woman in Space (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781476725765), at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

1:40 p.m. Virginia Gray, co-author of Interest Groups and Health Care Reform across the United States (Georgetown University Press, $29.95, 9781589019898). (Re-airs Monday at 1:40 a.m)

5:15 p.m. Eugene Steuerle, author of Dead Men Ruling: How to Restore Fiscal Freedom and Rescue Our Future (Century Foundation Press, $19.95, 9780870785382).

6:30 p.m. Martin Goldsmith, author of Alex's Wake: A Voyage of Betrayal and a Journey of Remembrance (Da Capo, $25.99, 9780306823220).

7:45 p.m. William Least Heat-Moon, author of Writing Blue Highways: The Story of How a Book Happened (University of Missouri, $24.95, 9780826220264).

11 p.m. Laurence Tribe, co-author of Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution (Holt, $32, 9780805099096).



Books & Authors

Awards: Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel; Shakespeare's Globe Book

A longlist has been released for the Center for Fiction's $10,000 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. The shortlist will be released in September and the winner named December 9 in New York City.

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The shortlist has been announced for this year's £3,000 (US$5,100) Shakespeare's Globe Book Award, a biennial prize that is "granted to a first monograph which has made an important contribution to the understanding of Shakespeare, his theatre or his contemporaries." The winner will be announced at the end of July. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Eating and Ethics in Shakespeare's England by David B. Goldstein
The Disguised Ruler in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries by Kevin A. Quarmby Shakespeare's Unreformed Fictions by Gillian Woods


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, July 1:

The Night Searchers by Marcia Muller (Grand Central, $26, 9781455527939) continues the Sharon McCone mystery series.

William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return by Ian Doescher (Quirk Books, $14.95, 9781594747137) is part three of a Shakespearean take on Star Wars.

Warburg in Rome by James Carroll (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780547738901) follows an American official in post-World War II Rome.

Diary of a Mad Diva by Joan Rivers (Berkley, $26.95, 9780425269022) is the actress and comedian's diary.

A Wolf Called Romeo by Nick Jans (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780547858197) chronicles a wolf that lived among the residents of Juneau, Alaska, for six years.

Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic by Matthew Stewart (Norton, $28.95, 9780393064544) explores the philosophical roots of America’s revolutionaries.

Haatchi & Little B: The Inspiring True Story of One Boy and His Dog by Wendy Holden (Thomas Dunne, $22.99, 9781250063182) chronicles a boy-dog relationship.


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
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey (Orbit, $25, 9780316278157). "Meet Melanie, a child prodigy around whom circles a group of adults that protect, educate, covet, study, fear, and love her. She is the answer to the countless questions that have arisen since much of the planet and population have been destroyed by a fungal virus. Her intelligence, resilience, and chemical makeup could possibly shed a light on the future of the human race. In a near-future in which critical decisions must be made at a moment's notice, Melanie and her four adult companions will find that their morality is constantly tested and changing. Humans become monsters, but monsters become human, too." --Katie Capaldi, Between the Covers, Harbor Springs, Mich.

The Transcriptionist: A Novel by Amy Rowland (Algonquin, $24.95, 9781616202545). "Lena works as a transcriptionist for the Record, a major newspaper based in New York City. Her job is to transcribe reporters' stories and interviews in preparation for publication. Her life is a quiet one, full of other people's voices. The reader is drawn into Lena's isolated life where she's haunted by the brutal stories she records every day, as well as memories of her childhood. This is a thoughtful, ultimately hopeful novel about the degree of tenderness we bring to the millions of fine details about other people's lives we encounter every day." --Julie Wernersbach, BookPeople, Austin, Tex.

Paperback
The Tilted World: A Novel by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly (Morrow, $14.99, 9780062069191). "In a compelling, poetic, and detailed manner, Franklin and Fennelly bring to life a little-known catastrophe in American history. The Tilted World weaves together the stories of two endearing characters--an orphan who grows up to be a decorated World War I hero–turned–Prohibition revenuer and a bootlegging firecracker of a woman who yearns for her lost child. Add the setting of a town on the brink of destruction by deluge and some unsavory characters looking to profit from calamity, and the reader will be swept away by their story." --Sara Peyton, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, Ky.

For Ages 9 to 12
Another Day as Emily by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff (Knopf, $12.99, 9780449809877). "Summer should be filled with baseball, library visits, and friends for 11-year-old Suzy. Everything seems to change when her little brother becomes a local hero for dialing 911. Suddenly he is the center of attention, and Suzy decides to retreat from the world like her hero, Emily Dickinson. It takes a little time, a few good friends, and Suzy's spirit to set things right. This sweet, funny tale, told in verse, helps readers remember that everyone can be the hero of their own story." --Julie Wilson, the Bookworm of Omaha, Omaha, Neb.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: Wayfaring Stranger

Wayfaring Stranger by James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster, $27.99 hardcover, 9781476710792, July 15, 2014)

James Lee Burke is famous for a long-running mystery series starring detective Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcel; two series centered on Billy Bob and Hackberry Holland; and stand-alone novels and story collections that all evoke the beauty, heartache and social injustice of Louisiana and Texas (among other locales). His 35th book, Wayfaring Stranger, tells a historical and sometimes fantastical story of the birth of Big Oil, the legacy of World War II and the far-reaching influences of Bonnie and Clyde.

In the opening pages, young Weldon Holland fumes at his grandfather, Hackberry, who was a poor parent to Weldon's mother and is now poised to have her locked away and electroshocked. It's the early 1930s, and Weldon's father is gone, looking for work. Four trespassers in a 1932 Chevrolet Confederate challenge Weldon and Grandfather on their ranch, and the confrontation ends with Weldon firing a shot through the back windshield at Bonnie Parker, Clyde Barrow and two of their associates. This interaction casts a long shadow over the rest of Weldon's life.

His story resumes in 1944 when he ships out for England as a second lieutenant. Weldon sees action in Normandy, particularly Saint-Lô, and the Ardennes; he digs Sergeant Hershel Pine out of a collapsed foxhole in the snow after an attack, and together they rescue a beautiful Spanish Jew named Rosita from an abandoned death camp. The three walk across enemy territory, lose toes to frostbite, fight tuberculosis, and are eventually separated. After the war, Weldon finds and marries Rosita, and Hershel turns up on Grandfather's Texas ranch.

Together they establish the Dixie Belle Pipeline Company, using Nazi tank technology, Hershel's welding skills and nose for oil, and Weldon's family connections to build a minor empire. But the old money in Houston's exclusive River Oaks neighborhood is offended--by their success and their humble upbringings, and particularly by Rosita's heritage. And thus enter two of Burke's favorite subjects: the evil lurking in the everyday, and the hero's struggle to repress the evil within himself. Hershel's wife, Linda Gail, creates more conflict: her actions endanger both business and family success, especially when she gets "discovered" and shipped out to Hollywood.

Burke's fans will recognize his lyrical strengths regarding the themes of social justice and class struggle, violence set to a stunning backdrop of natural beauty and destruction, and a Gulf Coast region that includes historically accurate details to delight Texas and Louisiana natives. He creates strong and convincing characters on the sides of both right and wrong, and through them writes a compelling American history. Weldon investigates his father's disappearance, Linda Gail's unfaithfulness, and the evil forces that have targeted the well-being of his and Hershel's families; but this is not a mystery. In fact, perhaps more than any of Burke's previous work, Wayfaring Stranger is a tender love story, proving yet again his versatility and skill in creating gorgeous, luscious, painful stories of the American experience. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: Beautifully composed and tragic, James Lee Burke's 35th novel is a sweeping historical epic of war and the American dream.


Deeper Understanding

Stand Up Comics: The Construct of Time

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

Showa: A History of Japan 1926-1939 by Shigeru Mizuki (Drawn & Quarterly, $24.95, 9781770461352)
In the west, Shigeru Mizuki is best known for his supernatural manga series Kitaro featuring cute yokai of all shapes and sizes (in fact, his hometown of Sakaiminato has a Mizuki Road lined with bronze statues of his yokai characters). He is less well known for his nonfiction manga, ranging from the autobiographical to the historical. Showa is arguably his most ambitious nonfiction work, detailing the entire Japanese Showa period, starting in 1926 until the death of Emperor Hirohito in 1989.

This first volume takes us up to the rise of General Hideki Tojo and the outbreak of World War II in Europe. Mizuki does an excellent job of intertwining the history of Japan with his own history growing up during the period, providing important political and economic background. His artwork alternates between photorealism (for the more historical aspects) and cartoony (for the autobiographical parts) and, while this might seem jarring at first, it actually flows quite well.

Mizuki does not shy away from Japan's various transgressions during this period. The Mukden Incident (the inciting event that led to the Japanese annexation of Manchuria) is thoroughly analyzed, and Mizuki puts the blame entirely on Japan. He also writes about the Japanese occupation of Nanjing: "History remembers these atrocities as 'the Nanjing Massacre.' While accurate figures may never be known, victims number in the hundreds of thousands."

Handselling opportunities: World War II history buffs, and those wishing to understand modern Japan from a Japanese perspective.

Snowpiercer Vol. 1: The Escape by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette (Titan Comics, $19.99, 9781782761334)
In the near future, humanity's battles with global warming accidentally lead to a new ice age, in which the entire world is covered in never-ending snowfall. Most of the Earth dies in these sub-zero temperatures, while a handful of survivors board a nonstop train 1,001 carriages long that runs around the earth. Unfortunately for many, class distinctions survive the end of the world: the rich and powerful live in hedonistic luxury at the front of the train, and the weak and poor live in unbelievable squalor in the tail of the train.

Proloff is a "tail-f**ker" (the epithet leveled at the poor) who attempts to leave his carriage to move forward. What follows is an absurd journey through the train to meet the president of the world. Proloff sees how the 1% lives, and wants nothing more than to join them, even as a mysterious plague starts making people sick.

The characters in Snowpiercer are bleak and desolate, much like the landscape. There is no one to root for; there isn't even anybody to like, not really. Reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, these are simply people trying to survive in an immensely broken world.

Handselling opportunities: Readers who prefer their dystopias with much more amorality, and fans of Korean films starring Chris Evans.

Sex Criminals Vol. 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (Image, $9.99, 9781607069461)
There's no way around this: this book is about sex, and lots of it. But not the titillating, pornography-type of sex where everybody is perfect and airbrushed. No, this is about real sex, the sex you have for fun, the sex you have for love, the sex you have for education, and the sex you have by yourself.

On the surface, this is a hilarious story of two people, Suzanne and Jon, with the power to stop time after they orgasm, and then rob banks while (almost) everyone else is frozen in time, which is an amazingly original idea. But underneath that, this is a story of the beginning of a relationship: its exciting newness, its terrifying possibilities, its ups and downs, its secrets and understandings, and, of course, its sex.

In the first chapter, Suzanne explains that she attempted to figure out sex as a teenager after her first accidental orgasm. It is funny and awkward and painful and embarrassing and so amazingly true, it's almost a work of nonfiction. Intertwined with that exploration is a poignant childhood of absent parents: a dead father and a grieving mother.

P.S.: As great as it is, this is not a book you want to be reading during the morning mass transit commute to work. Trust me on this.

Handselling opportunities: Anybody who's ever had questions about sex, and people who like the "comic" part of "comic books."

Comics: A Global History, 1968 to the Present by Dan Mazur and Alexander Danner (Thames & Hudson, $39.95, 9780500290965)
The first history of comics that encompasses the three major comics producing regions of the U.S., Europe and Japan is a revelation to read. Mazur and Danner trace the history of the medium starting from 1968, a watershed year for comics around the world. They write in a scholarly, yet easy-to-understand style that makes this an easy and incredibly informative read.

The authors do a fantastic job of discussing various movements in literature, art and comics themselves, and how these movements influenced the progression of comics. The book is arranged into three main time periods, and the chapters are further broken up by region within those periods, but cross-cultural pollination is an important subject in this history.

As great as this book is, it's not perfect. The authors missed taking a global view by not including comics from Mexico, South America, Africa, Eastern Europe and the rest of Asia (China especially). Toward the end, there is some discussion on Canadian and Korean comics, but both seem simply extensions of American and Japanese traditions, respectively. This only means that the authors have to write a sequel.

Handselling opportunities: Pop-culture history enthusiasts, and comic book fans who want to know more about the history of the medium they love.


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