Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Little Brown and Company: Circe by Madeline Miller

St. Martin's Press: After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

Little Brown and Company: The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison

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

News

Matt de la Peña Wins Newbery; Sophie Blackall Wins Caldecott

At its Midwinter Meeting in Boston yesterday, the American Library Association (ALA)  announced the top books, video and audio books for children and young adults.

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson (Putnam) won the 2016 Newbery Medal, which honors "the most outstanding contribution to children's literature." (The book is also a Caldecott Honor title and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor title.)

Newbery Honor books:
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Dial Books for Young Readers)
Roller Girl, written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson (Dial Books for Young Readers)
Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan (Scholastic Press).

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (Little, Brown) won the 2016 Caldecott Medal, honoring "the most distinguished American picture book for children." The book was written by Lindsay Mattick.

Caldecott Honor books:
Trombone Shorty, illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Troy Andrews (Abrams Books for Young Readers)
Waiting, illustrated and written by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow Books)
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, illustrated by Ekua Holmes, written by Carole Boston Weatherford (Candlewick Press)
Last Stop on Market Street, illustrated by Christian Robinson, written by Matt de le Peña (Putnam)

Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia (Amistad) won the Coretta Scott King Author's Book Award, which recognizes "an African American author of outstanding books for children and young adults."

The Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books:
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon (Candlewick Press)

Trombone Shorty, illustrated by Bryan Collier (Abrams Books for Young Readers), won the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Book Award, which recognizes "an African American illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults."

The Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Books:
The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem's Greatest Bookstore, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson (Carolrhoda Books)
Last Stop on Market Street, illustrated by Christian Robinson, written by Matt de la Peña (Putnam)

Jerry Pinkney has won the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, which honors "an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children." Pinkney also won the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Jacqueline Woodson has won the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award, recognizing "an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children's literature," and will deliver the 2017 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture.

The complete list of winners is here.


Clarion Books: The Stone Girl's Story by Sarah Beth Durst


Lake Forest Book Store to Relocate Nearby

Lake Forest Book Store is relocating just four doors south of its current location to a larger space at 662 North Western Avenue in Lake Forest, Ill., Daily North Shore reported. "They're doing a little build out for us," said store manager Max Gregory. "If everything goes according to plan, we'll move at the end of February."

Owner Eleanor Thorn said improved differentiation between children's and adult books sections was one of the key reasons for the move: "The space is a little bigger and it lays out really well for us. It is on Western Avenue, which I wanted. I saw it was available, and I went for it. Both landlords are being wonderful."

The store originally opened in 1949 at 626 North Western, Daily North Shore wrote, adding that it moved to its current spot 13 years ago. "We're right in between the original store and this one," Gregory said.


Oxford University Press: Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship by Nadine Strossen


Otto Bookstore, Williamsport, Pa., for Sale

One of the oldest bookstores in the country, Otto Bookstore, Williamsport, Pa., is for sale, according to the Sun Gazette. The store's roots go back to 1841, when it was part of a business that sold books, window shades, wallpaper and insurance.

Owner Betsy Rider, who is 81 and had a fall in November from which she hasn't completely recovered, told the newspaper that it's time to sell: "I am just looking at my own abilities."

The store has been a part of Rider's life since birth: her father started working there in 1905, then bought the store in 1934. When he died in 1958, Rider and her mother took over the business.

The store has been in several locations in Williamsport and has survived the many changes in bookselling over the years. "We are still doing fine," Rider said.

The store has a staff of three, including Rider's son, Tom, and has a lease until October. Rider said she's received offers for the store but, as the Sun Gazette wrote, "didn't completely rule out the possibility of it staying in the family."


GLOW: Grove Atlantic: The Mercy Seat by Elizabeth H. Winthrop


Amicucci B&N's New Chief Merchandising Officer

Effectively immediately, Mary Amicucci has been promoted to chief merchandising officer at Barnes & Noble, where she will oversee the planning of all merchandising initiatives and be responsible for managing and developing talent across all merchandising groups, including Books, Toys & Games, Gift, Newsstand and Music/DVD.

She was formerly v-p of adult trade & children's books, to which she was promoted in 2013 after serving as v-p, children's books, since 2010.

"Mary has a proven track record of success and leadership of our physical book business, making her the perfect choice for this position," chief operating officer Jaime Carey said. "She has already made an outstanding contribution to our merchandising efforts and we're excited to see what she will achieve in this new role."

Before joining B&N, Amicucci was v-p, planning and allocation, at the Children's Place Retail Stores and earlier held buying positions at May Company Department stores, Ames Department stores and Maurices, Inc.


William Morrow & Company: My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie


Queens, N.Y., Group: 'Keep Bookshops Alive in the Borough'

Now-closed B&N in Queens

A group of women from Queens, N.Y., is "making an active effort to keep bookshops alive in the borough," WCBS reported. Reacting to Barnes & Noble's decision last year to close its last two locations in the New York City borough, Natalie Noboa teamed up with friends to start the Queens Bookshop initiative, dedicated to bringing bookstores to the area. Queens did gain an independent bookseller in 2013, with the opening of Astoria Bookshop.

"I've grown up here, I grew up in the kids' section [of the Forest Hills B&N] reading Junie B. Jones," said Noboa, whose group has passed out flyers to spread the word about getting another bookstore in the area. "We've always loved books, we've always wanted to do something like this. We just want a community space.... There's something different about books that you just need to see them; you need to feel them, you need to open them up. You need to be able to do that. And that's why this space is important."


Notes

Image of the Day: B. Clinton Browsing at Elliott Bay

"Look who stopped by!" Elliott Bay Book Co., Seattle, Wash., posted on Facebook last Friday. "Bill Clinton was here this afternoon to browse our shelves and visited with supporters, posed for photos and even signed a few autographs on his way to a fundraising event for Hillary."


Remembering David Bowie: A Tattered Cover Visit

Yesterday, Len Vlahos of the Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colo., offered what we think is the best of the many wonderful stories booksellers were sharing about David Bowie, who died on Sunday at age 69 and was an avid reader. (See Bowie's list of top 100 books here.) The Bowie anecdote is from a former Tattered Cover employee, who wished to remain anonymous:

"Around fifteen years ago, I was working at the Tattered Cover Book Store, looking something up at the desk when a man approached me, and said he was looking for a book, and could I help him. I knew the voice before I turned around to see that this man was, in fact, David Bowie. I was speechless for a few seconds, then I asked him what he was looking for. The computer indicated that I had one copy [of the book he wanted] upstairs under "B" so I took him to the section, as was my job. We went upstairs together, and looked for the book, which wasn't where it should be. David said "perhaps someone filed it under 'D' so the two of us went to where the D section was, and we were squatting there, side by side scanning book titles with our fingers. We came to the book at just about the same time, but I quickly grabbed it so I could 'put the book in the customer's hand,' as was my job. He hugged me and told me that he had been looking for that book for the whole tour, and that I made his day. After that he wanted to browse some more, and I had to run a register, which he came up to as soon as my line went away. We talked a little bit about music, and I asked him if it was difficult to go shopping in big cities, you know, being David Bowie. He said, 'No, people want to shake my hand sometimes for the most part,' and then, as if on cue, the whole store noticed who I was talking to and came to my register and asked to shake his hand. At his concert that night, he said that the Tattered Cover was the best bookstore in North America."

Vlahos added that a local radio station played a Bowie interview from one of his tour stops in Denver, in which he talked about wanting to open a bookstore called the "Tattered Elephant."


Bookstore Chalkboard of the Day: Kaleido Books & Gifts

"Now you can just buy the books for yourself," Kaleido Books & Gifts in Perth, Australia, noted December 26 in a Facebook post showcasing their day-after-the-big-day sidewalk chalkboard message: "Christmas: It's not just for Christmas. Please keep buying books."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Tavis Smiley on the Daily Show

Tomorrow:
Diane Rehm: Eddie S. Glaude Jr., author of Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul (Crown, $26, 9780804137416).

Wendy Williams: Russell Simmons, co-author of Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple (Avery, $16, 9781592409082).

The Daily Show: Tavis Smiley, author of The Covenant with Black America: Ten Years Later (Smiley Books, $15.99, 9781401951498).



Books & Authors

Awards: T.S. Eliot Poetry Winner; Arabic Fiction Longlist

Sarah Howe won the Poetry Book Society's £20,000 (about $29,100) T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize for Loop of Jade, the first debut poetry collection to win the prize since it was inaugurated in 1993, the Guardian reported. Chair of judges Pascale Petit called Howe's work "absolutely amazing" and said her experimentations with form would "change British poetry.... She is exploring the situation of women in China, but she doesn't do it just like that; she does it in a very erudite and dense, rich, imagistic way.... People will find it accessible, but it will need rereading. That is one of its strengths. It doesn't matter how often you read it, there is more in it. It is very rich and really does speak to what is going on today with the status of women in the world."

---

The 16-title longlist for the 2016 International Prize for Arabic Fiction has been announced and can be seen here. The shortlist will be revealed February 9 and the winner on April 26.


Book Review

Review: All the Birds in the Sky

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor, $25.99 hardcover, 9780765379948, January 2016)

As editor-in-chief of io9.com, Charlie Jane Anders is one of the most influential voices in the realms of science fiction and fantasy, and her 2012 Hugo-winning story "Six Months, Three Days" further established her considerable bona fides. Her debut novel, All the Birds in the Sky, then, might have suffered under the weight of high expectations if it didn't so easily soar above them.

All the Birds in the Sky is two coming-of-age stories in one, following Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead as they evolve from bullied, misunderstood children into socially accepted, internally conflicted adults. Their lives intertwine with each other's and with their respective interests in magic and science. As a child, Patricia finds that she has the ability to talk to animals, and a Parliament of Birds--difficult to explain but exactly what it sounds like--proclaims her a witch. Laurence finds refuge from social torment in gadgetry, building a two-second time machine and an artificial intelligence that talks to Patricia when she's lonely.

Using science fiction and fantasy conceits to tell a coming-of-age story is hardly new: Ender's Game, The Chronicles of Narnia and Lev Grossman's Magicians trilogy have tread similar ground. All the Birds in the Sky stands out thanks to its sweeping ambition. What Anders is attempting here--aside from a bildungsroman, love story, climate change warning, meditation on the nature of consciousness and all-around existentialist panic attack--is nothing short of a grand, semi-literal reconciliation of science with nature.

Still, All the Birds in the Sky is far from a self-serious treatise. Anders embraces nerd-humor with gleeful abandon: "At last he understood what all those old horror stories meant when they talked about an eldritch dread, creeping into your very soul. That was how Laurence felt, listening to his mother attempt to talk to him about girls." Such writing helps to leaven the weighty themes and apocalyptic stakes underpinning the narrative. When Laurence and Patricia find themselves on opposite sides of a brutal conflict between scientists and magicians, those bits of levity become anchors for readers caught in a vicious emotional whirlpool.

In the process of marrying science and nature, Anders also hybridizes rationalism and sentimentality into a new form. This is a novel where a character can make Herzogian pronouncements such as: "Nature has no opinion, no agenda. Nature provides a playing field, a not particularly level one, on which we compete with all creatures great and small" and have it seem no less philosophically significant as another character's experience of first love: "Even as Patricia said it back to him, she felt like her whole history was taking on a whole new focus, the landscape of her past rearranging so that the stuff with Laurence became major geographical features and some other, lonelier, events shrank proportionately." All the Birds in the Sky is a triumph. --Hank Stephenson, bookseller, Flyleaf Books

Shelf Talker: All the Birds in the Sky is an impressive debut that weaves magic and science fiction into an emotionally complex story about growing up and finding love.


Deeper Understanding

Stand Up Comics: Puttin' the Funny Back in Funnybooks

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

Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton (Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95, 9781770460607)
What do you get when you cross a Canadian, webcomics, history and literature? A bunch of comics that are way funnier than you thought this answer was going to be.

Kate Beaton's hilarious cartoons feature figures from throughout literature and history doing what we all assumed they were doing when we weren't watching. The opening salvo is titled "Dude Watchin' with the Brontës," and is Charlotte and Emily ostracizing Anne for not finding alcoholic jerks attractive the way they do, which, if you've read their books, is probably exactly what they did. Poor Anne.

No one in literature and history is safe from Beaton's pen, and some of her funniest comics feature Jane Eyre, Macbeth, the Kennedys, Andrew Jackson and Nancy Drew.

Handselling Opportunities: Fans of cartoons making fun of history and literature. A second volume, Step Aside, Pops, is also available, so put them both in appreciative hands.

If You Steal by Jason (Fantagraphics, $29.99, 9781606998540)
The theme of this column is funny books, but Norwegian cartoonist Jason has never written a book that is entirely funny, even with all the anthropomorphic cats, dogs and birds. There's always a little bit of melancholia mixed in for good measure, and this volume is no different.

If You Steal is another amazing short story collection where not a single story is a miss. Most of them are hilarious and include "Lorena Velazquez," an homage to old Mexican luchador movies in which a stand-in of El Santo, the famous luchador, must battle monsters to save the damsel in distress; "Polly Wants a Cracker," which reimagines Frida Kahlo as an assassin with supernatural ties; "Moondance," which depicts Van Morrison's 1970 album track listing as horror comic covers; and "Ask Not," a mash-up of nearly every conspiracy theory about JFK's assassination.

Jason really shines in his more serious stories, like his six-page summary of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker's life, "The Thrill Is Gone," or "Nothing," probably the best illustrated representation of what it's like to suffer with Alzheimer's, and the titular "If You Steal," a non-linear story about a man's decision to commit a robbery, his obsession with René Magritte paintings and the devastating consequences of both. Jason is a master storyteller.

Handselling Opportunities: Any lover of masterful, austere short stories, both hilarious and sober.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 1: Squirrel Power by Ryan North and Erica Henderson (Marvel, $15.99, 9780785197027)
Squirrel Girl was a joke character at the very beginning, with a ridiculous backstory, ridiculous powers and an incredible track record against many of Marvel's toughest villains, including Dr. Doom, Thanos and Galactus. She even served on the parody team Great Lakes Avengers (or Great Lakes X-Men, depending on who was more popular at the time). But North and Henderson have done something really special with the character in her new series.

Squirrel Girl is still pretty ridiculous, but instead of making her the butt of various jokes, North and Henderson make her a smart, capable, experienced hero who just happens to do ridiculous things. Her supporting cast are excellent additions, especially her best friend and roommate, Nancy Whitehead, and her superhero buddies Chipmunk Hunk and Koi Boi. North also includes metafictional jokes in the bottom margin of most pages in the comic, which add to the hilarity of every issue.

Where Unbeatable Squirrel Girl really shines, though, is in its portrayal of the hero/villain dynamic. Where most heroes are happy to punch villains into submission, Squirrel Girl would rather look for non-violent options. She faces off against Kraven the Hunter, Whiplash and Galactus (again!) and "defeats" them all by talking them down.  Squirrel Girl just makes friends everywhere she goes.

Handselling Opportunities: Fans of funny superhero comics starring great female characters. The second volume, Squirrel You Know It's True, is also available.

Giant Days Vol. 1 by John Allison, Whitney Cogar and Lissa Treiman (BOOM! Box, $9.99, 9781608867899)
Susan Ptolemy, Esther De Groot and Daisy Wooton are three first-year university students somewhere in Britain. They couldn't be any more different if they tried, but circumstance has brought them together and they've become fast friends. They're three weeks into their freshman year and have had some adventures together already, but it's early still, and many shenanigans await.

While there is an overarching story, each chapter deals with a few things that all college students have to go through, like the flu, personal drama, drugs, pigeons and relationships both old and new. The story is hilarious and poignant, yet light enough that even the really bad stuff feels like it will work out somehow.

The three female leads are wonderfully different. Too much fiction tends to make female characters copies of one another, paying more attention to how they look than how they behave. Allison and Treiman neatly avoid that trap by creating characters that you actually could encounter in college.

Handselling Opportunities: Anybody looking to see what the Lumberjanes might be like when they grow up, as well as people looking for a great college-age story that isn't about sexual escapades.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

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

1. The 20/20 Diet by Phil McGraw
2. Christmas from Hell: A Neighbor from Hell Novel by R.L. Mathewson
3. The Play by Karina Halle
4. Haze by Deborah Bladon
5. Under His Command Trilogy by Lili Valente
6. The Deal (Off-Campus Book 1) by Elle Kennedy
7. Dirty Pleasures (The Dirty Billionaire Trilogy Book 2) by Meghan March
8. The Mistake (Off-Campus Book 2) by Elle Kennedy
9. Siberian Treasure (A Marina Alexander Adventure Book 1) by C.M. Gleason
10. Southern Pleasure by Kaylee Ryan

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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