Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Thomas Dunne Books: Admissions: Life as a Brain Surgeon by Henry Marsh

Random House: An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice by Khizr Khan

Chicago Review Press: The Sunken Gold: A Story of World War I Espionage and the Greatest Treasure Salvage in History by Joseph A. Williams

Park Row Books: Hanna Who Fell from the Sky by Christopher Meades

Sourcebooks Fire: Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

Dundurn Group: Deer Life by Ron Sexsmith

Other Press: Infinite Summer by Edoardo Nesi

Quotation of the Day

Amazon's 'Unconscionable' Exploitation of Tax Laws

James Daunt

"[Amazon is] able to undercut us because of how they run their business. We give jobs in communities and on high street, really good and proper important parts of the fabrics of our communities.

"A big warehouse stuck in the middle of nowhere, employing temporary labour on a part-time, hours-only basis is not the same quality. The fact they give cheap goods, efficiently to people is a positive thing in some ways, but it's counter-balanced by a number of negative ones, not least they exploit tax in a way that is unconscionable."

--James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones, on ITV last night, as quoted by the Bookseller.

Geek & Sundry: The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein


News

James Patterson's BookShots Hits Stores Today

Today is publication date in the U.S. for the first two titles in the new BookShots line, a partnership of author James Patterson and his longtime publisher, Little, Brown. At a press conference yesterday, Patterson called the imprint "a very unusual and rare innovation in publishing--an evolution and to some extent a revolution."

The books are fewer than 150 pages long, cost less than $5, and are "fast paced and all thriller, no filler," Patterson said. They're short enough, he continued, to be read in one sitting, and each chapter, usually no more than a few pages long, "has to move plot and characterization forward." They're designed for the many people today who don't have enough time to read and are put off by the idea of reading a 450-page book. "The time is exactly right for this," he emphasized, adding, "We need long form books for sure. This hopefully complements them."

Press conference: NPR's Michele Norris and James Patterson

Patterson, who has generously supported literacy, bookstores and school libraries, said BookShots titles will get more people into the habit of reading, draw more people into bookstores and, because reading is so beneficial to people, improve people's lives.

The first two BookShots titles are Cross Kill by Patterson and Zoo 2 by Patterson with Max DiLallo. Each has a first printing of 500,000 and will be offered mainly in bookstores and via Amazon. But just as Patterson wants to expand readership by publishing exciting titles that are quick reads, he also wants to expand distribution. He fondly recalled the many mass market titles that used to be sold in drug stores, and praised Sweden for having books available in so many nontraditional outlets, including gas stations.

Patterson said that booksellers' reactions have been positive. When "one big supplier" was told about BookShots during the holiday season, she responded, Patterson said, "You've just given me my Christmas present." Another "head buyer" echoed this, saying, "You just gave me my birthday present." For its part, Amazon said, "Think bigger."

Next month, BookShots will publish four titles in the U.S., including two romance titles, part of the BookShots Flames romance series that will consist of two titles every other month. BookShots will also publish mysteries and science fiction. In September, it's publishing a nonfiction title, Trump vs. Clinton: In Their Own Words, which collects the likely presidential candidates' opinions on a range of subjects. Patterson commented: "If it was a $27 book, I don't know if I would want it. At $4.99, I do."

Through the rest of the year, BookShots will publish two to four titles a month. There's no lack of material: Patterson said yesterday that he has 117 manuscripts "finished or almost finished," some of which he's written. For more than 80 books, he wrote outlines of 20-30 pages for others to complete.

Asked how he would measure success for BookShots, Patterson said, "If it's making money instead of losing money." He's decidedly optimistic, adding, "We'll do well with it." --John Mutter


Counterpoint: Gangster Nation by Tod Goldberg


Mystery and Imagination & Bookfellows Closing

Mystery and Imagination & Bookfellows, Glendale, Calif., which sells some new books but is primarily a used and rare bookstore, is closing its bricks-and-mortar store and will sell only online, LA Observed reported.

In a note to customers, Christine Bell, who owns the store with Malcolm Bell, wrote in part, "Thank you for your past support and the beautiful memories we shared here at the bookstore.... Your memories will go with us."

Founded in 1975 by the Bells, Mystery and Imagination specializes in mystery, detective, science fiction, fantasy and horror. Under the more recent Bookfellows name, the store expanded into fiction, poetry, drama, children's, performing arts, western Americana and more.


Portable Press: Enter to win a copy of Strange Science


Globe Pequot Launches Lone Star Books

Globe Pequot Press, Guilford, Conn., is launching Lone Star Books, an imprint dedicated to "all things Texas." The imprint will draw, Globe Pequot said, on its track record in regional publishing and "strong relationships with Texas authors and illustrators."

"From history and sports to food and gardening, Lone Star books tell the stories of historic and contemporary Texas and Texans," said Erin Turner, who will serve as editor of the new imprint and who continues as editor of Two Dot Books, which publishes stories of the American West. "Our authors know Texas, they are Texans, and they cover the stories and interests of Texans. But because Texas culture is much bigger than the state itself, many of these books will have national appeal."

"This is not a total Yankee invasion," said Rick Rinehart, executive editor of Globe Pequot. "Taylor Trade (now an imprint of Globe Pequot) actually has its roots in the Lone Star state, combining the backlists of Republic of Texas Press, Gulf Publishing (formerly Texas Monthly Press) and the book publishing division of Taylor Printing in Dallas. We're proud to have published books such as Neil Sperry's Complete Guide to Texas Gardening (more than 350,000 copies in print), Back Roads of Texas and Best Tales of Texas Ghosts, among other great Texas stories."

Lone Star's first title, appearing in August, is Pigskin Rapture: Four Days in the Life of Texas Football by sports journalist Mac Engel and photographer Ron Jenkins--a chronicle of a variety of pro, university and high school games in Texas that took place during four straight days in the fall of 2015.

Lone Star will also publish two new regional history titles this fall--A Priest, A Prostitute and Some Other Early Texans by Don Blevins and A Cowboy of the Pecos by Patrick Dearen--as well as new editions of Texas Bad Girls by J. Lee Butts, Texas Myths and Legends by Donna Ingham and Texas Ranger Tales: Historic Stories from the Lone Star State.


Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: The Lake House by Kate Morton


University of Cincinnati Founding an Academic Press

In an unusual move in an era of budget tightening at U.S. colleges and universities, the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, is founding an academic press, which will focus on social justice and community engagement.

"It is a historic and exciting moment for a great research university like the University of Cincinnati to join the elite group of institutions that operate an academic press," president Santa J. Ono said. "Becoming an active participant in scholarly publishing will further the university's Third Century goals, notably in the areas of leveraging research and scholarship, strategic recruiting and community engagement."

The new press will have a strong connection with the university's library: it will be located in and supported by the University of Cincinnati Libraries and be "a major component of the emerging scholarly publishing ecosystem hosted by UC Libraries in partnership with others," dean and university librarian Xuemao Wang said. "Alongside the Scholar@UC digital repository, our work in digital humanities and digital scholarship, online journals, eLearning course materials and other programs, the Press will provide a formal, peer-reviewed publishing enterprise serving authors and readers worldwide."


Obituary Note: Joseph 'Scott' Harvey

Joseph "Scott" Harvey, v-p of custom product development at HarperCollins Christian Publishing, died last Friday. He was 52 and had battled cancer.

Harvey began his career at Thomas Nelson as a national accounts manager in 2000, where he launched a custom product development division in 2007. HarperCollins Christian Publishing called Harvey "a gregarious man, best known by his colleagues for his love of laughter and quick wit," who had an enthusiasm for the division's products and an "unwavering faith and focus on God in all things."



Notes

Image of the Day: Barbara Boxer at Book Passage

On Sunday, Book Passage, Corte Madera, Calif., held an event for Senator Barbara Boxer, whose new book is The Art of Tough: Fearlessly Facing Politics and Life (Hachette Books). "It was a huge, enthusiastic crowd and a welcome moment of the positive power of politics in a time when there is a surplus of doubt and worry in that realm," marketing manager Zach Ruskin wrote. At the event: (from l.) assistant manager Jennie Waskey; B. Warner, Karen West's son; sidelines buyer Allison Bainbridge; Boxer; marketing assistant Lianna McSwain; co-owner Elaine Petrocelli; director of events Karen West; co-owner Bill Petrocelli; and events coordinator Dorian Maffei.


Happy 25th Birthday, DDG Booksellers!

Congratulations to Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers, aka DDG Booksellers, Farmington, Maine, which just celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Noting that "we pour effort into our lives into particular vessels, and some hold the effort more than others," owner Kenny Brechner wrote in the Daily Bulldog, "A community oriented bookstore is a particularly retentive vessel. It is in the knitting, I think. There are so many strands, friendships with customers, community partnerships, school partners, staff friendships, a cornucopia of joint efforts and gestalt rewards offer so many layers of interwoven meaning to strengthen the innate character of our enterprise which is, after all, sharing books, sharing vessels of meaning."

See pictures of the store's party in the Daily Bulldog.


'What's in a Name?': Moon Palace Books

Moon Palace Books, Minneapolis, Minn., is the latest subject of Bookselling This Week's "What's in a Name?" series, highlighting some of the bookselling world's most unusual, original and coolest store names.

Co-owners Angela and Jamie Schwesnedl named their shop after Paul Auster's 1989 novel. "It's the story of a young man in New York who inherits hundreds of boxes of books from his uncle, and then when times get tough, he reads them all and sells them off one by one," said Angela Schwesnedl. "We tossed around a lot of names for the store, but this one had a backstory that we liked at the time."

Schwesnedl added that they frequently are asked about the store's name, so she keeps a copy of Moon Palace on display on the counter: "Every once in a while, I'll definitely get someone who knows the book, and that pleases them. I often tell people that Moon Palace was the book that turned me into a reader. When I read it, I was just figuring out what kind of reader I was."


Personnel Changes at Ecco, Workman

Effective June 13, Meghan Deans is joining Ecco as marketing director. She has been at Little, Brown the last three years, most recently as director of social media. Before that, she worked in marketing for Vintage and Anchor Books.

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At Workman Publishing:

Thea James has been named to the newly created position of director of digital marketing & strategy. She formerly worked in digital operations.

Louisa Hager has joined the company in the new position of digital content & social media community manager. She has been a marketing associate in the HarperAcademic division.

Estelle Hallick has joined the company as a publicist. She formerly was an associate publicist at Oxford University Press and the social media manager for Bert Davis, the executive search firm.

Lauren Southard has been promoted to assistant marketing manager. Previously, she was a marketing coordinator and has been with the company since 2013.

Laura DiNardo will be marketing assistant. She was formerly a publicity and marketing assistant.

Emma Traum has joined the company as a publicity assistant.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jeffrey Rosen on Fresh Air

Today:
Good Morning America: Desiree Hartsock, author of My Fairytale Wedding: Planning Your Dream Wedding Without Breaking the Bank (Dragon Fruit, $14.95, 9781633533318).

Fresh Air: Jeffrey Rosen, author of Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet (Yale University Press, $25, 9780300158670).

Tomorrow:
Sirius XM's Knowledge@Wharton: Virginia Heffernan, author of Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781439191705).

Diane Rehm: readers review Drown by Junot Díaz (Riverhead, $16, 9781573226066).


Books & Authors

Awards: Griffin Poetry; International Thriller Writers

The Quotations of Bone by Norman Dubie and Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent by Liz Howard were the international and Canadian category winners respectively of the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize, which honors "first edition books of poetry written in, or translated into, English and submitted from anywhere in the world." They each receive C$65,000 (about US$50,620). Adam Zagajewski was this year's Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry's Lifetime Recognition Award recipient.

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The finalists for the 2016 International Thriller Writers Awards have been chosen in six categories and can be seen here. Winners will be announced during ThrillerFest XI in New York City on July 9.


Book Review

Review: Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, & Other Literary Essays

Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, & Other Literary Essays by Cynthia Ozick (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25 hardcover, 9780544703711, July 5, 2016)

Cynthia Ozick (Foreign Bodies) has been a brilliant and acclaimed central figure in U.S. literature for almost half a century. She begins Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, & Other Literary Essays with a manifesto on the importance of literary criticism for novelists and the general culture. Critics, she emphasizes, are key, not so much reviewers. Especially not Amazon reviewers, who "expose their insipidities to a mass audience" in a "fetid sea, where both praise and blame are leveled by tsunamis of incapacity." But a community of erudite, idiosyncratic, passionate critics can illuminate the links among books, set them in cultural and historical context, and goad the literary world toward excellence.

"A critic is nothing without an authoritative posture, or standard, or even prejudice, against which an opposing outlook or proposition can be tested." Ozick has many of her own, and forges ahead with them in this collection of forceful, witty, thoroughly argued essays. In "Novel or Nothing," she tells of the renowned critic Lionel Trilling's frustrated ambition to become a great novelist. Her review of the collected letters of Saul Bellow becomes a tribute to his career and the strength of his legacy. She harks back to the joy of $20 season tickets to the 92nd Street Y in the 1950s, when Auden and Eliot were on the program. "It was, in fact, the Age of Poetry, a pinnacle and an exaltation; there has not been another since. Its poets were more than luminaries--they were colossi, their very names were talismans, and they rose before us under a halo of brilliant lights like figures in a shrine." In "Transcending the Kafkaesque," Ozick combines her review of an "honest and honorable" multivolume Kafka biography with a detailed repudiation of John Updike's assertion that Kafka "avoided Jewish parochialism." "To belittle as parochial the cultural surround... that bred Kafka is to diminish and disfigure the man--to do to him what so many of Kafka's stories do to their hapless protagonists." She considers the battle between realism and experimentalism, and the question of whether Holocaust fiction by William Gass and Martin Amis only veils and excuses the historical atrocities.

Ozick has her tics; "contrapuntal" is one of them, and most readers are likely to find at least one or two words she uses obscure. She would probably tell you to look them up. No one is likely to agree with everything she has to say about U.S. literature, nor should they: these essays challenge readers to form their own well-considered ideas. --Sara Catterall

Shelf Talker: A forceful and witty collection of literary criticism by a brilliant critic and novelist.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

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

1. Until June by Aurora Rose Reynolds
2. Desire After Dark (Gansett Island Series Volume 15) by Marie Force
3. Six John Jordan Mysteries by Michael Lister
4. Wednesday by Kendall Ryan
5. Walk by Cora Brent
6. Mister O by Lauren Blakely
7. Anarchy by Leia Stone and Jaymin Eve
8. Loose & Lethal: Dusty Deals Mystery Series Box Set by Rae Davies and Lori Devoti
9. Hostage (Predators MC Book 3) by Jamie Begley
10. The Blood Prince Series by Jennifer Blackstream

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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