Shelf Awareness for Thursday, August 18, 2016


Random House: White Houses by Amy Bloom

Katherine Tegen Books: The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor

Canterbury Classics: Compact Novel Journals

Katherine Tegen Books: Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Soho Crime: The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

Ecco Press: Tangerine by Christine Mangan

Quotation of the Day

'A Space for People to Have These Hard Conversations'

DeAndra Beard

"Through the bookstore/café, we've created a space for people to have these hard conversations. Kokomo has historical issues with institutionalized racism, but now you see the community turning toward these issues and having those difficult conversations....

"Since January I have seen people connect in ways that I never could have imagined. It gives people an outlet, a place where they can be open and talk about these issues; people come in just looking for a way to connect with people who don't look like them."

--DeAndra Beard, owner of Bind Café and Beyond Barcodes multicultural bookstore, Kokomo, Ind., speaking to Bookselling This Week

Freeform: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton


News

Barnes & Noble Shares Fall 11% on Boire Departure

Yesterday, in reaction to the sudden departure of Barnes & Noble CEO Ronald D. Boire, shares of B&N fell 11%, to $11.91, on three times the usual trading volume.

On Tuesday, the B&N board said that Boire "was not a good fit for the organization and that it was in the best interests of all parties for him to leave the company." He had joined B&N from Sears Canada in September 2015, less than a year ago.


Ingram Publisher Services: Celebrating the 45th Anniversary of Dundurn Press


Pamela Paul to Oversee NYT Book Coverage

Pamela Paul

Pamela Paul, current editor of the New York Times Sunday Book Review, will now oversee the newspaper's daily and Sunday book coverage. In a note sent to staff yesterday, NYT executive editor Dean Baquet wrote: "It will be Pamela's job to think about how our coverage should change and, of course, how it should not change. (We will, for instance, maintain our Sunday Book Review. It is hard to imagine the paper without it.) Above all, we believe we have a significant opportunity to expand the audience for our books coverage."

Noting that while the move "may seem like simple tinkering in the flow chart," Baquet described Paul's promotion as "large in the life of the Times and in American publishing. Currently, the line between Sunday and daily reviews--a line established when the paper was divided according to print constructs--means that the great critics Michiko Kakutani, Dwight Garner and Jennifer Senior do not write for the cover of the Review. It means that we don't often coordinate in deciding which books are so important they deserve both a daily and a Sunday review."

The change is designed to "create a structure that will allow our critics more breathing room to do other kinds of writing--including essays that marry the world of books and the larger world. Pamela will also oversee coverage of books news, including the work of Alexandra Alter, who covers the publishing industry," Baquet wrote, adding that "under Pamela's leadership, books and book reviews will be a consistent and significant part of the Times's daily culture report."

Paul joined the NYTBR as children's book editor in 2011. During her tenure as editor, she introduced a number of new features and voices, including Bookends, additional essays and more writing about art and poetry. She has also written four books, the most recent of which is My Life With Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books; Plot Ensues, which will be published next year.


Other Press: Bookselling Without Borders Scholarship


New Owner for Vancouver's Iconic Little Sister's Bookstore

Don Wilson is the new owner of Vancouver's iconic Little Sister's Book & Art Emporium. "Jim Deva and Bruce Smyth opened the store in 1983, when they had trouble finding gay books for sale anywhere else," Daily Xtra reported. Smyth said that Deva's unexpected death in 2014 and his own health struggles, including weak eyesight, prompted the decision.

"It's emotional," Smyth noted. "I've always maintained that if you own a bookstore, you should know how to run it inside and out, backwards and forwards. It's not right that I run it. I can't see." He added that the sale to Wilson, the store's current manager, will take effect September 1. "It will change, of course," Smyth observed. "It's retail. It has to change."

Wilson said Little Sister's has been "an established business for 33 years.... We want to still keep it community-oriented. It's not going to change a lot." His sister and her husband will also be involved.


Disney-Hyperion: Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner


Kobo Introducing the Aura ONE Waterproof E-Reader

Rakuten Kobo has introduced the Kobo Aura ONE, which was designed by a team of nine top customers who "challenged the Kobo design team to push the limits on all aspects of hardware and software," according to the company. The collaborative effort resulted in a 7.8-inch e-reader featuring a Book-Sized Touchscreen; ComfortLight PRO enhanced front-light technology for nighttime reading without impacting sleep; and HZO Protection, making it waterproof.

The Kobo Aura ONE will be available in soft black and retail for C$249.99 (about US$195) in Canada through Kobo.com and Indigo Books from August 30 to September 29 (pre-order from August 30 to September 5; September 6 in-store availability). The device will be available at Best Buy beginning September 30; in the U.S., the U.K., Italy, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Japan and Turkey as of September 6; in Australia, New Zealand and Mexico by October/November; and in Brazil by March 2017.

"As we build new devices, we are trying to keep the reader's entire reading life in mind--where and when do they read, how can we make things easier, how can we combine beautiful design with pushing the envelope of what technology can do. Everything we do is for the reader," said Rakuten Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn. "The insights and feedback gleaned from working closely with some of our top customers were instrumental in the design of this new device."


Notes

Image of the Day: SIBA Field Trip

Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance board members attended Kansas Leadership Training in Wichita this week. They also visited Watermark Books and toured the store with owner Sarah Bagby, and met author Rae Meadows, who was signing her book I Will Send Rain (Holt). Pictured: (l.-r.) Doug Robinson, Sarah Bagby, Stephanie Crowe, Charles Robinson (guest bookseller), Linda-Marie Barrett, Jill Hendrix and Rae Meadows.


Cool Idea of the Day: NFL Player's Book Club

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett "wants to try something new with his teammates: a book club," ESPN reported, adding that the lineman "pitched the idea to Seahawks vice president of player engagement Maurice Kelly, and Kelly liked what he heard. The first book on the list is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell."

"Try to get a book and try to have a good conversation about it," Bennett said of his book club game plan. "Read a couple chapters and just go through it. 'What's your take on it? What's your opinion on it?' It's going to be pretty cool." Thus far, his teammates "have been receptive. I tell them don't waste too much time staying on the phone all the time. Every once in awhile, open up a book."

"People think that he just talks, but he does research," Kelly noted. "He reads a lot. He's not just talking to be talking, just to hear himself. Sometimes it comes across as if he's just talking just to hear himself talk. But he knows his history. He leaves his books all over the damn place. I see 'em in my office all the time." Regarding the book club, he added: "It's a good thing, kind of taking everybody out of their comfort zone. I don't know too many guys who read a lot of books. Mike reads. But to put the onus on everybody else, to challenge everybody else, I'm accepting the challenge."



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ed Yong on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life (Ecco, $27.99, 9780062368591).

Tomorrow:
CBS This Morning: Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher, authors of Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power (Scribner, $28, 9781501155772).


Movies: A Quiet Passion

A trailer has been released for A Quiet Passion, directed by Terence Davies (The House of Mirth) and featuring Cynthia Nixon as 19th century poet Emily Dickinson. Indiewire reported that the movie, which will be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival this fall, "is a unique insight into Dickinson's life and obsessions, and follows the writer from her schoolgirl days in Amherst, Massachusetts to her years writing in near-total isolation, where she produced over a thousand poems that are now regarded as the finest and most inventive in American literature."

A Quiet Passion's cast includes Jennifer Ehle as Dickinson's sister, Lavinia, and Keith Carradine as her father, Duncan Duff, as well as Jodhi May, Joanna Bacon and Catherine Bailey. It opens in theaters November 18 in the U.K. No U.S. release date has been set yet, "but that could change after the film's stunt at TIFF," Indiewire wrote.


This Weekend on Book TV: The Mississippi Book Festival

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, August 20
11 a.m. Live coverage of the 2016 Mississippi Book Festival, at the state capitol in Jackson, Miss. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

8 p.m. Robert P. Jones, author of The End of White Christian America (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781501122293). (Re-airs Sunday at 5 p.m.)

10 p.m. Seymour M. Hersh, author of The Killing of Osama Bin Laden (Verso, $19.95, 9781784784362). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)


Sunday, August 21
1 p.m. A panel discussion about capitalism and militarism at the 2016 Left Forum Opening Plenary. (Re-airs Monday at 5 a.m.)

10 p.m. Judith D. Schwartz, author of Water in Plain Sight: Hope for a Thirsty World (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250069917), at Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

11 p.m. Larry Tye, author of Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon (Random House, $32, 9780812993349).


Books & Authors

Awards: James Tait Black; 'Not the Booker Prize'

This year's category winners of the £10,000 (about $13,010) James Tait Black Prizes, which are awarded annually by the University of Edinburgh's School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures, are 1606, William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear by James Shapiro (biography) and You Don't Have to Live Like This by Benjamin Markovits (fiction).

Prize judge Jonathan Wild said Shapiro "quite brilliantly interweaves the material found in the 1606 plays with the historical events of this momentous year, allowing us in the process new perspectives on familiar material. He is particularly deft in the ways that he writes about often arcane detail for a non-specialist readership. This is 'keyhole' biography at its very best and no reader could put this volume down without feeling enormously enlightened about Shakespeare's work and times."        
    
Judge Alex Lawrie said Markovits "deftly captures the racial and economic fault lines at the heart of a supposedly utopian experiment for urban renewal in 21st-century Detroit. You Don't Have to Live Like This forces us to re-examine our own prejudices and advantages, and the impact these have on our willingness to behave in an ethical and socially responsible manner."
 
---

A six-book shortlist has been unveiled for the 2016 "Not the Booker Prize," the Guardian's annual competition "to find the year's best book, which may--or may not--tally with the assessment of the Man Booker prize judges.... Three readers will be selected by the Guardian to form a panel of judges from those readers who have made substantial contributions to the discussion of the shortlisted books. The process by which these readers are chosen is left studiously vague and is at the Guardian's discretion. These judges undertake to read at least three of the six-book shortlist before the final judging meeting." This year's Not the Booker Prize shortlisted titles are:

The Combinations by Louis Armand
The Less Than Perfect Legend of Donna Creosote by Dan Micklethwaite
Walking the Lights by Deborah Andrews
The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel
Chains of Sand by Jemma Wayne
What Will Remain by Dan Clements


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:

Hardcover: An Indies Introduce Title
Half Wild: Stories by Robin MacArthur (Ecco, $24.99, 9780062444394). "MacArthur's debut story collection is set in the hilly backcountry of southern Vermont--a rural landscape of half-abandoned farms and double-wide trailers, but also one of immense natural beauty and wildness. Her characters hew close to this land--even those who have left cannot help but return. These are beautifully drawn portraits of people who, despite poverty and decay, remain vibrantly alive to their world and to the power of memory. I cannot wait to read more from this author!" --Peter Sherman, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, Mass.

Hardcover
The Summer That Melted Everything: A Novel by Tiffany McDaniel (St. Martin's Press, $25.99, 9781250078063). "There are hundreds of coming-of-age stories, but the one told in The Summer That Melted Everything is unique. In the summer of 1984, a series of disturbing events in Breathed, Ohio, are attributed to the arrival of a 13-year-old boy named Sal who claims to be the devil. Gossip and superstitions, exacerbated by the sweltering heat, turn the villagers against Sal. Only the family of the local prosecutor welcomes the boy, who is befriended by their son, Fielding. McDaniel offers an original meditation on what is right and wrong, good and evil, in a magical, heart-wrenching, and unforgettable novel." --Pierre Camy, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Paperback
Dragonfish: A Novel by Vu Tran (Norton, $15.95, 9780393352870). "Tran has written a highly original noir mystery involving Suzy, a Vietnamese immigrant, and her police officer ex-husband, Robert. Suzy goes missing in Las Vegas and her current husband, Sonny, enlists Robert's help to track her down. During his search for Suzy, Robert discovers a packet of letters written by her to Mai, Suzy's long-lost daughter, who is now a professional gambler living in Las Vegas. Suspenseful, cinematic, and haunting, Tran's storytelling is superb, and Dragonfish is an excellent debut." --Sherri Gallentine, Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, Calif.

For Ages 4 to 8
School's First Day of School by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson (Roaring Brook Press, $17.99, 9781596439641). "This unexpected and fresh perspective about a new school welcoming its first classes will intrigue and amuse both kids and teachers as they prepare to go back to class. This is a welcome, original entry for the shelf of back-to-school books with wonderful text by beloved author Rex and witty art by the award-winning Robinson." --Carol Moyer, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, N.C.

For Ages 9 to 12: An Indies Introduce Title
This is Not a Werewolf Story by Sandra Evans (Atheneum, $16.99, 9781481444804). "Raul is a loner--the only child not picked up on the weekend. Or is he? The language leaps from the page with imagery as we delve into his magical weekends, which teem with animal references, Native American themes, and serious childhood problems. There is something in this for everyone." --Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex.

For Teen Readers: Revisit & Rediscover
The Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John (Speak, $8.99, 9780142419434). Originally published in hardcover in 2010. "Dumb: a hot high school rock band as hopelessly rhythmically challenged as their members are diverse. Piper: a smart, sassy senior focused on academics and chess club and her plans to attend Gallaudet University in the fall. When financial circumstances threaten Piper's dreams, she does whatever she can to stay on track. Dumb needs direction and Piper needs money. In a moment of weakness she agrees to become their manager, despite being deaf. A deliciously funny quest to find fame, love, and, most importantly, one's voice." --Kris Vreeland, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, Calif.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, August 23:

Surrender, New York: A Novel by Caleb Carr (Random House, $30, 9780679455691) is a thriller about mysterious murders in rural New York.

Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power by Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher (Scribner, $28, 9781501155772) is an exposé on the Republican nominee by two investigative journalists.

First Star I See Tonight: A Novel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062405616) is a romantic comedy about a detective working for a sports star.

I'm Still Here (Je Suis Là) by Clelie Avit, translated by Lucy Foster (Grand Central, $25, 9781455537624) is a French novel about a woman trapped in a coma and a man who visits her hospital room.

Under the Lights: Field Party by Abbi Glines (Simon Pulse, $17.99, 9781481438896) is the follow-up to Until Friday Night about three teens from a small southern town who are stuck in a love triangle.

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Erin E. Stead (Dial, $17.99, 9780803738683) is a picture book about how a message in a bottle changes one man's life.

A Little Thing Called Life: On Loving Elvis Presley, Bruce Jenner, and Songs in Between by Linda Thompson (Dey Street, $27.99, 9780062469748) is the memoir of a songwriter.

Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson (Pantheon, $35, 9780375423222) is a history of the Attica Prison Uprising released on the event's 45th anniversary.

Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away: A Love Letter to My Family by Ben Utecht and Mark Tabb (Howard, $26, 9781501136603) is the memoir of a former football player suffering from the long-term effects of concussions.

Movie:
Blood Father, based on the novel by Peter Craig, opens August 26. Mel Gibson stars as an ex-con defending his teenage daughter from drug dealers.


Book Review

Review: Mercury

Mercury by Margot Livesey (Harper, $26.99 hardcover, 336p., 9780062437501, September 27, 2016)

Multi-layered domestic dramas are Margot Livesey's specialty. In Mercury, she once again probes contradictions in human relationships, this time orbiting the often perilous abyss of middle age and casting her gaze on matters of perception in both literal and figurative terms.

Donald Stevenson is a staid, self-employed, 39-year-old surgical ophthalmologist-turned-optometrist who lives and works in a Boston suburb. "My life... fit me like a well-made suit," says the devoted husband and father of two young children. Donald spent his first 10 years in Scotland. He still yearns for his homeland and a beloved boyhood friend; they lost touch when Donald and his family crossed the Atlantic in 1981. In humble, intimate prose that percolates with impending tragedy, Donald tells his life and how a chasm developed between him and Viv, his American-born wife of nine years. A restless and impulsive former mutual fund financier, Viv gave up her unfulfilling professional life--with her husband's support and subsequent familial sacrifices--to pursue her earlier life's passion for horses, co-managing a stable called Windy Hill.

Donald recounts his history with Viv and delivers his haunted side of the story through a prism of retrospection that bookends the narrative. After Donald's infirm father--a man whom he loved and respected and whose wisdom was a guiding force in his life--succumbs to the ravages of Parkinson's disease, Donald's grief becomes overwhelming. Magnifying his isolation is Viv, who seems more in love with Mercury--a five-year-old, dapple-gray Thoroughbred, "the most beautiful animal Viv had ever seen"--than with him and their children. The horse's owner boards Mercury at Windy Hill, but Viv forges such a deep bond that she pins her affections, hopes and dreams of winning a horse-riding championship--however illusory and ultimately obsessive--upon the Thoroughbred. "He's just a horse," Donald says. "Not just," says Viv, adding, "Imagine if you were suddenly given the keys to a Porsche." After Windy Hill sustains a mysterious break-in, Viv--whose myopic, first-person account is sandwiched between Donald's telling of events--conveys how she secretly took security matters into her own hands to keep her adored Mercury from danger. The consequences of this decision become far reaching, life changing and soul shattering.

Livesey (The Flight of Gemma Hardy) is a reflective, insightful writer. She offers a well-drawn supporting cast and skillfully unravels details that heighten the suspense and surprise of a sobering story. She delves into divisive aspects of deceit, desire, regret and ideals, and how the choices people make can affect and torment innocent lives in extraordinary ways. This unsparing examination of the intricacies and fallibilities of human relationships (in various incarnations) ultimately upends ideas of good and bad, right and wrong, while evoking highly provocative philosophical and moral questions. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: The marriage of a couple on the cusp of middle age, and who have failed each other, comes undone by a beautiful Thoroughbred horse.


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