Shelf Awareness for Thursday, January 12, 2017


HarperCollins: On a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna

Johns Hopkins University Ptess: Playboys and Mayfair Men by Angus McLaren / A Year of Writing Dangerously by Keith Gandal

Atlantic Monthly Press: The Prague Sonata by Bradford Morrow

Balzer & Bray/Harperteen: I Love You Like a Pig by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

Quotation of the Day

'So Long, Reader-in-Chief Obama'

"So long, Reader-in-Chief Obama. It was a beautiful eight years."

--Claire Fallon in a Huffington Post story about President Obama's love of reading, his promotion of indie bookstores and his recommendations of many books during his time in the White House.

AuthorBuzz: Indie Bookstore Readers


News

Maria A. Pallante New Head of the AAP

Maria Pallante

Effective January 17, former U.S. Register of Copyrights Maria A. Pallante is becoming president and CEO of the Association of American Publishers, succeeding Tom Allen, the former congressman who became president and CEO of the organization in 2009.

The AAP said that Pallante is "widely-known as an intellectual property expert with a distinguished record of public service." Y.S. Chi, chairman of the AAP board, added, "Maria is a creative, forward-thinking leader who has earned the deep respect of members of Congress as well as intellectual property experts around the world. The board believes she is an excellent choice for president and CEO as she brings to AAP considerable expertise in many of the issues facing the publishing industry."

Before being appointed Register of Copyrights in 2011, a position she held until last year, Pallante held two senior positions in the U.S. Copyright Office, as Deputy General Counsel and Associate Register and Director of Policy and International Affairs. From 1999 to 2007, she was intellectual property counsel and director of licensing and branding for the Guggenheim Museums. Earlier in her career, she worked briefly for the Authors Guild and National Writers Union, respectively, and was in private practice in Washington, D.C. She holds a law degree from George Washington University and a bachelor's degree in history from Misericordia University, which also awarded her an honorary doctorate of humane letters.

"I am deeply inspired by the values of the American publishing industry," Pallante said. "Publishers promote literature, literacy, education, and research around the world, while advocating for free speech, creating jobs, and making considerable contributions to the global marketplace. It will be a privilege to represent these interests in matters of policy, trade and business."


Zondervan: To Wager Her Heart (Belle Meade Plantation) by Tamera Alexander


University Book Store Closing Bellevue, Wash., Location

University Book Store, Inc.--the for-profit corporate trust that benefits University of Washington students, faculty and staff and has seven stores in the Seattle, Wash., area--is closing its 30-year-old store in downtown Bellevue on February 15.

University Book Store CEO Louise Little said that "while we have enjoyed success over those 30 years, the retail environment has changed significantly. We believe our business, and the Trust which governs our operations, will be better served by leasing the space that our store currently occupies to another retail tenant."

The University Book Store owns the building its Bellevue store is located in; tenants include Y'ves Delorme, Zeeks Pizza, Nancy Wallace Pilates and Salon 990.

Little noted that Bellevue, an upscale city across Lake Washington from Seattle, is going through "a huge growth spurt," with lots of development, making commercial properties more valuable. University Book Store looked at the economics of operating its own business in its 19,000-square-foot space, 1,000 of which is leased to a cafe, compared to leasing that space to another business, and found, Little said, that "it was far and away much more profitable to lease that space rather than operate our own store."

She stressed that University Book Store aims to continue to be a part of the Eastside community "at a new location yet to be confirmed. We will continue to serve Bellevue customers through our University District, Mill Creek and Tacoma stores, and at ubookstore.com."

University Book Store is "keeping our eyes and ears open for locations that will serve our needs," Little continued; a new location could be in Bellevue or another Eastside community such as Redmond or Kirkland. She emphasized that many University of Washington alumni live in Bellevue and nearby and are an important market for two of University Book Store's main categories: books and Husky insignia, including clothing and non-clothing items.

A new store would likely be smaller than the Bellevue store, in part because of the general trend in retail away from big box stores and because customers have come to expect "an omnichannel presence," including online, and don't gravitate to big stores as they used to. Little noted that University Book Store is investing heavily in IT, adding, "We're closing a store, but we're looking for new and better ways to serve our customers."


Books by the Sea Moving to Centerville, Mass.

Books by the Sea, which has operated in Osterville Village, Mass., for nearly a decade, is relocating February 1 to Centerville's Bell Tower Mall on Route 28. The Barnstable Patriot reported that the new location will "provide personalized service and local interest specialties to a wider region of Mid-Cape readers.... This unique store has become an important part of the Cape Cod community and will now be able to provide wider public exposure for its many authors and artists through frequent signings, readings and lectures."

"Easy access to great books is our goal," said owner Tom Phillips. "Our new location will give readers a more convenient way to drop in, get advice and recommendations from our well-read and trained staff, learn about new books from both beloved and emerging authors, and find just the right book for their needs."


Amazon to Begin Collecting Sales Tax in South Dakota

Amazon will begin collecting state and local sales taxes in South Dakota on February 1, Governor Dennis Daugaard said during a speech opening the 2017 legislative session, the Associated Press reported.

A law passed last year in the state requires out-of-state sellers who exceed revenue and transaction thresholds to comply with state sales tax laws, the AP said. The state has estimated that it's missing out on $48 million-$58 million annually in state and municipal tax revenues from online sellers. The state receives much of its revenues from sales taxes.

Daugaard said Amazon's decision to collect sales tax "doesn't solve the sales tax issue for online purchases, but it's a big step in the right direction." House Republican leader Lee Qualm added: "It's not going to fix everything, but it's a good start. Hopefully other companies will jump on the bandwagon."

Daugaard said he was unable to estimate how much money the move will add to the state because Amazon had declined to give the state relevant information.


Obituary Note: Huston Smith

Huston Smith, "a renowned scholar of religion who pursued his own enlightenment in Methodist churches, Zen monasteries and even Timothy Leary's living room," died December 30, the New York Times reported. He was 97. Smith was best known for The Religions of Man (1958), "which has been a standard textbook in college-level comparative religion classes for half a century. In 1991, it was revised and expanded and given the gender-neutral title The World's Religions. The two versions together have sold more than three million copies," the Times wrote.

In 1996, Bill Moyers showcased Smith in a five-part PBS series, The Wisdom of Faith with Huston Smith. Richard D. Hecht, a professor of religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, called Smith "one of the three greatest interpreters of religion for general readers in the second half of the 20th century," along with Joseph Campbell and Roderick Ninian Smart.

The Times noted that it was "through psychedelic drugs in the early 1960s that Professor Smith believed he came closest to experiencing God." Although Smith later became disenchanted with Leary, the drug experiments led him to write Cleansing the Doors of Perception: The Religious Significance of Entheogenic Plants and Chemicals.

Smith's other books include Tales of Wonder: Adventures Chasing the Divine; The Illustrated World's Religions: A Guide to Our Wisdom Traditions; Forgotten Truth: The Common Vision of the World's Religions; Why Religion Matters: The Fate of the Human Spirit in an Age of Disbelief; and The Soul of Christianity: Restoring the Great Tradition.



Notes

Image of the Day: Snoop's Day Drinking

Snoop Dogg shared this photo of himself perusing an ARC of Workman's forthcoming collection of low-alcohol cocktail recipes, Day Drinking: 50 Cocktails for a Mellow Buzz by Kat Odell.


Japanese City Opens Bookshop

Last month, the municipal government of Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, in Japan "took the unusual step of opening a city-run bookstore." The Japan News reported that the Hachinohe Book Center, "which occupies 315 square meters [about 3,400 square feet] on the ground floor of a building in the central part of the city, opened as part of the mayor's 'book town Hachinohe' policy pledge. The store has about 8,000 books... [and] features books that can be difficult to sell at ordinary bookstores, such as foreign literature and titles on the humanities, art and nature."

Store manager Nobutsugu Otokita said, "People can borrow books from a library, but buying a book brings a different type of enjoyment."

The Japan News also noted: "Taking into account the possibility of squeezing out private businesses, the store does not take orders from customers for specific books." Reiko Tanaka, the president of Kimura Bookstore in the city, said, "I want people to pick up books at the Hachinohe Book Center and order them from neighborhood bookstores."


Cool Idea of the Day: Campaign of Forks

Kona Stories owners Joy Vogelgesang (left) and Brenda McConnell

Kona Stories Book Store, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, has launched a Campaign of Forks to help bring awareness to the issue of non-recyclable plastic tableware and to promote alternatives to using PS6 forks. During the holiday season, store co-owner Brenda McConnell was discussing the environmental hazards of using plastic utensils with her visiting daughters, one of whom challenged her not to use plastic forks in her home and business. 

As a result, McConnell started a campaign to collect old-fashioned metal forks for the events at Kona Stories. She needs approximately 100 forks for her monthly Words and Wine event, and will re-use them instead of the plastic forks used in the past. She is asking people interested in the campaign to clean out their drawers or purchase forks to donate to this cause.

"This seemed like a wonderful way to start 2017... thus it begins, a campaign for real forks," McConnell said. "The first thing to do is to stop using these environmentally damaging forks. Ways to do this is to start traveling with your own fork--a nice way to do this is to invest in a To-Go-Ware set." Kona Stories sells these $14.99 sets, which are made of bamboo.


Personnel Changes at PRH Publisher Services; Highlights; Ingram's VitalSource; Nelson

At Penguin Random House Publisher Services:

Rachel Goldstein has been promoted to v-p, executive director, business strategy, finance & operations.

Todd Berman is now v-p, business development and publishing strategy.
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Michael Eisenberg has been named associate publisher, director of book marketing, for the Highlights Retail Group. Previously he was director, book marketing, for the Highlights Retail Group.

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At Ingram's VitalSource Technologies:

Jennifer Solomon has been named director of market development. She formerly spent 15 years at Jones & Bartlett Learning, first a sales manager, then v-p of sales, education curriculum solutions, and later v-p, academic and professional sales.

Tim Ridgway has been named senior marketing manager. He was formerly v-p of marketing for 13 years at Califone International.

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Karen Jackson has joined Thomas Nelson as director of marketing for Nelson Books. She was formerly director of marketing for Motown Record's gospel division and has worked in marketing at EMI Gospel.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Buddha's Diet on NPR's Splendid Table

Tomorrow:
The Real: Taraji P. Henson, co-author of Around the Way Girl: A Memoir (Atria/37 INK, $26, 9781501125997).

Dr. Oz: Harley A. Rotbart, M.D., author of Miracles We Have Seen: America's Leading Physicians Share Stories They Can't Forget (HCI, $16.95, 9780757319372).

NPR's The Splendid Table: Tara Cottrell and Dan Zigmond, authors of Buddha's Diet: The Ancient Art of Losing Weight without Losing Your Mind (Running Press, $16.95, 9780762460465).


This Weekend on Book TV: A Panel on Race Relations

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Tuesday 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, January 14
7:30 p.m. A panel discussion on race relations in the U.S., moderated by Urban Radio Networks Washington bureau chief April Ryan. Participants include:

  • Joy-Ann Reid, author of Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide (Morrow, $15.99, 9780062305268).
  • Mary Frances Berry, author of Five Dollars and a Pork Chop Sandwich: Vote Buying and the Corruption of Democracy (Beacon Press, $18, 9780807061985).
  • Wes Moore, author of The Work: Searching for a Life That Matters (Spiegel & Grau, $16, 9780812983845).
  • Cornell Belcher, author of A Black Man in the White House: Barack Obama and the Triggering of America's Racial-Aversion Crisis (Water Street Press, $16, 9781621343608).

Hosted by Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 3:30 p.m. and Monday at 8:30 a.m.)

10 p.m. Jonathan Chait, author of Audacity: How Barack Obama Defied His Critics and Created a Legacy That Will Prevail (Custom House, $27.99, 9780062426970). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. John McWhorter, author of Words on the Move: Why English Won't--and Can't--Sit Still (Like, Literally) (Holt, $28, 9781627794718). (Re-airs Monday at 5 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.)


Books & Authors

Awards: Sydney Taylor Winners

The winners of the 2017 Sydney Taylor Books Awards, which recognize books for children and teens that exemplify high literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience and sponsored by Association of Jewish Libraries, are:

Gold Medalists:
Younger Readers: I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy with illustrations by Elizabeth Baddeley (Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Older Readers: The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz with illustrations by Hatem Aly (Dutton Children's Books)
Teen Readers: Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit (Knopf)

Honor Books:
Younger Readers:
Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy by Richard Michelson with illustrations by Edel Rodriguez (Knopf)
A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love by Michelle Edwards with illustrations by G. Brian Karas (Schwartz and Wade Books)
Older Readers:
Dreidels on the Brain by Joel Ben Izzy (Dial Books for Young Readers)
A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of the Snowy Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney with illustrations by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher (Viking Children's Books)

The 10 notable books can be seen here.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, January 17:

Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus by Matt Taibbi, illustrated by Victor Juhasz (Spiegel & Grau, $26, 9780399592461) collects the Rolling Stone editor's coverage of the 2016 election.

Never Never by James Patterson and Candice Fox (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316433174) is a thriller about an Australian sex crimes investigator. (January 16.)

Signals: New and Selected Stories by Tim Gautreaux (Knopf, $26.95, 9780451493040) is a collection 20 short stories, 12 of which are previously unpublished.

Creative Change: Why We Resist It... How We Can Embrace It by Jennifer Mueller (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780544703094) posits that businesses often reject creative ideas, despite claiming to want them.

The Metabolism Plan: Discover the Foods and Exercises that Work for Your Body to Reduce Inflammation and Drop Pounds Fast by Lyn-Genet Recitas (Grand Central, $27, 9781455535453) gives weight loss advice.

The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson: A Novel by Nancy Peacock (Atria, $25, 9781501116353) is historical fiction about a freed slaved captured by the Comanches.

Hey Harry, Hey Matilda: A Novel by Rachel Hulin (Doubleday, $25.95, 9780385541671) is a story about fraternal twins told entirely via e-mails.

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera (Soho Teen, $18.99, 9781616956929) is a teen novel that explores grief and mental illness from the author of More Happy Than Not.

Paperbacks:
Darling, I Love You: Poems from the Hearts of Our Glorious Mutts and All Our Animal Friends by Daniel Ladinsky and Patrick McDonnell (Penguin Books, $17, 9780143128267).

The Widow by Fiona Barton (Berkley, $16, 9781101990476).

The Gringo Champion by Aura Xilonen and Andrea Rosenberg (Europa Editions, $17, 9781609453657).


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
The Old Man by Thomas Perry (Mysterious Press, $26, 9780802125866). "Dan Chase is a wealthy old man living a quiet life after the death of his wife and his daughter's move to another part of the country. But wait--he is being followed, and then his house is broken into and he has to kill the intruder. Next, the old man turns to his 'go' bag as it seems he has many identities, stashes of currency, and a plan to disappear. There are secrets to be discovered all throughout this tale and Perry keeps readers wondering what will come next. This is definitely one of Perry's best!" --Barbara Kelly, Kelly's Books to Go, South Portland, Me.

Who Watcheth: An Inspector Irene Huss Investigation by Helene Tursten, translated by Marlaine Delargy (Soho Crime, $26.95, 9781616954048). "Tursten does not disappoint in the ninth installment of her impeccable Inspector Irene Huss Investigation series, moving it forward on a perfect note with Irene and her husband, Krister, beginning a new stage in their lives. One of the things I've always admired about this series, in addition to Irene's strength and intelligence, is the normalcy of her life. I loved this book, but I was so busy racing through it to unravel the various threads that now I need to read it again slowly and savor it. You will, too!" --Eileen McGervey, One More Page Books, Arlington, Va.

Paperback
A Wild Swan: And Other Tales by Michael Cunningham (Picador, $16, 9781250097309). "The author of The Hours gives us a modern take on classic fairy tales, from a sympathetic Rumpelstiltskin to a jaded but content Steadfast Tin Soldier. Cunningham is not shy with his characters: he strips away sentimentality like an old Band-Aid, tearing through the romanticism that these tales usually inspire. Each story is less a retelling and more an unflinching dissection of human nature--our base needs and urges, our raw fears and joys. Shimizu's haunting illustrations give the book a classic feel, and make it a perfect addition to any fairy tale lover's collection." --Jennifer Oleinik, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

For Ages 4 to 8
Little Big Girl by Claire Keane (Dial, $17.99, 9780803739123). "Former Disney animator Keane has created a touching book about an older sister's love for her new baby brother. Matisse is a little girl in a big world, but when she meets her baby brother, she realizes that she isn't little at all--she's a big sister! This refreshing tale of unconditional sibling love is perfect for growing families to share." --Sarah Carr, McIntyre's Fine Books, Pittsboro, N.C.

For Ages 9 to 12
Ryan Quinn and the Rebel's Escape by Ron McGee, illustrated by Chris Samnee (HarperCollins, $16.99, 9780062421647). "Eighth-grader Ryan Quinn has no idea that his parents are part of a super secret Underground Railroad-type organization that operates in many of the world's most dangerous places. Now he must try to save both of them with the help of some of his school friends. I love the way that debut author McGee gets inside the head of his protagonist and that of his techno-geek friend, Danny. These characters ring true, the action is non-stop, and fans of adventure, spy thrillers, and just plain fun storytelling will be eagerly awaiting the next installment." --Maureen Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, Calif.

For Teen Readers
The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti (Sourcebooks Fire, $17.99, 9781492636083). "Hawthorn is an engaging young woman with a vivid imagination, even if she is a bit rude and narcissistic. She is finding her place and trying to answer a lot of life's tough questions, and her investigation into the puzzling disappearance of Lizzie may hasten that process. With an interesting and diverse supporting cast, this novel is full of topics that are relevant to teens: bullying, self-esteem, family dynamics, and suicide. Highly recommended." --Emily Galer, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, Mich.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The Possessions

The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy (Harper, $26.99 hardcover, 368p., 9780062458322, February 7, 2017)

Sara Flannery Murphy's debut novel, The Possessions, resists easy genre classification. The protagonist, Eurydice, a shy young woman with a troubled past, works as a "body" for the Elysian Society. Her job involves channeling dead wives, daughters and girlfriends for their grieving loved ones by taking a pill called a "lotus." Eurydice's life is one of routine and numb efficiency: "It was only after a year of work that I rented my own apartment. All the upgrades I've made to my life since then have been in a similar vein. A used car instead of a bus pass, a plain winter coat to replace one coming apart at the seams. My life is neat, self-contained. A serviceable life. A placeholder." That life is interrupted by a new client, Patrick Braddock, who forges a more intimate connection with her as she channels his deceased wife, Sylvia.

Outside of the imaginative premise, though, The Possessions is surprisingly grounded. There are few futuristic or otherworldly touches aside from the lotus, and Murphy dispenses with the dense world building common to science fiction. She doesn't concern her readers with how the lotuses actually work, for example, instead focusing on a twisty thriller plot more reminiscent of Gone Girl than The Windup Girl. Patrick Braddock's seemingly idyllic relationship with Sylvia soon reveals itself to be more complicated as Eurydice starts playing amateur sleuth and learns more about the circumstances surrounding Sylvia's unusual death. As Eurydice's relationship with Patrick progresses, it becomes difficult to tell if what they're engaged in is a romance or something more sinister.

The Possessions is essentially a psychological thriller with a science fiction twist. Like many thrillers, it raises frightening questions about identity and whether it's possible truly to know another person. Eurydice is more haunted in this regard than most, having essentially emptied herself out in order to become a vessel for others: "Who would I find beneath the thin surface of my skin...? I'm overwhelmed by the thought of all the women who would pour out of me if I were cracked open: swarming like insects, bubbling up out of my mouth. The women who have collected inside me over the years, filling up my insides until there's no room left for me." Patrick may be no better off, however--his personality is as multi-faceted and obscure as Eurydice's legions of borrowed women.

The numerous mysteries that weave in and out of the main plot add a page-turning element to the book, and another ingredient to Murphy's intriguing genre fusion. The more questions are answered, the more fragile Eurydice's identity seems to become. When she starts to confuse Sylvia's thoughts and emotions for her own, The Possessions raises the terrifying possibility that Eurydice might be permanently displaced from her "placeholder" life. Murphy's debut novel mixes these intellectual fears with more down-to-earth threats, resolving its mysteries in shocking and thoughtful ways. The Possessions is difficult to classify but very easy to enjoy. --Hank Stephenson, bookseller, Flyleaf Books

Shelf Talker: The Possessions combines a speculative premise in which men and women channel dead loved ones as a profession with a dense psychological thriller plot that questions the permanence of identity.


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