Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Penguin Press: Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith

Graphix: Dog Man and Cat Kid (Dog Man #4) by Dav Pilkey

Ecco Press: Varina by Charles Frazier

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Small Walt by Elizabeth Verdick and Marc Rosenthal

Quotation of the Day

'A REALLY Good Day to Get Your Indie On'

"With Amazon at the gates and whatnot, this feels like a good time to remind you how best to enjoy some of Chicago's incredible independent bookstores. Today would be a REALLY good day to get your indie on. Ahem."

--Author Rebecca Makkai shared a list of great Chicago independent booksellers on her Facebook page in advance of yesterday's opening of an Amazon Books store in the city's Lakeview neighborhood (via the Chicago Review of Books)

Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: The Land Beyond by Leon McCarron


News

Book Club Bookstore & More Relocates

The Book Club Bookstore & More, which owner Cynde Acanto launched three years ago "in a small, quaint shop" in Broad Brook, Conn., has relocated to South Windsor, at 869 Sullivan Ave., the Hartford Courant reported. The new store's grand opening will be held on April 29, which is Independent Bookstore Day.

"The space in Broad Brook was nice, but it was a bit antiquated and the parking there was very limited," she said. "I wanted to grow and while the space here is a little smaller, there is a lot more parking and there is easier access from Sullivan Avenue and from Route 5. Right now, I'm still tailoring the layout to fit the space.... I want the store to be a destination. I'm seeing a lot of familiar faces from Broad Brook, but a lot of new faces, too."


Trinity University Press: Arte Kids - Bilingual Board Books


BookExpo: APA Author Tea Speakers

BookExpo has set the lineup for this year's Audio Publishers Association Author Tea, which will take place Friday, June 2, at 3 p.m. in the Javits Center. The event features Emmy Award-winning actor and director Alan Alda (If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?, Penguin Random House Audio) as host, along with James Patterson (Crazy House, Hachette Audio), Marissa Meyer (Renegades, Macmillan Audio) and Daniel José Older (Shadowhouse Fall, Scholastic Audio). They will discuss their craft, creativity and inspiration, with a focus on the audiobook landscape.

"What better way to celebrate the power of the spoken word than to hear these great authors talk about their own experiences with the growing world of audiobooks? And with plenty of giveaways at this event no one leaves empty-handed!" said APA executive director Michele Cobb.

Brien McDonald, event director for BookExpo & BookCon, commented: "The APA Author Tea offers the publishing industry a unique platform to celebrate the success of the audiobook market with an impressive lineup of authors in a relaxed setting over afternoon tea."


Thomas Nelson: Perennials by Julie Cantrell


Mainstreet's Rosamund de la Hey Re-Elected BA President

Rosamund de la Hey

Rosamund de la Hey, owner and founder of the Mainstreet Trading Company in St. Boswells, Scottish Borders, has been re-elected for a second term as president of the Booksellers Association of the U.K. and Ireland, the Bookseller reported. WH Smith's books director Lucy Menendez and Nic Bottomley, owner of indie Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath, were re-elected as v-ps.

"What I want to do as president is encourage new entrants and support people in opening new bookshops," de la Hey said recently. "Publishers experiencing the shop floor is part of that. The more publishers see bookshops as a vital part of the community, the better, and vice versa. We would be nothing without [publishers], but it has to go both ways."


Quirk Books: My Lady's Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris


Indie Bookstore Day: Libro.fm's Audiobook Giveaway

Libro.fm, which helps independent bookstores sell digital audiobooks, is celebrating Independent Bookstore Day on April 29 by offering a digital audiobook giveaway. Visitors to participating stores will have the opportunity to download five complimentary digital audiobooks, including The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck and David Foster Wallace's A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. You can find a complete list here of the audiobooks that will be available for free download. Libro.fm is a partner of the American Booksellers Association and works with independent bookstores to create co-branded audiobook storefronts.


Obituary Note: Jimmy Breslin

Legendary New York City columnist, novelist, biographer and raconteur Jimmy Breslin, "who leveled the powerful and elevated the powerless for more than 50 years with brick-hard words and a jagged-glass wit," died March 19, the New York Times reported. He was 88 and, "until very recently, was still pushing somebody's buttons with two-finger jabs at his keyboard."

Breslin's book about the first season of the hapless New York Mets--Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?--landed him a job as a news columnist with the New York Herald Tribune in 1963. Soon he was "counted among the writers credited with inventing 'New Journalism,' in which novelistic techniques are used to inject immediacy and narrative tension into the news," the Times wrote, adding: "But Mr. Breslin's greatest character was himself: the outer-borough boulevardier of bilious persuasion." He would go on to write for several newspapers in the city.

Author Pete Hamill, a former colleague, said, "It seemed so new and original. It was a very, very important moment in New York journalism, and in national journalism."

Breslin's books include the novels The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight, World Without End, Amen, and Table Money; the memoir I Want to Thank My Brain for Remembering Me; biographies of Damon Runyon and Branch Rickey, as well as The Good Rat, a book about mob culture. "Perhaps the quintessential Breslin book was The Short Sweet Dream of Eduardo Gutierrez, published in 2002, in which he focused on the death of an unauthorized Mexican worker at a flawed Brooklyn construction site to rail against the shoddy building practices, political cowardice and racism of his beloved city," the Times noted.


Notes

Personnel Changes at St. Martin's Press

Nancy Sheppard has joined St. Martin's Press as marketing director. Previously she was director of creative marketing services at Penguin Adult and before that was marketing director at Viking.


PRHPS to Distribute Berrett-Koehler Publishers

Effective January 1, 2018, Penguin Random House Publisher Services will handle sales and distribution for Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Oakland, Calif., which specializes in books on business, current affairs and self-help and has the motto "Connecting people and ideas to create a world that works for all." Its backlist of more than 600 titles includes Leadership and Self-Deception, Eat That Frog!, The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, Love 'Em or Lose 'Em, Trauma Stewardship and The Power of Purpose.

"Berrett-Koehler is celebrating our 25th anniversary this year," president Steve Piersanti said. "We have enjoyed a strong network of distributors in the U.S. and internationally who have been great partners with us. Moving now to PRHPS will allow BK to continue expanding the sales and distribution of our titles around the world."



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jane Mayer on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Jane Mayer, author of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (Anchor, $17, 9780307947901).

Tomorrow:
Jimmy Kimmel Live: Noah Hawley, author of Before the Fall (Grand Central, $15.99, 9781455561797).


TV: Midnight, Texas; Sharp Objects

A new trailer has been released for the upcoming NBC show Midnight, Texas, based on the novel series by Charlaine Harris, Entertainment Weekly reported, noting that "it seems the town's inhabitants are quite the colorful bunch." The series stars François Arnaud, Jason Lewis, Yul Vazquez, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Arielle Kebbel and Peter Mensah. Midnight, Texas premieres on July 25.

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Chris Messina (Live by Night, The Mindy Project) will play the male lead, Kansas City Detective Richard Willis, opposite Amy Adams in HBO's eight-episode drama series Sharp Objects, based on the book by Gillian Flynn, Deadline reported. Directed by Jean Marc Vallée, the project's showrunner is Marti Noxon, who will write episodes along with Flynn. Executive producers are Jason Blum, Charles Layton and Jessica Rhoades, as well as Adams, Flynn, Noxon, Vallée and Nathan Ross.


Books & Authors

Awards: Dewdney Read Together; Kerry Group; Times EFG

Finalists have been revealed for the inaugural Anna Dewdney Read Together Award, to be given annually to a picture book that is "both a superb read-aloud and also sparks compassion, empathy and connection." The author and illustrator of the winning book, which will be announced during Children's Book Week in May, share a prize of $1,000 from the Children's Book Council, and Penguin will purchase and donate $5,000 in copies of the title to a school, library or literacy organization chosen by the winner. This year's finalists are:

Edward Gets Messy by Rita Meade, illus. by Olga Stern (Simon & Schuster)
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena, illus. by Christian Robinson (Putnam)
Mother Bruce by Ryan Higgins, illus. by Ryan Higgins (Disney)
Toby by Hazel Mitchell, illus. by Hazel Mitchell (Candlewick)
Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw, illus. by Eugene Yelchin (Holt)

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A shortlist has been unveiled for the €15,000 (about $16,2300) Kerry Group Novel of the Year Award, which honors the best novel by an Irish author published between February 1, 2016 and February 1, 2017, the Bookseller reported. The winner will be announced May 31. The shortlisted titles are:

Solar Bones by Mike McCormack
My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
Inch Levels by Neil Hegarty
Nothing on Earth by Conor O'Callaghan

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The six-book shortlist has been announced for the £30,000 (about $37,460) Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, the richest in the world for a single short story. The winner will be announced April 27 in London. This year's finalists are:

"Half of What Atlee Rouse Knows About Horses" by Bret Anthony Johnston
"Every Little Thing" by Celeste Ng
"Reputation Management" by Kathleen Alcott
"The Hazel Twig and the Olive Tree" by Richard Lambert
"Mr. Salary" by Sally Rooney
"The Tenant" by Victor Lodato


Reading with... Zoey Leigh Peterson

photo: Vivienne McMaster

Zoey Leigh Peterson was born in England, grew up in the United States and now lives in Canada. Her short fiction has appeared in a range of journals and has been anthologized in The Journey Prize Stories and Best Canadian Stories. Her first novel, Next Year, For Sure (Scribner, March 7, 2017), is a luminous portrait of a great love pushed to the edge.

On your nightstand now:

I have about a dozen books I'm in the middle of, but right now I am most actively reading The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu. I've been meaning to read it for years, but a friend just put it into my hands. It's everything I want in a book right now--intimate and vulnerable and sincere. And funny! I just want to devour it, but I'm forcing myself to go slow and really savor it.

Favorite book when you were a child:

There were so many, but here's one I still think about almost every day: Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars by Daniel M. Pinkwater. I've ruined so many of my childhood favorites by re-reading them as an adult, but this one I've resolved to keep safe in my fuzzy childhood memory.

Your top five authors:

I've always been bad at favorites, but here are the five authors I most urgently crave a new book from: Hanya Yanagihara, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jenny Offill, Claire Messud and Sarah Shun-lien Bynum. If one of these folks had a book coming out tomorrow, I would be standing outside the bookstore when it opened.

Book you've faked reading:

I was about to say I'd never faked reading a book, but then I remembered all of high school. I was a big reader, but I simply could not bring myself to read anything that had been assigned. I once bluffed my way through a lengthy essay exam on Wuthering Heights based on skimming the first page and a half of the novel while the exam was being handed out. Years later, I finally got around to reading Wuthering Heights on my own and I loved it. But when it was assigned to me, I was really into Anna Karenina and had no time for Heathcliff's nonsense.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I work in a library, and I cannot count how many patrons I have turned on to Sarah Shun-lien Bynum's Ms. Hempel Chronicles. And I always pitch it as a story cycle. I know it's packaged as a novel, but I think it's actually one of the best story cycles ever written. Definitely one of my desert-island books.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Clear winner here: Merritt Tierce's Love Me Back--the original Doubleday cover. I cannot imagine how a cover could be more perfectly suited to the title and the themes and the tone of a book. And the fact that its neon sign is unlit--ugh, it hurts me it's so good.

Book you hid from your parents:

I hid everything else from my parents, but never books.

Book that changed your life:

Enormous Changes at the Last Minute by Grace Paley. I'd always thought of myself as a writer--I wrote my first "novel" when I was eight years old. But when I was in my early 20s, I stumbled across this book in a library, read the first story standing there in front of the shelf, put it back on the shelf and decided to stop being a writer. There were a lot of reasons, but part of it was reading that Grace Paley story and realizing that I couldn't write the book I needed to write. So I stopped writing and did other things with my life. Twenty years later, I stumbled across the book once again in a used bookstore, read the same story right there in the store, and decided to start writing again.

Favorite line from a book:

For years, I've been filling notebooks with favorite lines from whatever I'm reading at the moment. I must have thousands. But flipping through those notebooks now and seeing how my tastes and interests have morphed over the years, I'm most reminded of this line from Joan Didion's essay on the importance of keeping a notebook: "I think we are well-advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not."

Five books you'll never part with:

I used to have a hardcover copy of The Abortion by Richard Brautigan. If I could find another one of those, I promise I would never part with it again. Ditto Sarah Van Arsdale's sublimely poetic novel Toward Amnesia, which I've read so many times that my paperback copy is falling apart. Three more in that vein: In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje, Reasons for Living by Amy Hempel and All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost by Lan Samantha Chang. If I could find acid-free, hardbound editions that I could read over and over for the rest of my life, I would never let them out of my possession.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

I think I actually prefer re-reading to reading for the first time. Sometimes I'll be just a dozen pages into an amazing new book and think, "I can't wait to read this book again." But here's one exception: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. I'm not sure it holds up to repeated readings, but I'd love to be able to read it again for the first time, just for the pure gratification of watching his slow, elaborate revenge unfold.

Your current reading obsession:

I recently started working on my second novel, so right now I'm obsessed with transcendent second novels. I'm making a real study of it: Philip Larkin's A Girl in Winter, Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life. Open to recommendations!


Children's Books: Easter

Nothing says Easter like eggs, lambs and bunnies, and there are eggs, lambs and bunnies galore in these pastel-toned picture books, our top picks for nestling into an Easter basket alongside the jelly beans and chocolate rabbits.

We're Going on an Egg Hunt (Bloomsbury, $17.99, hardcover, 24p., ages 3-6, 9781681193144, February 14, 2017) is British illustrator Laura Hughes's lift-the-flap Easter version of the classic camp song about a bear hunt. In this case, basket-, bucket- and net-carrying bunnies search for colorful eggs, overcoming all obstacles: "Oh, no--LAMBS!/ Can't go over them./ Can't go under them./ Can't go around them./ Got to go through them...." The excitement of Easter egg hunting intensifies when young readers find a big, scary surprise behind a huge, beautiful egg. Retreat! "Back through the ducks. Quack! Quack! Quack! Back through the bees. Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!" Just like the original bear hunt, all's well that ends well in this delightful interactive picture book, destined to become an Easter tradition.

Graceful Flora from Flora and the Peacocks and Flora and the Penguin is back! This time, in Molly Idle's counting book Flora and the Chicks (Chronicle, $9.99, board book, 20p., ages 2-4, 9781452146577, March 7, 2017), she's juggling--almost literally at times--a clutch of hatching chicks while mama hen is away from the nest. One through 10, the chicks emerge from their eggs in shades of lemon yellow, tangerine and chocolate brown. Flora, in red overalls and yellow flowered kerchief, can barely keep up with the ever-more-lively hatchlings as they play in a bowl and wrestle a worm out of the ground. (Sharp-eyed readers will follow the worm's adventure from ground to beak and, sneakily, back into the ground again.) Gatefolds on alternating spreads give this charming board book extra airiness and space.

In Bunny's Book Club (Doubleday, $17.99, hardcover, 40p., ages 3-7, 9780553537581, February 7, 2017), Annie Silvestro's debut picture book, adorably illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss, a little brown rabbit is unable to resist the call of literature. Bunny thinks books are "better than a field full of fresh, crunchy carrots." After listening in to summer story time outside the library, Bunny needs to come up with another plan to access his beloved books when story time moves indoors with the start of cooler weather. The library is locked up at night, but that book return slot just might be his ticket in. Soon, Bunny is basking in books again. His friends--porcupine, raccoon, mole, bear--fall for reading, too. What happens when they finally get caught breaking in to the library will make readers of all ages smile.

Themes of tolerance, patience, differences, transformation and the passage of time imbue Caldecott Honor artist Kevin Henkes's 50th published children's book, Egg (Greenwillow/HarperCollins, $17.99, hardcover, 40p., ages 4-8, 9780062408723, January 3, 2017), with lofty meaning given its seemingly simple text and artwork. To start, four pastel-colored eggs sit in four quadrants of a grid, each labeled "egg." On the facing page, something starts to happen to the pink, yellow and blue eggs: "crack/ crack/ crack/"... but the green one is quiet, and still labeled "egg." Next, birds hatch out of the pink, yellow and blue eggs: "surprise!/ surprise!/ surprise!" The green one remains still. But the biggest surprise is still to come when the green egg finally cracks open. As in Waiting, Henkes focuses on the small, significant things in the most unexpected ways, keeping readers happy and rapt.

"How will I know when spring is coming?" a young girl asks her parents in Spring for Sophie (Paula Wiseman/S&S, $17.99, hardcover, 32p., ages 4-8, 9781481451345, February 21, 2017), Yael Werber's debut picture book, illustrated by Jen Hill (Percy and TumTum). Sophie's thoughtful parents tell her to listen for the birds, to feel for the softening of the ground with her feet, to watch for the snow to melt and to smell for the scent of earth and rain. When the rain finally falls, she runs out to catch it on her tongue. "Now I know spring is here!" she says. "Because this is what spring tastes like!" The quiet, almost lyrical exchanges between Sophie and her parents as they sit in front of a crackling fire or don their boots for a walk in the woods are reinforced by Hill's exquisite gouache paintings of a rural New England landscape. Simply lovely.

When Kack Kack the duck lays an egg, her best friend, a frog named Bently, is underwhelmed. "It's just an egg," he thinks. But he reluctantly agrees to egg-sit when Kack Kack goes to visit her sister. He remains indifferent until he gets the notion to paint the plain white egg in splendid designs. "Now, this is an egg a frog could get attached to," Bently says. Unfortunately, at that moment, a boy nabs the lovely egg, believing the Easter Bunny has left it. Thus begins a wild duck egg chase that takes Bently through woods and into a house and up in a balloon. With its slapstick humor and elegant language, Bently & Egg (Atheneum/S&S, $17.99, hardcover, 32p., ages 4-8, 9781481489492, April 4, 2017) is a celebration of loyalty by the inimitable William Joyce (The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore). --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor


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