Also published on this date: Thursday, May 4, 2017: Maximum Shelf: If the Creek Don't Rise

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, May 4, 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

Sargent: 'Decide to Stand for What Is Right'

"We have no responsibility to publish any single book. It is easy and fulfilling to publish books that bolster our own beliefs. It is also easy to say that anyone can self-publish a book these days, so we don't have to worry that their views will reach the public. Someone else will take care of that. It is easy to feel safe and to be safe.

"But as we face these decisions, I hope we will decide to stand for what is right, not for what is easy. I hope we will apply the principles of the First Amendment and have the courage to resist the great power of polarized opinion. I hope we are brave and I hope to be brave."

--Macmillan CEO John Sargent in remarks at the recent PEN Literary Gala, where he received the 2017 PEN Publisher Honoree Award (via Bookselling This Week)

AuthorBuzz: Indie Bookstore Readers


News

ABA Elects New President, V-P, Board Members

Members of the American Booksellers Association have elected a new president, v-p/secretary and three directors.

Robert Sindelar of Third Place Books, with three locations in Lake Forest Park and Seattle, Wash., was elected to a two-year term as president. Jamie Fiocco of Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C., was elected to both a two-year term as v-p/secretary and a second three-year term as a board director, positions she will hold concurrently.

New ABA president Robert Sindelar

Elected to serve their first three-year terms as directors are Kenny Brechner of Devaney Doak & Garrett Booksellers, Farmington, Maine; and Christine Onorati of WORD in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Jersey City, N.J.

Continuing to serve on the board will be Kris Kleindienst of Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo.; Valerie B. Koehler of Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex.; Chris Morrow of Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt., and Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Books, with two locations in San Francisco; Annie Philbrick of Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn., and Savoy Bookshop in Westerly, R.I.; and Jonathon Welch of Talking Leaves Books, Buffalo, N.Y.

Leaving the board are Betsy Burton of the King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, who is at the end of a two-year term as president; John Evans of DIESEL, A Bookstore, with locations in Oakland, Larkspur and Brentwood, Calif.; and Matthew Norcross of McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, Mich., who are finishing their second three-year terms.

Changes become effective at meetings held in connection with BookExpo at the end of the month.


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


EU and Amazon Reach Agreement After E-Book Investigation

Amazon and the European Union's antitrust regulators have reached an agreement that ends Amazon's insistence that e-book publishers give no other company better terms, the Wall Street Journal reported. An EU investigation into whether Amazon's 2003 tax deal with Luxembourg unfairly and illegally allows it to pay much lower taxes on European operations than it would otherwise continues.

Called "most favored nation" agreements, the contract clauses Amazon had insisted on require publishers to inform or offer Amazon similar terms as those offered to rivals. Under the agreement announced today, Amazon won't enforce those clauses or include them in new contract and will allow publishers to cancel contract that contain those clauses. Amazon has committed to these changes "for five years to all e-books distributed by Amazon in Europe," the Journal wrote. "Amazon could be fined up to 10% of global revenue if it goes back on its pledges."

The EU had been investigating whether Amazon's contracts prevented competitors from developing new products and limited competition between sellers of e-books. The investigation has focused on English-language and German-language e-book markets. The case got its start in 2014, when the Börsenverein--the German book trade association--filed a complaint about several of Amazon's business practices with the German antitrust office, a complaint that resonated with the EU. Reports last fall indicated that Amazon was in settlement talks with EU regulators; early this year Amazon made the offer that was agreed to today.


Tor Books Launching 'Tor Labs' Imprint

Tor Books is launching Tor Labs, a new imprint "emphasizing experimental approaches to genre publishing, beginning with original dramatic podcasts." Marco Palmieri is senior editor and Jennifer Gunnels is editor of the imprint, which will debut this summer with Steal the Stars, a science fiction audio drama produced in partnership with Gideon Media and written by Mac Rogers.

A noir science fiction thriller in 14 episodes, Steal the Stars is airing weekly from August 2 to November 1, and will be available worldwide on all major podcast distributors through the Macmillan Podcast Network. The podcast will be followed immediately by a novelization of the entire serial from Tor Books, as well as an ads-free audiobook of the podcast from Macmillan Audio.

"There’s a little mad science in every new publishing experiment, and we’re tremendously excited about the creative possibilities of Tor Labs. We’re especially thrilled to be partnering with Gideon Media on Steal the Stars, and bringing their phenomenal work to a wide audience," said Gunnels and Palmieri in a joint statement.


TNG Buys Ingram Periodicals

Ingram has sold its Ingram Periodicals magazine sales and distribution business to TNG, the Jim Pattison Group subsidiary that has more than a century of experience in magazine distribution. During the transition period, magazine delivery will continue through Ingram's current distribution centers in California, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.

With the purchase, TNG plans to expand its title availability, particularly international editions. It calls itself "North America's largest and most trusted supplier of periodicals."


Obituary Note: Leo Baxendale

Leo Baxendale, the creator of Beano favorites Minnie the Minx and the Bash Street Kids whose "fresh and energetic style, combined with his drawings of anarchic fun in strips... made him a favorite for generations of British children, as well as an inspiration for comics artists," died April 27, the Guardian reported. He was 86. Comics historian Denis Gifford has called Baxendale, who was inducted into the British Comic Awards Hall of Fame in 2013, "the most influential and most imitated comics artist of modern times."

Andy Fanton, who currently writes Beano strips for Baxendale's creations Little Plum, the Bash Street Kids and now Minnie the Minx, described him as "the godfather of so much of what we do.... It's no understatement to say that I literally wouldn't be where I am now if it wasn't for Leo. His influence runs beyond that though. I became aware of his work as a kid when I got my hands on older Beano books and read some of those early strips--his anarchic, riotous style was so distinctive and had so often been emulated or adapted by others who came after him that it still felt completely fresh.... Legendary is a word bandied about quite liberally these days, but Leo definitely was legendary, and long may his legacy last!"



Notes

Image of the Day: Christamore House Guild's Author Luncheon

The Christamore House Guild's Book and Author Luncheon is held annually in Indianapolis and raises money for scholarships for local youth. The organization held its 37th luncheon last week, featuring six authors who spoke to a crowd of 800 people and sold more than 1,000 books. Pictured: (l.-r.) Christina Kovac (The Cutaway), Christina Baker Kline (A Piece of the World), Vaddey Ratner (Music of the Ghosts), Benjamin Ludwig (Ginny Moon), Lisa Abbott (Beyond Words), Sarah Jio (Always).


Maine Indies Find Way to 'Not Just Survive But Thrive'

Noting that "some small retailers have found a way to not just survive but thrive in this new landscape," Maine Public checked in with a pair of indie bookstores for a report headlined "In the Age of Amazon, Independent Maine Retailers Aren't Extinct."

"Local people want to have a bookstore in town and so they understand that they have to patronize it in order for that to happen," said Beth Leonard, co-owner of Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick.

Gary Lawless, the bookshop's other owner, added: "It's tactile. People like to see and hold books, but they also come here for conversation I think. Beth for a while after the recent election said we were doing book therapy. People were coming here because it's a place where they could go and talk about how they felt in a public space."

Steve Fischer, the executive director of the New England Independent Booksellers Association, agreed: "People are hungry for gathering places, and bookstores represent maybe even more so than their local libraries a place where you feel safe, where people coming in are interested in ideas and reading."

At recently opened Print: A Bookstore in Portland, co-owner Josh Christie noted: "Our customers in Portland... [are] very understanding of buy local movements and the fact of, this is something that is kind of implicit but we explain if we're asked about, the fact that we contribute to the tax base here in Portland."


Personnel Changes at Crown; Tor; James Patterson/Hachette

Campbell Wharton, associate publisher for Crown Business, Crown Forum and Convergent at Crown Publishing Group, has taken on the additional role of associate publisher, WaterBrook and Multnomah.

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At Tor:

Patty Garcia has been promoted to executive director of publicity. She was previously director of publicity.

Cassie Ammerman has been promoted to assistant director of digital marketing. She was previously senior digital marketing manager.

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Alaina Mauro is leaving her position as associate director, James Patterson, at Hachette Book Group to pursue other projects and can be reached at mauroalaina@gmail.com.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Gabourey Sidibe on the Chew, Rachael Ray

Today:
The Chew: Gabourey Sidibe, author of This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9780544786769). She will also be on Rachael Ray tomorrow.

Tomorrow:
Harry: Clinton Kelly, author of I Hate Everyone, Except You (Gallery, $24.99, 9781476776934). He will also appear on Wendy Williams.


Movies: The Dark Tower Trailer

The first official international trailer has been unveiled for Sony/MRC's The Dark Tower, based on Stephen King's eight-book bestselling series. Directed by Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair), the movie stars Matthew McConaughey, Idris Elba and Tom Taylor. Deadline noted that "the film pulls themes and story threads from all of the tomes. It also pays homage to and links together other King novels; in the trailer, there's a photo of the exterior of Oregon's Timberline Lodge where Stanley Kubrick's The Shining was shot."

The screenplay is by Akiva Goldsman & Jeff Pinkner and Anders Thomas Jensen & Nikolaj Arcel. Goldsman, Ron Howard and Erica Huggins are producers. The Dark Tower will be released August 4.


This Weekend on Book TV: In-Depth with Neil deGrasse Tyson

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, May 6
12 p.m. C-SPAN's "Local Content Vehicles" visit Redding, Calif., to tour local literary sites and libraries. (Re-airs Sunday at 9:30 a.m.)

1:30 p.m. Eric Liu, author of You're More Powerful than You Think: A Citizen's Guide to Making Change Happen (PublicAffairs, $25, 9781610397070), at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 8 a.m.)

7 p.m. Michael Witmore, director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, discusses the legacy of William Shakespeare. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m. and Monday at 4 a.m.)

8:15 p.m. Benjamin C. Waterhouse, author of The Land of Enterprise: A Business History of the United States (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781476766645), at Regulator Bookshop in Durham, N.C.

8:45 p.m. Chris Whipple, author of The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency (Crown, $28, 9780804138246). (Re-airs Sunday at 7:45 p.m.)

10 p.m. Helene Cooper, author of Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781451697353). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Norman Podhoretz, author of Making It (NYRB Classics, $17.95, 9781681370804). (Re-airs Sunday at 5 p.m.)

Sunday, May 7
1:30 a.m. Leigh Gallagher, author of The Airbnb Story: How Three Ordinary Guys Disrupted an Industry, Made Billions ... and Created Plenty of Controversy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780544952669). (Re-airs Monday at 6:15 a.m.)

12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with Neil deGrasse Tyson, author of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (Norton, $18.95, 9780393609394). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

11 p.m. Andrew Carroll, author of My Fellow Soldiers: General John Pershing and the Americans Who Helped Win the Great War (Penguin Press, $30, 9781594206481).


Books & Authors

Awards: Arthur C. Clarke; Will Eisner; Sami Rohr; Elizabeth Longford

A six-book shortlist has been announced for the £2,017 (about $2,605) Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction novel of the year. The winner will be named July 27 at a public ceremony held in partnership with Foyles Bookshop, Charing Cross Road. This year's shortlisted titles are:

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
After Atlas by Emma Newman
Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan
Central Station by Lavie Tidhar
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

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Nominees in 30 categories have been announced for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards and can be seen here. Winners will be announced during Comic-Con International in San Diego on July 21.

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Idra Novey, author of Ways to Disappear (Little, Brown), has won the $100,000 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, a program of the Jewish Book Council, that honors "emerging writers who explore the Jewish experience in a specific work of non-fiction and fiction in alternating years." The organization said Ways to Disappear, Novey's debut novel, "tells the story about the disappearance of a famous Brazilian novelist and the young translator who turns her life upside down to follow her favorite author's trail."

Daniel Torday, author of The Last Flight of Poxl West: A Novel (St. Martin's), won the $18,000 Choice Award.

Three others received $5,000 each:
Paul Goldberg, author of The Yid (Picador)
Adam Ehrlich Sachs, author of Inherited Disorders (Regan Arts)
Rebecca Schiff, author of The Bed Moved (Knopf)

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John Bew won the £5,000 (about $6,460) Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography for his book Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee. Chair of the judges Roy Foster said the winning book about Clement Atlee, British prime minister from 1945 to 1951, "restores to attention an underestimated figure, masterfully conveying his intellectual formation as well as the social background which he represented, often with surprising forcefulness. Psychologically astute and full of unexpected political insights, Bew's biography profiles both the world of middle-class socialism in the twentieth century, and its late-Victorian roots. The judges were unanimous in applauding it."


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, May 9:

House of Names: A Novel by Colm Tóibín (Scribner, $26, 9781501140211) retells the story of Clytemnestra, Agamemnon's wife.

Mother Land by Paul Theroux (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780618839322) focuses on a family tyrannized by a narcissistic matriarch.

The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness by Paula Poundstone (Algonquin, $25.95, 9781616204167) chronicles a comic's quest to find happiness.

Woman No. 17: A Novel by Edan Lepucki (Hogarth, $26, 9781101904251) is about a Hollywood writer tangled in an odd relationship with her new nanny.

Fake Plastic Love: A Novel by Kimberley Tait (Flatiron, $25.99, 9781250093899) follows a pair of millennial 20-somethings in Manhattan.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel by Gail Honeyman (Pamela Dorman, $26, 9780735220683) finds an antisocial woman surprised by love.

Praise the Lard: Recipes and Revelations from a Legendary Life in Barbecue by Mike Mills and Amy Mills (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9780544702493) is a BBQ cookbook from the owners of 17th Street Barbecue in Murphysboro, Ill.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Jerry Pinkney (Little Brown, $17.99, 9780316341578) is a retelling of the classic folk tale with a redemptive twist.

Hamster Princess: Giant Trouble by Ursula Vernon (Dial, $12.99, 9780399186523), the fourth in the popular series, is a comic hybrid retelling of "Jack and the Beanstalk."

Paperback:
Creepshow by Stephen King (Gallery 13, $18, 9781501163227).


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
What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky: Stories by Lesley Nneka Arimah (Riverhead, $26, 9780735211025). "Intense, haunting, and exquisitely rendered, the stories in Lesley Nneka Arimah's debut collection exist in a category of their own. They are individual worlds linked together by familiar themes--self-discovery, yearnings to love and be loved, generational divides, and the meanings of home and place--refashioned in a fresh, new light. Arimah shines in this debut, whose magic will surely live with you beyond the final page. Absolutely stunning." --Purvis Cornish, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.

Our Short History: A Novel by Lauren Grodstein (Algonquin, $26.95, 9781616206222). "Our Short History is a letter from a dying woman to her six-year-old son, and it totally shredded me. Yes, it is a sad story. But it is so much more than that. Readers will love the spirit of Karen Neulander. She is smart and thoughtful and fierce, and Jake is squirmy and tough and tender--just like six-year-old boys can be. Lauren Grodstein takes you to the edge of what you can bear, then shows you that strength comes from fragility and that hope still lives in despair." --Susan Thomas, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, Ky.

Paperback
Disappearance at Devil's Rock: A Novel by Paul Tremblay (Morrow, $14.99, 9780062363275). "When a young boy goes missing, his mother and sister begin finding pages from his diary revealing secrets they had never suspected. Where did he go, and why won't his friends tell anyone the truth? Tremblay peels back the layers of a quaint New England town to expose the ugly underbelly of family life in the U.S. Disappearance at Devil's Rock is a shocking, scary, and disturbing read, the result of a powerful storyteller at work, and it solidifies Tremblay's reputation as a master of psychological suspense." --William Carl, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, Mass.

For Ages 4 to 8
Pass It On by Sophy Henn (Philomel, $16.99, 9780399547751). "Pass It On's bright illustrations, which feature little faces from all sorts of backgrounds, pair with simple text to make it the perfect read-aloud for smaller children. The story's message reminds me of the lovely Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein." --Janet Geddis, Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga.

For Ages 9 to 12: An Indies Introduce Title
How to Stage a Catastrophe by Rebecca Donnelly (Capstone, $12.95, 9781623708078). "A heartwarming ode to the power of community, theater, and, most especially, community theater! Aspiring director Sidney makes for a unique narrator who surrounds himself with a cast of quirky and inspiring characters. How to Stage a Catastrophe is a delightfully old-fashioned, let's-put-on-a-show story that still feels firmly grounded in the realities of today and will leave you smiling from ear to ear." --Bill Grace, Buttonwood Books & Toys, Cohasset, Mass.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
Grendel's Guide to Love and War by A.E. Kaplan (Knopf, $17.99, 9780399555541). "Tom Grendel cannot catch a break. His long-time crush, Willow, has moved into the house next door, Willow's brother (a bro if ever there was one) has started throwing wild parties every night, and Tom's dad, an Iraq war veteran, is suffering from PTSD triggered by the noise from the parties. What's an introverted young lawn-mower to do? Retaliate, of course, with the help of his best friend, college-age sister, and an artisinal pig farm...This couldn't possibly end badly...With shades of John Green and Jesse Andrews (without the rip-your-heart-out tragedy), this novel will delight new and old fans of contemporary YA alike." --Emily Hall, Main Street Books, St. Charles, Mo.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: Kingdom Cons

Kingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera, trans. by Lisa Dillman (And Other Stories, dist. by Consortium, $13.95 paperback, 112p., 9781908276926, June 13, 2017)

Although it is the last of Mexican author and editor Yuri Herrera's loosely connected border trilogy to be translated into English, Kingdom Cons is the first in the series. Short, allegorical and centered in the world of northern Mexico cartels, it is the story of an uneducated street singer and composer of corridos, popular ballads about peasant oppression and the heroes who free them. Drifting through cantinas "offering rhymes in exchange for pity, for coins," Lobo finds his hardscrabble life miraculously changed when a narco jefe drinking with his honchos kills a drunk refusing to pay Lobo for a song. The jefe then takes the young musician back to his fortified, opulent mountain compound to become his bard--celebrating in song his exploits and benevolent outlaw generosity.

Surrounded by bejeweled sycophants and lieutenants who "thrust their shoulders back with the air of those who know that theirs is a prosperous dominion," Lobo transforms into "the Artist," and the rest of Herrera's characters become personifications of their social or occupational positions. The King rules; his concubine the Witch manipulates him; her daughter the Commoner seduces the Artist; the Journalist provides the Artist with books containing new words for his songs; and the Heir conspires to usurp the King.

The other two volumes of Herrera's trilogy (Signs Preceding the End of the World, winner of the 2016 Best Translated Book Award, and The Transmigration of Bodies) are centered on the actual border between Mexico and the United States and on those who are mired in the political and legal no-man's land of living on both sides. The allegorical characters in Kingdom Cons, however, are caught in the metaphorical borders that separate the rich from the poor, the powerful from the weak and the mercenary from the artistic. While the King rules his criminal empire through fear and violence, the Artist learns that survival rests on his talent and empathy with his audience: "He sung his song with the faith of a hymn, the certainty of a sermon, and above all he made sure it was catchy." The King wants flattery and adulation, but his kingdom wants to be entertained. Blurring the difference ultimately leads to the undoing of the Artist's cushy life in the compound.

In Kingdom Cons, Herrera has created a mythical hierarchy of power where only an artist might elude the jealousy and retribution of those trapped in the struggle to be on top. This is not just a drug cartel hierarchy, nor is it a Mexican mythology. Rather, it illustrates the difficulty of living on borders wherever they may be found. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: The last of Yuri Herrera's well-regarded border trilogy to be translated into English, Kingdom Cons is an allegory of power, class and art set in the remote compound of a Mexican cartel boss.


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