Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, January 9, 2018


St. Martin's Press: In the Blink of an Eye by Jesse Blackadder

Shadow Mountain: Squint by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

Nosy Crow: Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon, selected by Fiona Waters

Quirk Books: The Princess and the Fangirl (Once Upon a Con #2) by Ashley Poston

Greystone Books: The Hidden Life of Trees: The Illustrated Edition by Peter Wohlleben, translated by Jane Billinghurst

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Pearl by Molly Idle

News

Fire and Fury: Macmillan Stands Firm--and Keeps Printing

At Skylight Books in Los Angeles: some Fire and Fury alternatives.

The whirlwind over Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (Holt) continued yesterday. Holt issued two striking, eloquent missives rejecting the President's attempts to ban the book: one a letter to staff from John Sargent, CEO of Macmillan, Holt's parent company; and the other a letter from a Macmillan lawyer to President Trump's lawyer, who last Thursday demanded that Holt cease and desist from publishing the book and issue an apology (both letters appear in full below and make for fascinating and inspiring reading).

More copies of the book were delivered to booksellers today, and Sargent told the Washington Post, "We have multiple printings at multiple printers now and all of our suppliers are doing a remarkable job of getting books into the marketplace. They all realize the importance of this book as a commercial success, but they also recognize the huge importance of reading a book the government is trying to stop."

He added that the publisher has orders for more than a million copies, making it the bestselling nonfiction book in Holt's 151-year history. Holt has no plans to publish a paperback edition and expects the hardcover to sell well for the next two years.

Sargent told the Wall Street Journal that Fire and Fury had had a 150,000-copy first printing and has sold "hundreds of thousands of e-books, and in the low six figures for audiobooks."

He added that the company didn't know how popular the book would be because it couldn't have anticipated President Trump's angry, critical reaction.


Enlighten Up: Divine Dog Wisdom Cards: A 62 Card Deck and Guidebook by Barb Horn and Randy Crutcher, illustrated by Teresa Shishim


John Sargent: 'We Are Responding for All Authors and Books'

John Sargent

Macmillan CEO John Sargent's letter to company employees yesterday:
 
Last Thursday, shortly after 7 a.m., we received a demand from the President of the United States to "immediately cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination" of Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury. On Thursday afternoon we responded with a short statement saying that we would publish the book, and we moved the pub date forward to the next day. Later today we will send our legal response to President Trump.
 
Our response is firm, as it has to be. I am writing you today to explain why this is a matter of great importance. It is about much more than Fire and Fury.
 
The president is free to call news "fake" and to blast the media. That goes against convention, but it is not unconstitutional. But a demand to cease and desist publication--a clear effort by the President of the United States to intimidate a publisher into halting publication of an important book on the workings of the government--is an attempt to achieve what is called prior restraint. That is something that no American court would order as it is flagrantly unconstitutional.
 
This is very clearly defined in Supreme Court case law, most prominently in the Pentagon Papers case. As Justice Hugo Black explained in his concurrence:

"Both the history and language of the First Amendment support the view that the press must be left free to publish news, whatever the source, without censorship, injunctions, or prior restraints. In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government's power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government."
 
Then there is Justice William Brennan's opinion in The New York Times Co. v. Sullivan:
 
"Thus we consider this case against the background of a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials."

And finally Chief Justice Warren Burger in another landmark case:

"The thread running through all these cases is that prior restraints on speech and publication are the most serious and least tolerable infringement on First Amendment rights."
 
There is no ambiguity here. This is an underlying principle of our democracy. We cannot stand silent. We will not allow any president to achieve by intimidation what our Constitution precludes him or her from achieving in court. We need to respond strongly for Michael Wolff and his book, but also for all authors and all their books, now and in the future. And as citizens we must demand that President Trump understand and abide by the First Amendment of our Constitution.


University of Minnesota Press: Laurentian Divide by Sarah Stonich


Macmillan's Lawyer: 'Trump Claims Have No Basis'

At Explore Booksellers in Aspen, Colo.

The letter sent yesterday by Elizabeth A. McNamara of Davis Wright Tremaine to President Trump's lawyer Charles J. Harder of Harder Mirell & Abrams:

I write as counsel to Henry Holt and Company, Inc. ("Henry Holt") and Mr. Michael Wolff in response to your letter dated January 4, 2018, concerning your client, President Donald J. Trump. Without identifying a single false statement, your letter broadly challenges Mr. Wolff's book titled Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House published Friday, and an excerpt from the book published in a January 3, 2018 New York magazine article, as containing "false/baseless statements" about President Trump that give rise to a host of legal claims. As a result, you demand that my clients cease publication of the book and "issue a full and complete retraction and apology." My clients do not intend to cease publication, no such retraction will occur, and no apology is warranted.

As President Trump knows, Mr. Wolff was permitted extraordinary access to the Trump administration and campaign from May 2016 to this past October, and he conducted more than 200 interviews with President Trump, most members of his senior staff, and with many people they in turn talked to. These interviews served as the basis for the reporting in Mr. Wolff's book. We have no reason to doubt--and your letter provides no reason to change this conclusion--that Mr. Wolff's book is an accurate report on events of vital public importance. Mr. Trump is the President of the United States, with the "bully pulpit" at his disposal. To the extent he disputes any statement in the book, he has the largest platform in the world to challenge it. Generalized and abstract threats of libel do not provide any basis for President Trump's demand that Henry Holt and Mr. Wolff withdraw the book from public discourse. Though your letter provides a basic summary of New York libel law, tellingly, it stops short of identifying a single statement in the book that is factually false or defamatory. Instead, the letter appears to be designed to silence legitimate criticism. This is the antithesis of an actionable libel claim.

Your letter does not resolve this key omission when it argues that actual malice can be proven because the book "admits in the Introduction that it contains untrue statements." It does no such thing. Instead, Mr. Wolff responsibly tells his readers his approach to confronting the well-established reality that many in this administration, most prominently the President, routinely traffic in verifiably false statements. Thus, Mr. Wolff explains how he attempted to reconcile conflicting accounts. Surely you are not contending that Mr. Wolff, in reporting on a falsehood told him by, e.g., a member of the administration, is therefore necessarily reporting that it is true.

To briefly address a few of the additional substantive claims identified in your letter, we note that you understandably cite to New York as the governing law, yet we were surprised to see that President Trump plans on asserting a claim for "false light invasion of privacy." As you are no doubt aware, New York does not recognize such a cause of action. Messenger ex rel. Messenger v. Guner + Jahr Printing and Pub., 94 N.Y.2d 436, 448 (2000); Hurwitz v. U.S., 884 F.2d 684, 685 (2d Cir. 1989). Not only is this claim meritless; it is non-existent. In any event, it is patently ridiculous to claim that the privacy of the President of the United States has been violated by a book reporting on his campaign and his actions in office.

Next, your letter focuses on alleged claims for tortious interference with contractual relations and inducement of breach of contract. Yet, as your client will no doubt appreciate, timing is everything when it comes to these claims. And there is no dispute that Mr. Bannon had already communicated with Mr. Wolff freely and voluntarily well before the "notice" you have provided. Mr. Bannon plainly needed no cajoling or inducement to speak candidly with Mr. Wolff. And an after-the-fact lawyer's letter putting my clients "on notice" does not put the genie back in the bottle, much less subject Henry Holt or Mr. Wolff to liability. The law treats sources like Mr. Bannon as adults, and it is Mr. Bannon's responsibility--not Henry Holt's or Mr. Wolff's--to honor any contractual obligations. Indeed, your attempt to use private contracts to act as a blanket restriction on members of the government speaking to the press is a perversion of contract law and a gross violation of the First Amendment. No court would support such an attempt to silence public servants and the press.

Nor are these the only clear infirmities with this threatened claim. For a tortious interference with contractual relations action to be sustained, President Trump must prove that Henry Holt and Mr. Wolff actively and intentionally procured the breach for the sole purpose of harming Mr. Trump, his family, or businesses. Jacobs v. Continuum Health Partners, Inc., 7 A.D.3d 312, 313, 776 N.Y.S.2d 279, 280 (1st Dep't 2004). This he cannot do. A reporter, like Mr. Wolff, "whose motive and conduct is intended to foster public awareness and debate cannot be found to have engaged in the wrongful or improper conduct required" to state such a claim. See, e.g., Huggins v. Povitch, No. 131164/94, 1996 WL 515498, at *9 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Apr. 19, 1996). Put simply, the book's purpose is news reporting and nothing more.

Lastly, the majority of your letter--indeed, seven full pages--is devoted to instructing Henry Holt and Mr. Wolff in meticulous detail about their obligations to preserve documents that relate in any way to the book, the article, President Trump, his family members, their businesses, and his Presidential campaign. While my clients do not adopt or subscribe to your description of their legal obligations, Henry Holt and Mr. Wolff will comply with any and all document preservation obligations that the law imposes upon them. At the same time, we must remind you that President Trump, in his personal and governmental capacity, must comply with the same legal obligations regarding himself, his family members, their businesses, the Trump campaign, and his administration, and must ensure all appropriate measures to preserve such documents are in place. This would include any and all documents pertaining to any of the matters about which the book reports. Should you pursue litigation against Henry Holt or Mr. Wolff, we are quite confident that documents related to the contents of the book in the possession of President Trump, his family members, his businesses, his campaign, and his administration will prove particularly relevant to our defense.

This letter is without waiver of any of Henry Holt's or Mr. Wolff's rights, remedies or defenses, all of which are expressly reserved.


GLOW: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra


Fire and Fury Fever: International Update

A fresh shipment of Fire and Fury at Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C., yesterday.

The search for copies of Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House has been an international as well as domestic challenge since the book's early release last Friday.

In the U.K., Waterstones received a "surprise" delivery of 20 copies to its flagship London Piccadilly store January 5 and "sold out within minutes," head of events and PR Sandra Taylor told the Bookseller. "Nothing about this is normal," she said. "I can't remember the last time a book had a cease and desist order, let alone from one of the most powerful men in the world.... Our pre-orders have been huge and interest is intense. In the shop, people keep asking if we have it, they are coming in just to request it."

Other retailers, including Foyles and Sainsbury's, were not expecting to receive stock until tomorrow. "We're following the U.S. and publishing as soon as we can, so our official publication date moves forward to today," a spokesperson for Little, Brown said Friday. "Stock is in transit and will be available as soon as it reaches stores."

Yesterday, the Bookseller reported that "interest in the exposé has continued over the weekend, with Trump continuing to criticize it, both on social media and in press conferences.... The effect has been to sustain public interest in the title, with booksellers inundated with requests for copies over the weekend and pre-orders reaching an all-time high."

"We are delighted with our sales of the book of the moment," said Kate Skipper, buying director of Waterstones. "Unsurprisingly we couldn't keep up with demand and ran out nearly everywhere, but we have plenty more on its way out to our shops. It appears that customer interest has far from peaked so are looking forward to fulfilling customer demand as the stock continues to flow through over the next couple of days. Little, Brown is continuing to do a fantastic job keeping up with a title which is quite unprecedented."

The chain's flagship Piccadilly branch was forced to block a number of people online after receiving abuse from Trump supporters on Twitter. "An unexpected bonus is discovering how useful Twitter's 'block user' option is after fans of the 'very stable genius' got in touch to tell us how delighted they are about the book," Waterstones tweeted Saturday.

Kieron Smith, digital director at Blackwell's, said, "I can't remember the last time a political book like this was so sought after. It is great fun for everyone in the bookselling world, to have a book come up like this which we were not really expecting. It's a good time of year for it to happen."

Nigel Wyman, head of business development for Gardners, told the Bookseller that the distributor has "no firm date but we are estimating Wednesday at the earliest before we get stock but hopefully we will get confirmation today. Sales-wise both the hardback and trade paperback have picked up some steady orders over the weekend."

Independent bookshops in the U.K. have also been under siege for copies of the mega-bestseller. "Fingers crossed it will be tomorrow but we've heard that before so it could be even later," reported Stoke Newington Bookshop, while Sheryl Shurville of Chorleywood Bookshop said: "It's been really annoying not having any stock. It's been in the press so much, it's a great opportunity for us to actually sell a book but we don't have any in stock yet. Bertrams are saying they'll have it by the 9th so we'll probably get it the day after."

A February 19 release is planned for Fire and Fury's German edition, Stern reported. The book will be published by Rowohlt Verlag, which, like Holt and Macmillan, is owned by Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. The publisher is currently working on the translation.

Raincoast Books distributes the title in Canada. "We have seen a surge of interest from all our customers, and the publisher has a very aggressive reprint plan underway," company v-p Jamie Broadhurst told Quillblog last week.

Many Australians will be able to pick up the book at major bookstores today, with some retailers having taken pre-orders, the Sydney Morning Herald reported, noting that Dymocks is releasing the book on January 9 in both hardback and paperback, while Abbey's Bookshop in Sydney was also expecting to have stock of the book by today. "Despite warnings it would interrupt the Australian retail market Amazon Australia will be one of the last places to release the book which it says it will release on January 19," the Morning Herald noted.

In New Zealand, Stuff NZ reported that distributor Hachette "is scrambling" to get the book into bookstores. Managing director Melanee Winder noted that with the early release, the last few days had been "a nightmare" in terms of logistics. Hachette had flown stock from Australia on Friday, she said, adding that the Australian printed copies were held up in customs, but should be in stores Tuesday. "We want as much as we can get. There are lots of reprints going through already. We've reprinted before stock has even reached shelves," she added.

Whitcoulls head book manager Joan Mackenzie said that when the release was brought forward, she requested early copies of the book for New Zealand, too, but the publisher was unable to get the book to the country any earlier than Monday afternoon.


Greystone Books: The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate--Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben, translated by Jane Billinghurst


Flooding from Burst Pipe Closes Quail Ridge Books

Just a few days after the Greenlight Bookstore in Prospect Lefferts Gardens in Brooklyn, N.Y., was flooded by a frozen pipe in its building, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, N.C., has suffered similar damage from a burst pipe above the store. Quail Ridge was closed yesterday and will remain closed this morning, at least until power can be restored.

Quail Ridge events coordinator René Martin told the News & Observer that most of the damage in the store appeared to be to books and office space on the mezzanine level. The break occurred Sunday afternoon just as booksellers were finishing inventory.

The newspaper said that the flooding in an apartment severely damaged a restaurant immediately below the broken pipe and other businesses, in addition to Quail Ridge. The pipe was in the interior of the building and did not break because of the cold.


Dutton Books: The Woman Inside by E.G. Scott


PEN Center USA, PEN America Merging

After months of discussion and planning, PEN Center USA in Los Angeles and PEN America in New York City are joining forces under the name PEN America. The unification, approved by the respective boards of directors, is subject to a vote of the membership of PEN Center USA, as an association under California law. Because PEN America will continue in its current legal form absorbing new staff and members, no action by its membership is required.

The organizations cited several reasons for the move, noting that "we share a common mission, complementary programs, and an overlapping membership base. Together, we will be able to consolidate and strengthen administrative functions, communications capabilities, digital platforms and membership services. In so doing, we will free up resources and energies for the continued expansion of our programs, centered on both the celebration and the defense of freedom of expression.... Our goal is to build a national constituency of writers and readers who are energized to defend open discourse; foster the exchange of ideas across political, geographic and ideological bounds; amplify unheard voices; and stand with writers and creators who face persecution."

The timing of the union "is no coincidence," PEN America said: "These treacherous times have prompted a far-reaching discussion about how PEN's manifold efforts could be fortified. It became obvious that rather than toiling separately, we should marshal our energies, resources, and ideas in order to maximize our collective impact in the U.S. and around the world."

Suzanne Nossel will lead PEN America nationally, along with an expanded Board of Trustees including representatives from Los Angeles, while Michelle Franke will continue her leadership role in L.A.


Notes

Happy Birthday: Woman Locked Inside Bookstore Overnight

The birthday set-up at Exclusive Books

As part of "an epic birthday surprise," Carina Greyling of Kempton Park, Johannesburg, South Africa, realized a lifelong dream recently when she spent the night locked inside an Exclusive Books store. The South African reported that Greyling had, according to her four children, listed being "locked inside an Exclusive Books for the night" as her top birthday wish.

On January 7, her wish was granted at the Hyde Park store, "where she was surprised with a pop-up bedroom, snacks and drinks, and the freedom to roam the store all night, browsing and reading to her heart's content," the South African wrote.

"We supplied all the creature comforts necessary for spending a night in a bookshop, and trust that her stay was everything she hoped for," said Exclusive Books CEO Benjamin Trisk.

"I've always said that when it's my time to go, I hope heaven has a bookshop--and I think it might look a bit like this," Greyling said, adding later in a text to the bookstore: "I absolutely loved it--it was the shortest night of my life!"


Personnel Changes at Penguin Random House Sales

At Penguin Random House Sales:

Julie Black is promoted to senior v-p, sales strategic planning.

Tom Cox is named senior v-p, mass merchandise & distributor sales.

Kim Shannon is promoted to senior v-p, retail sales.

Jeff Weber is named senior v-p, online & digital sales.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Patrice Banks on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Patrice Banks, author of Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide (Touchstone, $25, 9781501144110).

Tomorrow:
Watch What Happens Live: Teresa Giudice, author of Standing Strong (Gallery, $26, 9781501179198).

The Opposition with Jordan Klepper: Brian Klaas, co-author of The Despot's Apprentice: Donald Trump's Attack on Democracy (Hot Books, $18.99, 9781510735859).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Lawrence O'Donnell, author of Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics (Penguin Press, $28, 9780399563140).


Movies: Uncanny Valley

Universal has optioned the film rights to Uncanny Valley, an upcoming memoir from Anna Wiener that "chronicles her time transitioning from a publishing career to a new job in the tech world," Deadline reported. Michael De Luca will produce with Elizabeth Banks & Max Handelman, and Weiner is serving as an executive producer. The book, which began as an n+1 magazine essay, is tentatively set to be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2019.



Books & Authors

Man Booker Prize Now Open to Irish Publishers

Irish publishers are now eligible to submit novels for the Man Booker Prize following a change in the rules of entry. As of 2018, any novel written originally in English and published in Ireland by an imprint formally established in Ireland is eligible for the prize.

In making the decision, the Booker Prize Foundation consulted with Publishing Ireland. The organizations agreed that given the special relationship between the U.K. and Irish publishing markets--most Irish publishers release books simultaneously in Ireland and the U.K.--all Irish publishers should be eligible. The aim of the new rule is to ensure independent Irish publishers are given the same opportunity to be recognized by the prize as Irish publishers who have headquarters in the U.K. and are already eligible to submit titles.

Gaby Wood, literary director of the Booker Prize Foundation, said, "So much exciting new fiction is being written and published concurrently in Ireland and the U.K. that we felt it was only right to acknowledge and honor that."

Ronan Colgan, president of Publishing Ireland, commented: "This announcement is wonderful news, not just for Irish publishers and Irish writers but for our intertwined literary heritage."


Book Review

Review: This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America

This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins (Harper Perennial, $15.99 trade paper, 272p., 9780062666154, January 30, 2018)

In a confident voice, 20-something Catapult contributing writer Morgan Jerkins shares her experiences as a black, female feminist in the United States. This debut collection--a series of emotionally charged essays--"is not a one-size-fits-all tale about black womanhood," Jerkins points out. "The particular experience of the black woman in modern America needs to be addressed. But there isn't just one; there are many. Millions to be exact." Jerkins's alone is the subject of This Will Be My Undoing, and the book allows readers to peer into the lens through which she has viewed the first three-plus decades of her life.

The opening essay, "Monkeys Like You," takes the audience back to Jerkins's suburban New Jersey elementary school, where she tries out for the cheerleading squad unsuccessfully. The description of her disappointment is heartbreaking, and anyone who's failed to make a team or achieve a goal will connect with that feeling of dejection and worthlessness. But the added element of discrimination causes Jerkins to look back later and decide, "It wasn't simply because I wasn't good enough to make the team. I couldn't make the team because I was not human.... And maybe that was what I was really trying out for, not a cheerleading squad, a chance to be a person."

Jerkins continues to open her world to readers, portraying her teenage years faced with unreasonable standards of beauty--including hair care for black women--and being sexualized while trying to avoid derogatory labels like "fast-tailed girl." She writes about relationship issues and her education at Princeton, as well as her present life in Harlem, with continuing hopes--and fears--for a future family of her own. She's matter-of-fact when releasing her anger and frustrations through the words on her page. Jerkins struggles with the murders of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown while simultaneously confronting questions like, "How do we protect ourselves if that means chastising black men, whom we have always been culturally conditioned to protect? What does this dual protection look like, and is it attainable in a society that sanctions violence against black bodies?"

Jerkins's essays present many legitimate issues faced by black women. There are, however, instances in which she presents theories as fact (the Hottentot Venus influencing the 19th-century bustle style in women's dresses, for example) and makes arguable, sweeping generalizations, like "White women are not pressured to look like anyone else but themselves." Nevertheless, Jerkins has strong character, and This Will Be My Undoing is likely just the beginning of her influence on the role of black women in the United States. As she is careful to point out, she is just one voice and her story doesn't speak for all black women, but with any luck her one voice will inspire other voices to add to the chorus of change. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Shelf Talker: A millennial writer from suburban New Jersey makes her debut with a collection of essays about her experiences growing up black and female in 21st century America.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

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

1. Room Mates (The Series) by Kendall Ryan
2. Can't Let Go (Callaways Book 13) by Barbara Freethy
3. The Elf on the Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda B. Bell
4. The Hookup by Kristen Ashley
5. The British Knight by Louise Bay
6. The Red Fury (D'Vant Bloodlines Book 2) by Kathryn Le Veque
7. Damaged by R.R. Banks
8. Bigger Leaner Stronger by Michael Matthews
9. Dirty Talk by Lauren Landish
10. The Gender Game by Bella Forrest

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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