Shelf Awareness for Thursday, February 1, 2018


St. Martin's Press: Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Waste of Space (Moon Base Alpha) by Stuart Gibbs

St. Martin's Press: Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts

Shadow Mountain: Ashes on the Moor (Proper Romance Victorian Series) by Sarah M. Eden

St. Martin's Press: Song of Blood & Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles #1) by L. Penelope

Other Press: Eventide by Therese Bohman

News

National Book Awards Adds Translation Category

Beginning this year, the National Book Foundation is adding a fifth category, translated literature, to the traditional National Book Awards for fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature. The new category will honor a work of fiction or nonfiction that has been translated into English and published in the U.S.

"We could not be more pleased to take this step," said board chair David Steinberger. "We now have the opportunity to recognize exceptional books that are written anywhere in the world, and to encourage new voices and perspectives to become part of our national discourse."

The National Book Award for Translated Literature will honor both author and translator, who will split the $10,000 prize, and "aims to broaden readership for global voices and spark dialogue around international stories," NBF said.

"As the foundation further expands its purview and work, it's important that we continue to promote reading habits that reach widely across genre, subject, and geography," said Lisa Lucas, NBF executive director. "We are a nation of immigrants, and we should never stop seeking connection and insight from the myriad cultures that consistently influence and inspire us. We want American readers to deeply value an inclusive, big-picture point of view, and the National Book Award for Translated Literature is part of a commitment to that principle. The addition of this award lends crucial visibility to works that have the power to touch us as American readers in search of broadened perspective."

The last time a prize category was added to the National Book Awards was 1996, when the first National Book Award for Young People's Literature was won by Victor Martinez for his novel Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida.

Submissions for all award categories open March 7, at which time guidelines for submission for the National Book Award for Translated Literature will be available in full at the NBF website. The National Book Awards longlists will be announced during the week of September 10, finalists on October 10, and winners November 14.


Disney-Hyperion: Willa of the wood by Robert Beatty


Missing Hong Kong Bookseller/Publisher Wins Prix Voltaire

Gui Minhai

Gui Minhai, the Hong Kong bookseller and publisher who has twice been seized by Chinese authorities--most recently on January 20--is being awarded the International Publishers Association's Prix Voltaire for "his bravery in continuing to publish despite the risks involved." The association added that he "has contributed to the free circulation of ideas, participating in human rights conferences and sitting on the board of Independent Chinese PEN. His treatment at the hands of the Chinese authorities has had a chilling effect on Hong Kong's once vibrant and audacious publishing industry."

Kristenn Einarsson, chair of the IPA's Freedom to Publish Committee, which bestows the Prix Voltaire, commented: "The plight of Gui Minhai is an example of the risks some publishers face to bring diverse authors' voices to the public. It is only right that the publishing community commends him for his bravery, when that bravery has seen him deprived of his freedom."

The prize will be presented at the International Publishers Congress in New Delhi on February 12.

In October 2015, Gui Minhai, co-owner of Hong Kong publishing company Mighty Current and its bookstore, Causeway Bay Bookstore, was kidnapped in Thailand by Chinese agents (purportedly to answer for a decades-old car accident). According to the government, he was released last October but not allowed to leave China. Ten days ago, he was seized while he was traveling on a train to Beijing for medical treatment. According to the New York Times, Gui, who is a Swedish citizen, was in the company of Swedish diplomats on the train.

The Chinese government's animus apparently came in part because of Mighty Current's publishing of Xi Jinping and His Lovers, a work of fiction based on true events in the Chinese leader's romantic life. Four other Mighty Current staff were kidnapped by the Chinese government, too, in 2015.

The American Booksellers Association has sent a letter to the U.S. State Department urging it to investigate the abduction of Gui Minhai, stating, in part, "The continued harassment and detention of Mr. Gui poses a serious threat to free expression. Mighty Current is known for producing and selling books that are critical of the Chinese government, which are regularly banned in mainland China but available in Hong Kong, and was accused in a Communist Party publication of 'stirring up troubles on the mainland.' This case has sent the terrifying message to writers, publishers, and booksellers in Hong Kong that tackling politically sensitive topics can imperil an individual's freedom and safety."


Soho Crime: Death Comes in Through the Kitchen by Teresa Dovalpage


Half Price Books in Arlington, Texas, to Close

The Half Price Books in Arlington, Texas, will close March 11, according to the Dallas Observer.

Half Price Books spokeswoman Emily Bruce told the Observer that rent was not the reason for the change. "We have great customers at Lincoln Square," she said. "But the area around the store has changed since we first moved in. With the development of new stadiums, restaurants and retail in the area, it has become more difficult for our customers to access the store. And as a result, we've seen a steady decline in store traffic in the past few years."

With more than 120 stores across the country, Half Price Books primarily sells used books, CDs, DVDs and more. In recent years, Half Price Books began selling new books because of customer demand.


University of Nevada Press: Across America and Back: Retracing My Great-Grandparents' Remarkable Journey by Mary Ann Hooper


Wi13: Words of Wisdom Everywhere

You could fill a Bartlett's-size volume with the words of wisdom shared during Wi13, but we'll have to settle for a sampling here:

Robert Sindelar

In his opening remarks before Tuesday's breakfast keynote, ABA president Robert Sindelar of Third Place Books in Seattle, Wash., said, "I've been to 11 of these institutes, and I think of the best decisions I've made for my company, I can easily say that a large number of them have come directly either from educational sessions I've been to, keynote speakers I've listened to, or even just a conversation in the bar afterwards.... Outsiders who come to this event from other industries are always amazed at the deep level of sharing that goes on among indie booksellers. We're natural sharers. We're constantly saying, 'I think you should read this; I think this will change your life.' That comes from reading, and from reading comes empathy. We want to share and we want to be inclusive. That's what this group does. And that sharing is what makes this such an incredible event."

During the panel Working with Self-Published Authors, Paul Hanson of Village Books, Bellingham, Wash., conceded that indie booksellers can present a challenge for independently-published writers because "we are hard cats to work with.... So at Village Books we decided to connect with writers at every stage of their journey. Our mission is to build community one book at a time, and that used to mean reading. Now it's extended to the writing and publishing of books. By creating a space for writers within our store... we are creating an alternative to the online beast. We compete in publishing just like we compete in bookselling by giving them one-on-one personal service on a local level and treating them like people rather than cogs in a machine. Our clients end up being some of the most loyal and vociferous advocates for the store and thus, hopefully, the independent bookstore channel."

Kelly Justice

Kelly Justice of Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Va., offered an intriguing additional strategy to the "build up from the local community" approach for indies at the session Small Stores, Big Clout: "I'm going to talk about the top down approach, where you make yourself visible to publishers, to other booksellers, to the national media.... I just don't like the word small. If you think of yourself as small, you're going to stay small. So, what we're going to talk about it is big. We're going to talk about the visualization of being larger than life. Fifteen percent of Fountain's business is online. That is absolutely unheard of in the independent bookstore channel. And it's because we've aggressively branded Fountain Bookstore as a global brand.... Think of yourselves as global for a minute as opposed to just community. You can do both and still serve all your customers well."

Booksellers shared tips with writers during the Author Education and Lunch Wednesday. "Just the fact that that you're in this room means a lot to us because it means you are already way ahead of the game," said Susan Hans O'Connor of Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley, Pa., adding: "It's about building relationships with our community members and people outside of our community and that includes authors, from near and far.... See us as collaborators, as partners in your journey, communicate with us, appreciate us while you're there and after you leave.... We will be your friends. We will be your advocates. And you need advocates out there."

At the previously mentioned breakfast keynote, Sindelar introduced V. Lynn Evans, the first African American, first woman and first Memphian to chair the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority. After welcoming Wi13 attendees "to the 901," she said: "I feel as if I'm in a room of kindred spirits. I'm a small business owner.... I understand what it takes to do what you do, so I commend you for your commitment to localism, innovation, and participation in the ABA.... Thank you for establishing a sense of place in our communities. Here in Memphis our independent bookstore that used to be Davis-Kidd, then was Booksellers at Laurelwood, became what it now is, novel., when community members rallied to save it and its staff. As small business owners, your sales may not always reflect it, but please know that your presence in a local community helps provide a focal point for it and makes a positive difference in our lives." --Robert Gray


Shelf Awareness Giveaway: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton


Obituary Note: Nancy Richler

Canadian author Nancy Richler, whose third novel, The Imposter Bride (2012), was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, died January 18, the CBC reported. She was 60. Her other works include Throwaway Angels (1996), which was shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Crime Novel, and Your Mouth Is Lovely, winner of the 2003 Canadian Jewish Book Award for fiction.

"Nancy was an elegant writer whose work resonated deeply with readers," said Iris Tuplholme, her editor at HarperCollins Canada. "She had an extraordinary ability to see into the human heart to create complex characters who survived war, displacement and loss but who also cherished beauty and kindness and searched for happiness."

Anna Porter, one of the 2012 Giller jurors, told Quillblog: "I found The Imposter Bride to be that unusual combination: beautiful writing and a riveting story. I am sorry Nancy Richler will not be writing another novel."


Notes

Monkey See, Monkey Do Honored as Small Biz of the Year

Monkey See, Monkey Do children's bookstore in Clarence, N.Y., will be honored by the town's Chamber of Commerce as 2018 Small Business of the Year. The Bee reported that "the criterion for selection of the individuals and business is an unselfish devotion to improving the quality of life in the Clarence community."

Kim Krug opened Monkey See, Monkey Do in 2009 with her mother, Kathleen Skoog. "The bookstore's tagline, 'the little bookstore with big ideas,' proved prescient. Since opening, thousands of families have visited the store, participated in literacy-based camps, enjoyed interactive princess tea parties and celebrated book-themed birthday parties," the Bee noted. In 2012, the bookshop received the Women's National Book Association Pannell Award.


Personnel Changes at Random House

In Random House's publicity department:

Christine Mykityshyn has been promoted to publicity manager.

Sophie Vershbow has been promoted to senior social media manager.

Emily Isayeff has been promoted to senior publicist.

Isabella Biedenharn has joined the company as a senior publicist. She was formerly an editor for the book section at Entertainment Weekly.

Dhara Parikh has been promoted to publicist.

Katie Darcy has been promoted to publicist, special events.

Melissa Sanford has been promoted to associate publicist.

Mary Moates has been promoted to associate publicist.

Catherine Mikula is leaving the publicity department to join the Random House Speakers Bureau as lecture agent.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Garrett M. Graff on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Garrett M. Graff, author of The Threat Matrix: Inside Robert Mueller's FBI and the War on Global Terror (Back Bay Books, $18.99, 9780316068604).

Tomorrow:
HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: David Frum, author of Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic (Harper, $25.99, 9780062796738).


This Weekend on Book TV: Colson Whitehead In-Depth

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, February 3
1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Coverage of the fifth annual Rancho Mirage Writers Festival in Rancho Mirage, Calif., which took place on January 24-26. (Re-airs Sunday at Sunday at 12:30 a.m.) Highlights include:

  • 1 p.m. Bret Stephens, author of America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder (Sentinel, $27.95, 9781591846628).
  • 1:47 p.m. Dave Barry, author of Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland (Putnam, $16, 9781101982617).
  • 2:30 p.m. A panel discussion on presidential elections with Bill W. Brands and Doug G. Brinkley.
  • 3:16 p.m. A panel discussion on politics with Jon Meacham and Amie Parnes.
  • 4:47 p.m. A panel discussion on United States history with Jon Meacham and Doug G. Brinkley.
  • 5:32 p.m. Dave Barry in conversation with Scott Turow, author of Testimony (Grand Central, $28, 9781455553549).
  • 6:19 p.m. A panel discussion on political candidates and elections.

8:20 p.m. Ann Telnaes, author of Trump's ABC (Fantagraphics, $12.99, 9781683960782), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 4:15 p.m.)

9 p.m. James O'Keefe, author of American Pravda: My Fight for Truth in the Era of Fake News (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250154644). (Re-airs Sunday at 6:30 p.m.)

10 p.m. David Frum, author of Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic (Harper, $25.99, 9780062796738). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Michael Nelson, author of Trump's First Year (University of Virginia Press, $19.95, 9780813941448). (Re-airs Sunday at 7:30 p.m.)

Sunday, February 4
12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad (Anchor, $16.95, 9780345804327). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

10 p.m. Robert Harris, author of Munich (Knopf, $27.95, 9780525520269).

11 p.m. Noah Feldman, author of The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President (Random House, $35, 9780812992755).



Books & Authors

Awards: Jhalak Prize Longlist

A longlist has been released for the 2018 Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Color, spanning  fiction, YA, nonfiction, debuts, poetry and short stories. The shortlist will be announced February 20, with a winner named March 15. This year's all-woman judging panel includes the prize co-founder and panel chair Sunny Singh, Catherine Johnson, Tanya Byrne, Vera Chok and Noo Saro-Wiwa.

"The last few months have been an incredible journey through beautifully crafted, intellectually challenging and emotionally rich books," said Singh. "The longlist demonstrates the extraordinary range of themes, ideas and forms from British writers of color."

The Jhalak Prize longlisted titles are:

Come All You Little Persons by John Agard
The Golden Legend by Nadeem Aslam
Hold Tight: Black Masculinity, Millennials and the Meaning of Grime by Jeffrey Boakye
Worry Angels by Sita Brahmachari
Kumakanda by Kayo Chongonyi
Bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Once Upon a Time in the East by Xialou Guo
When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy
The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Come Let Us Sing Anyway by Leone Ross
We That Are Young by Preti Taneja


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, February 6:

The Great Alone: A Novel by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9780312577230) takes place in 1974 Alaska, where a former POW moves his family into the wilderness.

Feel Free by Zadie Smith (Penguin Press, $28, 9781594206252) is a collection of essays from the novelist.

Murder Beyond the Grave by James Patterson (Grand Central, $15.99, 9781538744826) is a true crime thriller.

Only Killers and Thieves: A Novel by Paul Howarth (Harper, $26.99, 9780062690968) follows two brothers in 1880s Australia.

Child of a Mad God: A Tale of the Coven by R. A. Salvatore (Tor, $25.99, 9780765395276) is the beginning of a new fantasy series.

Daphne: A Novel by Will Boast (Liveright, $25.95, 9781631493034) re-imagines the myth of Daphne and Apollo in modern San Francisco.

Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9780544944602) follows a bookish young woman retracing the journey of her refugee father.

Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi (Knopf, $17.99, 9781524717797) is Saedi's own story about growing up in the United States as an undocumented immigrant from the Middle East.

I Know How You Feel: The Joy and Heartbreak of Friendship in Women's Lives by F. Diane Barth (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544870277) is a therapist's guide to female friendships.

A Prairie Girl's Faith: The Spiritual Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Stephen W. Hines (WaterBrook, $21.99, 9780735289789) looks at the Little House author's religion.

Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation by Bob Roth (Simon & Schuster, $24, 978-1501161216) is a guide to Transcendental Meditation.

The Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross (HarperTeen, $17.99, 9780062471345) is a debut young adult fantasy inspired by Renaissance France.

Paperbacks:
Beartown: A Novel by Fredrik Backman (Washington Square Press, $17, 9781501160776).

A Time of Love and Tartan (44 Scotland Street Series) by Alexander McCall Smith (Anchor, $15.95, 9780525436553).

Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel by George Saunders (Random House, $17, 9780812985405).

Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life's Storms by Tim Tebow and A. J. Gregory (WaterBrook, $15.99, 9780735289888).

Movies:
The 15:17 to Paris, based on the book by Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos,‎ Spencer Stone and‎ Jeffrey E. Stern, opens February 9. Clint Eastwood directs the true story of three Americans who thwarted a French terrorist attack in 2015. A movie tie-in edition (PublicAffairs, $15.99, 9781610398190) is available.

Fifty Shades Freed, the third movie based on E.L. James's Fifty Shades series, opens February 9. A movie tie-in edition (Vintage, $15.95, 9780525436201) is available.


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
Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire (Tor, $17.99, 9780765393586). "McGuire's Wayward Children series is a lush faerie-tale world in the vein of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm. It is dark and lovely, vivid and painful, weird and subtle. Beneath the Sugar Sky reintroduces many characters we met in Every Heart a Doorway and takes us to new worlds in an exploration of friendship, family, and what is not possible when everything is possible. Rini exemplifies the lovely mix of what it means to be in that strange place between childhood belief and adult cynicism." --Jessica Cox, Plot Twist Bookstore, Ankeny, Iowa

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime, $26.95, 9781616957780). "This is a harrowing story--and the mystery is great, too! Life for a single woman in Bombay in 1916 is fraught. But Perveen Mistry has the support of her lawyer father and is educated as a lawyer, as very few women are in this time and place. She becomes essential when the law firm needs to interview three widows living in full purdah, secluded from the world in general and men in particular. When their house agent is murdered, the male police are stymied by the women's inaccessibility. The backstory is disturbing in how the law favored even abusive men over women. A fascinating start to a new series." --Lisa Wright, Oblong Books & Music, Millerton, N.Y.

Paperback
Setting Free the Kites: A Novel by Alex George (Putnam, $16, 9780399576485). "This heartfelt and compelling novel from A Good American author Alex George is a story of friendship, loss, and how we deal with grief, a story about how a single friendship can change us forever. Yet again, George has developed beautiful, layered characters and you will quickly fall in love with Nathan, Robert, and Liam in blustery seaside Maine in the 1970s. You will hear the excitement each hot, blistering summer of children and families visiting the amusement park owned by Robert's family. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will grieve, but you will not be disappointed." -- Amanda Zirn, Bethany Beach Books, Bethany Beach, Del.

For Ages 4 to 8
Grandma's Purse by Vanessa Brantley-Newton (Knopf, $17.99, 9781524714314). "Grandma Mimi is coming for a visit and the little girl narrator can't wait to go through her purse. Bright, fun illustrations bring all of grandma's treasures to life and the dialogue between grandmother and grandchild shows us the kinds of things the two enjoy together. This would make a fantastic addition to any story time, especially if you add a real purse and props." --Angela Whited, Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, Minn.

For Ages 9 to 12
Escape From Aleppo by N.H. Senzai (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, $16.99, 9781481472173). "Escape From Aleppo is an exceptional and heart-wrenching story with beautiful prose, vivid imagery, and one incredibly resilient young girl. Although the book doesn't shy away from Nadia's post-traumatic stress and the hardships she encounters, Senzai manages to balance this with Nadia's belief in stories, the goodness of others, and the positive power of religion, keeping the story realistic but not too heavy for middle-grade readers." --Sami Thomason, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon (Simon Pulse, $17.99, 9781481497732). "Twins Tovah and Adina are completely different in almost every way. Their one commonality? The genes they share with their dying mother. Each twin has a 50/50 chance that their bright future may be cut short with the same genetic disorder, and, now 18, they can finally find out their fate. After the genetic test results are in, they have to reexamine what it means to live and to be ready to die. This is an honest and heartwarming story about luck, love, and trusting your fate." --Kim Bissell, Broadway Books, Portland, Ore.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: Vengeance

Vengeance by Zachary Lazar (Catapult, $16.95 paperback, 272p., 9781936787777, February 13, 2018)

Like author Zachary Lazar, the unnamed journalist narrator in Vengeance is introduced to the Louisiana Penitentiary at Angola when he goes to watch the inmates rehearse and produce the passion play The Life of Jesus Christ. During his time at this former slave plantation, now a maximum-security prison, he befriends Kendrick King, a young man serving a life sentence for a murder he claims he did not commit.

The journalist's interest in King's case leads him to investigate the crime and King's life. He interviews members of the young man's family, reads news stories and pores over case reports. When the narrator first meets King, the inmate tries to explain that in court, despite telling the truth to the jury, his case was confusing. "But if you weren't involved, it's not confusing, it's simple," replies the narrator. "There's nothing simple in the legal system. You know that. Especially not when you're a young man who looked like I did," King points out. That complexity becomes evident the more the narrator learns and the more the case perplexes him, offering possible scenario after possible scenario, but rarely any definitive answers.

Lazar (I Pity the Poor Immigrant) blurs the lines of reality and imagination in this captivating, provocative novel that reads like nonfiction. The stark depiction of Angola, the largest maximum-security prison in the United States, strikes the reader with such force, the sting leaves an emotional mark: "It was as if all the importance in the world had coalesced in those fields--violence, punishment, collision, consequence--all that significance beyond the limits of my small understanding." The solid realism of life in Angola is juxtaposed with the narrator's vaporous theories about King's case and the often distorted ideas of retribution, justice, penance.

The black-and-white of good and bad, right and wrong, meet head-on, and a muddy gray oozes out. The narrator, whose father was killed by a contract killer, then realizes: "I believe that something could have been done to prevent it, I don't believe that anything could have been done to rectify it. It was beyond rectifying."

Vengeance is profound in its exploration of the U.S. penal system. It's empathetic without being sentimental in the treatment of its characters, both in and outside the walls of the prison. Lazar's novel is a beautiful specimen of storytelling while simultaneously challenging its audience to reach deep and question the very core of their beliefs.

Lazar delivers his tale with language that mirrors the dichotomy of his themes. He can be flowingly poetic or brutally blunt. But he's always effective. Settle in and prepare to be changed by this powerful novel. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Shelf Talker: A journalist becomes wrapped up in the life of an inmate at Angola Penitentiary, finding parallels with his father's murder and questions about the realities of justice.


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