Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mariner Books: Everyone This Christmas Has a Secret: A Festive Mystery by Benjamin Stevenson

Grove Press: Brightly Shining by Ingvild Rishøi, Translated Caroline Waight

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Broadleaf Books: Trespass: Portraits of Unhoused Life, Love, and Understanding by Kim Watson

Nancy Paulsen Books: Sync by Ellen Hopkins

Running Press Adult: Cat People by Hannah Hillam

Beaming Books: Must-Have Autumn Reads for Your Shelf!

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger

Quotation of the Day

Miami a 'Well Read City' Thanks to Books & Books

"Re the April 25 story Big on books: Perhaps one reason that Miami ranks only No. 3 on Amazon's 'Most Well Read Cities' list is because we are so well served by Books & Books, we have no reason to purchase online."

--Patrick Alexander, Coral Gables, Fla., in a Miami Herald letter to the editor headlined "Great local bookseller."

Peachtree Teen: Compound Fracture by Andrew Joseph White


Senate Passes Marketplace Fairness Act

Yesterday, by a vote of 69 to 27, the Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act, requiring "remote" retailers with out-of-state sales of at least $1 million to collect applicable state and local sales tax on all purchases. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives, where it faces stronger opposition than in the Senate.

"This victory is the direct result of the tireless work of thousands of booksellers nationwide, who, year after year, have advocated for sales tax fairness," ABA CEO Oren Teicher commented. "Recognizing that this fight is far from over, today we are one very important step closer to leveling the playing field for Main Street retailers."

Teicher thanked the bill's sponsors, a bipartisan group including Senators Lamar Alexander (R.-Tenn.), Richard Durbin (D.-Ill.), Michael Enzi (R.-Wyo.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D.-N.Dak.), as well as regional booksellers associations in who worked helping to pass sales tax fairness legislation at the state level over the past several years. "These efforts absolutely helped keep the pressure on Congress to take the action that it did," he said. "Their leadership has been critical."

Bill Hughes, senior v-p for government affairs at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, commented: "The Senate's overwhelmingly bipartisan passage of this legislation foreshadows the end of the special treatment of big online businesses at the expense of retailers on Main Street. After such a resounding vote in the Senate, we look forward to a constructive debate in the House to level the playing field for all retailers this year."

President Obama has indicated that he will sign the Marketplace Fairness Act if it passes the House. But some conservatives and online retailers--with the notable exception of Amazon, which supports the bill--are expected to put up a major fight against it in the House.

Inner Traditions: Expand your collection with these must-have resource books!

BAM Opens in Trumbull, Conn.

Books-A-Million hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday for its new store in the Westfield Trumbull Shopping Mall, Trumbull, Conn. The last bookstore in the mall closed several years ago, the Trumbull Patch reported, adding that the new BAM is the chain's second location in the state, joining one in Waterford.

Terrance G. Finley, BAM CEO and president, said, "This is the first Books-A-Million in the community and we believe that our new customers will enjoy the best in books, toys, tech and more."

Paul Sabina, district marketing director, Westfield Trumbull, commented: "We've always recognized that the community we serve demands a first-class book store. Books-A-Million brings that level of quality and experience. It's a perfect fit."

Brooklyn Bikes for Books

This Saturday, May 11, the streets of Brooklyn, N.Y., will be filled with bicyclists participating in the first Bike the Branches tour of the Brooklyn Public Library. Bikers can register (adults, $20; kids, $10) then post fund-raising links on their Facebook pages to help raise more money. Riders will receive maps and can choose from a number of themed routes, including one that moves through the history of literary Brooklyn. Treasures along the route include a first edition of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, the home where Richard Wright wrote Native Son and Henry Miller's boyhood stomping grounds.

According to Cheryl Todmann, director of special events and membership at the BPL, "The Brooklyn Public Library is set up so that nobody in the borough lives more than a mile away from a library. Events like these help connect us to the community who might have forgotten how amazing the library is." Facing a 36% decrease in funding this year, the BPL is turning to its pedaling community to help raise funds.

"There will be tons of author events, read-alouds for kids and special treats along the route," Todmann said. "So many authors have been involved with us throughout the years. We thought this event would be an amazing way to connect our present commitment to literature with our tradition of great writers."

Along with the tour of literary Brooklyn, there are alternate routes that explore Brooklyn in the movies, Brooklyn's architectural history and Brooklyn Eats, featuring food trucks from local vendors. Participating bikers will receive a passport at the start of the day and get it stamped at each location they visit. Riders with the most stamps at the end of the day are eligible for prizes and the honorary title of Bike King or Queen of the Brooklyn Public Library. For those without two wheels, there are running and walking options as well.

Follow the Brooklyn Public Library on Facebook for updates on the event. --Christopher Herz

Andrew Phillips Is New Author Solutions CEO

Andrew Phillips will be the new CEO of Author Solutions, the self-publishing company Penguin Group acquired last year. Phillips has worked for Penguin for more than a decade, most recently as president of Penguin International, based in Delhi, India. The Bookseller reported that he will succeed current CEO Kevin Weiss, who "is to take up a new position to be announced separately next week."

Penguin Group chairman and CEO John Makinson noted that Phillips's "impressive range of talents and experience equip him perfectly to extend the international development of Author Solutions, to build on our network of publishing partnerships, and to strengthen the ties with Penguin companies around the world."

Phillips described self-publishing as "the fastest-growing and most dynamic area of the publishing economy. The launch of Partridge, the first Penguin Author Solutions partnership in India, gave me firsthand experience of the huge opportunities that exist both in developed and emerging markets."


Image of the Day: May the Fourth Be with You

Star Wars expert and author Daniel Wallace celebrated May the Fourth with members of the 501st Legion at a book signing at Wild Rumpus, Minneapolis, Minn., for The Book of Sith (Chronicle Books). The book is a guide to the secrets of the dark side of the Force and is a companion to his previous book, The Jedi Path.

20 Years Later: Horizon Books' Anchoring Move

The Traverse City Record-Eagle recalled the move 20 years ago of Horizon Books into a former J.C. Penney site in downtown Traverse City, Mich., a move that was a major force in the transformation of the area. Speaking of Horizon owners Vic Herman and Amy Reynolds, longtime Traverse City leader and businessman Bruce Rogers said, "If there's anything that started the turnaround for downtown on its way back to what it is today, it is the courage Vic and Amy had to purchase that building. It was huge."


Herman remembered that Horizon Books needed to expand and that he put in a low offer on the empty Penney's building, one of "a lot" of vacant storefronts. The offer was accepted, the store moved and doubled its sales the first year. Horizon felt "lonesome" for a time, but eventually more stores opened.

Horizon took a 15% hit in sales when Borders opened in 1996--but then sales rose 20% when Borders closed in 2011. "Probably the most important reason we didn't go out of business when Borders came was because we owned our own building," Herman told the paper. A Books-A-Million that opened in the former Borders space hasn't affected Horizon's sales.

Horizon has 25 employees in the 22,000-square-foot space and has branches in Petoskey and Cadillac. The store continues to maintain its traditional long hours: from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week. "We have never wanted our customers to worry about if we were going to be open or not," Reynolds explained.

For Sale: Britain's Most Remote Bookshop

After 14 years, Kevin Crowe and Simon Long are selling Loch Croispol Bookshop, their Scottish Highlands location that "is claimed to be Britain's most remote bookshop," the BBC reported. Crowe and Long, "who were the first gay couple to have a civil partnership in the Highlands, have built up a reputation as literary detectives, tracking down out-of-print books from their small shop which sits on the northern tip of the Scottish mainland in Durness, Sutherland."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Patricia Volk and Shocked on Fresh Air

Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Patricia Volk, author of Shocked: My Mother, Schiaparelli, and Me (Knopf, $26.95, 9780307962102).


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Emily Matchar, author of Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781451665444).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Katherine Preston, author of Out With It: How Stuttering Helped Me Find My Voice (Atria, $24, 9781451676587).

Also on the Today Show: Steve Schirripa, co-author of Big Daddy's Rules: Raising Daughters Is Tougher Than I Look (Touchstone, $25, 9781476706344).


Tomorrow on the View: Phil Robertson, co-author of Happy, Happy, Happy: My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander (Howard, $24.99, 9781476726090).


Tomorrow on Sirius XM's Howard Stern: Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter and Martha Quinn, authors of VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave (Atria, $25, 9781451678123).


Tomorrow on Dr. Oz: Wendy Williams, author of Ask Wendy (Morrow, $25.99, 9780062268389).

Books & Authors

Awards: Best Translated Books; Agathas

Winners have been announced for this year's Best Translated Book Awards, sponsored by Three Percent, part of the University of Rochester. Wheel with a Single Spoke by Nichita Stanescu, translated from the Romanian by Sean Cotter (Archipelago Books), won in the poetry category; and Satantango by László Krasznahorkai, translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes (New Directions), took the fiction prize. The authors and translators each received $5,000.


Winners of the Agatha Awards, which celebrate the "traditional mystery--books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie," were honored at the Malice Domestic convention in Bethesda, Md., last weekend. This year's winners are:

Novel: The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny
First novel: Lowcountry Boil by Susan M. Boyer
Historical Novel: Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for Murder by Catriona McPherson
Nonfiction: Books to Die For: The World's Greatest Mystery Writers on the World's
Greatest Mystery Novels by John Connolly/Declan Burke
Short story: "Mischief in Mesopotamia" by Dana Cameron (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Nov. 2012)
Children's/YA: The Code Busters Club, Case #2: The Haunted Lighthouse by Penny Warner

GBO Picks A Short History of Nuclear Folly

For its May Book of the Month, the German Book Office New York has chosen A Short History of Nuclear Folly--Mad Scientists, Dithering Nazis, Lost Nukes, and Catastrophic Cover-Ups by Rudolph Herzog, translated by Jefferson Chase (Melville House, $26, 9781612191737).

The book, GBO said, "presents a devastating account of history's most irresponsible uses of nuclear technology. From the rarely discussed nightmare of 'Broken Arrows' (40 nuclear weapons lost during the Cold War) to 'Operation Plowshare' (a proposal to use nuclear bombs for large engineering projects, such as the construction of a second Panama Canal using 300 H-Bombs), Herzog focuses in on long-forgotten nuclear projects that nearly led to disaster. Digging deep into archives, interviewing dozens of previously censored scientists, and including dozens of photos, Herzog also explores the 'accidental' drop of a Nagasaki-type bomb on a train conductor's home, the implanting of plutonium into patients' hearts, and the invention of wild tactical nukes, including weapons designed to kill enemy astronauts.

"In a riveting narrative voice, Herzog--the son of filmmaker Werner Herzog and the grandson of Nazis--also draws on childhood memories of the final period of the Cold War in Germany, the country once seen as the nuclear battleground for NATO and the Warsaw Pact, and discusses evidence that Nazi scientists knew how to make atomic weaponry…and didn't."

Herzog is also the author of Dead Funny: Humor in Hitler's Germany and a documentary on humor in the Third Reich, Laughing with Hitler. He will read from A Short History of Nuclear Folly tonight, May 7, from 6-8 p.m. at the German Consulate in New York City. RSVP here.

Shenandoah Valley Campaign for The Pale Blue Light

This Friday, May 10, NewSouth Books will release the paperback edition of Skip Tucker's novel The Pale Blue Light, a blend of historical fiction and spy thriller about the life and death of Stonewall Jackson. The pub date also happens to be the 150th anniversary of the Confederate General's death by friendly fire at the Battle of Chancellorsville, a fact that neither author nor publisher wanted to pass up.

Skip Tucker, holding a copy of Pale Blue Light, with Civil War re-enactors at the Chancellorsville battlefield.

On April 29, Tucker set out on a 1,500-mile journey starting in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, through which Jackson campaigned in 1862. Last Saturday, he held a press conference at the Chancellorsville battlefield, now called the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, during a three-day commemoration and reenactment of the 1863 battle. Also on the schedule: yesterday another press conference at the Georgia Capitol Museum in Atlanta before an appearance at Confederate Memorial Hall in New Orleans on Thursday.

"It feels like all the stars are aligned," said Suzanne La Rosa of NewSouth Books. "So many things are going right."

NewSouth publishes between 20 and 25 books per year, and operates with a staff of nine people. The press gravitates, in La Rosa's words, toward material that fosters "understanding and discussion of racial, ethnic, religious and sexual identities." In recent years, NewSouth has also skewed more and more toward history, biography and memoir, although it does, of course, still publish fiction.

La Rosa called The Pale Blue Light "not simply straightforward literary fiction. There's a lot of history, and it's full of Civil War details, but the jumping off point is a big 'what-if' question. He weaves a very believable, even sexy story about the possibility that Jackson maybe did not die by friendly fire."

Although La Rosa has grown more "gun-shy" regarding fiction in recent years, she found The Pale Blue Light and Tucker's suggestion of an elaborate, if somewhat unusual, promotional campaign to be "almost irresistible."

"Fiction is very competitive, and it's hard to do things right when you're in a crowded marketplace," said La Rosa. "But I was really convinced that he was on to a fantastic idea. And it's not just about doing unusual things [to promote books], it's about doing the right things."

La Rosa described Tucker, whose background is as a journalist, as easy-going and affable. "He's very excited for the trip. He told me in an e-mail that he's bringing Jack and Jim with him--Jack being his dog and Jim being Jim Beam." --Alex Mutter

Book Review

Review: We Need New Names

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (Reagan Arthur, $25 hardcover, 9780316230810, May 21, 2013)

They are Darling, Chipo, Godknows, Bastard, Sbho and Stina, and they are leaving Paradise for Budapest "even though we are not allowed to cross Mzilikazi Road, even though Bastard is supposed to be watching his little sister Fraction, even though Mother would kill me dead if she found out," Darling narrates. "There are guavas to steal in Budapest, and right now I'd rather die for guavas."

So begins We Need New Names, the outstanding debut novel by Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo. The opening chapter ("Hitting Budapest"), which won Bulawayo the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2011, immediately pulls the reader into 10-year-old Darling's world, where "Paradise" is the shantytown in Zimbabwe where Darling lives, and "Budapest" is the similarly incongruous name of a nearby wealthy neighborhood.

Darling and her friends are full of mischief and adventure, and they boast and play and fight with the intensity particular to childhood. They're young, but they aren't innocent: they've witnessed the destruction of their homes and schools by military thugs, the desperation of poverty and the flight of their fathers to mysterious jobs abroad that they don't always come home from (or, like Darling's father, they come home from with AIDS). Their games are tinged with war.

Darling dreams of escape to America, where her Aunt Fostalina lives (in "Destroyedmichygen"). Eventually, she leaves her family behind, but she quickly learns that the U.S. isn't paradise, either: "This place doesn't look like my America," Darling says of snowy, bleak Detroit. "It's like we're in a terrible story, like we're in the crazy parts of the Bible, where God is busy punishing people for their sins and is making them miserable with all the weather." She has to stay, though, and she must reconcile her fractured history with her alien present--and navigate American culture while she navigates adolescence.

Wise and funny, with the brutally illuminating perspective that only a child can possess, Darling is an immediately winning narrator. Her boldness and bravado mask a tender, wounded vulnerability, but she is strong, and her voice is the perfect one to tell this story. Though this is a story of loss, yearning and alienation, Bulawayo's prose is so striking and vivid (and Darling is such a disarmingly likable narrator) that We Need New Names feels ultimately hopeful--and, at least, affirming of Darling's strength. --Hannah Calkins

Shelf Talker: Debut novelist NoViolet Bulawayo tells the vivid and acutely personal story of a young girl who sacrifices her home in Zimbabwe for a chance in America.

The Bestsellers

Top Book Club Picks in April

The following were the most popular book club books during April based on votes from more than 80,000 book club readers from more than 35,000 book clubs registered at

1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
2. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
4. Defending Jacob: A Novel by William Landay
5. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
6. The Kitchen House: A Novel by Kathleen Grissom
7. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
8. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
9. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
10. The Language of Flowers: A Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Rising Stars:

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

[Many thanks to!]

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