Shelf Awareness for Thursday, August 8, 2013

Other Press (NY): Playing Under the Piano: From Downton to Darkest Peru by Hugh Bonneville

Shadow Mountain: Delicious Gatherings: Recipes to Celebrate Together by Tara Teaspoon

Berkley Books: The Last Russian Doll by Kristen Loesch

Charlesbridge Publishing: Too-Small Tyson (Storytelling Math) by Janay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Anastasia Williams

MIT Press: Rethinking Gender: An Illustrated Exploration by Louie Läuger

Spiegel & Grau: Brave Hearted: The Women of the American West by Katie Hickman

Austin Macauley: Lasseter's Truth by John Somerset

St. Martin's Press: Weyward by Emilia Hart


Publishers Object to Proposed Limits on Apple


The five publishers that settled with the Justice Department in the e-book agency model price collusion case are objecting to the Department's proposed guidelines for Apple, which in part would effectively bar the company from using the agency model for five years.

In a filing in federal court yesterday, the publishers--Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan--argued that the proposed guidelines prohibit them from using the agency model with Apple. Under the publishers' settlements with the Department, they had a two-year cap on how e-book retailers sell e-books or offer discounts and promotions.

"Despite achieving their stated goal of returning price competition, plaintiffs now seek to improperly impose additional, unwarranted restrictions on the settling defendants, thereby depriving each publisher of the benefit of its bargain with plaintiffs," the publishers wrote (via Reuters).

The Justice Department has said repeatedly that it has no argument with the agency model, only with how it was enacted for e-books.

CamCat Publishing: The Darker the Skies (Earth United) by Bryan Prosek

She Writes Press: Publishing's 'Third Way'

She Writes Press is "a third way to publish your book, a middle ground between self-publishing platforms and traditional publishing," said Brooke Warner, publisher of the company that emerged from the social media network She Writes in 2011.

Kamy Wicoff

Founded in 2009 by Kamy Wicoff, an author, journalist and gender research advocate, the She Writes site welcomes all individuals who identify as writers, and features blog posts and articles about navigating social media, what to do with a finished manuscript, ways to improve one's writing and many other topics. It also serves as a hub for writers to connect, communicate and collaborate with one another. Although the focus is of course on women writers, men would not be turned away from the community.

Warner spent eight years as an executive editor at Seal Press, and met Wicoff during her time there. After teaching a class for She Writes, Warner approached about Wicoff starting a press. She Writes Press was launched on the third anniversary of She Writes.

Brooke Warner

"The main genesis to She Writes Press is that barriers to traditional publishing are so high," Warner explained. "So many people are rejected because they don't have a platform. Our stance is, if it's good writing, it should be published."

She Writes Press is set apart by its track system and vetting process: after a writer submits her manuscript, it is reviewed by agents and editors, and then the author is assigned to one of three publishing tracks. Track one is for authors who are deemed ready to publish--this experience closely resembles a traditional publishing experience--while tracks two and three are for those who need more time and work. Available to authors on tracks two and three are developmental editors, who work with the authors in a coaching and consulting capacity. Hypothetically, Warner said, a writer can submit her manuscript, be placed on track three, and, if she so desires, work with She Writes Press all the way to track one, and see her book published.

"It serves the She Writes community, but you don't have to be a She Writes member to publish with us," Warner said. "And it's all vetted. We have agents and editors who read our submissions. It helps add credibility for our authors and ourselves."

She Writes Press has signed more than 40 books, the majority of them memoir and fiction. Two upcoming novels that She Writes Press is particularly excited about are Wishful Thinking by press co-founder Kamy Wicoff and Geometry of Love by Jessica Levine. No category is ruled out, except for children's books: She Writes Press has published cookbooks, academic texts and poetry.

Beginning in September, Ingram Publisher Services will handle sales and distribution for She Writes Press in the U.S. and Canada. The deal will alter the press's flexibility in terms of its publishing schedule (new titles will now be published either in the spring or fall), but it will benefit from Ingram's extensive infrastructure and distribution network.

She Writes Press is now also encouraging its authors to partake in long-lead campaigns prior to the release of their books. Author events, generally, are spearheaded by the authors themselves; some She Writes Press authors have organized group readings and partnerships to maximize their efforts to get each other into bookstores.

"They've been really supportive and excited," said Warner of the She Writes community's response to She Writes Press. "A lot of people were wondering why we didn't come up with this sooner. You get some legitimacy and credibility from having your work vetted, and you get a team working with you to create a beautiful book. As long as you have a good manuscript, you can publish." --Alex Mutter

Barefoot Books: Save 10%


Image of the Day: Teen Glee at Books & Greetings

Actor Chris Colfer (Glee, of course) thrilled hundreds of teens (and adults) at Books & Greetings, Northvale, N.J., on Tuesday, pub date for his middle-grade fantasy The Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns (Little, Brown). Here, Colfer poses with store owner Kenny Sarfin.

Candlewick Press (MA): The Real Dada Mother Goose: A Treasury of Complete Nonsense by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Julia Rothman

Skylar Atkins Wins Rusty Drugan Scholarship

Skylar Atkins of the Vermont Book Shop, Middlebury, Vt.,  has won the Rusty Drugan Scholarship for Emerging Leaders, sponsored by the New England Independent Booksellers Association and given in memory of Wayne "Rusty" Drugan, executive director of NEIBA from 1992 to 2006. The scholarship will help pay expenses for Atkins to attend NEIBA's fall conference in Providence, R.I., in October 6-8.

He commented: "I've been an avid reader my whole life (it was a continual struggle for my mom to supply me with challenging, age-appropriate, reading material growing up) and a bookseller for the last seven years. I have an A/S in computer networking, and a B.A. (which I completed while working full-time at the Vermont Book Shop) in psychology. After an AmeriCorps term in Montana, I worked briefly at a Waldenbooks. While I loved being surrounded by books, I'm MUCH happier at an independent shop. There's just no comparison. I read most genres, but lean towards general fiction, fantasy, graphic novels, and non-fiction adventure. Besides reading, my hobbies are rock and ice climbing (on the vacation I just returned from, I climbed Mt. Rainier via the Emmons Glacier Route), hiking, fly-fishing, snowboarding, and other activities that worry my mother."

Parallax Press: Call Me by My True Names: The Collected Poems by Thich Nhat Hanh

Variations on a Lego Librarian

The Lego Librarian debuted last spring as part of the company's minifigures series, but Joe Hardenbrook, instruction & reference librarian at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, thought the stereotype portrayed could be improved upon.

"So I decided to take Lego's default librarian look and see if I could twist it around a bit," he wrote in the Huffington Post. "The librarian profession is full of quirky personalities all ripe for satire: busy working moms, stuffy academics, jaded old-timers, slacker males, pink-haired non-conformists, and first amendment watchdogs. To see how I mix and matched various Lego pieces to poke a little bit of fun at my profession, check out my blog post."

Personnel Changes at Spry Publishing

At Spry Publishing:

  • Sally Feller has joined the company as manager of publicity and marketing. She was formerly senior publicist at Tor/Forge Books.
  • Jeremy Sterling has been promoted to director of business development from director of marketing.

Ingram Publisher Services Adds Six Publishers

Ingram Publisher Services has added six new publisher clients:

  • Balcony 7 Media and Publishing, a publisher of books and enhanced e-books that promote family time, literacy and entertainment and include a series of cartoon fiction titles for children from its newest imprint, Salty Splashes Collection. Ingram is handling U.S. and Canadian sales and distribution, digital distribution of the imprint's enhanced audio e-books and POD for galley work.
  • The Adventures of Bella & Harry, a children's book series by Lisa Manzione. Ingram is providing provide full-service distribution and sales in the U.S. and Canada; Lightning Source for galley work.
  • CN Times Books, the U.S. subsidiary of Beijing MediaTime Book Co., a Chinese trade publisher of more than 600 fiction and nonfiction titles per year, including books for children and titles of scholarly and academic interest. Ingram is handling distribution in the U.S. and Canada and e-book distribution.
  • Fine & Kahn, which publishes books that challenge, inform, entertain and inspire readers by showcasing distinct voices with fresh perspectives in history, psychology and reference materials. Ingram is handling sales and distribution in the U.S. and Canada, as well as e-book distribution and book manufacturing.
  • She Writes Press, the publisher founded to serve members of She Writes, the community of more than 20,000 women writers. She Writes Press provides comprehensive publishing services to help more women bring their books to the market. Ingram is handling U.S. and Canadian sales and distribution, beginning in September. (See profile above.)
  • The Enthusiast, which publishes books about art, nostalgia, philosophy, science, cooking and sport and is headed by publisher Benjamin Darling, formerly of Laughing Elephant. Ingram is providing full-service distribution and sales for the company in the U.S. and Canada.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: David Epstein Talks The Sports Gene

Tomorrow on MSNBC's the Cycle: David Epstein, author of The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance (Current, $26.95, 9781591845119).

TV: Crossfire

Lionsgate has optioned the rights to adapt Sylvia Day's bestselling Crossfire series of romantic novels as a TV series, reported. There have been three novels in the series thus far--Bared To You, Reflected In You and Entwined With You--with a fourth, Captivated By You, set for release in late 2013 or early 2014.

"Sylvia has created an enduring, sexy and edgy story, and we're looking forward to working with her to create a show that both excites and connects with audiences as her books have done," said Lionsgate TV executive v-p Chris Selak, who will oversee the development of the project.

This Weekend on Book TV: Radley Balko

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this week 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, August 10
6 p.m. Encore Booknotes. In response to Jeff Bezos's purchase of the Washington Post this week, Book TV features a 1997 interview with the late Katharine Graham, who discussed her memoir Personal History (Vintage, $16.95, 9780375701047).  

7 p.m. Raj Sisodia, co-author (with John Mackey) of Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business (Harvard Business Review Press, $27, 9781422144206). (Re-airs Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and Monday at 1:30 a.m.)

7:30 p.m. Erick Stackelbeck, author of The Brotherhood: America's Next Great Enemy (Regnery, $27.95, 9781621570332). (Re-airs Sunday at 2:30 p.m.)

8:45 p.m. Radley Balko, author of Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces (PublicAffairs, $27.99, 9781610392112).

10 p.m. After Words. Rich Benjamin interviews Leigh Gallagher, author of The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream Is Moving (Portfolio, $25.95, 9781591845256). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. & 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Peter Lance, author of Deal with the Devil: The FBI's Secret Thirty-Year Relationship with a Mafia Killer (Morrow, $29.99, 9780061455346).

Sunday, August 11
1:15 p.m. Jesse Walker, author of The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory (Harper , $25.99, 9780062135551). (Re-airs Monday at 1:15 a.m.)

7:45 p.m. Lewis Lehrman, author of Money, Gold and History (Lehrman Institute, $9.95, 9780984017836).

10 p.m. Mark Pendergrast, author of For God, Country, and Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It (Basic Books, $21.95, 9780465029174).

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, August 13:

All the Land to Hold Us: A Novel by Rick Bass (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9780547687124) follows several characters in dry West Texas.

The Color Master by Aimee Bender (Doubleday, $25.95, 9780385534895) is a collection of short stories.

The Last Kiss Goodbye: A Novel by Karen Robards (Ballantine, $26, 9780345535825) is the second Charlotte Stone supernatural thriller.

The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781451654424) investigates the educational success of foreign children and a trio of Americans abroad.

To the End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster Care by Cris Beam (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780151014125) explores adoption and foster care.

Book Review

Review: Burial Rites

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (Little, Brown, $26 hardcover, 9780316243919, September 10, 2013)

Iceland's last executions for murder took place on January 12, 1830--beheading, as prescribed by Danish law. One of them was a young woman, Agnes Magnusdottir. Burial Rites, Hannah Kent's debut novel, renders poor Agnes's unforgettable and woeful story brilliantly. Throughout, Kent juxtaposes rich, imagistic prose with dry, insensate excerpts from official documents about the case to create two strikingly different texts.

Kent has two first-person narrators: Agnes and the young, inexperienced Reverend Toti, assigned to save her soul before her execution. "They said that I stole the breath from men, and now they must steal mine," Agnes says. "I will vanish into the air and the night... until it is only their own light by which they see themselves." Another, third-person voice seemingly watches the proceedings from above; the three voices are woven together to create a deeply emotional, gripping story.

Iceland had no prisons at the time; Agnes, awaiting execution, is housed in the barn of a God-loving family who beat her mercilessly, in a lightless room filled with her own fetid breath and the stench from the chamberpot. "I am scabbed with dirt," she reports. "My hair feels like a greased rope." Then she's moved to another family's stark and cold cottage--to them, she "looked like a new corpse, fresh dug from the dirt." Even the wife, an old crone, Margret, takes pity on her.

Now able to work outside at harvest, to see the sky, Agnes feels better. Reverend Toti visits often and, story by story, she tells him about her wretched life, abandoned as a child, maid to families who treated her like a slave. The story behind the crime becomes clearer. Agnes, another maid (later pardoned) and Natan, a man she had feelings for, are convicted of stealing from, then killing, two men and burning down the barn where the crime took place. Kent keeps Agnes's guilt ambiguous. But we are still sympathetic, intimate observers of her condition, both physical and emotional, and her impending fate.

Burial Rites could have been a stark, dull tale but it's far from that. A cross between the grim, moorish atmosphere of Wuthering Heights and the cold, religiously-infested repression of a Bergman film, Kent's novel emerges alive, triumphant and sublimely poetic. --Tom Lavoie

Shelf Talker: Though dark and baleful, this stunning debut novel about a young 19th-century Icelandic woman executed for murder is uplifting and overpowering in its telling.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Life Code by Dr. Phil McGraw
2. Pulse (Collide Volume 2) by Gail McHugh
3. Time for Love (The McCarthys of Gansett Island) by Marie Force
4. House of Darkness, House of Light by Andrea Perron
5. Fear of Falling by S.L. Jennings
6. Collide by Gail McHugh
7. Him by Carey Heywood
8. Breathless (Jesse) by Eve Carter
9. Alpha Bad Boys by Various
10. Jane's Melody by Ryan Winfield

[Many thanks to!]

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