Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Harper Perennial: Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman

Wednesday Books: Missing Clarissa by Ripley Jones

Berkley Books: Sisters of the Lost Nation by Nick Medina

Ronin House: So Close (Blacklist #1) by Sylvia Day

Bloom Books: Queen of Myth and Monsters (Adrian X Isolde #2) by Scarlett St. Clair

Blue Box Press: A Light in the Flame: A Flesh and Fire Novel by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Irh Press: The Unknown Stigma Trilogy by Ryuho Okawa

Other Press (NY): The Rebel and the Thief by Jan-Philipp Sendker, translated by Imogen Taylor

Quotation of the Day

Time to Update the Financial Model for Bookshops

"The book value chain has undergone a revolution during the last 20 years and publishers, exploring new routes to market through new channels, have embraced new models. And yet, in the main, the core financial model of supply to bookshops remains unaltered... more can be done, and the more quickly it can be done, the better for the whole ecosystem."

--Patrick Neale, president of the Booksellers Association of the U.K. and Ireland, speaking at the BA Conference yesterday and quoted in the Bookseller.

Berkley Books: Jane & Edward: A Modern Reimagining of Jane Eyre by Melodie Edwards


Morning Joe Book Club's Inaugural Pick: Five Days at Memorial

MSNBC's Morning Joe, which regularly features authors, has created the Morning Joe Book Club, "a monthly series of interviews and discussions on the hottest, new nonfiction books." The club's first pick, to be discussed next Monday, is Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Pulitzer Prize-winner Sheri Fink (Crown), which was published September 10.

The publisher describes Five Days at Memorial as "a harrowing report of patient deaths at New Orleans' Memorial Medical Center in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and exposes just how unprepared America is for large-scale disasters."

The club plans to "dive in a month ahead of each interview, read the book together, and then join the author for a Morning Joe roundtable discussion."

ECW Press: We Meant Well by Erum Shazia Hasan

Tesco Releases Hudl Tablet

As anticipated, U.K. supermarket chain Tesco unveiled its 7-inch Hudl HD tablet yesterday priced at a £119 (about US$190), though "Tesco Clubcard holders will be able to buy the Hudl on the Clubcard Boost scheme, meaning many can purchase it for under £100," the Bookseller reported.

Although "users can get instant access to Tesco's range of digital services through a dedicated launcher button," a company spokesperson told the Bookseller that books were not currently featured on Hudl, but would be "later in the year."

BINC: Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship

Tattered Cover in Lease Negotiations for LoDo Store

The Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colo., is in lease negotiations for its space in the Lower Downtown section--one of its three stores--and, in the meantime, a local commercial real estate broker is marketing the store's space, reported the Denver Business Journal. The store has been in the location, in the Morey Mercantile Building, since 1994.

Speaking with the Journal, Tattered Cover owner Joyce Meskis confirmed that the store is negotiating with the landlord and said, "The ultimate plan of the Tattered Cover is to continue to have a store in LoDo, and it is our expectation that we will be able to do just that."

"We're in lease negotiations right now for the Tattered Cover to remain in Mercantile Square," said Mike Coughlin, an agent for the company that owns the building. "We will have an announcement soon with what's happening. Of course, we love the Tattered Cover. It's a great LoDo institution and it's been a great part of Mercantile Square."

Amazon to Begin Collecting West Va. Sales Tax

Effective October 1, Amazon will start collecting a 6% sales tax on purchases shipped to residents in the state. The Charleston Gazette reported that the change "stems from a law passed by the Legislature in April to collect more revenue from out-of-state companies like Amazon that do business here." Amazon recently opened a 70,000-square-foot service center in Huntington that employs about 200 people.

Storybook Cove Seeks Customer Help

Facing cash-flow problems, children's bookstore Storybook Cove, Hanover, Mass., is asking customers to shop early for the holidays, offering a 20% off sale that began on September 12 and ends tomorrow as well as urging them to buy gift cards, wickedlocalhanover reported. Customers are supporting the store on Facebook and Twitter.

Owner Janet Bibeau, who opened Storybook Cove in 1990, said that among other measures, she hopes to renegotiate her lease. She blamed "a lot of different factors" for the store's financial difficulties.

Kheradi Head of Int'l Sales, Marketing at Penguin Random House

Another top appointment has been made at Penguin Random House: Cyrus Kheradi has been named senior v-p, director, international sales and marketing. He continues as director, East Asia business development, for Random House.

Penguin Random House president and COO Madeline McIntosh commented: "For the past two decades, Cyrus has been focused on the global marketplace, previously at Simon & Schuster, and at Random House since 2010, earning a stellar reputation for the outstanding results his team's customer- and publisher-centric approach have achieved in support of our titles."

McIntosh noted that selling responsibilities for the individual international reps at Random House and Penguin are unchanged, and accounts should continue to use separate Penguin and Random House ordering and fulfillment systems.

Obituary Note: Kofi Awoonor

Ghanaian poet and diplomat Kofi Awoonor was among the people killed in the attack on Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday, the Telegraph reported. He was 78 and was in Nairobi to speak at the Storymoja Hay Festival, a four-day celebration of writing, thinking and storytelling that ended early because of the attack. Awoonor's son was shot in the shoulder and was treated and discharged from the hospital.

The festival, which held a memorial tribute to Awoonor yesterday evening, called him "a great African, a leading light whose footsteps leave big footprints. His legend must live on, inspiring poets and writers to be witness and chronicler of our times. We invite you to come pay tribute to him and all souls lost in the Westgate Mall siege and those bereaved, and just like the late, great professor, stand in solidarity with them by crafting words and painting pictures of the mind."

Born George Kofi Awoonor Williams, Awoonor was also deeply involved in politics. He was an associate of Ghana's first president, pan-African leader Kwame Nkrumah, and went into exile in the U.K. and then the U.S., when Nkrumah was deposed in 1966. In 1975, when Awoonor returned to Ghana, he was imprisoned for helping a "political criminal," a move that was protested by International PEN, Amnesty International and writers including Allen Ginsberg. Later, after a change of regime, he served as Ghana's ambassador to Cuba, Brazil and the United Nations and was, until early this year, chairman of Ghana's Council of State.

The Telegraph said that Awoonor's early collections of poetry were "heavily inspired by the dirge singing and oral poetry of his native Ewe tribe." He also wrote about the impact of colonialism and foreign rule in Africa and his imprisonment.

Awoonor also published several novels and works of nonfiction. The African Poetry Book Fund is publishing his Promises of Hope: New and Selected Poems next year. To read one of the poems, "Across a New Dawn," published by the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog, click here.


Image of the Day: Susan Cooper Visits Blue Willow

Susan Cooper, author of Ghost Hawk, visits Houston's Blue Willow Bookshop in the Lone Star State. Cooper (center, in blue) is flanked by Blue Willow staff (l. to r.) Kirk Reedstrom, Jennifer Gwydir, Valerie Koehler, Nancy Drott, Paige Miller and Cathy Berner.

Book Frog Jumps into Indiegogo Campaign

The Book Frog, Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., which was founded in late 2011 by Rebecca Glenn and Pete Ledesma, has launched an Indiegogo campaign that aims to raise $10,000 "to try to make up some of the ground we lost by opening with insufficient funding two years ago. Since we didn't really have enough money to do it right then we've been pouring every single penny that's come into the store back into inventory to try to get that level up to where it needs to be. Unfortunately, other important stuff has completely fallen by the wayside."

On their Indiegogo page, Glenn and Ledesma, who are both former Borders general managers, wrote, "We know that with the right mix of inventory--having on hand most of the books that people want and a healthy selection of books for them to discover, and having great bookish gifts and sidelines such as booklights, cards, and journals--we will be a destination."

With the donated money, the owners plan "to buy important backlist for the graphic novels and children's sections. We also know how important it is for a small bookstore to carry book-friendly gift items to go along with the books we sell. Journals, pens, stationery, and greeting cards are among the sidelines we're looking to commit to."

The Book Frog rewards for Indiegogo contributors include, at Frogger level (for donations of $25), a bookmark and set of six Book Frog notecards, with a thank you on the store's Facebook page and via Twitter as well as a mention on the store's Column of Fame. At $100, the Kermit level, recipients receive all the Frogger benefits and 25% off all purchases at the store for a year.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jesmyn Ward on Fresh Air

Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Jesmyn Ward, author of Men We Reaped: A Memoir (Bloomsbury USA, $26, 9781608195213).


Tomorrow on Katie:

Cast members Deidre Hall, Kristian Alfonso, James Scott and Galen Gering discuss Days of Our Lives Better Living: Cast Secrets for a Healthier, Balanced Life (Days of Our Lives Publications, $34.99, 9781402267413)
Julianne Moore, author of My Mom Is a Foreigner, But Not to Me (Chronicle, $16.99, 9781452107929)
Kate Gosselin, author of Kate Gosselin's Love Is in the Mix: Making Meals into Memories with Family-Friendly Recipes, Tips and Traditions (HCI, $22.95, 9780757317644)


Tomorrow on MSNBC's the Cycle: Sudhir Venkatesh, author of Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York's Underground Economy (Penguin Press, $27.95, 9781594204166).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Brian Jay Jones, author of Jim Henson: The Biography (Ballantine, $35, 9780345526113).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Linda Ronstadt, author of Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781451668728).

TV: Masters of Sex

Showtime's adaptation of Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love by Thomas Maier (Basic Books, $16.99, 9780465079995) makes its premiere this coming Sunday, September 29. With the amusing subtitle, "arousing America's curiosity," the series stars Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan as Masters and Johnson and will have 12 episodes.

Books & Authors

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

After Her: A Novel by Joyce Maynard (Morrow, $25.99, 9780062257390). "Loosely based on a true Marin County, California, murder case in the late 1970s, Maynard's newest work is part thriller, part love story, and part family narrative. Two young, inseparable sisters enjoy spending their school vacation time on the mountain near their home until a series of murders intrude on their games and bring danger and division into their lives. After Her is a masterful piece of storytelling with bits of humor to offset the suspenseful emotions, ending 30 years later with a promised vindication." --Carol Hicks, Bookshelf, Truckee, Calif.
The Returned: A Novel by Jason Mott (Mira, $24.95, 9780778315339). "What would you do if someone you loved--someone who meant the world to you and made your life complete--died? What would you do if 50 years later that person showed up on your doorstep never having aged and without any recollection of where they had been? This is the question that faces people around the world in Mott's intriguing novel. Part science fiction, part family drama, part philosophical treatise on human nature, The Returned delves deep into the human psyche without forsaking a genuinely riveting story, and will leave you breathless in the end!" --Heather Christman, Warwick's, La Jolla, Calif.

Hand for a Hand: A DCI Andy Gilchrist Investigation by T. Frank Muir (Soho Crime, $14.95, 9781616952952). "A dismembered hand is found on a golf course green with a note addressed to Scottish DCI Andy Gilchrist consisting of just one word: Murder. The subsequent investigation gets too close to home for Andy when family members become involved. Set in historic St. Andrews with dour characters and dreary weather to set the mood, this first in a new series is a real nail-biter until the last page." --Rita Moran, Apple Valley Books, Winthrop, Maine

For Ages 4 to 8
Crankenstein by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Dan Santat (Little, Brown, $16.99, 9780316126564). "Beware of Crankenstein! You're sure to find him when it's raining, or when he runs out of maple syrup, or when he's told to go to bed. But when he meets another Crankenstein, it's magic! He's just a normal kid! Berger's field study of a grumpy child is giggle-inducing, and Santat's pictures are perfect. This is an ideal pick for a grumpy (or not!) little one." --Megan Graves, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, Va.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: How to Be a Good Wife

How to Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman (St. Martin's Press, $24.99 hardcover, 9781250018199, October 15, 2013)

How to Be a Good Wife, the debut novel from British-born Emma Chapman, who now lives in Australia, is sure to appeal equally to thriller fans and readers who love Kate Chopin's The Awakening with its portrait of a housewife on the brink of either sanity or madness, depending on whom you believe.

Middle-aged housewife Marta has few memories predating her marriage to Hector. Her adult life has consisted entirely of seeing to his comfort as instructed by her mother-in-law's wedding gift, a manual entitled How to Be a Good Wife ("Catering to his comfort will give you an immense sense of personal satisfaction.... A good woman can be judged by the neatness of her dress and how well her children behave"). On the surface, Marta is the picture of domesticity, loyal to Hector and devoted to their grown son, Kylan. However, as the reader learns more, Marta appears increasingly unstable, forgoing her prescription medication--allegedly in hopes of regaining more of her memory--in favor of blackouts and hallucinations of a little girl who is sometimes clean and cheerful, sometimes filthy and violent. Has her narrow domestic sphere left Marta vulnerable to what Hector insists is her fragile mental state, or has the absence of pharmaceuticals cleared the fog obscuring a more sinister truth in their marriage? Is Hector a long-suffering husband who protects Marta, or a master manipulator hiding a secret so terrible it would shatter their family forever?

Chapman keeps readers firmly planted in Marta's point of view, unable to distinguish truth from delusion. Nor does she ever simplify the matter: whatever the cause, Marta is not sane and the reader cannot trust her. Her isolation from anyone outside her immediate family creates an echoing lack of objective witnesses.

Though the surface matter deals with mental illness and reliability, Chapman silently but effectively criticizes enforced domesticity as well. Readers may see all too clearly the benign incarceration of a woman dependent entirely on her husband and treated as too delicate to make her own choices, or even go into the city alone. Although elements of the story suggest a mid-20th-century setting, Marta's situation could just as easily happen in the present day.

Readers will find themselves confronting their own biases about mental illness as they struggle along with Marta to make sense of her tense, troubled world in this subtle feminist thriller. --Jaclyn Fulwood

Shelf Talker: This understated thriller will keep readers guessing at the truth behind a mentally unstable woman's seemingly ordinary marriage.

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