Also published on this date: Wednesday, November 13, 2013: Maximum Shelf: The Crane Wife

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Storey Publishing: The Universe in Verse: 15 Portals to Wonder Through Science & Poetry by Maria Popova

Tommy Nelson: You'll Always Have a Friend: What to Do When the Lonelies Come by Emily Ley, Illustrated by Romina Galotta

Jimmy Patterson: Amir and the Jinn Princess by M T Khan

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout


Follett Lays Off 10% of College Store Staff

On Friday, Follett Higher Education Group, which operates more than 800 college stores across the country, laid off approximately 600 employees, or about 10% of its store staff. The move was first reported by PW last night.

In a company-wide memo reproduced on, Bob Scholl, senior v-p, retail operations, of the Follett Higher Education Group, said that the "important Follett initiative" was taken in part to "improve the experience of our customers" and "deliver the hassle-free shopping experience that our customers expect." With the firings, he explained, "we are adjusting our store staffing model to put more hours on the sales floor whenever students are shopping most. This involves shifting our ratio of full-time hourly and part-time store positions, and following scheduling practices to ensure our stores are always staffed at the busiest times. This shift gives us more scheduling flexibility each day, week and year. The result will be more customer-facing labor hours in our campus stores, generating more selling opportunities with increased customer satisfaction."

He acknowledged that being let go "will impact the associates in positions we are converting." The company is encouraging those former full-time employees to apply for part-time work and is offering cash severance and outplacement assistance and counseling.

Scholl called the layoffs "part of Follett's much broader and comprehensive transformation, which is reflected in the fact that we've invested more than $200 million in technology, distribution, digital content and ecommerce over the last three years alone. These investments are creating more efficiency at the store level, allowing us to deliver even more hours of store service and support when students and faculty expect it."

On, current and former Follett employees said that the severance agreements include a clause prohibiting them from making negative comments about Follett on social media and, in some cases, required employees to attest that their firing was voluntary--meaning that they would be unable to obtain unemployment benefits.

Founded in 1873, Follett is a privately owned company with revenues of $2.7 billion. It boasts of being the largest college store operator in the U.S., ahead of Barnes & Noble College and Nebraska Book Company.

Weldon Owen: The Gay Icon's Guide to Life by Michael Joosten, Illustrated by Peter Emerich

Amazon: Oz Kindle Store, U.K. Sunday Delivery, 'Post Office Prime'

Amazon has launched the Australian Kindle Store, offering more than two million e-books. In addition, the company's Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX tablets are available online as well as at Dick Smith and Big W stores.

Neil Lindsay, v-p, Amazon Kindle, said the new store "is customized for Australian customers, with local bestsellers and curated lists relevant to Australians, and many titles from local publishers and authors."


Amazon's announcement earlier this week that it will offer Sunday delivery to Prime members in several markets through the U.S. Postal Service was quickly followed by news that the U.K. will also be part of the experiment. The Bookseller reported that the online retailer will make Sunday deliveries in London "throughout the Christmas period" according to a company spokesman, who added: "As part of our 'Amazon Logistics' program, we work with local and regional carriers from across the capital who will be making deliveries every day of the week for the remainder of the festive period."


Back in the U.S., Wired noted that the Sunday service's "weirder aspect is the way a single for-profit company seems to have deputized a government agency to serve its particular private interest. Could Walmart now ask, for instance, for a similar Sunday option? For anyone who has waited in an interminable Post Office line only to be treated like garbage at the counter, the desire to force the Postal Service to run itself more like a business is understandable. Without incentive to do better, the experience seems likely to keep sucking.

"Tabling the issue of whether fault really lies with the agency itself or with Congress, however, the Postal Service for now remains a public utility. If it takes a private company to save it, it's hard to see it as public anymore. Then again, as one of the brands apparently most admired by the public, maybe no one would mind if Amazon ran the mail. Instead of stamps, think Post Office Prime."

Fortune observed that if "the USPS does open up the service to other organizations, the discomfort around the Amazon deal will dissipate, and it will no longer seem like Jeff Bezos is Postmaster General for one day per week. That's likely to happen: the Postal Service has a program offering 'negotiated service agreements' to private companies as a way to boost revenues, which have dwindled as daily mail volume has decreased. The Amazon deal is, by a significant margin, the biggest such agreement to date."

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Typographical Translation Award Founded, Open for Voting

Voting for the first Typographical Translation Award is now open to readers everywhere.

Created by Aaron Westerman at Typographical Era to make up for the lack of a translation award in the GoodReads Choice Awards, the 2013 Typographical Translation Award has a voting list of 20 titles published in translation in the U.S. for the first time in 2013. Westerman aimed for "quality works spanning a wide variety of publishers, languages, countries, and subject matter." Write-in candidates are possible and will be added to the list so that others can vote for them, too.

Voting is open until November 28. A final round of voting on the top eight titles will determine the winner, which will be crowned on December 19. One vote per IP address.

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku


Image of the Day: Proud of Alice Munro

Photo: Tobias Mutter

Canada House on Trafalgar Square in London has been celebrating the country's newest Nobel Literature Prize laureate with this display.

Cash Mob at DIESEL Malibu

photo: hereinmalibu/Flickr

"We just had a Cash Mob Sunday at our Malibu store, which was just wonderful," said DIESEL, A Bookstore co-owner John Evans. "Preserve Malibu, a local group of concerned residents trying to keep local and independent businesses in Malibu, organizes Cash Mobs periodically and selected our store. So, probably 100 people showed up and quadrupled our sales for the day. It's these heartfelt testimonials about how much they love that we are here, and how important it is, and how grateful they are--very touching."

LA Observed's Veronique de Turenne offered a photo chronicle of the event, noting: "First--yes, Malibu has an independent bookstore, a beautiful one, located in a cozy corner of the Country Mart.... On Sunday afternoon word spread among scores of shoppers and book lovers and for three hours, the place was mobbed."

Cool Idea of the Day: Last Night's Reading

image: Kate Gavino/

"I'm of the Strasberg school of writing. If I don't feel it, I can't write it," Hilton Als said during his author event last Thursday at Brooklyn's Greenlight Bookstore. How do we know this? Because Kate Gavino has been highlighting quotations from readings in New York City with drawings at her Last Night's Reading Tumblr.

Shara Zaval Joins Book Report Network

Shara Zaval has joined the Book Report Network as editorial manager of and She was formerly a publicist at Independent Publishers Group.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Donna Tartt on CBS This Morning

This morning on CBS This Morning: Malcolm Gladwell, author of David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants (Little, Brown, $29, 9780316204361).


Today on Fresh Air: Adam Minter, author of Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade (Bloomsbury, $26, 9781608197910).


Tomorrow morning on Imus: Mark Kelly, author of Mousetronaut Goes to Mars (Paula Wiseman Books/S&S, $16.99, 9781442484269).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Allie Brosh, author of Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened (Touchstone, $17.99, 9781451666175).


Tomorrow morning on the Bob Edwards Show: Sara Paretsky, author of Critical Mass (Putnam, $26.95, 9780399160561).


Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Donna Tartt, author of The Goldfinch (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316055437).


Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Alan Greenspan, author of The Map and the Territory: Risk, Human Nature, and the Future of Forecasting (Penguin Press, $36, 9781594204814).


Tomorrow on Cavuto: Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism (Simon & Schuster, $40, 9781416547860).


Tomorrow on MSNBC's the Cycle: J. Michael Lennon, author of Norman Mailer: A Double Life (Simon & Schuster, $40, 9781439150191).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Allan Gurganus, author of Local Souls (Liveright, $25.95, 9780871403797). As the show put it: "Allan Gurganus says the three novellas that comprise his new book were written as modern fables or fairy tales. Local Souls strips away the artificial social conventions of small-town Southern life, to reveal the passionate private life of a beautiful couple with a taboo secret. Gurganus speaks candidly about his interest in the eros and extremity of fairy tales and Greek tragedies, and why he believes the novella is the perfect form to 'trace a single obsession.'"


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Gregory Zuckerman, author of The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters (Portfolio, $29.95, 9781591846451). He will also be on BBC American World News.


Tomorrow on PRI's Marketplace: Dana Goodyear, author of Anything That Moves: Renegade Chefs, Fearless Eaters, and the Making of a New American Food Culture (Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594488375).


Tomorrow on Fox's America's News HQ: Shirley MacLaine, author of What If … : A Lifetime of Questions, Speculations, Reasonable Guesses, and a Few Things I Know for Sure (Gallery, $23, 9781476728605).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Alexis Ohanian, author of Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed (Business Plus, $27, 9781455520022).

Movies: Dark Places; Philomena

A first look is now available of Dark Places, the film adaptation of Gillian Flynn's bestselling novel starring Charlize Theron, Corey Stoll, Tye Sheridan, Chloe Grace Moretz, Nicholas Hoult, Sterling Jerins and Christina Hendricks. Indiewire reported that Gilles Paquet-Brenner (Sarah's Key) is directing the project, which "has yet to land a U.S. home, but given the material and cast, it likely won't be long now."


A new clip has been released from Stephen Frears's Philomena, based on the book Philomena: A Mother, Her Son, and a Fifty-Year Search by Martin Sixsmith, Indiewire reported. The film, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, will be released on November 27.

Books & Authors

Award: Biographers' Club Lifetime Services

Antonia Fraser has been awarded the Biographers' Club Lifetime Services to Biography Prize. The Bookseller reported that Fraser will be honored at the Biographers' Prize Dinner November 20, when the £5,000 ($8,000) H.W. Fisher Best First Biography prize and £2,000 ($3,200) Tony Lothian prize for proposals by first-time biographers will also be presented.

Book Brahmin: Ginee Seo

Ginee Seo is the children's publishing director at Chronicle Books, a position she's held for more than two years. We knew Seo when she was an editor at HarperTrophy (the paperback imprint of HarperCollins Children's Books), where she rose through the ranks to v-p, editorial director, before leaving to become v-p and editorial director at Simon & Schuster's Atheneum, where she founded her own imprint. Then she moved to San Francisco to join Chronicle. Chronicle Books Children's Publishing celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. What follows will give you a flavor of how well read Seo is.

On your nightstand now:

I just finished A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth, a magnificent, Trollopean read. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is my next adult trade treat--I don't get to read a lot of books for adults. The Zuni Café Cookbook by Judy Rodgers, which I've rediscovered after going to the restaurant recently. I love reading cookbooks, not necessarily to cook from, but for their point of view. Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations is my guilty pleasure reading, and it's every bit as fantastically wicked as I thought it would be. March by John Lewis, which a colleague got for me at Comic-Con. And my dear friend Caitlyn Dlouhy sent me a book she edited, The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kodahata, which I can't wait to start.

Favorite books when you were a child:

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, still a favorite, extraordinary and subversive in every way. I try to reread it every year for inspiration. Little Women--the March girl I loved most was the sainted Beth. I'd rather not think about what this says about me. The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban, a strange and brilliant book that puzzled me so much as a child I read it over and over trying to figure it out.

Your top five authors:

Henry James, Jane Austen, Raymond Carver, M.F.K. Fisher, E.B. White.

Book you've faked reading:

Ulysses. I read the Cliffs Notes for a final in college, an act that shames me to this day. Eventually I got around to reading the real thing.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Not a single book, but an idea: to banish the notion forever that children's and young adult books, because they are created for young people, are somehow a lesser form of literature. At least the children's book field is getting some grudging respect because it makes money, but the condescension many of us (by which I mean artists as well as publishing professionals) still have to deal with is astonishing, and unacceptable.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I'm more of a sucker for a good colophon. I've bought books from the Black Lizard imprint (both the original press and the Vintage Crime re-do) and it was the imprint name and colophon that made me pick up the book. And before I joined Chronicle, that glasses colophon would get me every time. I swear they didn't put me up to this.

Books that changed your life:

There were two: Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary. I didn't like reading until I found that book. The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston. It made me confront and own my identity as an Asian American woman.

Favorite line from a book:

"Goodnight, Nobody." From Goodnight Moon. Every time I come to that spread in the book I'm gobsmacked.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Ulysses. See above.

Book Review

YA Review: The Impossible Knife of Memory

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson (Viking, $18.99 hardcover, 384p., ages 12-up, 9780670012091, January 7, 2014)

In this psychologically suspenseful novel, Laurie Halse Anderson's (Speak) 17-year-old heroine bravely copes in a household where her father battles PTSD and addiction.

Homeschooled for the past five years, Hayley Kincain enters public high school as a senior. She and her father have moved from place to place, and her observations reflect her finely honed skills at reading her surroundings. "[H]igh school is where the zombification process becomes deadly," she thinks, after 24 days at Belmont. The novel opens in detention, where Hayley has been sent after attempting to correct her history teacher, Mr. Diaz. She winds up in the guidance counselor's office because Ms. Benedetti can't get hold of Hayley's father; there she also learns that her father quit (or lost) his most recent job. After his two tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan, Hayley watches the "superhero who made the world safe" slowly self-destruct.

Anderson reveals Hayley's father's fragile emotional state little by little. Italicized chapters, roughly a page in length, intermittently interject his memories around Hayley's first-person narrative. These add substance to the teen's insights into her father, and dimension to her experience of him. As Hayley becomes attracted to classmate Finn, also a relatively new student, also smart--and persistent despite Hayley's best efforts to ward him off--she comes to understand how much effort it takes, on both sides, to make a relationship work. In the process, she also gains compassion for Trish, her father's former girlfriend, who helped raise Hayley. Hayley and Finn gradually build a trust between them, and Finn's attitudes toward his sister, an addict, and his observations about how his family orbits around her addiction, allow Hayley to recognize similar patterns in her relationship with her father. She hears herself giving advice to Finn that she needs to take.

Anderson delicately balances the slow-building optimism that arises from Hayley and Finn's evolution through the course of the book with weightier themes of neglect and abandonment resulting from the addicts in their lives. Father and daughter alike have searing memories--his of the war, hers of Trish leaving, first emotionally, then physically, as well as of a father whose inconsistency leaves her frequently off-balance. The author creates a parallel between a parent and child both attempting to shut out the past in order to move forward, and characters authentic enough to pull off the build-up to her climactic denouement. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: The author of Speak crafts another psychologically gripping novel about a high school senior and her father, who battles PTSD and addiction.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Investigative Medium--The Awakening by Laine Crosby
2. Memoirs of a Gas Station by Sam Neumann
3. The Elf on the Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda B. Bell
4. So This Is Love (Callaways #2) by Barbara Freethy
5. Billionaire Bad Boys of Romance by Various
6. Jake Undone by Penelope Ward
7. Treasure Your Love by J.C. Reed
8. Sweet Surrending by Chelsea M. Cameron
9. Dark and Dangerous: Six-in-One Hot Paranormal Romances by Various
10. Sweet Home by Tillie Cole

[Many thanks to!]

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