Shelf Awareness for Monday, March 10, 2014

Atheneum Books: Bulldozer's Christmas Dig by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann

St. Martin's Press: The Christie Affair by Nina De Gramont

Soho Crime: My Annihilation by Fuminori Nakamura, translated by Sam Bett

Candlewick Press: Hello, Little Fish!: A Mirror Book by Lucy Cousins

Merriam-Webster Kids: Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day: 366 Elevating Utterances to Stretch Your Cranium and Tickle Your Humerus by Merriam-Webster

Other Press: Lemon by Yeo-Sun Kwon, translated by Janet Hong

Ballantine Books: The Maid by Nita Prose


New Owner for The Wild Children's Bookstore

Peggy Clark is the new owner of The Wild bookstore, Noblesville, Ind., "so Hamilton County will not lose its only independent bookstore," Current in Noblesville reported.

"I'm more happy than anything," said former owner Debbie Marinaro, who purchased the business four years ago. "I look at it as a chapter closing and another opening for me. I don't know what that will be. I owned The Wild, so I can do anything. It's not something I thought I'd do. It was a big leap of faith. I'm proud of myself for doing that."

Clark noted that the location "will stay The Wild, stay a bookstore.... I love being around kids. I always wanted to start my own business. It really worked out perfectly because I was ready to make a change. I wanted to do something on my own." She added that she has "a million ideas" and would like "the store to have more hands-on opportunities, a book center where kids can hang out while parents shop and possibly add a hot chocolate maker or snack area."

Marinaro had announced last month that the bookstore would either be sold or would close March 27. "I didn't know what to expect," she said. "I was talking to five serious people and finally got to the point that I was talking to people I was comfortable in selling the store to. They had the same vision for it--it was all about the importance of the store in the community and love of children.

"I did it for the community. It's just a vital part of downtown. I'm so happy I didn't have to lock the door and leave. I'm so thankful someone did step forward and take the next leap of faith... it's going to be in good hands with Peggy. I'm happy to be able to shop in there with my granddaughters."

House of Anansi Press: Out of the Sun: On Race and Storytelling by Esi Edugyan

'Amtrak Residency' Applications Launch... with Reservations

On Saturday, Amtrak began accepting applications for "writers' residencies," an idea that germinated last fall from a remark made by Alexander Chee in a PEN America interview and grew quickly after Jessica Gross tweeted her support for the concept and was granted the initial "test-run."

Now Amtrak Residency is an official program, and over the weekend #AmtrakResidency lit up social media sites as writers seemed to be applying en masse, occasionally overwhelming Amtrak's site. The program "will allow for up to 24 writers to take long-distance trains to work on their projects. Each writer's round-trip journey will include accommodations on board a sleeper car equipped with a bed, a desk and outlets. We hope this experience will inspire creativity and most importantly fuel your sense of adventure!" Amtrak noted.

In contrast to the widespread enthusiasm about the Amtrak Residency, some writers expressed reservations regarding the fine print in the program's terms of service. For example, Jon Clinch tweeted: "Sure, #AmtrakResidency. I'd give all this for a shot at a free train ride." And: "Beware: #AmtrakResidency Term 6 grants rights to your writing, along with your name and likeness. #BuyATicket."  

In a Reddit AMA Saturday, Julia Quinn, director of social media for Amtrak, fielded a lengthy question specifically addressing the rights issues and responded: "We have forwarded your feedback on internally. To clarify, we would plan to contact and have a conversation with an applicant before potentially using their submission for promotional purposes."

Yesterday, Alexander Chee was actively involved in communicating with those who had questions about the rights issues. A sampling from his Tweets:

"I wrote to @Amtrak about the issues with clause 6 in the application and they responded that they are working to address our concerns."

"I began advocating for changing the clauses by email with them as of yesterday afternoon following the announcement."

"I have no authority over the set up. I'm simply advocating for changes to the clauses."

"It would disappoint me greatly if something that began with an interview about writers and freedom became anything less."

GLOW: Clarion Books: The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman

B&N Store in Royal Oak, Mich., to Close

The Barnes & Noble store in Royal Oak, Mich., which had been described as "safe for now" in November, will close April 5. Metro Times reported that the bookstore "has a sign out front confirming the date, along with announced sales on some items." Software company Vectorform will move its headquarters to the bookstore's location at Fifth and Main.

Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association: We're throwing a bookselling party and you're invited!

Authors Signing Up for Indies First Storytime Day

Since Indies First Storytime Day was announced last month, more than 50 authors have signed on to read children's books at independent bookstores across the U.S. May 17 during Children's Book Week. Kate DiCamillo, who spearheaded the initiative with a letter to fellow authors, has volunteered to read at Chapter2Books, Hudson, Wis., Bookselling This Week reported.

Store owner Sue Roegge said DiCamillo's appearance "will be greatly appreciated by the people of Hudson. She really is honoring the spirit of the day. We get great events, but not to the extent the larger Twin Cities stores do. We are hugely honored that Kate DiCamillo chose us."

Berkley Books: 30 Things I Love about Myself by Radhika Sanghani

Obituary Note: Ned O'Gorman

Award-winning poet Ned O'Gorman, "who gained his widest attention for starting a storefront school [Children's Storefront] in Harlem--a 'liberation camp,' he called it--to bring literature, Latin and love to disadvantaged children," died Friday, the New York Times reported. He was 84. In addition to a memoir, The Other Side of Loneliness, his books included six poetry collections. The Night of the Hammer won a Lamont Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets in 1958.

Artemesia Publishing, LLC: The Last Professional by Ed Davis, illustrated by Colin Elgie


Image of the Day: Pretty in Scarlet

Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa) celebrated the release of journalist Myra MacPherson's latest book, The Scarlet Sisters: Sex, Suffrage & Scandal in the Gilded Age (Twelve), by wearing a scarlet boa to her event at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. Books were provided by Politics & Prose.

Sterling: Dracula: Deluxe Edition by Bram Stoker, illustrated by Edward Gorey

The Café at Books & Books: Tasty Words

"Words can't describe this conscious and thoughtful cuisine. Oh, wait! Yes, they can!" Check Please! South Florida, WPBT-2's local food show, reviewed the culinary offerings at the Café at Books & Books, Miami Beach. Books & Books owner Mitchell Kaplan observed that "the comments about what people usually 'expect' to find in the offering of a bookstore café are interesting."

Monterey Peninsula's Indies: Where Books 'Live On'

California's Monterey Peninsula "is blessed with a cadre of booksellers who are trying to ensure that books, old and new, live on," the Houston Chronicle's travel section reported, adding: "Anyone who loves reading, history and feeling a sense of place will find that, in their own way, these repositories rival the region's ravishing scenery and outdoor thrills."

Among the booksellers showcased were Bookworks, Pacific Grove; Carmel's River House Books and Pilgrim's Way; and Monterey's Carpe Diem Fine Books, Old Capitol Books and BookBuyers.

Shopping Local for Books in Dallas

Noting that "not everyone has given up on books," the Dallas Observer's blog showcased "four local bookstores you should grab your wallets and head to now. Put down the Kindle Fire you're reading this post on and look around you. Stretch your arms to the glorious blue sky. Say hello to that stranger sitting next to you at Starbucks. And go buy some books. Right now." Featured booksellers in the post were The Wild Detectives ("just opened and we're already enamored"), the Book Gallery, Lucky Dog Books and Half Price Books.

Changes at Hachette Nashville, Penguin Random House Audio

At Hachette Nashville:

Laini Brown has been promoted to publicist.
Sarah Reck has been promoted to online marketing manager.


At Penguin Random House Audio:

Ok Hee Kolwitz has been promoted to the newly created position of assistant director, technology and post production.
Diane McKiernan has been promoted to executive producer.
Julie Wilson has been promoted to producer.
Sarah Jaffe has been promoted to producer.
Darlene Sterling has been promoted to the newly created position of pre-production associate.
Jen Rubins has been promoted to marketing manager, BOT & Listening Library.
Kelly Atkinson has been promoted to associate managing editor.
Mallory Matney has been promoted to production associate.  
Cindy Johnson has been promoted to associate production manager.

In addition, Patti Pirooz is stepping down as senior executive producer, Penguin Audio.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Andrew Solomon on the Today Show

This morning on the Today Show: Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity (Scribner, $21.50, 9780743236720).


This morning on Imus in the Morning: Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life (Times Books, $35, 9780805092806).


This morning on Fox & Friends: Jill, Jinger, Jessa and Jana Duggar, authors of Growing Up Duggar: It's All About Relationships (Howard, $21.99, 9781451679168). They are also on Good Morning America tomorrow.


This morning on CBS This Morning: Annabelle Gurwitch, author of I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50 (Blue Rider, $25.95, 9780399166181).


Today on Fresh Air: Walter Kirn, author of Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade (Liveright, $25.95, 9780871404510).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Jim DeMint, author of Falling in Love with America Again (Center Street, $25, 9781455549801).


Tonight on the Daily Show: Paul Taylor, author of The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown (PublicAffairs, $26.99, 9781610393508).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Susan Patton, author of Marry Smart: Advice for Finding THE ONE (Gallery, $24.99, 9781476759708). She will also appear on the Laura Ingraham Show.


Tomorrow on Live with Kelly & Michael: Robert J. Wagner, author of You Must Remember This: Life and Style in Hollywood's Golden Age (Viking, $27.95, 9780670026098).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Dinaw Mengestu, author of All Our Names (Knopf, $25.95, 9780385349987).


Tomorrow on CBS's Entertainment Tonight: Michael Gross, author of House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World's Most Powerful Address (Atria, $28, 9781451666199).

TV: New Game of Thrones Trailer

"Oh hi Titan of Braavos! Didn't expect to see you so soon!" noted in featuring the newly released third trailer for Game of Thrones, season 4.

Vulture observed that the latest GOT trailer "focuses on the various aspirations of all our major players. Those goals seem to be, in no particular order, revenge, vengeance, retribution, relation, redress, reprisal and controlling dragons."

Movies: Half of a Yellow Sun; Divergent

A new trailer is out for Half of a Yellow Sun, based on the novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton and John Boyega, Indiewire reported. Biyi Bandele adapted the screenplay and directed the film that opens in the U.K. April 11., though no U.S. date has been set at this point.


As the March 21 release date for Divergent approaches, a new clip, featurette and some TV spots have been released. Indiewire reported that the adaptation of Veronica Roth's novel "is looking like it's going to be one of the few post-Twilight and Hunger Game YA flicks that's not going to be a flop." The movie stars Shailene Woodley, Kate Winslet and Theo James.

Books & Authors

Awards: Pinckley Winners; Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction

Laura Lippman and Gwen Florio have won the inaugural $2,500 Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction, which honor the memory of Diana Pinckley, longtime crime fiction columnist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, a founding member of the Women's National Book Association of New Orleans and a civic activist.

Lippman is the winner of the first Pinckley Prize for a Distinguished Body of Work, while Florio is the winner of the Pinckley Prize for a Debut Novel, for her first book, Montana, published by Permanent Press.

The judging committee said Lippman is "one of those writers whose dedication to her home town of Baltimore has captivated American readers. She has created an enduring sleuth in Tess Monaghan, a complex character dealing with the issues that every contemporary woman confronts. And more than that, in her stand-alone works, Lippman has transcended the limits and challenges of genre to become a distinguished writer of social realism. All that, and she has a wicked sense of humor!"

Concerning Florio, the committee said, "Out of a field of excellent debut crime novels, we picked Montana because we completely fell in love with the main character. It's often difficult to pinpoint why someone is lovable. Suffice to say that Gwen Florio's protagonist Lola fully lives on the page, and what is even more compelling about this brave, irascible character is that she continues to live after the book is closed. She's fearless, flawed, intelligent, reckless, and funny, but most of all, she is defined by loyalty to her friend and a relentless pursuit of her killer."

Sponsored by the Women's National Book Association of New Orleans, the prizes will be presented March 22 at the 28th annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival.


A 20-book longlist has been announced for this year's £30,000 (about US$50,200) Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. The shortlist will be released April 7, with a winner named June 4. You can find the complete longlist here.

Book Review

Review: The Gods of Olympus

The Gods of Olympus: A History by Barbara Graziosi (Metropolitan/Holt, $28 hardcover, 9780805091571, March 11, 2014)

From Homer and Hesiod, we know that Zeus has a large sexual appetite, that Athena is noble and warlike, that Aphrodite is the goddess of love and sexuality, that Hermes is a messenger with a sense of humor. But how did these myths and the personalities they depict survive to the present? Barbara Graziosi is a professor who's written several academic works on the classics. In The Gods of Olympus, she directs her expertise to a more general audience for the first time, following the 12 gods and goddesses of the classical Greek pantheon from their first appearances in antiquity through our continuing modern awareness of them. Readers benefit immensely from her proficiency, which comes with a sense of humor: Graziosi occasionally appears in her own narrative, with an endearingly wry, self-deprecating tone.

The history of the immortal Olympians begins in Greece, where Graziosi explores their role in myth, ritual and cultural events. The Athens of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle reconsidered the value of the gods, in literature and in life, and when Alexander the Great expanded his empire toward the ends of the earth, he advertised his ability to travel even further than Dionysus. By gauging his own accomplishments against those of the gods, he sought to make himself like a god even as he reconfirmed the supreme importance of the deities.

Under Alexander's rule, much of the "known world" was Hellenized, taking on Greek--and therefore Olympian--customs and culture. During the Roman Empire, the gods' strong personalities were merged with the traditional Roman gods' rule over matters of state, surviving in slightly different forms that best served those in power. As Graziosi demonstrates, this is the model through which they have come to us over millennia: the rise of Islam and Christianity likewise preserved the Olympians, though it transformed the gods into demons, allegories and cautionary figures. Their original worshippers are long gone, but the Olympic gods survive, flexible and changeable but continuing to inspire art and literature.

Graziosi's knowledge is obvious, and easy to trust, accompanied by thorough notes and a helpful appendix to the original 12 gods and their corresponding Roman identities. Her writing is accessible and entertaining, her passion for her subject obvious; The Gods of Olympus will equally thrill longtime lovers of the classics, and appeal to readers seeking a friendly, engaging introduction. --Julia Jenkins

Shelf Talker: For novices and enthusiasts alike, a comprehensive and absorbing study of the gods of Olympus and how their cultural roles have changed over the centuries.

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