Shelf Awareness for Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hampton Roads Publishing Company: Becoming Baba Yaga: Trickster, Feminist, and Witch of the Woods by Kris Spisak, Foreword by Gennarose Nethercott

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger

Severn House: A Messy Murder (Main) (The Decluttering Mysteries #4) by Simon Brett

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

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

Chronicle Books: Taste in Music: Eating on Tour with Indie Musicians by Luke Pyenson and Alex Beeker


Last Day of BEA to Feature BookCon, Consumer-Oriented Show

BookExpo America is expanding its consumer events with the launch of BookCon, which will take place at the Javits Center in New York City on Saturday, May 31, the last day of BEA, and aims to be "a one-of-a-kind interactive consumer experience where books and pop-culture collide."

BookCon will include panels, podcasts, author q&as, quiz shows, a show floor separate from BEA and more. Its headline event will feature a panel with Amy Poehler and Martin Short, both of whom have books coming out later this year. John Grisham and Stan Lee will also appear. Tickets are $30 for adults and don't include access to BEA; BEA badge holders have access to BookCon.

BookCon is being organized by ReedPOP, Reed Exhibitions' pop culture events division. ReedPOP global senior v-p Lance Fensterman, former show director of BEA, commented: "We're in the unique position, as the producers of BEA, to curate the best talent and publishers and deliver them to fans through a truly interactive experience. BookCon is the ultimate celebration of books giving book lovers access to their favorite authors and wherever they intersect with TV and film."

ReedPOP also puts on New York Comic Con and the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, among other shows, and recently announced the launch of Special Edition: NYC, a comic book-only event for fans.

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Again No Landmark Designation for Rizzoli Bookstore Building

Despite an appeal from the Manhattan Borough President, New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission still will not give landmark preservation status to the building housing Rizzoli Bookstore on W. 57th Street in Manhattan, DNAinfo reported. In January, it became public that the owners plan to tear down the building and two neighboring buildings and most likely will build an office tower. Space above the bookstore houses Rizzoli's publishing operations as well as the U.S. offices of Quercus Books and Osprey Publishing.

In a letter to the Commission, Borough President Gale Brewer wrote: "West 57th Street is renowned for its architectural richness and diversity, and the Rizzoli Bookstore adds to this flavor… The addition of another individual landmark would firmly establish for the future Piano Row's place in New York City history, while the loss of this fabric for another tower will degrade what is so wonderful about West 57th Street."

The bookstore's space was originally designed as a showroom for the Sohmer Piano Company. The nearby site of Steinway's showroom has landmark preservation status.

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

B&N Customers Get Justice Department Suit Pricing Refunds

Barnes & Noble's e-book customers joined the e-book settlement club yesterday, as e-mail refunds began to hit their inboxes. The message opened with: "We're happy to let you know that your eBook Settlement credit for $X.XX is now in your Barnes & Noble account and ready to use." Customers who purchased e-books between April 1, 2010, and May 21, 2012, are entitled to a credit of $3.17 for each New York Times bestseller and 73 cents for any other e-books.

Unlike Amazon, however, B&N did not name the five publishers involved in the e-book agency pricing case, opting instead for a redirect button to a page to "start using your credit and learn more about the settlement."

Keith Fox New CEO of Phaidon Press

Keith Fox is joining Phaidon Press as CEO. He was most recently president of McGraw Hill Financial's Construction Division and earlier was president of BusinessWeek and McGraw Hill Professional.

Phaidon is expanding its operations in the U.S. and strengthening its positions in Europe and Asia in its core categories of arts, photography, design, architecture and cookery.

Phaidon is owned by the family of Debra and Leon Black, chairman of private equity firm Apollo Global Management. "We are delighted that Keith has joined Phaidon," the Black family said. "He brings a unique combination of his personal appreciation of the arts coupled with a proven history of leading and advancing successful global brands."

New Leaf Founder Alim Thompson Turning Over New Leaf

Alim Thompson, who founded New Leaf Distributing Company in 1975, is leaving the New Age wholesaler. "The book business has changed, New Leaf has changed and will change more," he wrote in a long, thoughtful post on New Leaf's website. "I am no longer the man to guide this, and I have been given new 'orders from Headquarters' and am embarking on a new venture/adventure."

Thompson remembered the origins of the company. "I was discovering more and more spiritual/personal growth literature that I had no idea even existed and was hard to find. At this time, yoga was not yet a household word and 'holistic' had not even come into the lexicon. My burning desire was to help change that.

"So there I was full of zeal, but how and why did this translate into success? I am merely above-average in brains and talent, knew absolutely nothing about business, had only about $6,000 in startup capital and was told repeatedly that I was wasting my time and should get a 'real job.' Yet somehow I knew in the essence of my being that New Leaf was destined to succeed, and I worked relentlessly. I did not even know it at the time, but upon reflection, I realize that it was the power of this belief that fueled New Leaf to grow to $25M in annual gross sales, to become the largest distributor in our niche in the world. This belief never left me, and when I returned in 2002, it was again the fuel that drove the actions that saved the company from bankruptcy."

Thompson continued, writing that "for some years now, I have been feeling a sense of completion. Fields of study, disciplines, healing modalities and spiritual paths that were relatively unknown 39 years ago are now commonly accepted throughout our culture. Yoga studios are everywhere, aromatherapy products have been selling for years in department stores and millions have become meditators."

New Leaf, too, is in a good place, he wrote. "While lean, our staff is more experienced and competent than at any time in New Leaf history. Also in place are the key leaders to secure our future. All are seasoned veterans. The owner of the company, Santosh Krinsky, has been involved with our 'movement' from the beginning and will continue to provide guidance and expertise toward the growth of the company. He will also ensure that the company maintains its attunement to its traditional niche. Irv Myers, who has been with New Leaf for four years after a career in a much larger organizations, remains president and will continue emphasis on maintaining and even improving New Leaf's top-quality service. Steven Wallace has joined as vice president for business development and brings deep experience in sales and marketing and a passion for driving growth."

Obituary Note: Larry Teacher

Larry Teacher, co-founder of Running Press, died on Tuesday of a heart ailment, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. He was 72.

Teacher and his brother, Stuart "Buz" Teacher, who came from a family of booksellers, founded Running Press in 1972.

"He was a very passionate man, and he and his brother were passionate about Running Press," said Teacher's wife, photojournalist Sharon J. Wohlmuth. "Publishing was in his blood, and when he read, his books were studded with Post-it notes. He was always coming up with the most amazing ideas, and as a couple, we sat for hours talking about our ideas."

Perseus Books Group bought Running Press in 2002.


Image of the Day: Chris Columbus

Kids had a lot of questions for Chris Columbus when he spoke at Book Passage, Corte Madera, Calif., for the launch of his new middle grade book, House of Secrets: Battle of the Beasts (Balzer + Bray). Classes from three local schools came to hear the Hollywood director read from the sequel to the bestselling House of Secrets

Royal Canadian Mint Unveils Alice Munro Coin

The Royal Canadian Mint has unveiled a new collector coin celebrating Alice Munro's distinction as the first Canadian woman to win a Nobel Prize in Literature. The reverse image of this silver coin was designed by Canadian artist Laurie McGaw and features a female figure emerging from a pen as a representation of one of the many central characters from Munro's short stories. An image of a hand is seen resting against an open book, whose pages are inscribed with a passage from Munro's The View from Castle Rock. Above it, a laurel branch celebrates Munro's achievement.

In addition, the Royal Canadian Mint is donating $10,000 to the Writers' Trust of Canada. "In 1986, Alice Munro became the first recipient of an annual Writers' Trust award in recognition of a Canadian writer's exceptional body of work," said Mary Osborne, executive director of the organization. "Nearly three decades later, Ms. Munro's work is lauded throughout the world, and through this generous gift the fruits of her success become an investment in future generations of literary icons. The Writers' Trust is honored to receive this donation on behalf of the Canadian writers it will help to support and celebrate."

Cool Idea of the Day: Tattered Cover's Very Impressive Books

In one of the more impressive regular displays Shelf Awareness has heard of, Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver, Colo., has had a dedicated display of what it calls Very Impressive Books at each of its three locations since August of 2009. The displays feature the current VIB pick as well as past selections; new hardcover books are chosen as VIBs not-quite monthly.

"A few of us put our heads together and talk about what we're really excited for in the next couple of months," explained Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover's lead buyer. "They may or may not be under the radar books as far as publisher expectations go--they're books that have just caught us, that we love, that we want to give some extra support."

The current Very Impressive Book is Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler, and the Tattered Cover team has chosen The Painter by Peter Heller for May. Although most of the VIBs could be loosely grouped as literary fiction, nonfiction titles are also sometimes chosen. Amy Stewart's The Drunken Botanist was a recent selection, and in 2011 Fire Season by Philip Connors was a VIB.

"From the start it's been really, really positive," said Langer. "We have some pretty dedicated VIB purchasers and regular customers who always check out the table. There are even some people who live all around the country who check in online just to see what we're featuring. And having the older picks at the table keeps their sales brisk."

The reception has been so positive, in fact, that since the summer of 2013, Tattered Cover has also done a kids' Very Impressive Books display. Selections have run the gamut from picture books to YA novels.

"It's basically what the kids' buyers think is really cool," said Langer. "It's a fun way to showcase some books we love." --Alex Mutter

Personnel Changes at Macmillan, HarperCollins

Effective April 14, Devin Kirk is joining Macmillan as v-p, international sales and marketing. She has been senior director, international sales, for Penguin Random House, and is an 11-year veteran of international sales.

Judy Sisko, v-p, senior director, international sales, at Macmillan, is retiring in April after 46 years in publishing and 22 years of working at Macmillan.


Effective April 7, Eric Nystrom is joining HarperCollins Christian Publishing as v-p of Spanish international sales. He has, the company said, a background in international trade, consulting and sales and operations management.

IPG/Trafalgar Square Add 16 Publishers

Independent Publishers Group and Trafalgar Square Publishing have signed 16 new publishers for distribution.

IPG's new publishers are:

Alazar Press, Carrboro, N.C., an imprint of Royal Swan Enterprises, which publishes children's books. Distribution by IPG begins July 1.
The American Golfer publishes golf history. Begins April 1.
Childhood Cancer Guides, Bellingham, Wash., the publishing arm of a non-profit charitable organization, publishes care guides for parents and caregivers of children with cancer. Begins March 1.
Craigmore Creations, Portland, Ore., specializes in natural history and earth science titles for children, including picture books, middle grade titles and YA fiction. Begins April 1.
Little Beach Books, Falmouth, Maine, a new publisher that specializes in hardcover children's books about U.S. states. Begins July 1.
Mountain Lake Press, Mountain Lake Park, Md., is a general trade publisher of nonfiction, fiction and poetry. Begins July 1.
Quince & Co., Portland, Me., a knitting pattern designer and yarn company that publishes how-to knitting books. Begins April 1.
Tumblehome Learning, Weston, Mass., and Taipei, Taiwan, publishes mystery and adventure tales as well as fun experiments carefully designed to engage students and give kids the scientific and historical context they need to imagine themselves as young scientists or engineers. Begins June 1.

Trafalgar Square's new publishers are:

Front Row Books, a U.K. video company that releases shows from the BBC and other broadcasters and whose books on popular subjects include DVDs. Begins July 1.
Head of Zeus, London, founded in 2012 and publisher of general and literary fiction, genre fiction, and some nonfiction. Began January 1.
KAMA Publishing, founded in 2010, a children's book publisher. Begins July 1.
Maverick Arts Publishing, founded in 2008 as an animal calendar publisher that now also publishes children's picture books. Begins July 1.
Upstart Press, founded last year by Kevin Chapman, former managing director of Hachette New Zealand, and his wife Pat, former managing editor of Dunmore Press. The company publishes a variety of books, including commercial fiction, nonfiction and children's. Begins July 1.
b small publishing, a U.K. publisher of activity-centered and early French and Spanish bilingual books for young children. Begins July 1.
Cargo Publishing, Glasgow, Scotland, has three imprints: Cargo, the main fiction and nonfiction imprint; Cargo Crate, digital only; and Think Dark Books, its humor imprint. Begins July 1.

IPG Spanish Books' new publisher is:

Editorial Oceano de Mexico, Mexico City, which is one of the country's largest publishers and was founded more than 50 years ago. Distribution began March 15 and includes only the house's adult titles.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Adam Braun and The Promise of a Pencil

Tomorrow on the Today Show: Holly McGuire, editor-in-chief of Chase's Calendar of Events 2014 (McGraw-Hill, $80, 9780071829502).


Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Adam Braun, author of The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change (Scribner, $25, 9781476730622).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Miriam Pawel, author of The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography (Bloomsbury, $35, 9781608197101).

Dork Diaries to Get Some Screen Time

Summit Entertainment has acquired all rights to Rachel Renée  Russell's bestselling Dork Diaries book series. Published by Aladdin, a division of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, the Dork Diaries series has more than 13 million copies in print, with a seventh book due this summer and an eighth in the fall.  
Russell described the news as "a dream come true. My book series could not be in more capable hands. My fans and I are super excited to see Nikki Maxwell and her dorky world come to life."

Karen Rosenfelt (The Twilight Saga and Percy Jackson franchises, as well as Marley & Me) is currently in negotiations to produce via her Sunswept Entertainment banner.

The Weekend on Book TV: Tucson Festival of Books

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 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, March 29
12 p.m. Book TV offers highlights from the fifth annual Tucson Festival of Books, which took place March 14-15 at the University of Arizona. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

7:45 p.m. James Lacy, author of Taxifornia: Liberals' Laboratory to Bankrupt America (Post Hill Press, $26, 9781618689887). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

8:45 p.m. Michio Kaku, author of The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385530828), at Rainy Day Books in Kansas City, Mo. (Re-airs Monday at 6 a.m.)

10 p.m. Walid Phares, author of The Lost Spring: U.S. Policy in the Middle East and Catastrophes to Avoid (Palgrave Macmillan, $27, 9781137279033). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m.)

11 p.m. Alvin Townley, author of Defiant: The POWs Who Endured Vietnam's Most Infamous Prison, the Women Who Fought for Them, and the One Who Never Returned (Thomas Dunne, $27.99, 9781250006530).

Sunday, March 30
1 p.m Continuing coverage of the Tucson Festival of Books, including panels and author interviews. (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

6 p.m. Stephen Haber and Charles Calomiris, authors of Fragile by Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit (Princeton University Press, $35, 9780691155241).

7:30 p.m. Copyright lawyer Marie Breaux discusses author's rights at the 2014 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, which took place March 19-23 in New Orleans.

11 p.m. Koritha Mitchell, author of Living with Lynching: African American Lynching Plays, Performance, and Citizenship, 1890-1930 (University of Illinois Press, $28, 9780252078804).

Books & Authors

Awards: Orwell Prize Longlist; RITA Finalists

Longlists have been released for this year's Orwell Prize for political writing, which consists of two awards, one given to a book and the other to a journalist, the Bookseller reported. Winners, who each receive £3,000 (about US$4,980), will be announced May 21. Check out the complete Orwell Prize longlists here.


The Romance Writers of America has selected the finalists for the 2014 RITA Awards. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on July 26 during the 2014 RWA Annual Conference in San Antonio, Tex.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Monday and Tuesday, March 31 and April 1:

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis (Norton, $27.95, 9780393244663) brings the author of Moneyball and The Big Short back to Wall Street.

American Romantic by Ward Just (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780544196377) follows an American diplomat in 1960s Vietnam and beyond.

File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Seth (Little, Brown, $12, 9780316284035) continues the All the Wrong Questions children's mystery series.

I've Got You Under My Skin: A Novel by Mary Higgins Clark (Simon & Schuster, $26.99, 9781476749068) follows a TV producer haunted by her husband's murder.

Destroyer Angel: An Anna Pigeon Novel by Nevada Barr (Minotaur, $26.99, 9780312614584) is the nineteenth mystery with park ranger Anna Pigeon.

The Women of Duck Commander: Surprising Insights from the Women Behind the Beards About What Makes This Family Work by Kay Robertson, Korie Robertson, Missy Robertson and Jessica Robertson (Howard, $25.99, 9781476763309) ties-in with A&E's Duck Dynasty.

Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind by Biz Stone (Grand Central, $26, 9781455528714) gives creativity advice from the co-founder of Twitter.

Long Mile Home: Boston Under Attack, the City's Courageous Recovery, and the Epic Hunt for Justice by Scott Helman and Jenna Russell (Dutton, $27.95, 9780525954484) explores the Boston Marathon bombings and their aftermath.

The Hiltons: The True Story of an American Dynasty by J. Randy Taraborrelli (Grand Central, $30, 9781455516698) chronicles multiple generations of the Hilton hotel family.

Sweet Paul Eat and Make: Charming Recipes and Kitchen Crafts You Will Love by Paul Lowe (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780544133334) includes recipes from the Sweet Paul online magazine.

Now in paperback:

The Last Bride by Beverly Lewis (Bethany House Publishers, $15.99, 9780764211980).

Spider-Man: Attack of the Heroes: A Marvel Chapter Book by Rich Thomas (Marvel Publishing, $5.99, 9781423143017

Book Review

Review: Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting

Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting: Poems by Kevin Powers (Little, Brown, $23 hardcover, 9780316401081, April 1, 2014)

Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting is the debut poetry collection by Kevin Powers, author of the National Book Award finalist The Yellow Birds. Reviewers praised the novel for its raw depiction of the Iraq war and poetic observations about its meaning, qualities that are abundant in this collection.

Most of the poems directly address the experience and aftermath of war. All reflect the effort to make sense of it. Some seem to question the value of trying to say anything at all: "I tell her I love her like not killing/ or ten minutes of sleep," Powers writes, in the title poem about the jarring contradiction of composing a love letter in the midst of battle. "I tell her how Pvt Bartle says, offhand,/ that war is just/ making little pieces of metal/ pass through each other." The power of this poem derives from the way its last brutal image depersonalizes war, followed immediately by the realization that doing so requires the narrator to depersonalize everything, including love.

Other poems are more abstract in their speculation about the atrocity of war. "Photographing the Suddenly Dead" begins with a long reflection on the idea of impermanence and the meaning of objects, until it becomes clear that its real subject is the speaker's guilt, triggered by the memory of a photograph of a young man killed in battle. Powers often uses beautiful lyrical language and aphoristic observations to get at deeper truths, as though his real subject is too dark, too immense, to approach head-on.

Later poems, especially, begin to reflect the effort to live in a world where the writer's shattering experience is his alone, one not shared by those he loves. "If I'm honest, mine is the only history/ that really interests me, which is unfortunate,/ because I am not alone," observes the character near the end of the collection. It is a haunting observation, but what we are left is the accumulation of images depicting the monstrosities of a world gone wrong. A mother's hand covering her face in a familiar and remembered gesture becomes the anticipation of an expression of horror on hearing the worst news possible.

Much contemporary poetry celebrates a compressed intensity of line. These poems are looser, more accessible and more narrative in structure, using visceral images and vignettes to portray the worst that humanity can experience in a collection that will leave the reader changed. --Jeanette Zwart

Shelf Talker: Kevin Powers, an army veteran who served in Iraq, offers an accessible debut collection of poetry and prose-poems that deepens the themes explored in his award-winning novel, The Yellow Birds.

Deeper Understanding

Deeper Understanding: E.L. Konigsburg's Met

Some say that if Dublin were ever destroyed, it could be rebuilt based on James Joyce's Ulysses. E.L. Konigsburg's fans might say that New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art could be reconstructed from her blueprint, as described in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

Last month, the author's family, friends and colleagues filed through the medieval corridor of the Met en route to the Patrons Lounge to celebrate her life. We stood at the foot of the grand staircase. We paraded past the iron gates of the choir screen from the Cathedral of Valladolid. We inhabited her world. As we arrived in the Patrons Lounge, the pink glow of sunset cast the Upper West Side in silhouette. Paul Konigsburg, the first-born of the author's three children, said that in 1965, his mother deposited him weekly at the Met, along with his sister, Laurie (the model for Claudia Kincaid), and his brother, Ross (on whom Jamie is based) while she attended art class. Their mother's only rule was they had to stay together. Paul had three of his own: 1) visit the mummy; 2) visit the knight in armor; 3) "after those two, I didn't care what they did."

Justin Chanda, v-p and publisher of Atheneum Books for Young Readers, spoke of the hallowed halls of Simon & Schuster, lined with photos of prize-winning authors and acclaimed books. "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler was my book," he said. He quoted a line from it all too resonant for his audience: "The adventure is over. Everything gets over, and nothing is ever enough. Except the part you carry with you."

Ginee Seo told us about working with Konigsburg after her loss, in quick succession, of her beloved husband and her career-long editor, Jean Karl. Seo was aware of undergoing what she calls "the test," adding that people often didn't realize they were being tested until its conclusion. (Seo passed, clearly.) After Seo told the author all the things she admired about her new manuscript, Konigsburg said, "Tell me what you didn't like." Seo said the author was not falsely modest: "She was a rock star. She knew it. She enjoyed it. She was funny about it. She'd say, 'I can't wait to take off my pantyhose and fart.' " She'd go to Denny's at midnight, dressed to the nines. She performed what's affectionately called "The C--t Monologue" in Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues in 2002 at the Wilson Center for the Arts in Jacksonville, Fla. and told the Florida Times-Union, "I like to try new things."

The fountains from Claudia and Jamie's Met are gone now, Paul Konigsberg pointed out. So is the automat where the three Konigsberg children bought snacks during their mother's weekly art lessons. E.L. Konigsburg was born in New York City, and she outlived her 82-year-old heroine, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Her art lives on, for generations of readers and explorers. --Jennifer M. Brown

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Fated Mates: The Alpha Shifter Boxed Set by Various
2. Falling for a Stranger (Callaways #3) by Barbara Freethy
3. Deadly Dozen: 12 Mysteries/Thrillers by Various
4. The Fixed Trilogy by Laurelin Paige
5. Sinners at the Altar (Sinners on Tour) by Olivia Cunning
6. Lovely Trigger (Book Three: Tristan & Danika) by R.K. Lilley
7. Uncaged (Corps Security, Book 3.5) by Harper Sloan
8. Tied with Me (With Me in Seattle) by Kristen Proby
9. The Destroyed (A Jonathan Quinn Novel) by Brett Battles
10. Black Box by Cassia Leo

[Many thanks to!]

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