Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Margaret K. McElderry Books: A Door in the Dark by Scott Reintgen

Berkley Books: The Comeback Summer by Ali Brady

Dundurn Press: Chasing the Black Eagle by Bruce Geddes

Zonderkidz: The Smallest Spot of a Dot: The Little Ways We're Different, the Big Ways We're the Same by Linsey Davis, illustrated by Lucy Fleming

St. Martin's Press: Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

W by Wattpad Books: Hazel Fine Sings Along by Katie Wicks

St. Martin's Press: The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop


Posman Books: 'We'll Take Manhattan'

Posman Books, which has three locations in Manhattan, has signed on for a fourth store, in lower Manhattan in Brookfield Place, according to the Wall Street Journal. Brookfield Place is the new name for the World Financial Center, which is across West Street from the World Trade Center complex.

Posman Books at Rockefeller Center

Brookfield Place is undergoing a $250-million renovation and includes extensive office and retail space and, soon, "a dining terrace of upscale casual eateries and a European-style marketplace." The dining terrace is opening this spring, and the rest, including Posman Books, which will have 2,000 square feet of space, is scheduled to open next year.

"You're going to have locals from Battery Park City, the tourists and then the office population," Robert Fader, v-p of Posman Books told the Journal. "No question that the whole area is going to be hot from the river to Broadway."

Fader added that Posman plans to open five stores in five years. Its current stores are in Grand Central Terminal, Rockefeller Center and Chelsea Market. The booksellers' expansion plans are particularly striking considering the recent wave of negative news about bricks-and-mortar bookstores in Manhattan, culminating in last week's closing of Rizzoli Bookstore.

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Welcome to the World by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Japan's Wizarding World of Harry Potter Opens in July

Universal Studios Japan, which was originally unveiled two years ago, has set a July 15 opening date for its Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Osaka, reported. An announcement ceremony held Friday included Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, U.S Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and Harry Potter production designer Stuart Craig, who helped plan and build the attraction. The Japanese version of the Wizarding World "will include Hogwarts castle--the first of the new attractions to be unveiled today--Hogsmeade and multiple attractions," wrote.

William Morrow & Company: A Death in Denmark: The First Gabriel Præst Novel by Amulya Malladi

Librify's BookExpo Startup Challenge Unveiled

This year's BookExpo America will host the inaugural BookExpo Startup Challenge. On Thursday, May 29, select startups will compete by making pitches to leaders in venture capital, technology and publishing organizations. Judges will decide prizewinners and potential investment candidates on the spot. The $10,000 first prize is sponsored by ICG Ventures, an Ingram Content Group company; the $5,000 second prize is sponsored by Sourcebooks. All startups at the event are eligible for consideration, and a few of them will have the opportunity to make their case to the judges.

"Last year at BEA, we brought the tech community and the book publishing industry together for the first publishing hackathon and we saw the great kind of innovation that comes out of bringing these communities together," said Joanna Stone, CEO of Librify. "This year we are continuing that tradition by creating a place at BEA for the growing book publishing startup community to gain access to traditional publishers and top venture capital and investment professionals."

Judges will include David Roland, chief venture capital officer, ICG Ventures; Brian Cohen, chairman of N.Y. Angels; Jordan Bettman, Bain Capital Ventures; Dawn Barber, co-founder of N.Y. Tech Meetup; and Dominique Raccah, publisher of Sourcebooks.

Parallax Press: Radical Love: From Separation to Connection with the Earth, Each Other, and Ourselves by Satish Kumar

Reading Agency Survey: 63% of British Men 'Rarely Read'

British men "are giving up on reading books," according to a Reading Agency study that found "being too busy, not enjoying reading and preferring to spend their spare time on the Internet means men read fewer books, read more slowly and are less likely to finish them than women," the Bookseller reported. OnePoll, which surveyed 2,000 British men and women, discovered that 63% of men "don't read as much as they think they should. Many blamed a lack of time while a fifth said they find it difficult or don't enjoy it," the Bookseller wrote.

Among the key findings:

  • Nearly 75% of men said they would opt for the film or TV adaptation of a book, while the same percentage of women would read the book.
  • Women are more likely to have bought or borrowed a book this year, with more visiting bookshops, libraries, supermarket book aisles and online retailers than men.
  • 46% of men surveyed are reading fewer books now than they did in the past; a third prefer the Internet and 30% engage more with film and TV.
  • One in five men confessed they have pretended to have read a specific title in order to appear more intelligent.
  • Almost 30% of men admit that they haven't really picked up a book since they were obliged to at school.

"We know reading is really important, so we've got to get more people in general, particularly men, to pick up a book," said Sue Wilkinson, CEO of the Reading Agency, which commissioned the survey to mark World Book Night. "It seems that men recognize the value of reading books but admit that they don't do it as much as they might for several reasons. TV shows and films, and the internet, are competing for people's time these days, especially that of young men, and our focus is to remind them of the pleasure that can be derived from reading a book as well. This year's World Book Night list of 20 books was selected with these young men in mind.''

Obituary Notes: Nina Cassian; Doris Pilkington Garimara

Nina Cassian, "an exiled Romanian poet who sought refuge in the United States after her poems satirizing the regime of President Nicolae Ceausescu fell into the hands of his secret police," died last week, the New York Times reported. She was 89. Her English-language collections include Life Sentence: Selected Poems, Take My Word for It and Continuum.


Australian novelist Doris Pilkington Garimara, whose 1996 book, Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence, was adapted for the film Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002), died April 10, the New York Times reported. Pilkington Garimara's novel, which was based on the story of her own mother, drew worldwide attention to a 1930s initiative where "Australian authorities undertook a campaign to force the native Aborigines into white culture, with the hope that intermarriage would eventually eliminate their race," the Times wrote. 


TarcherLIVE Conference Debut Draws 75 Authors

On April 11 and 12, at the Penguin offices on Hudson Street, 75 aspiring writers, authors and publishing professionals attended the New York City Publishing & Creativity Conference, the first in a planned series of TarcherLIVE events hosted by Tarcher/Penguin. Many of the attending authors were published through True Directions Books, a Tarcher partnership with iUniverse (an imprint of Penguin Random House's Author Solutions).

Julia Cameron speaks to conference attendees.

Speakers included Julia Cameron, author of the The Artist's Way; Tama Kieves, author of Inspired & Unstoppable; Mari Mancusi, author of 18 novels, including the Blood Coven Vampires series; Diane Barry, author of Painting Your Way Out of a Corner; Laurie Lamson, co‐editor of Tarcher's Now Write! series; and Keith Ogorek, author and senior v-p of marketing at Author Solutions.

"Creativity has long been one of Tarcher/Penguin's core categories," said Tarcher publisher and v-p Joel Fotinos. "We've had tremendous success publishing books like The Artist's Way and Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Our goal with the New York City Publishing & Creativity Conference was to establish a closer connection with these readers and offer them inspiration from some of our bestselling authors and books as well as nuts-and‐bolts information about the publishing industry--the knowledge that we in the business take for granted but which is eye‐opening to aspiring writers."

More TarcherLIVE events are in the works, including another Publishing & Creativity Conference next year. Tarcher is planning three or four half- and full-day events, accommodating 100 or more attendees, per year. Venues will depend on the conference's theme--one on wellness, for example, might occur on the West Coast.

San Francisco and Techies: 'Plugged-in' Forum

Green Apple Books co-owner Kevin Hunsanger recently hosted an Elks Club forum about "immigrants" to San Francisco that boasted what the Chronicle called some "plugged-in panelists": Rev. Cecil Williams, author-editor Gary Kayima, rock critic-author Joel Selvin, author Julia Flynn Siler and Burning Man Festival co-founder John Law. The group discussed the city's growing income gap and rising rents, in part resulting from the influx of tech workers.

"San Francisco has always eaten its own," Hunsanger told the paper. "This city is built on the work of many different immigrants who've later been spit out. The tech community is our newest immigrant class."

He added: "I am worried this antitech vibe verges on a kind of bigotry. Yet I'm not sure the techies truly appreciate the funky, radical vibe which is San Francisco. But I do think that some of their creations could be considered an art form."

Personnel Changes at S&S's Children's Division

In the Simon & Schuster Children's Division, Nick Elliot has been promoted to marketing coordinator. In 2011, he was an intern for Michelle Fadlalla in education & library and Wendy Sheanin in corporate marketing, and after graduating in 2012, was hired as a marketing assistant in the Children's Division.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jo Becker on Fresh Air

Today on Fresh Air: Jo Becker, author of Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality (Penguin Press, $29.95, 9781594204449).


Tomorrow on the View: Elizabeth Warren, author of A Fighting Chance (Metropolitan Books, $28, 9781627790529).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: a special readers' review: poetry


Tomorrow on Katie: father and daughter Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze, authors of Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money (Lampo Press, $24.99, 9781937077631).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Robin Roberts, co-author of Everybody's Got Something (Grand Central, $27, 9781455578450).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: George Will, author of A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred (Crown Archetype, $25, 9780385349314).

Movies: Steve Jobs

"Moving fast to replace David Fincher" on its film about legendary Apple founder Steve Jobs, Sony Pictures is "in talks" with Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) to direct, with Scott Rudin producing a movie written by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network), based on Walter Isaacson's bestselling biography. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Boyle "is said to have approached Leonardo DiCaprio to star."

TV: True Blood Season 7 Teaser

HBO has released a new teaser for the seventh and final season of True Blood, the series based on Charlaine Harris's novels. "It looks like the residents of Bon Temps will have plenty to deal with in the final chapter, including an attack on a church and a lot of sick vampires," noted. Season 7 debuts June 22.

Books & Authors

Awards: Schwartz Children's Book Shortlists; Lammy Honorees

Finalists have been announced for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards, which "recognize excellence in writing and illustration in Canadian English-language books," Quillblog reported. The winners in each category, who receive $6,000, will be announced May 20. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Children's picture-book
The Boy Who Paints by K. Jane Watt, illustrated by Richard Cole
Loula Is Leaving for Africa by Anne Villeneuve
The Man with the Violin by Kathy Stinson, illustrated by Dušan Petričić
Once Upon a Northern Night by Jean E. Pendziwol, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
Read Me a Story, Stella by Marie-Louise Gay

YA and middle-reader
Little Red Lies by Julie Johnston
Ultra by David Carroll
The Unlikely Hero of Room 3B by Teresa Toten
Jane, the Fox and Me by Fanny Britt, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow


Author, graphic novelist and Dykes to Watch Out For comic strip artist Alison Bechdel will receive the Lambda Literary Foundation's Trustee Award for Excellence in Literature, and author, playwright and performance artist Kate Bornstein will receive the Pioneer Award at the 26th Annual Lambda Literary Awards, aka the Lammys. The two are being honored along with winners in 24 LGBT literary categories.

Hosted again by comedienne Kate Clinton, the Lammys will be held Monday, June 2, in New York City. For more information, go to

Book Review

Review: History of the Rain

History of the Rain by Niall Williams (Bloomsbury, $26 hardcover, 9781620406472, May 6, 2014)

The rain soaking the Irish landscape in Niall Williams's (Four Letters of Love) luminous novel History of the Rain is as dark and unremitting as Ireland's poetry and storytelling are its miracles.

Ruth Swain is ill, confined to her attic bedroom after collapsing from an unexplained illness while at college. But her world is as large as those contained in the almost 4,000 books her father, an unpublished poet, left her when he died. From here she receives visitors like the adoring Nick Cunningham and her old teacher Mrs. Quinty, who comes to read her latest installment of the history of the Swains, whose peculiarities are renewed each generation as they fail to live up to an Impossible Standard. From here Ruth reads, to understand her world and find her father. Here, in the face of her own possible mortality, she writes his story to keep him.

Ruth is ironic, self-aware and very funny. She is a young contemporary woman wrapped up in Ireland's history and literature. She's a nonbeliever in a deeply Catholic parish. Like Emily Dickinson, she has the habit of capitalization and admits her writing suffers from an Eccentric Superabundance of Style. It's also peppered with tributes to her literary heroes, chief among them Dickens and Yeats. Ruth's voice is wonderful, bursting with wry observations: Mrs. Quinty's face is pinched "as if Life was a narrow thing you had to get through." It also aches with love and loss. There's her father, her golden twin brother Aeney, her illness, and her inability to stop herself from pushing away the devoted Nick. The language is gorgeous and surprising. If there is writerly excess here, Williams has accomplished the neat trick of making it Ruth's excess while leaving the reader to marvel.

In the novel's only false notes, Ruth's mother doesn't quite come into clear focus. Likewise, her illness doesn't seem quite real; despite references to worrisome blood tests or the side effect of the drug interferon, her ailment never fully rises above metaphor. Overall, however, History of the Rain is charming, wise and beautiful. It is a love letter to Ireland in all its contradictions, to literature and poetry and family. It acknowledges that faith itself is a paradox, both impossible and necessary. And faith carries this novel--faith that stories can save us, that love endures, that acceptance is within reach, and finally, that it is possible to get to the other side of grief. --Jeanette Zwart

Shelf Talker: A two-time nominee for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, Niall Williams (Four Letters of Love) has written an incandescent novel about family, Ireland and the magical power of stories.

Deeper Understanding

Stand Up Comics: Worlds Near and Far

Stand Up Comics is a regular column by Adan Jimenez. These titles need no introduction: just read the column, then read some good comics!

Battling Boy by Paul Pope (First Second)
The city-planet of Arcopolis is beset by many villains and monsters, from the enormous, car-eating Humbaba to the child-stealing Sadisto and his Ghoul Gang. Luckily, Haggard West is always there to protect the population--until he's killed in action. Enter Battling Boy, the son of a Thor-like god, who has been sent to protect one of the many worlds in existence. Problem is, Battling Boy doesn't really know what he's doing and isn't all that powerful, but everyone in Arcopolis thinks he is, including the mayor, the chief of police and Haggard West's daughter, Aurora (who's thinking about following in her dad's footsteps).

Paul Pope is probably best known for his creator-owned work, particularly THB, Heavy Liquid and 100%, as well as his amazing take on the Batman in Batman: Year 100. He brings his trademark frenetic and incredibly detailed art style to Battling Boy. This is especially apparent in Arcopolis itself, the god-city from which Battling Boy hails, and Haggard West's home, which is filled with all manner of science hero doohickey.

The story, on the other hand, isn't as striking, since this graphic novel is clearly the beginning of something bigger, and not an entire story in and of itself. It offers a lot of introduction and world-building but no payoff. We'll have to wait for the next volumes to see what becomes of Battling Boy, Aurora West and Arcopolis.

Handselling Opportunities: People who like to read coming-of-age stories that involve beating up extremely large monsters, and people who don't mind waiting what could be a very long time for the continuation of a good story.

Thanos: Redemption by Jim Starlin, Keith Giffen, Ron Lim and Al Milgrom (Marvel)
If you're still wondering who that purple guy with the weird chin was from the mid-credits scene of the Avengers movie, then these two stories have your answer! This collection isn't the definitive Thanos story, but that's why it's so good. Thanos is portrayed as a somewhat repentant figure in the two stories, instead of his usual wants-to-kill-the-universe-to-appease-Mistress-Death self.

In the first story, written and drawn by Jim Starlin, Thanos is paired up with Adam Warlock to aid the Rigellians, an alien race Thanos wants to help because he once destroyed their home world (so he's got a bit to make up for). Readers get succinct and extremely well-done introductions to both Thanos and Warlock, so new readers won't feel lost. Starlin has long been synonymous with the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe, having written and drawn cosmic comics such as Silver Surfer, Warlock and Infinity Gauntlet. And he created Thanos--in the pages of Captain Marvel--so the character couldn't be in better hands.

I enjoyed the second story more, written and drawn by Keith Giffen, as it contains many other cosmic concept and characters that Thanos interacts with and plays off of, including Peter Quill the Star-Lord (one of the main characters from the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie). New readers, however, may not enjoy it as much because the extremely helpful introductions are missing. But if they're feeling lost, Marvel has provided encyclopedic entries on all the major characters at the back of the book (except Star-Lord).

Handselling Opportunities: People who enjoy wide-ranging space opera, and people who want to go into the Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers 3 movies with a little extra knowledge.

Encyclopedia of Early Earth: A Novel by Isabel Greenberg (Little, Brown)
My wife and I went to London on holiday in November 2011 and visited every bookstore we could, including Foyles Bookshop, where we saw many short comics on display as a part of some kind of contest. We read them all and enjoyed most of them, but the one that really stuck with us was Love in a Very Cold Climate. It was a four-page story about a man from the North Pole and a woman from the South Pole who fall in love at first sight but are never be able to touch each other (because of odd magnetic properties). I said to my wife, "If this ever becomes available for sale, we have to buy it." It was so beautiful, poignant, heartbreaking and life-affirming all at the same time, I knew it was something I would want to revisit as often as I could.

Flash forward two-and-a-half years, and I hear about a new graphic novel. I don't know what it's about, but the title intrigues me and the art looks vaguely familiar, though I've never heard of the author before. I cracked it open and what do I see but the first two pages of that short comic we saw in London! Isabel Greenberg won that contest (the 2011 Observer/Jonathan Cape/Comica graphic short story prize) and then turned the short comic into a full-fledged graphic novel.

Greenberg fills the rest of the volume with wonderful stories about how the northern man found the southern woman, as well as about the mysterious circumstances surrounding his birth and childhood, how he became the storyteller of his village, the creation of the world and various myths and legends of other lands he visits. Most of these stories are adapted from biblical stories, but some come from other sources, and still others are entirely made up. They are all wonderfully real and magical, otherworldly yet familiar.

Handselling Opportunities: Anybody who has ever told or heard (or both) a story before.

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