Shelf Awareness for Thursday, May 1, 2014

Basic Books: What We Owe the Future by William Macaskill

Citadel Press: Tiny Buddha's Inner Strength Journal: Creative Prompts and Challenges to Help You Get Through Anything by Lori Deschene

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Baby-Changing Station by Rhett Miller, illustrated by Dan Santat

Candlewick Press (MA): The Patron Thief of Bread by Lindsay Eagar

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr): Don't Look Back: A Memoir of War, Survival, and My Journey from Sudan to America by Achut Deng and Keely Hutton

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: A Wilderness of Stars by Shea Ernshaw

Mandala Publishing: The Journey: Big Panda and Tiny Dragon by James Norbury

Simon & Schuster: Defend Banned Books


Dothan, Ala.: Another BAM to Become a 2nd & Charles

The Books-A-Million in Dothan, Ala., is closing and will be converted into one of BAM's 2nd & Charles stores, the Dothan Eagle reported.

Christine Corbitt, marketing and event coordinator for BAM, told the paper: "We've seen a tremendous growth in 2nd & Charles, and we're moving forward to open more of these new stores."

2nd & Charles stores "buy and sell books, movies, music, video games, game systems & accessories, comics and more." BAM introduced the store in 2010 and now has almost 20.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Before I Do by Sophie Cousens

Powell's Chicago to Close Lincoln Ave. Store

Powell's Bookstores, Chicago, which specializes in used, rare and discounted books, will close its location at 2850 N. Lincoln Ave. by the end of June, DNAInfo reported. The stores in Hyde Park and University Village will remain open. Owners Brad Jonas and Michael Powell put the building on the market about four years ago. (Powell's Books in Portland, Ore., is a separate business.)

"It's a great building," Jonas said. "It's a great neighborhood. But the retail opportunities for that space... it's not what we were all hoping for."

The store opened on Lincoln in the 1980s, and within six months a Barnes & Noble and a Borders both opened nearby, "taking some of the wind out of our sails," Jonas said. After both chain stores eventually closed, the number of people walking into Powell's never bounced back, Jonas said, adding: "It's just a tough time for books right now. Like everybody else, we're trying to figure out what the future will bring."

Disney-Hyperion: Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad

Wicked Good Books Coming to Salem, Mass.

Earlier this spring, brothers Frank and Ted Monroe, owners of Derby Square Book Store in Salem, Mass., decided to move on after 39 years. Rather than see their town lose an independent bookstore, Denise Kent and her husband, Mike Gibson, have stepped in and will open a new store, Wicked Good Books, in the same location.

"This has always been for me a sort of dream," Kent said. "My husband and I, on our first date, we walked all around Salem and ended up in a bookstore. That bookstore eventually closed. It was so sad to see it go. I remember thinking at the time: if only we could buy it."

The timing wasn't right, and that store disappeared. So when Kent heard this year that Derby Square Book Store would close, "This time I just pounced," she said.

Although neither she nor her husband have experience bookselling, they have been life-long book lovers. Kent works as a lawyer, with her own practice and office that is within walking distance of the bookstore. Her husband is an IT manager. Since they both have careers of their own, their daughter-in-law, who has retail experience, will run the bookstore day-to-day.

At the moment, Kent and Gibson are in the midst of clearing out and renovating the space. The building, which is some 200 years old, lacks central heating, air conditioning and other "major systems." Merely going through the inventory is daunting: Derby Square Book Store was famous for cramming an incredible amount of books into just under 900 square feet of space.

"The books were piled high," Kent recounted. "The walls were hidden by stacks and stacks of books." While clearing out books two weeks ago, in fact, she and her husband found a fireplace that they didn't know existed. "If you pulled a book out the wrong way, the piles could collapse," she added. "It was a draw for some people. For others it was very claustrophobic."

Kent plans to open the space and the make the most of the shop's many windows and wooden fixtures. While Derby Square Book Store was solely a used bookstore, Kent is stocking Wicked Good Books with both new and used titles.

"People loved the used books, and I think they're a great value," she explained. "But people should also have the option to walk in and pick up whatever's on the bestseller list or whatever we think is a good fit for our interesting, eclectic community."

That community is made up of many artists, a lot of witches and Wiccans and a sizable LGBT community. To cater to those groups as well as the many visitors who pass through each year, Kent will stock books on mythology, the occult and supernatural, books by local authors both living and dead, books pertaining to local art and culture, and, of course, books on the Salem witch trials. And as a life-long reader, Kent plans to carry many of her own favorites, including the works of William Shakespeare.

Kent and her husband are hoping to open Wicked Good Books in mid-June, but it's still too early to set a date. Likewise, the married couple is unsure of just what they'll do for an opening celebration, but they want to feature readings and signings. They also intend to partner with local businesses.

"Salem has a very strong downtown business community," Kent said. "There are really great business folks and artisans around here. And we believe what a lot of business owners say--that a rising tide lifts all ships." --Alex Mutter

photos: John Andrews of Social Palates

G.P. Putnam's Sons: All I Want for Christmas by Maggie Knox

Obituary: Barb Burg Remembered

Barb Burg, longtime publicity executive at Bantam who most recently ran her own PR firm and was v-p and global head of communications, Reuters, at Thomson Reuters, died on Tuesday. She was 50 and had battled cancer for several years. Her funeral takes place this morning at 10 a.m., at Temple Beth Abraham, 25 Leroy Ave., Tarrytown, N.Y. (The service will be livestreamed through the Temple's website; click on the box on the left sidebar.) Here author Meredith Maran remembers Barb:


"Order the oysters," Barb Burg ordered me, the first time we had lunch together.

We were at the Union Square Café in New York City, September 1994. Bantam had just won the auction for my first book, What It's Like to Live Now.

Remember auctions? Remember when an unknown '60s-activist-turned-Oakland-bisexual-momoirist would be flown to New York for a flurry of auditions with editors, salespeople, editors, publicists and the Publisher, whose conference room cameo confirmed that the House was very, very excited about making the author not only a bestseller and the screenwriter of the box-office-smash-movie based on the book but also the voice of her generation?

"I don't get it," I told Barb, slurping down a raw Kunamoto. "I'd have to sell 75,000 copies to earn out my advance. Why is Bantam throwing so much money at me?"

Over the iced tray of traif, Barb fixed her icy blues on me. "Do you have 10 books in you?" she asked.

I knew oysters made me horny. I didn't know they made me dizzy. Or was it this magical moment, the delightful, disorienting sense that I was already playing myself in the movie?

"Ten books?" I stammered. "Sure."

"Of course you do." Barb nodded briskly, her corkscrew curls bobbing. "We're not just here for your first book. We're here for your 10th. We're not just publishing you to sell books. We're publishing you to contribute to the culture."

The hell of it was, Barb meant it. She believed that Bantam would be my publisher for life; that they'd stick with me in the venerable tradition of Shawn and Salinger, that together we'd plant our flag in the fecund soil of the American literary canon. Because publishing was still like that then.

Fast-forward to 1999. Book One--launched, rocket-style, from Barb Burg's cannon--had made a respectable showing. Book two had bombed. After multiple submissions of multiple proposals, my agent told me: Barb or no Barb, Bantam would never publish me again.

Fast-forward to 2009. While I've been ringing round the nine circles of publishing hell--shrinking promotional budgets lead to shrinking sales lead to shrinking advances lead to shrinking promo budgets (rinse/repeat)--Barb has been promoted, promoted, promoted, and, incredibly, fired.

The minute I heard the news I sent her a check for $5,000. She called, crying, to ask me what it was for. I told her that she'd just started her own publicity firm and I was her first client. Laughing, she accepted the job.

A few months before my book came out, Barb called to tell me that she had Stage Four cancer. She offered to refund my deposit and refer me to another publicist. I stuck with her, of course. She promised not to let me down. And she didn't, of course. She got me more national media than I'd ever had, and for a very difficult book.

"Please do not spend a nanosecond worrying about My Lie," Barb wrote me that summer. "I am as guardedly optimistic as ever (or maybe even a bit more since I've now had actual conversations with people who don't know you or anything about the book and are intrigued and hopefully reading it as we speak)....

"As for me, I've had a tough couple of weeks. As promised, weeks 5 and 6 of chemo and radiation are the worst.... Happily, there's Percocet for pain and the mornings are still good for working and living my best life.... Just four more treatments to go and then I'm free to recover for 6 weeks and catch my breath.

"Sending huge hugs and lots of love,

"barb xoxoxox"

I tried and failed to wrap my mind around Barb's new reality. Happily, there's Percocet?

Fast-forward to April 29, 2014. I'm poolside on an unseasonably sizzling day in Los Angeles, working on my next book. An e-mail pings into my inbox. The subject line sinks my heart. "Barb Burg Schieffelin, Wife of Steve Schieffelin, mother of Ceece and Drew."

"Oh, no. Barb Burg," I post on my Facebook page. Instantly my page becomes a shrine to Barb, a hastily raised roadside cross where someone much-loved has died. "She was one of those women who really supports other women," wrote Bridget Kinsella. "In her memory I hope I can remember to BLB (Be Like Barb) more than I do on my own."

"I'm so sorry for your loss and everyone else who knew Barb--such a force of good for books," wrote Katie Freeman, associate director of publicity at Riverhead Books.

"Barb was the perfect publicist for her era," I wrote at the end of a long stream of comments. "That era is gone. And now, so is Barb. Rest in Power, BB."


Image of the Day: Puddle Pug and a Pug

A standing-room-only crowd--including a gaggle of the four-legged variety--greeted picture book illustrator Keika Yamaguchi at the debut of Puddle Pug (Sterling) at Once Upon a Time in Montrose, Calif., last weekend. Yamaguchi shared her book's early drawings as well as her inspirations and research methods--including playing with mud and pugs. Here (l.-r.):  Yamaguchi, fellow illustrator Eliza Wheeler (Grudge Keeper, Peachtree) and Maple Yam--plus a friendly pug also named Eliza. (photo: Maureen Palacios)

Happy 45th Birthday, Pegasus Books!

Congratulations to Pegasus Books, which will celebrate 45 years of independent bookselling in the Bay Area with Pegapalooza, a week of events, activities and exclusive sales that begins this Saturday, May 3, California Bookstore Day, and runs through Saturday, May 10.

Pegasus will host events at all three of its stores--two are in Berkeley and one in Oakland. Among the events, a standout takes place on May 3, when the downtown Berkeley Pegasus will host a conversation between author and McSweeney's founder Dave Eggers and author and Heyday Books founder Malcolm Margolin. Pegasus president Amy Thomas will moderate.

Other events include other author events, story times, a Seuss-a-Palooza, a literary trivia evening and more. For a full list, go to

New Location for 'Girlfriend Weekend' 2015

The 15th annual Girlfriend Weekend, the Pulpwood Queen Book Club's convention, will be held next year in Nacogdoches, Tex. The convention, featuring the theme "Around the World with Books," is scheduled for January 15-18, 2015. Kathy Murphy, founder of the Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys book clubs, will co-host the event with Jamie Ford, author of Songs of Willow Frost and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

"For the past 14 years, I have held our annual convention predominantly in Jefferson (once in Marshall, Tex.)," said Murphy. "Since I have moved my Beauty and the Book to Hawkins, it was time for a change.... The city of Nacogdoches and my Pulpwood Queens will be partnering to make this the biggest Pulpwood Queen Girlfriend Weekend ever."

Academy of American Poets Launches New Website

On the final day of National Poetry Month 2014, the Academy of American Poets marked its 80th anniversary by rebranding and launching a redesigned website at that features changes like a restored classic American font Electra for use on the Web and enhanced mobile viewing, navigability and sharing experience.
In addition to the Academy's collection of poems, biographies of poets and reference texts, the revised website offers an array of new content, including geographically relevant information (such as local poetry events), essays on poetic terms and techniques, interviews with renowned poets and free lesson plans tailored for k-12 teachers (offered in partnership with 826 National).

Media and Movies

Tess Gerritsen Sues Warner Bros. over Gravity

Author Tess Gerritsen has filed suit against Warner Bros., "claiming that the movie Gravity is actually based on her novel of the same name, and that she should receive screen credit and a percentage of the profits," Variety reported. Filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Tuesday, the lawsuit claims breach of contract and seeks damages of at least $10 million, which would include a percentage of net proceeds.


The 1999 novel Gravity "features a female medical doctor/astronaut who is stranded alone on a space station after the rest of the crew is killed in a series of disasters," Variety wrote. Gerritsen contends the terms of her sale of the book rights to Katja Motion Picture Corp., a shell company for New Line, called for her to receive a production bonus of $500,000, 2.5% of the "defined net proceeds" from the movie and screen credit. She was paid $1 million when Katja purchased motion picture rights in March, 1999.

Gerritsen's suit claims director Alfonso Cuaron was attached to the screen adaption, though she wasn't informed about this. After 2002, Cuaron and his son, Jonas, wrote the screenplay called Gravity. She contends that Warner Bros. owned the feature rights to her book after it took control of New Line in 2008.

Media Heat: Ziggy Marley on Real Time with Bill Maher

Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Jennifer Esposito, author of Jennifer's Way: My Journey with Celiac Disease--What Doctors Don't Tell You and How You Can Learn to Live Again (Da Capo, $25.99, 9780738217109).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Ben Ford, co-author of Taming the Feast: Ben Ford's Field Guide to Adventurous Cooking (Atria, $34.99, 9781476706399).


Tomorrow on the Talk: Marie Osmond, author of The Key Is Love: My Mother's Wisdom, A Daughter's Gratitude (NAL, $16, 9780451240323).


Tomorrow night on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Ziggy Marley, author of I Love You Too (Akashic Books, $15.95, 9781617753107).

This Weekend on Book TV: In Depth with Luis J. Rodriguez

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend 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, May 3
12 p.m. Book TV interviews authors and visits literary sites in Ogden, Utah. (Re-airs Sunday at 9:45 a.m.)

1:30 p.m. Coverage from the 20th annual Virginia Festival of the Book, which took place March 19-23 in Charlottesville. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

7 p.m. Harvey Kaye, author of The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781451691436).

7:45 p.m. Ian Morris, author of War! What Is It Good For?: Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30, 9780374286002).

8:45 p.m. Clay Risen, author of The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act (Bloomsbury, $28, 9781608198245), at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, N.Y. (Re-airs Monday at 6:45 a.m.)

10 p.m. Burton Folsom, co-author of Uncle Sam Can't Count: A History of Failed Government Investments, from Beaver Pelts to Green Energy (Broadside, $26.99, 9780062292698). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Sigrid Fry-Revere, author of The Kidney Sellers: A Journey of Discovery in Iran (Carolina Academic Press, $35, 9781611635126).

Sunday, May 4
12 p.m. Live In Depth q&a with author and poet Luis J. Rodriguez. E-mail questions from this page. (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

7:45 p.m. Lauren Coodley, author of Upton Sinclair: California Socialist, Celebrity Intellectual (Bison Books, $28.95, 9780803243828).

10 p.m. Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth About Everything (Grand Central, $26, 9781455501762).

11 p.m. Phil Klay, author of Redeployment (Penguin Press, $26.95, 9781594204999).

Books & Authors

Awards: International Arabic Fiction; The Believer

Ahmed Saadawi won the $50,000 International Prize for Arabic Fiction for Frankenstein in Baghdad. In addition to the cash prize, he is guaranteed an English translation of his novel.

Speaking for the judging panel, Saad A. Albazei said, "We chose Frankenstein in Baghdad for several reasons. Firstly for the originality of its narrative structure, as represented in the 'what's-its-name' character, who embodies the violence currently experienced in Iraq, other Arab countries and the wider world. The story is expertly told on several levels and from multiple viewpoints."


Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee (Algonquin) won The Believer Book Award, which aims to "draw attention to the strongest and most underappreciated work of the year." Karen Green's Bough Down (Siglio) took The Believer Poetry Award, which "seeks to support poetry books that the magazine's editors find to be the finest and most deserving of greater recognition."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing Tuesday, May 6:

The Closer by Mariano Rivera and Wayne Coffey (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316400732) chronicles the life and career of the Yankee pitcher.

Any Given Number: Who Wore It Best, from 00 to 99 by Editors of Sports Illustrated (Sports Illustrated, $19.95, 9781618931108) explores athletes who wore the same jersey numbers across all sports.

Guy on Fire: 130 Recipes for Adventures in Outdoor Cooking by Guy Fieri (Morrow, $29.99, 9780062244710) is the celebrity chef's outdoor cooking guide.

Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed: A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings by Michelle Knight and Michelle Burford (Weinstein Books, $24.99, 9781602862562) by one of the girls kidnapped and held for years by Ariel Castro.

Stand Up Straight and Sing! by Jessye Norman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544003408) is the memoir of the opera singer.

Death at the Door by Carolyn Hart (Berkley, $25.95, 9780425266175) continues the Death on Demand Bookstore series.

The Painter: A Novel by Peter Heller (Knopf, $24.95, 9780385352093) follows a painter trying to escape his violent past.

Walking on Water: A Novel by Richard Paul Evans (Simon & Schuster, $19.99, 9781451628319) is the fifth book in the Walk series.

The Keeper: A Novel by John Lescroart (Atria, $26.99, 9781476709185) continues the Dismas Hardy mystery series.

Wonderland by Stacey D'Erasmo (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22, 9780544074811) follows a struggling female rock star.

Now in paperback:

Conform: Exposing the Truth About Common Core and Public Education by Glenn Beck and Kyle Olson (Threshold Editions, $14.99, 9781476773889).

Giving In by Maya Banks (Berkley, $16, 9780425272961).

Book Review

Review: Another Great Day at Sea

Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the USS George H.W. Bush by Geoff Dyer (Pantheon, $24.95 hardcover, 9780307911582, May 20, 2014)

Geoff Dyer is one of those writers who can't stop--he'll write about anything that catches his fancy and do it really well. He's edited books, written several novels (Jeff in Venice; Death in Varanasi), many essays and nonfiction works on such diverse topics as yoga, jazz, World War I, John Berger and D. H. Lawrence. He's even written a book on Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky's enigmatic film Stalker. So where has he landed now? On an aircraft carrier--the USS George H.W. Bush, to be precise.

It's Another Great Day at Sea for Dyer, spending a couple of intense weeks on a massive metal "floating island." Can he pull off another fascinating tale? Yes. This is a riveting (excuse the pun) excursion into bigness and "endless walkways, hatches, and doorways," and it's totally engrossing. The title comes from something the captain always says during his daily address to the crew: it's "a great day," or a variation thereof. Except perhaps for the noise, like a train constantly rumbling overhead.

Dyer is granted amazing access; he even has his own room (so rare!). He describes the flight deck as a "world apart from the rest of the carrier." Take away this, and the planes, and all you've got is a very big boat. He tells us about two brothers serving on board in different sections who didn't set eyes on each other for six months. That's big--"big as small towns." Population: 5,000. And the smell--"like a garage with fifty thousand cars in it."

You pretty much have your stomach in your mouth when he writes about the arresting wires ("thick as rope but thin and wiry") and how they grab F-18 planes (66 of them) as they come roaring in. Landing on a carrier is "like trying to land on a postage stamp." Dyer visits the hanger deck--"absolutely enormous." He visits the kitchen, with its "boiling vats as deep as kettle drums." As a vegetarian, he struggles with the food, while in awe of the logistics of feeding 5,000. He visits the brig; no one there, except two sailors cleaning. Cleaning, always cleaning--it goes on day after day, everywhere, especially in ordnance. The bombs, missiles and fuel alone could devastate a small city. About a fifth of the sailors are women; no problems. Religion: the boat is an "aquatic version of the Midwest and the bible-belt South." Dyer goes on quite a trip and keeps us intrigued the whole way. --Tom Lavoie

Shelf Talker: A fine writer tests his skills with a stay on an aircraft carrier--and keeps us on the edge of our seats every cramped and exhilarating day.

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