Also published on this date: Wednesday, May 14, 2014: Maximum Shelf: A Sudden Light

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Atlantic Monthly Press: Those Opulent Days: A Mystery by Jacquie Pham

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber

Carolrhoda Lab (R): Here Goes Nothing by Emma K Ohland

Allida: Safiyyah's War by Hiba Noor Khan

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley

Quotation of the Day

Indies 'Represent the Essential Belief that Humanity Matters'

"So what, then, makes independent bookstores matter? They represent the essential belief that humanity matters--each person matters.... We are bibliophiles passionate about the power of books, but also the power of community and humanity.... We understand the structure of a busy life and, with that, the allure of convenience, but we want you to know, if you need to stop, breathe deep, and explore for awhile, we’re here, seven days a week.
"We thank you for being an integral part of what we love and what we do--none of this magic could happen without you. We curate this space for you. We matter. You matter. This is why independent bookstores matter."

--Julie Glover, a bookseller at Chop Suey Books, Richmond, Va., in a piece for the shop's e-newsletter. Glover previously worked for the river's end bookstore, Oswego, N.Y.

PM Press: P Is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi, Illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi


Amazon vs. Hachette Update: Booksellers Respond

While Amazon continues to play a bookish version of the childhood game Keep-Away with certain Hachette titles, other booksellers in the U.S. are quite happy to step in and showcase their own ability to fill the retail gap for Amazon's customers.

On Books-A-Million's website, a banner proclaims that the chain "proudly sells Hachette books." CEO and president Terrance G. Finley said, "Books-A-Million values our partnership with Hachette Book Group and has been selling their books throughout our history, and we will continue to do so, both online and in our more than 258 retail locations."

On Facebook over the weekend, [words] Bookstore, Maplewood, N.J., shared Friday's New York Times piece and noted that the shop "proudly carries books published by the Hachette Book Group. Buy uncensored books from Hachette and other fine publishers at Please read this disturbing article!"

Later, [words] added: "Protect authors, including Maplewood favorite Stephen Colbert. Buy Hachette and other fine books now while you still can from and other indie retailers. Stop America's 'Putin' now."

Several indie booksellers took to Twitter and shared their reactions, including:

Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass.: "We both fulfill Hachette orders AND have cheap e-books. I know, weird, right."

Unabridged Bookstore, Chicago, Ill.: "We sell Hachette titles! No line, no waiting, as they say at the Supermarket."

Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.: "Interesting--Amazon delaying shipping @HachetteUS books. All the ones mentioned in the article are in stock here."

Green Apple Books, San Francisco, Calif.: "Not only do we have thousands of @HachetteUS on the shelves, you don't have to wait even a day to get them!"

Oblong Books & Music, Millerton and Rhinebeck, N.Y.:  "We proudly carry many @HachetteUS titles. Come in & buy one today!"

Childrens Book World, Haverford, Pa.: "Looking for great @HachetteUS books that @amazon has delayed? We have them, or can get them in just a few days!"

And from publisher Small Beer Press last Friday: "Who doesn't do hatchet jobs on Hachette and is shipping today? Every Indie Bookshop!"

While booksellers can take action individually, there are limitations regarding what they can do as a group. "We are extremely restricted in what we can do and say," Thom Chambliss, executive director of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, told Seattle Weekly, adding that the concern "is that any group action would be interpreted as promoting a boycott of Amazon, and that would be a violation of anti-trust laws."

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

Giovanni's Room May Have a Buyer

Giovanni's Room, Philadelphia, Pa., the nation's oldest, continuously operating LGBT bookstore, may have a new owner after all. As recently as the end of last month, longtime owner Ed Hermance had anticipated a May 17 closing.

Yesterday, however, the bookstore announced it is currently in discussions with a potential buyer described as "a large LGBT-related organization in Philadelphia, so their decision depends on the agreement of a number of people. If it seems they can decide in the next week or so, the store will not close before they decide. But if it seems the decision won't come till June, then the store's last day will be Saturday, May 17 and, hopefully, it will reopen later."

Giovanni's also expressed "heart-felt thanks to the crowds of people who have come to the store the past few weeks to say goodbye. It has been an honor to make this store available to you all! Let's hope a successor will give it new life."

Three Hugo Nominees Object to Publisher's Decision

Three of the best novel nominees for this year's Hugo Award have issued a joint statement criticizing their publisher, Orbit, for not allowing their complete books to be part of the packet of e-books made available for Hugo voters. Loncon 3, the 2014 World Science Fiction Convention, is assembling the Hugo Voter Packet, but has not yet released it.

In their statement, Mira Grant (Parasite), Ann Leckie (Ancillary Justice) and Charles Stross (Neptune's Brood) wrote that this year, Orbit "decided that for policy reasons they can't permit the shortlisted novels to be distributed for free in their entirety. Instead, substantial extracts from the books will be included in the Hugo voters packet.... We feel your disappointment keenly and regret any misunderstandings that may have arisen about the availability of our work to Hugo voters, but we are bound by the terms of our publishing contracts."

Orbit publisher Tim Holman offered an explanation for the decision, noting: "We are of course very much in favor of initiatives that help readers to engage with important awards, and we are always looking for new ways to help readers discover new authors. However, in the case of the voter packets, authors and rights holders are increasingly feeling that if their work is not included in the packet it will be at a disadvantage in the awards. It's difficult for anyone to know for certain whether this is the case, but either way we don't feel that authors and rights holders should feel under pressure to make their work available for free."

German Author Detained in Abu Dhabi Is Free

German author Jörg Albrecht, who was arrested May 1 "as an alleged spy during a visit to the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair" and had been detained since then, has been permitted to return to Berlin, the Bookseller reported. He was held by police for three days after his arrest for taking photos outside his hotel, and then released on bail.

Albrecht's publisher, Wallstein Verlag, launched an online petition for his immediate release that had garnered more than 6,000 signatures. The petition stated: "The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair officially aims to promote 'networking' between the Emirates and Europe. The guest program for Swiss and German writers is intended to form a basis for dialogue. It is now essential to give back to Jörg Albrecht, an invited guest of your country, the safety and security that he appears to have lost entirely since arriving in Abu Dhabi."

Sony Reader Store Focusing on Japan

With Sony abandoning its Reader Store in North America, Europe and Australia and sourcing digital sales to Kobo, Good E-Reader reported that "Japan is the last country where the Reader Store is still going strong and Sony is doubling down, to focus all of their energies in being the top player."

"We are increasing sales in Japan by concentrating our focus on offering a wide range of reading opportunities across various compatible devices, and on enhancing the store services and the selection of digital content," said Sony's v-p of marketing Tony Smith.

Good E-Reader noted that "exclusively focusing all of their energies on a singular market, with one major language does have obvious benefits. Sony was born in Japan, and that puts them in a better position to leverage their overall brand to duke it out with Amazon or Kobo."


BEA14: The Rough Guide to First-Time New York City

The Javits Center is a labyrinth. Celebrity-author panels are packed. Galleys stream from publishers' booths like sweet, golden honey from the comb. For a first-timer, BEA can seem as big as its home city of New York, and combining these two great adventures into one trip is a book industry rite of passage.

Deciding where to go, what to do, and how to get there during your first trip to New York City is easier than it sounds. And, like organizing your daily schedule for BEA itself, a good guide always helps.

Fact File

Population: 8.3 million (NYC), 20,000 (BEA); 750+ (autographing authors)

High/low temp: May is when New York is at its glorious best outdoors--breezy, sunny, perfect. The climate at the Javits hinges on location (for workshops, panels, booths), proximity to ventilation and amount of people crossing your personal space boundaries. As for any expedition, dress in layers.

Cocktail index: Beer & wine are available at the Javits Center. For post-BEA drinks, expect a cocktail in the East Village to cost about $9; in the Meatpacking District: $19. Brave the outer boroughs and you can imbibe during Happy Hour starting at $4. (Check for service delays, especially on the weekend.)

The Big Adventure

Getting to BEA: The New York City subway can claim all sorts of superlatives: it's one of the oldest and largest subway systems in the world, with more than 450 stations. And, by ridership, it's the busiest in the United States. Plus, the subway fans out to all corners of New York, so you can reach the furthest reaches of the boroughs for just $2.50.

There is one spot, though, that it doesn't quite get to: the Javits Center. You can walk to the Javits from Penn Station and Times Square, where multiple subways rumble through, but it's a long trek. For crosstown service, hop on the M34 bus on 34th Street, which stops on 11th Avenue, right outside the Javits. Be prepared with a MetroCard or exact change (in coins). Of course, the other option is always a cab, which is a New York experience in itself, and perfect for sharing with new-found friends.

Cost and savings: Here's the dichotomy of New York: if you live here, it's the most expensive city in the country. But if you're visiting? It can be one of the cheapest. It all comes down to strategy. Location dictates price. A burger in TriBeCa might be $16, but at some crusty diner in Queens? $7.

Hotels take the biggest bite out of one's budget, but that has been changing with the rise in pod-style hotels, where rooms are small, but so are the prices (at least for New York). Among these are the Dutch chain CitizenM, which opened last month in Times Square, with rooms starting at $199; the Pod hotels, with outposts on 51st Street and 39th Street; Yotel, near Times Square; and Aloft Hotels in Brooklyn and Harlem.

Packing: Sex and the City could have easily been called Shoes and the City. And though the show was laughed off by many New Yorkers for its improbabilities (How could Carrie live in an apartment like that on a writer's salary?), there was one thing it got right: the daily fashion parade down the streets of New York City. But no need to panic: New York is all about cultivating your own look. Pick up a unique piece from the thrift store--whether a piece of statement jewelry or pocket square--and you're good to go.

New York City is an eminently walkable city and it will feel as if you've clocked miles at the Javits before the end of your first day, so make sure that whatever shoes you bring are comfy and sturdy--they don't call these the mean streets for nothing.

Where to go: Book Expo America provides lots of resources for organizing your time during the day, but what to see and do after hours? Ticking off the big sights on your itinerary is easy: just use the skyline as your guide. You can target the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center and so on, at a glance. But it's also well worth taking advantage of the Javits location and your proximity to the far (very far) west side, which features a surprising array of outdoor activities.

It can be hard to see it through the enormous bulk of the Javits, but yes, there is a river on the other side. Stride along the leafy banks of nearby Hudson River Park, which affords views of the entire length of Manhattan, down to Lady Liberty--its tip. If, after a long day under the fluorescent lights of the Javits, you're looking for a shorter stroll, catch the last rays of sun on the High Line, a park built on a former elevated rail line and accessed just south of the train yards, on 30th Street and 10th Avenue--it goes as far down as 14th Street. Where freight trains once rumbled along tracks, landscaped parkland now stretches, with walking paths, shaded benches and natural flora, from pussy willows to grey birches. A bonus: the park offers lots of free activities, including tours with the High Line gardeners by day and stargazing by night, as well as food and drink vendors.

Returning Home: Nothing seems stranger when planning your trip than taking a moment to consider your return. Your first move in the re-entry game plan: dispatch all those galleys. FedEx offers shipping services direct from the show, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and until 8 p.m. on Saturday. Next, stay in touch with the people you meet and share your experiences on social media. Search and tag on Twitter using #BEA14 to stay current during the show. And, finally, start planning your next trip. Nothing cures the post-BEA blues better than dreaming about your next big adventure.

Looking for more New York City travel ideas? Get a free Pocket Rough Guide to New York City to help you make the most of your trip.

Image of the Day: Porter Square's Pick

Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass., hosted the launch event for Bret Anthony Johnston's Remember Me Like This (Random House) last night. His novel was the store's first-ever all-staff pick, and here, Johnson (in plaid) poses with booksellers.

'The Last 13 Feminist Bookstores in the U.S. and Canada'

"There are only 13 self-described feminist bookstores still in existence today, but the remaining are stalwarts, having outlasted economic downturns, Amazon and the e-book revolution," Paste magazine observed in showcasing the "last 13 feminist bookstores in the U.S. and Canada."

Personnel Changes at Morrow, Scholastic

After 10 years with the company, Ben Bruton, senior director of publicity for William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins, has resigned to explore new employment opportunities.


In Scholastic's Trade Publishing division:

Julie Amitie has been promoted to executive director of marketing. She was previously director of marketing.

Beth Noble has been promoted to associate marketing manager. She was previously assistant marketing manager.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Glenn Greenwald on Fresh Air

Today on Fresh Air: Glenn Greenwald, author of No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (Metropolitan Books, $27, 9781627790734).


Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Jonathan Bush, co-author of Where Does It Hurt?: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Fixing Health Care (Portfolio, $27.95, 9781591846772).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Kip Harding, co-author of The Brainy Bunch: The Harding Family's Method to College Ready by Age Twelve (Gallery, $21.99, 9781476759340).


Tomorrow on MSNBC's the Cycle: Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet (Simon & Schuster, $27.99, 9781451624427).


Tomorrow on Dr. Oz: Marlo Thomas, author of It Ain't Over... Till It's Over: Reinventing Your Life--and Realizing Your Dreams--Anytime, at Any Age (Atria, $27, 9781476739915).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Jeff VanderMeer, author of Annihilation ($13, 9780374104092), Authority ($15, 9780374104108) and Acceptance ($15, 9780374104115), all published by FSG Originals. As the show put it: "Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy chronicles high-tension expeditions into area X, a dangerous natural landscape where reality and unreality blur, orchestrated by a government agency called the Southern Reach. The books, Annihilation, Authority, and to-be-released Acceptance are more like a crumbled quartet, VanderMeer says, the fourth of which could have been named Ascendance: but in the process, the books ate into one another leaving no room for a fourth. We are excited to have KCRW Music Librarian (and Gothic aficionado) Eric J. Lawrence join in on the discussion."

Movies: The Hundred-Foot Journey; Brooklyn

DreamWorks has released the first trailer for The Hundred-Foot Journey, based on Richard Morais's bestselling novel, reported. The film stars Helen Mirren and is directed by Lasse Hallström, with Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake producing. It hits theaters August 8.


A first image has appeared of Saoirse Ronan embracing Domhnall Gleeson in John Crowley's Brooklyn, adapted by Nick Hornby from Colm Toibin's novel. Indiewire reported that the film, which also stars Emory Cohen, is still "open for U.S. distribution deals and we'd wager before Cannes is out, they'll lock it down."

Books & Authors

Awards: Oscar’s First Book Prize

Finalists have been announced for the £5,000 (US$8,430) Oscar's First Book Prize, launched last year by the Evening Standard to recognize "books that a child under five can pick up on his or her own." The winner will be named May 14. The shortlisted titles are:

The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty, illustrated by Thomas Docherty
The Black Rabbit by Philippa Leathers
The Storm Whale by Benji Davies
Open Very Carefully by Nick Bromley, illustrated by Nicola O'Byrne
Spaghetti with the Yeti by Adam & Charlotte Guillain, illustrated by Lee Wildish

Book Brahmin: Nadia Hashimi

Nadia Hashimi, a first-generation Afghan-American, was raised in New York and New Jersey. She is a pediatrician with a love for the written word. Encouraged by her husband, she took time to explore writing. Her debut novel is The Pearl That Broke Its Shell (Morrow, May 6, 2014), the story of two women in Kabul in 2007.

On your nightstand now:

At the top of my pile is Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement--I just finished it and absolutely loved it. I actually picked it up at a book event and was intrigued. It's about a town in Mexico where girls were made to look like boys so they wouldn't attract the attention of drug traffickers and kidnappers. The premise of needing to disguise girls as boys is shared in my novel, so I couldn't resist. The writing has a beautiful, subtle poetry to it. I'm also bouncing between Opium Nation by Fariba Nawa and The House Girl by Tara Conklin.

Favorite book when you were a child:

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. I'm not really a science-fiction person, but I remember being enchanted both by the world the author created and by the idea that an author could create a whole world! It still strikes me as remarkable that with storytelling, we can create things from our fantasies and paint vibrant pictures with words.

Your top five authors:

Vladimir Nabokov, Anita Amirrezvani, Joyce Carol Oates, Lisa See and Khalid Hosseini.

Book you've faked reading:

Beowulf. This high-school assignment haunts me still since I was, to put it gently, a very conscientious student. I just could not get through this! I don't know why or how I was given a decent grade on the paper I wrote on it. It feels really good to finally confess this!

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani. The story she's woven is so intricate and textured, just like the luxurious Persian carpets that thread through the novel. I recommend this book very highly to those who enjoy a story that provides some armchair travel.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. Okay, so maybe I didn't buy it just for the cover. I had read Gone Girl and was immediately a fan. She creates such deliciously twisted characters that are more likable than the reader might wish! But the stark black cover with a single ominous razor blade sucked me right in. I knew the story wouldn't disappoint it, and it most certainly did not!

Book that changed your life:

Beloved by Toni Morrison. I read this for the first time in high school and was fascinated by it. The haunting story hovered between earthy grit and dark, otherworldly stuff. I remember getting chills reading some parts of it under my covers with a flashlight and thinking about the horrific tragedy that "Beloved" represented to the community in the story. Toni Morrison told an important story in this book on the mark slavery left.

Favorite line from a book:

It's a bit more than a line, but it's one of my favorite quotes about the human experience. It's an incredibly perceptive way of describing what so many of us feel so very often:

"Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them--if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry." --J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

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

Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis. It's a remarkable novel, a philosophy course in one fantastic story of two men as awkward travel companions. Zorba is a dynamic force of nature, a deceptively simple man with enviable passions. I think I just talked myself into reading it again--it's been so long. I might have to change my answer to the nightstand question to include Zorba!

Book Review

Children's Review: The Night Gardener

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier (Amulet/Abrams, $16.95 hardcover, 368p., ages 10-up, 9781419711442, May 20, 2014)

In this highly anticipated follow-up to Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, Jonathan Auxier creates a twisted tale both creepy and suspenseful, in the tradition of Washington Irving.  

Readers first meet 14-year-old Molly and 10-year-old Kip McConnachie, two Irish orphaned siblings, as they navigate the English countryside through the "sourwoods" in search of the Windsor estate. Molly has secured a place for them as servants to a family that finds themselves in lowered circumstances. Upon their arrival, what alarms Molly most about the rundown mansion is the way a tree has "insinuated itself into the very architecture." Its limbs protrude through the plaster walls. Quickly making themselves indispensable, Molly takes great care of the lady of the house and her two spoiled children, Penny and Alistair, while Kip, who may be lame, nonetheless creates a glorious garden from the remains of what felt like "the memory of one." The house and its family are haunted by this mysterious tree with a mind of its own and the Night Gardener who cares for it. Auxier shifts the third-person narrative between Molly and Kip's perspectives. Kip is afraid of the tree, with good reason. Molly "knew the truth: the tree was magic--not storybook magic but the real thing." Indeed, the tree casts a spell on those around it, granting them a wish of their choice. However, nothing comes without a price.

Auxier makes the unbelievable believable. He draws from classic texts (such as Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked this Way Comes and The Secret Garden, as he explains in an author's note) so that parts of the plot, characters and setting will feel familiar to readers, then layers in wholly original elements. He builds suspense through twists and turns, with just the right amount of watering, like the magical tree--just enough so the story thrives but not so much that it drowns in a pool that rots the roots.

The eerie setting, the pacing of the plot and the cast of characters--each of whom, in his or her own way, evolves as a storyteller--makes this an ideal family read-aloud and a vacation pleasure. Give this to fans of Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz, Jennifer Nielsen's Ascendance trilogy, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart and Cornelia Funke's Inkheart series. --Susannah Richards

Shelf Talker: With all the elements of legend, this eerie story of a magic tree will captivate readers with its Victorian setting and cast of eccentric characters.


Crown Publishing Group Reorganization, Take 2

In the reorganization at the Crown Publishing Group announced yesterday, Molly Stern, who has been publisher of Crown Publishers, Hogarth and Broadway Books, has added Archetype and Three Rivers Press to her portfolio. Her new title is senior v-p, publisher, Crown Publishers, Hogarth and Archetype. Our report yesterday mixed this up slightly, and we apologize for any confusion.

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