Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 5, 2014

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Ethan and the Strays by John Sullivan, illustrated by Hatem Aly

Wednesday Books: Hope Ablaze by Sarah Mughal Rana

Little, Brown Ink: K Is in Trouble (a Graphic Novel) (K Is in Trouble #1) by Gary Clement

Fly Paper Products: Literary Gifts

William Morrow & Company: The Stone Home by Crystal Hana Kim

Berkley Books: The Chaos Agent (Gray Man) by Mark Greaney

Labyrinth Road: Plan A by Deb Caletti


Amy Einhorn Joins Flatiron Books

Amy Einhorn has been named senior v-p, publisher of Flatiron Books, the Macmillan division launched last year by Bob Miller to specialize in nonfiction books. Miller said hiring Einhorn, who will join the company effective July 21, provided an "irresistible" chance to publish fiction as well. He added: "Amy will continue to do what she does so well--find books that hit that sweet spot between literary and commercial--but with a larger canvas, hiring a staff of fiction editors who will acquire the best new voices."

Formerly head of Amy Einhorn Books at Penguin Random House, her acquisitions have included The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, I Like You by Amy Sedaris and The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty, among others.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Come and Get It by Kiley Reid

Amazon vs. Hachette: Colbert, Rowling, Connelly & More

Last night, in the second segment of the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert, whose publisher is Hachette, took some hilarious shots at Amazon, which he said he used to like because "it's the only place you can get all your shopping done in your underwear--at least since they closed Circuit City." But now, "I am not just mad at Amazon. I'm mad Prime."

He outlined the dispute, taking the usual Colbert-centric view: "They are deterring customers from buying books by Stephen Colbert. And as any longtime viewer of this show knows, that's me."

Colbert noted that "Amazon has taken the preorder buttons off [J.K. Rowling's] new Hachette book, The Silkworm. A vicious tactic by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Or should I say Lord Bezomort?" At that point, on the screen a picture of Bezos's face morphed into Lord Voldemort. "And this, this has pushed me past my tipping point. I think. Because I'm still waiting for my copy of Hachette author Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point."

Colbert then announced that he had "a little package" for Amazon from him, Rowling and "Explaino the Clown," as he referred to Gladwell. Reaching under the package, he said, "I think you're really going to like it. Oh, wait a second. Here it is." His right hand rose through the packing material, middle finger aimed squarely at the camera. Then he said, "Customers who will enjoy this also bought this," at which point his other hand rose in the same gesture.

Next, he introduced "fellow Amazon victim" Sherman Alexie, who started off by saying, "I'm just happy to be here. If Amazon was in charge of the travel, it would have taken me two to five weeks to get here."

Alexie said in part that Amazon wants "a monopoly. They control 50% of the book market and they want more."

When Colbert asked what "we as the victims"--the authors--can do to fight back, Alexie answered: "Number one, you don't shop there for anything."

Noting that first-time Hachette authors are especially hurt by the lack of preorders, Alexie recommended Edan Lepucki's debut novel, California, which will be published by Little, Brown on July 8. "To prove that I can sell more books than Amazon," Colbert urged viewers to go to and buy the book through a link to Powell's Books. Viewers can also download a sheet of stickers proclaiming, "I didn't buy it on Amazon."

As of this morning, California is Powell's bestselling title.


Silent until now, J.K. Rowling took a decidedly quieter approach to the dispute than Colbert. According to the AP (via ABC), on Twitter, she added "a subtle comment" under her pen name Robert Galbraith, noting that there are "lots of ways to order" The Silkworm, which appears June 19, as "Amazon kindly suggests."

Amazon, of course, is not taking orders for the book before pub date.


Another major author affected by the Amazon-Hachette dispute is Michael Connelly. Although his latest Lincoln Lawyer novel is available, a lot of his backlist is in the 2-4 week availability category and there is no ordering button for his fall Bosch book, The Burning Room. But in a weird circumstance, Amazon Studios is producing an exclusive TV series based on the Bosch novels that consists of a pilot and nine episodes. Amazon quoted Connelly as saying, "The right people and partnerships came together at the right time: Amazon and its creative team; ditto Fabrik Entertainment, Henrik Bastin, Eric Overmyer and of course, Titus Welliver." Timing is everything.


The Los Angeles Times offered a basic explanation to the dispute "in 13 easy steps" while Bloomberg had a more detailed account of the battle. It outlined the chronology of the negotiations, saying that "the length of Hachette's contract with Amazon, negotiated at the end of 2012, was for 18 months, according to two people familiar with the matter. Hachette's agreement is the first to expire, with Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins following soon thereafter."

The American Booksellers Association has digital files with this message available for members who want to use them on their websites and elsewhere.

Bloomberg also emphasized the effect of the dispute on authors--and their fear of Amazon. It wrote: "As [author Douglas Preston] has been trying to draft a statement to help articulate Amazon's effect on authors, only about half of the writers he's contacted have agreed to help--a sign of Amazon's power, he said. 'Quite a few authors say, "I totally agree with you, but I'm terrified going against Amazon," ' Preston said.")


Speaking of fear, the Stranger said that Amazon's direct and indirect contributions to the city of Seattle, including offers to pay for streetcars and build a new Museum of History & Industry as well as "high-paying jobs for about 15,000 people," have caused a kind of mute button to go on in the city where Amazon's headquarters is. "Over the years that Amazon has been relentlessly unsteadying the way books are created and sold, Seattle--aspiring UNESCO City of Literature, alleged booktopia--has largely looked at these questions and answered: Yes, we will shut up now, and thank you for the trolley!...

"Seattle seems to be pretty much taking the Amazon bribe. We will snap up every last available ticket when David Sedaris comes to give a reading in the nearly 2,500-seat auditorium at Benaroya Hall. But when Amazon takes aim at Hachette, the publisher of Sedaris's books, you will not see 2,500 Seattleites marching on the burgeoning Amazon campus that's about a mile away from Benaroya....

"In Seattle, at this point, we can't very easily get all the way out of bed with the company, much less strike back at Amazon over what it's doing to the book industry, without hurting our own cushy position as book-lovers who also like what Amazon has done for our local standard of living. That, ultimately, is the question Seattle now faces in this fight: Are we willing to actually suffer for our love of literature?"

Britannica Books: Britannica's Encyclopedia Infographica: 1,000s of Facts & Figures--About Earth, Space, Animals, the Body, Technology & More--Revealed in Pictures by Valentina D'Efilippo, Andrew Pettie, and Conrad Quilty-Harper

#BEA14: Publishing, Digital Technology & Women

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Women's Media Group, which sponsored several events at BookExpo, including a panel called "Publishing, Digital Technology and Women." Moderator Charlotte Abbott, a communications strategist, dove right into the subject by asking Chantal Restivo-Allessi, chief digital officer at HarperCollins (with a music industry background), why she thought Harper created her position.

L.-r.: Charlotte Abbott, Anne Kubek, Ami Greko, Lisa Faith Phillips and Chantal Restivo-Allessi

Contrary to popular belief, Restivo-Allessi said, she does not see publishing as a dying industry. "It's exactly the opposite," she asserted. If anything, publishing does not recognize how much success it has had in the changing digital landscape. "The most important part of my job is to continue to change the relationship with digital technology throughout the company," she said. Publishing is a relationship business, Restivo-Allessi said, and "relationships and experience are as important as new capabilities."

Lisa Faith Phillips, director of digital strategy and development at Hachette, called the current publishing landscape an "exciting time" because of the "aging out" of men who might have a hard time listening to a female voice. "Women are good at managing people," she said, and at remaining focused on solving problems," she added.

Ami Greko, who joined Goodreads as book marketing strategist after working at Kobo, offered women some practical advice: take a month or two to teach yourself HTML. "You're not going to code the next Penguin website," she said, "but it will be interesting for you to see that what people are doing is not magic."

Anne Kubek, who spent 20 years at Borders before becoming general manager of Inscribe Digital, said that for companies and employees in a mixed-media world, the key to success is "all about being in a mindset of openness and learning."

Sometimes part of learning is being open to new ways of looking at a digital media culture. As Greko noted, when anyone joins Goodreads, the tradition is for the company to buy a book that's on their reading shelf, and have everyone in the company sign it. The most important part of looking for work in the new digital publishing reality, the panel agreed, is to be flexible. --Bridget Kinsella

#BEA14: John Grisham in Conversation with Carl Hiaasen

Despite Carl Hiaasen's background as a hard-hitting Miami Herald reporter, John Grisham quickly took over the questioning in their conversation at BookCon by asking about source material.

Hiaasen writes with a thesaurus, dictionary, the latest almanac and a pile of news clippings at his fingertips, he told the crowd. "I clip the sickest stuff out of the Miami Herald," he said. Grisham uses similar source material, but shared that he also uses a book of 10,000 baby names and the obituaries to name his characters. The benefit of dead people, Grisham pointed out, is that they cannot sue you. Grisham also said he uses a book of clichés as an avoidance measure.

"I wrote that book," replied Hiaasen.

Both writers shared how they have tried auctioning character names for charity, only to be asked by their lawyers not to anymore. Once a "winner" showed up at a restaurant where Hiaasen was having dinner with his wife and the "character" pushed in to talk about the book he was doing about her.

"Was she attractive?" Grisham asked. "It didn't matter," said Hiaasen. "My wife is Greek and there was cutlery in the room."

Ever the good reporter, though, Hiaasen was not going to let the fact slip by that Grisham's forthcoming novel did not yet have a title.

"It's a conversation we have every year," Grisham admitted, referring to the perennial naming dilemma. When he was working on his only (so far) book of nonfiction, he recalled, Doubleday publisher Steve Rubin locked them in his office until they came up with The Innocent Man. "It was the best we had," said Grisham.

Though he's known for writing legal page-turners, Grisham said, he's mindful of pacing as he writes. The actual legal process can be very boring; he said he tries very hard to avoid the "death by deposition" experience for his readers. And when all else fails, Grisham said, dialogue helps move the process along.

"I gotta get my characters to talk more," said Hiaasen.

Grisham said he admired John Irving, who claims to write his last sentence first. "If you could stop there, that would be great," quipped Hiaasen.

Grisham's unnamed novel is set around a female lawyer who worked for a firm that went through a collapse very much like Lehman Brothers and who needs to find a nonprofit to do pro bono work for in order to keep her benefits. She finds herself in Appalachia, and "suddenly she's representing real people with real problems," said Grisham, who's also thrown in two or three dead bodies. "And that's as far as I've written," he said.

Although he has no title and is still writing the book, Grisham's new adult fiction is scheduled for October. Hiaasen's new YA novel Skink No Surrender (Knopf) comes out in September.

In closing, Hiaasen asked Grisham if he would return to writing nonfiction or even humor, as he did in Skipping Christmas. "Probably that'll be my golf book," said Grisham, noting Hiaasen's The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport. "Torture can be funny," acknowledged Hiaasen. --Bridget Kinsella

#BEA14: APA's Audiobook & Author Tea

The Audio Publishers Association hosted its 14th annual Audiobook & Author Tea on Friday at BookExpo, with master of ceremonies Pat O'Brien introducing Dick Cavett, Jodi Picoult and Ruth Reichl.

Pat O'Brien, Dick Cavett, Jodi Picoult and Ruth Reichl were featured speakers at the APA's Audiobook & Author Tea

O'Brien, author of I'll Be Right Back After This (Macmillan Audio, August), proved to be an engaged and gracious emcee, showing familiarity with the other speakers' work and making specific references about their latest books.

Of his own memoir, O'Brien said he had started out working with a co-author, but changed his mind about the collaboration because "it had to be in my voice and that's why I love the audiobook because it is in my voice."

Cavett, whose Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments and Assorted Hijinks (Macmillan Audio) will be released in November, said, "I do love audiobooks. The happiest moments of my life were listening to Eudora Welty's short stories." He also noted that what listeners may like about the audiobook edition, which highlights some of the characters he has encountered during his career (ranging from Truman Capote to Groucho Marx), "is that I do so many voices."

After asking how many librarians were in the audience, Picoult (Leaving Time, Random House Audio, October) revealed: "I was a page at a library." Regarding the audio version of her novel, she said while she loved reading her work on author tours, she had no desire to tackle the audiobook, having once recorded a shorter piece. "It was so hard," she said. "I thought after that I would never ask to do it again."

O'Brien introduced Reichl, author of Delicious! (Random House Audio), by saying she "made writing about food a five-course meal.... She made food cool." Reichl expressed her appreciation for professional narrators: "I know how important the reader is.... I asked them to please get a really good actor to read my book." She also noted her love of audiobooks: "I'm never, ever without a book on my iPod. It is with me at all times." --Robert Gray

Obituary Note: Rachel Berman

Canadian artist and illustrator Rachel Berman, "a self-taught painter who worked as a professional artist for more than 30 years" and collaborated with Tim Beiser on two books--Bradley McGogg, the Very Fine Frog and Miss Mousie's Blind Date--that were finalists for the Governor General's Literary Award for children's illustration, died May 28, Quillblog reported. She was 68.


Image of the Day: R.J. Julia Wins Neil Gaiman

Last fall Neil Gaiman ran a contest on his blog: the indie bookstore that sold the most hardcover copies of his novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane would win a visit from the author. R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn., was the winner, and Tuesday night, Gaiman appeared at the store to sign the just-released paperback of his book for 600 excited fans. After the event, Gaiman posed with R.J. Julia owner Roxanne Coady (on Gaiman's right) and staff.

Portraits: Bookstores of New York

The New Yorker's Page-Turner blog "asked the cartoonist Bob Eckstein to walk around New York City and draw his favorite bookstores." The result is a series of charming sketches and comments.

Photo Op: Indie Booksellers in Their Native Environment

Photographer Steve Kenward's project "Literally" captures British indie booksellers in their native environment. "Independent bookshops are great places to spend time in," he wrote on his website. "These portraits are some of the lovely people who can help you find something special. You really can't beat the smell of fresh ink in a new hardback or the excitement on discovering a copy of that out of print classic. So next time you are passing a bookshop, pop in. You might be surprised what you find."

Bookmasters to Distribute h.f. ullmann

Effective July 1, Bookmasters will distribute h.f. ullmann in North America.

Founded in 2006, h.f. ullmann, Potsdam, Germany, has published some 140 English-language titles and plans on 15-20 new ones annually. The titles cover a range of subjects, including architecture, art history, cars, design, drawing, fashion, fine arts, food and drink, medicine, music, paper craft, science and spirituality. The company publishes in 15 languages and distributes in more than 60 countries.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: John Waters on Real Time with Bill Maher

Tomorrow on the View: Maria Menounos, author of The EveryGirl's Guide to Diet and Fitness: How I Lost 40 Lbs. and Kept It Off--And How You Can Too! (Zinc Ink, $22, 9780804177139). She will also appear on Live with Kelly and Michael.


Tomorrow on NPR's All Things Considered: Brando Skyhorse, author of Take This Man: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781439170878).


Tomorrow night on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: John Waters, author of Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26, 9780374298630).

TV: The Son

AMC is developing The Son, a drama series based on Philipp Meyer's novel that will be produced by Sonar Entertainment. reported that the project, "originally intended as an event series, sparked interest from multiple networks." Meyer will executive produce with Lee Shipman and Brian McGreevy, who developed the Netflix series Hemlock Grove, based on McGreevy's novel.

Maya Angelou's Memorial Service to Be Livestreamed

A memorial service this Saturday, June 7, at 10 a.m. for poet, memoirist and activist Maya Angelou, who died May 28, will be livestreamed from the Wait Chapel of Wake Forest University, where she had been the Reynolds Professor of American Studies since 1982. "Due to limited seating capacity, the family has decided to have a closed service for family and friends only," with a livestream feed for the public, the university said. Angelou's family is planning additional celebrations of her life in other cities across the country.

This Weekend on Book TV: Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest

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, June 7
11 a.m. Live coverage of the 2014 Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

6 p.m. Book TV interviews authors and visits literary sites in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

7:15 p.m. Sam Chaltain, author of Our School: Searching for Community in the Era of Choice (Teachers College Press, $26.95, 9780807755310).

8:30 p.m. Timothy Geithner, author of Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises (Crown, $35, 9780804138598).

9:30 p.m. Stanley Prusiner, author of Madness and Memory: The Discovery of Prions--A New Biological Principle of Disease (Yale University Press, $30, 9780300191141).

10 p.m. Jeremy Rifkin, author of The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism (Palgrave Macmillan, $28, 9781137278463). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m.)

11 p.m. John Staddon, author of Unlucky Strike: Private Health and the Science, Law and Politics of Smoking (University of Buckingham Press, $26.95, 9781908684370). (Re-airs Sunday at 7 p.m.)

Sunday, June 8
11 a.m. Continuing live coverage of the 2014 Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest. (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

6 p.m. Book TV presents "portions of author talks on Afghanistan and the U.S. war there." (Re-airs Monday at 7 a.m.)

8 p.m. Martha Johnson, author of On My Watch--Leadership, Innovation, and Personal Resilience (Dudley Court Press, $19.95, 9781940013084).

8:30 p.m. Theodore Claypoole and Theresa Payton, authors of Privacy in the Age of Big Data: Recognizing Threats, Defending Your Rights, and Protecting Your Family (Rowman & Littlefield, $35, 9781442225459).

Books & Authors

Awards: Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction

Irish author Eimear McBride won the £30,000 (US$50,200.) Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction for her debut novel, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing. Helen Fraser, chair of judges, praised the work as an "amazing and ambitious first novel that impressed the judges with its inventiveness and energy. This is an extraordinary new voice--this novel will move and astonish the reader."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Hard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781476751443) chronicles the former First Lady's tenure as Secretary of State.

Written in My Own Heart's Blood: A Novel by Diana Gabaldon (Delacorte, $35, 9780385344432) continues the Outlander series.

Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Ascendancy by Eric Van Lustbader (Grand Central, $28, 9781455577538) continues the Bourne series.

Stormy Persuasion by Johanna Lindsey (Gallery, $26, 9781476714271) is a pirate romance.

Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self by Alex Tizon (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780547450483) is the memoir of an Asian-American writer.

Counterfeit Lies by Oliver North and Bob Hamer (Threshold Editions, $26, 9781476714356) follows an FBI agent involved in intrigue.

The Carnivore's Manifesto: Eating Well, Eating Responsibly, and Eating Meat by Patrick Martins and Mike Edison (Little, Brown, $26, 9780316256247) advocates responsible meat eating.

Scalia: A Court of One by Bruce Allen Murphy (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9780743296496) is the biography of the Supreme Court justice.

Third Rail: An Eddy Harkness Novel by Rory Flynn (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $23, 9780544226272) follows a disgraced Boston narcotics officer.

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street: A Novel by Susan Jane Gilman (Grand Central, $26, 9780446578936) follows a Russian immigrant throughout the 20th century.

Now in paperback:

Adam by Ariel Schrag (Mariner, $13.95, 9780544142930).

The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson (Mariner, $15.95, 9780544176676).

The Paleo Kitchen: Finding Primal Joy in Modern Cooking by Juli Bauer and George Bryant (Victory Belt Publishing, $34.95, 9781628600100).

Book Review

Review: Perfectly Miserable: Guilt, God and Real Estate in a Small Town

Perfectly Miserable: Guilt, God and Real Estate in a Small Town by Sarah Payne Stuart (Riverhead, $27.95 hardcover, 9781594631818, June 12, 2014)

Sarah Payne Stuart's Perfectly Miserable is a literary memoir of real-estate lust, aspirational home ownership, the truth beneath the idyllic surface of a New England town and its iconic writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson to Louisa May Alcott, and what it took to arrive at self-acceptance.

As a young woman, Stuart chafed against the restrictions of her hometown, Concord, Mass. She moved away, married and started a family, but was surprised to discover she had an intense desire to return--drawn in by Concord's storybook perfection and her wish to give her children the idealized childhood she did not have. Convinced that happiness was one new and more desirable house away, she and her husband began a series of real-estate trade-ups, including the brief ownership of a lovely house in Concord's most expensive neighborhood (until they could no longer afford the mortgage). They sold it to buy a smaller house across the street from their first one.

Stuart's house mania is a brilliant pretext for exploring the true cost of social expectations in a WASP town where etiquette masquerades as prestige. Her mother in particular pays the price, but so do other members of the community, where long stays at McLean's--the storied psychiatric hospital for upper-crust New England families--are routine. This is a world where people adamantly agree with one another, must look as if they have money yet care nothing for it, and are both emotionally and financially parsimonious.

On a cultural level, Stuart shows the flawed people behind our airbrushed images of Emerson, Thoreau and other literary giants from the area, and revisits her adolescent infatuation with Little Women. The real Marmee, much needier and more manipulative than Alcott's idealized fictional matriarch, refused to write a letter of condolence to Ralph Waldo Emerson when his five-year-old son died, blaming poor mothering for the child's death.

Stuart writes with a wry understanding of her younger insecure self and her excesses. She recalls bragging "like the mouse to the lion," telling a wealthy neighbor about some expensive new bushes, "too busy showing off our bank-borrowed money to ponder the ever-fascinating question of when it would run out." It's this self-awareness that makes Stuart's memoir such a pleasure; we cheer her eventual self-acceptance and her widespread affection--for her family, her town, the writers of her youth, her younger self--in spite of imperfection. --Jeanette Zwart

Shelf Talker: This warts-and-all portrait of the author's famous hometown combines personal history with social satire in an effort to unmask our cultural obsession with perfect façades.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Reasonable Doubt 2 by Whitney Gracia Williams
2. Taint by S.L. Jennings
3. The Wedding Contract by H.M. Ward
4. All a Heart Needs by Barbara Freethy
5. Grayson Brothers Series Boxed Set by Wendy Lindstrom
6. Devour by Various
7. Asher by Jo Raven
8. Wind Chime Café by Sophie Moss
9. Dark and Deadly by Various
10. Who Killed My Boss? by Jerilyn Dufresne

[Many thanks to!]

Powered by: Xtenit