Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Spell Bound by F.T. Lukens

Forge: Mr Katō Plays Family by Milena Michiko Flašar, translated by Caroline Froh

Ballantine Books: The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

Island Press: The Jewel Box: How Moths Illuminate Nature's Hidden Rules by Tim Blackburn

Berkley Books: Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Berkley Books: The First Ladies by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

Minotaur Books: Deadlock: A Thriller (Dez Limerick Novel #2) by James Byrne


Florida Bookstore Day to Debut November 15

Celebrating independent and used bookstores, local authors and small presses, the first Florida Bookstore Day will take place on Saturday, November 15.

The event is the brainchild of Tiffany Razzano, who runs Wordier Than Thou, which supports creative writers through open mic events, a literary magazine and a radio show. According to 83degreesmedia, she was inspired by Record Store Day and in researching discovered California Bookstore Day, which was held for the first time last May 3.

"I wanted to do something big," Razzano said. "It's a celebration of independent bookstores and the writing community. People won't even know they're at a literary event."

The Day will feature five special posters based on "famous Florida books": The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Swamplandia by Karen Russell, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, A Land Remembered by Patrick D. Smith and Florida Roadkill by Tim Dorsey.

Suggested events include readings by local authors, a local authors' fair, signings, book releases, panels, open mics and workshops. In St. Petersburg, an afterparty will be held Saturday evening at the Venture Compound gallery/event space.

Stores throughout the state are participating. The event is sponsored by Florida Antiquarian Book Fair and also received a grant from Awesome Tampa Bay.

William Morrow & Company: Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs

HarperCollins Adds Marketing Money for Indies

HarperCollins Publishers has instituted the HarperCollins Promotional Fund, which will provide additional marketing money for independent retailers during the company's current fiscal year, which began on July 1. The program is designed to simplify the co-op process and promote creative merchandizing of HarperCollins authors, and is available to qualifying accounts that promote HarperCollins titles throughout the year.

All co-op and new promotional funds will be paid on a quarterly basis, eliminating the need to submit claim forms. For additional information, stores should contact their HarperCollins sales rep or the HarperCollins Customer Service Department at 1-800-242-7737.

"We highly value the growing channel of independent booksellers and recognize them as trusted partners in helping us connect our authors with their readers," said Josh Marwell, president of sales for HarperCollins. "We know that indies play a huge but sometimes under-valued role in local communities, and we want to support their extraordinary efforts in building buzz around books."

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

Amazon vs. Suppliers: Demands on Disney, HarperCollins Prep

The dispute between Amazon and Disney that became public over the weekend--and includes no preorders on Disney movies--is over more than pricing, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Citing "a person with knowledge of the matter," the Journal said Amazon wants Disney to pay the difference when Amazon meets below-cost offers to consumers from bricks-and-mortar stores like Wal-Mart.

The dispute "also encompasses promotion and product placement on the Amazon website," the paper said.


A Forbes story called "HarperCollins Continues to Prepare for Battle with Amazon" put the publisher's many recent moves in the context of preparation for negotiations with Amazon "sometime in the next year." The company, Forbes said, has been "taking steps to build and strengthen alternate retail channels, grow in size and create new business lines both to bolster its existing position in the market and protect its future."

The moves include its purchase of Harlequin, the launch of a consumer c-commerce website, distribution of e-books through Scribd and Oyster, experimenting with bundling print and e-books--and yesterday's announcement about increasing marketing money for independent bookstores (see story above).

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 02.06.23

NYPL Launches #IReadEverywhere Campaign

Recently, the New York Public Library unveiled its pop-up outdoor reading room on the plaza of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. Open until August 22, the project is part of the library's August celebration "of the excitement and personal joy of reading with the hashtag #ireadeverywhere.... we are asking all of you to join authors, librarians and other readers from all over the world to share your favorite--and unusual--reading spots, along with the hashtag and our handle @nypl, all in an effort to inspire others to pick up a book (or an e-reader) and start their own adventures." Celebrities joining in the fun include actors Mindy Kaling and Jim Parsons.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Killing Me by Michelle Gagnon

Obituary Note: James Thompson

James Thompson, author of the Inspector Kari Vaara novels, died on August 2. He was 49.

Born and raised in Kentucky, Thompson had lived in Finland since 1998. Before becoming a full-time writer, he earned a master's degree in English philology from the University of Helsinki, studied Finnish--in which he is fluent--and Swedish, and worked as a bartender, bouncer, construction worker and soldier.

Published in 2010, Thompson's debut novel, Snow Angels, was nominated for the Edgar, the Anthony and the Strand Magazine Critics award and was selected as a Booklist Best Crime Novel Debut of the Year. His other works include Lucifer's Tears (2011), Helsinki White (2012) and Helsinki Blood (2013). He also edited Helsinki Noir, part of the original noir anthology series from Akashic Books, which will be published in November. Thompson's Helsinki Dead is scheduled to be published by Putnam next year.

Thompson was lauded for his ability to weave multiple plotlines into a captivating story and for shining light on the darkest aspects of Nordic life, history and politics. Leighton Gage, author of Blood of the Wicked, commented: "No one writes noir better, Nordic or otherwise."

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo


Image of the Day: Murakami at Midnight

Three Lives & Co. in New York City held a midnight release party early today for Haruki Murakami's new novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (Knopf). It was a blockbuster evening, with raffles, trivia contests, Japanese beer and snacks, and a full house in the small shop. Prizes included Murakami backlist and other Japanese fiction staff favorites; CDs of the "score" for the novel, Liszt's Years of Pilgrimage; and a Three Lives tote bag filled with a pasta dinner starter kit: penne, a can of tomatoes and garlic.

The shop stayed open all evening and by 10 p.m. fans were arriving to reserve a signed copy of the novel to purchase at the stroke of midnight. As Elvis sang "Viva Las Vegas," the Three Lives crew emerged from the basement with cartons of Colorless and, reported owner Toby Cox, "the cash register rang loud and long in the new day. Lots of new faces in the crowd, as well as a few repeats from our midnight release party for 1Q84 three years ago."

photo: Troy Chatterton

Sourcebooks Young Readers: Global: One Fragile World. an Epic Fight for Survival. by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano

Happy 85th Birthday, Weller Book Works!

Congratulations to Weller Book Works, Salt Lake City, Utah, which is celebrating 85 years of bookselling on Saturday, August 23, with an open house in its beautiful store in Trolley Square.

The open house kicks off at 2 p.m. with "long-time customer and friend" John Keahey reading from and signing his latest book, Hidden Tuscany: Discovering Art, Culture, and Memories in a Well-Known Region's Hidden Places (Thomas Dunne Books). From 5-9 p.m., the store will offer treats, music and a prize or two. Owners Tony and Catherine Weller will make remarks at 7:30 p.m.

In addition, to commemorate of 85 years of bookselling, Weller Book Works is offering fans of its Facebook page a chance to win one of two $85 gift certificates.

Weller Book Works began in 1929 as Zion Book Store, founded by Gustav Weller. Weller's many children, including Sam Weller, worked in the bookstore as they grew up. Sam Weller took over the bookstore, then on 200 South, following his service in World War II. He and his wife, Lila, built what became known as Sam Weller's Books into a nationally recognized store, with a particularly strong selection of books on the West. Sam retired in January 1997 following the loss of his eyesight, and Lila retired shortly after. Their son Tony Weller began managing the bookstore in 1990, expanded its rare books department and supervised the move in 2012 to its fifth location, in Trolley Square, where it changed its name to Weller Book Works. Catherine Weller began working for the store in 1994. Now in the third generation of family ownership, Weller Book Works sells a range of new, used and rare books.

Hudson Valley Indies 'Offer Unique Sense of Community'


The Golden Notebook in Woodstock, N.Y.

Independent bookstores in New York State's Hudson Valley "are surviving and thriving by focusing on offering a unique sense of community," the Daily Freeman reported, highlighting as examples Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck and Millerton; the Golden Notebook in Woodstock; Inquiring Minds bookstores in Saugerties and New Paltz; Barner Books in New Paltz; and Half Moon Books in Kingston.

"I was raised in the bookstore in Millerton, and I would go to the bookstore everyday after school. As soon as I was old enough to see over the counter, I was helping people," said Oblong Books co-owner Suzanna Hermans, adding that local bookstores offer readers a sense of community and an opportunity to browse titles and discover something on their own instead of depending on an Internet algorithm.

Jacqueline Kellachan, owner of the Golden Notebook, said she has built strong community ties as well: "We do a lot of author events, and a lot of school books fairs. We helped raise $50,000 for local schools and PTAs. We're a tiny business, but we've helped do that.... I create jobs and social and cultural currency. That's why they make the choice to spend money here, instead of spending in the digital economy and sending money elsewhere."

Inquiring Minds owner Brian Donoghue noted that it is up to shoppers to help independent stores on Main Street survive. "Once those stores are gone and the choices are gone, they'll miss it. The Internet is the homogenization of everything, inundating you with choices that their algorithms picked out.... A bookstore is learning environment."

Midpoint Distributing Clean Teen Publishing

Effective immediately, Midpoint Trade Books is now the distributor for Clean Teen Publishing.

Since it was founded early last year, Clean Teen, which also has an adult fiction imprint, Crimson Tree Publishing, has published more than 50 books. Midpoint is Clean Teen's first distributor.

"Clean Teen Publishing grew by leaps and bounds in its first year, and we are confident that our partnership with Midpoint will bring us to a whole new level in our second year and beyond," said Rebecca Gober, CEO of Clean Teen Publishing.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Chris Colfer on the View

Tomorrow on a repeat of the View: Chris Colfer, author of The Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns (Little, Brown, $8, 9780316201551).


Tomorrow on Hannity: Marybeth Hicks, author of Teachable Moments: Using Everyday Encounters with Media and Culture to Instill Conscience, Character, and Faith (Howard Books, $24, 9781476757438).


Tomorrow night on a repeat of the Colbert Report: Pat Buchanan, author of The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority (Crown Forum, $28, 9780553418637).

Also on Colbert: John W. Dean, author of The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It (Viking, $35, 9780670025367).

Movies: The Best of Me; The Sound and the Fury

James Franco has released "the first batch of images" from the film adaptation of William Faulkner's novel The Sound and the Fury, which he is directing and starring in. Indiewire reported that the project, which also stars Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, Joey King, Tim Blake Nelson and Ahna O'Reilly, will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.


A new trailer is out for The Best of Me, based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks and starring James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan, Indiewire reported.

Books & Authors

Awards: Guardian First Book Longlist

The longlist has been announced for the £10,000 (about US$16,785) Guardian First Book Award. The judging panel features novelist Anne Enright, writer Mary Beard, MP Tristram Hunt and psychotherapist Josh Cohen, the Guardian wrote, adding that "a parallel judging process will also be led by Waterstones reading groups, whose verdicts will feed into the final decision." The winner will be unveiled in November. The longlisted books are:

Readers' Choice
Things to Make and Break by May-Lan Tan

Young Skins by Colin Barrett
In the Light of What We Know by Zia Haider Rahman
The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane
After Me Comes the Flood by Sarah Perry
We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

Iceberg by Marion Coutts
Bricks and Mortals by Tom Wilkinson
Age of Ambition by Evan Osnos
Do No Harm by Henry Marsh
American Interior by Gruff Rhys

Book Review

Review: The Emerald Light in the Air: Stories

The Emerald Light in the Air: Stories by Donald Antrim (Farrar, Straus *& Giroux, $22 hardcover, 9780374280932, September 2, 2014)

It's been 14 years since Donald Antrim published his last fiction work, The Verificationist, a novel about a group of psychoanalysts gathered together for a late-night pancake supper. In the intervening years, he published a memoir (The Afterlife, a Book Critics Circle Award finalist) and was selected as a MacArthur Fellow in 2013; Antrim has now published his first collection of short stories, The Emerald Light in the Air. Unlike his novels, which tend toward the bizarre, weird and surrealistic, his stories are quiet and sedate, even hermetic.

All seven pieces were previously printed in the New Yorker, and like another favorite author of that magazine, John Updike, Antrim deals with the domestic: couples, husbands and wives, fidelity (or not) and personal failings. Many of his characters use drugs (Ativan, Valium), drink a lot (one story is called "Another Manhattan"), have contemplated or attempted suicide or are self-conscious to a fault. The stories can feel a bit cramped and confined, but thanks to Antrim's prose, they sparkle and gleam with subtle insights and revelations.

The collection's first story takes a slightly different emotional tack than the rest: "An Actor Prepares" is hilarious, witty, sarcastic and a lot of fun. Reginald Barry teaches speech and drama at a small, upscale college. He's directing A Midsummer Night's Dream to commemorate the college's founding, and "I decided to serve up some ham myself, as Lysander." Reg likes being around the students, a bunch of "oversexed dope addicts" (he enjoys smoking with them). He likes looking at the girls in their costumes, G-strings and pasties. Then all hell breaks loose when a flash flood hits.

"Pond, with Mud" is the secret name for Patrick Rouse's "encrypted journal." A poet manqué, he's constantly scribbling down lines and thoughts in his journals. A man of ritual, he always carries his journal just so. Trying to impress his fiancée, he takes her son, Gregory, to the zoo, only they don't make it that far. Patrick ends up drinking in a bar, child in tow.

In the title story, Billy French aimlessly drives his Mercedes in the Virginia mountains until a rainstorm washes him and his car down a hill. Billy's girlfriend, a painter, once told him she was "searching for something that isn't quite there." Suicidal Billy isn't quite there, either.

In polished prose that's analytical, sharp and concise, Antrim reveals the weaknesses in these fragile characters, burdened with even the simplest decisions they're unable to make. Still, he manages to inspire sympathy for his misfits, who can undoubtedly use it. --Tom Lavoie, former publisher

Shelf Talker: Novelist Donald Antrim plumbs the emotional depths of his troubled characters in these seven domestic tales.

AuthorBuzz: Berkley Books: Lemon Curd Killer (Tea Shop Mystery #25) by Laura Childs
AuthorBuzz: Nonlinear Publishing LLC: Moral Code by Lois and Ross Melbourne
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