Also published on this date: Wednesday, December 17, 2014: Maximum Shelf: Blood-Drenched Beard

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Legacy Lit: Madness: Race and Insanity in a Jim Crow Asylum by Antonia Hylton

Berkley Books: Daughters of Shandong by Eve J. Chung

Berkley Books: Bergman Brothers series by Chloe Liese

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

Quotation of the Day

The Core of Apple's Argument

"Apple's lawyers say that it didn't participate in horizontal price-fixing; its involvement was vertical, they argue, its intentions were good, and its actions ended up benefitting consumers. One of those good intentions, Apple argued, was to make it possible to compete against Amazon in the e-book market. And one positive outcome, the company said, is that Amazon's dominance in the e-book market has been diminished--and, for some e-books, Apple's entry has actually led to lower prices."

--Vauhini Vara in the New Yorker, nicely summing up Apple's legal argument in its appeal of the Justice Department e-book pricing collusion case. (Horizontal price fixing is easily identified and illegal; vertical price fixing is more a matter of intent and effect.)

Atria Books: The Other Valley by Scott Alexander Howard


Susan Reich Retiring as President of Publishers Group West

Susan Reich, president of Publishers Group West, is retiring, effective March 31, and will continue in her role until then.

David Steinberger, president and CEO of Perseus Books Group, which owns PGW, said that Reich has done "an exemplary job leading PGW for the last seven years. She has a well-deserved reputation as a professional of high integrity and excellent judgment who guides PGW with an endearing combination of directness and wit. Under Susan's leadership, PGW has built further on its extraordinary reputation and track record of success serving independent publishers. One of Susan's most important legacies is the terrific team that she has cultivated."

Before joining PGW as president in 2007, Reich was president and COO of the Avalon Publishing Group for 10 years. Before that, she was v-p, marketing director, at PGW, v-p, publishing director at HarperCollins, v-p, associate publisher at Random House and marketing manager at Simon & Schuster. She began her book career as a bookseller, working at Waldenbooks, Brentano's, Classic Bookshop and Kroch's & Brentano's.

With the key members of the PGW team, Mark Suchomel, president of client services, will head the effort to fill Reich's position.

We'll miss you, Susan!

GLOW: Graphic Universe: Hotelitor: Luxury-Class Defense and Hospitality Unit by Josh Hicks

Holiday Hum: Shopping in Full Swing, Part 1

With just over a week left until Christmas, the holiday shopping rush is in full swing. For many independent booksellers around the country, event schedules have slowed down almost completely and the tasks at hand involve trying to keep up with demand and keep titles in stock.

Several independent booksellers have mentioned that copies of Deep Down Dark, Hector Tobar's account of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped in a collapsed mine for 69 days in 2010, recently became impossible to obtain.

Published October 7 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, the book was chosen last week by Ann Patchett as the inaugural title for NPR's Morning Edition Book Club--leading immediately to heavy demand. (The Book Club discusses the book on January 20.)

"The book started off slow," Lisa Baudoin, the co-owner of Books & Company in Oconomowoc, Wis., commented. "We didn't order a bunch back in, and then it hit fast and hard, and it's gone." Judy Crosby, owner of Island Books in Middletown and Newport, R.I., and Sally Brewster, the owner of Park Road Books in Charlotte, N.C., both shared similar stories.

But help is on the way. Farrar, Straus & Giroux has just done two reprintings and shipped 30,000 copies of the book. By this week, said Jeff Seroy, FSG's senior v-p, publicity and marketing, "Everyone will have the book," including Ingram and Baker & Taylor.

Baudoin added that Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, an edited and annotated collection of Laura Ingalls Wilder's diaries that tracks her family's movements across the frontier and great plains, has been unavailable from the South Dakota State Historical Society, which published the book, in recent weeks. And for Crosby, the other book that's recently become hard to get her hands on is Lily King's Euphoria, which was published by Grove Atlantic in June.

Books & Company has been in full swing since the store hosted its annual holiday open house three days after Thanksgiving. Baudoin reported that among fiction titles, Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See has performed very, very well. A local title called Pabst Farm: The History of a Model Farm by John C. Eastberg has sold very well. The biggest surprise for Baudoin, though, has been the diversity of what's selling.

"It really feels like people are shopping for the person rather than shopping for the trend," Baudoin said. Beyond a handful of big titles that are selling consistently, she continued, "people are really searching after other things."

Crosby, meanwhile, also pointed to All the Light We Cannot See as her store's strongest seller for fiction. Other than The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown, nonfiction sales have been extremely diverse, Crosby reported. For children, Natalie Lloyd's A Snicker of Magic and The Animals' Santa by Jan Brett, have both performed very well.

"Small Business Saturday of course was great," Crosby said, but right afterward business stalled a bit. Then this past weekend the store hosted a holiday open house that was a success, and the level of sales has continued. "It was really a great weekend," she said. "Now people are madly rushing about."

This year, Crosby said, more people are talking about shopping local and making more of an effort to do so. "Small Business Saturday has certainly raised awareness there," she continued. "We keep trying to hammer home the Indies First message in all the stuff we do.... I feel like people are having less of a problem with paying full price for a book or buying a hardcover."

At Park Road Books, Sally Brewster has been surprised by the strong sales of Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. "I was really taken by surprise," she said. "I knew we'd sell it well, but not this well."

The book, she continued, seems a bit of an odd fit for the holiday season. "Who wants to give a book about getting rid of stuff for Christmas?"

Like Crosby and Baudoin, Brewster is selling a great deal of All the Light We Cannot See. Smith Henderson's novel 4th of July Creek, which came out in May, has re-emerged as a strong end-of-the-year seller. Brewster added that more oversized gift books are selling than in a long time.

Brewster has no plans to run any sort of promotions or sales this holiday season. "We've learned that it's better to give great customer service, to keep things steady and consistent," she said. "We just pride ourselves in knowing our books."

For Joy Vogelgesang, the co-owner of Kona Stories on Hawaii's Big Island, the only title that's been difficult to find is The Curse of Lono by Hunter S. Thompson. "That's a bit of a local oddity for us," Vogelgesang explained. The book, published in the early '80s, is a nonfiction account of Thompson's time in Hawaii, mostly in Kona. It was in print only for a short time, and has gone in and out of print since. "Otherwise it's going well, I haven't come across anything that's too much of a challenge."

Conventional author events have all but stopped for Kona Stories, although Vogelgesang and her co-owner Brenda McConnell are maintaining their normal book club schedule. They have also, however, been hosting an event called Sangria Saturday every weekend since Thanksgiving, and plan to continue until Christmas. "It's gotten a pretty good following," Vogelgesang remarked. "There are no discounts or anything, it's just relax and have fun shopping. That's how we pitch it."

Vogelgesang has been surprised this season by the slower than usual sales of hardcover fiction. "I thought Lila [by Marilynne Robinson] would fly away, but it's just doing okay."

Despite the apparent slump in hardcover sales, Kona Stories is still up compared to last season, Vogelgesang reported. Paperbacks, particularly Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken and The Boys in the Boat, have been flying out the door. Oversized gift books are selling well, as are cookbooks. And two lines of educational toys, Melissa and Doug and Klutz, have been surprisingly popular.

Vogelgesang expects the strong sales to continue through the end of the season. "It seems like more people are trying to shop local and that the economy is back," she said. "People are not afraid to spend money." --Alex Mutter

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

Obituary Note: Norman Bridwell

Illustrator and children's author Norman Bridwell, whose Clifford the Big Red Dog series of children's books delighted children for decades, died last Friday. He was 86. Bridwell created Clifford in 1963 and went on to write and illustrate more than 150 titles. His first Clifford manuscript was turned down by nine publishers before landing at Scholastic, which has published Bridwell's work for more than 50 years. There are now 129 million books in print in 13 languages. In 2000, Clifford made his TV debut on PBS Kids, and the animated series quickly became a hit.
Scholastic CEO Dick Robinson said Bridwell's books about Clifford, "childhood's most loveable dog, could only have been written by a gentle man with a great sense of humor. Norman personified the values that we as parents and educators hope to communicate to our children--kindness, compassion, helpfulness, gratitude--through the Clifford stories which have been loved for more than fifty years.
"The magic of the character and stories Norman created with Clifford is that children can see themselves in this big dog who tries very hard to be good, but is somewhat clumsy and always bumping into things and making mistakes. What comforts the reader is that Clifford is always forgiven by Emily Elizabeth, who loves him unconditionally. At Scholastic, we are deeply saddened by the loss of our loyal and talented friend whose drawings and stories have inspired all of us and generations of children and their parents."
Before his death, Bridwell had completed two more Clifford books, which will be released in 2015: Clifford Goes to Kindergarten, in May, and Clifford Celebrates Hanukkah, in October.


Image of the Day: Fodor's Cool Go Promo

The Fodor's Travel editorial team poses with a six-foot-tall, three-ton ice suitcase filled with Fodor's guidebooks in New York City's Columbus Circle. To celebrate the release of the 2015 Go List, Fodor's is giving away $5,000 to a lucky traveler to fund his or her next vacation.

Bramble Bookstore's New Owner Expanding Selection

Cheryl Allen, who purchased Bramble Bookstore, Viroqua, Wis., in August "has been expanding merchandise lines and making plans for new book clubs," the LaCrosse Tribune reported. Allen bought the business from Susan Paull, who had owned it for 15 years.

"Like many in our community, I am a book lover, and when I heard that the store would likely be closing this past summer, I was fortunate enough to be in a position to help continue its wonderful legacy," said Allen. "We have expanded our lines to include gifts, stationary and Kohler chocolates." In addition, a number of new book clubs will be launched in 2015.

Phinney Books Has 'Captured the Mission Statement'

Facing his first holiday season as co-owner of a bookstore, author and Jeopardy! champion Tom Nissley told the Stranger that when he opened Phinney Books, Seattle, Wash., "earlier this year, he knew he would be operating on a steep learning curve."

"The most overwhelming thing is the receiving," he said. "Every day, we're selling tons of books and that means every day I have to bring books back in.... We have eight square feet that's not on the showroom floor, [so the unboxing of books] all happens behind the counter in a noticeable and not quite tidy way."

Another challenge with owning a small bookshop is finding a variety of people to make recommendations. At Phinney, many of the shelf talkers are contributed by customers. "We're just a small place compared to Elliott Bay, where there's this great staff of readers who can fill up all the shelves with shelf talkers," he said. "I'm very happy to give the store over to other voices than mine, and to not just make it an echo chamber for the books that I love."

During the Christmas season, Nissley asked local authors to contribute lists of a book they want to receive for Christmas and a book they are giving. He has also launched a new subscription program, Phinney by Post. "I'm going to try to make it as eclectic as possible," Nissley said. "The biggest coup as a bookseller is when you have a customer who you know has read a ton of stuff and has interesting taste and you can find something they love." He noted that many people are buying subscriptions as gifts. When choosing titles, he looks for "that sweet spot of both awesomeness and obscurity so we can both please and surprise our subscribers."

Nissley "may be new at the bookselling business, but he's captured the mission statement in a nutshell," the Stranger observed.

Personnel Changes at PRH, Regan Arts, Kensington

In the U.S. and the U.K., Penguin Random House has made announcements of separate, new international sales leaders for continental Europe:

Anke Reichelt has been named regional sales director, Europe, leading a U.S.-publishing-focused European team selling for the Penguin and Random House publishing groups as well as Penguin Random House Publisher Service clients. She is based in Berlin.
Cristi Navarro has been appointed sales development manager, Europe and the Middle East, Penguin Random House U.S., based in New York.


At Regan Arts:

Effective today, Kelly Leonard is joining the company as director of digital marketing. She formerly headed KLO Associates, a digital marketing consultancy and was earlier v-p, web strategies at Hachette Book Group.
Effective January 5, Tracy Brickman is joining the company as publicist. She has worked at Penguin's Portfolio imprint and Hachette's Grand Central imprint.


At Kensington:

Michelle Forde has been promoted to communications and marketing manager for Lyrical Press. She joined the company last year as a social media specialist.
Ellen Chan, formerly communications and marketing manager for Lyrical Press, is leaving the company to move to San Francisco.

AtlasBooks to Distribute I.B. Tauris

Effective February 1, AtlasBooks will distribute I.B. Tauris in the U.S. and Canada. Founded in 1983, I.B. Tauris specializes in general nonfiction and new scholarly writing in the humanities and social sciences. It has offices in London, New York and Melbourne.

Salable copies of I.B. Tauris titles in print are eligible for returns to the current distributor, Palgrave Macmillan, until May 1, 2015, at the following address: Palgrave Macmillan, Attn: Returns, 14301 Litchfield Dr., Orange, Va. 22960.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Robert Beachy on Fresh Air

Today on Fresh Air: Robert Beachy, author of Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity (Knopf, $27.95, 9780307272102).

Movies: The Gunman; Every Exquisite Thing

Sean Penn "is on the run in action thriller" The Gunman, directed by Pierre Morel (Taken) and based on the Jean-Patrick Manchette's novel The Prone Gunman, reported. A trailer has been released for the film, which also stars Javier Bardem, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone and Mark Rylance. It opens March 20.


Director Ted Melfi (St. Vincent) will adapt and direct Every Exquisite Thing, the upcoming novel by Matthew Quick (Silver Linings Playbook), reported. The book is scheduled to be published by Little Brown in 2016.

Books & Authors

Book Brahmin: Natalie Pope Boyce

Family ties get Natalie Pope Boyce no inside information, she claims. The author of the Fact Tracker books that accompany the Magic Tree House series penned by her sister, Mary Pope Osborne, does her own research for each of the books. For the new nonfiction companions to the novels in the series, sometimes the only clue Boyce has to go on is a book's title and cover image and "the general thrust of the plot," she explains. Boyce backs up her facts with three reputable sources, and an expert relevant to each book also checks for accuracy. Her latest, China: Land of the Emperor's Great Wall (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #31)--to be published by Random House on December 23, 2014--is a nonfiction companion to the popular backlist title Magic Tree House #14: Day of the Dragon King.

On your nightstand now:

Old Filth by Jane Gardam, Living on Yesterday by Edith Templeton, Zen and the Birds of Appetite by Thomas Merton and Far Away and Long Ago: A Childhood in Argentina by W.H. Hudson.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Heidi by Johanna Spyri (read to me by my grandmother when I was six).

Your top five authors:

M.F.K. Fisher, Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen, William Faulkner, Bruce Chatwin.

Book you've faked reading:

The Ordeal of Richard Feverel by George Meredith (I wrote a 20-page college paper on it).

Book you are an evangelist for:

Mary Boykin Chestnut's Diary from Dixie.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff.

Book that changed your life:

The Children of Pride, edited by Robert Manson Myers (unabridged version). My family is from the Deep South, and my earliest memories in the 1940s are of things Southern: the food, the soft voices, good manners and the deeply sensual feeling of what it means to live where the smell of flowers and heaviness of the air almost immobilize you.

And among all of this sensuality, there remained an undertow from the Civil War that deeply affected my Southern family. The war and its aftermath defined their character and their political positions; they could not separate themselves from it and probably didn't have the ability to do so even if they had tried. And now, years later, I remember so well the Chekhovian atmosphere of my grandparents' houses and their isolation from the rest of the world.

In a completely absorbing and personal way, Mary Chestnut's Diary from Dixie, the letters in Children of Pride and Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels helped me to begin to untangle the complicated legacy that the South embraced after that terrible and devastating war.

Favorite line from a book:

"It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window." --Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely.

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

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara.

Book Review

Children's Review: Draw What You See

Draw What You See: The Life and Art of Benny Andrews by Kathleen Benson, illus. by Benny Andrews (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99 hardcover, 32p., ages 5-8, 9780544104877, January 6, 2015)

Kathleen Benson (John Lewis in the Lead) frames this picture-book biography of Benny Andrews (1930–2006) in terms of how he lived his life as much as how he created his artwork.

She opens with Andrews's journey to New Orleans in 2005 (at the age of 76) to work with children studying in makeshift schools after Hurricane Katrina. "He showed them how to draw pictures of what they had seen, to use art to express their feelings about what they had been through," she writes. A dozen of Andrews's own paintings illustrate the book, and these opening lines appear alongside his Cotton Monument (2002). In the painting, the emotions of the family observing the statue of a man bent under the weight of a load of cotton comes through in the stillness of their posture and the child's slight tilt, as if attempting to look up into the bent man's face.

Benson lets Andrews's oil and fabric collage works carry his story, and uses economical text to fill in the facts. "He drew hot suns and red clay and little wood-frame houses in the middle of cotton fields that stretched as far as he could see," she writes of his early childhood in Plainview, Ga., where he first started to draw at age three. She pairs this description with his The Soil (The America Series, 1990), in which a farmer examines a plant while holding a red hoe that matches the Georgia clay and the band on his straw hat. Sunday provides the only break from the fields, and a woman walking past cross-shaped telephone poles in her dress and hat indicates where she's headed (Down the Road, 1971).

A description of Benny's graduation from high school, his entry to college on a 4-H Club scholarship, and his enlistment in the Air Force ("he knew there was a bigger world waiting for him") finds the perfect accompaniment in his The Promised Land (2004). A car, laden with luggage, departing a barren landscape, approaches flowering trees and shrubs. A double-page reproduction of The Cotton Club (2004) as well as Harlem USA (The Migrant Series, 2004) says everything about Benny's love for city life, music and dance. Repeated readings and viewings confirm how his commitment to exposing on canvas the sorrows and joys of African American life mirrored his activism in the streets, fighting for equal rights for African Americans, and teaching young artists at community centers, schools and prisons. "He believed that art was for everyone," Benson writes.

Photographs of the artist in his studio open and close the book. His artwork and his story will inspire children to both "draw what they see" and live out their dreams. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: This picture-book biography of Benny Andrews is as much about his life as his art.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Forever With Me by Kristen Proby
2. Naughty & Nice by Various
3. Down and Dirty by Liliana Hart
4. His Secretary: Undone by Melanie Marchande
5. The Elf on the Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda B. Bell
6. Gone by Deborah Bladon
7. Beneath Him by Komal Kant
8. Foreplay by Various
9. Hard Limit by Meredith Wild
10. Departure by A.G. Riddle

[Many thanks to!]

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