Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Hampton Roads Publishing Company: Becoming Baba Yaga: Trickster, Feminist, and Witch of the Woods by Kris Spisak, Foreword by Gennarose Nethercott

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger

Severn House: A Messy Murder (Main) (The Decluttering Mysteries #4) by Simon Brett

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Chronicle Books: Taste in Music: Eating on Tour with Indie Musicians by Luke Pyenson and Alex Beeker

Quotation of the Day

Amazon: Friend of Creative Content?

"Amazon spent eight months sanctioning books and hurting thousands of authors. This excellent show doesn't make Amazon a friend of creative content. Even Napoleon had some mighty fine-looking uniforms."

--Douglas Preston, who organized Authors United last year, in a New York Times article, "With Win, Amazon Shakes Up Yet Another Industry," about the two Golden Globes won by Transparent, an Amazon show, on Sunday.

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Movie Explosion Damages Bookstore; Cats Safe!

The Wakefields inspect the damage at their bookstore.

The Golden Bough, Macon, Ga., which sells new and used books, got a shock yesterday--literally--when the landlord called owner Eric Wakefield at 6 a.m. to say that a movie explosion stunt during the night had gone awry and damaged the store, WMAZ reported.

The explosion of a bus during the filming of The 5th Wave, based on the book by Rick Yancey, "had not gone as planned," the landlord said, and blew out windows along the street. There was no fire, but Heatherly Wakefield, Eric's wife, said that the store's Internet and phone lines were destroyed, and other damage included a door off its hinges and a partly collapsed ceiling.

But Wakefield's first concern, she said, was "the cats. We have bookstore cats that were in at the time, but we found them safe."

The production company will cover damages. ServPro, which specializes in disaster cleanups, was already in the area by 6 a.m., and by the end of the day, the store posted on its Facebook page: "phone and internet have been restored! we can now take plastic again!"

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

ABA: Ils Sont Charlie

ABA's Oren Teicher and Chris Finan, ABFE Group director

Following the murders in Paris last week of editors at Charlie Hebdo and others, the American Booksellers Association and the American Booksellers for Free Expression are taking several steps to help booksellers "stand in solidarity with the magazine and its commitment to free speech."

As outlined in a letter to members from CEO Oren Teicher, the ABA is "exploring the logistics of obtaining copies of the upcoming issue of Charlie Hebdo for member stores to carry." It has also launched an initiative that involves posting on social media pictures of booksellers holding a "Je Suis Charlie" sign using the hashtag @JeSuisCharlie. The sign can be downloaded here. And finally the association will soon offer information on how booksellers can make a contribution to a fund to benefit the families of those killed by terrorists in Paris.

Boulder's Colorado Bookstore to Close

photo: Jeremy Papasso/Daily Camera

The Colorado Bookstore "on the Hill," Boulder, Colo., which was founded more than 80 years ago and is now operated by Barnes & Noble College, is closing in March, the Denver Post reported. The store is an off-campus college store. The CU Bookstore, the official bookstore of the University of Colorado, which is operated as a nonprofit auxiliary organization, continues.

The Colorado Bookstore's building, owned by Zane Blackmer, is a focus of redevelopment efforts in the University Hill area of Boulder and likely will be torn down, according to the Daily Camera. Blackmer has proposed for the site "a mixed-use project with street-level retail space topped by two floors of market-rate apartments."

The bookstore has operated since at least 1930 and moved to its present location in 1965.

Obituary Note: Carleton Mabee

Carleton Mabee, who won a Pulitzer Prize 70 years ago for The American Leonardo: A Life of Samuel F. B. Morse, his "unsparing biography" of one of the early developers of the electromagnetic telegraph, died December 18, the New York Times reported. He was 99.


'Giggles & Good Books': Indian Bookseller's Recipe for Success

Bookseller Nalini Chettur (photo: The Hindu)

In the 40 years that Nalini Chettur has been operating Giggles: The Biggest Little Bookshop in a 100-square-foot space in the Indian city Chennai, her business "has grown from its first avatar as a 'book boutique' of handicrafts and nonfiction about India (to feed Nalini's own hunger for knowledge about her country), to stock literary fiction, much of it Indian, and a proliferation of children's' writing.... What hasn't changed is Nalini's obsessive commitment to hand-pick every book she showcases. 'I am elitist,' she unabashedly states, 'People write books today like baking cakes--in a few hours. I don't quite cater to that idea, though I know it sells,'" the Hindu reported in a feature headlined "Giggles and good books."

After beginning her day "at five every morning with a glass of water, the chanting of Sanskrit mantras and some calisthenics that stretch her bookseller wingspan," she then reads: "There's an instinct I've honed. I just know whether a new book will work or not. I was pushing Midnight's Children long before the Booker made it famous. It's a sixth sense."  

Regarding her teetering book piles as she makes her picks for the day, she observes: "There is a method to the madness in here, I assure you.... I love this part. It's like making a curry--you put in a little bit of this, and a little bit of that--some translated poetry beside the President's book, some Indian children's writing beside an Australian, two-time Booker winner, and my favorite book, The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly, for today--the curry is new each day."

Personnel Changes at Highlights, Tor/Forge

Michael Eisenberg has joined the Book Publishing Group of Highlights in the newly created role of director, book marketing. A consultant with Highlights for the past five years, Eisenberg has been instrumental in the company's growth and outreach to the publishing, library and bookselling industry.

Earlier Eisenberg was senior v-p and co-publisher of children's books at Farrar, Straus & Giroux, v-p of marketing at Macmillan and assistant to the marketing director at William Morrow.


At Tor/Forge:

Cassandra Ammerman has been promoted to senior marketing manager. She was formerly marketing manager.

Alex Cameron has been named to the newly created position of publishing operations administrator. He was formerly assistant to the associate publisher.

Legato to Distribute Crooked Lane Books

Crooked Lane Books, whose first list of 20 titles is appearing this coming fall, will be distributed by Legato Publishers Group.

Founded last year, Crooked Lane Books, New York, publishes crime fiction, including mysteries, thrillers and suspense novels. It aims to combine traditional and new marketing techniques, work with new and established authors and get books to market quickly. Among its first titles is a new book by Wendy Corsi Staub.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Nina Teicholz on Live with Kelly and Michael

Tomorrow on Live with Kelly and Michael: Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet (Simon & Schuster, $17, 9781451624434).

First Author Q&A Today at Zuckerberg Book Club

Today at 2 p.m. EST, Facebook is hosting a q&a with Moisés Naím, author of The End of Power (Basic Books), which is the inaugural book in Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's A Year of Books challenge, aka the Zuckerberg book club.

A Year of Books now has nearly 250,000 likes, and Basic, which didn't know of the pick before it was announced January 2, says The End of Power is "in stock and available to ship."

The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Another winner from Sunday night's Golden Globe Awards is The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel by Matt Zoller Seitz (Abrams, $35, 9781419715716), companion to The Wes Anderson Collection (Abrams, $40, 9780810997417), which explores The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson's eighth feature film and the Golden Globe winner for Best Picture, Musical or Comedy. The book includes cast and crew interviews, critical essays, behind-the-scenes photographs and artwork. It will be published February 10.

TV: Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder

Hallmark Movies & Mysteries will launch an original TV movie franchise based on Joanne Fluke's bestselling Hannah Swensen culinary mystery series, and starring Alison Sweeney (Days of Our Lives) and Cameron Mathison (All My Children). The first film, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, is scheduled to premiere this spring. The project is produced by Brad Krevoy Television and Stephanie Germain Productions, with Brad Krevoy, Stephanie Germain and Eric Jarboe as executive producers.

"I am absolutely thrilled that Crown Media and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries have chosen to film Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, " said Fluke. "It's what the Hannah fans have always wanted, and I know that Hannah Swensen has found the perfect home."

Fluke's Hannah Swensen mystery series debuted 15 years ago with Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. The 18th book, Double Fudge Brownie Murder, will be released February 24 by Kensington.

Books & Authors

Awards: T.S. Eliot Poetry Winner; Oregon Book Awards

After four previous appearances on the shortlist, David Harsent won the £20,000 (about $30,280) T.S. Eliot Prize, honoring "the best collection of new verse in English," for Fire Songs, the Guardian reported. Chair of the judging panel Helen Dunmore called Harsent "a poet for dark and dangerous days," adding: "Fire Songs plumbs language and emotion with technical brilliance and prophetic power."


Literary Arts announced the finalists for the Oregon Book Awards, honoring Oregon fiction, drama, poetry, nonfiction and young adult writers, and recipients of its Literary Fellowships. The awards will be given on April 13 at the Gerding Theater at the Armory in Portland, Ore. The full list of nominees is available here.

Who Was Malcolm X?

Last week, on the release date of X: A Novel (Candlewick), a fictionalized account of Malcolm X's youth, co-authors Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon joined Sunny Hostin, a legal analyst and host on CNN, for a conversation about the legendary civil rights leader.

Hostin and Shabazz--Malcolm X's third daughter--have known each other since they were 17 years old, and the Warburg Lounge at the 92nd Street Y had the feel of an overlarge living room, where the audience was eavesdropping on an intimate conversation. "I've never heard you tell these stories about your father," Hostin said. "What was your motivation for doing so now?" Shabazz answered that it was important because "many people had the wrong impression of Malcolm." "Like what?" prodded Hostin. "Many people want to stereotype young black men," Shabazz said. "It's the adults around them who shape them. He was such a young man when he lost his father." Shabazz added that people think her father went to prison and "miraculously" became Malcolm X.

X: A Novel focuses on Malcolm Little's youth in Lansing, Mich. His parents were Marcus Garvey followers and suspected targets of the Black Legion (an offshoot of the KKK) and others (Malcolm's father was killed on the streetcar tracks and his mother shipped off to a state hospital). Shabazz said that her nephews have told her that they feel their lives parallel that of Malcolm X. "They're going to who society says you're supposed to be as a young black man, then coming back to the importance of education, the importance of community, the importance of giving back," Shabazz said.

While The Autobiography of Malcolm X was written when Malcolm X was an adult who knew how his story turned out, Magoon explained, "putting it in the context of a novel allows teens to connect to it." Malcolm tried to run away from his parents' legacy, she added. "As a teen, he rediscovered his potential." Magoon felt that this story needed to be told in the present. "He was living each day like this is the only day," she said. "Teens can see themselves in that story."

CNN's Sunny Hostin (l.) with Ilyasah Shabazz (c.), and Kekla Magoon, co-authors of X: A Novel.

Hostin asked the authors about their decision to use "the n word" in the book, a word she chooses not to use herself. Magoon pointed out that Malcolm X used the word in his own writings, and that the use of "the n word" by his history teacher, Mr. Ostrowski, was a turning point. When the teacher asked Malcolm Little, who got the best marks in Mr. Ostrowski's overwhelmingly white classroom, what he wanted to be, Malcolm answered, "A lawyer." The man responded, "This is the real world, boy.... Be as good as you want in the classroom, but out there, you're just a n-----." The scene appears nearly verbatim in The Autobiography of Malcolm X. "That was a throwaway moment for Mr. Ostrowski," Magoon pointed out. "That says a lot about how much power there is in words like that. Malcolm internalized it. He had to fight against that to rise back up. For Malcolm, it was years of making bad choices."

During a question-and-answer period from the audience, a comment came up about one of Malcolm X's last interviews, in the Village Voice with Marlene Nadle ("Malcolm X: The Complexity of the Man in the Jungle"), in which he said, "You have to wake the people up first, then you'll get action." Nadle responded, "Wake them up to their exploitation?" "No," answered Malcolm X, "to their humanity, their own worth, and to their heritage."

Shabazz identified the audience member as Steve Clark of Pathfinder Press, who'd published many of her father's works. She argued that this is where adults have let down their youth. "We need to take responsibility," she said. "We need to teach them their history, what they have contributed." Another member of the audience came because Shabazz had been his 11th-grade substitute teacher and had loaned him The Autobiography of Malcolm X "for a week--she needed it back," he said to laughter from the crowd. Now he's a social worker with a master's degree from Columbia University.

At various points in the conversation, Hostin, Shabazz and Magoon referred to recent protests in Ferguson, Cleveland and New York. One member of the audience wondered how they could "channel that activism into a change in policy." He noted the fizzling of the "Occupy" movement, and wondered how we could keep this energy going. There were no easy answers. "The kids protesting today could read Malcolm's speeches and feel resonance with them now," said Magoon.

When Hostin asked Magoon what she'd like readers to take from X: A Novel, she hoped most of all that they'd enjoy it. Then Magoon added, "You can be anyone you want to be. Look how bad Malcolm's life was at certain moments, and look what he did. We all have that potential--that's something Malcolm X repeated over and over in his own ministry." --Jennifer M. Brown

Book Review

Review: Fear the Darkness

Fear the Darkness by Becky Masterman (Minotaur Books, $25.99 hardcover, 9780312622954, January 20, 2015)

Becky Masterman (Rage Against the Dying) follows up her first Brigid Quinn adventure with a thriller that pits the 59-year-old ex-FBI agent against a sly killer in a case complicated by family ties. Readers last met Brigid as she dealt with the loose ends of her past; this time, her future hangs in the balance.

When Brigid's beloved sister-in-law dies after a prolonged illness, Brigid and her husband, Carlo, return from the Florida funeral with unusual cargo: Gemma-Kate Quinn, Brigid's 17-year-old niece. Although her father, Brigid's brother, is still very much involved in Gemma-Kate's life, a move to Tucson will allow the brilliant girl to study biology at the University of Arizona without paying out-of-state tuition. Slightly apprehensive about taking in a teenage girl--"Am I supposed to have the safe-sex talk with her?"--Brigid believes they can bond over their shared Quinn heritage of fathers with law-enforcement careers and anger issues, not to mention forensics conversations at the dinner table.

While she and Carlo help their niece settle in, Brigid also agrees to investigate the apparent suicide of a teenager whose parents attend her church. She intends to help the dead boy's mother find peace by allaying any suspicions of foul play but soon questions the circumstances of his drowning. Her attention is diverted when one of her pugs is poisoned and Brigid herself starts experiencing strange symptoms. As peculiar incidents multiply, it seems like Gemma-Kate might be the common link, and Brigid wonders if her niece's sweet smile masks a cold-blooded secret.

Masterman riffs on fears of disease and mortality while delving into the rocky landscape of family dynamics. Brigid's armor of capability and desensitization cracks under the pressure of hallucinations and other mysterious health woes, leaving this tough heroine vulnerable--and more sympathetic--as she worries that the true culprit might be age or terminal illness. Still more affecting is her concern that the malevolence she suspects in Gemma-Kate is merely a degree of the darkness inherent in every Quinn, a coldness Brigid herself has felt in the line of duty. Gifted at laying false trails and establishing multiple threads of possibility, Masterman pulls off a surprise reveal with virtuoso-level skill. Feisty and multilayered, Brigid shows she can think as well as fight her way out of a tough situation, an admirable if unlikely heroine readers will look forward to seeing again. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: Brigid Quinn--senior citizen, loving wife and ex-FBI agent who can kill a man with her bare hands--takes in her teenage niece but soon wonders if the girl might be a monster.

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