Shelf Awareness for Thursday, February 5, 2015

Flatiron Books: The Last One at the Wedding by Jason Rekulak

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

Ace Books: Toto by AJ Hackwith and The Village Library Demon-Hunting Society by CM Waggoner

Webtoon Unscrolled: Age Matters Volume Two by Enjelicious

St. Martin's Press:  How to Think Like Socrates: Ancient Philosophy as a Way of Life in the Modern World  by Donald J Robertson

Hanover Square Press: The Dallergut Dream Department Store (Original) by Miye Lee, Translated by Sandy Joosun Lee

Nosy Crow: Dungeon Runners: Hero Trial by Joe Todd-Stanton and Kieran Larwood

Andrews McMeel Publishing: A Haunted Road Atlas: Next Stop: More Chilling and Gruesome Tales from and That's Why We Drink by Christine Schiefer and Em Schulz

Quotation of the Day

Bookselling: 'A Cultural Business, Not a Competitive Issue'

"This is more a cultural business, not a competitive issue. This is not a sports game or any reason to compete. We want to support the community. We want everybody to slowly see things go better as a whole."

--Emöke B'Ràcz, owner of Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, Asheville, N.C., in an interview with the Citizen-Times. Asheville will host next week's ABA Winter Institute.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney


Basecamp Books and Cafe to Open in Roslyn, Wash.

Basecamp Books and Café will open in Roslyn, Wash., this summer, and owner Chris Martin told the Daily Record that he hopes to create a "traditional small town space" that will appeal to locals and visitors.

Martin has purchased and is renovating the building that once housed the Pioneer Restaurant and Sody-Licious Bar, aiming to restore the building to its original historic size and look.

Besides books, events and food, Basecamp Books and Café will offer information on hiking and skiing in the area and handle programming for the Roslyn Yard, the new park next door.

Roslyn is where the exteriors were filmed for the 1990s TV series Northern Exposure, set in fictional Cicely, Alaska.

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

Book Shop in Somerville, Mass., Closing

The Book Shop, the used bookstore in Somerville, Mass., that also sells new releases and bestsellers, is closing at the end of the month.

Owner Gil Barbosa wrote on Facebook: "I'd like to especially thank my mom, my sister, my aunt and the rest of my family. I couldn't have done it without your love and support. I've met some amazing people (and doggies too) and made great friends, to the authors, artists, my Ball Square neighbors, my book club members and volunteers and everyone else, way too many to list. THANK YOU!!! all for coming along on this wonderful journey with me. This is a community like no other and I'll miss you all. It's been a great pleasure and I have memories that will last a lifetime."

Barbosa, who founded the store in 2011, said he hopes to continue hosting the store's book clubs at another site.

Royal Family: Holman Becomes Full Partner at the King's English

Congratulations to Anne Holman, who has become a full partner in the King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, after acquiring stock in the shop from former partner Barbara Hoagland. She has worked at the store for 15 years, first as bookseller, then as events coordinator, and, for the past eight years, as store manager.

Anne Holman

The King's English said about Holman: "Putting the partnership on paper is really only a formality; over those years she's taken enthusiastic ownership of every role she's played at TKE. She's demonstrated her competence in all aspects of this crazy, complex business of bookselling and has been Betsy Burton's de facto partner in decision-making, both the tough and the creative ones, bringing her vast knowledge of bookselling and publishing (not to mention her outsized sense of humor) to bear on not only our store but our regional booksellers association, Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association. Anne's just been elected president of this group; her investment in TKE and in the business of books is extraordinary."

At S&S, Shields Named to New Global Digital Sales Post

Colin Shields

Colin Shields has been promoted to the newly created position of v-p, director of global digital and online sales, at Simon & Schuster. Since 2011, he has been responsible for all digital sales in the U.S. for the company.

In an announcement to staff about the appointment, president and CEO Carolyn Reidy said that during the last several years, "the global e-book market has expanded dramatically, with our major international accounts and local online retailers establishing or starting up in every English and foreign language market. With this expansion it has become apparent that, just as Simon & Schuster has adopted a global approach to e-book policy and business development, we can profitably apply the same principle to our selling and marketing efforts."

Shields will, she continued, "implement best practices in e-book selling, marketing and promotion at our accounts worldwide, while at the same time being mindful of the needs and sensibilities of local markets and accounts. He will work closely with our sales directors and digital sales staff in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and India and with the international sales team to assure that our strategies around the world are consistent and to communicate critical information that can maximize our international selling opportunities, whether systemically or for individual titles."

Shields reports to Michael Selleck.

Obituaries: Sherry Arden; George Nicholson; Suzette Haden Elgin

Sherry Arden, who "helped invigorate the industry as publicity director, president and publisher of William Morrow & Company" and "whose exuberance as a promoter and perspicacity as a publisher invigorated the book industry with a raft of celebrity tell-all memoirs," died January 27, the New York Times reported. She was 91. Authors she promoted included Peter Bogdanovich, Doris Day, John le Carré, Sophia Loren, Malcolm Muggeridge, Sidney Sheldon, Jacqueline Susann, Shelley Winters and Morris West.

"Sherry was exuberance personified--an early pioneer among women book publishers," author Gail Sheehy recalled.

Ellis Amburn, whom she hired as a senior editor, said Arden "championed my hits, ignored my flops--a rare and precious thing to find in top management. One of her greatest gifts was knowing how to interpret acquisition editors and their creative writers to the conservative bottom-line business types who control the money."


Literary agent George Nicholson died on February 3. He was 77.

Many people credit Nicholson with inventing paperback publishing for children, when he founded Delacorte Press and Yearling Books and acquired Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little from Harper for $37,500, "which in 1966 was all the money in the world," Nicholson told Leonard S. Marcus for an article in the Horn Book. His first job in 1959 was working for Albert Leventhal, then president of Artists and Writers Guild, a firm partly owned by Western Printing and Lithographing, which published Golden Books, among others. He had been an agent at Sterling Lord Literistic since 1995.


Science fiction author and poet Suzette Haden Elgin, who was best known for her Gentle Art of Verbal Self-defense books and the Native Tongue trilogy, died January 27. She was 78. Locus magazine noted that Elgin's "interest in linguistics is apparent in her SF, particularly in the Native Tongue books and A First Dictionary & Grammar of Láadan (1985), a work of nonfiction about the language she constructed for the Coyote Jones series. She was widely published as a linguist as well."

In an Amazing Stories magazine tribute, Diane Severson wrote: "I was profoundly affected by her novel Native Tongue, which was read and discussed by the Feminist Science Fiction Fantasy & Utopian Literature ListServ/Bookgroup many years ago, when I was just rediscovering my love for science fiction. When I discovered science fiction poetry and the Science Fiction Poetry Association I was delighted to find it had been founded by this extraordinary writer, linguist and poet."


Image of the Day: Paula Hawkins Thanks Indies

Visiting from London, Paula Hawkins stopped by the Penguin offices in New York City on Tuesday and signed 800 copies of her bestselling The Girl on a Train (Riverhead), all of which are available to independent booksellers (just ask your Penguin Random House rep). This is her way of thanking indies for showing their support for the novel from early on--via recommendations, Indie Next nominations, store displays, handselling--and helping to make it so popular.

Caldecott Winner Dan Santat: Beekle as Metaphor

Earlier this week, at the American Library Association Midwinter Conference in Chicago, writer and illustrator Dan Santat won the 2015 Caldecott Medal for The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend (Little, Brown), the story of a snowman-looking fellow with limbs and a gold crown who eagerly waits "to be imagined by a real child." Santat spoke with Shelf Awareness about the book's very true origins as a metaphor for the yearnings of an expectant father.


Congratulations! How do you feel?

Thank you very much! I'm like pumping on adrenaline.

So tell us, what were the seeds of The Adventures of Beekle? We loved your completely original idea of an imaginary friend searching for his child.

The idea was inspired by the birth of my son--a metaphor for the birth of my son. When my wife told me she was pregnant, my first thoughts as a father were wondering what he would be like, his interests, his personality, how much of me would be reflected in him. There's an anxiety of expectations, and an unconditional love you know you'll have when you meet.

That's intertwined with my son's feelings on the first day of school, and finding friends that have the same interests that he had. That was a big part of the inspiration of the story, combined with doing a story from an imaginary friend's perspective. You typically think of kids designing an imaginary friend in their minds, but there's no input from the imaginary friend himself. He's programmed to say, "My purpose is to be your friend and that's all I'm meant to do."

But Beekle is overly concerned with, "I'm such a bizarre-looking imaginary friend, I wonder if anyone would want me?" and the idea that you were both meant to be together.

How did you come up with that setting--a kind of island of misfit toys with imaginary friends in limbo until they meet their child?

It's funny that you call it limbo, because for a while the island's name was Limbo. The imaginary friends serve a function, but they don't know what it is yet. If you look on the endpapers, there's a monster that plays the drums for a child who loves music [and other examples]; they're not aware of the other half that completes them. With Beekle, my struggle was to make him in such a way that he didn't give away his purpose. He's the only pure white character in the entire book; he represents a blank canvas.

Your Beekle-eye view of the subway is so spot on. Did you think of the sailing ship and the subway as a kind of journey to transition from his island of imaginary friends to the world of humans?

The spread that really communicates the journey well is when he's lost in a sea of commuters walking, and you don't see their faces, just a sea of legs. I was trying to portray a child's experience. It's not as intimidating to meet people eye to eye as it is when you see these giants. If you're little and you're sitting on a couch, your legs are dangling off the edge of the chair. That's evident in the scene in the subway. Every year I go to New York to meet with my publisher, and people on the subway have their faces in books or they're sleeping. They don't really make contact or look around or reach out to anyone. There's a sense of a loss of magic when you're an adult. Things don't seem spectacular because you've gotten a bit cynical with the world.

You see that in the cake and the strawberries, the music notes of the accordion; those are the bright colors. It was important to me to separate these two worlds--the childlike innocence from the reality of how the world is to an adult.

It's also wonderful that you characterize both Beekle and his child, Alice, as relatively friendless--or at least incomplete--before they meet. Do you see that as the role of the imaginary friend for children?

I honestly don't feel like children pick imaginary friends based on anything in particular. When I was a kid, I didn't have imaginary friends, but if I played make-believe, it was referenced by something I knew. I was going on an adventure with a Ghostbuster or Pac Man, things I experienced through culture. Talking with kids, not a lot of their imaginary friends reflected their interests or anything in particular about them.

For the message of making a friend, I found it to be important to find two halves to a whole. To have Alice find--not because she's an introvert or shy--to find a friend in a world created by her, fills that void. It's like having that "a-ha" moment when all the pieces are coming together. I didn't want the imaginary friend to sound clichéd, hairy monsters with horns and stripes that didn't reflect anything. I wanted them to reflect these children and their interests. You can tell a lot about these children without any dialogue in the book.

If you could say anything to young readers, what would it be?

Don't be afraid. Be fearless. Go out there and engage with the world. I think you will find it to be less frightening than you anticipated it would be. There's always someone out there for you. In the end, one person is all you really need. --Jennifer M. Brown

Twin Cities: 10 Indies 'to Get Cozy with this Winter'

"Ditch your computer and mobile devices, and plan a day trip exploring these distinct and community-minded local bookstores, many of which are celebrating decade birthdays in 2015," the Line noted in showcasing 10 Twin Cities independent bookstores "to get cozy with this winter."

"We are fortunate to have an adventurous base of customers. We're able to delve deep into publishers' lists and stock the obscure, strange or even rarely-requested academic," said David Enyeart of Common Good Books in St. Paul. "At bookstores, nearly 60% of your dollar stays in the community. That's such a benefit to our community! But more than that, bookstores aren't just a place to buy books. They are a comfortable place to talk to others and get recommendations for the unexpected. Online stores use algorithms to base their book recommendations. Algorithms aren't able to surprise and delight you. Conversations and sharing ideas with other people are."

"Stores like ours build relationships and a sense of community," said Angela Schwesnedl, co-owner of Moon Palace Books in Minneapolis. "It's such a different experience than shopping online. And that's an important experience for people to have!"

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Asali Solomon on Fresh Air

Today on Fresh Air: Asali Solomon, author of Disgruntled: A Novel (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26, 9780374140342).


Tomorrow on the Steve Harvey Show: Dawn Wells, author of What Would Mary Ann Do?: A Guide to Life by Dawn Wells with Steve Stinson (Taylor Trade/NBN, $16.95, 9781630760281).

TV: Red Mars

J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5) will write Red Mars, a series based on Kim Stanley Robinson's bestselling trilogy that is currently in development for Spike TV. reported that the show "has been on fast-track development at Spike since the network took in the project in October with HBO's Game of Thrones co-executive producer Vince Gerardis as producer and Robinson as consultant."

This Weekend on Book TV: The Senate Torture Report

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, February 7
6 p.m. Rafia Zakaria, author of The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan (Beacon Press, $26.95, 9780807003367), at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.

8 p.m. George Friedman, author of Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385536332), at Politics & Prose. (Re-airs Sunday at 4 p.m.)

10 p.m. Toby Harnden, author of Dead Men Risen: An Epic Story of War and Heroism in Afghanistan (Regnery History, $32.99, 9781621572718). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Jesse Hagopian, editor of More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing (Haymarket, $18, 9781608463923).

Sunday, February 8
1 p.m. Daniel Todes, author of Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science (Oxford University Press, $39.95, 9780199925193). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

1:30 p.m. Andrew Cherlin, author of Labor's Love Lost: The Rise and Fall of the Working-Class Family in America (Russell Sage Foundation, $35, 9780871540300). (Re-airs Monday at 1:30 a.m.)

2 p.m. Phyllis Lee Levin, author of The Remarkable Education of John Quincy Adams (Palgrave Macmillan, $35, 9781137279620). (Re-airs Sunday at 11:15 p.m.)

8 p.m. Steven Brill, author of America's Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Back-Room Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System (Random House, $28, 9780812996951).

10 p.m. A discussion on The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture: Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program (Melville House, $16.95, 9781612194851) with Melville House senior editor Mark Krotov.

Books & Authors

#WI10 Buzz Books: Children's

For booksellers who serve the youngest readers, the upcoming Winter Institute continues to be a place to discover new authors and rub elbows with their favorite storytellers. (Also see our previous WI Buzz Books articles: Fiction, Nonfiction, Indie Presses, YA)

Bad Kitty: Puppy's Big Day by Nick Bruel (Roaring Brook/Macmillan, Jan., $16.99, 9781596439764)
It's been 10 years since Nick Bruel first introduced Bad Kitty--a cat that has since gone to school, appeared in a Christmas and a birthday book, and even ran for president--but the new book is the first in the series to focus on Kitty's nemesis, Puppy. "[Bruel's] such a creative genius," said Laura Donohoe, the children's buyer at Malaprop's in Asheville. "I can't wait to be in the same room with him and hear his stories."

Vegetables in Underwear by Jared Chapman (Abrams Appleseed, Apr., $14.95, 9781419714641)
From the collaborator on the Barrel of Monkeys books and the author of Pirate, Viking & Scientist comes Vegetables in Underwear, with pictures that look good enough to eat and text that is perfect for a read-along. The story illustrates the silliness as well as the more serious side side of underwear; e.g., when the big kid veggies flaunt their drawers in front of the baby carrots. And, as Kate Schlademan from the Learned Owl in Ohio pointed out, what's not to like about "veggies with wedgies?"

Home by Carson Ellis (Candlewick, Feb. $16.99, 9780763665296)
This is the much-anticipated picture-book debut from Caron Ellis, the Wildwood illustrator who also illustrated Lemony Snicket's The Composer Is Dead and other books. Home, Ellis shows readers, can look like many things (even an old shoe). "It looks gorgeous online," said Drew Sieplinga from Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis. Donohoe at Malaprop's described herself as an "evangelist" for Home.

Lola and Tattletale Zeke by Marcia Goldman (Creston, June, $16.95, 9781939547163)
Lola the therapy dog is back. Marcia Goldman applies her 25 years of using the real-life Lola in her work educating sick children, their families and their teachers about therapy animals to create a series of children's books that entertain as much as educate. Creston publisher Marissa Moss said Goldman was a big hit at Early Childhood Education Conferences and is excited to meet booksellers at WI. Some credit the success of Creston's growing publishing program with its founder: as the author of the Amelia's Notebook series and books for girls and boys of all ages, Moss is publishing from the point of view of someone who is actively creating books for children and making her own school visits.

Star Wars Epic Yarns: A New Hope by Jack Wang and Holman Wang (Chronicle, Mar., $9.95, 9781452133935)
Although the twin Wang brothers co-write their books, only Holman Wang will be at WI. But as a former middle school teacher, he'll likely have some interesting things to say about how his experience informed his collaboration with brother Jack, who teaches at Ithaca College. They're launching their Star Wars Epic Yarns series, which, like their Cozy Classics, feature handcrafted felt creations, each of which accompanies a single word of text.

Galactic Hot Dogs #1: Cosmoe's Weiner Getaway by Max Brallier, illustrated by Rachel Maguire (Aladdin/S&S, May, $13.99, 9781481424943)
From the author of more than 20 books for children and adults comes a new series that introduces Cosmoe, the Earth-boy captain of the Neon Weiner, the finest flying food truck in the galaxy. Cosmoe and his best bud Big Humphree face mutant worms, zombie space pirates and grumpy robots--while cooking up Mega Dogs the size of jeeps--to keep the galaxy safe from the Ultimate Evil.

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart (Scholastic, Jan., $16.99, 9780545665735)
Dan Gemeinhart, a teacher/librarian and father of three girls, is being lauded as a great new voice in middle grade fiction for his debut novel, The Honest Truth. In it, Mark is like most all other kids--he has a dog, a best friend and some hobbies (which include mountain climbing)--but he also has cancer. Sick of being sick, one day Mark takes his camera, notebook and dog, and sets out to climb Mount Rainier on his own. Sieplinga from Wild Rumpus said this one was definitely on her list to grab at WI.

The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein (Random House, Mar., $16.99, 9780385388443)
Chris Grabenstein is the author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library and coauthor, with James Patterson, of the I Funny series. When Billy spends the summer on the strange island of Dr. Libris, he notices some odd things, but the greatest discoveries come when Billy unlocks the library and the books come to life. "We really liked his first one," said Schlademan at Learned Owl. "Especially for kids who are readers, they love this stuff."

Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of Room 11 by N. Griffin, illustrated by Kate Hindley (Candlewick, Feb., $15.99, 9780763661458)
The author of the YA novel The Whole Stupid Way We Are aims her imagination at a slightly younger audience with her new book, Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of Room 11. The mystery in the book revolves around a stolen hamster, but will booksellers at WI discover the mystery of the author's first name?

The Tapper Twins Go to War (with Each Other) by Geoff Rodkey (Little, Brown, Apr., $13.99, 9780316297790)
Little, Brown created a lot of industry buzz when it preempted this new series (after The Chronicles of Egg) by Geoff Rodkey--the screenwriter behind Daddy Daycare--and the publisher is backing it with a 150,000 first printing. In the book, the 12-year-old Tapper twins--Claudia and Reese--are in the middle of a prank war with each other in and around their New York City private school. Told as an oral history by the twins and their friends--by way of texts, screenshots and gamer art--Rodkey's new series captures the essence and craziness of middle school life in the digital age. "It's a neat premise," said Schlademan, "and it's also funny."

The Keepers: The Box and the Dragonfly by Ted Sanders (HarperCollins, Mar., $16.99, 9780062275820)
This is the much-anticipated debut from Ted Sanders, the award-winning short story and essay writer, and it is also the first book in the Keepers series, about magical objects, secret sects and life as we know it on the line. "I just loved it," said Suzanna Hermans from Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, N.Y. "I think it will be the next Wildwood." 125,000 first printing.

Anywhere but Paradise by Anne Bustard (Egmont, Apr., $16.99, 9781606845851)
Anne Bustard was co-owner of Toad Hall Bookshop in Austin, Tex., and is the author of the picture book bio Buddy: The Story of Buddy Holly; Anywhere but Paradise is her lyrical debut novel. Like her heroine Peggy Sue, Bustard knows what it is like to move from Texas to Hawaii--she's lived in both states. But Peggy Sue is in 1960s Hawaii, where, as a white minority, she's trying to learn as much as she can about her new surroundings and its people, but gets bullied at school. At the time, Hawaii was on the verge of statehood and weathered a massive tsunami--real events that Bustard mixes into her story. --Bridget Kinsella

Awards: Bollingen Prize for Poetry

Nathaniel Mackey has won $150,000 Bollingen Prize for Poetry, which is awarded biennially by Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library "to an American poet for the best book published during the previous two years or for lifetime achievement in poetry." Past winners include Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, E.E. Cummings and Marianne Moore, Louise Glück, Gary Snyder, Jay Wright, Adrienne Rich, Susan Howe and Charles Wright.

"Nathaniel Mackey's decades-long serial work--'Songs of the Andoumboulou' and 'Mu'--constitutes one of the most important poetic achievements of our time. Outer Pradesh--jazz-inflected, outward-riding, passionately smart, open and wise--beautifully continues this ongoing project," the judges observed. Mackey's poetry collections include the National Book Award-winning Splay Anthem, Nod House, Whatsaid Serif and Eroding Witness.

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

The Soul of Discretion: A Chief Superintendent Simon Serrailler Mystery by Susan Hill (Overlook Press, $26.95, 9781468301458). "Fans of character-driven suspense who aren't afraid of gritty plot lines are sure to enjoy Hill's Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler series. Hill doesn't shy away from taking her characters into difficult territory, and The Soul of Discretion is definitely her most nerve-racking novel yet. Serrailler goes deep undercover to try to stop a ring of child pornographers while his sister, Cat, is left to deal with family drama, financial problems, a rift in their father's second marriage, and an attentive police officer. Guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat!" --Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, Mich.

The Magician's Lie: A Novel by Greer Macallister (Sourcebooks Landmark, $23.99, 9781402298684). "Macallister's debut novel is historical fiction that blends magic, mystery, and romance. In turn-of-the-century America at the height of stage magic's popularity, the renowned female illusionist Amazing Arden must convince a young police officer, Virgil Holt, of her innocence in a murder that looks suspiciously like one of her most famous illusions gone wrong. As Arden's story unfolds over the course of the night she spends in police custody, the reader, as well as Officer Holt, must decide if she is telling the truth or if this, too, is part of her act." --Meagan Albin, Breakwater Books, Guilford, Conn.

The Girl with a Clock for A Heart: A Novel by Peter Swanson (Morrow Paperbacks, $14.99 9780062267504). "This brilliant debut thriller has all the characteristics necessary for bestsellerdom! There is George Foss, an everyman protagonist who has never gotten over his first college sweetheart; Liana Dector, that first love, now a femme fatale who is as stunning as she is unpredictable; and a plot with surprises and twists on every other page. The Girl With a Clock for a Heart will take its rightful place beside my favorites from Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane!" --Jerry Brown, The Bookstore, Radcliff, Ky.

For Ages 4 to 8
Harlem Renaissance Party by Faith Ringgold (Amistad, $17.99, 9780060579111). "In this beautiful tribute to the African-American people who stepped up and out to show their exceptional talents, Ringgold explains what the Harlem Renaissance was, who was involved, and the place it has in history. Lonnie and his Uncle Bates travel back through history so Lonnie can learn firsthand about his cultural heritage." --Kathy Taber, Kids Ink, Indianapolis, Ind.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, February 10:

The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel by Matt Zoller Seitz (Abrams, $35, 9781419715716), a companion to The Wes Anderson Collection, explores Anderson's most recent film.

Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano by Dana Thomas (Penguin Press, $29.95, 9781594204944) explores two revolutionary fashion designers.

Blood Infernal: The Order of the Sanguines Series by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062343260) concludes the supernatural Order of the Sanguines trilogy.

The Food Babe Way: Break Free from the Hidden Toxins in Your Food and Lose Weight, Look Years Younger, and Get Healthy in Just 21 Days! by Vani Hari (Little, Brown, $27, 9780316376464). Enough said.

Sex Versus Survival: The Life and Ideas of Sabina Spielrein by John Launer (Overlook, $35, 9781468310580) is the biography of a sexual psychologist.


Fifty Shades of Grey, based on the book by E.L. James, opens February 13. A movie tie-in (Vintage, $15.95, 9780804172073) is available.

Book Review

Review: Father Brother Keeper

Father Brother Keeper by Nathan Poole (Sarabande Books, $15.95 paperback, 9781936747948, February 10, 2015)

Nathan Poole's debut collection of short stories, Father Brother Keeper, won the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction and is an emotionally evocative and varied experience. Its contents are rarely connected, as when two consecutive stories follow one family through generations of gentle conflict. However, even stories that don't share characters do have in common their settings in rural Georgia and a series of small towns. Each is a miniature masterpiece of perfect, often tragic realism, featuring men, women and children dealing with everyday trials: illness, death, divorce, financial hardship.

An old man fights his dementia--"he was losing traction"--when his estranged daughter leaves her two small children with him and drives away. A young man finds more than a dozen bait dogs (fight dogs past their prime) abandoned on his family's property and accuses the wrong man of the brutality. Two brothers react in different ways toward their mother after their father leaves. Two young neighbor girls who are friends contract the same illness but with different outcomes; mapping this divergence is a challenge for each family. In the stories labelled "Two from Sparta," four generations live off their land in slightly different ways, each father learning how to make his way with his son. A young man sets out to find the oldest, biggest tree of each species in the country, to honor a death. "It would be an easy thing to do, and good... a dedication. The year I would learn the joy of calling each thing by its proper name."

Poole's achievement in this collection is just that, calling each thing by its proper name. Though perhaps simple in their subject matter, each story is weighty in its emotional impact, and sharply, poignantly real. The stories all feature people living simply, accommodating change if not embracing it, and struggling to move forward through whatever life hands them. Poole's voice is original, authentic and starkly honest; he is clearly compassionate toward his characters even as he walks them through terrible everyday calamities. Father Brother Keeper is a slim book but one that demands to be read slowly and thoughtfully, so that the hints of redemption can percolate. Meticulous, gorgeous and brooding, these stories will appeal to connoisseurs of the short story as well as fans of traditional Southern ways of life and literary fiction. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: This memorable collection of reflective short stories about commonplace tragedies showcases a gentle, painstakingly accurate writing voice.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The 20/20 Diet by Phil McGraw
2. One Night Stand by J.S. and Helen Cooper
3. Cowboy 12 Pack by Various
4. Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras
5. The Pact by Karina Halle
6. Dare (Brothers of Ink and Steel Book 1) by Allie Juliette Mousseau
7. Bound to You Boxed Set by Vanessa Booke
8. Romance to the Rescue by Various
9. Billionaire Unmasked by J. S. Scott
10. Dreaming of Love by Melissa Foster

[Many thanks to!]

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