Also published on this date: Wednesday, February 18, 2015: Kids' Maximum Shelf: Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Yen Press: The God of Nishi-Yuigahama Station by Takeshi Murase, Translated by Guiseppe Di Martino

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

Simon & Schuster: Register for the Simon & Schuster Fall Preview!

St. Martin's Press: Sacrificial Animals by Kailee Pedersen


Faber Terminates Partnership with FSG

U.K. publisher Faber & Faber has terminated its partnership with Farrar, Straus & Giroux after 17 years, and will be announcing plans for the U.S. market shortly. The Bookseller reported that "all the titles published by Faber and Faber Inc., and those under contract for release, will now become FSG titles, moving to the FSG colophon over the next 18 months." Mitzi Angel will continue to acquire as v-p and executive editor at FSG.

Faber CEO Stephen Page said the partnership "has been a highly fruitful and successful one. There could have been no more sympathetic and valuable home for the Faber brand than FSG for 17 years. The market, though, for English-language publishing has become increasingly global and digital and it has become important for us, as a U.K.-based publisher, to be able to operate under our strong brand in all English language markets and, of course, the United States is the largest of these. While this joint ownership is ending, we know that the history, values, and editorial spirit we share with FSG will endure in the many other ways we work together."

Jonathan Galassi, president and publisher of FSG, commented: "Though Faber and FSG are ending our formal affiliation, our long-standing editorial relationship, which dates back to the friendship between T.S. Eliot and Robert Giroux and includes a long list of shared authors, among them Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Derek Walcott, Paul Muldoon and Christopher Logue, will continue."

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Amazon: FAA Proposal Would Ground Prime Air in U.S.

Amazon has responded to the FAA's recently proposed rules that would allow non-military drones under 55 pounds to be flown in the U.S., but only in the daytime and within the area of vision of operators, the Hill reported.

Paul Misener, Amazon's v-p of global public policy, said the rules "for small UAS could take one or two years to be adopted and, based on the proposal, even then those rules wouldn't allow Prime Air to operate in the United States.... The FAA needs to begin and expeditiously complete the formal process to address the needs of our business, and ultimately our customers. We are committed to realizing our vision for Prime Air and are prepared to deploy where we have the regulatory support we need." 

GLOW: Torrey House Press: Life After Dead Pool: Lake Powell's Last Days and the Rebirth of the Colorado River by Zak Podmore

WI10: ABA Members Discuss Diversity

At the American Booksellers Association members town hall meeting last Tuesday, during Winter Institute 10 in Asheville, N.C., the single biggest topic of the meeting was what indies can do about the rising tide of minimum wage in many parts of the country (which was reported on in Shelf Awareness last week). Today, we look at another major topic of the town hall meeting: how to address the lack of diversity in the bookselling business.

Alison Reid, co-owner of DIESEL: A Bookstore in Oakland, Larkspur and Brentwood, Calif., raised the issue of diversity, saying she wondered if other members were concerned with the "lack of diversity in our business" and what, if any, conclusions the board had reached. Betsy Burton, co-owner of the King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, and v-p of the board, acknowledged that the board was aware of the problem and frequently discussed it but as yet hadn't come up with a solution.

ABA board members listening to booksellers' concerns
(photo: Kevin Mann)

Annie Philbrick, a board member and co-owner of Bank Square Books in Mystic, Conn., asked whether any of the booksellers in the room had thought about the issue, and if they'd come to any conclusions. Janet Geddis, owner of Avid Bookshop in Athens, Ga., which opened in 2011, brought up the ABA's Emerging Leaders scholarships, which had allowed her to attend events like Winter Institute in the first place. She suggested that "scholarship programs for prospective booksellers from different backgrounds" might be a good way of getting new people into the industry.

"The Emerging Leaders program was life-changing to me," said Geddis. Something like it "could be very beneficial to people who are just dipping their toes into the business."

Rob Dougherty, manager of Clinton Book Shop in Clinton, N.J., suggested that greater diversity and wider representation on the ABA board and among the ABA staff would go a long way in promoting greater diversity in the bookselling business.

"I think that, with all due respect, you have to look at who's on the board and who's representing us," Dougherty said. It also falls upon publishers, not just booksellers and the ABA, to help promote diversity, he added. Booksellers need to urge publishers to help provide tools to get "more diversity in our shops and bring more diversity into our gatherings like this."

John Evans, a board member and co-owner of DIESEL, encouraged ABA members to nominate to the board people "who would represent different voices than the voices you're hearing today." Every year, he said, it's difficult to get nominees for board positions; with a greater pool of people to look at, the ABA can "end up with the diverse board that you want."

Jamie Fiocco, another board member and the owner of Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, N.C., suggested working with the regional booksellers associations to get new people involved "from the bottom up." By working within the regionals, she said, booksellers can "identify candidates that will make us more diverse."

Jarek Steele, co-owner of Left Bank Books in St. Louis, Mo., said that it was "on all of us individually to make a more diverse bookselling community." As a transperson, he added, he felt "pretty alone in most crowds," but as a bookstore owner in a position of relative power, it was on him "to make other minority populations around me feel comfortable and empowered in my own store."

Jenny Cohen, co-owner of Waucoma Books in Hood River, Ore., the last bookseller to speak on the subject, urged ABA members to think of diversity as a "culture, not a profile." If booksellers embrace a culture of diversity rather than "pigeonhole" diversity as a trait, she said, a more diverse bookselling community "will naturally happen." --Alex Mutter

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

Four U.K. Indies Contending for Best Small Shop Award

Four independent bookshops in the U.K.are on the shortlist of 20 businesses in the Best Small Shops Competition, run by the All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group and administered by the Independent Retailers Confederation, the Bookseller reported. The shortlisted booksellers are Booka bookshop in Oswestry, Main Street Trading Company in St. Boswells, the Book Nook in Hove and Mr. B's Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath. The winner of the prize, which recognizes "the best entrepreneurial activity, community engagement and innovation in business," will be revealed February 25.

Obituary Notes: Richard Meryman; Martin Green

Richard Meryman, "a former Life magazine writer and editor who conducted the last interview with Marilyn Monroe, wrote an intimate portrait of the reclusive artist Andrew Wyeth, collaborated with Joan Rivers on a memoir about her quest for stardom and recounted a wrenching emotional journey after his first wife became fatally ill," died on February 5, the New York Times reported. He was 88.


British writer, poet and publisher Martin Green, "who was part of Soho’s bohemian world in the 1960s," died February 4, the Guardian reported. He was 82.


Avid Bookshop: Playing Cupid with a 'Singles Soiree'

Flagpole magazine's Barbette Houser attended this year's Valentine's Day "Singles Soiree" at Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga., and noted that "most people filling the shop were indeed there for the event. The general consensus was that, while this was a little different, it was certainly a more promising place to meet someone than the plethora of bars downtown."

In addition to "a little Côtes du Rhône on hand, along with Valentine’s cookies and the requisite chocolate candies clad in shiny pink and red wrappers," Avid gave attendees free books wrapped in brown paper to attendees and decorated with intriguing captions like 'I love you so much I could eat you!' written in magic markers," Houser wrote.

"If they don't meet somebody, at least they can go home with a good book," said bookseller Rachel Kaplan.

Bookselling & 'Little Feats of Magic'

From the Facebook page of French bookseller Berkeley Books of Paris on Valentine's Day: "There are little feats of magic that sometimes happen in used bookstores. I'm pretty sure that two people who met here after our last poetry reading are falling for each other. They met up a second time, discreetly, in the poetry section, a couple of days ago. If all goes according to my secret plan, then they are definitely now busy falling head over heels somewhere in Paris.

"Then today, two customers (who are more like friends than bookshop customers) came in independently to say hey. They crossed paths here at the desk, and I got to introduce them to each other. Needless to say, the rest of the afternoon was a lot of fun in the shop. Days like this remind me that there is no competition for what I do here. As far as I can see, nobody has built an algorithm like works like this."

'Magical Bookstore' Opens in Romania

New bookstore Cărtureşti Carusel, also known as the Carousel of Light, "is a monumental XIX century edifice that was transformed into a wonderful architectural jewel," Bored Panda reported. "It is located at the very heart of Bucharest, on a long vibrant street, in an area with coffee shops and pubs. Surrounded by bohemian, traditional and luxury clothing stores, this bookstore will surely blend in with its innovative and elegant style."

Occupying six floors, Cărtureşti Carusel features "a bistro on the top floor, a multimedia space in the basement and a gallery dedicated to modern art on the first floor. This space will also host numerous cultural events and concerts."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Neil Gaiman on Diane Rehm

Today on Fresh Air: David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, on the magazine's 90th anniversary.


Tomorrow on Diane Rehm: Neil Gaiman, author of Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062330260).


Tomorrow on PBS Newshour: Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Philip Moeller and Paul Solman, authors of Get What's Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security (Simon & Schuster, $19.99, 9781476772295).


Tomorrow night on the Tonight Show: Martin Short, author of I Must Say: My Life As a Humble Comedy Legend (Harper, $26.99, 9780062309525).

TV: Love, Nina; 11/22/63

Nick Hornby will adapt Nina Stibbe's Love, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home as a five-part BBC1 drama series, the Independent reported. Love, Nina won the U.K.'s 2014 National Book Award for nonfiction.

Hornby said the book "has already attained the status of a modern classic, and I am so happy that I've been given the opportunity to adapt it. We want to make a series that is as charming, funny and delightful as Nina Stibbe's glorious book."


James Franco will star in Hulu's series based on Stephen King's novel 11/22/63. Entertainment Weekly reported that the project, a nine-hour event series produced by J.J. Abrams and writer-producer Bridget Carpenter, "is expected to fully cover the self-contained story in King's novel. What happens after that will likely depend on the project's performance, but the show presumably could be a franchise that includes additional seasons tackling different historic events."

Books & Authors

Awards: American History Book; Canadian Nonfiction

Jill Lepore won the New-York Historical Society's American History Book Prize for The Secret History of Wonder Woman, the New York Times reported. She will be honored April 17 during the society's Weekend With History event.

"The book pushes forward the frontiers of knowledge around the story of women's rights as it retrieves crucial but forgotten history," said Louise Mirrer, the society's president and CEO.


Karyn L. Freedman's One Hour in Paris: A True Story of Rape and Recovery won the $40,000 (US$32,000) B.C. National Award for Canadian Nonfiction, presented by the British Columbia Achievement Foundation and B.C. Minister of Education Peter Fassbender, Quillblog reported.

The jury praised One Hour in Paris as "a book about rape, but, more than that, it's a book about our collective failure to address the ways in which sexual violence shames and silences its victims and taints our society as a whole."

Book Brahmin: John Clarkson

John Clarkson spent many years in the New York advertising industry as a copywriter, running his own agency and as a private consultant. He is the author of six novels, including And Justice for One and Among Thieves (Minotaur, February 3, 2015). He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

On your nightstand now:

I'm just finishing The NYPD Tapes: A Shocking Story of Cops, Cover-ups, and Courage by Graham A. Rayman. It's very meticulously done, and it's important. I'm always interested in cop stuff, particularly the NYPD--[it] often plays a part in my books, and if I can learn anything new, I take the opportunity. The book represents an enormous amount of fair and objective journalism that will allow someone like me interested in this subject to connect a great many dots.

The current read is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I enjoy Doerr's rhythms and pace. A surprise might be the other book I'm dipping into right now: The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett. For me, Hammett is a source or a touchstone for the American hero archetype. I absorbed the entire gestalt of the Continental Op character and Sam Spade. However, I'm having a very hard time relating to Nick Charles, less so with Nora. I'm also finding the dialogue jumbled and overdone. I already know I'll set aside The Thin Man. This happens to me often; I'm impatient with many books, and very rarely will I slog through a book just to finish it if I find it flawed.

Lastly, a book on the nightstand I've started: Judith Scott--Bound Unbound. I read sections of it as I can. Judith Scott is an artist, and I bought the book after seeing an exhibition of her work at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. She creates striking sculptures by binding up found objects in an assortment of materials (twine, fabrics, colored yarn, etc.) until they became completely idiosyncratic. She was born with Down syndrome and institutionalized for [more than 30 years], and because she was also deaf and couldn't speak, she was treated as if she were profoundly disabled. However, once she was put into the right environment and given a chance to work, she produced an unstoppable flow of art for 18 years until her death in 2005. Judith and her work bring up a raft of issues: gender, disability, preconceptions of art, societal norms, human ingenuity, environments to which we are exposed, the need to fulfill creative potential. Among other things, her story and work also help shatter any complacency or so-called writer's block.

Favorite book when you were a child:

As a very young child I remember Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry--it opened me up to adventure stories--but at some point I stumbled upon a series written by Duane Decker about a fictional baseball team called the Blue Sox. I grew up in Chicago with the White Sox, so maybe that's what got my attention. The first one I read was Fast Man on a Pivot. As I recall, there were books in the series for each position. I don't know if I ever read through the whole team, but it catapulted me into reading and the whole series thing.

From there it was C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower series, living through his rise from lowly midshipmen to admiral of the fleet, then P.C. Wren's Beau Geste series, and it never stopped. I'll still go into a bookstore and dive into a series. I remember standing in the cashier line at BookCourt with three of the George R.R. Martin books, paying something like $28 and thinking to myself, "Jeezus, what a bargain. I'm holding 30 or 40 hours of entertainment in my hand for 28 bucks."

Every reader out there knows what I'm talking about--the joy of finding a good writer and then you're off and running for months or years. What could be better? For me, it started with Fast Man on a Pivot.

Your top five authors:

This is tough because it can shift depending on the criteria. But I'll set the criteria and give you two lists.

List One: Important to me/big influence (not necessarily in rank order).

John Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath is simply unbeatable/indispensable. Also, his Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters were a major influence on me as a writer in terms of craft. Tom Wolfe: A game changer. The chronicler of the American scene and the founder of New Journalism with The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. A master novelist (The Bonfire of the Vanities, The Right Stuff, etc.). Jack Kerouac: Nothing was the same after On the Road. William Styron: Sophie's Choice was indelible. J.D. Salinger: The Catcher in the Rye allowed all adolescents to break through. And I can't resist padding this list with Ken Kesey and Ian Fleming.

List Two: Contemporary authors whose books I will always buy without hesitation. I don't have to read the flap copy or blurbs, I just buy them.

Stephen King, Lee Child, Robert Crais, John le Carré and Elmore Leonard.

Book you've faked reading:

Honestly, can't remember faking that I've read a book. Maybe Moby-Dick? I'm pretty sure I read it straight through in college, but when I tried to read it again, even skimming over all the stuff about whaling, I never finished it. Perhaps I don't hang with a very sophisticated crowd and don't need to fake.

Book you're an evangelist for:

John Clarkson's Among Thieves.

Book you've bought for the cover:

A Pickpocket's Tale by Timothy Gilfoyle, which features the haunting face of George Appo, a 19th-century pickpocket and thief.

Favorite line from a book:

I always like James Crumley's opening line for The Last Good Kiss: "When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon." Mostly I like the last phrase--"drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon."

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

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Book Review

Children's Review: Nightbird

Nightbird by Alice Hoffman (Wendy Lamb/Random House, $16.99 hardcover, 208p., ages 10-up, 9780385389587, March 10, 2015)

Alice Hoffman has a gift for melding magic and realism in a way that makes nearly anything seem possible. As with her Green Angel, the author here explores themes of nature, rebirth and renewal.

After singing the praises of her mother's beauty, graceful movements and gift for baking, 12-year-old narrator Teresa "Twig" Fowler confesses, "The only thing I'm good at is running. And keeping secrets. I'm excellent at that. I've had lots of practice." Twig knows she's to accept no invitations and keep to herself. Even she doesn't know why her mother left New York City without Twig's father and returned to her hometown of Sidwell, Mass. Gradually, readers learn the source of the Fowlers' secrecy: Twig's nearly 17-year-old brother, James, has wings--thanks to a curse placed on their family 200 years ago by Agnes Gate, when Twig's "four-times-great-grandfather" stood her up on their wedding day. Ever since, all the males of the Fowler family have been born with wings.

But one day, the Hall family moves into Agnes Gate's abandoned cottage with a girl Twig's age named Julia, and a 16-year-old beauty named Agate. Attempting to get a closer look at the new neighbors, Twig falls from her favorite tree and the Halls rush her to the hospital. Even then, Twig avoids them--until Julia tells Twig she's seen her brother through the attic window, and so has her beautiful sister.

No simple star-crossed love story, Hoffman's novel layers on multiple meaningful connections and mysteries. Dr. Shelton comes to Sidwell to save the black saw-whet owls, whose habitat is threatened by possible development of the Sidwell woods. Mr. Rose, the new-to-town newspaper editor, wants to do "what's best for Sidwell." The town's "Gossip Group" attributes petty thefts to a "Sidwell monster," along with mild graffiti on the general store, the tourist center and elsewhere. Now bonded together, Twig and Julia set out to solve the mystery--before a full-on search starts in which Twig worries that her brother will be discovered and made scapegoat.

Hoffman's woods are a place of wonder and magic, where James takes flight, and Twig goes on adventures. The Pink apple orchard that supplies the sublime ingredient for Twig's mother's pies began with a gift from Johnny Appleseed. Where Twig's mother lives in fear and secrecy, Twig discovers peace of mind through openness and friendship, and a faith that she can reverse the curse and free her brother from his attic cage. Enchanting. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: Consummate storyteller Alice Hoffman delivers a layered tale of fear and faith as 12-year-old Twig Fowler seeks to free her family from a centuries-old curse.

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. Three, Two, One by JA Huss
3. Fuse by Deborah Bladon
4. One Night Stand by J.S. and Helen Cooper
5. Take Me by Various
6. Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher
7. Trace by Deborah Bladon
8. Hardwired (The Hacker Series) by Meredith Wild
9. Deadly in High Heels (High Heels Mysteries #9) by Gemma Halliday
10. The Impossible Series by Julia Sykes

[Many thanks to!]

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