Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Tender Beasts by Liselle Sambury

Scholastic Press: Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Alan Gratz

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Peachtree Publishers: King & Kayla and the Case of the Downstairs Ghost (King & Kayla) by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers

Doubleday Books: The Husbands by Holly Gramazio


B&T Sells Warehouse Club, Publishing & YBP Businesses

In a move that CEO George Coe said allows the company "to focus on our core business," Baker & Taylor has sold its warehouse club business and Baker & Taylor Publishing to Readerlink Distribution Services. At the same time, it has sold YBP Library Services to EBSCO Publishing.

Baker & Taylor Publishing has three imprints: Silver Dolphin Books, Thunder Bay Press (including the literature series, Canterbury Classics) and Portable Press. The warehouse club business was built mainly on the Advanced Marketing Services operations that B&T bought in 2007 following AMS's collapse. Readerlink is the largest full-service book distributor of hardcover, trade and paperback books to non-trade booksellers in North America. The sale includes the B&T Marketing Services distribution center in Indianapolis, Ind.; general offices in San Diego, Calif.; and editorial offices in Ashland, Ore. The acquisition does not include B&T Marketing Services businesses in the U.K. or Mexico.

YBP Library Services provides collection management and technical services to academic, research and special libraries worldwide. B&T said it will continue to partner with EBSCO to serve the academic library market, primarily with physical book distribution services.

Coe said that with the sales, B&T is "now better able to invest in innovative solutions, services and technologies that help our company maintain leadership in markets, specifically public library, K-12 classroom and school libraries, and retail booksellers."

Holiday House: The Five Impossible Tasks of Eden Smith by Tom Llewellyn; The Selkie's Daughter by Linda Crotta Brennan

Susan Mercier Resigns as Edgartown Books Manager


Susan Mercier has resigned as manager of Edgartown Books, in Edgartown, Mass., on Martha's Vineyard, to become the program coordinator of a new nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide mental health and substance abusive services to young people.

Mercier was manager of Edgartown Books for many years until 2010, then returned in 2012, when the store was bought by Jeffrey and Joyce Sudikoff. In an e-mail to friends and colleagues, she said, "The past twelve plus years that I have spent in the bookselling community in New England has brought me much joy and I have created relationships that will last a lifetime. Thank you for your support and friendship. I know our paths will cross again!!!!"

USPS to Honor Maya Angelou with Forever Stamp

Maya Angelou will be honored with a Forever Stamp by the U.S. Postal Service, which said it will preview the stamp and provide details on the day and location of the first-day-of-issuance ceremony at a later date.

"Maya Angelou inspired our nation through a life of advocacy and through her many contributions to the written and spoken word," said Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan. "Her wide-ranging achievements as a playwright, poet, memoirist, educator, and advocate for justice and equality enhanced our culture."


Image of the Day: Rikki the Reading Therapy Dog

Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor, Mich., has an especially popular staff member: Rikki the Reading Therapy Dog, who visits the store once a month and enjoys having kids come and read to her. She also greets people in the children's department ans helps pick out books, too.

Students Still Prefer Print for More Serious Reading

In a long piece exploring college students' preference for printed material over digital texts, the Washington Post quoted Marlene England, owner of the Curious Iguana in Frederick, Md. England said, the Post wrote, "millennials regularly tell her they prefer print because it's 'easier to follow stories.' "

Many observers had predicted that today's students would embrace e-books, particularly e-textbooks, but many students the Post spoke with said they were too easily distracted reading digitally, found it easier to concentrate on paper and could "build a physical map" in their minds of the information as presented in books.

Students do tend to prefer digital texts for science and math classes with access to online portals for study problems as well as for classes where "locating information quickly is key."

Naomi S. Baron, an American University linguist and author of Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World (Oxford University Press), told the Post that research shows readers spend a little more than one minute on Web pages and only 16% of people read word-by-word online.

Beantown Business Boost: 'Boston Bingo'

To help spur business in a city hit by multiple snowstorms over the past month, the Office of Economic Development in Boston, Mass., yesterday introduced "Boston Bingo," which can be used to win tickets to Boston Bruins games, coffee with Mayor Marty Walsh and other prizes, according to CBS.

The bingo cards include "visit your local bookstore" as one of the activities, along with "see a show," "enjoy a cup of coffee at your neighborhood café," "pick up a gift for someone else" and more. The game runs through March 15.

Participants can hand in a paper bingo card and receipts, or play electronically by taking pictures of themselves at each location, posting the photos on social media with the hashtag #BosBINGO and then e-mailing a photo or copy of the winning bingo card.

In a statement, the mayor said, "Boston Bingo is a creative way for residents to come together and support our local economy as we continue to recover from the historic amount of snow Boston has received this winter."

'Secret Libraries of Chicago'

In featuring the "secret libraries of Chicago," Atlas Obscura's Illinois Week noted that the city's "vibrant network of public libraries opened its doors in the wake of 1871's great fire. But long before that, private libraries were the norm. These days, Chicago's small and private libraries still serve niche communities with specialized resources and knowledge. Try one of these little-known spots and immerse yourself in a unique, curated collection."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Philip Connors on Fresh Air

Today on Fresh Air: Philip Connors, author of All the Wrong Places: A Life Lost and Found (Norton, $25.95, 9780393088762).


Tomorrow on Diane Rehm, readers review The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.


Tomorrow on the Wendy Williams Show: Nicole Lapin, author of Rich Bitch: A Simple 12-Step Plan for Getting Your Financial Life Together...Finally (Harlequin, $24.95, 9780373893171).


Tomorrow night on the Late Show with David Letterman: Eric Ripert, author of My Best: Eric Ripert (Ducasse Books, $19.95, 9782841237265).

TV: The Returned

The Returned, A&E's upcoming series inspired by the International Emmy Award-winning French suspense television series, Les Revenants, will premiere March 9. On April 7, Sourcebooks is releasing a U.S. edition of Seth Patrick's novelization of the French series, which Pan Macmillan U.K. originally published in 2014. Les Revenants attracted nearly eight million viewers over the eight episodes and became a cult phenomenon.
The cast for A&E's The Returned includes Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim), Mark Pellegrino (Lost), Sandrine Holt (House of Cards), Jeremy Sisto (Suburgatory), Sophie Lowe (Once Upon a Time in Wonderland), Kevin Alejandro (Arrow) and Michelle Forbes (Battlestar Galactica). Carlton Cuse (Bates Motel, The Strain) and Raelle Tucker (True Blood) are the executive producers.

Books & Authors

Awards: Pannell Nominees; Red House Children's Book

Congratulations to the nominees for this year's WNBA Pannell Awards, which recognizes bookstores that "enhance their communities by bringing exceptional creativity to foster a love of reading among their young patrons." The nominees in the general bookstore category are:

{pages} A Bookstore, Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, Ill.
Astoria Bookshop, Queens, N.Y.
Bookshop West Portal, San Francisco, Calif.
Busboys and Poets Books, Washington, D.C.
Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Ariz.
Frugal Bookstore, Roxbury, Mass.
Landmark Booksellers, Franklin, Tenn.
Laurel Book Store, Oakland, Calif.
Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo.
MainStreet BookEnds of Warner, Warner, N.H.
Mostly Books, Gig Harbor, Wash.
Page & Palette, Fairhope, Ala.
Prairie Lights Books, Iowa City, Iowa
Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif.
Source Booksellers, Detroit, Mich.
The Bookstore Plus, Lake Placid, N.Y.
Towne Center Books, Pleasanton, Calif.

In the children's specialty bookstore category:

Blue Manatee Bookstore, Cincinnati, Ohio
Books of Wonder, New York, N.Y.
Hooray 4 Books!, Alexandria, Va.
Monkey See, Monkey Do..., Clarence, N.Y.
Once Upon a Time Bookstore, Montrose, Calif.
Square Books Jr., Oxford, Miss.
Storybook Village of Pentwater, Pentwater, Mich.
The Reading Bug, San Carlos, Calif.


The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, was the overall winner of the Red House Children's Book Award. The prize, owned by the Federation of Children's Book Groups and administered by the Book People, is voted for by young readers from a shortlist drawn up by children's book groups across the U.K.

In addition to its overall prize, The Day the Crayons Quit was also chosen the best work in the "younger children" category. Other category winners were Demon Dentist by David Walliams (younger readers) and Split Second by Sophie McKenzie (older readers).

Book Review

Review: Know Your Beholder

Know Your Beholder by Adam Rapp (Little, Brown, $26 hardcover, 9780316368919, March 3, 2015)

Nothing much seems to be going on with Francis Falbo, the narrator of Adam Rapp's new novel, set in downstate Pollard, Ill., during the winter of Francis's 36th year. Former rhythm guitar player and songwriter for Third Policeman, his defunct "well-aged, anti-industry psychedelic semi-jam band with a penchant for outro pop harmonies and the occasional speedy punk vibe," Francis lives alone in the attic of his inherited Victorian childhood home converted to apartments. His beloved mother died slowly of cancer and his distant accountant father retired and moved to Florida with a bimbo 20 years his junior. After only three years of marriage, Francis's wife left him for a square-jawed New York pharma salesman. Francis isn't doing well. He sees himself as "the human equivalent of a cold rainy day... a brown puddle in the middle of a dead-end street, with maybe a Popsicle stick or two floating in my dank, dog-slobbered water." Withdrawn and agoraphobic, he lives on junk food, whiskey and pills from his home delivery drug dealer and wears worn slippers and a ratty bathrobe--rarely venturing outside during a Midwest season that begins with blizzards and ends with a devastating multi-tornado storm.

Francis intermittently writes a journal of sorts, scattered with sketches and tentatively called "Know Your Beholder," after track two of his band's only album. Rapp's Know Your Beholder is Francis's story of remorse and his search for a reason not to sit around and "drink consecutive bourbons and play Minnesota-based, mid-nineties slowcore music." He finds that reason in the oddball collection of tenants in his carved-up, remodeled house: his ex-wife's reclusive, weird brother--"handsome, athletic-looking... who, aside from hacky-sack, wiffle ball, and occasional stints skateboarding, has never played a sport in his life"; a former circus trapeze artist couple whose young daughter mysteriously disappears; an artist who paints well-endowed nude black men and surprisingly includes Francis in her portfolio ("acceptably average... the genital equivalent of Hall and Oates 'Method of Modern Love' "); an overweight, retired schoolteacher widower who discovers his calling playing Willy Loman in a local production of Death of a Salesman; and a former first alternate on the American Olympic luge team who looks "as ageless as a cardboard cylinder of Quaker Oats."

Playwright (Red Light Winter), film writer/director (Winter Passing), guitar player in the alt-rock group Less the Band, and author of several YA and adult novels (The Year of Endless Sorrows), Rapp is a renaissance man with a theatrical flair for dialogue, a talent for defining characters by their clothes and music and a relentless sense of humor. It's no surprise that a man who sketches his ex-wife's body and is obsessed with sex finds redemption in a woman. The daughter of his Willy Lomanesque tenant comes to visit, recognizes him as "an averagely handsome guy who looks slightly better while playing electric guitar," and accepts him for that. God bless understanding women and rock 'n' roll. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: Playwright Adam Rapp's second adult novel is a funny, poignant story of a down-on-his-luck, agoraphobic former rock band guitarist in search of a new gig.

Deeper Understanding

After Charlie: Cartoonists Discuss the Future

Thursday night in Manhattan, at Florence Gould Hall at the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), Leonard Lopate led a discussion with cartoonists Art Spiegelman, Molly Crabapple, Emmanuel "Manu" Letouzé and New Yorker cover director Françoise Mouly about the Charlie Hebdo murders and what's next. The FIAF, PEN American Center and the National Coalition Against Censorship sponsored the program.

"After Charlie" speakers: (l.-r.) Emmanuel "Manu" Letouze, Molly Crabapple, moderator Leonard Lopate, Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman.]

Leonard Lopate posited that William Hogarth, working in the 18th century, was the first political cartoonist, but suggested that Charlie Hebdo was the first to be punished for its satire. Cartoonist and journalist Molly Crabapple pointed out the power of visual satire: "Op-ed pieces are tied to a certain language," she said, "but art you can yank out of context." Lopate quoted Boss Tweed, who infamously said, "Stop the pictures! My constituents can't read, but they can see pictures!"

New Yorker art director, French-born Françoise Mouly, described the difference between French and American points of view, when it came to Charlie Hebdo. "In France, the written press joined with the artists," she said, while in the U.S., "there's a fear of artists not being totally toilet-trained." Her husband, Art Spiegelman, Pulitzer Prize–winning creator of Maus, added, "Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are the closest we have to political cartoonists."

Socio-political cartoonist Emmanuel "Manu" Letouzé said he was 21 when he first met Charlie's editor-in-chief, Philippe Val. "Working for Charlie was my dream," Manu wrote in a strip called "They killed my idols." He said, "These were not racists. Context is the point." Mouly added, "Charlie Hebdo's roots were in the 1960s, when it was far more important to fight the established order. When Charlie got the interdiction [at that time], they became a rallying point. They went from 10,000 to 100,000 circulation--thanks to the censorship. They provoked the discussion of how far you can go, and what's too far."

Crabapple expanded on the idea of a line to be crossed: "There's the law that bans it, but then you're outsourcing your ethics to the State." She described her experience visiting Guantanamo as "the most censored place." She had to wear identification as "escort of the military" and was not allowed to draw the faces of anyone who works there. She received death threats after her Gitmo piece was published. "The only faces are the prisoners,' " Crabapple said.

Spiegelman described another line crossed, when he began doing covers for the New Yorker. "My model was MAD," Spiegelman said. "The New Yorker at that time was 'it's nice in Connecticut' kind of covers." In describing his approach to the February 15, 1993, cover, a reference to the Crown Heights riots, he said, "I doodled the New Yorker fellow and thought, 'What would he look like if he were Jewish?" The cover depicts a Hasidic Jew and an African American woman kissing. Lopate asked, "Who was upset by it?" Everyone, essentially. "I was trying to avoid the stereotypes," Spiegelman explained. "My Jew escaped from a Chagall painting; she was not of the Aunt Jemima school. A religious Jew couldn't touch his wife in public. I brought them together, and both sides were equally upset." He thought that embrace would be amusing, rather than upsetting.

Another cover, however, "41 shots 10 cents," (March 8, 1999) Spiegelman claims was "meant to shock." The white police officer in a shooting gallery made a clear reference to the Amadou Diallo shooting. "The cover brought it from a conversation only Al Sharpton was having and opened it up as a city-wide dialogue," said Spiegelman, who described the cover as "a picture of a picture of what happened to the image of the police."

Mouly took this idea of crossing a line one step further when she described the inspiration behind "The Politics of Fear" New Yorker cover (July 21, 2008) depicting candidate Barack Obama dressed as a Muslim and a rifle- and ammunition-toting Michele Obama fist-bumping in the Oval Office. "We were trying to pin down the whisperings," Mouly explained. "The power of the talk was that no one brought it out in the open. This was the right-wing nightmare."

What the cartoons of the prophet in Charlie Hebdo attempted to do, Mouly said, was to demonstrate that "there's a difference between the fundamentalists and Muhammad. They did not show [the prophet's] face." Crabapple also pointed out that "There's a Persian tradition of representing the prophet. There's also a solidarity [with Charlie Hebdo] from Middle Eastern journalists. The people on the front lines are not Western cartoonists, they're the writers of the global South."

"I have no interest in drawing the prophet--unless I'm told I cannot," added Manu. "Charlie Hebdo did things in context, not as an insult. It was political commentary." --Jennifer M. Brown

photos courtesy of PEN American Center

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