Shelf Awareness for Thursday, March 5, 2015


Yearling Books: Samantha Spinner and the Super-Secret Plans by Russell Ginns

Ballantine Books: Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly

Central Avenue Publishing: Pickle's Progress by Marcia Butler

Bitter Lemon Press: Evil Things by Katja Ivar

Delacorte Press: Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

Little Simon: Mia Mayhem Is a Superhero! (Mia Mayhem #1) by Kara West, illustrated by Leeza Hernandez

Quotation of the Day

'A Message of Warmth and Solidarity'

"Here, you're not likely to find cut-rate bargains, but you may find something you didn't even know you were seeking, like a rare title recommended by our biblio-insatiable staff. Or you may discover a first edition that we ourselves discovered in a private collection, a book hitherto tucked onto a shelf of an elegant Parc Monceau flat. Or you may read on our blog about a singer/songwriter's passion for Swedish literature and then decide to sample a new author or two.

"In return for your online purchase, we'll endeavor to give your books that certain je ne sais quoi. It could be with the bookstore's official stamp, a vintage postcard of Paris we found in a second-hand book, or a pocket-sized poem typed by a Tumbleweed at the desk looking onto Notre-Dame. Each package will be carefully, beautifully boxed and shipped, sent like a message in a bottle to you or perhaps to a friend, a message of warmth and solidarity that wherever you may be, in whatever town or city, there's always a home for readers and literary wanderers at Shakespeare and Company."

--The Shakespeare & Company, Paris, France, blog announcing the store's new website.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Fifty Things That Aren't My Fault: Essays from the Grown-Up Years by Cathy Guisewite


News

Grand Opening for Next Page Bookstore

Tomorrow, Next Page Bookstore will host its grand opening in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the Gazette reported. Owner Deb Witte purchased the business, formerly known as New Bo Books, from Mary Ann Peters earlier this year.  

Witte cited the arts and education focus in the area as one reason she is excited about opening her store at 1105 Third Street: "The discovery of books opened up a whole new world for me, and I want to share that through education and now through this bookstore.... We are here to get to know our customer base so that we know what they like."


Korero Press: The Home Bar Guide to Tropical Cocktails: A Spirited Journey Through Suburbia's Hidden Tiki Temples by Kelly Reilly and Tom Morgan


St. Paul's SubText Bookstore Moving Downtown

SubText's current location.

SubText: A Bookstore, St. Paul, Minn., will move from Cathedral Hill to the St. Paul Building downtown, the Pioneer Press reported, noting that owner Sue Zumberge "expects to vacate SubText's current location in the Blair Arcade building the third week of May and reopen in the building on Fifth Street near Wabasha Street in mid-June."

"It's time to get above ground," said Zumberge, who had also managed Garrison Keillor's Common Good Books at the Cathedral Hill location before it moved to Snelling Avenue in 2012. "Even though we are in one of the coolest spots in the Twin Cities, we are hard to find. Historic designation limits signage. I've talked with a lot of customers who say, 'This is so cool. I've had coffee upstairs for three years and never came down here.' It's been an uphill struggle."

In the new space, "People will be able to see us when they walk by and we'll have window displays to catch people's eye," she added.

John Rupp, the building's owner, "is giving Zumberge free rein to design her 1,700-square-foot bookstore, about the same size as the current location," the Pioneer Press wrote.

"John and I have talked about doing something together for a long time," she said. "I knew him because of his love of St. Paul. When I moved over here from Minneapolis and worked for Garrison, John showed me parts of this city I'd never seen. And we are two big dreamers, talking about bringing life back downtown."


Soho Teen: The Art of Losing by Lizzy Mason - Request It!


Politics and Prose to Sell Books at Flagship Busboys and Poets

This spring Teaching for Change, which for 10 years has owned and run the bookstore at the flagship Busboys and Poets restaurant at 14th and V Street, N.W., in Washington, D.C., will hand over responsibility for the bookstore to Politics and Prose, which now operates bookstores at the five other Busboys and Poets locations, which are in Maryland, Virginia and the District. Teaching for Change will continue to review, recommend and promote books that address key themes in the classroom and current events online through its webstore, tfcbooks.org.

"We are proud of the role we have played in building a destination progressive bookstore in D.C.," said Teaching for Change executive director Deborah Menkart. Teaching for Change is in the midst of a national expansion of its programs that provide teachers and parents with tools to create schools "where students learn to read, write, and change the world."

During the past decade, Teaching for Change has put on more than 600 events at Busboys and Poets for authors such as Naomi Klein, Junot Diaz, Bob Moses, Edwidge Danticat, Pearl Cleage,and Howard Zinn. It also helped to launch bestsellers such as Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow and promoted multicultural children's literature.

Busboys and Poets founder and owner Andy Shallal said, "Teaching for Change has played a key role in shaping Busboys and Poets' identity as a venue for cutting edge ideas, progressive literature and thoughtful conversations with authors and community members." In appreciation, proceeds from an upcoming Busboys and Poets 10th anniversary celebration will go to Teaching for Change, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Last November, Politics and Prose and Busboys and Poets announced the arrangement under which P&P began selling books in Busboys and Poets locations.


Quirk Books: William Shakespeare's Much Ado about Mean Girls by Ian Doescher


USPS Unveils Maya Angelou Forever Stamp

The U.S. Postal Service offered a preview of the Forever Stamp honoring Maya Angelou and announced that the First-Day-of-Issue stamp dedication ceremony will take place at April 7 in Washington, D.C. The stamp can be ordered now for delivery shortly after April 7.

Designed by art director Ethel Kessler, the stamp showcases artist Ross Rossin's 2013 oil-on-canvas portrait of Angelou, which is part of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery's collection, where it will be on display through November 1. The stamp features this quotation: "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song." The pane includes an excerpt from Letter to My Daughter: "Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud."


Notes

Image of the Day: Story Prize Indie Thanks

After winning the $20,000 Story Prize for her short story collection Thunderstruck (Dial) at an awards ceremony last night in New York City, author Elizabeth McCracken thanked "two breeds of religious zealots": independent booksellers and the editors of literary magazines. Indie booksellers, she said, have pressed her books into "the hands of so many readers," and pressed the books of so many other authors into her own.

Runners-up, who each won $5,000, were Francesca Marciano for The Other Language (Pantheon) and Lorrie Moore for Bark (Knopf). At the event, all three finalists read from and discussed their work with Story Prize director Larry Dark. Then prize founder Julie Lindsey announced the winner.


Happy 20th Birthday, Booklovers' Gourmet!

Congratulations to Booklovers' Gourmet, Webster, Mass., which is celebrating its 20th anniversary with special sales and events that started yesterday.

The store is offering daily discounts and raffles that culminate on Saturday, March 7, from 12-2 p.m., with a celebration featuring live music by local favorites the Grey Whisker Pickers and light refreshments. Customers will be encouraged to sign a "memory wall" with comments and well wishes.


Pennie Picks Dead Wake

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson (Crown, $28, 9780307408860) as her pick of the month for March. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"I love getting lost in a good book about some slice of history. I'm especially glad to do so if the book is by author Erik Larson.

"In his new book, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania--this month's book buyer's pick--Larson details the last time the ship sailed from New York on its way to Liverpool.

"Through records, telegrams, journals and more, Larson captures the voyage in details that help me imagine a time that 100 years later feels more foreign than old-fashioned. Equally impressive--but much more unsettling--are the eeriness and disquiet found in his descriptions of the use of submarines in World War I.

"Once again Larson weaves together two storylines that add up to one big success."



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Lauren Scruggs Shines on Today

Today on Fresh Air: Larry David, talking about writing and starring in his new Broadway play, Fish in the Dark.

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Lauren Scruggs, co-author of Your Beautiful Heart: 31 Reflections on Love, Faith, Friendship, and Becoming a Girl Who Shines (Tyndale Momentum, $14.99, 9781414376714).

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Tomorrow on the View: Rocco DiSpirito, author of Cook Your Butt Off!: Lose Up to a Pound a Day with Fat-Burning Foods and Gluten-Free Recipes (Grand Central, $26, 9781455583522).


Movies: Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk; The Crowded Room

Steve Martin has been cast in Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, based on the novel by Ben Fountain and directed by Ang Lee. Deadline.com reported that Martin joins Joe Alwyn, "with Garrett Hedlund in line for another key role." The project starts shooting in April.

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Leonardo DiCaprio "is getting closer to playing a role he's eyed for nearly 20 years," according to the Hollywood Reporter, which wrote that DiCaprio's Appian Way "has come aboard to produce The Crowded Room with New Regency, while Jason Smilovic and Todd Katzberg have been hired to write the adapted script." DiCaprio will also serve as a producer. The project is based on Daniel Keyes's 1981 book, The Minds of Billy Milligan. DiCaprio "has been interested in playing him stretching back to 1997," THR noted.


This Weekend on Book TV: David Morris

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, March 7
4 p.m. Randy Boyagoda, author of Richard John Neuhaus: A Life in the Public Square (Image, $30, 9780307953964). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.).

7 p.m. Bruce Hoffman, author of Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947 (Knopf, $35, 9780307594716). (Re-airs Monday at 2 a.m.)

8 p.m. Mary Pilon, author of The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game (Bloomsbury, $27, 9781608199631). (Re-airs Sunday at 3 p.m.)

8:30 p.m. Bartholomew Sparrow, author of The Strategist: Brent Scowcroft and the Call of National Security (PublicAffairs, $37.50, 9781586489632). (Re-airs Monday at 5:30 a.m.)

10 p.m. David Morris, author of The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544086616). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Marc Goodman, author of Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It (Doubleday, $27.95, 9780385539005).


Sunday, March 8
12:30 a.m. Scott Taylor, author of Trust Betrayed: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the Selling Out of America's National Security (Regnery, $27.99, 9781621573272). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

7 p.m. Allyson Hobbs, author of A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life (Harvard University Press, $29.95, 9780674368101).

11 p.m. Carol Booker, editor of Alone Atop the Hill: The Autobiography of Alice Dunnigan, Pioneer of the National Black Press (University of Georgia Press, $26.95, 9780820347981), and James McGrath Morris, author of Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press (Amistad, $27.99, 9780062198853). (Re-airs Monday at 7 p.m.)


Books & Authors

Awards: Golden Kite; B&N Discover; L.A. Times; Scottish Kids

Winners of the 2015 Golden Kite Awards, presented to children's book authors and artists by their peers and sponsored by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, are:

Fiction: Revolution by Deborah Wiles (Scholastic)
Nonfiction: The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candice Fleming (Schwartz & Wade Books)
Picture book illustration: The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, illustrated by Melissa Sweet (Eerdmans), written by Jen Bryant
Picture book text: A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina's Dream by Kristy Dempsey (Philomel Books), illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Honor Books
Fiction: Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon (Dial Books for Young Readers)
Nonfiction: Freedom Summer: The 1964 Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi by Susan Goldman Rubin (Holiday House)
Picture book illustration: The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee (Beach Lane Books)
Picture book text: The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall (Nancy Paulsen Books)

Sid Fleischman Award for Humor: Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen (Candlewick)

The Golden Kite awards will be presented at the Golden Kite Luncheon during SCBWI's Annual Conference on Writing and Illustrating for Children in Los Angeles, July 31-August 3. 

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Evie Wyld's novel novel All the Birds, Singing (Vintage Books/Pantheon) and Bryce Andrews' memoir Badluck Way: A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West (Atria) won this year's Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Awards. Each writer receives $10,000 and a full year of marketing and merchandising support from the bookseller.

Finishing in second place ($5,000 each) were Molly Antopol's The UnAmericans (Norton) for fiction and Caitlin Doughty's Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory (Norton) for nonfiction. Third-place awards of $2,500 went to Arna Bontemps Hemenway for Elegy on Kinderklavier (Sarabande) for fiction and Will Harlan's Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island (Grove/Atlantic) for nonfiction.

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Finalists in 10 categories have been named for the 35th annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, which will be awarded April 18 on the eve of the L.A. Times Festival of Books. This year's Innovator's Award goes to LeVar Burton "for inspiring generations of readers with Reading Rainbow." The winner of the Robert Kirsch Award for Lifetime Achievement is author T.C. Boyle, whose "stature within our community is unique, from the breadth of his novels and stories to his engagement with his students and role as a mentor," said Times book critic David L. Ulin.

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Ross Collins, Alex McCall and Cathy MacPhail were winners of the 2015 Scottish Children's Book Awards. Collins won the Bookbug Readers (ages 3-7) category for his illustrations in the picture book Robot Rumpus, written by Sean Taylor. McCall took the Younger Readers (ages 8-11) category for his first novel, Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens. Cathy MacPhail won the Older Readers (ages 12-16) category for her YA thriller, Mosi's War. Each winner receives £3,000 (about $4,600).


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

Hardcover
Black River: A Novel by S.M. Hulse (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9780544309876). "This debut set in the American West follows Wes Carver, a former corrections officer whose passion in life was playing the fiddle until his hands were ruined during a prison riot. Years later, following the loss of his wife to cancer, Wes returns to the small prison town in Montana to scatter his wife's ashes and speak at the parole hearing of the inmate who ruined his life. He struggles to accept the possibility that the inmate has found God, especially as his own faith is hanging on by a thread. Hulse's writing is like the river at the center of her novel, a quiet surface covering raging emotions underneath, and her descriptions of music are breathtakingly beautiful. Discover a wonderful new talent!" --Nancy Solberg, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass.

Etta and Otto and Russell and James: A Novel by Emma Hooper (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781476755670). "Eighty-three-year-old Etta Vogel quietly sets out one day to walk 3,200 kilometers to the coast of Canada for her first view of the ocean. As Etta travels, author Hooper gently and poignantly reveals a lifetime of morally charged events that shaped Etta as well as her husband, Otto, and her lifelong friend, Russell. This is a beautiful and sometimes hauntingly stark portrait of three WWII-generation lives, sprinkled with the wise counsel of a loyal coyote named James. I loved it!" --Susan Tyler, The Book Bin, Onley, Va.


Paperback
The Wives of Los Alamos: A Novel by TaraShea Nesbit (Bloomsbury, $16, 9781620405048). "In 1943, families of mathematicians and scientists, escorted under high security, move to The Hill--Los Alamos, New Mexico. Not knowing where they're going or why, these wives from all over the world cut their ties with friends and relatives to live in isolation, without telephones or uncensored mail. Based on the history of the development of 'The Gadget'--the atomic bomb--this novel reads like a collective diary of hundreds of wives. This unique first-person plural recounting of real events culminates with varied reactions to the use of this powerful weapon on the people of Japan. Nesbit portrays these delicate issues brilliantly!" --Jane Morck, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Wash.


For Ages 9 to 12
Kid Presidents: True Tales of Childhood From America's Presidents by David Stabler (Quirk Books, $13.95, 9781594747311). "Everyone knows that presidents were kids once, but what kinds of kids were they? They must have been something special or they wouldn't have become president, right? Well it turns out that they were just ordinary kids like everyone else. Twenty captivating true stories packed with cool facts make up this funny laugh-out-loud collection." --Janice Hunsche, Kaleidosaurus Books, Metamora, Ind.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing Tuesday, March 10:

World Gone By: A Novel by Dennis Lehane (Morrow, $27.99, 9780060004903) is the second book starring crime boss Joe Coughlin.

Cold Betrayal: An Ali Reynolds Novel by J.A. Jance (Touchstone, $25.99, 9781476745046) continues the Ali Reynolds series.

Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World's Greatest Art Heist by Stephen Kurkjian (PublicAffairs, $25.99, 9781610394239) looks at the unsolved 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist in Boston.

Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life by Eric Greitens (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780544323988) chronicles a Navy SEAL's attempt to help his PTSD-stricken friend through letters.

Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry by Jeffrey A. Lieberman and Ogi Ogas (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316278867) is a history of psychiatry told by the former president of the American Psychiatric Association.

Mindful Work: How Meditation Is Changing Business from the Inside Out by David Gelles (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544227224) explores the use of meditation and mindfulness in the workplace.

A Fireproof Home for the Bride: A Novel by Amy Scheibe (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250049674) follows a young woman raised in a strict 1950s rural Lutheran household.

All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer (Minotaur, $23.99, 9781250045423) features two CIA case officers linked by an old terror attack in Vienna.


Book Review

Review: The Discreet Hero

The Discreet Hero by Mario Vargas Llosa, trans. by Edith Grossman (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26 hardcover, 9780374146740, March 10, 2015)

Two sorely mistreated octogenarians come up with some dramatic solutions to their problems, which get all tangled up with each other in The Discreet Hero by Mario Vargas Llosa, the 2010 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Insignificant-looking Felícito Yanaqué, the frugal and hardworking head of a trucking business in the little Peruvian town of Piura, has received an extortion note from an anonymous source, signed only with a drawing of a spider. Crime is on the rise in thriving, rapidly growing Piura, so it's no surprise that someone is hitting up successful Felícito for protection money. But his sharecropper father's dying words were an admonition never to let anyone walk all over him. Elderly Felícito becomes the hero of the town by publicly defying the extortionists in the local newspaper.

At the same time, Ismael Carrera, prosperous insurance salesman in Lima, has overheard his treacherous twin sons discussing his eventual death with eager anticipation. In defiance, he has decided to marry his devoted servant, Armida, and cut his sons out of the inheritance before they find out about it.

What neither of these two octogenarians realize is that Felícito's wife and Ismael's mistress are sisters. While those two plots begin to entangle one another, an old favorite from previous Vargas Llosa novels, 62-year-old Don Rigoberto (In Praise of the Stepmother and The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto), is retiring from Carrera's insurance company. Don Rigoberto has a handsome teenage son, Fonchito, who is apparently being stalked by a sad, clever, seductive man who may very well be the devil.

To unravel the ensuing shenanigans, Vargas Llosa brings in two detectives from his earlier fiction, Captain Silva and Sergeant Lituma (Who Killed Palomino Molero?); their camaraderie and unorthodox procedures add yet another dimension to this multifaceted, rich and wise "old man's novel." A blind beggar, a broad-hipped secretary, a clairvoyant holy woman, a Chinese grocer and a nervous black chauffeur round out the cast.

What makes it all work are the characters. The multi-stranded plot, with its liberal dose of coincidence, is mostly an excuse to bring all these likable, full-bodied personalities together. Vargas Llosa's love for them is contagious. Though the identity of the anonymous extortionist is discovered halfway through, the book rattles happily along for another hundred pages with characters so endearing most readers won't mind. With Vargas Llosa in control, it's all a pleasure--and he doesn't reveal the solution to one final mystery until the last delicious page. --Nick DiMartino, Nick's Picks, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

Shelf Talker: Two Peruvian octogenarians set out to foil some ruthless predators scheming after their wealth in Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa's novel of family, social class and inheritance.


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