Also published on this date: Wednesday, March 25, 2015: Kids' Maximum Shelf: The Tapper Twins Go to War (with Each Other)

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Storey Publishing: The Universe in Verse: 15 Portals to Wonder Through Science & Poetry by Maria Popova

Tommy Nelson: You'll Always Have a Friend: What to Do When the Lonelies Come by Emily Ley, Illustrated by Romina Galotta

Jimmy Patterson: Amir and the Jinn Princess by M T Khan

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

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout


Independent Bookstore Day Plays a Week Late in the Big Easy

In New Orleans, Independent Bookstore Day will be held on Saturday, May 9, a week later than in the rest of the country.

The reason is Jazz Fest, which runs from April 24 to May 3 and has been one of the largest of New Orleans's many festivals and events that run throughout the year. "Jazz Fest is so big that it would be kind of worthless if we did Independent Bookstore Day the same weekend," explained Britton Trice, owner of Garden District Book Shop.

During Jazz Fest, formally known as the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the New Orleans Gulf South Booksellers Association, which includes nine New Orleans indies, operates a book tent, with proceeds going to literacy causes around the city. "It's our big fundraiser, and it's our 31st year doing it," Trice said.

Other than the week delay, Independent Bookstore Day in New Orleans resembles other IBD events around the country. Octavia Books will host several authors, including Carrie Rollwagen, author of an apropos title, The Localist: Think Independent, Buy Local, and Reclaim the American Dream. Several area stores are featuring journals with a map of New Orleans on the cover made by Blackbird Letterpress in Baton Rouge.

Weldon Owen: The Gay Icon's Guide to Life by Michael Joosten, Illustrated by Peter Emerich

Hennessey + Ingalls Closing Hollywood Location

Hennessey + Ingalls Art & Architecture Bookstore will close its Hollywood location March 29, though its flagship store in Santa Monica will remain open. On Facebook, Hennessey + Ingalls posted: "We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our friends and customers for their loyal patronage over the past six years at that location. This news is very sad for us. It has been a pleasure being apart of the Hollywood community."

Jacket Copy reported that the store "is at Space 15 Twenty, 1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Suite 8. Other stores in Space 15 Twenty, where Hennessey + Ingalls has been for six years and holds events like pompon-making workshops and a floral-arranging pop-up shop, include Urban Outfitters, Pharmacy Board Shop and Umami Burger."

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Ferguson Director Earns Lemony Snicket 'Noble Librarians' Prize

Scott Bonner

Scott Bonner, director of the Ferguson Public Library in Missouri, has been selected to receive the second annual Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity. Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) and National Book Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson will present Bonner with $10,000, a certificate and "an odd, symbolic object" from Handler's private collection during the American Library Association Annual Conference & Exhibition in San Francisco. (Handler founded the award before his unfortunate remarks about Woodson at the National Book Awards last November; he apologized and made a donation to We Need Diverse Books, and the two authors remain friends.)

Last summer, the shooting of unarmed teenager Mike Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson sparked demonstrations and civil unrest, but the Ferguson Public Library "remained open and engaged, thanks to Bonner and the absolutely vital and tireless work of every member of his staff," the ALA noted. "Through the following weeks, with the help of volunteers, Teach for America, church groups and local educators recruited by Bonner, the library was able to offer educational programming and served up to 200 children per day, expanding programming to create a safe place to be. With racial tensions at a boiling point, he organized community groups to offer a broad range of programs and services to help individuals and businesses recover, as well as hosted many nonprofit organizations working to help Ferguson.... Bonner's leadership turned the institution of the local library into a true refuge."

"Under his leadership, a traumatic moment in our nation's history was met with an outpouring of support," said jury chair Dora Ho. "Through it all, Bonner served as a quiet hero, directing all media and social media attention toward highlighting the role of libraries and librarians as community hubs of support. We feel that he has been the ultimate example of humility, integrity, and dignity in the face of adversity."

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

Russian Publisher Wins International Freedom to Publish Award

Irina Balakhonova

Irina Balakhonova, founder of the Samokat Publishing House and a pioneer in publishing works on gay themes despite Russia's homophobic laws and culture, has won the 2015 Jeri Laber International Freedom to Publish Award, given annually by the International Freedom to Publish Committee of the Association of American Publishers to a book publisher outside the United States who has demonstrated "courage in the face of restrictions on freedom of expression."

"Despite Russia's stringent laws forcefully restricting and even banning LGBT publications, this year's honoree has refused to hide," said committee chair Geoff Shandler, v-p and editorial director of William Morrow. "Her commitment, courage and perseverance should be--indeed, must be--an example to us all."

The International Publishers Association said that Balakhonova has done "a remarkable job of providing young Russian readers with access to books from around the world that otherwise would be impossible to find." Most of Samokat's titles are sold through small and medium-sized independent booksellers.

Founded in 2003, Samokat has translated into Russian titles by some 100 authors from 16 countries, as well as encouraged works by Russian authors. Its first bestseller was a Russian translation of French author Daniel Pennac's children's novel Cabot-Caboche.

Obituary Note: Danny Schechter

Danny Schechter, "whose media criticism became a staple of Boston radio and who went on to champion human rights as an author, filmmaker and television producer," died last Thursday, the New York Times reported. He was 72. Schechter's 17 books included The More You Watch the Less You Know: News Wars/(sub)Merged Hopes/Media Adventures and Madiba A-Z: The Many Faces of Nelson Mandela.


Image of the Day: New England Reps Handsell en Masse

At their Spring Rep Pick on Sunday, 10 members of Book Publisher Representatives of New England hosted more than 40 frontline booksellers from the region, where they presented some of their favorite spring titles. The day started with a conversation about the art of handselling. Reps also talked about Edelweiss and getting title feedback to reps and publishers, and booksellers shared some of their favorite titles to handsell. It then moved on to a "speed dating" title presentation and lunch--with a cake that said "Hooray for Indie Booksellers."

Pictured (l.-r.) Maureen Karb (Workman), Anne DeCourcey (HarperCollins), Katie McGarry (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Debra Woodward (Candlewick), Kate Sullivan (Random House Children's), Tom Hallock (Beacon Press), Nikki Mutch (Scholastic), Bob Werner (Macmillan), Linda Callahan (DownEast); not pictured, David Goldberg (David R. Godine).

Cool Idea of the Day: Wilmington, N.C., Literary Tour

Gwenyfar Rohler

Beginning on Saturday, April 18, and continuing on Saturdays thereafter, Gwenyfar Rohler, owner of Old Books on Front Street, Wilmington, N.C., is leading literary history tours of the city's historic downtown. As the store wrote, "Have you ever wanted to meet authors living and dead, tour locations from books, poems, and plays? Explore the rich culture of this talented Southern town with a 90-minute walking tour of the literary history of downtown Wilmington, N.C. Visit 'The Two Libraries,' walk the streets of your favorite novels, and stand where Oscar Wilde did when he lectured here." The cost is $8.

Among other notables highlighted on the tour, according to the Star News, are Robert Ruark, author of The Old Man and the Boy, who was born and lived in Wilmington; Rudyard Kipling's American wife, Caroline Balestier, who lived in Wilmington; and Robert Godfrey, who wrote The Prince of Parthia, the first American drama to be produced onstage, while he was in Wilmington.

"The amount of material we found amazed me," Rohler told the paper. "The trick will be keeping it under 90 minutes long."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: John Hargrove on the Daily Show

Tomorrow on Dr. Oz: Dr. Ginger Southall, author of The Rainbow Juice Cleanse (Running Press, $17, 9780762457342).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: John Hargrove, co-author of Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish (Palgrave Macmillan, $26, 9781137280107).

Movies: She Who Brings Gifts

Colm McCarthy (Peaky Blinders, Sherlock, Doctor Who, The Tudors) will direct She Who Brings Gifts, based on M.R. Carey's novel The Girl with All the Gifts and starring Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine and Glenn Close. Filming is scheduled to begin in May.

Books & Authors

Awards: Man Booker International; English PEN Hessell-Tiltman

Finalists have been announced for the £60,000 (about $89,250) Man Booker International Prize, which is awarded every two years to a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language. The winner is chosen by the judging panel; there are no submissions from publishers. In addition, there is a separate award for translation, and the winner may choose a translator of his or her work into English to receive a prize of £15,000 (about $22,310). The winner will be announced May 19 in London. The 10 authors on the list are:

César Aira (Argentina)
Hoda Barakat (Lebanon)
Maryse Condé (Guadeloupe)
Mia Couto (Mozambique)
Amitav Ghosh (India)
Fanny Howe (U.S.)
Ibrahim al-Koni (Libya)
László Krasznahorkai (Hungary)
Alain Mabanckou (Republic of Congo)
Marlene van Niekerk (South Africa)


The shortlist has been announced for this year's £2,000 (about $2,990) English PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History, which "celebrates the best nonfiction on a historical subject in any period up to the Second World War." The winner will be announced April 15 at the PEN Literary Salon during the London Book Fair. The shortlisted titles are:

The Fateful Year by Mark Bostridge
God's Traitors by Jessie Childs
Pagan Britain by Ronald Hutton
The English and Their History by Robert Tombs
In These Times by Jenny Uglow

Book Brahmin: Liza Wieland

photo: Daniel V. Stanford

Liza Wieland is the author of three novels (A Watch of Nightingales, Bombshell and The Names of the Lost), three story collections (Quickening, You Can Sleep While I Drive and Discovering America) and a volume of poems, Near Alcatraz. Her work has been awarded two Pushcart Prizes, a National Endowment for the Arts grant and the Michigan Literary Fiction Award. She teaches at East Carolina University and lives near Oriental, N.C., with her husband and daughter. Wieland's new novel is Land of Enchantment (Syracuse University Press, March 1, 2015).

On your nightstand now:

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher Hilary Mantel, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and Bark by Lorrie Moore.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, which affirmed what I suspected about writing: that it was dangerous and could make your life unpleasant. But there wasn't any way to stop yourself.

Your top five authors:

Colm Tóibín, William Faulkner, Alice Munro, Henry James, Emily Dickinson

Book you've faked reading:

The Last of the Mohicans, said fakery aided and abetted all these years by Daniel Day Lewis.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Mystery and Manners by Flannery O'Connor.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Most of the cookbooks I own.

Book that changed your life:

A trio, very clear in my mind: Lie Down in Darkness by William Styron; One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez; The Waves by Virginia Woolf.

Favorite line from a book:

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." --F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Which character you most relate to:

The first shock-of-recognition character was Catherine Earnshaw in Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. I was (no surprise) a teenager.

Now, though, if I don't relate to at least one character in a novel or story, I usually don't continue reading. But "relate" is a funny word. I don't think of it as seeing myself in the mirror of the novel. It's more a matter of being interested in the character's world or struggle. Sometimes this happens because that world is unfamiliar.

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

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann.

Unsung writer you love:

Gina Berriault.

Book Review

YA Review: An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (Razorbill/Penguin, $19.95 hardcover, 464p., ages 14-up, 9781595148032, April 28, 2015)

In her impressive debut, Sabaa Tahir constructs a novel set in a medieval city surrounded by desert; her plot pulls readers into her grasp and doesn't let go.

First-person narratives alternate between Laia and Elias, both 17. Laia is a Scholar, a faction defeated violently 500 years ago by the Martials, who rule the country of Serra from Blackcliff, a high impenetrable fortress. There the most talented Martials train to be Masks, elite assassins. Laia's parents were killed as leaders of the Resistance. Elias's mother is the Commandant, the leader of Blackcliff Military Academy, and Elias is one of its most gifted students.

Born enemies, Laia and Elias cross paths after the Masks take Laia's brother, Darin, prisoner because of a sketchbook filled with drawings of the forge where the Martials' swords are made. Laia escapes to the catacombs beneath Serra, and begs members of the Resistance to help her free Darin. They agree, in exchange for her services as a spy, and sell her as a slave to the Commandant herself.

Tahir populates her complex tale with jinns and ghuls, shadowy creatures that "feed off sorrow and sadness and the stink of blood." Their history is tied to the Scholars, and though the Scholars deny the jinns' existence, Laia cannot ignore their haunting presence. While spying in the Commandant's office, Laia witnesses the presence of the jinns' one-time leader, Lord Nightbringer, conspiring with the Commandant to fix the trials to determine a new emperor.

Laia, whose parents were betrayed by someone within the Resistance, trusts no one. Elias, who hates his mother and all that the Martials stand for, plans to desert. But both Laia and Elias are visited by Cain, an Augur who can read oracles and minds. Cain tells each of them that they are "an ember in the ashes," full of life, ruled by destiny.

Can Laia trust Keenan, a member of the Resistance who claims he wants to help her? Can Elias trust Helene, "more loyal to the Empire than to her own mother"? Mounting pressures result in two romantic triangles as time runs out for Laia to rescue her brother, and for Elias to decide whether to undertake the four trials that will determine the next Emperor.

Tahir makes a chilling case for the corruption that power brings, whether through knowledge or force. While part of her plot resolves, she leaves plenty of room for the next book to answer the question of what it means to win. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: This debut novel takes readers on a thrill ride through a medieval city situated in the desert, whose future depends upon two 17-year-olds who are born enemies.

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