Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 27, 2015

Mariner Books: A Bigger Picture: My Fight to Bring a New African Voice to the Climate Crisis by Vanessa Nakate

Scholastic Press: Room to Dream (a Front Desk Novel) by Kelly Yang

Andrews McMeel Publishing: A Tale as Tall as Jacob: Misadventures with My Brother by Samantha Edwards

David Zwirner Books: Making a Great Exhibition by Doro Globus, illustrated by Rose Blake

Tor Books: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

Disney-Hyperion: The Fowl Twins Get What They Deserve (a Fowl Twins Novel, Book 3) by Eoin Colfer

Sourcebooks Landmark: In Every Mirror She's Black by Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Dragons Are the Worst! by Alex Willan


Indie Bookstore Day: Tea Party, John Waters... and a Giraffe?

On Saturday, May 2, more than 400 independent bookstores across the U.S. will participate in the inaugural Independent Bookstore Day (inspired by last year's California Bookstore Day), while Canadian booksellers hold their first Authors for Indies Day. In addition to hosting parties, author appearances and events, booksellers will distribute exclusive merchandise (a video from Harvard Bookshop, Cambridge, Mass., offers a sneak peek) created for the occasion. All week, we will be highlighting indie booksellers' creative plans for, and thoughts about, celebrating IBD 2015:

Books & Books, Miami, Fla.: "We'd argue that we never saw a reason to set aside a particular day to celebrate independent book culture because we embody it daily.  But as more and more customers--both in the stores and online--go out of their way to mention how grateful they are for the opportunity to support a local bookstore, it's become clear that a celebration is in order.  Please join us for the first annual Independent Bookstore Day."

Pegasus Books, Berkeley, Calif.: California Bookstore Day: The Trailer!

Common Good Books, St. Paul, Minn.: "We'll also have two pairs of free passes to Nice Ride, so you can visit the other great bookstores in the Twin Cities. Our friends at Moon Palace Books have produced this handy map to help you find them all. Pick up a copy to guide you on your travels."

Bridgeside Books, Waterbury, Vt.: "A Tea Party to celebrate OUR independence! The 1st nationwide celebration of Independent Bookstores! Serving teas from Vermont Liberty Tea in vintage tea cups; homemade scones and cakes; and books featuring tea!"

Green Apple Bookstore, San Francisco, Calif.: "We are also pleased that John Waters gave Green Apple permission to make 150 of these broadsides to give away on Bookstore Day. All you have to do to get one is post a photo at either store on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with a #BookstoreDay hashtag."

Dudley's Bookshop Café, Bend, Ore.: "HUGE thanks to Kristen from Chalked for doing such a fantastic job on one of our upstairs chalkboard-painted doors. Come see us May 2nd on National Independent Bookstore Day when she'll be working downstairs and we'll have her literary themed chalk quotes for sale as part of the day's celebration."
McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, Mich.: "In celebration of Independent Bookstore Day, each customer who purchases an Independent Bookstore Day item will be entered in a drawing to win one of our favorite store items--the giant giraffe! We know at least a dozen kids (and a few staff members) who would love to give Giraffe a home."

Box of Delights Bookshop, Wolfville, Nova Scotia: "Inspiration, conversation and community--all things I've found through the door of my local independent bookshop," said bestselling author Ami McKay. "That's why I'm supporting Authors for Indies. I hope you will too. Who knows what treasures await you?"

Rebel Girls: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic, 4 edited by Lilly Workneh

ABC Children's Institute: Thinking 'Inside the Box'

"I just finished doing inventory," said Northshire Bookstore's Jennifer Armstrong,  introducing bestselling Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney, who is about to open his own bookstore. "Either there are twice as many here as there should be, or we are missing one. Tonight we have two Jeff Kinneys: bestselling author and rookie bookseller."

Mentor bookseller Valerie Lewis of Hicklebee's in San Jose, Calif., with "rookie bookseller" and Wimpy Kid creator Jeff Kinney.

Jeff Kinney delivered a double-barreled keynote to kick off the ABC Children's Institute, held from April 19-21 at the Hilton in Pasadena, Calif. His characterization of his own journey as author-artist and as "rookie bookseller" became a theme throughout the institute, as he spoke of thinking "Inside the Box" as opposed to the usual approach, outside the box.

He came across the concept during an "Innovation Strategies" meeting for Poptropica--the site where he first introduced the Wimpy Kid--in a job he holds to this day ("for the health-care benefits," Kinney explained). There he discovered the book Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity. Authors Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg argue that thinking "outside the box" encourages making analogies to things that have nothing to do with your products, services or processes. "We believe just the opposite," they write. "More innovation... happens when you work inside your familiar world (yes, inside the box)."

Kinney cited an example of "innovation by division," the timeshare. Take the house you have and divide it up by calendar increments. "Innovation by subtraction" would be a phone with no buttons (iPhone); remove the calling feature of the phone and you have the iPod and iPad. Kinney wanted to be a newspaper cartoonist: "Take away the newspaper, take away the talent, pretend I'm a child, and I come up with stick people in a story with no plot."

Wearing his bookseller hat, Jeff Kinney used the same thinking in reverse as he discussed his vision for the bookstore he will open next month in Plainville, Mass. You can subscribe to a music service, type in a song and play it. "It can't get more immediate than that," Kinney said. "As a child, I made a trip to the record store. I looked at the list of what was coming out, I listened to the songs, I talked to someone." His bookstore and café, An Unlikely Story, will stand on the site of Falk's Market, Plainville's general store. After a few snafus (being advised to tear down the original building, and discovering that the water table was five feet higher than expected), Kinney is building the bookstore with reclaimed wood from the Nutty Buddy ice cream factory floors (which closed in 1980) and incorporating as decor the signs that originally hung on the porch of Falk's Market--in essence, reinventing the inside of the box.

(l-r.) Mac Barnett; Cathy Berner and Valerie Koehler of Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston; and Jory John.

On Monday morning, Mac Barnett and Jory John similarly encouraged booksellers to rethink the "inside of the box." The co-authors of The Terrible Two (Abrams) met while John was volunteering at 826 Valencia Street in San Francisco, Calif., which was founded by Dave Eggers, who also founded McSweeney's Publishing, where Barnett was working. 826 Valencia Street's primary purpose is to tutor children; the organization has seven chapters and serves 32,000 kids each year. But its location on Valencia Street necessitated that it also be a retail space, so they opened a pirate supply store to comply with city code, and it's the main source of funding for the 826 tutoring program.

John and Barnett spoke of 826 as a hybrid of community space, retail space and art space, and its "improvisational" nature. They realized the upstairs space was unused before drop-in tutoring began at 2:30, so they opened it to school field trips featuring guest speakers such as authors and artists. They create quarterly chat books with 826's binding machine and hold a release party each time a book is published. One of their most celebrated is Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: Kids' Letters to President Obama, written by the students and edited by John. Tutoring ends at 5:30, so they hold workshops from 6-8 p.m. The student newspaper staff meets on Wednesdays, where they've hosted journalists from the Los Angeles Times and local food critics. They use the walls as rotating art space for local artists.

John and Barnett urged booksellers to start with something they could use and in which they have expertise: hold a workshop for kids on writing shelf-talkers. Tell them what makes a strong shelf-talker. Ask them to revise. You may just raise the next generation of booksellers. --Jennifer M. Brown

Unbound: This Party's Dead: Grief, Joy and Spilled Rum at the World's Death Festivals by Erica Buist

Amazon on Cloud Nine: Stock Up 14.1% on Friday

On Friday, in reaction to Amazon's announcement of quarterly results the day before, company stock rose $55.11, or 14.1%, to $445.10 a share. Wall Street liked that Amazon's net sales and loss were better than expected and in particular that the company's cloud service--Amazon Web Services, whose results were broken out for the first time--had sales of $1.57 billion in the quarter, up 49%, and generated operating income of $265 million.

Investor's Business Daily noted that despite widespread price-cutting in cloud services, "Amazon's cloud business emerged as much more profitable than Amazon's huge e-commerce business."

Lydia Leong, an analyst with market research firm Gartner, told IBD that analysts weren't surprised by the size of Amazon's cloud sales. Instead, "the surprise was profitability. Amazon is efficient. It brings a low-cost retailer mindset to the cloud. It thinks about pinching pennies. And it has order-of-magnitude advantage in scale."

Dave Bartoletti, an analyst at Forrester Research, told IBD: "The big news is that even though public cloud prices have been falling, the cost of the underlying technology has been falling, too, so even with a public cloud price war--really just a battle--public cloud can still be profitable."

Book*hug Press: Letters to Amelia by Lindsay Zier-Vogel

Obituary Note: William Price Fox; Sabeen Mehmud

Novelist and humorist William Price Fox, "who plumbed his South Carolina roots for the colorful characters in his work, earning fans in the upper echelons of American literary life if not necessarily over a wide range of the nation's readers," died April 19, the New York Times reported. He was 89. His books include Southern Fried Plus Six, Dixiana Moon, Doctor Golf, Satchel Paige's America and Moonshine Light, Moonshine Bright.


Sabeen Mehmud, a Pakistani human rights and peace activist, was murdered in Karachi on Friday.

The first project of Mehmud's PeaceNiche, a charitable organization, was the Second Floor, or T2F, a bookstore and café founded in 2007 that has aimed to be "a community space for open dialogue [providing] citizens with a platform for social change through rich cultural activities, public discourse, and advocacy using progressive ideas and the new media."

In a profile of Mehmud, Dawn recounted when Mehmud founded T2F: "The watering hole soon started organising talks, discussions, exhibitions, pioneering events (Pakistan's first hackathon, stand-up comedy acts) with prominent local and international artists, writers and activists that it became essential for nearly everyone to attend these events at T2F as Ms Mahmud passionately worked for it day and night from fundraising, marketing to building maintenance."

Mehmud had just led a seminar on Baluchistan in T2F, when she was shot on her way home. Her mother was injured. Mehmud had been threatened repeatedly.

Hyperion Avenue: A Little Closer to Home: How I Found the Calm After the Storm by Ginger Zee

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Ballad for Sophie
by Filipe Melo, illus. by Juan Cavia
trans. by Gabriela Soares

GLOW: Top Shelf Productions: Ballad for Sophie by Filipe Melo, illus. by Juan Cavia, trans. by Gabriela SoaresA reclusive French piano star recounts his epic rise and fall, from WWII France through the tumultuous disco era, to a young journalist who's hiding her own past, in this passionate, sophisticated graphic novel from writer and pianist/composer Filipe Melo and illustrator/filmmaker Juan Cavia. Publicist and marketing director Leigh Walton shares that Top Shelf selected this work for translation from the Portuguese for its stunning blend of "the grandeur of classical music, the outrageous drama of rock and roll, the grim history of 20th-century Europe... and the bittersweet unearthing of family secrets." Cavia's palette evokes the lush light of a late evening sun, and his accomplished illustrations breathe life into Melo's complex saga of fame, regret and redemption. --Jaclyn Fulwood

(Top Shelf Productions, $24.99 paperback, 9781603094986,
September 28, 2021)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported



Image of the Day: 'We Are Here'

L.-r.: Kathleen Caldwell, Gayle Forman, Jay Asher

Bestselling authors Gayle Forman (If I Stay, Where She Went, Just One Day, Just One Year, I Was Here) and Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why, The Future of Us), along with Kathleen Caldwell, owner of A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland, Calif., hosted "We Are Here," a benefit to raise hope and awareness for suicide prevention and mental health, particularly in teens, at Montclair Presbyterian Church last week.

Forman's most recent book, I Was Here (Speak), was inspired by the story of Suzy Gonzales, who took her life in 2003 after finding encouragement in an online "pro-suicide" community. Suzy's parents, Mike and Mary Gonzales, attended the event and spoke out as survivors of suicide loss. Both Forman and Asher stressed the importance of erasing the stigma that surrounds mental illness, and that talking about it is the first step in doing so.

Happy 30th Birthday, Bookworks!

Congratulations to Bookworks, Albuquerque, N.Mex., which is celebrating its 30th anniversary on Saturday, May 2, from 9 a.m.-9 p.m., in conjunction with Independent Bookstore Day, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

The store will feature appearances by Carolyn Meyer, author of Diary of a Waitress, and David Thurlo, author of Grave Consequences. The store is also launching a new loyalty program, the Book Brood, through which customers can sign up for a punch card to receive a 30% discount after attending 10 events.

Portrait of a Book Conservationist

For more than three decades in Japan, Okano Nobuo "has been repairing tattered books and reconstituting them to look brand new" using "very basic tools like a wooden press, chisel, water and glue," Colossal reported, featuring a video in which the craftsman breathes new life into an old Japanese-English dictionary by approaching it "like an art conservationist repairing a painting."

Despite his gift for book conservation, Okano said, "It's not their shape or form but what's inside them that attracts us to books." Colossal noted that for a man "who makes it his job to repair the shape and form of books it's an incredibly humbling statement and is a testament to the value we still hold in physical books."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: John Cleese, Barney Frank on Late Night

This morning on the Today Show: Marc Murphy, co-author of Season with Authority: Confident Home Cooking (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780544315556).


Today on Diane Rehm: Kate Mulgrew, author of Born with Teeth: A Memoir (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316334310).


Today on Tavis Smiley: Joseph Stiglitz, author of The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them (Norton, $28.95, 9780393248579).


Today on the Wendy Williams Show: Sal Scognamillo, author of Patsy's Italian Family Cookbook (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9781250039392).


Tonight on Conan: Fareed Zakaria, author of In Defense of a Liberal Education (Norton, $23.95, 9780393247688).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Maria Bello, author of Whatever... Love Is Love: Questioning the Labels We Give Ourselves (Dey Street, $25.99, 9780062351838).


Tomorrow on Diane Rehm: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, author of Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield (Harper, $26.99, 9780062333810).


Tomorrow on the View: Nicolle Wallace, author of Madam President: A Novel (Emily Bestler/Atria, $25, 9781476756899). She will also appear on Good Morning America.


Tomorrow on the Talk: Brian Grazer, co-author of A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life (Simon & Schuster, $25.99, 9781476730752).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Eric Bogosian, author of Operation Nemesis: The Assassination Plot that Avenged the Armenian Genocide (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316292085).


Tomorrow on Watch What Happens Live: Lea Black, author of Red Carpets & White Lies: A Novel (Beaufort Books, $24.95, 9780825307485).


Tomorrow night on Late Night with Seth Meyers:

John Cleese, author of So, Anyway... (Crown Archetype, $28, 9780385348249)
Barney Frank, author of Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28, 9780374280307).

TV: Quarry

Quarry, a Cinemax TV drama series based on the novels by Max Collins, will debut later this year. The show stars Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus) as Mac "Quarry" Conway and Peter Mullan (Olive Kitteridge) as the Broker. The cast also includes Nikki Amuka-Bird (Luther), Damon Herriman (Justified), Jamie Hector (The Wire), Edoardo Ballerini (Romeo Must Die) and Skipp Sudduth (Ronin).

In advance of the series premiere, Hard Case Crime is publishing new editions of Collins's five original Quarry novels: Quarry, Quarry's List, Quarry's Deal, Quarry's Cut and Quarry's Vote. The books will feature cover paintings by legendary illustrator Robert McGinnis. Hard Case Crime has been publishing new books in the Quarry series since 2006, when Collins revived the series after a two-decade hiatus with The Last Quarry.  

"Quarry is our most popular series character," said editor Charles Ardai, "and when the TV series starts airing, millions more people will discover him."

Books & Authors

Awards: Heinz Winner; Eisner Nominations

Cartoonist Roz Chast, author of the bestselling graphic memoir Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?, was named this year's recipient in the arts & humanities category of the $250,000 Heinz Award, which is administered by the Heinz Family Foundation to honor "exceptional Americans for their creativity and determination in finding solutions to critical issues both here and abroad."

The foundation said that Chast "has redefined the art of cartooning while serving as a voice about care for the aging, an oft-ignored issue that Senator John Heinz held close. Like many cartoonists, she uses humor and whimsy; but in her articulation of our unspoken fears and dilemmas, she offers empathy and courage to confront them head on."


Nominations for the 2015 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards have been made and can be seen here. The awards will be given during a gala ceremony on Friday, July 10, during Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Book Review

Review: A God in Ruins

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson (Little, Brown, $28 hardcover, 9780316176538, May 5, 2015)

In this follow-up to 2013's Life After Life, Kate Atkinson charts the adventures of Ursula Todd's younger brother, Teddy, through childhood, fatherhood and growing old, his life interrupted and forever colored by his service as a fighter pilot in World War II.

Teddy's early years are the essence of childhood innocence: a home in the English countryside surrounded by nature, the adoration of his beautiful mother, the Great War now a memory shared by the adults--a horror that could surely not come again. The only blight upon his childhood comes from The Adventures of Augustus, a series of humorously naive children's stories written by his aunt, Izzie, and loosely based upon his own life. From Teddy's viewpoint, "She had taken his life and twisted it and turned him into quite a different boy, a stupid boy, having stupid adventures." After stumbling through an unfocused young adulthood, Teddy finds the outbreak of World War II a relief, because it gives him a purpose, but the adventures it brings him will shatter his innocence forever. Despite his fear during the war that he will have no "after," Teddy survives. He marries and becomes a father, but doesn't find the balm he imagined would come with family life.

While A God in Ruins stands on its own, fans will be glad to see reappearances by Ursula and others from the previous novel, and Atkinson also introduces new characters: Teddy's practical, brilliant wife, Nancy, and their perpetually dissatisfied daughter, Viola. Eschewing a linear narrative, Atkinson parcels out Teddy's life in pieces, hopping neatly from his boyhood to his daughter's struggle to parent her own children to night bombings in a Halifax aircraft above Germany. The interconnectedness of life's small moments is thrown into sharp relief as segments feed from and loop back into each other.

Studded with poetry and song, Atkinson's combination of wartime and family drama evokes a lost era, while also showing how World War II helped bring that time to a close. Teddy witnesses the breakdown of class prejudice through camaraderie, the slide from prudishness to promiscuity, and the destruction of the flower-filled meadows he knew in his youth to make way for crops to feed a hungry country. Simultaneously, Atkinson illustrates the difficult transition from wartime to peacetime. Above all else, Teddy's story is one of a family braving the rapids of a relentlessly shifting world with grace, dignity and solidarity. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: The sequel to Life After Life follows the exploits of Teddy Todd as he grows up, survives World War II bombing missions and learns that postwar adulthood is perilous, too--in its own way.

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