Shelf Awareness for Monday, July 27, 2015

Atlantic Monthly Press: Those Opulent Days: A Mystery by Jacquie Pham

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber

Carolrhoda Lab (R): Here Goes Nothing by Emma K Ohland

Allida: Safiyyah's War by Hiba Noor Khan

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley

Editors' Note

Quotation of the Day

Pearson 'Happy' Part-Owner of Penguin Random House

John Fallon

"We have a 47% share in Penguin Random House, and we are very happy to continue to be shareholders with the progress they are making."

--Pearson CEO John Fallon, as quoted by the Bookseller, when asked in an investors call last week about whether the company will sell Penguin, following Pearson announcements about the sale of its Financial Times business and its 50% interest in the Economist Group.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney


S.C. Book Festival Canceled for 2016

The S.C. Book Festival, which launched in 1997, will be discontinued in favor of new statewide programming, according to officials with the Humanities Council of South Carolina. The State reported that the festival, "widely considered one of the Southeast's premiere literary events, due in no small part to its variety of offerings," usually attracted about 6,000 visitors to the Midlands each year, though "this year’s festival only drew about 5,000."

"This decision was not made lightly," said festival director T.J. Wallace, who also works for the Humanities Council. "Many have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it. It has been a wonderful event, but we're excited about this new opportunity."

Humanities Council executive director Randy Akers said the festival "will evolve" into a new set of literary initiatives that will be available year-round and "reach a wide and diverse audience in every corner of South Carolina." The initiatives include "a literary speakers bureau featuring authors and writing instructors who can travel across the state for public programs; a fast-track literary grant opportunity for statewide organizations for writers series, festivals, conferences, workshops, or artist residencies; and a literary track at the annual South Carolina Humanities Festival, which is hosted in a different town each year," the State wrote.

HarperCollins UK, Amazon Come to Terms

Charlie Redmayne

HarperCollins UK and Amazon have agreed on new terms after what Harper CEO Charlie Redmayne called "tough negotiations," according to the Bookseller.

HarperCollins in the U.S. reached an agreement with Amazon in April, and the other major houses whose contracts with Amazon had come up for renewal in the past year have agreed on new deals. As in all these cases, neither side in the latest deal commented on terms.

B&N to Open New Store in Ashburn, Va.

Barnes & Noble plans to open a new store at One Loudoun, a mixed-use community in Ashburn, Va., about 30 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. The Washington Business Journal reported that construction is expected to begin in 2016 on B&N's 18,000-square-foot standalone store, which should be ready in 2017. 

Literati Bookstore Reopens Four Days After Water Leak

Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich., reopened Friday after water damage from the store's café forced it to close on Monday, according to

The leak was caused by a faulty water filtration system at the Espresso Bar on the second floor, which damaged the floor, the ceiling below and hundreds of books. A catastrophe cleaning company set up dehumidifiers and mats to remove moisture.

"There is still more work to do," Hilary Gustafson, who owns the store with her husband, Mike Gustafson, told "The tin ceiling needs to be repaired. The original tiles were salvaged, but some are crumbling so they will need to be patched. We will then need to repaint the ceiling once the tiles are up. Additionally, the wood floors on the first floor will need to be sanded and refinished."

Sympathetic customers offered to help, dropped off flowers and food, and "perhaps most importantly, shared kind words and big hugs," Gustafson said. "The show of support from the community has been incredible, and we can't thank everyone enough." To show its appreciation, Literati offered free coffee at the Espresso Bar to its first 50 customers: "Let the wild bookselling rumpus start once again!"

During the closure, staff fulfilled special orders and retrieved certain books for customers. Events were either postponed or moved.

While the cost of the closure in financial terms depends on the store's and café's insurance companies, Gustafson said "one of the biggest losses is somewhat intangible--first time customers who missed out on the chance to visit because we weren't open. We turned many people away during the week who were potential new customers, and I wonder if they will ever be back."

Obituary Note: Rev. Owen Chadwick

The Rev. Owen Chadwick, a British "educator and prolific historian of Christianity whose works encompassed sweeping narratives, like his two-volume history of the Victorian church, as well as incisive biographies and vivid pictures of rural church life," died on July 17, the New York Times reported. He was 99. When he and his brother, Henry, "were asked by Oxford University Press to produce a comprehensive history of Christianity, he took on the task of overseeing what turned out to be a 16-volume work, The Oxford History of the Christian Church," contributing three volumes himself, the Times wrote.


Image of the Day: Jimmy Carter at His 'Favorite Bookstore'

Last week, Colorado's KGNU Radio interviewed Jimmy Carter about his new book, A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety (Simon & Schuster), in advance of his appearance at the Tattered Cover on Colfax. Near the end of the wide-ranging discussion, Carter said about the Tattered Cover, "By the way, that's my favorite bookstore in the nation."

Yesterday afternoon, the bookstore reported: "Masses of people have descended on the Tattered Cover to see former President Carter & he's in good spirits—signing like a house on fire!" Above: Carter (center) with fans and booksellers, including (far left) new co-owner Len Vlahos.

Richard Howorth Nominated to Second TVA Board Term


Richard Howorth, owner of Square Books, Oxford, Miss., as well as former mayor of Oxford and former president of the American Booksellers Association, has been nominated by President Obama for another term on the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

As mayor of Oxford, Howorth was chairman of the authority that oversees the Oxford Electric Department, and he has served as a director and officer of the North Mississippi Industrial Development Association.

He first took a seat on the TVA board in 2011. The TVA provides electricity to most of Tennessee and parts of six other states.

Fun Idea of the Day: Baseball Game of Thrones

"And now batting for the Staten Island Direwolves, hand of the king Ned Stark...."

GRRM throws out the first pitch at an Albuquerque Isotopes game last year.

In an unusual promotion, the Staten Island Yankees, an A-level minor league affiliate of the New York Yankees, are holding "Meet George R.R. Martin Night" on Saturday, August 8, for a game against the Hudson Valley Renegades. Martin will attend and sign autographs. For the evening, the Yankees will become the Staten Island Direwolves, and both teams will wear Stark vs. Lannister-themed jerseys that will be auctioned off (with proceeds benefiting the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in New Mexico). The first 2,500 fans to arrive will get a Staten Island Direwolves baseball cap, courtesy of Random House. The Staten Island Advance wrote that that game festivities will also include a cosplayer costume contest, a Game of Thrones trivia contest and seating sections named after the houses of the family clans in Game of Thrones. The Advance said that Martin, who's a Mets fan, agreed to participate on the condition the team not have the Yankees name for the game. 

According to the Yankees, Martin, who grew up in nearby Bayonne, N.J., used the profile of Staten Island as inspiration for King's Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms in the Song of Ice and Fire series, the basis for HBO's blockbuster series Game of Thrones

Of course, many Song of Ice and Fire fans hope the game of baseball doesn't go into extra innings and take away from Martin finishing the Game of Thrones any more than it would otherwise.

'The Value of Book Sales Reps'

"When we bought our bookshop two and a half years ago we had no idea what meeting with publishers' reps would be like," Louise Ward of Wardini Books, Havelock North, New Zealand, wrote in a Booksellers NZ blog post titled "The Value of Book Sales Reps."

"What we really didn't expect is that we would come to look forward to these meetings, to put the kettle on in anticipation, to think of it as a friend calling in," Ward noted. "If you watch too much television, you could be forgiven for thinking that sales people of any kind are cut-throat characters who'll try and sell you their own grandmother. Turns out, in the book trade at least, it's not like that at all.... Being new to the business we have found our reps to be an absolute godsend. Being handed reading copies (free books!) was amazing and we dived straight in and got cracking....

"Do we always get it right? No. But taking the time to create a strong working relationship is essential--it can take the social awkwardness out of having to say 'no' to everything for starters! In an ever changing industry, the fact that we still have so many reps is wonderful. Get the kettle on, and nurture yours."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ted Cruz on the Daily Show

Today on MSNBC's the Cycle: Barton Swaim, author of The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781476769929).


Today on Diane Rehm: Cyrus Copeland, author of Off the Radar: A Father's Secret, a Mother's Heroism, and a Son's Quest (Blue Rider Press, $27.95, 9780399158506).


Tonight on the Daily Show: Ted Cruz, author of A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America (Broadside Books, $27.99, 9780062365613). He will also appear tomorrow on a repeat of Tavis Smiley.


Tomorrow on a repeat of the Queen Latifah Show: B.J. Novak, author of The Book with No Pictures (Dial, $17.99, 9780803741713).


Tomorrow night on Conan: Ramona Singer, author of Life on the Ramona Coaster (Post Hill Press, $25, 9781618688767).

Man Booker Prize Launches New Podcast

The Man Booker Prize has launched a new podcast, hosted by BBC Radio 2 Book Club producer Joe Haddow, the Bookseller reported. The podcast, which began Friday, will focus on "Fiction at its Finest," the prize's tagline, and "looks at the very best from the world of books."

Haddow will "guide listeners through the prize with a behind-the-scenes tour--from the magnificent backlist to the much anticipated longlist and shortlist announcements, right through to the big day," the Bookseller wrote. The Man Booker longlist will be announced on July 29, the shortlist September 15 and the winner October 13.

Books & Authors

Cathy Goldsmith on Working with Dr. Seuss

Cathy Goldsmith
(photo: Mike Meskin)

The first book that Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) and art director Cathy Goldsmith, v-p and associate publishing director of Random House Books for Young Readers, worked on together was I Can Read with My Eyes Shut (published in 1978). Their last project together was Oh, the Places You'll Go! (1990). Just ahead of the publication of What Pet Should I Get? (to be released tomorrow), which stars the same brother-sister duo as One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (1960), Goldsmith discusses what it was like to work with the legendary Dr. Seuss, and how this manuscript came to her more than a decade after his death.

How would you describe the dynamics of your working relationship? Did Mr. Geisel welcome input? Did he know what he wanted and stick to his vision?

I think whenever he submitted something, he thought it was finished--which is not to say that there wasn't some discussion and editing, all of it with his approval. When you suggested a change, he was willing to consider doing it, and sometimes he would not do it. There were other times when he would make changes.

Did his process change at all over the time that you collaborated?

He was pretty consistent.

It was surprising to look back at One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and see how all over the place it is. Perhaps only Dr. Seuss could pull that off. What Pet Should I Get? is much more narrative. It flows better, don't you think?

I think you're right. One Fish, Two Fish is all over the place. That's why I think What Pet Should I Get? actually came first. There's a place toward the end [of What Pet] where the boy goes through the fantasy animals. First he wrote about real-life pets in a truly narrative way, then he wrote a second book about these animals he made up. It's the other side of the story. I think you're also right that he's one of the few people who can do [what he did in One Fish, Two Fish]-- every spread has a different animal; then he pulls it all together at the end of the book.

Since you worked with Theodor Geisel for so long, you must have gone through the transition from pre-separated art on his early works to full-color art for his later books.

That was one of the discussions I had for myself when we went to choose colors for this book. The books up to this point had been done in two to three flat colors. There's a red ink, there's a blue ink and there's black ink in The Cat in the Hat; at no point do you mix them to get purple. You don't have any other colors in there. That's true in The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, too.

Ted used red, blue, yellow and black ink in One Fish, Two Fish. Shortly after that, in Hop on Pop, we have browns and purples and greens--everything that technology allowed us to do to mix the colors of the rainbow, if he wished to do so.

I wanted this one [What Pet Should I Get?] to be true to where it was historically, but I also felt that if he'd done this book, I don't think he would've wanted to do blue cats or dogs. These are real animals and they needed to be in realistic colors. Ted's father was the zookeeper in Springfield, Mass. So he came by his interest in animals in an honest way. I gave the kids some skin tone here, where we didn't in One Fish, Two Fish, so they'd hold their own next to the animals.

In this book, the backgrounds are flat--the walls, aquariums, the outside of buildings--but the animals have mixed colors, browns and grays. I think the background colors help make the artwork feel connected to his earlier works.

Did you have to fill in any gaps in the artwork, or was it essentially finished?

We drew no art for this book, with the exception of one or two lines, literally. At the very beginning there's a yellow box in the window of the store, we added the edge to the yellow box. Had he been alive to color it, he would have indicated the colors he wanted. He left us some rudimentary color notes. One page said yellow, and the pages with the store said red. I took that to mean the outside of the store should be red.


from I Can Read with My Eyes Shut

When he turned in his work, he would take a Xerox to crayon on it, and show us the color he wanted. We had these color charts that he worked from, in his day, he'd have little blocks of color, a one-inch square, and each would have a code number: example 301, that would be 30% yellow, no magenta and 10% cyan. He'd be looking at a square of color, and say I want this shoe or this bird's plume to be this color.

Let's go back to your point about Geisel stopping work on this book, What Pet..., to begin One Fish, Two Fish. Can you say more about that?

I think he often worked on more than one thing at a time. He'd put something aside when something struck his fancy. Maybe he went back to it; sometimes he didn't. This book [What Pet...] comes from a very fertile time in his career. The idea that there was more than one thing going on seems perfectly possible to me.

I know that when I went out to the house to work with him on Oh, the Places You'll Go! he said to me that some of the images in the book had been in his head for years and he'd never found a way to use them before. When I came back to New York, I was describing his house to my father, who's an architect, and he said, "I think his house was in Architectural Digest at one time." There were pictures in the article of Ted's studio and two of the images of Oh, the Places You'll Go! were in this article, dated 15 years earlier. When he said the images had been around for years, he wasn't kidding.

The piece that you'll see is the piece that looks like hooks, on the way to "The Waiting Place." The other piece, that you don't see in the article, is the one with the billowing tents. [That image appears] the first time he writes in the book "Oh! The Places You'll Go!"

Tell us about the discovery of the manuscript for What Pet Should I Get?

In 2013, I got a call from Claudia Prescott, Ted's longtime secretary. They were cleaning out a closet and found a box that had some materials that she thought Random House might be interested in. When Ted was alive, he and [his wife] Audrey lived at the top of a mountain in La Jolla, and in the dining room on the table, everything from this box was laid out. That was the first time we had any idea of the manuscript; they didn't share that with us on the phone. About two years after Ted died, Audrey had decided to do some renovations on the house. She probably packed that in 1993, and for whatever reason, it didn't get moved with his other things, and nobody looked at it for 10 years.

The brother and sister stars of What Pet Should I Get?

There is such a consistency to the look of Geisel's books. How do you think he does that?

I think it has to do with the quality of his line work. At the time he started drawing, there were no computers or mechanical pens. [With mechanical pens,] no matter how much you lean on them, the thickness of the line doesn't change. Things today look much more even, much more "perfect." Ted drew with a Croquil pen, like a fountain pen, with a nib, so if you leaned on it, more ink came out. I personally love it. I think it gives his line a unique quality and an energy, I think it's one of the reasons you recognize his line. You feel the hand of a human being in his line work. --Jennifer M. Brown

Book Review

Review: Days of Awe

Days of Awe by Lauren Fox (Knopf, $24.95 hardcover, 9780307268129, August 4, 2015)

"Death smashes a crater into your life, and you're left alone to sort through the rubble," says Isabel "Iz" Applebaum Moore, the 43-year-old, witty, self-aware heroine who narrates Days of Awe, an insightful novel by Lauren Fox that explores how grief can make every arena of life feel suddenly disorienting.

The book opens at the funeral of Josie Abrams--Iz's best friend and coworker, a fun-loving, whimsical art teacher at the local middle school--who was killed when her rusty Toyota skidded off an icy road and crashed into a guardrail. Josie's death is shocking and devastating for all who loved her, including her husband, Mark, as well as for Isabel and her husband, Chris. The four were close friends who shared many experiences and good times together. Josie's death soon becomes a force that begins to unravel all of their lives. Isabel's 15-year marriage to Chris frays and their 10-year-old daughter, Hannah, who considered Josie an "honorary aunt," becomes plagued with insomnia and moodiness--and begins to rebel against her mother.

As Iz tries to make sense of her loss and press on with life over the next 13 months, she recalibrates the weight of past events and re-creates scenes from the life she shared with her friend, both individually and as couples. Via rich, stream-of-consciousness flashbacks, Isabel pieces together fragments that reveal Josie's flaws and foibles--"moments that skittered by but left a trace in... memory"--aspects of Josie that Isabel never allowed herself to process fully during her friend's lifetime. Perhaps Josie wasn't really the woman Isabel believed her to be.

Along the way, Mark, whom Isabel has known since kindergarten, falls in love with a woman whom Josie despised. Isabel and Chris split up but attend couples' therapy. And Iz's ailing, grouchy mother, Helene--a Holocaust and stroke survivor--talks her daughter into attending a "Relationships in Transition" support group. There, Isabel meets Cal Abbott, a smart, charming, 59-year-old divorcé and scientific researcher, who challenges the confusion and grief infusing Isabel's broken heart.

Humor brings levity to Fox's frank, thought-provoking story that adds surprising depth and meaning, layer upon layer, page by page. As in Fox's other novels, Still Life with Husband and Friends Like Us, she presents scenes of seemingly mundane life that resonate with much larger and deeper dramatic implications. By employing a wry, likable narrator to chronicle the aching, pull-and-tug of grief and the joys and perils of domestic life, Fox once again explores, with a smart and refreshing perspective, the underside of friendships, marriage, love and loss--and the range of emotions that can plague and liberate the human heart. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: A woman's sudden death challenges her best friend to reassess the meaning of her life, her marriage, motherhood and to consider a second chance at love.

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