Also published on this date: Wednesday, August 12, 2015: Maximum Shelf: Lights Out

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Viking: The Bookshop: A History of the American Bookstore by Evan Friss

Pixel+ink: Missy and Mason 1: Missy Wants a Mammoth

Bramble: The Stars Are Dying: Special Edition (Nytefall Trilogy #1) by Chloe C Peñaranda

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

Charlesbridge Publishing: The Perilous Performance at Milkweed Meadow by Elaine Dimopoulos, Illustrated by Doug Salati

Minotaur Books: The Dark Wives: A Vera Stanhope Novel (Vera Stanhope #11) by Ann Cleeves


Family Christian Stores Sold, Will Stay Open

Family Christian Stores, which has 266 bookstores and filed for bankruptcy in February, will remain open after a bankruptcy judge approved its sale to Family Christian Acquisitions, reported. Family Christian Acquisitions is headed by Richard Jackson, who owns Family Christian Stores and was the company's largest secured creditor. The chain plans to close 12-14 stores in the next few months.

Family Christian Stores CEO Chuck Bengochea said, "We have a sovereign God who has a plan for Family Christian. We have been through dark days and now we can celebrate."

The sale will be for between $52.4 million and $55.7 million and erases the chains debts of more than $127 million. Family Christian Stores estimated that sales this year would be $216 million, down from $305 million in 2008.

Many creditors, including publishers, will lose millions of dollars on the deal but preferred to keep the chain open. According to Christianity Today, creditors voted 162 to 7 for the sale.

Family Christian Stores began as the bookselling part of Zondervan publishing and was spun off in 1993 after HarperCollins bought Zondervan Corp.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

John Sargent Promoted at Holtzbrinck Publishing Group

John Sargent

Macmillan CEO John Sargent has been promoted to executive v-p of Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, reporting to CEO Stefan von Holtzbrinck, the Bookseller reported. In his new position, Sargent will be responsible for the higher education business as well as continue to manage the global trade business.

The move is part of Holtzbrinck's management reorganization following the formation earlier this year of Springer Nature, which merged Springer Science+Business Media with the bulk of Macmillan Science and Education. The company has now reorganized the management structure of its other three major business areas: global trade publishing (Macmillan Publishing and Holtzbrinck Deutsche Buchverlage), higher education (Macmillan Higher Education and Macmillan New Ventures), and the digital business units (Holtzbrinck Digital, Digital Science, Digital Education).

GLOW: Milkweed Editions: Becoming Little Shell: Returning Home to the Landless Indians of Montana by Chris La Tray

PEN Hails Release of Syrian Writer Mazen Darwish

Mazen Darwish

English PEN and PEN International welcomed the release Wednesday of Syrian activist and journalist Mazen Darwish, the 2014 PEN Pinter Prize winner who was arrested more than three years ago with colleagues Hani Al-Zitani and Huseein Gharir, when Syrian Air Force Intelligence raided the offices of the Syrian Centre for Media and Free Expression in Damascus. Al-Zitani and Huseein Gharir were released last month, but still face charges. Darwish, founding president of SCM, must attend a court hearing scheduled for August 31.

Salman Rushdie, who chose to share the 2014 PEN Pinter Prize with Darwish, said, "I'm delighted by this good news--congratulations to Mazen Darwish and his family, and to English PEN for so energetically, and successfully, highlighting and pursuing his case."

Calling the release "wonderful news," Jo Glanville, director of English PEN, expressed relief and praised Yara Bader, Darwish's wife and director of SCM, for being "a great inspiration to us all throughout the campaign for his release and we hope that they will be reunited very soon. However, we also remain concerned for Mazen and his colleagues Hani al-Zitani and Hussein Gharir and will continue to call for charges against them to be dropped immediately and unconditionally."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Four Weekends and a Funeral by Ellie Palmer

Philosophers Share $1.5 Million Kluge Prize


Charles Taylor of Canada and Jürgen Habermas of Germany, two of the world's most important philosophers, will share the $1.5 million John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity, the Library of Congress said yesterday. The prize recognizes accomplishment in disciplines not covered by the Nobel prizes, including history, philosophy, politics, anthropology, sociology, religion, criticism in the arts & humanities, and linguistics. Both men have published many books.

"Jürgen Habermas and Charles Taylor are brilliant philosophers and deeply engaged public intellectuals," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "Emerging from different philosophical traditions, they converge in their ability to address contemporary problems with a penetrating understanding of individual and social formations. Highly regarded by other philosophers for their expertise, they are equally esteemed by the wider public for their willingness to provide philosophically informed political and moral perspectives. Through decades of grappling with humanity's most profound and pressing concerns, their ability to bridge disciplinary and conceptual boundaries has redefined the role of public intellectual."

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Acquires MeeGenius

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has acquired some e-book and technology assets of MeeGenius, an e-book subscription service for children up to age eight, as part of what the company described as its "ongoing strategic focus on the direct-to-consumer market."

"MeeGenius provides a combination of beloved children's stories and interactive tools that support literacy development and give families a smart array of digital books in one comprehensive offering," said C.J. Kettler, HMH executive v-p and chief of consumer brands and strategy, adding that the company "continues to expand its portfolio of digital consumer products, the incorporation of these MeeGenius assets further strengthens our content offerings beyond the classroom."


Image of the Day: Last Stop in Brooklyn

Matt de la Peña (r.) and Christian Robinson, the author-illustrator team behind Last Stop on Market Street (Penguin), were on their way to dinner in Brooklyn, N.Y., last weekend when a bus pulled up. Luckily, they happened to have a copy of their book on hand for a quick photo. Last Stop tells the story of a young boy and his grandmother commuting on the city bus, as she imparts a lesson about gratitude to him. In a starred reviewShelf Awareness wrote: "With the precision of a poet, Matt de la Peña chronicles a boy's heartwarming Sunday morning routine with his nana. Christian Robinson's uplifting palette and culturally diverse cast brighten the rainy-day backdrop."

Bookstore Chalkboard of the Day: Let's Play Books!

A tweet yesterday from Let's Play Books! (@letsplaybooks) in Emmaus, Pa., to promote an event featuring Joe McGee, author of Peanut Butter and Jelly Brains: "PB&BRAINS drink special - Today 4:30-6pm."

Cool Idea of the Day: Board Books for Newborns

Indie booksellers worldwide have come up with numerous creative ways to spend the grants handed out in recent years by bestselling author James Patterson. In Australia, Tasmanian bookseller Not Just Books in Burnie is matching a $2,000 (about US$1,480) grant from Patterson so that "300 newborns will get an early introduction to reading," the Advocate reported. "Every baby born at the North West Private Hospital from late this month to the end of the year will receive a children's board book as part of a program to encourage children into reading."

Personnel Changes at Chelsea Green

Kate Weiss has joined Chelsea Green Publishing as assistant trade sales manager. She has been an independent bookseller for the past eight years, first at Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley, Pa., and most recently at Carmichael's in Louisville, Ky., where she also served as events coordinator.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: John Sununu on Conan

Tomorrow on a repeat of Tavis Smiley: Lisa Scottoline, author of Every Fifteen Minutes (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250010117).


Tomorrow night on Conan: John H. Sununu, author of The Quiet Man: The Indispensable Presidency of George H.W. Bush (Broadside Books, $28.99, 9780062384287).

TV: Just Kids; Westworld

Showtime has acquired the rights to Patti Smith's National Book Award-winning memoir, Just Kids, for a limited series to be co-written and produced by Smith and John Logan (Penny Dreadful). reported that the pair have been working on an adaptation of the book since 2011, "after Smith saw Logan's Tony Award-winning play Red, a bio-play about painter Mark Rothko."

"Just Kids is one of my favorite memoirs of all time," said David Nevins, president of Showtime Networks. "Not only is it a fascinating portrait of artists coming of age, but it's also an inspiring story of friendship, love and endurance. I'm so thrilled that Patti Smith will bring her unique voice to writing the scripts along with the gifted John Logan, who has been doing such a phenomenal job with Penny Dreadful for us."

Nevins added that "every studio and producer in town" had been after Smith's memoir. "It didn't hurt that she was a die-hard Penny Dreadful fan."


"Is Michael Crichton hot in Hollywood again?" asked Indiewire, observing that this summer's hit movie Jurassic World will be followed this fall by Jonathan Nolan's HBO reboot of Crichton's novel and 1973 film Westworld. The first trailer has been released for the upcoming series, which stars Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood and James Marsden, and "will reportedly be told from the point of view of the A.I. creations that populate the park."

Books & Authors

Awards: Gordon Burn

Finalists have been named for the £5,000 (about $7,740) Gordon Burn Prize, which is a partnership between the Gordon Burn Trust, New Writing North and Faber & Faber. In addition to the cash prize, the winning author will be offered a writing retreat of up to three months at Gordon Burn’s cottage in Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. The winner will be announced October 9. This year's shortlisted titles are:

In Plain Sight: The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile by Dan Davies
Midland by Honor Gavin
Noon Tide Toll by Romesh Gunesekera
Original Rockers by Richard King
Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev

M.T. Anderson: 'Seeking Out the Truth' for Teens

Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad (Candlewick, September 22, 2015) is the first work of nonfiction for teens from National Book Award winner M.T. Anderson (The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing). Combining history, biography and musicology, Anderson introduces composer Dmitri Shostakovich, whose life and work were intimately entwined with the history of Russia from the Revolution to the Cold War. Here he describes the seeds for the project.

What inspired you to choose a topic that approaches history from a musical point of view?

I'm always interested in how deeply the arts affect our lives. Our culture tends to think of the arts as superfluous, a luxury--but in this case, a symphony changed the lives of thousands.

Were you at all daunted by the thought of writing about classical music for young adult readers? How did you approach describing how a symphony sounds to a reader who may never have listened to one?

Dmitri Shostakovich's music is very vivid and dramatic, which makes things easier. What I tried to do was describe what the original audiences heard and how they understood this music--an intriguing question in itself, given how much debate there is about the images in the symphonies and their secret messages, their codes.

In what ways did you shape the narrative for the young adult audience?

If I had written the book for adults, I probably wouldn't have described Shostakovich's childhood or those harrowing, triumphant teenage years following the Russian Revolution. But I felt it was important for young readers to get a glimpse of him as a child--and then to see what he was capable of, even when he was in his teenage years. His first symphony, written when he was a 18, made him world famous. That's an incredible testimony to what kids can do when they have passion and focus. I hope his example inspires them.

When I pictured my audience, I pictured young musicians, actors and artists. I wanted to show them what's possible, and why their work is so important to the rest of us.

In some of the narrative's most compelling moments you step back and ask readers to be critical about the legitimacy of a story you've just shared about Shostakovich's life. These moments draw readers even further into the narrative, rather than coming off as didactic. How did you set that up?

Well, all of history is just a story we tell ourselves--but this is particularly important to remember when you're talking about a totalitarian regime, where facts are constantly being erased, changed and revised. Stalin infamously ordered many photographs doctored to remove his enemies from the past. It wasn't enough to purge them from the present.

Though dictatorships provide a particularly stark picture of how the historical record is revised, I want to inspire kids to join in questioning our own historiography, too. The powerful in any society always write history and revise both the past and the present. Consumer capitalism is not generally as brutal in its methods of concealing facts or obliterating truth (about, say, industrial exploitation or global climate change)--but the effects of its evasions are just as wide-reaching and occasionally even violent.

Seeking out the truth is one of the most dramatic and heroic things kids can do right now or in any age. I would love to provoke them to take up that battle. --Angela Carstensen, school librarian

Book Brahmin: Kelly Sue DeConnick

photo: Ed Peterson

Kelly Sue DeConnick began her comics career writing English adaptations of Japanese manga for Tokyopop and Viz. After seven years and more than 10,000 pages on books like Slam Dunk, Blue Spring and Sexy Voice and Robo, she moved to American comics with 30 Days of Night: Eben And Stella (IDW) and Osborn: Evil Incarcerated (Marvel). DeConnick is also known as the force behind Carol Danvers's reinvention as Captain Marvel (the book that gave rise to the Carol Corps) and as the first female writer of an ongoing Avengers title in Avengers Assemble.

In 2013, DeConnick introduced Pretty Deadly, a brutal mythological western co-created with Spanish artist Emma Ríos. In 2014, DeConnick and co-creator Valentine De Landro launched the sci-fi series Bitch Planet (Image, October 2015).

On your nightstand now:

Cartozia Tales issues 1-7 by Isaac Cates et al. I'm reading these with my kids, who are five and seven. They're collections of short comics that explore the imaginary land of Cartozia and remind me of something I might have read when I was a kid. There's something a little bit Mercer Mayer in their DNA and that delights me.

Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz. The science writer Ed Yong recommended this one. It makes an appealing case for reframing how we think about mistakes. As someone who seems to be devoted to the act of mistake-making, I like where we're going here.

The Work: My Search for a Life that Matters by Wes Moore. An author, TV host and Rhodes scholar, Wes Moore talks about the search for purpose and rewards of service. I've just started this one, so I can't tell you too much about it yet.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards. Yes, THAT Julie Andrews. My fourth grade teacher, Ms. Breedlove, read this to us every day over lunch and I loved it. I remember drawing my own illustrations. Won't be too long before I read it to my kids.

Your top five authors:

Matt Fraction--my husband--so I'm likely more than a little biased here, but I'm also right: he's brilliant. He is able to explore and take advantage of the comic form in ways that support the stories without ever becoming too clever. If I didn't know how hard he works, I'd resent the hell out of his abilities.

John Irving and Ernest Hemingway could not possibly be more different, but I love them both for the same thing--the discipline. Irving writes like he's being paid by the word, but still never comes off as indulgent. His books are so tightly plotted I always marvel at how, in the end, it feels like there wasn't a single extra syllable. He also has a gift for creating characters so real that I mourn their loss when the books wrap up, sad that my friends will never do anything new again. Hemingway's discipline is expressed differently, in the clarity he's so famous for. I admire them both.

Margaret Atwood creates worlds 10 minutes down the road in the wrong direction that terrify me because they are so shockingly plausible.

Mary McCarthy--I haven't read one of her books in a long, long time, so it's frankly odd that I put her on the list, but I remember reading The Company She Keeps in college and feeling shaped by it. So, what the hell, she goes on the list. Take that, J.D. Salinger and Shakespeare!

There are others I wish I could include, but I couldn't choose between them: Warren Ellis, Maggie Estep, Chelsea Cain, Neil Gaiman, Joe Keenan and Todd Grimson. Have you read Todd Grimson's Stainless? It's so good!

Book you've faked reading:

The Prince by Machiavelli. I've skimmed it, okay??

Book you're an evangelist for:

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Ugh, I am embarrassed because it is, for all intents and purposes, a self-help book for writers, but WHATEVER, I LOVE IT. I've recommended it to more people than I can count. Usually followed soon thereafter by Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird and David Allen's Getting Things Done.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Promised the Moon by Stephanie Nolen.

Book that changed your life:

The Mercury 13 by Martha Ackmann. Same topic as Promised the Moon, but a much more satisfying read. This book fueled (haha--sorry) my interest in women in aviation and has directly influenced my own work more than any other.

Favorite line from a book:

"Road to hell paved with unbought stuffed dogs." --from The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

Which character you most relate to:

Glory O'Brien, from Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King. This is a weird answer because I'm 45, and I just read this book a couple of months ago and it's about a teenager. But that said, Glory views the world from a remove that I recognize on a personal level.

Book you want to read again for the first time:

A Widow for One Year by John Irving. This was the book that made me want to read all of Irving's novels again.

Book Review

YA Review: Illuminae

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman (Knopf, $18.99 hardcover, 608p., ages 14-up, 9780553499117, October 20, 2015)

An intergalactic space war, a teenage breakup, a mysterious illness and a possibly homicidal rogue AI system collide in the wildly adventurous Illuminae by Amie Kaufman (the Starbound Trilogy) and Jay Kristoff (the Lotus War trilogy).

The same morning that Kady Grant breaks up with her boyfriend, Ezra Mason, their colony on Kerenza IV is attacked by BeiTech Industries; thousands are killed and the survivors forced to evacuate. Suddenly adrift on the battle carrier Alexander and research vessel Hypatia, Ezra and Kady find themselves in the middle of a war with BeiTech's ship, the Lincoln, in swift pursuit. With crews dwindling, all able-bodied and qualified civilians are conscripted into service, including Ezra. On Ezra's first mission as a pilot, the group's Artificial Intelligence Network Defense Analytics Network (AIDAN), abruptly launches nuclear missiles at one of the fleet's own ships before ordering Ezra's group to intercept the few escape pods launched prior to the attack. While covering up their own lack of answers, officials on the Alexander shut down AIDAN, citing damages to the craft sustained in the battle on Kerenza IV.

Kady, deemed unworthy of conscript, further develops her hacking skills aboard Hypatia. She quickly finds that not everything is as it seems, leaving her to question the fates of everyone aboard the ships. With the Lincoln swiftly approaching, the crew aboard the Alexander may have no choice but to reboot AIDAN. Will AIDAN be the group's salvation or its demise? Amid rumors of a violent mystery illness plaguing some passengers, will AIDAN's actions even matter? Kady isn't sure of anything other than that she has to try to save them all. When even optimistic Ezra questions their fate, Kady assures him "you have no idea how much I can do in just one day."

Told through a massive dossier of compiled information, Illuminae is a dizzying rush of space and cybernetics with dashes of teen romance. Interviews, summaries of surveillance footage, e-mails, web chats and more form a narrative that's well-rounded and wonderfully developed. Without the limits of traditional narrative, Kaufman and Kristoff manage multiple points of view and styles of writing with grace and ease. Some of the dossier's information has been edited and the curse words censored, leaving readers to wonder who exactly is behind the Illuminae Group tasked with compiling it, and why they sent it to executive director Frobisher.

Alternately humorous, charming, horrifying and electrifying, Illuminae is unforgettable and a game-changer for its genre. --Kyla Paterno, reviewer

Shelf Talker: Teens reeling from heartbreak find themselves fighting for survival amid an intergalactic war.


Chicago Distributing Bodleian Library's Children's Imprint

Mentioned yesterday, Bodleian Library Publishing's new children's imprint that is focusing on republishing "forgotten gems" and beautifully illustrated titles will be distributed in the U.S. by the University of Chicago Press, not Wiley. (Wiley will handle distribution in the U.K.)

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Servicing the Target (Masters of the Shadowlands, Volume 10) by Cherise Sinclair
2. The 20/20 Diet by Phil McGraw
3. Overkill by Gregg Olsen and Rebecca Morris
4. Bound to Darkness (The Midnight Breed Series Book 13) by Lara Adrian
5. First 100 Words by Roger Priddy
6. Red Hot Candy by Various
7. Ice Blue (Lord and Lady Hetheridge Mystery Series Book 1) by Emma Jameson
8. Lucky's Choice (The Last Riders Book 7) by Jamie Begley
9. A Zen for Murder (Moosamuck Island Cozy Mystery Series Book 1) by Leighann Dobbs
10. Wicked Fall (The Wicked Horse Series Book 1) by Sawyer Bennett

[Many thanks to!]

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