Shelf Awareness for Thursday, August 27, 2015

Flatiron Books: The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Nti-Asare-Tubbs

Candlewick Press: In the Half Room by Carson Ellis

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Kondo & Kezumi Visit Giant Island by David Goodner, illustrated by Andrea Tsurumi

Candlewick Press: A Polar Bear in the Snow by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Shawn Harris

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Shadow Mountain: The Paper Daughters of Chinatown by Heather B Moore

Quotation of the Day

Melissa Cistaro: 'Bookstores Are Magical Places'

Melissa Cistaro

"If you love books as much as I do and you want to surround yourself with likeminded people, go work in an independent bookstore. Bookstores are magical places. You get to meet authors and discover new books all the time. I also learned how sometimes great books thrive and other equally beautiful books can sometimes wither on the shelf. I quickly gleaned how subjective the world of books can be. This armored me with very humble and realistic expectations as I entered the publishing arena with my own book. I had a completed draft of my memoir when I started working at Book Passage, and I decided to put it in the proverbial drawer for a year so that I could focus on other books and writers. This turned out to be a great plan. Two years later, I met my agent during an event I was hosting."

--Melissa Cistaro, author of Pieces of My Mother and bookseller/events coordinator at Book Passage in Corte Madera, Calif., in a Huffington Post interview

Sharjah Book Authority: Publishers Conference, November 1st - 3rd 2020


Palabras Bookstore to Open in Phoenix

Rosaura "Rosie" Magaña plans to open Palabras Librería/Bookstore, a Spanish-language bookshop at 1023 Grand Avenue in Phoenix, Ariz., on November 14. The Phoenix New Times reported that Palabras, "which is Spanish for 'words,' will sell and rent out Spanish books and serve as an outreach center for a community Magaña sees as neglected by the arts scene."

"Phoenix has a large population of low-income and Hispanic people who would benefit from something like this," she said. "I feel that within that community, some people get left out and don't get to be a part of the arts district."

Magaña will also work with Enrique Cortazar, cultural attaché to Mexico, to build a list of resources and empower visitors to find whatever help they may need. "I went through the hardships of learning the [English] language and trying to make a living without knowing about the resources available," she noted. "We want to have a folder with lists of organizations that can help Latinos in the community who want to get a GED and take ESL classes."

Hoping to have approximately 1,000 titles in the store before she opens, Magaña will complement them with exhibitions of work by local or Mexican artists and poetry readings. New Times wrote that Palabras "will also share its space with Oh My Ears, a local musical troupe that strives to bring Latin-inspired classical music to the community."

University of Minnesota Press: My Life in the Purple Kingdom by Brownmark and Cynthia M Uhrich

'A Baby and Cancer': A Book Editor on Working at Amazon

In the wake of the New York Times front-page article "Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Idea in a Bruising Workplace," one person from the book world, Julia Cheiffitz, executive editor at HarperCollins, has chimed in with a wrenching post on about her own experience.

Julia Cheiffitz

In "I Had a Baby and Cancer When I Worked at Amazon. This Is My Story," she recalled joining Amazon Publishing in 2011 as editorial director, "drawn to Amazon's spirit of innovation, its agility, and its culture of excellence." From the beginning, she was "dazzled" by her smart colleagues, although she noted a lack of women in high-level positions.

In 2013, Cheiffitz had a baby--and six weeks later was diagnosed with cancer. She had difficulties with her insurance because of "a glitch in the system," Amazon said, but then returned to work after five months:

"I was nervous and excited to return to work, and I showed up that first day back with a big smile and a phone full of baby pictures to share. I figured I'd catch up with folks and get a high-level update on how the business was doing, since the strategy had evolved from the time I was hired. Here's what happened instead: I was taken to lunch by a woman I barely knew. Over Cobb salad she calmly explained that all but one of my direct reports--the people I had hired--were now reporting to her. In the months that followed, I was placed on a dubious performance improvement plan, or PIP, a signal at Amazon that your employment is at risk. Not long after that I resigned."

Storey Publishing: Wake Up Grateful: The Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted by Kristi Nelson

Restless Books Launches New Immigrant Writing Prize

Launched yesterday, the first annual Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing will seek "extraordinary unpublished submissions from emerging writers of sharp, culture-straddling writing that addresses American identity in a global age," according to publisher Ilan Stavans, who observed: "The ethos of America is defined by its immigrants. Their stories have always been an essential component of the nation’s cultural consciousness.... In these times of intense xenophobia, it is more important than ever that these stories reach the broadest possible audience."

A panel of judges will select the winning manuscript, which receives a $10,000 advance and publication by Restless Books. Submissions will be accepted from September 1 until December 31, 2015.

KidsBuzz for the Week of 09.28.20

Obituary Notes: Svetlana Boym; Barbara Somerfield

Svetlana Boym, an essayist, photographer, novelist and playwright "whose work illuminated the haunting, quicksilver counterpoint of myth, memory and identity," died on August 5, the New York Times reported. She was 56. She was best known to a general readership for her 2001 book The Future of Nostalgia. Her other works included Another Freedom: The Alternative History of an Idea; Common Places: Mythologies of Everyday Life in Russia; and Death in Quotation Marks: Cultural Myths of the Modern Poet.


Barbara Somerfield, founder of Aurora Press, died August 11. She was 67.

After her dream of being a professional dancer ended because of a spinal injury, Somerfield joined the New York Astrology Center, which became a bookstore for metaphysical and alternative health books and a center for classes in these fields. With Henry Weingarten, she founded the National Astrological Society in 1970. They later founded ASI Publishing, which published the first acupuncture text in the U.S. as well as metaphysics and alternative health titles. In 1981, she founded Aurora Press.

California Bookstores: Opt-into CALIBA's Fall Email Marketing Campaign - Free to You!

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Do Right by Me
by Valerie I. Harrison and
Kathryn Peach D'Angelo

GLOW: Temple University Press: Do Right by Me: Learning to Raise Black Children in White Spaces by Valerie I. Harrison and Kathryn Peach D'AngeloAn essential guide for non-Black parents and caregivers by authors with authority and first-hand experience, Do Right by Me: Learning to Raise Black Children in White Spaces arrived at a fortuitous time for Ryan Mulligan, editor at Temple University Press: "I couldn't find the book I was looking for: an orientation to raising a Black child in America for someone who hadn't grown up with the experiences, networks and knowledge that most Black parents bring to the task. And then Val and Katie reached out." Mulligan and his publishing team were "blown away by the authors' honesty, friendship and message." Presenting a brutally honest assessment of the ways in which the justice and education systems often work against Black children, Do Right by Me offers bold, uplifting strategies for helping them develop the awareness, resources and resilience to thrive. --Shahina Piyarali

(Temple University Press, $20 paperback, 9781439919958,
November 27, 2020)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported



Image of the Day: Another Day for David Levithan

Last night, David Levithan launched his hew novel, Another Day (Knopf)--a companion to his Every Day--at New York City's Books of Wonder, where he read to an SRO crowd.

Rick Riordan Presents: City of the Plague God by Sarwat Chadda

Happy 60th Birthday, Kepler's!

Congratulations to Kepler's Books in Menlo Park, Calif., which is celebrating its 60th anniversary on Saturday, September 19. From 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., the store will be hosting a free, all-ages block party on the plaza complete with a photobooth, band, facepainting and other games and activities. The event will begin with a storytime session for children with Christie Matheson, author of Touch the Brightest Star, and wrap up with the cutting of a giant birthday cake. More information on the event, and how to RSVP, can be found here.

Boulder Book Store, Local Radio Station Air Book Club

This spring, Boulder Book Store in Boulder, Colo., partnered with local radio station KGNU to start the KGNU Radio Book Club, Boulder Weekly reported. The book club is the brainchild of Boulder Book Store head buyer Arsen Kashkashian and KGNU news director Maeve Conran. Each month, Kashkashian chooses a book, and then several weeks later he joins Conran and the book's author on-air to discuss the title.

The club's first pick was American Ghost by Hannah Nordhaus, an author in the Boulder area, like most of the Kashkashian's selections so far. Most recently, Kashkashian and Conran had Peter Heller on to discuss his novel The Painter. In July, Conran and Kashkashian welcomed Laird Hunt to talk about his book Neverhome, and in early June TaraShea Nesbit discussed her novel The Wives of Los Alamos. The selection for next month is Red Lightning by Laura Pritchett, who will be in the studio on September 24. All of the book club's discussions are archived on KGNU's website, so readers can participate entirely at their own pace.

Personnel Changes at Grand Central Publishing

Effective September 2, Andy Dodds is joining Grand Central Publishing as associate director of publicity. He was formerly associate director of publicity at William Morrow and earlier was a publicist at Simon & Schuster.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Fiorina, Ansari on the View

Tomorrow on a repeat of the View:

Carly Fiorina, author of Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey (Sentinel, $26.95, 9781591848035)
Aziz Ansari, author of Modern Romance (Penguin Press, $28.95, 9781594206276)

Movies: The Girl on the Train; Everything, Everything

Haley Bennett (The Equalizer) will play the role of Megan in The Girl on the Train, the Tate Taylor-directed adaptation of Paula Hawkins's novel for DreamWorks, reported. The cast also includes Emily Blunt and Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation). Erin Cressida Wilson wrote the script.


MGM has optioned the rights to Nicola Yoon's debut YA novel Everything, Everything (Sept. 1 release), which will be adapted for the big screen by J. Mills Goodloe (The Age of Adeline). The Hollywood Reporter noted that Goodloe "has a knack for adapting romantic tales for the big screen," with credits that include Nicholas Sparks's The Best of Me.

This Weekend on Book TV: Al Roker

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, August 29
4:45 p.m. Star Parker, author of Blind Conceit: Politics, Policy and Racial Polarization: Moving Forward to Save America (Sumner Books, $15.99, 9781939104137). (Re-airs Saturday at 6 p.m., Sunday at 11:15 a.m. and Monday at 2:25 a.m.)

6:30 p.m. Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, author of America's Great Storm: Leading through Hurricane Katrina (University Press of Mississippi, $25, 9781496805065), at Lemuria Bookstore in Jackson, Miss. (Re-airs Sunday at 2:45 p.m.)

7:30 p.m. Ronnie Greene, author of Shots on the Bridge: Police Violence and Cover-Up in the Wake of Katrina (Beacon Press, $24.95, 9780807033500), at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 3:45 p.m.)

10 p.m. Dan-el Padilla Peralta, author of Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League (Penguin Press, $27.95, 9781594206528). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Al Roker, author of The Storm of the Century: Tragedy, Heroism, Survival, and the Epic True Story of America's Deadliest Natural Disaster: The Great Gulf Hurricane of 1900 (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062364654). (Re-airs Sunday at 11:30 a.m.)

11:30 p.m. Robert Service, author of The End of the Cold War: 1985-1991 (PublicAffairs, $35, 9781610394994). (Re-airs Sunday at 5:30 p.m.)

Sunday, August 30
1 p.m. Deborah Tuerkheimer, author of Flawed Convictions: "Shaken Baby Syndrome" and the Inertia of Injustice (Oxford University Press, $19.95, 9780190233617). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

7:45 p.m. Geoff Shepard, author of The Real Watergate Scandal: Collusion, Conspiracy, and the Plot That Brought Nixon Down (Regnery History, $29.99, 9781621573289).

10 p.m. Susan Pedersen, author of The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire (Oxford University Press, $34.95, 9780199730032).

11 p.m. Peter Kiernan, author of American Mojo: Lost and Found: Restoring our Middle Class Before the World Blows By (Turner, $34.95, 9781630269234).

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, September 1:

Purity: A Novel by Jonathan Franzen (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28, 9780374239213) follows a young woman who travels with a German peace activist to South America.

Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg (Gallery/Scout Press, $26, 9781476798172) revolves around the accidental deaths of four people at a wedding.

Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544409910) is a novel based on real early American female deputy sheriffs.

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Lu (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780544303188) explores extreme poverty afflicting 1.5 million American households.

Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America by Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney (Threshold Editions, $28, 9781501115417) shares opinions from the former vice president and his daughter.

The Silo Effect: The Peril of Expertise and the Promise of Breaking Down Barriers by Gillian Tett (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781451644739) explores institutional organization.

Guinness World Records 2016 by Guinness World Records (Guinness World Records, $28.95, 9781910561027) adds thousands of new records.

Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story by Ursula K. Le Guin (Mariner, $14.95, 9780544611610) updates a writing guide first published in the 1990s.

The Time Garden: A Magical Journey and Coloring Book by Daria Song (Watson-Guptill, $15.99, 9781607749608).

The Sisters of Versailles: A Novel (The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy) by Sally Christie (Atria, $16, 9781501102967).

Only a Kiss: A Survivors' Club Novel by Mary Balogh (Signet, $7.99, 9780451469687).

A Walk in the Woods, based on the book by Bill Bryson, opens September 4. The cast includes Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Emma Thompson and Nick Offerman. A movie tie-in (Anchor, $7.99, 9781101970881) is available.

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

Fishbowl: A Novel by Bradley Somer (St. Martin's Press, $24.99, 9781250057808). "Somer uses the unusual device of a goldfish plunging off of a high-rise balcony to tie together the disparate stories of the building's inhabitants. As our hero, Ian, plummets past floor after floor, he glimpses the lives of the residents--witnessing birth, heartbreak, new love, and all of the pathos and wonder that comprise human existence. Although Ian has only a goldfish's seconds-long capacity for memory, readers will find themselves returning to the essential truths of Somer's characters again and again." --Jill Miner, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, Mich.

Barefoot to Avalon: A Brother's Story by David Payne (Atlantic Monthly Press, $26, 9780802123541). "This memoir is the most courageous book I have ever read. The author takes readers with him as he endeavors to make sense of his relationships with his parents and siblings, mental illness, personal shortcomings, and the journey to becoming a writer. The book leaves readers amazed at how much pain the heart can hold and still emerge peaceful, whole, and full of hope. Payne holds nothing back, and his depictions of events are real and full of all that makes us human, both the good and the bad." --Sharon Wheeler, Purple Crow Books, Hillsborough, N.C.

Orphan #8: A Novel by Kim van Aldemade (Morrow, $14.99, 9780062338303). "In 1919, tragedy strikes in New York City and four-year-old Rachel is separated from her brother Sam and sent to a Jewish orphanage, where Dr. Mildred Solomon, in the name of research, subjects her to experiments with X-rays, leaving Rachel disfigured, bald, and the brunt of cruelty by other orphans. To Dr. Solomon, Rachel is just a number, Orphan Number Eight. Years later the tables are turned when Dr. Solomon ends up with cancer and reliant on morphine in Manhattan's Old Hebrews Home, where Rachel is the attending nurse. Will Rachel take her revenge or treat her patient with mercy? This powerful and stunning debut, based on a little-known true story, will remain with readers long after the last page is turned." --Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, Mich.

For Ages 4 to 8
Enormous Smallness: A Story of E.E. Cummings by Matthew Burgess, illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo (Enchanted Lion Books, $17.99, 9781592701711). "Burgess introduces the profundity of E.E. Cummings to children in a smart way, by showing him as a creative, insightful child who cherished his surroundings. Filling the book with a balance of whimsical rhyme, biographical notes, wonderful illustrations, and samples of Cummings' poetry, Burgess' words and Di Giacomo's pictures convey both the sensibility of an artist while providing the basic facts of his life." --Todd Wellman, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.

For Teen Readers
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh (Putnam, $17.99, 9780399171611). "In this reimagining of The Arabian Nights, Shahrzad's best friend has been killed by the vicious boy-king who takes wives and orders their death the following dawn. When Shahrzad volunteers to be next so that she can avenge her friend's murder and end the king's treachery once and for all, she stays her own execution by telling him a story and convincing him to keep her alive until it ends. In the meantime, she begins to discover that the king is not what he seems--he is burdened by a dark secret. Mesmerizing and perfect for fans of Cruel Beauty, The Winner's Curse, or Shadow & Bone, this tale will knock readers off their feet with its romance, magic, and beautiful use of language." --Paige Mushaw, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt.

For Ages 9 to 12
Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman (Holt, 9781627791151, $16.99). "Garrison Griswold is Emily's idol. The developer of 'Book Scavenger,' a wildly popular online game for book lovers, Griswold is a rock star in the book world. But when Emily's family moves to Griswold's hometown on the very day he has an unfortunate accident, Emily finds herself in possession of a valuable book that might be the first clue in a new game, or may well be the first clue in discovering who is behind Griswold's accident. With elements of travel, adventure, mystery, famous authors, codes, online games, books, and two book-loving 12-year-old friends, Book Scavenger has just the right ingredients for the perfect middle-grade novel." --Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, N.C.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The Art of Memoir

The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr (Harper, $24.99 hardcover, 9780062223067, September 15, 2015)

Mary Karr is eminently qualified to write The Art of the Memoir. Not only has she written three magnificent books in the genre--The Liar's Club, Cherry and Lit--but she's also someone who has "cherished the form as long and as hard as anybody," having taught a class in memoir for years at Syracuse University. Karr combines these strengths to create a book that discusses what a memoir is, which writers did it really well and how those interested in writing one might go about doing so.

The Art of Memoir is snappy and witty, humorous just when it needs to be, yet plainspoken in the best way. "[W]riting a memoir is knocking yourself out with your own fist, if it's done right... there's suffering involved." To do so, one must find The Story (yours and no one else's) and be willing to tell it in the "truest, most beautiful way." Karr hopes to "give you the scuba fins and a face mask and more oxygen for your travels" through what she calls "the watery element of memory."

As she instructs, advises and guides, Karr draws upon both her own experience and the work of a few authors whom she regularly re-reads. For instance, she points out that Maxine Hong Kingston's "oddly ethereal vision" in Woman Warrior "helped forge the genre of memoir as we know it"; and describes how Kathryn Harrison (The Kiss) was "inwardly scalded" into writing "one of the bravest memoirs in recent memory," about her father's sexual abuse of her. And using Michael Herr's seminal war memoir, Dispatches, as exemplary of the form, Karr offers a close reading to show explicitly what he does and how he does it.

From these shining illustrations of the craft at its best, The Art of Memoir gathers tools for the aspiring writer, but Karr opines that doubt may be the memoirist's greatest asset, or at the very least, a penchant for rethinking one's assumptions about the past. This dovetails nicely with the writer's need to revise, to keep writing. Karr confesses that she spent nine months writing The Liar's Club's first chapter and threw away 1,200 finished pages of another memoir. She takes heart, though, in G.H. Hardy's A Mathematician's Apology, her favorite memoir; every time she reads it, the book showers her with "sparkles like a Disney fairy." The Art of Memoir too sparkles, and teaches, and enthralls. --Tom Lavoie, former publisher

Shelf Talker: Esteemed memoirist Mary Karr expounds on the genre's greatest books and offers wise counsel for writing one.

KidsBuzz: Vesuvian Books: 7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner
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