Shelf Awareness for Friday, September 18, 2015

Sourcebooks Landmark: Long After We Are Gone by Terah Shelton Harris

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Indiana University Press: The Grim Reader: A Pharmacist's Guide to Putting Your Characters in Peril by Miffie Seideman

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen

Tor Books: The Daughters' War (Blacktongue) by Christopher Buehlman


New from Amazon: Six-pack of $50 Tablets; 'Word Runner'

Yesterday, Amazon introduced several new devices, including a $49.99 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet that is also available, curiously enough, as a six-pack for less than $250; an 8-inch ($149.99) & 10.1-inch ($229) Kindle Fire HD tablet, and the new version of the 7-inch Fire Kids Edition ($99.99), which comes with an updated "kid-proof case" and two-year replacement guarantee.

Amazon's latest operating system, Fire OS 5 "Bellini," offers a new reading feature called "Word Runner" that uses "Dynamic Pacing," which "gradually builds to your preferred reading speed and algorithmically and automatically slows down for difficult words, punctuation and paragraph breaks."

Wired noted that with "four tablets and two set-top boxes, Amazon made a single statement: We win at entertainment.... Amazon has finally figured out exactly what the Fire devices are about. Remember that old maxim 'tablets are for consumption?' As other big companies like Apple and Microsoft have fought tooth and nail to prove they're more than just movie-watching devices, Amazon's leaning into the idea. These are devices for watching movies. And reading books, and watching TV shows, and listening to music."

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Roswell Johnson Saves the World! (Roswell Johnson #1) by Chris Colfer

Gouldstone Joins S&S as Director, Integrated Marketing

Hannah Gouldstone

Hannah Gouldstone has joined Simon & Schuster as director of integrated marketing and will oversee SimonSays, S&S's online learning platform, as well as develop an expanded paid live events program and work with partners at parent company CBS to develop author podcasts, among other responsibilities.

Gouldstone was the founder and CEO of Clever Goats Media, a digital educational content company specializing in workbooks, storybooks and game apps. Before that, she was marketing manager at Disney Consumer Products, where she managed North American brand and product integrated marketing for Disney and Marvel print publishing.

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

ALA President Responds to Pew Report

Sari Feldman

American Library Association president Sari Feldman responded to a survey released this week by the Pew Research Center, which found that Americans believe libraries are important community institutions and profess interest in libraries offering a range of new program possibilities, but library visits have edged downward while demands for digital services continue to grow.

"Although the report affirms the value of public libraries, the ALA recognizes the need for greater public awareness of the transformation of library services, as the report shows library visits over the past three years have slightly decreased," said Feldman. "In response, libraries of all types are preparing for the launch of a national public awareness campaign entitled Libraries Transform.

"Libraries from across the county will participate in the campaign and will work to change the perception that 'libraries are just quiet places to do research, find a book, and read' to libraries are centers of their communities: places to learn, create and share, with the help of library staff and the resources they provide.

"This is an exciting time for libraries, as institutions transform to meet the digital and print needs of their users, and to continue to fulfill their role in leveling the playing field for all who seek information and access to technologies."

Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen

International Read an E-Book Day

Today is the second annual International Read an E-book Day, sponsored by e-book and audiobook distributor OverDrive "to celebrate digital reading as a great way to connect readers with their libraries and authors they love." This year Overdrive is "giving away four separate content credits of $2,500 to libraries who are celebrating Read an E-book Day. Simply mention OverDrive in a social media post using the hashtag #eBookLove and to share how your library is celebrating. Throughout the day, OverDrive will randomly select four libraries as winners."

Boulder Book Store's Sidelines Savvy

"From the very beginning, I wanted us to be known for something special," said Helena Bolduc, co-owner and head sidelines buyer of Boulder Book Store in Boulder, Colo. At Boulder Book Store, her purview is all non-book items other than cards, blank books and magnets. Off and on for more than 15 years, Bolduc has brought in clothing, accessories, cookware, food and much more for her store.

"We have to differentiate ourselves from other bookstores," continued Bolduc. "And we also need to differentiate from the gift stores."

Boulder Book Store is located on the Pearl Street Mall in downtown Boulder. There are several bookstores in the general area, as well as many gift stores on the mall. Bolduc has worked hard to find things that her neighbors aren't selling yet and to cultivate a standard for quality. One of her earliest successes was locally produced, artisanal chocolate, which remains a bestseller for the store.

"When I started the chocolate section, what I had in mind was not bringing in a huge quantity of chocolate, because that is easy," recalled Bolduc. "I wanted to make customers think we have the best, to concentrate on the best chocolate section that I could put my hands on."

Chocolove, a Boulder chocolate producer, was one of Bolduc's earliest partners. She has since expanded the selection with a variety of high-quality domestic chocolate. Bolduc said she "didn't believe" in importing chocolate, because it's much better fresh. She also noted that tastes have changed since she began stocking chocolate--as chocolate has become more of a connoisseur-type product, Bolduc has had to go to greater lengths to impress customers.

"I don't consider myself a chocolate buyer. I call myself a chocolate hunter," Bolduc said, laughing.

T-shirts made by local clothing company and printer Goodbye Blue Monday have also done very well for Boulder Book Store and are perennial bestsellers. The store has sold a variety of shirts with memorable designs, including one called "Tattoo Willie" that features a picture of William Shakespeare in a T-shirt with sleeve tattoos down both arms. According to Bolduc, the shirts sell year round, and are particularly popular with the many students and tourists who visit Boulder and want a souvenir.

And thanks to the large amount of meditation groups and spiritual centers in Boulder, meditation cushions have sold well at the store for a long time. "It's something unique," commented Bolduc. "It's not something that you can find everywhere."

Boulder Book Store also carries a selection of vintage bookends. There is no single vendor for these items, and each pair is unique: David Bolduc, Helena Bolduc's husband and store co-owner, finds these at antique shops in the area. It was important to her and her husband, Bolduc explained, that they not carry bookends that could easily be found at Barnes & Noble and elsewhere. First Edition Match Boxes--handmade wooden matchboxes featuring first edition book covers--have also sold briskly, as have a selection of Fridolin music boxes.

"Most of all I'm up for quality," said Bolduc, when asked what she looks for in prospective sidelines. "But you can't just bring in beautiful things. They have to be things that are also affordable."

Pricing sidelines, she continued, is a constant balancing act. Theoretically Bolduc can mark sidelines up as high as she'd like, but in her experience the complicating factor is always the price of a hardcover book. Bolduc suggested that the sideline prices should be "proportional" to those of hardcover books. And while Bolduc has found that customers generally seem amenable to paying a slight premium for something that is either locally or at least domestically made, there are some exceptions. She noted that expensive domestic scarves don't seem to sell, although American-made knit caps priced between $35 and $40 do.

"All of the soaps I bring in, all of the cosmetics, all of that is local," said Bolduc. "But sometimes local and American-made are so expensive that you can't bring them in."

Apart from some of the perennial sellers, such as the T-shirts and chocolates, sidelines tend to come on fast and go very quickly. They may be part of a broader fad, or tied to a particular event and very topical. An example of the latter was the Bush countdown clock--the store sold 1,895 of them between 2006 and 2008. Being "ahead of the game," Bolduc emphasized, is a necessity-- it doesn't do much good to start carrying an item after all of her neighbors are already selling it. And just because something worked in the past doesn't necessarily mean that a similar item would sell as well now.

In order to stay on top of things and keep the sideline offerings fresh, Bolduc is always on the hunt for new items. She's in almost constant communication with her staff about things to bring in, and though Bolduc goes to a trade show perhaps once every two years or so, she's found that traveling is the best way to find new items. Explained Bolduc: "Visiting other places, other towns and other cities, it does wonderful things for seeing what people are buying."

Boulder Book Store carries most of its gifts and sidelines on its main floor, which is by far the most well-trafficked. More and more though, Bolduc is experimenting with incorporating sidelines into other sections. Examples of this include cookware in the cookbook section; Eagle Creek bags, water bottles and flashlights in the travel section; and meditation cushions in the spirituality section.

Her department has seen its biggest period of growth since around 2011, when gifts were split from cards, magnets and blank books. Bolduc would like to continue expanding the store's sideline offerings, but even for a shop as big as Boulder Book Store, space is an issue. "We have a lot of books," she said. "We have to work things out with everybody else. It's always a matter of balancing what's important and what counts." --Alex Mutter

Obituary Note: Carl E. Schorske

Carl E. Schorske, whose essay collection, Fin-De-Siecle Vienna: Politics and Culture, "fixing turn-of-the-century Vienna as the radiating source of modernist thinking won a Pulitzer Prize in 1981 and remains an exemplar of cultural history," died last Sunday, the New York Times reported. He was 100. Schorske's other books include Thinking With History: Explorations in the Passage to Modernism and German Social Democracy, 1905-1917: The Development of the Great Schism.


Image of the Day: SRO for Mindy Kaling

More than 1,000 people lined up Tuesday to see Emmy-nominated writer/actress and Cambridge, Mass., native Mindy Kaling discuss her new book, Why Not Me? (Crown). Kaling was joined in conversation with surgeon, writer and public health researcher Dr. Atul Gawande (Being Mortal). Harvard Book Store hosted the sold-out event at the Back Bay Events Center.

Happy 30th to the Booksellers at Laurelwood!

Congratulations to the Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis, Tenn. (formerly Davis-Kidd), which will celebrate its 30th anniversary October 3. "That's 10,000 days (give or take a few ice storms). Or 120,000 hours," noted general manager Eddie Burton. "We've had two owners, four general managers and have employed 500 booksellers. Our current staff of 27 employees has a combined total of 306 years of bookselling experience. For the last decade, we've held steady at an average tenure of nine years. And, by my calculations, we've sold around five million books.

"As interesting as those numbers are (well, to me anyway), they don't do justice to what it means to have been part of this industry and community and staff for the past 30 years. Writing a few sentences here probably won't cut it either. But I can tell you that after being asked to write this, the one word I kept coming back to was fellowship. I've seen it and felt it at every level, this keen sense that, for better or worse we are all in this extraordinary business together."

The day-long celebration October 3 will feature cake, door prizes, a kids birthday story time, "throwback specials" at the bistro, giant birthday cards and more. "Memphis Gets Lit" t-shirts will also be for sale.

In addition, the Booksellers at Laurelwood is launching its LIT campaign with a cash mob for Crosstown Arts' story booth from 3-5 p.m., during which the organization will receive 30% of all bookstore sales. After the initial event, the bookstore plans to hold a monthly "bookish charitable project to benefit a variety of different organizations that make Memphis great."

Humans of New York: 'Rare Book Librarian'

Kyle Triplett, who works in the Manuscripts and Archives Division at the New York Public Library, was featured on Humans of New York Wednesday: "I'm a rare book librarian. I get to touch books every single day. My colleague and I have a joke that we are Defenders of Wonder. A physical book assigns a sense of reverence to the content inside. It's the same feeling you get when you look at a painting or hear a piece of music. And I think that's something worth defending. And just like a book gives reverence to its content, I think the library gives reverence to books. The building itself is a masterpiece. So many famous thinkers have come here to study and write. Just being here connects you to that lineage."

Personnel Changes at Chronicle Books

At Chronicle Books:

Erynn Im-Sato has been promoted to national sales manager, special markets.
Samantha Steele has been promoted to sales coordinator, special markets.
Effective September 21, Griffin McEvoy will be sales assistant, special markets. He was previously a Chronicle Books fellow.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Damon Tweedy on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry

Today in a repeat on Fresh Air: Keith Richards, author of Life (Back Bay, $18, 9780316034418).


Tomorrow on Fox News's Justice with Judge Jeanine Pirro: David Willey, author of The Promise of Francis: The Man, the Pope, and the Challenge of Change (Gallery Books, $26, 9781476789057).


Tomorrow on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry: Damon Tweedy, author of Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine (Picador, $26, 9781250044631).


Sunday on CNBC's On the Money: Barry Schwartz, author of Why We Work (Simon & Schuster/TED, $16.99, 9781476784861).


Sunday on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS: Gillian Tett, author of The Silo Effect: The Peril of Expertise and the Promise of Breaking Down Barriers (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781451644739).


Sunday on Meet the Press: David Maraniss, author of Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story (Simon & Schuster, $32.50, 9781476748382).

Movies: In the Heart of the Sea; The 5th Wave

A new trailer for Ron Howard's epic In the Heart of the Sea, based on the book by Nathaniel Philbrick, features "a handful of dazzling CGI shots and no shortage of harrowing human drama," hinting that "the movie could be a late-in-the-game awards player," Indiewire reported. Opening December 11, the film stars Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland, Ben Whishaw and Brendan Gleeson.


In showcasing a trailer for the adaptation of Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave, Indiewire noted: "We're coming up to an interesting point in the recent history of the YA movie. Harry Potter and Twilight have come to an end, and The Hunger Games wraps up in November. And though there are a few possible contenders (The Maze Runner did better than most expected), most of the films trying to fill their gaps... have died on the vine. Will the same fate happen to The 5th Wave?" The cast includes Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Maika Monroe, Alex Roe, Liev Schreiber, Tony Revolori, Ron Livingston and Maggie Siff. The movie hits theaters January 15.

Books & Authors

Awards: NBA Fiction Longlist

The National Book Foundation has been unveiling longlists for the 2015 National Book Awards this week, with a category released each day. Finalists will be announced on October 14, and winners named November 18. This year's longlisted titles in the fiction category are:

A Cure for Suicide by Jesse Ball (Pantheon)
Refund: Stories by Karen E. Bender (Soft Skull/Counterpoint)
Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg (Scout Press/S&S)
The Turner House by Angela Flournoy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (Riverhead)
Fortune Smiles: Stories by Adam Johnson (Random House)
Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson (Morrow)
Honeydew by Edith Pearlman (Little, Brown)
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (Doubleday)
Mislaid by Nell Zink  (Ecco)

Book Brahmin: Meredith Wild

photo: Birch Blaze Photography

Meredith Wild lives on Florida's Gulf Coast with her husband and three children. She refers to herself as a techie, whiskey-appreciator and hopeless romantic. The fifth and final novel in her Hacker Series, Hard Love, was released on September 15, 2015, by Forever Romance/Grand Central Publishing.

On your nightstand now:

I'm devouring the first four novellas of Audrey Carlan's Calendar Girl series right now. I've never had book hangover from a novella, but January gave me a big one, so I'm anxious to catch up on Mia's adventures before the next month's installment is released.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I still remember my elementary school library vividly, and I'll never forget the shelf of Dr. Seuss books that I read through, one after the next, until I'd consumed them all. I couldn't get enough of them, and I now I have the opportunity to do it all over again with my kids, which is so much fun.

Your top five authors:

My favorite authors are still the ones I read in college. I guess you could say they were my first loves when it came to authors: Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare, Jeanette Winterson and John Donne. I still revisit my old textbooks on the bookshelf when I have time!

Book you've faked reading:

I fully admit to fake reading Paradise Lost by John Milton. At the time I was a sophomore in college with a new boyfriend (soon to be husband) who was monopolizing a lot of the time I could have been spending on my reading and coursework. Priorities!

Book you're an evangelist for:

Ella Frank's Temptation Series--Try, Take and Trust--is a really beautiful story about two young men, Logan and Tate, going way outside of their comfort zone to find love. If someone who enjoys erotic romance is looking for a new read, I always try to convert them to "try" m/m. I think the genre really opens people's minds, and Ella is a really wonderful storyteller.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I bought Cathy Yardley's Enslave for the cover, which follows the very dark and minimalist theme of the others in the series. Not only were the covers great, all the stories delivered with the right amount of steam and fairytale, so it ended up being a great buy. I read each of them in a day.

Book that changed your life:

If You Have to Cry, Go Outside by Kelly Cutrone is one of my very favorite books, and one that I can reread over and over. She offers an earthy kind of wisdom in this memoir, and I connected to her philosophies about life more than I'd expected to when I first picked it up. Whatever I'm dealing with in my life, I can relate parts of her journey to my own and take some lessons with me.

Favorite line from a book:

"The very essence of romance is uncertainty," from Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest. One of the things that makes Wilde such a brilliant writer to me is the layer of truth that one finds under his wonderful humor. This one of course struck home with me as a writer and lover of romance.

Which character you most relate to:

No surprise really, but I think I most relate to Erica in the Hacker Series. I drew from my own experiences so much when penning her and Blake's story, it's hard to imagine relating to a character more than her!

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

I'd love to read Wild by Cheryl Strayed for the first time again. I loved traveling that intense emotional and physical journey with her, not knowing how it would end. Definitely worth a re-read, but of course there's nothing like the first time!

Book Review

Review: Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel

Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel by Zachary Thomas Dodson (Doubleday, $27.95 hardcover, 9780385539838, October 6, 2015)

Zachary Thomas Dodson's first novel feels destined to make a splash with its sprawling combination of science fiction and mysticism, art and text, western and dystopia.

In the year 2143, Americans live in city-states divided by life stages. The government records all conversation. Paper is forbidden, although "carbons" of paper documents are housed in a vast archive called the Vault of Records, a supposed safe house for history and culture. Zeke and his girlfriend, Eliza Gray, live in the Republic of Texas, where young adults meet their spouses. Zeke's grandfather Zadock has recently passed away in Chicago-Land, where senior citizens reside, and Zeke stands to inherit his grandfather's seat in the Senate. However, he also inherits an ancient, sealed envelope. By law, he must turn it in to the Vault for copying without opening it, but when he hesitates, everything he holds dear comes under threat.

In the year 1843, Zeke's ancestor Zadock loves Elswyth Gray, daughter of a naturalist. Her father will allow their marriage under one condition: Zadock must travel from Chicago to deliver a sealed envelope to a general in the original Republic of Texas. Throughout his perilous journey, Zadock sends letters back to Elswyth, handwritten for the book by Dodson in ink of his own making. Elswyth runs into dangers of her own, chronicled in a novel-within-a-novel with a bullet hole through its pages.

Dodson should find plenty of fans among readers who prefer stories that challenge them to think deeply and keep up, even if their adventures require a bit of stumbling along darkened paths. His future Republic of Texas is imagined clearly enough to make it seem as real as the bat caves and yawning deserts of the 1843 Texan landscape. While he delves into the realm of steampunk, Dodson leaves out many of the Victorian fripperies common to the genre and focuses on the implications of a society powered at least partly on steam. His concepts of what technology and weaponry humans would use in a steam-powered future are believable, with a contagious sense of cinematic fun about even the dangerous steam mines outside the city-state's barrier walls. Government maps and Liza's meticulous drawings help bring this future world to life, something between Star Trek and Beyond Thunderdome. Although the importance of Zeke's bloodline and the prophecy surrounding it is never fully explained, Zadock's initially brave but increasingly desperate striving to complete his mission and return alive to Elswyth packs some emotional punch. His naturalist's drawings (actually Dodson's) of desert wildlife (and yes, there are bats) make for a vivid and occasionally fanciful counterpoint to the sterile environment depicted in 2143 Texas.

Dodson has filled a puzzle box of a novel with beautiful art and astounding breadth of imagination, and the result begs to be opened. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: In this illuminated novel, a young man in a future dystopian version of Texas grapples with draconian law enforcement over a sealed letter that may belong to his ancestor in 1843 Texas.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Award-Winning YA Novel Banned in New Zealand

In the U.S., we're just nine days away from "celebrating the freedom to read" with Banned Books Week 2015, but in New Zealand there has been considerably less cause for celebration recently. During the first week of September, the president of the country's Film and Literature Board of Review issued an Interim Restriction Order banning the sale or distribution of Ted Dawe's YA novel Into the River, which was honored as the 2013 NZ Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year. The work will be reviewed again by the full board soon to determine a "final decision."

Booksellers NZ issued a warning to member bookshops, noting that "the fine for distributing Into the River while it is banned, without knowledge of the ban, is $3,000 for an individual, and $10,000 for a business. If it is distributed while it is banned, with knowledge of the ban, is $10,000 or up to three months in prison for an individual, and $25,000 for a business."

The Interim Restriction Order was sparked by complaints from Family First, a fundamentalist Christian group whose director, Bob McCoskrie, requested the review. "Hopefully we have set a precedent and people start bringing other books to the fore that they are concerned about," he said. "Where a book is targeted at teenagers it needed to be language and theme appropriate."

"I read the book in 2013, and it has stuck with me," noted Jenna Todd, manager of Auckland's Time Out Bookstore, which has drawn attention to the issue in numerous ways, including a sidewalk chalkboard, photo op with Dawe and an "offensive books" window display, with a prominently featured brown paper-wrapped copy of Into the River.

"We often look at troubled young people around us and ask, 'How did this happen?' " Todd continued. "Into the River tries to answer that question. It takes a look at the path that a young Māori boy could take after leaving his whānau, having his culture disregarded and being bullied within an alienating boarding school system.... It's gritty, unapologetic and raw. It contains sex, drugs and swear words. But when read in context, its confronting scenes add depth to the protagonist Te Arepa's toxic surroundings. Many of the so-called scandalous and 'offensive' scenes result in negative experiences for him. It's a good book. And this week, I have been told we will be fined $10,000 if we sell or display it.... We look forward to removing the paper bag and selling it again."

Reaction to the decision has been sharply critical among booksellers, authors, publishers and readers. Across New Zealand, public "silent readings" of the book have been held in protest.

"It is clear that the processes within the 1993 Act are out of sync with modern norms where access to information, particularly books, is ubiquitous and cannot be censored by way of a single country's laws," said Booksellers NZ CEO Lincoln Gould. "Censorship cannot be applied effectively when printed books, e-books and all sorts of other reading material can be accessed online from anywhere in the world.... There certainly needs to be a conversation with government about whether the current law needs to be reviewed."
Publishers Association of New Zealand president Melanie Laville-Moore called Into the River "a highly regarded piece of literature, charged with influencing and changing the lives of many of its teenage male readers. This is an unprecedented and extreme action by the Film and Literature Board of Review. Banning books is not the New Zealand way."

Peter Biggs, chair of the board of the New Zealand Book Council, said "placing a permanent age restriction on Into the River will restrict the ability of family and whānau to make a decision on what is appropriate reading for their children; it will limit access for mature, advanced young readers."

The book's publisher, Penguin Random House NZ, issued a statement saying it "believes that young people benefit from having access to coming of age books that help them to understand the complex society in which they live."
Writer and editor Emma Neale, who worked on the initial assessment and editing phase of the novel, observed: "If we silence the book, and remove it from young adult readers, we repeat the kind of insidious censorship and bullying the fictional private boys' school of the novel, Barwell's, embodies. From silence grow ignorance, isolation and confusion. The extension to a total ban is horrifying and represents the level of censorship expected in totalitarian states."

In an essay for the Guardian, Dawe shared his views on the issue, concluding: "I won't speculate on how all this will end, because my thoughts are for those boys I set out to connect with. You know the ones. They are the dudes who don't read. Don't succeed. Appear in the newspapers for the wrong reasons. And, instead of finding their place in society, find it in jails, mental hospitals and morgues. Reading can be a lifeline to these guys, it's just often one good reading experience that sets them down a new path."

At some point during Banned Books Week, perhaps we'll also have the chance to celebrate the end of Into the River's ban, too. --Robert Gray, contributing editor (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)

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