Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Del Rey Books: The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu

Jy: Enemies (Berrybrook Middle School #5) by Svetlana Chmakova

Entangled Publishing: Stealing Infinity by Alyson Noël

St. Martin's Press: The Matchmaker's Gift by Lynda Cohen Loigman

Legendary Comics YA: Enola Holmes: Mycroft's Dangerous Game by Nancy Springer, illustrated by Giorgia Sposito

Sourcebooks: Helltown: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer on Cape Cod by Casey Sherman

Soho Crime: Lady Joker, Volume 2 by Kaoru Takamura, translated by Allison Markin Powell and Marie Iida

Bantam: All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers


Betsy Burton on Amazon Bullying in Utah

Betsy Burton

In a Salt Lake Tribune op-ed piece entitled "Legislators caved to Amazon at the expense of Utah businesses," Betsy Burton, co-owner of the King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City and president of the American Booksellers Association, decried the withdrawal of a bill in the state legislature that would have required Amazon to pay sales tax: "As a business owner I am outraged. As a citizen I'm beyond outraged. I love my community. I love my business. I do not want to lose either of them."

Reportedly the bill's sponsor, Rep. Mike McKell, withdrew the bill after Amazon told him that if the bill became law, Amazon would cut off affiliated advertisers in Utah--"at-home bloggers," who complained that they would lose the income they receive promoting Amazon products.

Burton's comment: "Amazon is a bully. Over the past years we have watched them bully numerous states, their competitors, local businesses and national chains alike, the publishers they buy their books from, the authors who write them, other manufacturers they do business with, politicians at the state and national levels. Caving to their threats is wrong. And I submit that it is dangerous. They have created an untenable antitrust environment in which it is impossible to compete. It is the duty of government to protect its citizens--and its businesses. We don't want special treatment but we do demand that you do not pick and choose among us. We all deserve a level playing field."

Utah loses an estimated $180 million in sales tax on Amazon purchases annually.

Entangled Publishing: Stealing Infinity by Alyson Noël

Wide World Books & Maps Makes Fundraising Progress

In just over two weeks, Wide World Books & Maps, Seattle, Wash., has raised $21,000 on its GoFundMe campaign, more than two-thirds of its $30,000 goal to keep the store open. The overall goal is $50,000; when the campaign reaches $30,000, Rick Steves' Europe, a major supporter of the store, is offering 10 seven-day tours to Istanbul, London, Paris or Rome, which will cost donors $2,000 each, for a total of $20,000 for the store. The GoFundMe campaign runs for another month.

In an e-mail to customers, owner Julie Hunt wrote, "I'm feeling quite optimistic that this campaign will be successful and that we'll be able to keep the store open! So if you haven't already, we hope you'll join us in this effort to save Wide World Books! Together we can keep the oldest travel bookstore in the country--and important community resource for travel advice, presentations, and support groups--open. The campaign will continue to run through April 15th. If the campaign is a success, we hope to continue for years to come!"

The $50,000 will be used to pay off back bills, expand inventory, increase advertising to attract additional customers and upgrade computers and the store's website.

Earlier this year, Hunt had decided to close the store. When she announced that plan, hundreds of customers and travel professionals contacted her to express their support and make offers to help.

GLOW: Park Row: The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West

Andrew Smith to Head Abrams Children's Books

Andrew Smith

Effective March 31, Andrew Smith is joining Abrams as senior v-p, publisher, children's books, which includes Abrams Books for Young Readers, Abrams Appleseed and Amulet Books.

Smith spent 10 years at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, most recently as senior v-p, deputy publisher. Before that, he was v-p, sales, at Candlewick and v-p, marketing, at Random House Children's Books.

Abrams president and CEO Michael Jacobs said that with Smith's appointment, "we have found an experienced and extremely dedicated book publishing executive who will not only lead our exceptional children’s publishing program but also challenge us to expand and grow with new and creative opportunities."

In a related move, Susan Van Metre, who has headed the Abrams children's division for the past six years, will become v-p, editor in chief, children's books, and editorial director for Amulet, where she will focus on acquisitions and guiding the editorial team.

MPIBA: Last Chance: The Great Summer Reading Guide

Obituary Note: Anita Brookner; Diane Silvey

Anita Brookner, the celebrated novelist and art historian who "was highly regarded for her style and stories centering on the theme of middle-class loneliness, often featuring female protagonists," died March 10, the Guardian reported. She was 87. Brookner published more than 20 novels, including Hotel du Lac (1984 Booker Prize winner), The Rules of Engagement, Latecomers, Leaving Home, Incidents in the Rue Laugier and Look at Me.

Noting that Brookner was working in the tradition of the French novel, her publisher Juliet Annan said, "She also had the most extraordinary effect on people because she had such a highly developed sense of what was morally right. If you were with her you felt that you had to behave a whole lot better, but she was also very, very funny and very self-deprecating."

In a 2009 review of Brookner's novel Strangers, Hilary Mantel called her "the sort of artist described as minor by people who read her books only once.... The singular quality of each, as well as the integrity of the project, is established. Each book is a prayer bead on a string, and each prayer is a secular, circumspect prayer, a prayer and a protest and a charm against encroaching night."

Describing conversations with his longtime friend Brookner, author Julian Barnes once told the Telegraph: "You will find yourself babbling. One of the most remarkable things about her is that her conversation has perfect punctuation, so that you hear every colon and semi-colon; and this makes you aware that your own grammar in spoken English is very sloppy. It's not a deliberate trick to make you feel uneasy; it's simply how she is."


Canadian author Diane Silvey, a member of the Sechelt Indian Band (Coast Salish) who wrote numerous children's titles on aboriginal subjects, died March 3, Quillblog reported. In 2005, Kids Can Press released her work The Kids Book of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, which was illustrated by John Mantha and shortlisted for the 2006 Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Book Prize. Val Wyatt, one of her editors, said, "I admired Diane so much. She overcame many hardships in life to become a teacher and was an advocate for her students and for First Nations people all her life. She also had a wicked sense of humor and we would laugh our way through lunches together, the last one being only three weeks ago. I will miss her unique and wonderful self."


Image of the Day: #MagersandQuinnMadness

Magers & Quinn, Minneapolis, Minn., has come up with a bookish take on the ubiquitous college basketball tournament: #MagersandQuinnMadness. The store created a bracket of 32 contenders from staff and customer suggestions, and each day, they set up the competition and take votes in store and via Twitter polls (@magersandquinn).

City Lit Books 'Exists to Build Communities'

Although Chicago's City Lit Books "has sold more books year-over-year every month since its launch in 2012, its sales are but one measure of its success," Medill Reports Chicago noted in its profile of the community-minded indie bookstore.

"I do everything I can in terms of events and bringing people here," said owner Theresa Kirschbraun. "We have five or six book clubs that we host every month. We have an open mic night, a salon series that focuses primarily on poetry, story time every week which brings in about 30 families every Saturday morning.... People come for story time, and they remember us, then, when they are shopping for a baby shower gift or a birthday party gift. It becomes part of their everyday.... I think success is measured in a lot of ways for something like this."

To compete in a low-margin business, Kirschbraun "has had to think of City Lit Books on the neighborhood level while relying on her background in health care management. Running a bookstore bears surprising similarity to managing a network of doctors' offices, especially when you consider the fixed costs associated in each setting," Medill Reports Chicago wrote.

"I can't change the price of a book. It's on the book," Kirschbraun said. "I learned how to manage within that margin, and that's what I needed to do here."

Personnel Changes at Little, Brown, Mulholland Books

At Little, Brown and Mulholland Books:

Pam Brown has been promoted to associate director of marketing, Little, Brown, and marketing director, Mulholland Books.

Lisa Erickson is promoted to associate director of marketing, Little, Brown.

Meghan Deans has been promoted to director, social media, Little, Brown.

Elizabeth Garriga has been promoted to director of publicity, Little, Brown.

Julie Ertl has been promoted to associate publicist, Little, Brown.

Sabrina Callahan is taking on a new role as director of publicity, Mulholland Books.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Mary Francis Berry on Tavis Smiley

Jim Bohannon Show: Andy Glockner, author of Chasing Perfection: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the High-Stakes Game of Creating an NBA Champion (Da Capo Press, $25.99, 9780306824036).

Diane Rehm: Shirley MacLaine, author of Above the Line: My Wild Oats Adventure (Atria, $24, 9781501136412).

Ellen: Padma Lakshmi, author of Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir (Ecco, $26.99, 9780062202611).

Tavis Smiley: Mary Francis Berry, author of Five Dollars and a Pork Chop Sandwich: Vote Buying and the Corruption of Democracy (Beacon Press, $25.95, 9780807076408).

Live with Kelly and Michael: Holly Robinson Peete, co-author of Same But Different: Teen Life on the Autism Express (Scholastic, $17.99, 9780545094689).

TV: Mindhunter; After

Holt McCallany (Lights Out) has been cast as the lead in Mindhunter, the Netflix crime drama series based on the 1996 book Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit by former special agent John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, Deadline reported. The project is executive produced by David Fincher and Charlize Theron.

Written by playwright Joe Penhall and Scott Buck, the series is set in 1979 and "centers on the inquisitive and skilled FBI Agent Bill Tench (McCallany)." The cast also includes Jonathan Groff and Anna Torv.


Freeform has put in development After (working title), based on A Wicked Thing, the debut novel by Rhiannon Thomas, Deadline reported, noting the project "re-imagines Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever." Tom Lynch is co-writing with Adam Lash and Cori Uchida (Eye Candy), and executive producing with Robin Schwartz for the the Tom Lynch Co. and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

Books & Authors

Awards: Wellcome Book; OCM Bocas Caribbean Lit

The shortlist was released for the £30,000 (about $42,920) Wellcome Book Prize, which celebrates "the best new books that engage with any aspect of medicine, health or illness." The winner will be announced April 25. This year's shortlisted titles are:

The Outrun by Amy Liptrot
Signs for Lost Children by Sarah Moss
It's All in Your Head by Suzanne O'Sullivan
Playthings by Alex Pheby
The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink
Neurotribes by Steve Silberman


A longlist of nine writers, "ranging from the celebrated to the newly emerging," has been released for the $10,000 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. Category winners will be announced March 27, with the overall winner named during the NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain (April 27-May 1). The other two genre winners are awarded $3,000 each. The longlisted titles are:

Burn by Andre Bagoo
Providential by Colin Channer
Wife by Tiphanie Yanique

Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis
The Whale House by Sharon Millar
The Pain Tree by Jamaican Olive Senior

The Gymnast and Other Positions by Jacqueline Bishop
'Membering by Austin Clarke
Ties That Bind: The Black Family in Post-Slavery Jamaica, 1834-1882 by Jenny M. Jemmot

Top Library Recommended Titles for April

LibraryReads, the nationwide library staff-picks list, offers the top 10 April titles public library staff across the country love:

Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House, $28, 9781400068326). "Love, sex, and relationships in contemporary Cincinnati provide an incisive social commentary set in the framework of Pride and Prejudice. Sittenfeld's inclusion of a Bachelor-like reality show is a brilliant parallel to the scrutiny placed on characters in the neighborhood balls of Jane Austen's novel, and readers will have no question about the crass nature of the younger Bennets, or the pride--and prejudice--of the heroine." --Leslie DeLooze, Richmond Memorial Library, Batavia, N.Y.

The Obsession by Nora Roberts (Berkley, $28, 9780399175169). "Readers who love romantic thrillers will be mesmerized by the latest Roberts offering. The suspense kept me up all night! Naomi Carson, a successful young photographer, has moved across the country and fallen in love. She thinks she has escaped her past, but instead finds that the sins of her father have become an obsession. The serial killer premise makes it a tough read for the faint-hearted, but sticking with it leads to a thrilling conclusion." --Marilyn Sieb, L.D. Fargo Public Library, Lake Mills, Wis.

The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King (Bantam, $28, 9780804177900). "Worried about Mary Russell? Well, you should be. She's opened her door to the wrong man and deeply troubling secrets are set to tumble out, rewriting her history and putting herself and the people she loves in a dangerous spot. Once again, King spins a tantalizing tale of deception and misdirection for her readers' delight and scores a direct hit in her latest Russell-Holmes mystery." --Deborah Walsh, Geneva Public Library District, Geneva, Ill.

'Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick (Berkley, $27, 9780399174469). "Gothic atmosphere meets tender romance in Quick's latest Victorian era tour de force. Calista Langley asks crime novelist Trent Hastings for assistance in unmasking a twisted secret admirer that seems to have singled her out, and the two become tangled up in more than just an investigation. Quick perfectly balances setting, characters, plot, and relationship development--the end result being a story that will delight her legion of fans, as well as earn her new ones." --Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library, Huntington Station, N.Y.

Lilac Girls: A Novel by Martha Hall Kelly (Ballantine, $26, 9781101883075). "This is story of the Ravensbruck Rabbits: seventy-four women prisoners in the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Using alternating first-person narratives, the characters relate their experiences from 1939 through 1959. Drawing upon a decade of research, Hall reconstructs what life was like in Ravensbruck. More than a war story, this is a tale of how the strength of women's bonds can carry them through even the most difficult situations. Lilac Girls is a solid, compelling historical read." --Andrea Larson, Cook Memorial Public Library, Libertyville, Ill.

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and Their Race to Save the World's Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua Hammer (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781476777405). "For centuries, Arabic manuscripts were collected by private households in Mali, particularly Timbuktu: gilded manuscripts painted with real gold, showing vibrantly colored illustrations of nature. These highly valued manuscripts were handed down within families who acted as caretakers. As radicalized Muslim leaders came into power, the manuscripts were seen as corruptions of true Islam, requiring intervention. History and adventure at its best." --Marika Zemke, Commerce Township Public Library, Commerce Township, Mich.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (Tor, $17.99, 9780765385505). "What happens to children who find a doorway into a fantasy land, and then come back into the mundane world? It's certainly not a happily ever after scenario for these children, but those that find their way to Eleanor West's school are learning to cope. Shortly after Nancy comes to the school, a series of horrific events occur. It's up to her and others at the school to figure out who is committing these atrocities. This book is so wonderfully written." --Jennifer Kelley, Kershaw County Library, Camden, S.C.

Best of My Love by Susan Mallery (HQN, $8.99, 9780373789191). "Shelby has a plan to help herself overcome her relationship issues: asking Aiden to be her friend. Aiden agrees, because he realizes that he does not treat women very well and wants to learn how to treat them right, even though he doesn't want to get married. The situation seems to work well for both Aiden and Shelby, until they realize they feel much more than friendship for each other. Mallery never fails to deliver a great story full of love and friendship. Another fantastic read." --Jenelle Klavenga, Marshalltown Public Library, Marshalltown, Iowa

A Murder in Time: A Novel by Julie McElwain (Pegasus, $25.95, 9781605989747). "Kendra is a smart, confident protagonist who is familiar with the hustle it takes to stay afloat in a male-dominated profession. Thrown into a situation completely alien to her, she manages to assimilate to her surroundings, albeit roughly, while using her wits to catch a ruthless killer. She can be abrasive, and I found myself cringing, curling my toes, and muttering out loud. It will be fun to watch her mature in future books. McElwain has created a highly entertaining story." --Randee J Bybee, Upland Public Library, Upland, Calif.

Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss (Gallery/Scout Press, $26, 9781501121043). "Following the lives of three individuals in New York on the cusp of 1980, this book was structured in such a unique and original way. Lucy is in her early twenties, experiencing life in a big city; James who after college finds himself the reigning critic of the art world and Raul, escaping the post Peron Dirty War in Argentina will find himself the art world's new favorite; these three will find their lives entwined in many ways. A tragic accident will change all these characters and others close to them. This is a wonderful book that I wasn't ready to finish." --Diane Scholl, Batavia Public Library, Batavia, Ill.

Book Review

Review: Lab Girl

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren (Knopf, $26.95 hardcover, 9781101874936, April 5, 2016)

With good humor, plenty of science, scattered literary allusions and the occasional sarcastic zinger, Hope Jahren's Lab Girl is the sublime memoir of a plant research scientist and her struggles to find professional success, love and family. Inspired by her science professor father, Jahren worked her way through the University of Minnesota as a hospital pharmacy tech, considering a career in medicine until she realized that "the hospital was a place where you confined a sick person and then pumped medication through him until he died or got better." Also attracted to literature, she quickly recognized a preference for science that "didn't talk about books that had been written to analyze other books that had originally been written as retelling of ancient books."

After earning her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, she grabbed a rare assistant professor opportunity at Georgia Tech and, with her lab tech sidekick, Bill, moved to the fertile ecology of the South. With only a start-up financial commitment from the university, she and Bill cobbled together a science lab out of flea market odds and ends. Bill lived in his van as Jahren feverishly applied for federal research grants. The rest, as they say, is history: three Fulbright awards, numerous publications, several outstanding scientist and teacher awards, a world-class lab and tenured professorship at the University of Hawaii, and a devoted mathematician husband and baseball-crazed son--with the eccentric, foul-mouthed, patient, chain-smoking and ingenious Bill at her side all the way.

That takes care of Jahren's personal life story, but Lab Girl is also packed with plenty about the ins and outs of science. Who knew that "the average land plant is a two-ton tree that lives for more than one hundred years," or that "of the many million seeds dropped on every acre of the Earth's surface each year, less than 5 percent will begin to grow. Of those, only 5 percent will survive to their first birthday"? No wonder she describes someone in her field as "a stoic researcher with a strong sense of fatalism." Without undo whining, Jahren points out that "the Department of Homeland Security... commands an annual budget that is fully five times larger than that of the entire [National Science Foundation], while the Department of Defense's mere 'discretionary' budget comes to more than sixty times that sum," suggesting that "science for war will always pay better than science for knowledge."

She and Bill banter about broken cordless drills, experiments gone bad and poorly written grad student theses (one of which she compares to "the famous 'Lucky's Think' monologue in Waiting for Godot"). Jahren emerges as a smart, practical, good-hearted woman who loves her work and also finds joy in her husband, young son and best friend, Bill. She eventually realizes that after years of "trying to make my life into something... all the truly valuable pieces fall from the sky undeserved. I used to pray to be made stronger; now I pray to be made grateful." --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: Renowned scientist Hope Jahren's entertaining memoir illuminates both the science of the plant world and the ebb and flow of her personal life.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The Duke's Accidental Wife (Dukes of War Book 7) by Erica Ridley
2. The Arrangement: Vol. 21 by H.M. Ward
3. RoomHate by Penelope Ward
4. King of Campus by Jennifer Sucevic
5. Whiskey Neat by Lani Lynn Vale
6. Nothing Personal by Jaci Burton
7. Midnight Lily by Mia Sheridan
8. Bone Hook (Lei Crime Book 10) by Toby Neal
9. Deep by Skye Warren
10. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

[Many thanks to!]

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