Also published on this date: Wednesday, March 30, 2016: Dedicated Issue: Binc Foundation

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Workman Publishing: Ejaculate Responsibly: A Whole New Way to Think about Abortion by Gabrielle Stanley Blair

Simon & Schuster: Defend Banned Books

Simon & Schuster: Defend Banned Books

Blackstone Publishing: River Woman, River Demon by Jennifer Givhan

Sourcebooks Explore: Black Boy, Black Boy by Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond, illustrated by Ken Daley

Quotation of the Day

'I Seek Out the Nearest Bookstore'

"I have always been an avid reader and lover of bookstores, especially small neighborhood independents. Wherever I travel in the world, I seek out the nearest bookstore and plant myself there. The creation of coffee shops in bookstores thrills me, because I can spend hours in one of my favorite places. I am delighted to say that I'm visiting many on my book tour. My launch on March 22 was at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, and that was a thrill.

"I live in Los Angeles and am a frequent customer at Skylight Books, which I can walk to (and was one of the things I loved about my house when we first saw it!), and Book Soup and the Last Bookstore."

--Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, whose debut novel, The Nest, is April's #1 Indie Next List Pick, in a q&a with Bookselling This Week.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: All I Want for Christmas by Maggie Knox


Partners Book Distributing, Partners/West Closing

After more than 30 years of business, Partners Book Distributing, Holt, Mich., and Partners/West, Renton, Wash., are closing. They will stop shipping orders this Friday, April 1.

Headed by Vicki Eaves, Gloria Genee and Sam Speigel, Partners said in an announcement, "As much as we love what we do, the numbers are no longer working. We would like to thank all of the customers we have had over the years for keeping us going this long."

For many years and as recently as the 1990s, regional book wholesalers were a significant part of the business, and Partners is one of just a few regional book wholesalers still in existence.

Booksellers were upset about the news. Allison Hill, president and CEO of Vroman's, Pasadena, Calif., and Book Soup in West Hollywood, said she is "heartbroken" over the news. "Gloria, Vicky, and Jim and the rest of their team are extraordinary. They made us feel like they were our store partners and our friends, and they had a significant impact on Vroman's business over the years."

At the King's English, Salt Lake City, Utah, co-owner Anne Holman said, "I've been crying all day. It's terrible. They were one of the little guys and they were there for us for any and everything, and I feel like I've lost a member of the family."

Brian Juenemann, executive director and marketing director of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, commented: "True to their name, they were real partners to us and they worked to remain true partners with our booksellers. They worked with local authors and helped with events, and the authors felt that they had their own distributor working for them."

Disney-Hyperion: Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad

Patterson, Scholastic Renew School Libraries Pledge

James Patterson

James Patterson will donate another $1.75 million to school libraries this year, in the second installment of his School Library Campaign. The program was launched in 2015 in partnership with Scholastic Reading Club, which administers funding applications to its network of 62,000 schools and 800,000 teachers, and will match each dollar with "Bonus Points" that teachers at every school receiving an award can use to acquire books and other materials for their classrooms.

Last year, Patterson pledged $1.75 million in grants to school libraries. Of the nearly 28,000 entries received, 467 schools were awarded grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.

"It was really incredible to see such an overwhelming response to last year's donations--and to see what school libraries across the country have done to improve and expand their programs with their grant dollars," he said. "Libraries are at the heart of every school, and I'm thrilled to be partnering with Scholastic once again to continue to underscore both the need to sustain them, and the vital role reading plays in children's lives."

Scholastic Reading Club president Judy Newman commented: "We love working with James Patterson whose personal commitment to school libraries is awe-inspiring. The powerful combination of Patterson and Scholastic shines a much-needed light on the vital role school libraries play in getting kids to read. It is a real honor to continue our partnership with Jim to bring attention and resources to the teachers, librarians, and communities working tirelessly every day for our children's literacy."

For 2016, the grants will be awarded on a rolling basis throughout the year. Anyone can nominate a school library. Patterson hopes that teachers and students will share their experiences in their communities using #pattersonpledge. Applications to nominate a school library for a donation must be submitted by May 31.

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New York City's Idlewild Books Moving to West Village

Idlewild Books, the travel bookstore and language school, is moving its main store from 12 W. 19th St. in the Flatiron section in New York City to the West Village at the intersection of Seventh Avenue South, Perry Street and Waverly Place.

Idlewild will open in the new spot, at 170 Seventh Avenue South, in May and won't vacate its Flatiron space until February 2017. During the interval, Idlewild will sell books at both locations, and begin holding language classes in the new site in May. Idlewild also has a store in Cobble Hill, in Brooklyn.

Owner David Del Vecchio said the new location is "better than what we expected to find when we learned we'd have to move last year." At 1,000 square feet, it's the same size as the W. 19th store but on the ground floor rather than second floor, with "terrific frontage and a better configuration for having two classrooms."

Idlewild started in 2008 as a bookstore specializing in travel books and international literature. After two years, it began offering a few language classes, a program that took off and now includes instruction in French, Spanish, Italian and German at a range of levels. Idlewild has also added foreign language books.

StoryCorps 'Wants to Record Booksellers' Stories'

Greenlight's Rebecca Fitting (l.) and Jessica Bagnulo (r.) with Storycorps' Dave Isay.

StoryCorps, the popular oral history project, "is looking to collect stories from booksellers across the country who feel bookselling is their calling, who are passionate about books and readers and are committed to literacy in their communities," Bookselling This Week reported. StoryCorps founder and president Dave Isay may play selected bookseller recordings during his national tour for the latest StoryCorps book, Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work (Penguin, April 19). Interested booksellers can reserve a StoryCorps booth in Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago or New York, or use the StoryCorps app available for iPhone or Android.

"Callings is a book about people who have a fire inside to do the work they're meant to do. I've spent a lot of time in bookstores and I can think of few professions where people are more devoted, care as deeply, were born to do the work," said Isay, an award-winning maker of public radio documentaries. "Our office in Brooklyn is around the corner from Greenlight Bookstore and I'm in there a lot and think of it as kind of a sacred space, so the idea of including booksellers was a natural."

He kicked off the bookseller series with a conversation with Greenlight Bookstore owners Rebecca Fitting and Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, whom he called "amazing and inspiring."

"I just asked one question and they were off to the races--the passion and love and hard work they put into Greenlight personifies everything Callings is about," Isay recalled. "Rebecca and Jessica are a reminder to find the work you're meant to do and then never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up."

Memorial Service for Nancy Olson

A memorial service for Nancy Olson, the beloved founder and longtime owner of Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, N.C., who died on Sunday, will be held on Thursday, April 7, at 11 a.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, at 3313 Wade Avenue. The bookstore will be closed all day April 7.


Cool Idea of the Day: National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest

"There are readers, and then there are book collectors," Smithsonian magazine noted in its report on an annual competition that "exists specifically to feed the book-accumulating habits of young collectors." The National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest "celebrates book collectors whose treasure troves are organized around a clear theme. A panel evaluates 'the intrinsic significance, innovation and interest of book collections as presented in entrants' descriptive essays and bibliographies.' That's right--it's not enough to amass books to enter the competition. Rather, you have to demonstrate your bookish chops with a bibliography that shows how well you understand your collection and how it fits into the wider world." The winning student gets $2,500, and his or her college library gets $1,000 to support future competitions. First, second and third place winners are also invited to attend a ceremony at the Library of Congress.

The Reading Project: 'Stacks of Books' All Over NYC

photo: Daniel Lim

"Could this be a new chapter in the way we interact with one another?" asked the Huffington Post in a feature on the Shaheryar Malik, who "has left stacks of books from his own library at popular destinations all over New York City. He doesn't stick around to see if anyone takes one of his books, nor does he re-visit his stacks. Instead he leaves a bookmark with his e-mail address printed on it inside each book, in the hopes that he'll hear back from whomever decided to pick decided to pick that book up."

Malik's idea, called The Reading Project, started last spring when he decided to let his books "live their own lives.... I felt much calmer, relaxed and yet more excited when I walked away from them." Each stack has a note that reads: "Take a book. Any book. When you finish, e-mail the artist." He has received about 70 e-mails from more than 30 countries, and has dispersed all but three of his books. "Words in a book sitting on my shelf are meaningless and lifeless to me until they are read again," he said. "The people who've taken part in the project are now connected to me in this weird [but good] way. I've never seen or met them, but I know what they have read and vice versa. That's pretty personal. Strange thing is that I've given a total stranger a part of me and yet, I still have it."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt

Dr. Oz: Rob Bell, author of How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living (HarperOne, $25.99, 9780062356291).

Diane Rehm: Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt, authors of The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss (Harper, $27.99, 9780062454942).

Daily Show repeat: Shaka Senghor, author of Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison (Convergent Books, $26, 9781101907290).

TV: The Notebook; Weaveworld

The CW network plans to redevelop The Notebook--based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks and the 2004 film--as well as Weaveworld, an adaptation of the horror/fantasy novel by Clive Barker. Deadline reported that both projects "will get new writers to pen new incarnations which again will be executive produced by Sparks and Barker, respectively." Sparks and Theresa Park are executive producing The Notebook for Nicholas Sparks Prods and Warner Bros. TV.

Weaveworld "received a contemporary makeover in the CW adaptation this season, centering on an app designer teaming up with a young pastry chef destined to be guardian of a mythological realm in an epic battle against evil for control of a magical world," Deadline wrote. Angela Mancuso executive produces with Barker for CBS TV Studios.

Books & Authors

Awards: Maxwell Perkins; BTBA Fiction & Poetry; RITA

Literary agent Eric Simonoff of William Morris Endeavor has won the 2016 Maxwell E. Perkins Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Field of Fiction, sponsored by the Center for Fiction and honoring "an editor, publisher, or agent who over the course of his or her career has discovered, nurtured, and championed writers of fiction in the United States." Simonoff will receive the award at the Center's annual benefit and awards dinner in New York City on December 6.


The fiction and poetry longlists have been released for this year's Best Translated Book Award, sponsored by Three Percent and honoring "the best original works of international fiction and poetry published in the U.S. during the previous year." The longlists include books from 26 presses, written in 19 different languages by authors born in 23 different countries. Finalists for both categories will be announced April 19, with the winners named May 4. There will also be a celebration during BookExpo America on May 11 at 57th St. Books in Chicago.


Romance Writers of America announced the finalists in several categories for this year's RITA and Golden Heart Awards. The RITA recognizes excellence in published romance novels and novellas. The Golden Heart recognizes excellence in unpublished romance manuscripts. Winners will be named July 16 at the 2016 RWA Annual Conference in San Diego, Calif. The finalists can be seen here.

Book Brahmin: Sarah Schulman

photo: Drew Stevens

Sarah Schulman is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, nonfiction writer, AIDS historian and journalist. She is Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island, a fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University, on the advisory board of Jewish Voice for Peace and faculty adviser to Students for Justice in Palestine. Schulman is co-founder of the ACT UP Oral History Project and MIX:NY Queer Experimental Film Festival. The Cosmopolitans (The Feminist Press, March 15, 2016) is her 10th novel, and 17th book.

On your nightstand now:

Queer Activism in India: A Story in the Anthropology of Ethics by Naisargi Dave; Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems by Robin Coste Lewis; Ma Mère Rit by Chantal Akerman; Nochita by Dia Felix; The Odd Woman and the City by Vivian Gornick; and Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art by Nancy Princenthal.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.

I think the important influences here come from the learned knowledge that girls could be writers, that urban life was a reasonable subject for literature and that there is a beauty in repetition. Goodnight, moon. Goodnight, red balloon.

Your top five authors:

Carson McCullers--I have spent most of my adult life thinking about Carson McCullers. In 2002, I had a play produced at Playwrights Horizons, "Carson McCullers," and have since written a film, "Lonely Hunter," and am now working on a novel in which she appears. I have read everything she has written that I could get my hands on, including juvenilia, and most of what has been written about her. The mystery and allure of McCullers is how a young white woman from segregated Georgia, could--at age 23--publish a book that Richard Wright could call the first book by a white writer with fully realized Black characters. She had an incredible ability to inhabit any kind of person: a Filipino gay man, a dwarf, a Jewish gay deaf mute. How did she do it? The question is a mesmerizing one.

Jean Genet was the first writer on romance that I believed. I was handed his book Funeral Rites in high school by a girl who said "Here, you're a romantic," and have been compelled towards his work ever since. My most recent investigation was a piece called "Jean Genet in Palestine," which will appear in a new anthology honoring Edmund White.

Rabih Alameddine is the most exciting novelist in my life. His first novel Koolaids: The Art of War, which juxtaposes the AIDS crisis with the Lebanese Civil War, is one of the most successful AIDS novels to date. The formal breaks artfully replicate the emotionality of that period and that context.

Claudia Rankine, of course, is a writer who has the community's trust.

And I read and am enriched by all my friends who inspire me.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I, The Divine by Rabih Alameddine. Anyone who wants to be a better writer should read this book.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book by Maxine Hong Kingston, and I loved it.

Book that changed your life:

Most recent book to change my life is John Keene's Counternarratives. It is a masterful work, 20 years in the making, that reveals the inability of conventional narrative structure to contain the individual and collective experience of slavery over time and place.

Favorite line from a book:

"It happened that green and crazy summer." --from The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers.

Five books you'll never part with:

Funeral Rites by Jean Genet, The Ballad of the Sad Café by Carson McCullers, Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine, Visions of Cody by Jack Kerouac and "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action" by Audre Lorde.

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

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. This author wrote four novels in the 1920s, then drank for some decades, only to produce her great work in the 1960s, when many readers thought she was dead. I want to understand that surprise of holding a story as long as one can, until it lives on its own.

Not-yet-published books that you are looking forward to:

Because I live in the world of writers, I often know what my favorites are working on long before the books are published or even fully written. In the near and long future, I am looking forward to: Tracie Morris's forthcoming experimental dialogues with five artists, Rabih's book about AIDS and Tayari Jones's new novel imagining real autonomy for black women, which are still being written. I am holding a place in my heart for many nonfiction books: the long awaited in-progress biographies of Lorraine Hansberry, Kathy Acker and Muriel Rukeyser; Matt Brim's Poor Queer Theory, which is half written. Far in the future: Nan Alamilla Boyd's History of Tourism in San Francisco and Susan Stryker's Transgender History. Anything from Claudia Rankine and Martha Hodes. Plus all my students everywhere and the life-changing books I have yet to imagine.

Book Review

YA Review: Outrun the Moon

Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee (Putnam, $17.99 hardcover, 400p., ages 12-17, 9780399175411, May 24, 2016)

Even as Mercy Wong's father expects that she will marry the herbalist's son and be a "meek" wife, he also insists that she never stop learning because she must "be as smart as the white ghosts." In San Francisco's Chinatown in 1906, 15-year-old Mercy's graduation from the Oriental Public School means her education has stalled. While she might not object to an intended match to her handsome childhood sweetheart, she absolutely rejects her limited options as "a mere girl, a Chinese girl no less." She vows to rescue her family from poverty, especially her beloved younger brother whose already weakened body couldn't possibly endure the grueling laundry business. Guided by pithy aphorisms from her Book for Business-Minded Women by Radcliffe-educated Texan Mrs. Lowry, Mercy is determined to gain entrance into the exclusive St. Clare's School for Girls.

"[C]ircumstances don't determine where you can go, only your starting point," Mrs. Lowry instructs. So with an unlikely combination of exquisite chocolate, a coveted plant bulb, daring bluster--and a little sly manipulation--Mercy follows her mentor-on-the-page and joins the entitled St. Clare's girls. Admission, alas, doesn't mean acceptance; at the request of the deal-making school board president, Mercy enters the elite fold posing as a Chinese heiress. Straining under judgmental eyes, Mercy resorts to mirthful improvisations, even a fake tea ceremony during which she beseeches (in Cantonese), " 'may I not make a pigeon egg of myself.' "

Mercy's approval-seeking attempts have mixed results and prove short-lived, as the massive earthquake levels San Francisco on April 18. St. Clare's is destroyed, forcing the headmistress to relocate her charges to Golden Gate Park until help arrives. Mercy's "bossy cheeks"--an authoritative streak her fortuneteller mother fully recognized--ensures that this "mere Chinese girl" will not wallow in worry, and instead she takes charge with ingenious tenacity and empathic leadership. Her St. Clare's education might have been truncated, but she "picked up something better": true friends.

Stacey Lee, a fourth-generation Californian with roots in Mercy's San Francisco Chinatown, again turns back time in this follow-up to her acclaimed 2015 debut, Under a Painted Sky, also inspired by her Wild West ancestry. Her "Author's Second Note If You're Still Reading" reveals the "doubtful" details of Mercy's adventures, but underscores "the power of what could be true," reminding her audience that creating our own stories is akin to "mak[ing] our own magic."

What happens to the St. Clare's girls proves to be an illuminating microcosm of the world outside their collapsed gates: "In the wake of disaster," Lee notes, "old divides fell away.... Strangers collaborated... without regard to class distinctions, race, or creed." Ever the engaging storyteller, Lee enhances that authentic history with intertwined narratives of longing, first love, unlikely bonds, familial loss, multi-generational alliances and more. Outrun the Moon may present a century-old experience, but Lee ensures that modern teens will find an absorbing reading experience right now. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: Stacey Lee's second historical novel introduces a headstrong Chinatown teen whose "bossy cheeks" help her--and many others--survive the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

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