Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 11, 2016

St. Martin's Press: The Treeline: The Last Forest and the Future of Life on Earth by Ben Rawlence

Berkley Books: This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wrobel

Candlewick Press: The Heartbreak Bakery by A R Capetta

Other Press: Home Reading Service by Fabio Morábito, translated by Curtis Bauer

HarperCollins Publishers: Click to register for the William Morrow & Custom House Winter 2022 Fiction Showcase!

St. Martin's Press: See, Solve, Scale: How Anyone Can Turn an Unsolved Problem Into a Breakthrough Success by Danny Warshay

Editors' Note

BEA in Chicago!

Today BookExpo America begins at McCormick Place in Chicago. Shelf Awareness has a strong contingent on hand, and we hope to see those of you who are also coming to the show! Our usual detailed coverage begins tomorrow.

For both attendees and those participating from afar, we'd like to highlight the Spotify BookExpo Breakdown Soundtrack created by Algonquin's Craig Popelars, a collection that "rivals anything that the K-Tel label ever released." Musicians include Rufus, Sufjan Stevens, Wilco, Frank Sinatra, Liz Phair, the Replacements, Kanye West, Paper Lace, Andrew Bird, the Staple Singers, the Rolling Stones, the theme song to Good Times and much more.

Sharjah Book Authority: Publishers Conference, October 31st - November 2nd, 2021

Quotation of the Day

Being a Bookseller 'Feels Like the Luckiest Gift'

Claire Tobin

"I started slingin' books when I was sixteen and now it's almost six years later and I still can't quite understand how my love for books continues to grow at such an exponential rate. I'm also in my third year as an English major so I spend what feels like my entire life reading. I went abroad last summer and when I came back and started working again, I realized how much I had missed. I had missed all of these books that were released without my knowing it and I felt a profound sadness. I can feel myself growing along with these books and being away from them that summer, I felt like I was a million miles away from a best friend. Getting to be around these books, ones full of opportunity and beauty and whole worlds--it feels like the luckiest gift. Being a bookseller has taught me to appreciate that these objects we recommend and sell are nothing less than pieces of art. We should always feel like we are in the midst of greatness when we are in a bookstore."

--Claire Tobin of Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich., in response to Tin House magazine's Bookseller Spotlight question: "How has being a bookseller changed your relationship to books?"

Peachtree Publishing Company: Hey! a Colorful Mystery by Kate Read


Vault Books and Brew Coming to Castle Rock, Wash., in June

Vault Books and Brew, a 1,600-square-foot bookstore and cafe, will soft open in Castle Rock, Wash., on June 15, the Daily News reported. Built in a former bank building, Vault Books and Brew will sell a selection of new and used books for both children and adults as well as coffee, tea and pastries.

"I think it adds something to do [in Castle Rock] that is a little bit more cultural," store owner Jennifer Engkraf told the Daily News. "It's a safe place for kids to come after school. It's what I would have wanted in middle school and high school--a place to come get something to drink."

Although the building has gone through extensive renovations, many of the original features, including the crown molding and elaborate vault door, remain, and the vault has been transformed into a children's play area. The store will also feature brown leather chairs and an electric fireplace.

Engkraf also told the Daily News that she imagined the store as a place for people to gather over coffee and books, adding, "It's designed around an old-time feeling."

KidsBuzz for the Week of 09.27.21

Milkweed Editions Opening a Bookstore in Minneapolis

Milkweed Editions, the literary publisher in Minneapolis, Minn., is opening a bookstore in the Open Book building in downtown Minneapolis, where it shares offices with the Loft Literary Center and Minneapolis Center for Book Arts.

Milkweed publisher and CEO Daniel Slager told Minneapolis Public Radio News that the store will be called Milkweed Books and open in late June or early July. About a quarter of its inventory will consist of Milkweed titles and the rest will come from a variety of other publishers, especially other literary presses.

"There is traditionally kind of a barrier between publishers and the public," Slager told MPR. "There are layers of salespeople and booksellers. We're stepping over that and making contact directly with our community."

When Open Book opened in 2000, it had a bookstore in the same space Milkweed Books is taking--a branch of the Ruminator, which closed in 2004 and originally was called the Hungry Mind.

Open Book general manager Joe Skifter told MPR that the area has grown dramatically in the 16 years since Open Book opened.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love by Kim Fay

Books on Vernon, Glencoe, Ill., to Close

After 24 years in business, Books on Vernon, Glencoe, Ill., plans to close June 30, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Owner Linda Illes said that causes were Internet competition and the move earlier this year of Writers Theatre to a new building. "Replacing the 450 people-plus that walked through the bookstore when there is a Theatre production here is just impossible to do," she explained.

Illes and her son, Mitchell Moore, purchased Books on Vernon in 2002. Illes had looked recently for another spot in in Glencoe, but didn't find anything that was economically viable.

Concerning Internet competition, Illes said, "It's annoying when people come in and look at a book and click on their handheld things and say, 'I can get it from Amazon for such and such, and can you match the price?' I have to tell them no. Amazon can afford to lose money on a book. I can't. It's the way of the world."

Bonnier Acquires John Blake Publishing

Bonnier Publishing has purchased independent press John Blake Publishing, effective immediately, the Bookseller reported. Terms were not disclosed. Bonnier said there are "no planned changes to headcount." John Blake Publishing will become part of Bonnier Publishing's Kings Road Publishing division, led by CEO Perminder Mann.

Richard Johnson, Bonnier Group CEO, said: "John Blake Publishing is a fast-moving, commercial publisher so will fit into the group perfectly. Our aim for the next two years is to work together with John to grow the company back to £4 million-plus (about $5.8 million)."

New Presidents for Amazon China, Amazon U.K.

Zhang Wenyi, Amazon global v-p and general manager of Kindle China, has been appointed the new president of Amazon China, while continuing to lead the Kindle business in the country, China Retail News reported. Doug Gurr, Amazon China's current president, is taking the role of Amazon U.K. president. Zhang joined Amazon as global v-p in 2013.


Image of the Day: The Lamentations of Zeno

The Goethe Institute in Boston recently sponsored a reading and discussion for The Lamentations of Zeno, a novel by Bulgarian-German author Ilija Trojanow, translated from the German by Philip Boehm (Verso). The event was moderated by Aaron Kerne at Boston University and featured Trojanow (third from the right), a travel writer who journeyed to Antarctica to research the book, which follows an idealistic glaciologist working as a travel guide on an Antarctic cruise ship.

Wind City Books Owner Optimistic 'During the Bust'

Like many businesses in Casper, Wyo., Wind City Books has seen a drop in revenue "due to a bust in the energy industry," the Star Tribune reported, but owner Vicki Burger said her customers have always been devoted to shopping locally, so she's optimistic her business will be sustainable.

"The community has really shown a strong desire to shop local and they are understanding of the importance of the community identity that's provided by small independent business owners," she observed. "If all you're doing is shopping at chains, then you're making sure that this community looks like every other community along the interstate."

Burger added that she thinks there's more the city could do in terms of urban development to attract more shoppers downtown: "I think it's very important to the community to have a central area that draws people downtown.... The more things we can provide in terms of locations for community functions, such as the downtown plaza will offer, the more we will be able to keep our community entertained and interacting."

Cool Idea of the Day: 'Summer of Kubrick'

Brazos Bookstore, Houston Tex., will showcase the work of legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick with its series, Summer of Kubrick. Through partnerships with Alamo Drafthouse, MFAH Films and Rice Cinema, Brazos "will put film and literature in conversation as we explore Kubrick's work. Join us for parties, book groups, screenings, and--of course, as Kubrick would've wanted it--surprises.

"Why Kubrick at a bookstore? Because Kubrick is the world's most literary director. The absurd paranoia of Dr. Strangelove, the sci-fi intellectualism of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the frenzied dystopia of A Clockwork Orange, the ambiguous horror of The Shining, the grunting military life of Full Metal Jacket, the muted dreamscape of Eyes Wide Shut: all of these familiar Kubrick worlds began as books by authors both popular and obscure, and we'll read them, from Stephen King to Vladimir Nabokov."

Road Trip: 'Special Bookstores in Asia & the Pacific'

"The best bookstores do more than sell books," the Straits Times noted in featuring "seven special bookstores in Asia and the Pacific worth traveling for."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Andrew Solomon on Fareed Zakaria GPS

The Talk: Marilu Henner and Michael Brown, authors of Changing Normal: How I Helped My Husband Beat Cancer (Gallery, $26, 9781476793948).

Fox Business's Varney & Co.: Anja Manuel, author of This Brave New World: India, China and the United States (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781501121975).

MSBNC's All in with Chris Hayes: Sydney Blumenthal, author of A Self-Made Man: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. I, 1809-1849 (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781476777252).

NPR's On Point: Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (Scribner, $28, 9781501111105). She will also appear on PBS NewsHour.

CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS: Andrew Solomon, author of Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change (Scribner, $30, 9781476795041).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Judd Apatow, author of Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy (Random House, $18, 9780812987287).

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You: Bookish Movies

Signature featured a pair of guides to upcoming movies with bookish connections:

"Ooh La Lit: The 2016 Cannes Film Festival by the Books." If "you can't make it to the French Riviera this spring, you can console yourself by at least knowing which films to look for once American distributors snatch them up for Stateside release."

"2016 Summer Movie Guide: The Books That Made the Screen." A "comprehensive list of all the films opening between May and August that have a literary basis or some real-life biographical/historical source. You can sort through the various goodies below, and plan accordingly."

Books & Authors

Awards: Deborah Rogers Writers; Shirley Jackson

Sharlene Wen-Ning Teo won the inaugural £10,000 (about $14,420) Deborah Rogers Writers' Award for an unpublished writer, for Ponti, a work of fiction about "a misfit adolescent girl growing up in sultry, sweaty Singapore," the Bookseller reported. The award honors the memory of one of the most influential literary agents of her generation for the support she "gave to new writers, wherever they came from."

Chair of the judges Shena Mackay commented: "We are delighted to choose as our overall winner Ponti, Sharlene Teo's strange and compelling evocation of a misfit adolescent girl growing up in sultry, sweaty Singapore." Ian McEwan, presenter of the award, called Ponti "a remarkable first novel in the making."


Finalists have been named for this year's Shirley Jackson Awards, which recognize "outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic." The winners will be announced July 10 at Readercon 27, Conference on Imaginative Literature, in Quincy, Mass.

Book Brahmin: Eric Jerome Dickey

photo: Joseph Jones

Eric Jerome Dickey is the author of more than 20 novels, as well as a six-issue miniseries of graphic novels featuring Storm (X-Men) and the Black Panther. Originally from Memphis, Tenn., Dickey now lives on the road and rests in whatever hotel will have him. His latest novel, The Blackbirds, is published by Dutton (April 19, 2016).

On your nightstand now:

11.22.63 by Stephen King. I have to read it before watching the series. Books have better detail. I don't need it acted out. LOL. Besides, I am such a slow reader.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Cay by Theodore Taylor.
"Dis be that outrageous Cay, eh, Timothy?" That hurricane traumatized me as a child. (I will forgive them for making it a sacrificial Negro story.)

The runner up? Lord of the Flies by William Golding.
It makes a major statement about who and what we are, when stripped down to the core. I still remember Piggy. Again, traumatized.

Your top five authors:

Walter Mosley. Stephen King. Harlan Coben. Ed McBain. Colin Harrison.

Honorable mentions: Stieg Larsson, Samuel Dashiell Hammett and about 30 others.

Book you've faked reading:

The Bible. I faked it every Sunday at church when I was a kid in Memphis, Tenn.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley. Actually, the entire series with Easy Rawlins is amazing. The characterization is incredible, and the history of the black man in Los Angeles is on point.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Damage by Josephine Hart. Maybe. I have to think. It's really a hard call, since I usually flip the pages and read a bit before actually buying anything. The cover may have caught my attention, but it's never pulled me to the point of purchase. It's a book. I go for the story. For art, I go to the art store.

Book you hid from your parents:

Why hide a book? That's one step from Fahrenheit 451. (Though if it counts, Playboy, when I was but a pup. And they were well hidden. I still can't find them.)

Book that changed your life:

Three-way tie:

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. (Post-college. This one brought me back to pleasure reading.)

Thinner by Stephen King. (That book terrified me.)

It also by Stephen King. (I no longer trust clowns. This was another one that was a nail-biter.)

Favorite line from a book:

"If you didn't want him dead, why you leave him with me?" --Mouse to Easy Rawlins, Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley

That is the funniest line I'd heard in a long, long time. You have to know Mouse....

Five books you'll never part with:

Any novel by Ed McBain.

Or the Jesse Stone series by Robert B. Parker.

Or anything by Anaïs Nin.

Or Marguerite Duras's The Lover.

And Notes to Myself by Hugh Prather.

Each writer stimulates my mind in a different way.

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

The Green Mile by Stephen King.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.
Henry and June by Anaïs Nin.

It's a three-way tie, what can I say? I loved them all. They are each different styles, genres and voices, and each was magical and took me into their worlds.

Book Review

Children's Review: The Ballad of a Broken Nose

The Ballad of a Broken Nose by Arne Svingen, trans. by Kari Dickson (McElderry/Simon & Schuster, $16.99 hardcover, 224p., ages 12-up, 9781481415422, June 14, 2016)

Living in public-housing poverty with his obese alcoholic mother, 12-year-old Norwegian Bart Nuram is remarkably philosophical about his circumstances: "No matter how bad things seem, there's always someone who has it worse."

Bart--named for Bart Simpson so he, too, would be "a funny wise guy who'd get by in life"--walks the line between being mildly unpopular and being too weird. Despite the fact that most of Bart's neighbors are addicts or otherwise down-and-out, he finds "Ninety-nine percent" of them to be nice. Indeed, life in the "slum" isn't so bad, providing no one at school finds out. And he does have boys he hangs out with at recess, even if they're not really friends: "This is a circle for those who aren't in the in-crowd. As long as we stand in a circle talking, then we're not on the outside."

While he is learning boxing ("Not that I've got any plans to become a thug, but someone might try to pulp me"), and claims to collect photos of mass murderers ("It's not true, but it's the kind of thing that gets everyone to shut up"), Bart's true passion is singing. Opera singing, to be precise: "the kind of voice that makes glass shatter and fills your ears to bursting" and "[b]aritones that suck me in and make my ears sweat." When a popular and pretty girl named Ada seems genuinely interested in befriending him, Bart finds himself pressured by her into singing in the school talent show, even though his voice seems to work only when he's singing alone, in the bathroom.

Unfortunately, Bart's equanimity can't hold up to the trouble coming his way. His house of cards begins to topple when the pathologically indiscreet Ada gossips about Bart's home life, which nudges him across the line into bully-bait terrain... hence the book's title. Then, his mother collapses at a bar, slips into a coma and is hospitalized on his 13th birthday. One would think this would be an excellent time for Bart's obsession with finding the father he's never met, the elusive "John Jones," to pay off.

But heroes come in unlikely forms in this story. Deliberately unobtrusive Grandma knows more than she's let on about their dire straits, and is right there when her grandson needs her. And when Bart tries to teach himself how to ride a bike, only to have his neighbor Geir, a heartbreakingly kind, wise, "skin and bone" heroin addict, swoop in to guide him, more than just Geir's eyes will be glassy.

Arne Svingen is one of Norway's most prominent authors of children's and teen literature. With The Ballad of a Broken Nose, English-speaking readers will understand why. The book is like a many-layered slice of cake: in every bite there's a mix of flavors, textures and mystery ingredients, adding up to a delicious read for middle-schoolers (and older). Bart's dry wit, compassion, wry self-knowledge and unwavering loyalty to his mess of a mother make him one tremendously appealing protagonist. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: In Norwegian author Arne Svingen's beguiling novel, immensely likable 12-year-old Bart struggles between being a secret opera singer and just another under-the-radar kid.

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