Shelf Awareness for Thursday, May 12, 2016

Workman Publishing: Linked: Conquer Linkedin. Land Your Dream Job. Own Your Future. by Omar Garriott and Jeremy Schifeling

Berkley Books: Our Last Days in Barcelona by Chanel Cleeton

Henry Holt & Company: Sleepwalk by Dan Chaon

Wednesday Books: Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez

Harper: Aurora by David Koepp

Gibbs Smith: Life Is Golden: What I've Learned from the World's Most Adventurous Dogs by Andrew Muse


#BEA16: Quiet Opening Half Day; More Crowds Today?

BookExpo America opened for a half day yesterday afternoon, its first time in McCormick Place in Chicago since 2004, in space that seemed even smaller than its slimmed-down space the past seven years at the Javits Center in New York City. Many called the show floor variously quiet, cozy, compact, and hoped that attendance will climb today, the show's first full day, which features a range of events and other draws.

Several exhibitors reported healthy traffic, but others said crowds were underwhelming. One exhibitor far from the entrance said he had seen a lot of librarians but few booksellers. One bookseller said the show had the feel of a very large regional. Scattered wide-open spaces made the show feel smaller.

Many booksellers were at least happy that BEA was not in New York once again, and many Midwestern bookstores sent large contingents, making up for the fewer East Coast booksellers on hand. The larger publishers, who when the show is in New York can let most of the staff visit, sent much smaller groups. The rights center was significantly smaller, and international attendance seemed off: many foreign rights people love coming to New York--for BEA and otherwise--but not necessarily other U.S. cities.

Many veterans of the Chicago BEAs in the 1990s and 2004 were happy to be back in the Windy City, which for a time had become an appealing show home with so many repeat visits. But a lot of those vets were confused on arrival at McCormick Place. Expecting to see something familiar, they were disoriented. The reason: the old shows were in the North Building, and this show is in the West Building, built since the last BEA at the site.

Best rumor heard on the quiet floor yesterday: in 2018, BEA will be held in Havana, right around the time that Mitchell Kaplan opens a Books & Books in the Cuban capital.

Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers: Mouse Seasons by Leo Lionni

#BEA16: Pictures from an Exhibition, Day 1

Crowds were waiting impatiently for the show to open at 1 p.m.

The BEA shuttles weren't the only vehicles attracting a crowd yesterday. Both Quarto and The Story Stop featured mobile book displays on the exhibition floor.

Abrams's booth showed off the company's new branding and logos.

Some celebs were at BEA only in 2D.

Ingram Booklove: An Exclusive Rewards Program for Indie Booksellers

City of Asylum Books @ Alphabet City Planned

Pittsburgh nonprofit City of Asylum "has come a long way since 2004, when it was launched to shelter a single writer under threat of persecution," City Paper noted in reporting that this week the organization unveiled plans for a new headquarters, which will include a bookstore, wine-and-cheese café and event space.

Alphabet City, located in the North Side's former Masonic Building, will undergo a $12.2 million renovation. City Paper wrote that the "space will permanently host a 24-seat incarnation of Caselulla @ Alphabet City--the wine-and-cheese café is expanding outside of New York City for the first time--and City of Asylum Books @ Alphabet City, a bookstore specializing on books in translation (though it will also carry new and used books in English and operate a free-book program)." Lesley Rains, who is completing the sale of her East End Book Exchange, is the shop's inaugural manager.

GLOW: Grand Central Publishing: With Prejudice by Robin Peguero

Obituary Note: Michael S. Harper

Michael S. Harper, "whose allusive, jazz-inflected poems interwove his personal experiences as a black man with an expansive view of a history shared by black and white Americans," died April 7, the New York Times reported. He was 78. A finalist for the National Book Award in poetry for both Dear John, Dear Coltrane and Images of Kin, Harper's other books include History Is Your Own Heartbeat; Photographs, Negatives: History as Apple Tree and Honorable Amendments. In 1989, he became Rhode Island's first state poet, a post he held for five years.

Berkley Books: Harlem Sunset (A Harlem Renaissance Mystery) by Nekesa Afia


Falmouth's Eight Cousins a 'Real Anchor in the Town'

Eight Cousins bookstore, Falmouth, Mass., is Cape Eye on Books' Bookstore of the Month: "Talk even briefly with any of the staff at Eight Cousins and you sense their pride not only in the selection and service they offer but on their intimate connection to the community. Now the only surviving bookstore in Falmouth--there were once eight--their customers often stop by and thank the owners for keeping it going, remarking that it is a real anchor in the town."

ECW Press: Play It Right: The Remarkable Story of a Gambler Who Beat the Odds on Wall Street by Kamal Gupta

Happy 10th Birthday, BookShop West Portal!

Congratulations to BookShop West Portal, owned by Neal Sofman and Anna Bullard, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in San Francisco's West Portal neighborhood the weekend of May 20-22. In addition to its annual anniversary sale, this year the store will participate in National Readathon Day on Saturday, May 21, with an al fresco reading salon.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Daniel Clowes on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Daniel Clowes, author of Patience (Fantagraphics, $29.99, 9781606999059).

HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Jeremy Scahill, co-author of The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government's Secret Drone Warfare Program (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781501144134).

This Weekend on Book TV: Roxane Gay

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, May 14
6:30 p.m. Jonathan Petropoulos, author of Artists Under Hitler: Collaboration and Survival in Nazi Germany (Yale University Press, $40, 9780300197471). (Re-airs Sunday at 1 p.m. and Monday at 1 a.m.)

7 p.m. Dr. David Kessler, author of Capture: Unraveling the Mystery of Mental Suffering (Harper Wave, $27.99, 9780062388513), at Book Passage in Corte Madera, Calif. (Re-airs Sunday at 2:45 p.m.)

7:45 p.m. Kim R. Holmes, author of The Closing of the Liberal Mind: How Groupthink and Intolerance Define the Left (Encounter, $25.99, 9781594038518). (Re-airs Sunday at 9:45 a.m.)

8:45 p.m. Gerald Horne, author of Paul Robeson: The Artist as Revolutionary (Pluto Press, $20, 9780745335322) and Confronting Black Jacobins: The U.S., the Haitian Revolution, and the Origins of the Dominican Republic (Monthly Review Press, $25, 9781583675625), at Red Emma's in Baltimore, Md. (Re-airs Sunday at 1:30 p.m.)

10 p.m. Don Watkins, author of Equal Is Unfair: America's Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250084446). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Pete Hegseth, author of In the Arena: Good Citizens, a Great Republic, and How One Speech Can Reinvigorate America (Threshold Editions, $28, 9781476749341). (Re-airs Sunday at 4:30 p.m.)

Sunday, May 15
6:15 p.m. John Elder Robison, author of Switched On: A Memoir of Brain Change and Emotional Awakening (Spiegel & Grau, $28, 9780812996890). (Re-airs Monday at 5:30 a.m.)

7:45 p.m. Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist: Essays (Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780062282712), delivers the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture at the PEN World Voices Festival.

10 p.m. Erin McHugh, author of Political Suicide: Missteps, Peccadilloes, Bad Calls, Backroom Hijinx, Sordid Pasts, Rotten Breaks, and Just Plain Dumb Mistakes in the Annals of American Politics (Pegasus, $26.95, 9781605989785).

11 p.m. Daniel Shapiro, author of Negotiating the Nonnegotiable: How to Resolve Your Most Emotionally Charged Conflicts (Viking, $28, 9780670015566).

Books & Authors

Awards: Audies; Milton Friedman Prize

The winners of the 2016 Audie Awards were announced and celebrated last night at the Audio Publishers Association's annual gala, held at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, read by Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey and India Fisher (Penguin Audio/Books on Tape) was named audiobook of the year. Check out the complete list of Audie winners and finalists here.


Flemming Rose, the Danish journalist and author of The Tyranny of Silence, has won the 2016 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, a $250,000 biennial award sponsored by the Cato Institute and presented to an individual who has made "a significant contribution to advance human freedom."

In 2005, Rose, then an editor at the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, commissioned and published 12 cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. The illustrations, intended to draw attention to the issue of self-censorship and the threat that intimidation poses to free speech, provoked deadly chaos in the Islamic world and put Rose at the center of a global debate about the limits to free speech in the 21st century. His book, The Tyranny of Silence, chronicles the events of the cartoon controversy

"Flemming Rose is a compelling recipient of the Friedman Prize, exhibiting great courage in his passionate defense for free speech," said Cato CEO Peter Goettler. "Flemming understands that the freedom of expression and speech is fundamental to the advancement of civilization and is critical in protecting the values of liberty and limited government."

The prize will be presented May 25.

Bookseller Benjamin Rybeck on His Debut, The Sadness

Benjamin Rybeck

"Your brain is always mashing things together that have happened to you," said Benjamin Rybeck, marketing director at Brazos Bookstore in Houston, Tex. On June 14, readers will have a chance to see how Rybeck's mind mashes things together, when Unnamed Press will publish his debut novel, The Sadness.

The Sadness is the story of a 30-year-old woman named Kelly who returns home to Portland, Maine, to ask for money from her estranged but wealthy father. Instead, she reunites with her twin brother, Max, who's squatting in their deceased mother's home and with whom she also has a difficult relationship. As Portland prepares for an annual celebration of a famous cult film shot there, Kelly and Max begin searching for a missing actress who was part of that film. Despite the mystery that runs through the novel, Rybeck noted that it isn't a detective or noir novel.

"[Kelly and Max] have reached the point in their lives, which I and a lot of my friends have reached at different points, where you look around and realize you're supposed to be an adult but have no idea how the world actually works," he explained. "It's really about that moment."

Despite there being many parallels between The Sadness and his own life--for example, Rybeck's own hometown is Portland, Maine, and his teenage obsession with film resembles the character Max's obsession with the medium--he said that nothing in the novel is explicitly autobiographical. "Everything that one writes comes from something," Rybeck added. "Your brain just swallows these things up."

Before moving to Houston and joining Brazos Bookstore in 2014, Rybeck lived in Arizona and taught creative writing and composition at the University of Arizona, where he had earned an MFA in creative writing. Rybeck described himself as a relative latecomer to writing fiction. He'd written throughout his teenage years but at that time was much more interested in film. "Primarily what I was writing at that point were screenplays," he recalled. "For many, many movies that went unproduced."

When asked about some of his literary influences, Rybeck pointed to the work of novelist and critic Steve Erickson, who he called an unsung contemporary master. "For a long time, as someone who loved film, I struggled to find authors who wrote about film in a convincing way," he said. "Erickson made me think you could do this."

The Sadness took Rybeck some three and a half years to write, although it has its roots in a project that Rybeck began more than 10 years ago, while he was still in college. That version of the book, he recounted, reached a length of 1,200 pages, about 900 of which he described as "somebody walking around and thinking about things." Nevertheless, a kernel of that manuscript stayed with him over the next decade and beyond. "It gnaws at you. And finally you have to give in and write," he said.

In June, Rybeck plans to have a launch party in Houston at Brazos and will do readings at a few stores throughout Texas, including BookPeople in Austin and the Wild Detectives in Dallas. Later in the summer, he'll head to Maine and his hometown bookstore Longfellow Books, with stops at a few other stores in the northeast. Rybeck pointed out that June 14, the pub date for The Sadness, is also Flag Day. "I have to find a promotional crossover with Flag Day," Rybeck added, laughing.

With the release of The Sadness only a month and a half away, Rybeck has begun working on other writing projects, but said it was difficult to move on completely. "The Sadness feels like it isn't over yet," he said. "It's tough to commit to a new long-term relationship when you're still moving furniture out of your ex's apartment."

Rybeck is looking forward to the time when The Sadness will finally be in stores and out in the wild. "I'm at the point now where other people will tell me what the book is," he explained. "You spend a long time writing something and you can't see it anymore. I'm hoping this process allows me to see it again." --Alex Mutter

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, May 17:

The Fireman: A Novel by Joe Hill (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062200631) features a disease that causes spontaneous combustion--and it's scorching the globe.

The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee (Scribner, $32, 9781476733500) uses science, history and personal experience to create a biography of DNA.

The Weekenders: A Novel by Mary Kay Andrews (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250065940) unwraps a marital mystery over a summer on Belle Isle, N.C.

Boar Island: An Anna Pigeon Novel by Nevada Barr (Minotaur, $26.99, 9781250064691) is the 19th mystery featuring National Park Service Ranger Anna Pigeon.

A Country Road, A Tree: A Novel by Jo Baker (Knopf, $26.95, 9781101947180) follows Irish writer Samuel Beckett in Nazi-occupied France.

The Sky Over Lima by Juan Gómez Bárcena, translated by Andrea Rosenberg (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9780544630055) retells the true story of two young men who made Nobel laureate Juan Ramón Jiménez fall in love with a fake woman.

Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica (Mira, $26.99, 9780778319054) is a psychological thriller about a missing woman and a mysterious stranger.

The Vegas Diaries: Romance, Rolling the Dice, and the Road to Reinvention by Holly Madison (Dey Street, $25.99, 9780062457042) is the memoir of a reality TV star who moved to Las Vegas.

Broken But Unbowed by Greg Abbott (Threshold Editions, $28, 9781501144899) is the memoir of the current Texas governor.

A Sea of Glass: Searching for the Blaschkas' Fragile Legacy in an Ocean at Risk by Drew Harvell (University of California Press, $29.95, 9780520285682) looks at ocean life through the lens of 150-year-old glass artwork.

Eat This, Not That When You're Expecting by Dr. Jennifer Ashton and David Zinczenko (Galvanized Books, $21.95, 9780425284711).

Yogalosophy for Inner Strength: 12 Weeks to Heal Your Heart and Embrace Joy by Mandy Ingber (Seal Press, $24, 9781580055932).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

Over the Plain Houses: A Novel by Julia Franks (Hub City Press, $26, 9781938235214). "Tense and atmospheric, this novel is set in Depression-era North Carolina but confronts a number of issues that are relevant today. I consider it one of the best historical fiction titles I've read lately--what must have been intensive research blends seamlessly with unforgettable characters and vibrant depictions of mountain caves, mining towns, and struggling farms. The book brilliantly takes readers back to a bygone era while subtly showing that it is an era whose darkness could soon fall again. Fans of Claire Fuller and Ron Rash won't want to miss it." --Elizabeth Weber, the Book Table, Oak Park, Ill.

Life Without a Recipe: A Memoir of Food and Family by Diana Abu-Jaber (Norton, $26.95, 9780393249095). "Is it any wonder that memoir is the richest genre? The stories we live are far more fanciful, heartbreaking, and ridiculous than the ones we create with our imagination. We have no control over them. They unfold in spite of our best efforts in a clumsy, unsettled mess that becomes our life. In Life Without a Recipe, Abu-Jaber stops along the way to consider the terrain. She can't control the events, but she controls the words with tight, perfect sentences. There's a beauty and elegance to the prose that elevates this story of the author's search for identity that results in a warm and wise delicacy to be savored." --Terry Nebeker, One More Page, Arlington, Va.

The Sunlit Night: A Novel by Rebecca Dinerstein (Bloomsbury, $16, 9781632861146). "The endless daylight of a Norwegian summer is the perfect backdrop for this warm and quirky debut filled with unusual characters and situations, a setting that is real yet somehow out of time, visual and precise writing, emotional warmth, and faith in the healing power of love. This tale of Frances and Yasha, their families, and their companions during a transformative summer in perpetual Arctic light is a perfect read for fans of Nicole Krauss' The History of Love or Bill Forsyth's classic movie, Local Hero." --Anmiryam Budner, Main Point Books, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

For Ages 4 to 8
There's a Giraffe in My Soup by Ross Burach (HarperCollins, $17.99, 9780062360144). " 'Excuse me, waiter? There's a giraffe in my soup!' Ridiculously fun from the very first page, this tale wastes no time pulling readers right into the story of a boy who sends back bowl after bowl of soup in a restaurant after finding a different zoo animal hiding in each one. Readers will be endlessly entertained as the animals in the soup get sillier and sillier and the bumbling waiter grows increasingly flustered while he tries to keep his restaurant in order. Kids and adults alike will laugh out loud at the absurdity of every situation in Burach's debut picture book." --Page Seck, Blue Manatee Children's Bookstore, Cincinnati, Ohio

For Ages 9 to 12
Simon Thorn and the Wolf's Den by Aimée Carter (Bloomsbury, $16.99, 9781619637047). "Simon Thorn's life has always been shrouded in mystery, but he never expected the truth to be as outrageous as it is. Simon knew he could talk to animals and understand them, but what he didn't know about was the existence of another world where five animal kingdoms fight for power to rule the others and he plays a key role in who gets that power. This book is filled with adventure, suspense, friendship, and betrayal. I can't wait for the next installment!" --Lisa Nehs, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, Wisc.  

For Teen Readers: Revisit & Rediscover
A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt (Ember, $8.99, 9780375846915). Originally published in 2006. "Sixteen-year-old Simone narrates a heartwarming story of family, faith, and, of course, boys. Simone has always known she was adopted. Now Rivka, her birth mother, wants to meet her. She has a reason, and it changes Simone's life in many ways. There are no easy answers, and there are always two sides to any issue. This book will change your life, too!" --Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Wintering

Wintering by Peter Geye (Knopf, $26.95 hardcover, 9781101946466, June 7, 2016)

In his second novel, The Lighthouse Road (after Safe from the Sea), Minneapolis novelist Peter Geye introduced the Norwegian immigrant Eide family living in Minnesota's Lake Superior town of Gunflint. Wintering continues the saga of the Eides' next generation, beginning as the elder, dementia-stricken Harry Eide wanders off one day into the wilderness to the north. Prompted by Harry's disappearance, his middle-aged son, Gus, thinks back to the winter when he was 18 and joined his father on a long canoe trek to the same Canada/Minnesota borderlands of the Laurentian Divide. Like Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County, the imaginative Lake Superior north shore of Geye's three novels is a world of its own--colorful, provincial and buttoned-up. Wintering's narrator, Berit Lovig--Harry's late-in-life lover, long-time local postmistress, and for 40 years the caretaker of Gus's reclusive, cantankerous grandmother--knows much of Gunflint's complicated history. She tells Gus, "This town has always been good at having secrets, and terrible at keeping them." Among these secrets is the long, multi-generational conflict between the Eides and the family of Charlie Aas, a local political scoundrel in the pockets of mining and lumber companies, and the seducer of Harry's wife. As Gus tells his story to Berit and she tells hers to him, Geye's assured narrative gradually unfolds a Jack London-like tale of survival blended with a Richard Russo-like picture of small-town intrigue.

Alone with Berit after Harry's gone, Gus unloads the painful memories of the backcountry months he spent with his difficult father--which, in hindsight, he believes were meant to show him "how barren the world was, how far away you could get." In winter, the borderland north of Duluth is a harsh and desolate place. Harry takes young Gus into this rough boondocks, re-creating the explorations of his much-studied and -admired early French fur trapping "voyageurs" who survived the brutal winters with nothing but makeshift wigwams and perseverance. Gus's recollections of their trip suggest a Hemingway-like fascination with finding one's manhood under duress--killing wild game for food, cutting firewood, chopping holes in thick ice to fish the lakes--and confronting a charged father/son relationship. As he tells Berit of his father and their experience, "[Harry] learned everything he knew--which was plenty--by trying until he didn't fail. He didn't fail much.... We're men. We need to see ourselves against the world. Against our fathers. I did." 

Gus's memory of the uncharted lands far beyond the Devil's Maw rapids is at the center of Wintering, but Berit's perspective on her own past and that of the other immigrants arriving at Gunflint's port is an equally compelling history of patience and endurance. Geye dips into history with ease and comes out with a story as contemporary as anything flashing across our screens today. Wintering is a novel for the ages. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: Again set along the north shore of Lake Superior, Geye's third novel neatly balances a father/son story of wilderness survival with that of a small town's historical secrets and intrigue.

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