Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Aladdin Paperbacks: Legacy (Keeper of the Lost Cities #8) by Shannan Messenger

Flatiron Books: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Sleeping Bear Press: Back Roads, Country Toads by Devin Scillian, illustrated by Tim Bowers

St. Martin's Griffin: The Truth about Magic: Poems by Atticus

Tor Teen: This Light Between Us: A Novel of World War II by Andrew Fukuda

St. Martin's Press: Been There, Married That by Gigi Levangie Grazer

News

Bezos: Amazon 'Definitely' Opening More Stores

Speaking yesterday at Amazon's annual shareholders' meetings, CEO Jeff Bezos commented briefly--and enigmatically--on the company's plans to open more bricks-and-mortar stores, saying, according to the Wall Street Journal, "We're definitely going to open additional stores, how many we don't know yet. In these early days, it's all about learning rather than trying to earn a lot of revenue."

Last November, the company opened Amazon Books in Seattle, Wash., and has confirmed plans to open a second store, in San Diego, Calif., sometime this summer.

Earlier this year, an aside made by a shopping mall owner during a conference call with Wall Street analysts that Amazon planned to open 300-400 stores created a media frenzy. Amazon had no comment, and the executive quickly backtracked on the claim. Most observers agreed that the number was wildly high for anytime in the near future.

Also during the meeting, Bezos said he wants the company to offer so many benefits as part of $99 Prime membership that customers will feel they "are being irresponsible" if they don't join. The Journal observed, however, that Bezos didn't "indicate exactly how Amazon plans to continue bulking up the service."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters


PRH Partners in New Bookstore in Puerto Rico

In an unusual project done in partnership with local bookseller the Bookmark, Penguin Random House has opened a 1,000-square-foot bookstore in Puerto Rico that stocks more than 1,000 of the house's titles in Spanish and English, Digital Reader reported. The store's selection includes children's and YA titles, coloring books and graphic novels. The new Bookmark Boutique is in Carolina, a suburb of San Juan.

Juan Peña, v-p of sales and marketing, JR Blue Label Management, a book wholesaler and parent company of the Bookmark, noted that readers in the U.S. territory had fewer bookstores following the closure of Borders in 2011, saying, "We will increase the supply of books in the Puerto Rican market, which still has a healthy demand for a community of readers."

PRH senior v-p, director of international sales and marketing Cyrus Kheradi commented: "This is the first time we are working so robustly on a store like this, in a mall setting or any other setting at retail."

The store is being run by the Bookmark, and during the first three months it is being promoted by PRH with a PR campaign, an extensive author event schedule (including appearances by Claudia Gray and Lauren Kate) and "innovative technology designed to help readers discover new books and authors."

Publishers running and owning bookstores has a history that goes back to the beginning of publishing. In the U.S., only a few decades ago, such major houses as Scribner, Doubleday, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich and McGraw-Hill had high-profile stores in New York City and elsewhere. And just this month, Milkweed Editions, Minneapolis, Minn., discussed plans to open a bookstore.


Andrews McMeel Publishing: Zweihander Grim & Perilous Rpg: Player's Handbook by Daniel D Fox


Patterson U.K.: 62 More Grants; British Book Industry Honor

James Patterson announced that 62 additional independent bookshops across the U.K. and Ireland have received grants in the final phase of his fund initiative. The Bookseller reported that since the first round of applications in September 2014, "this fourth announcement takes the total allocated by James up to £500,000 (about $719,180) across 272 grants to independent bookshops." A list of grant recipients is available here.

Last week, Patterson was honored with the 2016 Outstanding Contribution to the Book Industry Award during the British Book Industry Awards, becoming the first author to receive this accolade.

"Usually, a number of candidates are reviewed by the Booksellers Association's members each year when considering who is best to win its Outstanding Contribution to the Book Industry Award," said the BA's Tim Godfray. "But this year, there was no debate. One person stood head and shoulders above everyone else."

BA president Rosamund de la Hey agreed: "I think it's fair to say that no author has done more to support the cause of independent booksellers than James Patterson. James's support and faith in us goes way beyond the financial. He has given us the courage to try new ideas, to drive sales and put books into the hands of our favorite customers, children, in ever greater numbers."

Patterson said he has "been completely overwhelmed by just how many independent bookshops have applied for grants again this year, and yet again have been impressed and enthused by the creativity of booksellers. I am extremely proud and honored to accept the Outstanding Contribution to the Book Industry Award."


Chronicle Books: Redwood and Ponytail by KA Holt


Bangladeshi Press Gets International Freedom to Publish Award

On Monday night at the PEN Literary Gala in New York City, Shuddhashar Publishing House received the 2016 Jeri Laber International Freedom to Publish Award, given annually by the International Freedom to Publish Committee of the Association of American Publishers to a book publisher outside the U.S. that has demonstrated "courage in the face of restrictions on freedom of expression." Shuddhashar, which publishes works by secular and progressive Bengali writers, "has been targeted by Islamic militant groups with threats and acts of violence."

Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury Tutul 
(Photo: Arne Olav Lunde Hageberg)

"It takes an unfathomable sort of courage to publish in the face of horrific threats of violence against yourself and your family--especially when your government is not only unwilling to help, but actually siding with the killers," said Geoff Shandler, v-p and editorial director of Custom House/William Morrow, and chairman of the IFTPC. "Refusing the safety of silence, the founders of Shuddhashar and their martyred authors embody that courage. We are deeply honored to recognize them with this award."

Founded in 2004 by Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury Tutul, Mahbub Leelen and Zafir Setu, Shuddhashar has been commercially successful, but enraged Islamic extremists for issuing works by secular authors such as Avijit Roy and Ananta Bijoy Das, both of whom were killed during a spree of violence that targeted writers, publishers and bloggers. Shuddhashar co-founder Tutul barely survived an attack at his office last fall. The three co-publishers have gone into exile, but vowed to continue to publish and make their works available in Bangladesh.

Tutul said the award "encourages Shuddhashar to continue to fight for the freedom to write and to seek justice for the murdered writers of Bangladesh."


New Press: Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America by Erik Nelson and Andrea Dennis, foreword by Killer Mike


Binc Challenge Aims to Sign Up New Sustaining Donors

At Binc's 20th anniversary party at BEA: (from l.) executive director Pam French with board members Rockelle Henderson (Rocked Inc.) and Ken White (Query Books).

Founded 20 years ago, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc), which helps booksellers in need, and provides school scholarships and professional development scholarships, is running a "20 for 20 Challenge," aiming to sign up at least 50 sustaining donors who will pledge a monthly contribution to Binc. The campaign runs until May 31.

Under the campaign, Binc points out, a donation of $10 a month is enough to provide emergency help for a bookseller and family after a disaster; $15 a month can provide safe haven for a domestic violence survivor; $25 can help with an overwhelming medical/dental expense; $50 a month will help keep the heat and lights on for a family; and $100 a month prevents an eviction. The donations also come with some gift items, including a brass bookmark for a $15 a month pledge, a Binc pint glass at the $25 level, and a Binc tote bag at the $50 level. Details about the 20 for 20 Challenge--and how to participate!--can be found here.

At BEA, Binc had a table in the ABA Members Lounge, hosted a 20th-anniversary cocktail party and was the charitable beneficiary of $1,300 from PGW's 40th annual party.


Obituary Note: Sally Brampton

Sally Brampton, a journalist and author who published four novels and a nonfiction memoir about depression titled Shoot the Damn Dog, died May 10, the Bookseller reported. She was 60. Her novels are Concerning Lily, Lovesick, Good Grief and Love, Always.

Michael Fishwick, Brampton's editor at Bloomsbury, said: "We are devastated to hear of Sally's death; to us she was always a life-enhancing presence, lighting up our lives with her high-wire personality, warmth and generosity: Shoot the Damn Dog was Sally being tough on herself, emotionally raw and deeply thoughtful at the same time, and very loving to others. That is how we shall remember her."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Yellow Bird Sings
by Jennifer Rosner

What happens when a child's love of music must be silenced in exchange for survival? Such is the sacrifice made during World War II by a young Jewish mother who goes into hiding with her bright, inquisitive five-year-old daughter. As their plight becomes increasingly dire, the two find comfort by imagining a yellow bird that sings the songs they dream will once again be theirs. The Yellow Bird Sings "affects people in a rather profound way," said Amy Einhorn, executive vice-president and publisher of Flatiron Books. "It's about the power of a mother’s love, the music of the living and the silence of the dead, and how in order to survive sometimes we need to forget." --Melissa Firman
 

(Flatiron Books, $25.99 hardcover, 9781250179760, March 3, 2020)

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Notes

Image of the Day: Janet Todd Makes U.S. Literary Debut

Earlier this month, Book Culture in New York City hosted the launch party in the U.S. for A Man of Genius by Janet Todd, just published by Bitter Lemon Press. Todd, a former Cambridge University professor and author of academic books about Jane Austen, Mary Wollstonecraft and the Shelley circle, among others, read from the novel and fielded questions from the audience. From l.: Julie Schaper, president of Consortium Book Sales & Distribution, Bitter Lemon's U.S. distributor; Todd; and Katherine Bright-Holmes, managing director of Consortium in the U.K. and crucial in helping Todd publish her debut, a literary novel set in Regency London and Venice just after the Napoleonic Wars, about a gothic writer who struggles with psychological dependency and the complexity of obsession.


The Raven Bookstore Co-Founder Retiring

This Saturday, the Raven Book Store, Lawrence, Kans., will host an open house to commemorate co-founder Pat Kehde's last official day at the shop, where she has worked part-time since selling the business to Heidi Raak in 2008. "We're all going to miss her wit and humor so much, but most of all, we'll miss her vast knowledge of books and bookselling," the Raven's website noted. "Don't worry though, she'll still be leading her Third Tuesday mystery book club and won't be a stranger in the store."

After nearly 28 years, the bookstore "is still going strong," the Lawrence Journal-World reported. "Defying expectations--lasting longer than the estimated five-year lifespan, surviving and ultimately triumphing over the big-box rival, maintaining a fiercely loyal clientele in the age of Amazon and ebooks--has been Kehde's modus operandi for a long time now. It's also her proudest achievement of a career that will end, officially this time, by the end of this month."

Kehde had planned to retire when she and co-founder Mary Lou Wright sold the store, but remained initially to help with the transition and then just continued to work part-time. "I told Heidi when she first bought the store, 'Heidi, I love to come to work every day.' And I think that's very true," said Kehde. "When you own your own small business, you do everything from cleaning the toilet to cleaning the cat box to ordering the books to talking to New York publishers. You can't imagine how much work it is, but it's a lot of fun, too.... I think that if you enjoy it, then other people probably enjoy it, too."


Reading Rock Books: 'Such a Delightfully Homey Place'

Reading Rock Books, Dickson, Tenn., "is such a delightful homey place, I find myself wanting to just sit down, have a chat and leave with books I didn't know I needed until they jumped off the shelf in front of me!" Dianne Devoll wrote in the Tennessean. "Each book has been selected with much thought and concern by Laura Hill and her sister, Amy Jernigan, with perhaps a suggestion or two by their mother, Mary Phy, the Monday shopkeeper. These ladies can be seen chatting with customers as they calmly handle the day-to-day necessities of running a retail business. Customers quickly become friends, visiting Reading Rock as if dropping by to check on a favorite relative."


Personnel Changes at WaterBrook and Multnomah

At WaterBrook and Multnomah, imprints of the Crown Publishing Group:

Beverly Rykerd has been promoted to v-p, director of publicity. She joined the company in 2011 as publicity manager.

Effective today, Lisa Beech returns WaterBrook and Multnomah as assistant director of publicity. She formerly headed publicity at David C. Cook and earlier worked for the Christian Booksellers Association, had her own PR agency and, from 2006 to 2008, was a broadcast publicist at WaterBrook and Multnomah.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Angie Martinez on the Talk

Tomorrow:
Good Morning America: Pat Smith, author of Second Chances: Finding Healing for Your Pain, Regaining Your Strength, Celebrating Your New Life (Bethany House Publishers, $19.99, 9780764212840).

Diane Rehm: Roger Thurow, author of The First 1,000 Days: A Crucial Time for Mothers and Children--And the World (PublicAffairs, $26.99, 9781610395854).

The Talk: Angie Martinez, author of My Voice: A Memoir (Celebra, $27, 9781101990339).

The View: Jenna Bush Hager, co-author of Our Great Big Backyard (HarperCollins, $18.99, 9780062468352).

Charlie Rose: Steve Case, author of The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur's Vision of the Future (Simon & Schuster, $26.95, 9781501132582).

Daily Show: Arianna Huffington, author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time (Harmony, $26, 9781101904008).


Movies: The Dark Tower; The BFG

"Here's the first look at Idris Elba as the Gunslinger in The Dark Tower," io9 wrote in showcasing the photos of the actor on the South African set for the long-awaited Stephen King adaptation, directed by Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair) and also starring Matthew McConaughey as the man in black.

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Steven Spielberg's The BFG received "a 4 1/2-minute standing-O at its Cannes premiere Saturday night," and the following day Disney released a new trailer for the movie, Deadline reported. The film, based on Roald Dahl's tale, stars Ruby Barnhill and Mark Rylance. It will be released July 1 in the U.S. The late Melissa Mathison wrote the screenplay for Spielberg's first directing gig for Disney.



Books & Authors

Awards: Stephen Leacock Humor; Commonwealth Short Story

Finalists have been named for the $15,000 (about US$11,635) Stephen Leacock Medal for Humor, which honors the best book of humor written by a Canadian. The winner will be announced June 11. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Poles Apart by Terry Fallis
Republic of Dirt by Susan Juby
When the Saints by Sarah Mian

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Commonwealth Writers announced regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. The overall winner will be named June 5 at the Calabash International Literary Festival in Jamaica. Regional honorees:

Africa: "The Pigeon" by Faraaz Mahomed (South Africa)
Asia: "Cow and Company" by Parashar Kulkarni (India)
Canada & Europe: "Eel" by Stefanie Seddon (U.K.)
Caribbean: "Ethelbert and the Free Cheese" by Lance Dowrich (Trinidad & Tobago)
Pacific: "Black Milk" by Tina Makereti (New Zealand)


Book Brahmin: Gary Paulsen

photo: Ruth Wright Paulsen

Gary Paulsen, perhaps best known for his vivid stories of wilderness survival, won the Margaret A. Edwards Award for his "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature." He has written more than 200 books for adults and young people, and is the author of three Newbery Honor medalists: Dogsong, Hatchet and The Winter Room. His short novel Six Kids and a Stuffed Cat, about six kids stuck in a school restroom during a severe storm alert, was released by Simon & Schuster on May 10, 2016. Paulsen divides his time between New Mexico, Alaska and a boat on the Pacific.

On your nightstand now:

Son of the Morning Star, a biography of Custer by Evan S. Connell. I spent several days and nights at the Custer battlefield in Montana to try to understand what had happened to those guys on both sides. I had been thinking about writing about Custer, but it turns out that this is a better book than what I had in mind. It's wonderfully researched.

Favorite book when you were a child?

The very first book I ever read. A librarian handed it to me. I have no memory of the story whatsoever, but I have never loved a book more than I do that one because it is the book that turned me on to reading. I was such an awful reader. I'd struggle through a page, word by word, and have no idea what I'd just read and have to go back, over and over again on the same page to make sense of the letters, the words, the sentences, the paragraphs, the ideas, the dance with words.

Your top five authors:

Patrick O'Brian, Ernest Hemingway, Charles Dickens, Herman Melville, Ernest K. Gann and Shakespeare. That's six, I know. But I read these guys over and over years apart and find new things to appreciate and admire about their writing and their storytelling each time. Their work can and has altered my life. I'm a different person after reading them.

Book you've faked reading:

Macbeth by William Shakespeare in high school. I had a rough idea of the story but could not get through the language. I had to read it in front of the class and I was mortally embarrassed, and they made fun of me. This is a school where now they have my name in the hall of fame, but I'll never go back. You don't forget something like that. Years later I read Macbeth alone and, of course, appreciated the magic of the story.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Fate Is the Hunter by Ernest K. Gann. It's just got to be the best nonfiction book ever written, I mean, really. He was an early-day airline pilot, flying twin-engine prop planes that could go a limited distance and had a list of casualties as long as your arm. This book was about his life and planes, and I know that doesn't sound like much, but it's beautifully done and I must have read it four or five times.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian. I don't know the artist's name, but the painter does beautiful work, and the covers of all O'Brian's books evoke everything the books are about.

Book you hid from your parents:

I hid from my parents, full stop.

Favorite line from a book:

"Call me Ishmael."

It's just that when Melville wrote that, writers were taking three pages to describe a woman's dress and this was astonishingly brief. I felt this was just elegant, and reading it the first time made the hair on the back of my neck go up, it was so... perfect.

Five books you'll never part with:

Fate Is the Hunter by Ernest K. Gann, A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, A World Lit Only by Fire by William Manchester, and all of the Patrick O'Brian books. I've bought several copies of these books over the years because I've dog-eared the books by reading them over and over. I find that, when I am facing a rough or stressful situation, I revert back to these titles and they bring me out of myself and set me straight again. I have hardcover, paperback and e-book versions, and I have copies on my boat on the Pacific and at my ranch in New Mexico and at my dog kennels in Alaska, or at least I did until my place burned down. Actually, after I knew my dogs and my handler were safe, I thought about my books. Gone.

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

Moby Dick by Herman Melville. It was so complete. It's a book about whaling, metaphysics, the sea, survival, death... I don't even know how he did it, but it's an amazing book. I think I've read it 11, 12 times and I'm going to go read it again now that I've thought about it.


Book Review

YA Review: Julia Vanishes

Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan (Knopf, $17.99 hardcover, 384p., ages 14-up, 9780553524840, June 7, 2016)

In the suspenseful, action-packed debut of the Witch's Child trilogy, Canadian author Catherine Egan (the Last Days of Tian Di series) spins out a dark and deep world of magic and crime where powerful mortals and terrifyingly violent creatures fight behind the scenes for the future of a realm.

"In my sixteen years, I've seen as much as, or more than, someone five times my age," Julia confides gravely, before revealing that "there is a space I can step into, a space between being myself in the world and... where people's eyes simply pass over me." Julia inherited her gift, which renders her so unnoticeable as to be effectively invisible, from her mother, but such inheritances put their bearers in peril in her country of Frayne. The law of the land says the old practices of witchcraft are punishable by death, and behind the law stands Agoston Horthy, "the king's bloodhound," keeping order through a campaign of propaganda and witch hunting. Julia attends all of the highly public executions in Spira City, watching as leaders of the state-sanctioned Rainist church prove that the prisoners cannot catch fire--the sign of a witch--before "[t]hey are hurled untidily into the water," drowned in the river, a surefire way to kill a witch. In fact, Julia's mother died the same way.

Julia and her younger brother, Benedek, a brilliant inventor disfigured and half-blinded by a plague called the Scourge, make their way in the employ of Esme, an organized crime leader with a soft spot for talented, downtrodden youths. Most recently, Esme has embedded Julia as a maid in a well-to-do household to ferret out the secrets of its inhabitants, including a heretical professor and an aristocrat from whose room unearthly howls occasionally issue. Julia's gift makes her the perfect spy, but the secrets she finds have broad and shocking implications. Caught in a whirlwind of old world legends and politics where shadowy forces try to outmaneuver each other for a weapon of limitless power, Julia must make a terrible choice that will leave her wondering if Horthy's claims that all witches are evil apply to her as well.

Julia's complexities fascinate; she's a prickly, evasive liar who places her own interests first, but she's also a loyal sister, a teenage girl whose heart falters when she sees her lover with his arm around a prettier girl, and a personality in flux who's still fleshing out her own moral code. Her inner conflict mirrors that of the city around her, where conflicting views of witchcraft as evil or simply inherited could boil over into rebellion.

Teens will appreciate this pseudo-Dickensian fantasy/heist drama hybrid for its suspense, but Julia's personality and her world teetering on the brink of uprising may prove the biggest draws for the trilogy. --Jaclyn Fulwood, lead librarian at Del City Public Library, Okla.

Shelf Talker: In this dark, well-spun teen trilogy debut, Julia is a 16-year-old spy with the gift of invisibility, navigating a Dickensian-style fantasy world where witchcraft is punishable by death.


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