Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 13, 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


Cheers!: Hamilton Wins 11 Tonys

Congratulations to Hamilton, the hit Broadway musical based on the 2004 Ron Chernow biography of Alexander Hamilton (Penguin) that won 11 Tony Awards last night, including best new musical. The 11 wins were one shy of the record of awards for a single show, 12 by The Producers in 2001.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and star of Hamilton, won best book of a musical and best original score. (Miranda is co-author, with Jeremy McCarter, of Hamilton: The Revolution (Grand Central), about Hamilton and the show, and includes the libretto.) Leslie Odom, Jr., won best actor in a leading role, musical; Daveed Diggs won best actor in a featured role, musical; and Renée Elise Goldsberry won best actress in a featured role, musical. The other Hamilton winners were Paul Tazewell for best costume design, musical; Howell Binkley for best lighting design, musical; Thomas Kail, for best direction, musical, Andy Blankenbuehler for best choreography; and Alex Lacamoire for best orchestrations.

The Color Purple, based on the 1982 Alice Walker novel, won best musical revival, and Cynthia Erivo won best actress in a leading role, musical, for The Color Purple.

Entangled Publishing: Stealing Infinity by Alyson Noël

After 126 Years, Varney's in Kansas Closing

Varney's, Manhattan, Kan., an off-campus store that has served Kansas State University for 126 years, is closing at the end of the month, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Varney's will close all of its three locations, in Aggieville, the Manhattan Town Center Mall and Salina. Varney's sells textbooks, office supplies, art supplies and clothing, mostly oriented toward K-State fans. "The news was met online with melancholia and surprise," the paper said.

On the store's website, owner Jon Levin and family wrote that they were closing "with great sadness" and thanked "all of our employees who through the years have helped make us who we were. Many worked as part time student employees while going to school at K-State. Others worked full time and dedicated many years of their careers working with us. We truly appreciate each and every one of you.

"We also want to say thank you to the hundreds of thousands of customers, who for over a century have come through our doors, shopped through our catalogs, clicked through our websites, gathered with us at many a bowl game, celebrated New Year's, and watched a parade or two in Aggieville. Many of you have followed us on Facebook and Twitter as well. No matter how you came to us, it was a privilege serving each and every one of you.

"We are proud of the contributions we have made to our community over the years both as a business and as individual community leaders. Manhattan is a great place and we still hold an optimistic view of the region's future. We see many positive things happening here. As individuals, we look forward to helping with that vision for both Manhattan and K-State."

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

Toronto's Glad Day Bookshop: 'Move It or Lose It!'

"We need to move it or lose it!" Toronto's Glad Day Bookshop, the LGBTQ bookstore that was established in 1970, announced on an Indiegogo crowdfunding page set up to raise funds for relocating from its longtime Yonge St. space. "Our best strategy for survival is adding new revenue streams like food and drink--which means a larger space. We've picked out a great spot on Church Street that would allow us to be a bookstore & coffee shop during the day and a bar at night. It is wheelchair accessible, with an accessible washroom. It has a cute patio, a small space for performances and walls for art."

Michael Erickson, lead owner at Glad Day, told Torontoist: "For some people there's a lot of nostalgia attached to the location, but the store was also always supposed to be pushing boundaries; being a part of the queer liberation and sexual liberation movement in 2016 means being wheelchair accessible. That means not hiding up in the shadows, that means being on the street and that means taking up public space. I think it's a natural transition to [be] taking up more space somewhere else, and I think that the community will follow us."

MPIBA: Last Chance: The Great Summer Reading Guide

Amazon@Lubbock Added to Campus Pickup Locations

Amazon@Lubbock, located near Texas Tech University, will be the next addition to the online retailer's staffed campus pickup locations. It is scheduled to open this fall in a 2,700-square-foot space at 2407 Ninth Street. Since 2015, Amazon has opened staffed pickup locations on or near several universities, with more set for 2016, including the Georgia Institute of Technology, California State University, Long Beach, the University of Akron and the University of Connecticut.

Litsy, an App for Readers

iOS book app Litsy, a social networking tool for avid readers, was created last year by Out of Print apparel founders Todd Lawton and Jeff LeBlanc, continuing the duo's mission of generating literary conversations and cultivating connections among readers. (Out of Print specializes in T-shirts, tote bags and other accessories that feature classic book covers, and has a philanthropic side that includes donations of books to Books for Africa.)

With Litsy, Lawton said, "We wanted to replicate the idea of the shelf talker." It's no surprise then that some of the most-followed accounts are indie bookstores, who are using the platform to share recommendations from their staffs and connect with readers in a highly interactive digital way.

"It's a community of just book lovers," said Whitney Hu, communications director at the Strand Bookstore in New York City. "That's really refreshing because we can get specific, we can get literary, and we can be nerdy freely."

Litsy allows users to tap on a post and immediately learn more about a title. One of the Strand's favorite features is the to-be-read pile. "I love seeing us post a book and then seeing 100 people add it to their piles," Hu said. "We know this might be mentally happening on Instagram, but there's a real power to seeing actual quantitative data via Litsy."

In contrast to many other social networks and forums with a book focus, Litsy aims to engage readers in the moment, within the experience of reading, rather than emphasizing formal reviews. "We're seeing the most response from the community on non-review posts," said Lawton, referring to the app's Blurb and Quote features. Posts may even be marked as "Contains Spoiler," with content that remains hidden until followers elect to read it.

Litsy aims to reach a range of readers, from the casual reader to the celebrity author to the professional critic, allowing them to engage with each other at any point along the way of their literary experiences, from, for example, finding out what inspired an author's latest book to cultivating a strong, loyal following for their own tastes. In keeping with its motto, "Where books make friends," Litsy has also become a place where some readers are meeting for the first time through the newsfeed, by finding a book they like and reading other users' posts about it.

The app has expanded its reach 117 countries, with a community approaching 20,000 people. A Twitter search for @getlitsy shows a lot of discussion of the app, which the company hopes to release in an Android version this summer.

"The more we talk about books, the better it's going to be for everyone," Lawton said. --Dave Wheeler

Wisdom Publications Names Daniel Aitken Publisher

Daniel Aitken

Daniel Aitken has been promoted to publisher at Wisdom Publications. He joined the company in 2014 as sales and marketing director, and in 2015 became associate publisher. Among his accomplishments, Aitken envisioned and oversaw the creation of the Wisdom Podcast, Wisdom Academy and the new Wisdom Journal.

"Daniel brings to this position a rare combination of marketing and management expertise as well as Buddhist knowledge and practical experience," said company president Timothy McNeill. "As Wisdom navigates the challenges and opportunities of the current publishing environment and we position ourselves for the future, he will significantly help us build upon our strengths as the foremost publisher dedicated to Buddhist literature."


Image of the Day: Security at Magers & Quinn

Last week, Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Minneapolis, Minn., hosted an evening with Gina Wohlsdorf, who read from her debut novel (and staff favorite), Security (Algonquin). Pictured: (l.-r) Excelsior Bay Books sales & outreach coordinator Pamela Klinger-Horn; Magers & Quinn events coordinator Ann Mayhew; Gina Wohlsdorf; author Wendy Webb; and Magers & Quinn assistant manager Annie Metcalf.

Happy 10th Birthday, Nightbird Books!

Congratulations to Nightbird Books, Fayetteville, Ark., which has celebrated its 10th anniversary. Owned and founded by Lisa Sharp, the store opened in 2006 in Fayetteville, home of the University of Arkansas, a town with no independent new-book bookstore, then moved in 2009 to the "artish" downtown.

"The popularity of hand-held technical entertainment methods has reduced the number of avid book readers," Sharp said. "But I'm lucky to have a solid customer base of those who care about books and about us. Their support is one main reason we're still open."

Nightbird Books offers regular book events, has a café and has been very creative with promotions and fund-raising: several years ago, for example, the store held a "Feed the Bird" event, aided by local bands, poets, artists, politicians and businesses, to help the store after the heating and cooling unit failed.

Cool Idea of the Day: Vroman's Little Free Library


Vroman's in Pasadena, Calif., recently installed a Little Free Library outside the store, with the motto, "Take a Book, Return a Book."

Call for Book Swag

Denver Publishing Institute marketing week teacher Carl Lennertz writes:

"It's the annual call to children's and adult publishers across the country for ARCs, posters, totes, bookmarks, and any cool stuff for this summer's Denver Publishing Institute. The items sent last year were pored over by the students all week, were made part of the curriculum, and then handed out to delight on the last day. We'll take 1s, 5s, 10s, or more of any item. Thank you!

"Please do not ship items before July 7, but they are needed by Friday, July 22. Send to Univ. of Denver Publishing Institute, 2000 E. Asbury Ave., Denver, CO 80208. Attn: Carl Lennertz."

Media and Movies

TV: 13 Reasons Why; NW

Kate Walsh will co-star opposite Dylan Minnette and Katherine Langford on Netflix's 13-episode series 13 Reasons Why, based on the 2007 YA book by Jay Asher, Deadline reported. The project comes from producer Selena Gomez, writer Brian Yorkey, director Tom McCarthy, Anonymous Content and Paramount TV. The cast also includes Derek Luke (Empire). Filming began last week.


Nikki Amuka-Bird and Phoebe Fox are the two female leads for the BBC's feature length adaptation of Zadie Smith's NW, Deadline reported. Saul Dibb (The Duchess) is directing a screenplay by Rachel Bennette (Ripper Street). Also in the cast are Richie Campbell, O.T. Fagbenle, Rosalind Eleazar, Ronke Adekoluejo James MacCallum. NW will air on BBC Two this fall.

Media Heat: James Carville on the Daily Show

Fresh Air: Claire Hoffman, author of Greetings from Utopia Park: Surviving a Transcendent Childhood (Harper, $25.99, 9780062338846).

Diane Rehm: Shadi Hamid, author of Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam Is Reshaping the World (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250061010)

Also on Diane Rehm: Fawaz A. Gerges, author of ISIS: A History (Princeton University Press, $27.95, 9780691170008).

The View: Bobby Brown, co-author of Every Little Step: My Story (Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062442567). He will also appear today on Good Morning America.

KPCC's AirTalk with Larry Mantle: Rachel Surls and Judith Gerber, authors of From Cows to Concrete: The Rise and Fall of Farming in Los Angeles (Angel City Press, $40, 9781626400313).

Daily Show: James Carville, author of We're Still Right, They're Still Wrong: The Democrats' Case for 2016 (Blue Rider, $25, 9780399576225).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Bill O'Reilly, co-author of Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan (Holt, $30, 9781627790628).

Diane Rehm: Jonah Berger, author of Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior (Simon & Schuster, $26.99, 9781476759692).

Wendy Williams: Judy Joo, author of Korean Food Made Simple (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780544663305).

The View: Jenny Mollen, author of Live Fast Die Hot (Doubleday, $25.95, 9780385540698).

Daily Show: Eddie Huang, author of Double Cup Love: On the Trail of Family, Food, and Broken Hearts in China (Spiegel & Grau, $27, 9780812995466).

Comedy Central's At Midnight: Grace Helbig, author of Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It (Touchstone, $19.99, 9781501120589).

Books & Authors

Awards: Ngaio Marsh Crime Novel

The longlist has been announced for this year's Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel written by New Zealand citizens and residents, Booksellers NZ reported. The prize is judged by a panel of crime writing experts from New Zealand, Australia, the U.S., U.K. and Nordic countries. Finalists will be revealed in July, with a winner named August 27 at the WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival. The longlisted titles are:

Inside the Black Horse by Ray Berard
Made to Kill by Adam Christopher
Trust No One by Paul Cleave
Starlight Peninsula by Charlotte Grimshaw
Cold Hard Murder by Trish Mccormack
The Legend of Winstone Blackhat by Tanya Moir
The Mistake by Grant Nicol
American Blood by Ben Sanders
Something Is Rotten by Adam Sarafis

Book Review

Review: The Drone Eats with Me

The Drone Eats with Me: A Gaza Diary by Atef Abu Saif (Beacon Press, $16 paperback, 9780807049105, July 5, 2016)

This spare, devastating account of living through Israel's 2014 invasion of Gaza is the journal of a 40-year-old father of five, risking his life each day walking to an Internet café to write The Drone Eats with Me, as the aerial devices hum overhead, watching his every move. Atef Abu Saif fears for his wife and children, helps bombed relatives and fleeing friends, and creates a moral center of love at the heart of his science fiction-like nightmare, in which an unseen enemy watches and kills from a distance, always hovering, in the end taking the lives of 1,900 civilians.

His entries are thoughtful vignettes and mini-essays, simple, clear and straightforward; he never knows whether he will live to write tomorrow. Never sensational, with quiet dignity and a simmering rage, Abu Saif recounts what happens around his home in Jabalia, the largest refugee camp in Palestine, its streets altered by bombs as chunks of the makeshift city are reduced to rubble.

The Gazans grieve over loved ones in the wrong place at the wrong time, and watch their homes and orchards bulldozed, their animals homeless, their new airport destroyed, the achievements of their lives gone up in flames. "The only real heroism is survival," says Abu Saif, "to win the prize that is your own life."

Constantly in danger, Abu Saif describes the techniques of survival (walk down the middle of the street in plain view, hold no suspicious objects, do nothing unusual) as he makes his way amid collapsed buildings and overcrowded homes packed with relatives fleeing war zones. It's a world with waiting lines at every bathroom, frequent electric outages, spoiling food, uncharged phones and houses with missing walls. "Drones, F16s, warships, tanks: these are the instruments of the orchestra, playing the new song of our lives."

Abu Saif has written a level-headed, understated account of 51 hellish days of 21st-century warfare that reads like the true-life version of Camus' The Plague--human beings struggling to find meaning in the jaws of a random, meaningless death machine they can do nothing to stop, forced helplessly to endure devastating losses and sorrows until, for no apparent reason, the evil pauses for a few years of tentative, delicate peace. At the end, Abu Saif's 11-year-old son, already lucky enough to survive three wars, asks his father the question every reader wants to know: "Daddy, when will the next war be?" --Nick DiMartino, Nick's Picks, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

Shelf Talker: A 40-year-old father of five recounts the horrors of the 2014 invasion of Gaza by Israel in this heartbreaking journal of the 51-day war.

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