Also published on this date: Thursday, July 21, 2016: Dedicated Issue: Imprint

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, July 21, 2016


Little Brown and Company: Akin by Emma Donoghue

Sourcebooks Fire: I'm Not dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal

Ingram: Count on Us to Help You Never Miss a Beat - Learn More

Balzer + Bray: The Important Thing about Margaret Wise Brown by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Sarah Jacoby

Flatiron Books: Thirteen (Eddie Flynn #3) by Steve Cavanagh

Viz Media:  Snow White with the Red Hair, Vol. 1 by Sorata Akiduki

Sourcebooks: Motherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting in America by Nefertiti Austin

News

Hastings Entertainment Going Out of Business

Hastings Entertainment, which filed for bankruptcy in June and has some 125 superstores in medium- and small-sized markets that sell new and used books in the multimedia media mix, is being liquidated and all stores will close by October 31, according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

At the auction for the company yesterday in bankruptcy court, Gordon Brothers and Hilco, which specialize in liquidation sales and handled the shutdown of Borders in 2011, bought Hastings Entertainment with the intention of closing it.

Some money from the sale of Hastings will go to Bank of America and Pathlight Capital, which provided the company capital during the bankruptcy proceedings. General creditors are also guaranteed some 75% of their debt.

In 2014, Hastings lost $10.9 million on revenue of $420 million. Last year, losses grew to $16.6 million and sales slumped to $401 million. When the company filed for bankruptcy in June, its debts included some $80 million in secured loans and $59 million in trade bills, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Founded in 1968 with headquarters in Amarillo, Tex., Hastings merged in 2014 with subsidiaries of National Entertainment Collectibles Association, a major supplier to Hastings of movie, book and video game merchandise and collectibles that was wholly owned by Joel Weinshanker. With the merger, which created Draw Another Circle, longtime Hastings head John H. Marmaduke left the company.


Soho Crime: The Second Biggest Nothing (Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery #14) by Colin Cotterill


PEN and Jean Stein Create Two Book Awards

PEN America has established the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, a $75,000 prize funded by oral historian Jean Stein that will be given annually to a book in any genre that has "broken new ground and signals strong potential for lasting influence." The prize aims as well to recognize "originality, merit, and impact" and to highlight "a work of literature that reshapes the boundaries of its form."

In an unusual difference from other PEN America Literary Awards, the judging panel of distinguished writers will serve anonymously and will nominate candidates internally and without submissions from the public.

Stein is also sponsoring another new award, the PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Oral History, which will give $10,000 to support "the completion of a literary work of nonfiction that uses oral history to illuminate an event, individual, place, or movement."

Both prizes will be given for the first time next year.

PEN America President Andrew Solomon said, "The PEN/Jean Stein Book Award will focus global attention on remarkable books that propel experimentation, wit, strength, and the expression of wisdom. As an organization that champions literature¹s power to change the world, PEN is especially pleased to recognize work that honors creative ambition and rejoices in imagination. We are immensely grateful to Jean Stein for this opportunity to celebrate books that rethink our culture and humanity."

Stein was editor of Grand Street from 1990 to 2004 and is the author of several books featuring an oral history approach, including Edie: American Girl and American Journey: The Times of Robert Kennedy, which featured her interviews edited by George Plimpton. In 1956, the Paris Review included her interview with William Faulkner. Stein's West of Eden: An American Place, an oral history of five families or individuals who sought their dreams in Los Angeles (including her father, Jules Stein, founder of MCA), was published by Random House earlier this year.


MPIBA: Publishers, promote your books to hundreds of thousands of consumers - Reserve space in the 2019 holiday gift guide (print & digital catalogs)


Anne DeCourcey Wins NEIBA's Saul Gilman Award

Congratulations to Anne DeCourcey of HarperCollins, who is the winner of the 2016 Saul Gilman Award, sponsored by the New England Independent Booksellers Association and given for "outstanding service as a sales representative to New England independent bookstores."

Anne DeCourcey

The winner wrote: "My life has been blessed by parents who love books. Inspiration came mostly from Mom, Marilyn Hollinshead, who read to us on our long car trips, had me join the UK Puffin Club (my inelegant elephant leg as umbrella stand story made it into the magazine and I still have my membership pin), who opened Pinocchio Bookstore for Children and put me to work, and whose enthusiasm for books has never waned. I've wandered a bit in my career, working for NEIBA when it was NEBA with Rusty [Drugan, the late former executive director], Penguin then Penguin Putnam as an adult, then children's rep based in Colorado, and had stints with Norton, Fulcrum, Gibbs Smith. My husband & two children and I finally moved back east to a very happy landing spot with HarperCollins Publishers. Sorry, Mom, I still haven't read Arthur Ransome's books, but let me tell you about the one we published about two girls spending a summer on an island..."


Oxford University Press: Hitler by Peter Longerich


Obituary Note: Sergio Machado

Sergio Machado, CEO of Brazilian publisher Editora Record, died July 19, the Bookseller reported. He was 68. Machado's father, Alfredo, founded Editora Record in Rio in 1940, and Sergio joined the company in 1972. He took charge of the group in 1991 following the death of his father, and expanded the company that now publishes 4,000 authors, including 20 Nobel Prize winners, and 8,000 titles, according to the Bookseller. Sonia Machado Garden, his sister and business partner, has assumed the presidency of the publishing group.


Higher Minimum Wages: Booksellers Prepare, Part 1

In the two years since the City Council of Seattle, Wash., approved an ordinance to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 per hour, similar measures have been proposed or signed into law in several states and municipalities around the country, and are already affecting many hundreds of booksellers. Most store owners favor the rise in minimum wages in principle but worry about the financial effect in a business with narrow margins. Today, in the first of a multi-part series, Shelf Awareness looks at how booksellers in California are reacting to the hikes in minimum wage, from looking for cost savings in a range of areas to evaluating work schedules, from adding products and services with higher margins than books to hoping for some help from publishers, whether with improved terms, the end of printed prices on books or other measures.

Earlier this year, California governor Jerry Brown signed legislation mandating that the state's minimum wage reach $15 per hour by the end of 2022. Included in the bill are measures for small businesses--defined as those with fewer than 26 workers--to phase in each increase at a slightly slower rate, as well as the option for the state government to postpone planned wage increases in the event of an economic downturn. At the same time, some cities in California, including San Francisco, Berkeley and Los Angeles, have enacted their own minimum wage laws with different provisions and on different timeframes than the statewide law.

Allison Hill, Vroman's and Book Soup

"Everything is on the table at this point," said Allison Hill, president and CEO of Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena and Book Soup in West Hollywood. "We've always operated with this mentality, but the stakes are far greater now, and as a result we're more focused."

At the moment, the minimum wage is higher in Pasadena than in Los Angeles proper, and the minimum wage in West Hollywood is set to raise at a slightly slower rate. Still, employees at both stores are being paid in line with Pasadena's higher minimum wage. (For businesses in Pasadena with more than 26 employees, the minimum wage is now $10.50 an hour and rises to $12 next July 1 and $13.25 on July 1, 2018.) According to Hill, the city of Pasadena did provide small businesses with the opportunity to be heard, and the Chamber of Commerce was active in representing small business interests. "That said," Hill commented, "I still don't think the city fully understands the impact on local businesses and the local economy."

Among other things, Hill and her staff are evaluating whether the stores are open optimal hours, if there are technological systems that could help cut costs and if the company should consider self-funding health benefits. They're also reconsidering a range of pricing and merchandising matters. As for industry-wide changes, Hill wondered how publishers might help support independent bookstores, possibly by removing prices from books, offering automatic percentage credits in lieu of returns, giving extra percentage points for paying early, and more.

"I care about the people in our store that make this dream possible, and I want them to be fairly compensated," said Hill. At the same time, she emphasized, booksellers and publishers need to start thinking about the future now. "Otherwise when the full impact of the minimum wage increases is realized in a couple of years, we're all in for a rude awakening."

In San Francisco, the minimum wage increased from $12.25 to $13 per hour on July 1. Next July, it will rise to $14 per hour and, at the start of July 2018, will hit $15 per hour. On July 1 each following year, the minimum wage will increase in accordance with the Consumer Price Index.

Christin Evans, Kepler's and Booksmith

Christin Evans and her husband, Praveen Madan, operate two independent bookstores in the Bay Area: the Booksmith, in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, and Kepler's Books in Menlo Park. Though Menlo Park is on the slower schedule that the rest of California will follow, Kepler's employees are being paid on the same scale as those at the Booksmith, which is higher than the current San Francisco minimum wage of $13 an hour. "It [the minimum wage] definitely has been going up at a pretty high clip," said Evans. "That being said, the cost of living has gone up even more."

Because of the challenge of "retaining and attracting key staff" in San Francisco and the Bay Area, the Booksmith and Kepler's have always paid above the minimum wage. As a result, Evans said, the steep jumps in minimum wage have not had a "catastrophic impact" on the business. In addition, Evans pointed out that over the last decade, booksellers have repeatedly faced things that were thought to be "existential threats," including the explosive growth of e-books, the rise of Amazon.com and e-commerce, and even the financial crisis of 2008. To protect the stores against those and future events, Evans has been looking at ways to diversify revenue and manage costs for years. She pointed to Shipwreck, a monthly Booksmith series in which six writers compete by reading erotic fan fiction based on literary works, as an example of a new source of revenue that has been great for both audiences and the store.

Evans said that she has been active in supporting an increased minimum wage in San Francisco, but acknowledged that the issue weighs much more heavily on some stores. In San Francisco, she reported, most small businesses were supportive of raising the minimum wage, and added, "Ultimately the concern was about making sure those changes were done in ways and at a speed where people can absorb them."

Michael Tucker, Books, Inc.

Michael Tucker, president of Books Inc., which has 11 stores in the Bay Area, said that the sky is certainly not falling, but unprepared stores could be "hit like a ton of bricks" due to wage increases. One of the major complicating factors he pointed to is the effect that raising base level salary has on management and higher-level salaries. "You don't want disparity," Tucker explained. "Even those areas not mandated to getting a raise, we're raising those up."

Tucker also expressed concerns about another severe economic downturn in the future. Since he's been in charge of Books Inc., he said, he's seen the San Francisco economy plummet twice, once when the "dot-com bubble" burst in 2000 and again in 2008 during the broader financial crisis. In 2008, Tucker recalled, Books Inc. was able to avoid layoffs by freezing wages and furloughing a month of salary for those in "main office" leadership positions. Although California's statewide minimum wage law gives the governor authority to freeze wages in such an event, that is not allowed for in San Francisco's minimum wage law.

Over the years, Tucker said, Books Inc. has increased its sales mix from about 2% in gifts to around 15% currently. The impetus for this was a sudden, severe drop in the remainders market and a need to make back some of that lost margin. Initially, Tucker recalled, there was some staff pushback against selling more gifts, that's disappeared. Tucker said he would highly recommend that any bookstore not selling gifts do so.

Given the exorbitant cost of living in San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area, Tucker was unsure about the idea that these wage increases would lead to more discretionary spending. It might turn out differently in other areas, he said, but he imagined that in San Francisco, the majority of extra income will be used to pay for essentials.

On an industry-wide level, Tucker said he was unsure of the best way forward, but called cooperation with publishers essential. Due to the federal antitrust lawsuit, he noted, publishers are gun-shy about pricing discussions, but changes to returnability could be part of a solution. Fixes made over the next few years, he added, could amount to a sea-change for the publishing industry.

Publishers recognize the seriousness of the problem, he added, "because if we go down, that becomes really problematic." --Alex Mutter


Notes

Image of the Day: Here Comes the Sun at Greenlight

Tuesday night, at a jam-packed, SRO event at Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y., Nicole Dennis-Benn (r.) read from her debut novel, Here Comes the Sun (Liveright), followed by a conversation with Ashley C. Ford (l.). Here Comes the Sun is Greenlight's July First Editions Club pick.

Cleveland Librarian at RNC: 'Make America Read Again'

via

Cleveland librarian Jonathan Harris "wants to make America read again" by handing out books to protestors and Republican National Convention attendees from "a crate on the back of his bike filled with books and a very literal reading of the city's guidelines," Bustle reported.

"Cleveland said you're allowed to hand out literature, so why not come down and hand out some books," Harris said, adding: "Mostly we're just here going, 'Hey, literacy is awesome.' Read a book while you're bored. It'll be something that'll be easier on your phone battery than catching a Pokemon."

Harris told Buzzfeed: "It started with seeing a post about the Strand selling the Make America Read Again hat, but the going downtown and handing out books part was something that only got planned in the last week or two.... I've handed out books to a pretty varied crowd, from SDS, to a delegate from Texas, and to a few RTA employees taking a lunch break. Nobody, even here, is going to make a point of hating reading or libraries."


Road Trip: 'A Film Lover's Bookstore' in Madrid

"Madrid is a cinephile's city, through and through," the Criterion Collection blog observed in exploring the bookstore/café Ocho y Medio Libros de Cine: "Located across the street from the Cines Golem and Princesa, two of the city's premier cinemas, and among the few in the country that present foreign films undubbed, Ocho y Medio is a shrine to Spanish contributions to the seventh art. Its shelves overflow with screenplays, DVDs, monographs, and books. Signed posters and props from recent film productions hang on the walls. María Silveyro, who founded the bookstore almost 25 years ago with her late husband, fills in remaining empty spaces with framed drawings and doodles, left behind by past patrons like Quentin Tarantino and Gael García Bernal."

Silveyro said the shop hosts "a lot of interviews because of the movie houses right across the street from us. When films premiere, the filmmakers end up coming here to do press. We also do talks about adapting literature for film, as well as events on film and food and film and wine, to play around with the restaurant space."


Taschen 'Seriously Disrupts Bookselling'

Taschen's store in Beverly Hills, Calif.

"But what if you just want a book? What if you want to buy a beautiful book? What if you want a beautiful book experience? Well, you can go to Taschen," Forbes reported in a piece headlined " How Taschen Seriously Disrupts Bookselling with Amazing Brand Experiences."

Noting that books "are not always as fun as Pokemon Go or the latest Snapchat filter," Forbes wrote that Taschen bookstores "have still managed to expand from their basecamp in Cologne, to amazing locations in Paris, Amsterdam, New York City, Milan, Miami, Hollywood and beyond.... People's behaviors inside a Taschen store do not mimic the shopping mall--instead, they look like they are standing inside a museum."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jonah Berger on Marketing Matters

Tomorrow:
Sirius XM's Marketing Matters: Jonah Berger, author of Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior (Simon & Schuster, $26.99, 9781476759692).


TV: Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones fans "will have to wait longer than previously for a new batch of episodes," the Guardian noted in reporting that HBO is pushing back season seven of the hit series based on George R.R. Martin's books to the summer of 2017. GoT has traditionally premiered in the spring, and there is "another blow to viewers: for the first time in the show's history, the new season will consist of only seven episodes, down from the usual 10."

Executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had previously revealed "that production was getting a later start this year to film in wintry locations. Season seven will be shot largely in Northern Ireland, with additional portions to be filmed in Spain and Iceland."


This Weekend on Book TV: Jeffrey Rosen

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, July 23
9 a.m. Brad Meltzer, co-author of The House of Secrets (Grand Central, $28, 9781455559497). (Re-airs Saturday at 11 p.m. and Sunday at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.)

2 p.m. Charles Rappleye, author of Herbert Hoover in the White House: The Ordeal of the Presidency (Simon & Schuster, $32.50, 9781451648676). (Re-airs Monday at 4 a.m.)

4:30 p.m. Mitchell Duneier, author of Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28, 9780374161804). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

8 p.m. Sean Wilentz, author of The Politicians and the Egalitarians: The Hidden History of American Politics (Norton, $28.95, 9780393285024). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 a.m.)

9:15 p.m. Eric Bolling, author of Wake Up America: The Nine Virtues That Made Our Nation Great--and Why We Need Them More Than Ever (St. Martin's Press, $25.99, 9781250112507). (Re-airs Sunday at 6:15 p.m.)

10 p.m. Karen J. Greenberg, author of Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State (Crown, $28, 9780804138215). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11:45 p.m. Carol Anderson, author of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide (Bloomsbury, $26, 9781632864123), at Left Bank Books in New York City. (Re-airs Sunday at 7 p.m.)

Sunday, July 24
1 p.m. Senator Lamar Alexander discusses his library and reading habits. (Re-airs Sunday at 11:30 p.m.)

8:15 p.m. Walter Shapiro, author of Hustling Hitler: The Jewish Vaudevillian Who Fooled the Führer (Blue Rider, $28, 9780399161476), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Monday at 5:15 a.m.)

10 p.m. Jeffrey Rosen, author of Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet (Yale University Press, $25, 9780300158670).



Books & Authors

Awards: Kelpies Shortlist

Independent Edinburgh publisher Floris Books announced the shortlist for this year's £2,000 (about $2,630) Kelpies Prize, which "recognizes the finest new Scottish children's writing for readers aged 6–14." The winner, who receives a publishing deal with Floris Books' Kelpies imprint in addition to the cash prize, will be named at the Edinburgh International Book Festival August 25. The shortlisted titles are:

Ruby McCracken: Tragic Without Magic by Elizabeth Ezra
The Secret of the Tammy Norrie by Christine Laurenson
The Day My School Exploded (But It Wasn't My Fault!) by Alan McClure


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, July 26:

Heroes of the Frontier by Dave Eggers (Knopf, $28.95, 9780451493804) follows a divorced mother on an RV road trip with her two children.

Good as Gone: A Novel of Suspense by Amy Gentry (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $23, 9780544920958) is about an abducted adolescent who returns home as an adult, though her identity is in doubt.

Night of the Ninth Dragon by Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by Sal Murdocca (Random House, $12.99, 9780553510898) is #55 in the Magic Tree House series, in which Jack and Annie return to Camelot.

The Hidden Letters of Velta B. by Gina Ochsner (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780544253216) follows a young Latvian boy who can hear the dead.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty (Flatiron Books, $26.99, 9781250069795) follows three couples united by a fateful barbecue.

Valley of the Moon: A Novel by Melanie Gideon (Ballantine, $27, 9780345539281) brings a single mother from 1975 San Francisco to a Sonoma Valley community that exists beyond the normal flow of time.

Dark Matter: A Novel by Blake Crouch (Crown, $26.99, 9781101904220) is a sci-fi thriller about a scientist who awakens into an alternate version of his life.

And Soon I Heard a Roaring Wind: A Natural History of Moving Air by Bill Streever (Little, Brown, $26, 9780316410601) explores the history and science of wind.

Paperbacks:
The Last Road Home by Danny Johnson (Kensington, $15, 9781496702494).

An Untimely Frost (Lilly Long Mysteries) by Penny Richards (Kensington, $15, 9781496706027).

Movie:
Indignation, based on the novel by Philip Roth about an American college student in the early 1950s, opens July 29.


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

Hardcover
Brighton: A Novel by Michael Harvey (Ecco, $27.99, 9780062442970). "Gritty, thrilling, and full of twists, Harvey's first novel to be set in his hometown of Boston is cause for celebration. Its namesake neighborhood is as richly textured as the characters in this deeply moving crime story about two friends haunted by their shared past of violence. While it will certainly appeal to fans of Dennis Lehane's Mystic River, Brighton sings with a fresh Bostonian voice that is all its own." --Thomas Wickersham, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass.

My Last Continent: A Novel by Midge Raymond (Scribner, $26, 9781501124709). "Suspense and love intertwine against the starkly beautiful backdrop of Antarctica in this wonderful debut. Deb is a researcher devoting her life to the magnificent penguins that populate this remote corner of the world, where the ice-choked waters set the stage for the tragic collision of a supersized cruise liner and mountainous iceberg. When Deb discovers the man she loves is aboard the doomed ship, the poles of her world shift, as she must now focus on rescuing the one person who has saved her from her self-inflicted solitude. Raymond does a masterful job building the tension while the dramas of both the past and present unfold." --Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, Calif.

Paperback: An Indies Introduce Title
The Drone Eats with Me: A Gaza Diary by Atef Abu Saif (Beacon, $16, 9780807049105). "Atef Abu Saif's journal of the incessant bombing of the Gaza Strip during the summer of 2014 presents a voice we usually do not hear. Saif gives names and faces to the anonymous people presented in the daily news. His personal account, presented clearly and passionately, is testimony that must be heard." --Mary Fran Buckley, Eight Cousins, Falmouth, Mass.

For Ages 4 to 8: Revisit & Rediscover
Toot & Puddle by Holly Hobbie (Little, Brown, $7.99, 9780316080804). Originally published in 1997. "Heartwarming and beautifully illustrated, Toot & Puddle is a favorite for young and old alike! Toot and Puddle are the 'bestest' of friends, but enjoy very different things. Puddle appreciates the comforts of home, while Toot travels the world. Toot's postcards of adventures around the globe contrast with Puddle's activities back in Woodcock Pocket. People--and pigs--can find excitement and joy in quite different ways, but having a friend with whom to share makes any experience all the more meaningful." --Kirsten Hess, Let's Play Books!, Emmaus, Penn.

For Ages 9 to 12: Revisit & Rediscover
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (Puffin Books, $7.99, 9780142401200). Originally published in 1978. "This kooky mystery features judges, bookies, bombers, and more, all of whom are competing to inherit Sam Westing's $200 million estate. A stellar book for anyone who loves a good whodunit--and it's the Newbery winner for 1979!" --Emily Somberg, Pegasus Books, Berkeley, Calif.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy (Bloomsbury, $17.99, 9781619639096). "Learning to Swear in America is a tale of firsts: This will be the first time in the U.S. for Yuri, a genius and physicist from Russia; his first time making friends; his first time kissing a girl; his first time swearing in English; and, oh, his first time saving the entire planet from destruction. Did I mention he is only 17? Through Yuri's perfectly developed voice, Kennedy tells the story of a fledgling teen finally getting the chance to be a kid." --Janelle Smith, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, Wash.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: Riverine

Riverine: A Memoir from Anywhere But Here by Angela Palm (Graywolf Press, $16 paperback, 224p., 9781555977467, August 16, 2016)

Vermont editor Angela Palm grew up in a struggling rural Indiana community on the banks of the Kankakee. The river had been straightened to yield farmland, but it frequently flooded back to its original shape, turning each house into an island. Palm's greatest happiness lay in her love for the boy next door; she fell asleep each night watching him through their bedroom windows. She dreamt of escaping her troubled home life, even without a clear idea of what escape might mean. And then the boy next door was sentenced to life in prison for a horrible crime.

Riverine: A Memoir from Anywhere but Here is Palm's exploration of her roots and her journey away from them. By a complicated and sometimes messy route, she escaped rural Indiana, but the separation remains incomplete. Even with a family and creative life of her own, far from her hometown, she is pulled back, perhaps most of all by that boy next door, Corey.

Three parts form Riverine: Water, Fields and Mountains. In a blend of storytelling chapters and braided essays, Palm takes the reader chronologically through those environments of her life. Without clear plans, she nevertheless strives for a future free of obligation to her past, while also looking back, trying to understand its causes and effects. As a criminal justice student, for example, she contemplates theories for explaining criminal actions: behavioral, psychological, economic and policing theories, the broken windows theory and the biological theory of deviance. These she experimentally applies to Corey's crime. Along the way, she repeatedly asks herself "how I loved a person who could do this and why I didn't see it coming... why I still feel the loss of you in my life."

Palm's memoir is not only the story of her life and the divergent parallel life Corey has led, but also an examination of how place forms a person. "The need to look at other landscapes for clues about what already lies within us is real." Much of her figurative journey away from the gritty setting of her youth has taken place through literal travel and relocation. Tellingly, Riverine begins with a child studying a map. Palm recognizes in herself "a fascination with selvage, run-down places and meaningful interactions with strangers... scarred lands and depressed buildings." She seeks out abandoned spaces, looking for insight in damage.

Her writing is easy to read, compelling and draws the reader in with its momentum. Riverine is about self-determination, the origin of deviance, and places, particularly the liminal ones. "Fringe investigation was the science of my neighborhood and of my art." Palm's story is yet unfinished, but her memoir has an admirable structure and art of its own. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: This memoir of a difficult upbringing in the heartland deals also with broader questions of place and free will.


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