Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 2, 2016


Bloomsbury YA: This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

Other Press: Barcelona Dreaming by Rupert Thomson

Magination Press: Jacob's School Play: Starring He, She, and They by Ian Hoffman and Sarah Hoffman, illustrated by Chris Case

Simon & Schuster Children's Fall Preview: Join us for a virtual meetup featuring your favorite authors and illustrators!

Tordotcom: The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Just Pretend by Tori Sharp

Mandala Publishing: Big Panda and Tiny Dragon by James Norbury and Insight Editions

Tor Books: When the Sparrow Falls by Neil Sharpson

Quotation of the Day

George R.R. Martin's 'Minus-Four' Signing Crowd

"Turnouts were modest in most places. The crowds didn't reach one hundred anywhere, and at one stop (St. Louis, if you must know), not only was attendance zero but I actually drove four patrons out of the bookshop, allowing me to set my all time 'bad signing' record at minus four (on the plus side, I had the time for long friendly talks with the readers who did show up)."

--George R.R. Martin on his blog Not a Blog, recalling his tour after the release 20 years ago this month of A Game of Thrones, the first volume in his A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Neal Porter Books: Bright Star by Yuyi Morales


News

Black Dog Books Opens in Newton, N.J.

Black Dog Books hosted its grand opening celebration Saturday at 188 Spring Street in Newton, N.J., where owner Catherine Cassidy said "she is living a dream she's had since about age 18--to own a bookstore," the New Jersey Herald reported, adding that after 35 years of working as a nurse, she had retired in 2011 and a few years later had a bookselling epiphany.

"I woke up in the middle of the night one night this past April and said I was going to do it," she recalled. Black Dog Books had its soft opening July 9, and since then "the public reaction has been wonderful, with people frequenting her store," she told the Herald.

"It's a general bookstore. We have plenty of history books, a good selection of biographies, literary fiction," Cassidy said. "We have children's books, mysteries, thrillers and nonfiction.... It's a great space. People can come enjoy a coffee from next door, read and enjoy being around other people who love books."


Harper: The Taking of Jemima Boone: The True Story of the Kidnap and Rescue That Shaped America by Matthew Pearl


Webster Groves Bookshop to Close

Webster Groves Bookshop, Webster Groves, Mo., which celebrated its 50th anniversary a year ago, will close at the end of August. On Friday, the bookstore posted on Facebook: "After 51 years of serving the community we are shuttering our doors. Thank you for letting us be a part of your lives."

The bookstore was founded in 1965 by Natalie Sheetz and Juliet Robinson. The Webster-Kirkwood Times noted that Ann Foy began working part time in the bookshop in the fall of 1985, and at the end of 1998, after Robinson--the last of the surviving owners--died, Foy and her husband, Bob, purchased the store. He died in 2003.

"Natalie and Julie created that store," said Foy. "We made small changes, but continued what they started.... The big stores and Amazon can't do what we do. We stand and visit with shoppers and make suggestions. We know what regular customers will want to read."

The Times also wrote: "For those of us who have been long-time neighbors, its closing will be a poignant loss."


Bronzeville Books: Rising and Other Stories by Gale Massey


Hoboken, N.J.'s Little City Books to Expand in September

This September, Little City Books in Hoboken, N.J., will expand into a neighboring storefront, adding around 800 square feet of retail space. Owners Donna Garban and Kate Jacobs will move all of the store's children's inventory--from board books through chapter books, with middle grade and YA--into the new space. Adult books will remain in the store's main 1,200-square-foot space.

The expansion will allow Little City to increase considerably both its children's and adult inventory. Jacobs and Garban plan to hire additional staff and are considering hiring a children's manager. They also expect to expand the store's children's events program. The expansion came about simply: according to Jacobs, the space next door became available, and the landlord inquired whether they would be interested in expanding.

"Children's books are a large part of our business," said Jacobs. "It seemed like the natural and obvious thing to do."

Little City Books opened last May, following an Indiegogo campaign that raised nearly $23,000. The store won the Hoboken Chamber of Commerce Best New Business of 2015 award, as well as an award from Hoboken's mayor for women who have made contributions to the city.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Turnout by Megan Abbott


Amazon: More Warehouses in Fla., Ill.; Prime Now in Glasgow

Amazon announced plans for an 800,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Jacksonville, Fla., and a 750,000 square-foot facility in Romeoville, Ill.

"This is a huge win for our city and citizens," said Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry. "I am incredibly excited about the opportunities Amazon is bringing to our city, and specifically northwest Jacksonville, a community that will now serve as host to an international, state-of-the art fulfillment and distribution center."

Romeoville Mayor John Noak said, "We are pleased to welcome Amazon to Romeoville. We have very few vacancies, so we were fortunate that they found an existing building that met their needs. Amazon continues to have a major impact on our regional economy. We look forward to this partnership, as e-commerce is an important sector in our future growth.

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Amazon has expanded its Prime Now service to Glasgow, Scotland, offering one-hour delivery for certain items to customers in Parkhead, Shawlands or Paisley, and a two-hour delivery window to those in surrounding areas like Motherwell, Kilmarnock and Cumbernauld, the Bookseller reported.


BookShots Start with a Bang

BookShots, the line of novella-length books that James Patterson launched with Little, Brown in June, have sold nearly a million copies worldwide, the publisher said. In that period, The Trial by Patterson and Maxine Paetro was a New York Times #1 bestseller. Four BookShots titles appeared on the list for a combined 10 weeks and three have been on the Times mass market list.

To try to attract more people to the line, through August 16, BookShots is giving away e-book versions of The Witnesses by Patterson and Brendan DuBois, "the first time a bestselling author has given away a full-length book entirely for free." The book's available at BookShots.com, in the BookShots app or wherever e-books are sold.

BookShots titles are fewer than 150 pages long, cost less than $5, and are "fast paced and all thriller, no filler," Patterson has said, short enough to be read in a single sitting.


Notes

Image of the Day: Close Cousins

The Book Stall in Winnetka, Ill., hosted Jennifer Close for a reading and discussion of her new novel, The Hopefuls (Knopf).Among the capacity crowd that turned out to celebrate their hometown hero were several of Close's cousins, pictured with the author (in white dress).

'The Most Beautiful Library in Each U.S. State'

"Even as pulpy paperbacks get swapped out for electronic ink, we still crave a physical space where we can surround ourselves with knowledge. When done right, those spaces can be works of art," Tech Insider observed in featuring "the most beautiful library in each U.S. state" based on past and current award-winners as judged by the American Institute of Architects and the American Library Association awards, combined with "our own judgment for states who have never won."


IPS to Distribute Red Hen Press

Effective August 27, Ingram Publisher Services will distribute Red Hen Press books in the U.S. and Canada.

Founded in 1994, Red Hen Press, Pasadena, Calif., is a nonprofit literary press that publishes more than 20 books a year and hopes to grow exponentially in its outreach to new and diverse communities of readers.


Personnel Changes at Basic Books

Courtney Nobile has joined Basic Books as an assistant director of publicity. Previously, she worked at Fortier Public Relations and at Penguin Random House.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Aziz Ansari on the Tonight Show

Today:
Fox & Friends: John Dickerson, author of Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History (Twelve, $27, 9781455540488). He'll also be on Bloomberg's With All Due Respect today and NPR's Morning Edition tomorrow.

Fresh Air: Dean Burnett, author of Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up to (Norton, $26.95, 9780393253788).

MSNBC's All in with Chris Hayes: David Cay Johnston, author of The Making of Donald Trump (Melville House, $24.99, 9781612196329). He'll also be on Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell tomorrow.

Tomorrow:
The View: Robyn Youkilis, author of Go with Your Gut: The Insider's Guide to Banishing the Bloat with 75 Digestion-Friendly Recipes (Kyle Books, $22.95, 9781909487352).

Diane Rehm: Luke Dittrich, author of Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets (Random House, $28, 9780812992731).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Jonathan Franzen, author of Purity: A Novel (Picador, $17, 9781250097101).

Tonight Show: Aziz Ansari, co-author of Modern Romance (Penguin Books, $17, 9780143109259).


Movies: Fantastic Beasts; The Castaway's War

A new photo from the film adaptation of J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them shows "Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterson) take cover while sneaking around the MACUSA building (that's the Magical Congress of the United States of America, of course) in the eagerly anticipated Harry Potter spin-off," Entertainment Weekly noted in the first of what it promises will be 10 days of Fantastic Beasts scoops. The movie opens November 18.

"It's this fish out of water story of an Englishmen in New York," said director David Yates, "and you get this wonderful juxtaposition between the two cultures because there are very different rules and politics in the American wizarding world."

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Gold Circle Films has preemptively acquired the film rights to Stephen Harding's The Castaway's War: One Man's Battle Against Imperial Japan, Variety reported. Paul Brooks will produce the project, which is out to writers. Gold Circle's producing credits include the Pitch Perfect and My Big Fat Greek Wedding franchises.


Books & Authors

Awards: PEN/Heim Translation Fund Winners

PEN America has announced the recipients of the 2016 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants. The Fund's advisory board selected 14 projects, spanning nine languages, including Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Chinese, Czech, Hindi, Yiddish and more. Each project will receive a grant of $3,670 to assist in their completion. Find out more about the PEN/Heim Translation Series winners here.


Book Review

Review: Mischling

Mischling by Affinity Konar (Lee Boudreaux/Little, Brown, $27 hardcover, 352p., 9780316308106, September 6, 2016)

Affinity Konar's novel Mischling is set largely in Auschwitz, mainly in Josef Mengele's "Zoo," where the infamous Nazi doctor performed grotesque experiments on "undesirable" twins and others. Mischling commits to a child's-eye perspective on the horrors, and it's to Konar's credit that the novel manages to be as much about the perils of sisterhood as it is about the tragedy of genocide.

Konar's (The Illustrated Version of Things) main characters are identical twins Pearl and Stasha, children forced to reckon with their emerging adolescence under the most difficult circumstances imaginable. They are selected by Mengele to live and suffer in his Zoo, undergoing painful medical procedures that unnaturally differentiate them--physically and mentally--in ways that threaten their sibling bond. Mischling is a German term meaning "mixed-blood"--the word used by the Nazis to describe people with a mix of Jewish and "Aryan" blood or, as Pearl and Stasha's father puts it: "absurd, hateful tests that tried to divide our people down to the last blood drop and marriage and place of worship."

A story of survival, it also follows the two girls' heroic, almost spiritual quest not to grow apart. Out of necessity, the twins are forced to divide the responsibilities of living between them: "Stasha would take the funny, the future, the bad. I would take the sad, the past, the good." Mengele's needles divide them further: "...I was a hybrid of a different sort, a powerful hybrid forged by my suffering. I was now composed of two parts." The girls' innate personality differences are magnified by trauma, in other words, and their bond becomes more complicated, more mischling.

The great Holocaust memoirists, especially Primo Levi, profoundly influenced Konar's novel. It is determinedly humane, focusing on specific characters caught up in the horror rather than lingering on lurid details. Nor does Konar attempt to unspool Mengele's fathomless psyche, tending to follow Hannah Arendt's lead in focusing on the banality of his evil. When Mengele stages a performance by the concentration camp's haggard musicians, for example, Konar has the Nazi doctor offhandedly comment: "The orchestra's improved since they arrested more Poles." By the end of the novel, Mengele's bizarre ability to shift seamlessly from playing with children to torturing them with absurd experiments remains as inexplicable and terrifying as ever.

Much of the latter half of the novel cannot be discussed out of concern for spoilers. Suffice it to say that Pearl and Stasha's stories continue after the war is over. Auschwitz leaves its mark on them, but it doesn't define them. Similarly, Mischling is never solely defined by the horrors of its setting. Moments of beauty emerge unexpectedly and stick with the reader long after the book is over. --Hank Stephenson, bookseller, Flyleaf Books

Shelf Talker: A pair of twins in Josef Mengele's infamous "Zoo" struggle to survive and maintain the innocent purity of their sibling bond through the horrors of the Holocaust.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. Bossman by Vi Keeland
2. Going Down Easy by Carly Phillips
3. Rescuing Emily by Susan Stoker
4. The 20/20 Diet by Phil McGraw
5. Hitched: Volume 2 by Kendall Ryan
6. Broken Prince by Erin Watt
7. Pennies by Pepper Winters
8. Unexpected Reality by Kaylee Ryan
9. Forever Driven (Forever Bluegrass #4) by Kathleen Brooks
10. Seaside Lovers by Melissa Foster

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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