Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Graphix: Unico: Awakening (Volume 1): An Original Manga Created by Osamu Tezuka, Written by Samuel Sattin, Illustrated by Gurihiru

Shadow Mountain: A Kingdom to Claim by Sian Ann Bessey

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Immortal Dark (Deluxe Limited Edition) by Tigest Girma

Bramble: Swordcrossed by Freya Marske

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!

Quotation of the Day

Banned Books Week: 'Authentic Stories' Needed

"Without the authentic stories of immigrants, women, LGBT people, Muslims, etc., people will become more entrenched in their view of those groups as the Other. What we need now is more information, more voices, and more speech. Otherwise, perception becomes reality, and the diversity that has long been one of America's greatest strengths will end up tearing this country apart. I urge everyone to celebrate Banned Books Week by picking up a book that some closed-minded person out there wanted desperately to keep out of your hands."

--Jessica Herthel, co-author with Jazz Jennings of I Am Jazz, the third most challenged book of 2015

Henry Holt & Company: A Banh Mi for Two by Trinity Nguyen


California Booksellers Oppose Autographed Memorabilia Law

Two prominent California booksellers--Scott Brown, co-owner of Eureka Books in Eureka, and Bill Petrocelli, co-owner of Book Passage in Corte Madera and San Francisco--have written letters to their representatives in opposition to Assembly Bill 1570 Collectibles: Sale of Autographed Memorabilia, which was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on September 9 and requires dealers in any autographed material to provide certificates of authenticity (COA) for any signed item sold for $5 or more.

Brown and Petrocelli assert that though the law is intended to regulate the sale of sports and movie memorabilia and combat "forgery mills," it will have drastic, unintended consequences for the sale of signed books, paintings, sculptures and almost every other type of artwork. Under the law, which would go into effect next January, COAs for signed memorabilia would have to include a description of the collectible and name of the person who autographed it; include either the purchase price and date of sale or be accompanied by a separate invoice with that information; indicate whether the item was autographed in the presence of the dealer with specified date and location and name of witness; or, in the event that it was obtained or purchased from a third party, indicate the name and address of that party. Dealers must also keep their copies of these COAs for at least seven years.

Both Petrocelli and Brown said they feared that these restrictions could constitute invasions of privacy, greatly hinder the ability of California stores to run book fairs and author signings, and put California sellers of rare and antiquated books at a disadvantage compared to vendors from other states. The penalties imposed by the law also have the potential to be financially huge.

"AB1570, however well meaning, was made overly broad, affecting thousands of businesses in California and hurting many of the consumers the law was designed to protect," wrote Scott Brown. "I urge [lawmakers] to amend or repeal the law before its unintended consequences hurt me, my wife, my customers, and millions of other Californians."

"Assembly Bill 1570 appears to impose an onerous, expensive, and potentially ruinous burden on the sale of every autographed book in this state," wrote Petrocelli, who is an attorney. "This could severely harm our business. The purpose of the Bill was apparently go after the people who trade in fraudulent celebrity autographs. Although these people may have been the target, the Legislature has seriously misfired and hit the small, family-owned bookstores that are such a vital part of California life." --Alex Mutter

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Remember You Will Die by Eden Robins

Point Reyes Books in California Finds Buyers

Steve Costa and Kate Levinson, owners of Point Reyes Books, Point Reyes Station, Calif., for 14 years, have found buyers for their store, who they plan to identify soon and described in a letter as "a young creative, energetic couple, with deep bookstore and community service experience."

On Saturday, October 22, Terry Tempest Williams will read from The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks (Sarah Crichton Books) at the West Marin School Gymnasium in an event that will honor the centennial of the National Park Service and be "a farewell event" for Costa and Levinson. A pre-event reception will feature Williams, a light supper and drinks and the choice of either a signed copy of Williams's book or "an original signed broadside especially created for the occasion of the Point Reyes Books Farewell Event featuring a quote by Terry Tempest Williams."

Costa and Levinson put the store up for sale in May. At the time, they wrote, "While we're not totally sure what's next for us, we do know we want to have more time to be in nature with family and friends, and we want to put our energies toward building a better future world for all, including our three grandchildren. We want to grow our spiritual lives, serve the poor, and explore the world outside of West Marin. Steve wants to continue to create events and retreats through our newly established Black Mountain Circle, and Kate wants to expand her work with women's emotional relationship to money and work on another book." (She is the author of Emotional Currency: A Woman's Guide to Building a Healthy Relationship with Money, published in 2011 by Celestial Arts.)

Grand Reopening for Seattle's Open Books

Open Books: A Poem Emporium in Seattle, Wash., held its grand reopening under new ownership September 17, Bookselling This Week reported. Billie Swift, "a devoted patron of the store since 2009," announced her intent to purchase the 21-year-old business from John Marshall and Christine Deavel earlier this year and became the store's official owner September 1.

"For me, Open Books has always been a sanctuary--John and Christine made poetry a place. When I came here I was able to sit 'in poetry' and just be surrounded by it," said Swift. "It's such a wonderful, lovely space with shelves and shelves and shelves of books spanning thousands of years of poetry and so many languages. It's an opportunity to be in a space that is honoring the act of writing a poem, and that is a wonderful thing."

Saturday's festivities "marked the store's reopening after a two-week closure, during which Swift cleared out old unwanted items, added a few coats of paint to the walls, and upgraded the store's ordering system," BTW noted.

"I’m really looking forward to making this space available to the many people and poets of Seattle who are doing wonderful work in the community," she said. "There are a lot of great people working with kids and on social justice issues, and I’m really trying to open the space to them to say, 'This is a house of poetry--please use it to further the work that you are doing.' "

Marissa DeCuir New President of JKS Communications

Marissa DeCuir

Effective immediately, managing director Marissa DeCuir has been promoted to president and partner at JKS Communications. She began at the book marketing and author publicity firm eight years ago as a book publicist, and has been a key factor in building the firm from a two-person operation to a team that is headquartered in Nashville with satellite operations in New Orleans, Atlanta and Charlotte. She takes the reins of running the firm from Julie Schoerke, who founded the company in 2000 and will now focus on strategic planning.

"Marissa is the quintessential leader," Schoerke said. "Her understanding of publicity from the perspective of what a journalist needs on the other side of the table is key to our growth. Her expertise in implementing cutting edge technology, while focusing on results driven campaigns to serve our clients, is central to making JKS Communications one of the top publicity firms in the country."

DeCuir commented: "I am proud to lead a strong team of former journalists and publishing experts that have managed campaigns for New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors, some of the most award-winning books and those that change lives and make the world a better place. I am so proud of what we have accomplished with our authors. I look forward to our JKS family's continued success in the future."

Obituary Notes: Leland Kinsey; Katherine Minton

Poet Leland Kinsey, "whose roots in Vermont can be found in the Northeast Kingdom towns his ancestors settled, and whose understanding of Vermont can be found in the books of poetry he wrote," died September 14, the Burlington Free Press reported. He was 66. Kinsey's books include the recently published collection Galvanized: New and Selected Poems, as well as Winter Ready and The Immigrant's Contract.

In a moving tribute to his friend posted on Facebook, Northeast Kingdom author Howard Frank Mosher wrote: "Lee was a poet's poet. By that I mean that he did not care one bit about renown. He cared about results, about writing powerful and beautiful poems, often about the Kingdom, where he was born and raised and lived all his adult life."

From Kinsey's poem "Fall Light":

The several million leaves,
unnoticed each by each, fall,
after they shine and fade
like individual frames in this part
of the movie we call Days,
till the last one passes from the light
into the rolling dark.


Katherine Minton, the longtime producer of literary programs at Symphony Space, died last Wednesday after a year-long battle with brain cancer.

After being part of the founding editorial staff of Working Mother magazine, she joined Symphony Space in 1990. During her tenure there, she produced Selected Shorts: A Celebration of the Short Story, which is performed live at Symphony Space and heard in across the U.S. on radio. She also took Selected Shorts on tour across the country, was instrumental in the creation and production of the Thalia Book Club discussion series, the Thalia Kids' Book Club, the Thalia Kids' Book Club Camp, the adult literacy series All Write, and Bloomsday on Broadway. In lieu of flowers, donations in Minton's memory may be made to Symphony Space, earmarked for the Thalia Kids Book Club Camp Scholarship Fund.


Cool Idea of the Day: NYPL's New 'Book Train'

photo: Jonathan Blanc/NYPL)

The New York Public Library has installed a state-of-the-art conveyor system in its Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street to transport requested research materials from newly expanded storage under Bryant Park to researchers throughout the library. The system will begin delivering materials October 3 to two locations in the building, including the iconic Rose Main Reading Room, which is reopening October 5 after a two-year closure for repairs and restoration.

The new system consists of 24 individual red cars that run on rails and can transition from horizontal to vertical motion. The cars pick up requested materials from the expanded Milstein Research Stacks and deliver them to library staff.

"This new dependable and efficient system will ensure a seamless delivery of research items from our storage facility to the researchers who need them," said Matt Knutzen, director of the Humanities and Social Sciences Research Divisions within the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. "Our priorities include preserving our materials and making them increasingly accessible to the public in an inspiring space for research--our recent storage expansion, our restoration of the Reading Room, and the installation of this system are all elements of that work."

GBO Picks Girlfriends, Ghosts, and Other Stories

The German Book Office in New York City has chosen Girlfriends, Ghosts, and Other Stories by Robert Walser, translated by Tom Whalen with Nicole Köngeter and Annette Wiesner (New York Review Books, $15.95, 9781681370163 ), as its September Pick of the Month.

The GBO described the book this way: "Girlfriends, Ghosts, and Other Stories is a collection of 81 brief texts Robert Walser has written throughout his life. It features the whole span of his career, from his early triumphs until he was confined to a Swiss psychiatric clinic in 1933. Most of the prose is translated into English for the first time.

"Walser touches both transient and persisting topics of contemporary life and culture. His observations include seemingly trivial things such as a spinning carousel and the latest hairstyles, but he also stages meditations on nature, art, and love. With a subtle and witty sense of humor and irony, and with great conversational ease, Robert Walser narrates the issues that affected him most. With each piece of prose, the reader is confronted with multifaceted impressions of everyday life, ranging from a vivid depiction of pain in Toothache to a homage to the beauty of rainy landscapes in On the Terrace."

Robert Walser (1878–1956) was a German-speaking Swiss writer who left school at age 14 for a life as a wandering novelist, poet and writer of "short prose" pieces. His writing career ended in 1933 when he was confined to a sanatorium. His previously available works in English are Jakob von Gunten, Berlin Stories, The Tanners, Microscripts, The Assistant, The Robber, Masquerade and Other Stories, and Speaking to the Rose: Writings, 1912–1932.

Tom Whalen is a writer and co-editor of the Robert Walser issue of the Review of Contemporary Fiction. He teaches at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart and has a Ph.D. in American Literature. Nicole Köngeter is a freelance translator who teaches English and German in southwest Germany. Annette Wiesner has previously translated works by Robert Walser that have appeared in Connecticut Review, Kestrel and Witness.

Personnel Changes at Harper Audio

At Harper Audio:

Beth Ives has been promoted to associate director of marketing.

Megan Looney will join the department as marketing associate on October 3. She has been with HarperCollins since 2014, previously in the legal department.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Nathan Lane on Today

Fresh Air: Joshua Partlow, author of A Kingdom of Their Own: The Family Karzai and the Afghan Disaster (Knopf, $30, 9780307962645).

Today Show: Danielle Walker, author of Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Celebrations: A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion (Ten Speed Press, $35, 9781607749424).

Also on Today: Nathan Lane, co-author of Naughty Mabel Sees It All (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781481430241).

Diane Rehm: readers review Fates and Furies: A Novel by Lauren Groff (Riverhead, $16, 9781594634482).

The Talk: Lisa Sugar, author of Power Your Happy: Work Hard, Play Nice & Build Your Dream Life (Dutton, $25, 9781101985069).

Conan: Phoebe Robinson, author of You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain (Plume, $16, 9780143129202).

TV: The Durrells in Corfu

The Durrells in Corfu, a six-part adaptation of Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals and its two sequels (Birds, Beasts and Relatives; Fauna and Family), will air Sundays on PBS Masterpiece from October 16 to November 20, at 8 p.m.

The project stars Keeley Hawes (Upstairs Downstairs, Wives and Daughters), Josh O'Connor (Florence Foster Jenkins), Callum Woodhouse, Daisy Waterstone (Cyberbully), Milo Parker (Mr. Holmes), Alexis Georgoulis (My Life in Ruins), Yorgos Karamihos (Ben-Hur) and Ulric von der Esch (183 Days).

Books & Authors

Awards: Thurber Winner; Scotiabank Giller Shortlist

(l.-r.) Harrison Scott Key, Mary Norris, Jason Gay and host John Kenney, the 2014 Thurber winner for his book, Truth in Advertising  (Touchstone).  (Photo: Anne Tourvell)

Harrison Scott Key has won the 2016 Thurber Prize for American Humor, sponsored by Thurber House, for his memoir, The World's Largest Man (Harper). He received $5,000 and a commemorative crystal plaque last night at a ceremony at Carolines on Broadway in New York City.

The judges called the book "both a grand comic satire on the contemporary American South and the tender story of a boy and his Bunyanesque father, told with the comic punch of David Sedaris and the wild, burlesque charm of Mark Twain."

Runners-up were Jason Gay for Little Victories (Anchor) and Mary Norris for Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen (Norton).


A shortlist has been released for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, which recognizes the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English. The winner receives C$100,000 (about US$75,725) and the other finalists $10,000 each. The winner will be named November 7. The shortlisted authors, all of whom are honored for novels, are:

Mona Awad for 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl
Gary Barwin for Yiddish for Pirates
Emma Donoghue for The Wonder
Catherine Leroux for The Party Wall, translated by Lazer Lederhendler
Madeleine Thien for Do Not Say We Have Nothing
Zoe Whittall for The Best Kind of People

Chris Edwards: No Regrets

photo: Scott Lush

After a career in advertising that spanned nearly 20 years, Chris Edwards left his post as executive v-p, group creative director, at Arnold Worldwide to write his memoir, Balls: It Takes Some to Get Some (Greenleaf Book Group, October 4), about his transgender journey.

You are a brave man. How did you get that way?

Oh, thank you for saying so! You know, when I announced my transition at work, a lot of guys at the office told me I had bigger balls than they did--that was the inspiration for the title. I guess when you're so miserable you want to end your life but you can't bring yourself to do it, you have no choice but to be brave and change it. But I can't take all the credit. It's a lot easier to be brave when you have the support of family and friends. If I hadn't had that, I don't know if I'd be here today.

As part of your transition, you had to deal with many changes and obstacles such as puberty (again!), years of surgery and laser hair removal, embarrassing incidents. Did you have any idea what you were in for?

When my endocrinologist started me on testosterone, he told me I'd go through all the things that come with male puberty. But I didn't know what that meant really.... I didn't have any brothers to watch go through it and most of my friends were girls. There were physical changes I was informed about, like deepening voice, muscle mass/weight gain, hair growth (everywhere!), male pattern baldness (thank god for Propecia), and acne worse than I ever had during female puberty (humiliating to be age 26 and at CVS fighting the 8th graders for the last tube of Oxy 10). And I never would've thought I'd need to remove hair on my forearm in preparation for "bottom surgery"--or worse, that it would take four years of laser and electrolysis to do it.

When it came to surgery... after consulting doctors I knew it was going to be a long process with multiple surgeries and a high risk of complications, but I had no idea specifically what kind of toll it would take on my body. And honestly, I didn't want to know. My doctor told me six surgeries over two years, so I was mentally prepared for that. But due to complications, it turned into 22 surgeries over five years. Had I known that going in, it would've been a lot scarier and harder to go through. I still would have done it, though. I knew it's what I had to do for me to feel complete. And that feeling trumps everything.

Did you keep a journal through all of this? When did you start?

I actually didn't keep a "journal journal" like a diary if that's what you mean. Only girls do that ;). But I did keep letters, documents and my day planners. Then when I started bottom surgery, I kept a medical journal documenting all the surgeries and recovery notes. Photos, too. There are some doozies!

You write, "What makes someone a man inside? What makes someone a woman?" How do you articulate your essence?

This was really really hard to articulate. I think deep down you "just know" and you never really question your gender unless it doesn't match your physical body. It's why people who are not transgender have so much trouble understanding it. I've known since I was four or five that I was a boy. Back then I thought the only difference between boys and girls was that girls had long hair and boys had short hair. So I got my haircut "like Daddy's" and I thought my problem was solved. Ha! If only it were that easy.

"The key to understanding gender dysphoria is realizing that sexual orientation and gender identity are two totally different and separate things." Can you expand on that?

A lot of people think being transgender is an extreme form of being gay. The fact is, sexual orientation has nothing to do with gender identity. I didn't even realize this until I met a transgender guy who was also gay. As a woman he was attracted to men. Now that he's a man he is still attracted to men. His transition didn't change his sexual orientation. One way to understand it is sexual orientation is who you go to bed with. Gender identity is who you go to bed as.

Judging from the responses of your friends, you are a good friend. And your family is incredibly supportive. What do you say to people who don't have this kind of support?

I was very lucky to have the support I had and still have. And I know there are many transgender people out there who aren't so lucky. What is most alarming to me, and a big reason why I wrote this book, is that the suicide attempt rate for transgender kids is 51%. And this is largely due to lack of support at home. I feel if there were more "everyday" success stories like mine out there, parents could look at those examples and say, "Well, those people did it and they turned out okay, my child will be fine." It's great that celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner are spreading awareness and opening the conversation to a mainstream audience, but it's hard for a parent to be reassured that their child will be fine, because celebrity life is not relatable. So really my message to parents and family members would be to please be more understanding and give your loved one the chance to live a full and happy life. And for the trans kids and adults who are feeling alone, I would say, surround yourself with positive people. Find support groups. There are so many resources out there that I didn't have back in the mid '90s when I went through this. One of them is Camp Aranu'tiq, a nonprofit program providing trans kids age 8-18 and their families with support that is so critical at that age. I'm donating a portion of proceeds from my book sales to their organization.

You never wanted to be a poster boy for the transgender movement, and yet, here you are. How is it?

Honestly, it's been hard for me. My main goal when I set out on this journey was never to let my transition define me. It was something I wanted to just get through so I could be the man I always knew myself to be. I did that, and when asked to check a box, I check "male," not "transgender." But in the four years it's taken me to write and publish Balls, my transition has been defining me. And I've been struggling with it. I'm not ashamed--I consider it part of my gender history, but it's not something I want out on the table in the first 10 minutes of a date, if you know what I mean. I want people to see me for me. I am so many other things: a creative director, speaker, son, brother, uncle, lover of yellow grocery store birthday cakes with buttercream frosting.... That said, I have no regrets. I know this book will change perceptions and help a lot of people. My only regret would have been not writing it.

--Marilyn Dahl, editor, Shelf Awareness for Readers

Book Review

Review: Lost Gods

Lost Gods by Brom (Harper Voyager, $27.99 hardcover, 496p., 9780062095688, October 25, 2016)

With Lost Gods--a wandering soul's epic journey through a Purgatory torn by war--dark fantasist Brom (Krampus: The Yule Lord) once again brings life to a host of fiends and nightmares in both prose and images (an 8-page color insert and 10 black-and-white pictures).

Chet Moran, a small-time drug dealer in 1976 Alabama, comes off a seven-month jail sentence with a fresh perspective on what matters in life. He swaps his beloved '65 Mustang for $2,000 and a sad Ford Pinto, buys a wedding ring and sets out to win back his pregnant wife, Trish. Since Trish's father, Judge Wilson, literally wants to kill Chet, their reunion consists of him sneaking into her bedroom at her parents' house and asking her to run away with him. After extracting a promise that Chet will leave behind his checkered past, Trish agrees, but the lovers are caught by the Judge's friends Tom and Coach. In his haste to escape, Chet hits Coach with the Pinto, killing him. Fleeing to South Carolina, Chet and Trish take refuge at the home of his maternal grandmother, Lamia, a powerful witch with whom he shares a psychic connection. Lamia offers the couple sanctuary and healing, but a betrayal leaves Chet murdered and the soul of his unborn child vulnerable to an ancient, deadly evil.

His soul cast adrift, Chet accepts a mission from Senoy, an angel trapped on earth. If he searches Purgatory and locates the angel's key--stolen by Chet's long-dead grandfather--the angel can restore the balance of life and death, saving Chet's child. Chet, unfortunately, enters a nether realm amidst revolution as demons battle for rule against failing ancient gods. To find his grandfather, Chet must brave terrifying monsters, gladiatorial combat against his fellow dead (including Coach) and even his grandfather, a madman who murdered Chet's uncles as boys. Although dead, the torture and violence Chet faces far outstrip any pain he knew in life.

Clearly influenced by Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, Brom's underworld combines elements of Catholicism, ancient mythology and pulp horror tradition for a sprawling quest powered by his versatile imagination. Compelling though a battle for an infant's soul may be, the spider goddess Yevabog and sphinx-like Red Lady exert a powerful draw of their own. Brom's Purgatory is a vast country with its own history, government and social customs. Chet's entanglement in the rivalry of its power players, while Trish struggles to protect their baby in the mortal world, pulls readers into a luxuriantly creative and emotional landscape studded by darkly elegant illustrations. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: Accented by illustrations from the author, Brom's dark fantasy underworld alludes to Dante as his dead protagonist searches Purgatory for the key to saving his daughter.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Well Hung by Lauren Blakely
2. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies by J.K. Rowling
3. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists by J.K. Rowling
4. Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide by J.K. Rowling
5. The Playbook by Kelly Elliott
6. Entrapment by Aleatha Romig
7. The Billionaire's Courageous Lover (Bold, Alaskan Men Book 3) by Elizabeth Lennox
8. Letters to Die For (Books to Die For Volume 4) by Richard Houston
9. Act Two by Denise (Magnolia Steele Mystery #2, Volume 2) by Grover Swank
10. The Edge of Dominance (The Doms of Her Life Volume 4) by Shayla Black, Jenna Jacob and Isabella LaPearl

[Many thanks to!]

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