Shelf Awareness for Thursday, September 29, 2016

Chronicle Books: Stella & Marigold by Annie Barrows, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Poisoned Pen Press: The Boyfriend by Frieda McFadden

St. Martin's Press: Disney High: The Untold Story of the Rise and Fall of Disney Channel's Tween Empire

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Graphix: 39 Clues: One False Note (39 Clues Graphic Novel #2) by Gordon Korman, Illustrated by Hannah Templer

Quotation of the Day

Bookstores: 'An Experience Impossible to Replicate'

"In 2016 people have a plethora of outlets for book talk, book news and book buying, most of them online. But none of them compares to standing in a book store and talking with strangers about what they have in stock. When a customer asks where to find D.H. Lawrence and it opens a store-wide discussion about his best story, you know you're in a great book shop; when everybody nominates a different story and then all involved--including the employee--file off to browse Lawrence's back catalog, you know you've found your people. It's an experience impossible to replicate via text, chat or online review."

--Paul Friswold, in a story--"Because We Still Buy Books Here: One of 75 Reasons We Love St. Louis in 2016"--in Riverfront Times' best of St. Louis issue about Subterranean Books and other St. Louis bookstores

Peachtree: The Littlest Yak: Home Is Where the Herd Is by Lu Fraser, Illustrated by Kate Hindley


Black World Books to Open in Killeen, Tex.

Black World Books, a store that focuses on black literature and aims to be a cultural center, will open in Killeen, Tex., on October 15, according to KWTX. Owner Maeva Jackson told the station that she wants to help people better understand African-American history and culture.

The store will offer more than 600 books and hold story times and creative workshops. It'll also stock African art and artifacts, incense and oils and more.

Jackson added that the feeling of community is important. "That genuine let's get to know each other, what's going on, let's build. And so you won't get that from Amazon or those big book stores."

In Other Words Has No Kind Words for Portlandia

In Other Words, the Portland, Ore., feminist bookstore and community center that has been the setting for some sketches in IFC's Portlandia since the show's beginning, has severed its ties with TV show. In a post on its website entitled "F@!k Portlandia," the store said that the grounds for its decision included "a particular egregious filming of the show in our space which saw our store left a mess, our staff mistreated, our neighbors forced to close and lose business for a day without warning, and our repeated attempts to obtain accountability or resolution dismissed"; a response to a show "diametrically opposed to our politics and the vision of society we're organizing to realize"; and Portlandia's role in helping gentrification in Portland. The store also said that fees paid by Portlandia did not cover its costs while being closed for filming and that fans and tourists who visit the store because of Portlandia "come to our door to stand outside, take selfies, and then leave. The vast majority of them don't come inside." In Other Words noted that the current board, staff and volunteers were not involved in the decision six years ago to allow Portlandia to film in the store.

In the show, stars Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen sometimes play a pair of dour booksellers in Women and Women First Bookstore (with Armisen in drag). The store called those segments "trans-antagonistic and trans-misogynist and have only become more offensive as the show goes on. 'LOL Fred Armisen in a wig and a dress' is a deeply sh*tty joke whose sole punchline throws trans femmes under the bus by holding up their gender presentation for mockery and ridicule. In a world where trans femmes--particularly Black trans women--are being brutalized and murdered on a regular basis for simply daring to exist, dude in a dress jokes are lazy, reactionary, and actively harmful. They're also just straight up not funny."

The decision by the store to sever its connection to Portlandia was apparently taken earlier this year, according to Willamette Week, which on Tuesday was the first media outlet to write about the situation and to mention a sign in the store's window that reads: "F@!k Portlandia. Transmisogyny. Racism. Gentrification. Queer Antagonism. Devaluation of Feminist Discourse."

PRH Launches Unbound Worlds

Penguin Random House has launched Unbound Worlds, a consumer-facing website dedicated to science fiction and fantasy. Unbound Worlds is the successor to Suvudu, the genre site launched by Random House in 2008, and features an expanded editorial scope, an updated design and mobile functionality.

Unbound Worlds offers readers a variety of content about SF and fantasy, including author interviews and essays, coverage of author appearances, panels and book signings, book lists and other discovery features, and Cage Match, an annual March Madness-style tournament of fictional characters.

Unbound Worlds joins sister sites Brightly and Signature as part of PRH's consumer-facing efforts.

Amazon Warehouses Coming to Australia?

Amazon "is looking for its first warehouse in Australia, with suggestions one site of interest is the Goodman Group's $50 million industrial estate at Oakdale, in Sydney's west," the Morning Herald reported. Goodman is the online retailer's main landlord globally.

Amazon currently has two data centers in Sydney for its Amazon Web Service, "and agents say given the usually large warehouses required by Amazon, the new Oakdale site would be the best available," the Morning Herald wrote, adding that the company "will also look at Melbourne, if a large space is available."

Obituary Note: Karen Harris

Karen Harris, a longtime bookseller at Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Vineyard Haven, Mass., died September 18. She was 70. In a tribute published by the Vineyard Gazette, store manager and event coordinator Molly Coogan wrote: "The Island recently lost a familiar face and we already miss her terribly.... Karen was well known as a longtime bookseller at Bunch of Grapes. She had a tremendous knack for matching books to readers, and her recommendations were trusted and sought by residents and visitors alike. Karen was rightfully proud of this talent, and nothing delighted her more than talking with other readers about books. She could spend the whole day telling stories, bringing characters to life. In this way, she was herself a reliable and comforting character in the story of this Island.

"Her presence on Main Street and in the bookstore was a meaningful addition to the fabric of the community, and her absence is a true loss. We have felt this particularly keenly as our customers and friends have stopped by to express their shock and sadness, and we've taken comfort in these shared moments of grief and appreciation.

"We wish to thank everyone who has stopped by to talk about and remember our friend Karen, and we encourage those who knew her to share their memories of her in a guest book we have at the front desk that we plan to give to her daughter. As Karen would say: 'Go forth and read.' "


Image of the Day: Quirk Goes to the Movies

Ten of Quirk Books' staff, along with freelance publicist Paul Crichton, took the short trip from Philadelphia to New York to celebrate the premiere of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children at the Paris Theater on Monday. Photo: Brett Cohen.

Happy 20th Birthday, Skylight Books!

Congratulations to Skylight Books in Los Angeles, Calif., which is celebrating its 20th anniversary throughout the month of October with discounts, special events and new merchandise.

For the first four weekends in October, Skylight will offer 15% off different sections in the store: October 1-2, children's and young adult books; October 8-9, film, music and fashion; October 15-16, art and photography; and October 22-23, California history and culture, along with California travel guides. On the final weekend of the month, October 29-30, Skylight will give a 20% discount on everything in the store, minus some nonbook items and event tickets. And during that weekend, Skylight will host two anniversary parties: a cocktail party on Saturday, October 29, and then a children's brunch and story-crafting workshop on Sunday, October 30, with middle grade author Pseudonymous Bosch (The Secret Series and The Bad Books).

Skylight Books is also releasing some new, limited-edition store merchandise, including  bookmarks featuring work by artists Jaime Hernandez (Love and Rockets), Esther Pearl Watson (Unlovable) and Vanessa Davis (Make Me a Woman); an original print from Yumi Sakugawa (There Is No Right Way to Meditate); a new T-shirt design; a new tote bag design; and a poster featuring the store's all-time bestsellers created by assistant manager Jenn Witte.

And last but not least, Skylight Books will be giving back this October by raising money for the Literally Healing campaign of Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Boise's Rediscovered Books 'Best Local Bookstore'

Boise Weekly has named Rediscovered Books the "best local bookstore," saying that it "carries a voluminous collection of volumes but it's also a community gathering place where signings, readings and celebrations are de rigueur. As a hub for local book clubs and host to regular sales, Rediscovered is worth rediscovering over and over and over again."

Runners up were used bookstores Rainbow Books ("the shop has offered its wares in a quaint little white-and-blue house next to DK Donuts on State Street since 1993") and Trip Taylor Bookseller ("floor-to-ceiling shelves stacked with spines, bits of vintage marginalia for decor and a cozy sense that you could browse for hours in hushed solitude. Set in a narrow, two-story space on Ninth Street in downtown Boise, Trip Taylor nails the ambience and selection of a true big-city haven for lit lovers").

Workman to Distribute Duo Press

Effective January 1, Workman Publishing will be the exclusive worldwide distributor for Duo Press.

Founded in 2007 by Mauricio Velázquez de León, Duo Press includes the duopress line of children's books, which focuses on regional subjects, biographies and board books and has the Cool Counting board book series, Local Baby board books, High-Contrast board books and the Awesome Minds biographies. The newer punchline imprint offers books for adults, including Hot Guys ABZ: Keep Calm and Look at Us and the illustrated NY Dogs.

Workman CEO Dan Reynolds called the move "a natural next step in our relationship with Mauricio. He has been a friend of the house for many years and we have always admired his list."

Mauricio Velázquez de León commented: "Good books, like good friendships, take time, commitment, passion, and respect. This is what Peter and Carolan Workman taught me. We share those same values at duopress, which makes this an ideal partnership. The duopress mission--to publish books that will inspire children and their parents, while giving bookstores, libraries, distributors, and other retailers the highest level of service and care--will be all the more attainable now that we are part of the Workman family."

Personnel Changes at Rowman & Littlefield, NBN International

Jenny Cima has been appointed director, international sales and marketing, for Rowman & Littlefield. Based in London, she will be responsible for the promotion and sales of the Group's lists spanning academic, professional and trade publishing in all markets outside North America.

She was formerly head of international sales. Since joining the company in 2014, she has "helped to build consistent double-digit growth in the Group's sales across the globe, and we are expanding both Jenny's responsibilities and the team which works with her," Oliver Gadsby, president of the Group's academic and professional division, said. "Jenny is superbly qualified to grow sales of our U.S. lists, and also to support the further expansion of Rowman & Littlefield International, whose editorial team is based in London."

In moves at NBN International, Rowman & Littlefield's U.K. distribution and publisher services subsidiary, Ken Rhodes, who has been managing director since 2012, will leave the company at the end of October to take up another role in the industry.

Oliver Gadsby will take on the leadership of the company as chairman of NBN International and continue his publishing responsibilities.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Nathan Lane on the Tonight Show

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

TV: Best of Enemies

Best of Enemies, the Oscar-nominated documentary, premieres nationally October 3 on PBS. Buckley vs. Vidal: The Historic 1968 ABC News Debates, a published transcript of the debates, includes an introduction by Robert Gordon, the film's director.

"The takeaway from these debates has spawned a bastard progeny of vacuity," Gordon writes in the intro. "But what is delicious is not the shouting that came near the culmination of the Buckley-Vidal debates, but the stroll down the path that led to it."

This Weekend on Book TV: David Cay Johnston on The Making of Donald Trump

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, October 1
5 p.m. Matthew Dallek, author of Defenseless Under the Night: The Roosevelt Years and the Origins of Homeland Security (Oxford University Press, $29.95, 9780199743124). (Re-airs Sunday at 6 a.m.)

6:30 p.m. Charles Murray, author of In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State (Aei Press, $16.95, 9781442260719). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

7:30 p.m. Heather Ann Thompson, author of Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy (Pantheon, $35, 9780375423222).

8:45 p.m. Cathy O'Neil, author of Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy (Crown, $26, 9780553418811), at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C.

10 p.m. John Dickerson, author of Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History (Twelve, $30, 9781455540488). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)

Sunday, October 2
12 a.m. David Cay Johnston, author of The Making of Donald Trump (Melville House, $24.99, 9781612196329), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 6:45 p.m.)

12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with Gerald Horne, author of Paul Robeson: The Artist as Revolutionary (Pluto Press, $20, 9780745335322). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

10 p.m. Maria Armoudian, author of Reporting from the Danger Zone: Frontline Journalists, Their Jobs, and an Increasingly Perilous Future (Routledge, $38, 9781138840058).

Books & Authors

Awards: Goldsmiths Shortlist

The shortlist for the £10,000 (about $13,015) Goldsmiths Prize, which honors fiction that "breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form," consists of:

Transit by Rachel Cusk
Hot Milk by Deborah Levy
The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride
Solar Bones by Mike McCormack
Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika
Martin John And Other Stories by Anakana Schofield

The winner will be announced on November 9.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, October 4:

My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with Mary Hartnett Wendy W. Williams (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781501145247) is the memoir of the Supreme Court Justice.

Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central, $27, 9781455520695) follows a married ad executive whose professional and marital lives disintegrate.

The Rain in Portugal: Poems by Billy Collins (Random House, $26, 9780679644064) is the 12th collection from the former U.S. Poet Laureate.

How to Bake Everything: Simple Recipes for the Best Baking by Mark Bittman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35, 9780470526880) is an illustrated guide to all things baking.

The French Chef in America: Julia Child's Second Act by Alex Prud'homme (Knopf, $27.95, 9780385351751) looks at Child's tenure as a the "first lady of French food," written by her great-nephew.

Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe by Mike Massimino (Crown Archetype, $28, 9781101903544) is an astronaut's memoir.

News of the World: A Novel by Paulette Jiles (Morrow, $22.99, 9780062409201) takes place in 1870, when a retired army captain must escort an orphan on a dangerous trip through Texas.

The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780544734098) follows a Chinese immigrant family on a cross-country road trip.

Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS, Britain's Secret Special Forces Unit That Sabotaged the Nazis and Changed the Nature of War by Ben Macintyre (Crown, $28, 9781101904169) is a history of Britain's Special Air Service in World War II.

Food Freedom Forever: Letting Go of Bad Habits, Guilt, and Anxiety Around Food by the Co-Creator of the Whole30 by Melissa Hartwig (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544838291) is a guide to sustainable dieting.

Get What's Yours for Medicare: Maximize Your Coverage, Minimize Your Costs by Philip Moeller (Simon & Schuster, $19.99, 9781501124006) continues the Get What's Yours guidebook series.

Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $18.99, 9780544319592) is a biography for young readers about the author of Charlotte's Web.

Everything Beautiful: A Coloring Book for Reflection and Inspiration by WaterBrook Press (WaterBrook, $14.99, 9780735289819).

The Secret Chord: A Novel by Geraldine Brooks (Penguin Books, $16, 9780143109761).

The Queen's Accomplice: A Maggie Hope Mystery by Susan Elia MacNeal (Bantam, $16, 9780804178723).

Public Library and Other Stories by Ali Smith (Anchor, $16, 9781101973042).

The Girl on the Train, based on the novel by Paula Hawkins, opens October 7. Emily Blunt stars as a divorced woman who gets involved in a missing persons case.

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, based on the middle grade series by James Patterson, opens October 7. A movie tie-in (jimmy patterson, $7.99, 9780316276917) is available.

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

Hardcover: An Indies Introduce Title
A Whole Life: A Novel by Robert Seethaler (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $23, 9780374289867). "Andreas Egger lived his whole life with nature as his most trusted companion. When humans, war, and debilitating events threatened him, he quietly climbed mountains, bathed in icy streams, watched the sun streak its intense color into the sky, and then put his head down and forged ahead. He lived eight decades, mostly alone, and faced death and privation with heroism, stoicism, and a depth of character rarely seen in the 'modern' 20th century. In this short novel, Seethaler has poetically created a character and a way of looking at the natural world that readers will never forget." --Gayle Shanks, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Ariz.

Little Nothing: A Novel by Marisa Silver (Blue Rider Press, $27, 9780399167928). "Silver turns the oral tradition into fine literature with Little Nothing, a masterful work of fairy tale and folklore. Pavla, a dwarf born in Eastern Europe in the early 20th century, is a survivor who magically adapts time and again in order to overcome cruelty. Danilo loves her and is obsessed only with protecting her. This is a story of the power of transformation and the gift of finding the love we need, if not the love we seek." --Maureen Stinger, The Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Va.

The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood by Belle Boggs (Graywolf Press, $16, 9781555977498). "Boggs tackles a variety of challenging topics throughout this cohesive collection of essays. With a knowledgeable, considerate, and honest mind, Boggs is somehow able to transform the clinical and sedate language of infertility treatments into a beautiful song of hope and transformation. The metaphors Boggs finds for her travails sing, and the patient quality of her narration stuns. The candidness of her voice, combined with her ability to find the perfect words to sum up data, studies, statistics, and personal experience, make The Art of Waiting a gift for all readers." --John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn.

For Ages 4 to 8
Panda Pants by Jacqueline Davies, illustrated by Sydney Hanson (Knopf, $17.99, 9780553535761). "Perhaps a most persistent panda can persuade his panda parent that a pair of pants--with pockets--would be a positively perfect piece of apparel. 'No,' says the parent repeatedly, 'Pandas don't wear pants.' Young Panda provides more and more proof to perpetuate his plan. Papa Panda remains firm: 'No pants!' Which panda will prevail? Davies' wry tale is delightful, and Hanson's expressive illustrations are charming--a productive pairing! This is a great book!" --Christopher Rose, The Spirit of '76 Bookstore, Marblehead, Mass.

For Ages 9 to 12
One Half From the East by Nadia Hashimi (HarperCollins, $16.99, 9780062421906). "Acclaimed author Hashimi has turned her attention to children's literature and her first book in her new genre is a beautiful one. Exploring the tradition of 'bacha posh'--dressing your daughter as a boy--the life of Obayda, who becomes Obayd, unfolds, as does the friendship between two special children. Hashimi's tale does a masterful job of showing readers the richness of Afghanistan, while also exploring the difficult life for women there. It is a sensitive, thoughtful, inspiring story." --Laurie Mullarky, Village Books, Bellingham, Wash.

For Teen Readers: Revisit & Rediscover
The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer (Scholastic, $7.99, 9780545356619). Originally published in 2004. "The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm are detectives in the year 2194, who have been exposed to nuclear waste, giving them unique and special powers. They have been called in to find three children who escaped from a powerful Zimbabwe family and then disappeared. Farmer mixes ancient African mythology with dystopian elements to create a science fiction/fantasy adventure full of weight. A Newbery Honor book, this is an excellent choice for a young adult reader!" --Kirsten Hess, Let's Play Books, Emmaus, Pa.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Television: A Biography

Television: A Biography by David Thomson (Thames & Hudson, $34.95 hardcover, 304p., 9780500519165, October 25, 2016)

In his stimulating history of the device once referred to as "the idiot box" but now more likely to be a flat-panel screen, tablet or smartphone, British-born critic and San Francisco resident David Thomson (Moments That Made the Movies) takes a revealing look at this "impassive force that commandeered so much of what we thought was our attention, our consciousness, or our intelligence" for the past seven decades.

Eschewing a chronological approach, Thomson divides Television: A Biography into two segments: "Medium" (an exploration of "the climate of TV, the things that are always there") and "Messages." The latter, and more engaging, section comprises a set of loosely connected essays on subjects that include television's treatment of race (with particular attention to Bill Cosby and the O.J. Simpson trial), women (epitomized in the iconic comedy I Love Lucy), crime (spotlighting the Law & Order franchise that had stretched to 1,062 episodes by the end of 2014) and the news. With the rise of 24/7 cable networks, the industry has become an ever more ubiquitous and powerful force, guided by the knowledge that "we will not watch good news for very long without becoming restless and changing the channel."

The subject of this ambitious study is vast. As of 2015, by Thomson's estimate, some 5,000 years worth of television, from the sublime to the execrable, have unfolded before our eyes. Thomson commands this surfeit of material impressively, and his taste is eclectic. He expresses admiration for shows as disparate as Chuck Barris's The Gong Show and the "modern classic" Breaking Bad. Of necessity, he can't linger long over any of his topics, and that contributes to a vague sense of breathlessness if the book is consumed in large gulps. Though they weren't present in a review copy, the finished text promises more than 60 color and black-and-white photographs to enhance Thomson's witty, erudite prose.

One phenomenon that adds a powerful subtext to this appraisal is the way the television audience has fragmented with the advent of cable and streaming services. On February 28, 1983, for example, an estimated 121 million people in the United States watched some of the final episode of M*A*S*H. Today, an acknowledged hit like Mad Men drew a mere 3.3 million viewers for its finale. Thomson's assertion that television "is not exactly a mass medium any longer" seems inarguable.

Television: A Biography captures the "ordinary, casual pleasure to be felt with television," though it's "tinged with unease at what the medium has done to us." Anyone who's been alive in the era of TV would have to concede, as David Thomson eloquently demonstrates here, that its transformational influence on every aspect of life in the United States has been nothing less than profound. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Critic David Thomson offers an intelligent and lively survey of the history of television.

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