Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Severn House Publishers: Night Watch (First World Publication) (Michael Cassidy Thriller #3) by David C. Taylor

St. Martin's Press: A Week at the Shore by Barbara Delinsky

Workman Publishing: Who Got Game?: Baseball: Amazing But True Stories! by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by John John Bajet

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Sunnyside Plaza by Scott Simon

Other Press: Machiavelli: The Art of Teaching People What to Fear by Patrick Boucheron, translated by Willard Wood

Quotation of the Day

Bookshops: 'Like Entering Aladdin's Cave'

"Walking into a bookshop is like entering Aladdin's Cave. No, it is better than that. Thoughts, words, ideas, truths are almost tangible. I go in with a very good idea of what I want, but am very soon seduced by other books. Where to start, what to choose? Sometimes it takes my breath away. You see, we live so far from town, an opportunity like this must be seized and savored, yet I must choose before closing time."

--Jenny Nimmo, author of the Charlie Bone series, in a q&a with Books Are My Bag

GLOW: ECW Press: Moments of Glad Grace: A Memoir by Alison Wearing


NetGalley Buys

NetGalley has acquired, the consumer-facing book recommendation and retail website that was launched in 2013 by Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group and Simon & Schuster and sold to Zola Books in 2014. Zola is retaining Bookish Recommends, the book recommendation engine that has been renamed Zola Recommends.

As a sister company to NetGalley, Bookish will be "an editorially independent, standalone site with its continued commitment to connecting visitors with interesting and relevant content." NetGalley and will continue to expand their respective communities, while "exploring natural ways to connect the editorial content between the two websites to best serve readers, publishers, and authors."

"We are very excited to bring Bookish's consumer-facing, curated, editorial voice to the NetGalley family," said Fran Toolan, CEO of NetGalley and Firebrand Technologies. "We view as yet another way that our client publishers can help their books succeed."

Zola Books CEO Joe Regal said, "I'm proud of how the Zola Books team built into the vibrant and exciting experience it is today. As Zola intensifies its focus on creating superlative book technology services, we are delighted that will have an opportunity to fulfill its mission under NetGalley's stewardship."

Plough Publishing House: Poems to See by: A Comic Artist Interprets Great Poetry by Julian Peters

Turn of the Corkscrew Seeks Help After Street Construction Woes

Founded a year ago by Peggy Zieran and Carol Hoenig, Turn of the Corkscrew, Books and Wine, Rockville Centre, N.Y., is seeking help. Ongoing street construction that began in May has "turned the tide for us in a negative way" after a strong start and a "warm welcome," they said.

In their GoFundMe campaign, which in five days has raised $5,000 toward a goal of $75,000, the owners continued, "Customers told us they couldn't get to us due to the mess our street was in. Attendance at our events dropped off considerably due to street closure and lack of parking. For one week we had no sidewalk and potential customers hesitated to walk across the plank to get to our store! Our business plan did not account for this major interruption in business, which is why we are asking for your help... because we need your help! If we don't get some funding, our doors will have to be closed and the community will lose an independent bookstore that is a great place to gather, and where we host many programs, including author discussions, workshops, and the very successful Creative Writers Camp which we hosted this summer for 18 young talented writers."

Zieran and Hoenig noted that they "put our homes on the line and invested $100,000 of our own money to secure a loan for a startup. We did this because we believe in this venture and not because we expected to get rich. However, we never foresaw something as unexpected as street construction to hinder our progress towards success."

The GoFundMe money will go to ordering books for the "many events scheduled in the coming months... as well as books and other merchandise for the holiday season, while a sizeable monthly loan payment looms over us."

Grove Press: Writers & Lovers by Lily King

Unshelved Library Comic Strip Winding Down

After almost 15 years, Unshelved, the daily online comic strip set in a library, is winding down. As of November 11, Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes will stop making new Unshelved comic strips and will publish "classic" strips.

In an announcement about the change, they remembered: "When we published our first strip on February 16, 2002, the iPhone was just a glint in Steve Jobs' eye, Facebook was years away from reuniting anyone with their high school sweetheart, and tweeting was still exclusively for the birds."

They called their experience "a madcap journey. After a few years we had enough readers that we both decided to gamble by quitting our day jobs to try doing this cartooning thing full-time. It was harder work than we expected. There were many years when we were on the road, away from our families, for weeks at a time, giving talks and selling our books and merchandise at library conferences and comic conventions."

Besides 4,500 strips, the pair created Pimp My Bookcart, merit badges for librarians, a thumb drive in the shape of a card catalogue, many T-shirt designs, the library notebook, the library raid jacket and full-length comic adventures about BEA, an evil bookmobile and a blackout.

In April, Barnes left to take a break from cartooning, but he'll return to draw and co-author the last week of strips.

For his part, Ambaum is "cooking up both a new webcomic and a new book review site we think you'll like, and he'll let you know when they're ready for prime time."

In a kind of a celebration, Unshelved is coming out with its largest collection ever, called Overdue (the original name of the strip), with more than two years of strips. It's available here.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Providence by Max Barry

First U.K., Ireland Bookshop Day Draws Authors, Customers

The 2,000 bookstores celebrating the U.K. and Ireland's first Bookshop Day last Saturday had "higher footfall and sales," the Bookseller reported. Sponsored by the Booksellers Association and intended to coincide with the annual Books Are My Bag celebrations, the Day included appearances by "high profile authors, illustrators in residence and customers reading in bookshop windows." Customers were encouraged to tweet their support for bookshops using the hashtag #BookshopDay.

Bookseller Kate Harris of Harris & Harris Books in Suffolk told the magazine, "I have a teeny tiny bookshop but it was crammed full today with lots of delish readers and shoppers. Being such a small shop, it's tricky to have in-house events, but I had a colouring competition hand out, gift wrapping, lots of giveaways, including the amazing BAMB bags and bookmarks. I also had a basket of autumn goodies (the only orange fruit I could find was a bag of satsumas, so I filled up with apples from our meadow and some smashing conkers I found on my walk) to hand out rather than the usual tin of chocolates.... Everyone loved it and my home made sloe gin too. Lots of happy people... suffice to say a grand day was had by all."

Author Ann Cleeves, who attended a "Shetland Afternoon Tea" event at Far from the Madding Crowd bookshop in Linlithgow, Scotland, told the Bookseller: "We must celebrate our bookshops--they have been vital during my thirty-year career. After all, nothing beats an expert book recommendation. Like libraries, bookshops have the power to open doors to other worlds. We must cherish them--everyday."

Macmillan's Swoon Reads Expands to Include All YA Genres

Beginning next week, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group's crowdsourced imprint Swoon Reads from Feiwel & Friends will expand from featuring only teen romance titles to titles in all YA genres.

Swoon Reads invites writers to submit manuscripts to its website, where site members can read, rate and critique others' manuscripts--and receive writing and revising tips from Swoon Reads staff. Once a manuscript is acquired, the community votes on the title's cover and communicates with the author through blog posts. So far, some 50 titles have been acquired and another 10 are set to be acquired by the end of the year.

Swoon's debut novel, A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall, published in August 2014, has 100,000 copies in print (including e-books sold) in the U.S., and rights have been sold in eight territories. (For more about Swoon Reads and A Little Something Different, see our dedicated issue from last year.)

Larry Wilmore Hosting National Book Awards Ceremony

Larry Wilmore, comedian, writer and former host of The Nightly Show, will host the 67th National Book Awards ceremony and benefit dinner on November 16 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.

National Book Foundation chairman David Steinberger said that Wilmore's "skillful use of comedy, whether as a television comedy writer or a published author is entertaining and transformative, and we want people to find that books are just as exciting."

National Book Foundation executive director Lisa Lucas added: "Larry Wilmore, who is hilarious, intellectual and well-loved by so many, is the perfect choice to host the awards, remind us of the cultural value of books and writers, and to welcome in new audiences."


Image of the Day: Lil Wayne Plays the Strand

Grammy-winning artist Lil Wayne visited Strand Books in New York City to sign his first book, Gone 'Til November: A Journal of Rikers Island (Plume).

Personnel Changes at William Morrow

In the William Morrow publicity department:

Kelly Rudolph has been promoted to senior director of publicity. She joined the company in 2014 and earlier worked in publicity at Putnam and Amy Einhorn Books.

Anwesha Basu has been promoted to associate director. She joined the department in 2014.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: John Hudak on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: John Hudak, author of Marijuana: A Short History (Brookings Institution Press, $14.95, 9780815729068).

Diane Rehm: Rep. John Lewis, co-author of March: Book Three (Top Shelf Productions, $19.99, 9781603094023).

The View: Neil deGrasse Tyson, co-author of Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour (Princeton University Press, $39.95, 9780691157245).

Conan repeat: Tavis Smiley, co-author of Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson's Last Days (Little, Brown, $27, 9780316259095).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Bruce Springsteen, author of Born to Run (Simon & Schuster, $32.50, 9781501141515).

Movies: The Handmaiden; Impossible Odds

The Handmaiden, directed by Park Chan-wook and based on the novel Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, will be released October 21. You can watch the trailer here.


Clint Eastwood is in talks to direct a film adaptation of Impossible Odds by Jessica Buchanan, Erik Landemalm and Anthony Flacco, according to the Hollywood Reporter, which noted that Warner Bros., Eastwood's longtime home studio, optioned the memoir.

Books & Authors

Awards: Dayton Peace Prize Winners

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove/Atlantic) and Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War by Susan Southard (Penguin Books) are winners of the 2016 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for fiction and nonfiction, respectively.

The runners-up are, for fiction, Delicious Foods by James Hannaham (Little, Brown), and for nonfiction, Find Me Unafraid: Love, Loss, and Hope in an African Slum by Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner Odede (Ecco).

Sharon Rab, founder and co-chair of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation, said, "This year's winners remind us that the effects of war reverberate many years and often many generations after treaties are signed. Together, these stories by Viet Thanh Nguyen and Susan Southard offer cautionary tales but also guideposts to lead us toward a greater understanding of those who are originally seen as enemies."

The winners will be honored at a gala ceremony in Dayton, Ohio, on November 20.

Reading with... Jennifer Niven

photo: Louis Kapeleris

Jennifer Niven is the author of the bestselling All the Bright Places. She has also written the screenplay for the movie version of All the Bright Places, four novels for adults and three nonfiction books. She is the founder of Germ, an online literary and lifestyle magazine for readers high school age and beyond. Niven grew up in Indiana and now lives in Los Angeles. Holding Up the Universe, her YA novel about "seeing and being seen," was released by Knopf on October 4, 2016.

On your nightstand now:

The most recent copy of the New Yorker and these books: How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, Arcadia by Lauren Groff, History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera, and Shirley Jackson's Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Your top five authors:

Shirley Jackson
Flannery O'Connor
Ray Bradbury
Nick Hornby
My mom, Penelope Niven (who was also my favorite person)

Books you've faked reading:

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. (I want to read it, but I know I can't--I'm unable to read anything sad about animals!) And I may have fibbed about reading War and Peace.

Book you're an evangelist for:

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, which features the most complex, mesmerizing narrator I've ever read.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart, which--happily--I loved.

Book you hid from your parents:

Judy Blume's Forever, even though my mom probably would have been fine with me reading it. It was just so much more fun to feel like I needed to hide it! (Hiding place: under my mattress.)

Book that changed your life:

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and everything by Judy Blume. Reading her, I knew I wanted to grow up and write honest books that would both help and entertain.

Favorite line from a book:

There are too many to choose just one! And my favorite lines tend to change, depending on where I am and what I'm going through in my life. That said, here are three:

"...[i]nsist on your cup of stars."
--Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

"I write only because
There is a voice within me
That will not be still"
--Sylvia Plath, Letters Home

"I feel a thousand capacities spring up in me." --Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Five books you’ll never part with:

Can I choose six?
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Gift from the Sea (specifically a copy my mother gave me) by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Swimming Lessons by my mom, Penelope Niven

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

E. Lockhart's We Were Liars. One of my favorite YA books ever. It really knocked me off my chair.

Favorite literary hero:

Alice from Wonderland.

Favorite fictional boyfriend:

Mr. Rochester from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. And Simon from Becky Albertalli's Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

Book Review

YA Review: The Romantics

The Romantics by Leah Konen (Amulet/Abrams, $18.95 hardcover, 336p., ages 13-up, 9781419721939, November 1, 2016)

This charming novel, narrated by Love herself ("[f]requently referenced, usually misunderstood"), is both a love story and a romantic comedy. Ironically, that's the genre most hated by movie buff and high school senior Gael Brennan, who is a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock and Wes Anderson films. So it figures that romantic comedy is a favorite of Sammy Sutton, the incredibly annoying babysitter of Gael's little sister, Piper.

According to Love, Gael is a Romantic, someone "who ruthlessly believes in Love in its finest form." Unfortunately, Gael's beautiful new girlfriend, Anika, does not. She's an Adventurer, defined as someone who "primarily seeks out a partner for life's adventures (and misadventures...)." Shortly after Gael professes his love to her, a very quick "one month to the day since they'd first kissed," Gael arrives at school early to discover Anika liplocked with his best friend, Mason.

Heartbroken, Gael punches Mason, quits band and generally mopes around, watching movies and eating snack-sized Snickers bars until his birthday. That's when his mom, oblivious to "The Ultimate Betrayal," invites Anika and Mason to Gael's birthday dinner. Overcome, Gael flees the restaurant, only to be run down by cute, first-year college student Cara, on her bicycle. As Love informs her readers, this accident leads to that "dreaded enemy of True Love since the dawn of freaking time," the Rebound.

As Gael, a Romeo, tries to find his Juliet, his problems are magnified by the reality that his own parents have separated. According to Love, Gael is "rocking a triple-whammy of heartbreak," caused by his parents' split, Anika's rejection and Mason's betrayal. Until she cheated on him, dating Anika distracted Gael from the pain of his broken family, and now maybe Cara (despite the obvious flaw that she's into James Cameron movies) can do the same. Meanwhile, Gael begins to realize that babysitter Sammy is good company, and quickly becoming a friend he doesn't want to lose. (At least she likes Serpico.)

Gael is a warm and sympathetic character, and the narrator Love thinks his passion for movies works beautifully with his love of love. Peeking into Gael's future, Love sees Gael drawing on his own experiences to make a "gorgeous, heartbreaking movie," and enjoying a long career inspiring people all over the world to fall in love--as long as he meets the right girl. Throughout The Romantics, Love carries on a droll commentary about the nature of the human heart and Gael's relationships with friends, his little sister, his parents and possible girlfriends, all the while enlightening readers as to how she works her magic. This playful, entertaining take on love by Leah Konen (The Last Time We Were Us; The After Girls) should find plenty of ardent fans. --Lynn Becker, blogger and host of Book Talk, a monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI

Shelf Talker: This teen love story, wittily narrated by Love herself, follows a high school senior and bona fide Romantic through a series of amorous entanglements.

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