Shelf Awareness for Monday, October 31, 2016

Abrams Appleseed: Día de Muertos: Números: A Day of the Dead Counting Book by Duncan Tonatiuh

Shadow Mountain: Just Gus by McCall Hoyle

Charlesbridge Publishing: Glitter Everywhere by Chris Barton, illustrated by Chaaya Prabhat

Soho Crime: A Disappearance in Fiji by Nilima Rao

Del Rey Books: Thief Liar Lady by D.L. Soria

Chronicle Books: Is It Hot in Here (or Am I Suffering for All Eternity for the Sins I Committed on Earth)? by Zach Zimmerman

First Second: Family Style: Memories of an American from Vietnam by Thien Pham

Quotation of the Day

'Amazon, Can You Not Back Down a Little?'

Ethan Gilsdorf

"I know America is the land of the free market. Still, I say to you, Amazon, can you not back down a little? Go back to the shadows of the Internet where you belong. Let these little guys survive.

"If you don't, here's my piddling threat. If I ever find myself haunting one of your brick-and-mortar Amazon Books stores, I'll do what countless price-addicted shoppers now do at indie shops--except with this twist. I'll take a picture of a book I want to buy. Then I'll purchase it, instead, at my local bookseller."

--Author and former bookseller Ethan Gilsdorf in a commentary for WBUR headlined "Amazon Should Leave Brick-And-Mortar to the Little Guys"

HarperOne: Wannabe: Reckonings with the Pop Culture That Shapes Me by Aisha Harris


Posman Books Opens in Atlanta, Ga.

On Saturday, Posman Books celebrated the opening of its newest store, in the historic Ponce City Market in Atlanta, Ga. The 2,300-square-foot store offers an "eclectic selection" of books for adults and children, toys, games and greetings cards, as well as Ponce City Market merchandise such as tote bags and mugs.

The Ponce City Market is owned by Jamestown Properties, the same company that runs Chelsea Market in New York City, where Posman has a store. Posman also has a shop in Rockefeller Center in Manhattan.

Posman v-p and buyer Robert Fader said Jamestown is "tremendously successful in attracting a wide range of customers to a new kind of gathering place. We are so heartened that bookstores remain a welcome and vital part of this new approach to the public square."

The new Posman Books is located at 675 Ponce de Leon Avenue NE, Atlanta, Ga. 30308; 470-355-9041.

Blackstone Publishing: All Is Not Forgiven by Joe Kenda

Dylan Breaks Nobel Silence: 'It's Hard to Believe'

image: N. Elmehed/
Nobel Media 2016

New Nobel Literature Laureate Bob Dylan finally acknowledged the award publicly and said he "absolutely" will attend the Nobel Prize ceremony December 10 "if it's at all possible." In an interview with the Telegraph, Dylan said of the Nobel announcement: "It's hard to believe."

Dylan "sounds genuinely bemused by the whole ruckus," the Telegraph wrote. "It is as if he can't quite fathom where all the headlines have come from, that others have somehow been over-reacting."

When asked if he agreed with the Swedish Academy's choice and permanent secretary Sara Danius's comparison of his contribution to literature with Homer and Sappho, Dylan replied: "I suppose so, in some way. Some [of my own] songs--"Blind Willie," "The Ballad of Hollis Brown," "Joey," "A Hard Rain," "Hurricane," and some others--definitely are Homeric in value."

The Nobel Prize website posted an update late last week noting that Dylan had called the Swedish Academy and told Danius: "I appreciate the honor so much."

Shelf Awareness Job Board: Click Here to Post Your Job

Ex B&N CEO Boire Departs with $4.8 Million

Ron Boire

Nice work if you can get it department.

Barnes & Noble, which fired Ron Boire as CEO on August 16 after less than a year in that position, is paying him $4.8 million as part of general release and waiver agreement. Under the agreement, Boire has agreed to forfeit stock awards totaling 655,000 shares--a mix of restricted stock units and performance-based stock units--worth approximately $6.5 million at B&N's current stock price of $10.25 a share.

Boire joined B&N in September 2015 as CEO and was unceremoniously let go last August, when the company announced that Boire "was not a good fit for the organization and that it was in the best interests of all parties for him to leave the company." The company added that executive chairman Len Riggio was postponing his September retirement and would, with other members of the executive management team, assume Boire's duties while B&N searched for a new CEO.

B&N sales in the past year have slipped, and when the disappointing first-quarter report was issued in September, Riggio gave a hint of what else might have contributed to Boire's departure when he criticized the company's recent "unprecedented inventory reductions" and "ill-advised" expense cuts, "mainly retail floor personnel."

Before joining B&N, Boire had been president and CEO of Sears Canada and executive v-p, chief merchandising officer and president, Sears and Kmart Formats at Sears Holdings.

Martin Cruz Smith and Luisa Smith at NCIBA

As executive director of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association presiding over his first fall discovery show, in South San Francisco October 27-28, Calvin Crosby said he was delighted to introduce two people in a conversation he has wanted to stage for years--almost since the day he, as bookstore manager, hired a young woman named Luisa Smith to work at Book Passage in Corte Madera. Shortly after hiring her, Crosby recalled, he began talking about the book he was reading, Rose by Martin Cruz Smith, and she said, "Oh, he's my father." Luisa is now buying director at Book Passage and recently returned from her first research trip with her father, to Siberia.

Martin Cruz Smith and Luisa Smith at NCIBA

"I love books, I love reading and, more than anything, I love my dad," said Luisa. After graduating college with an art degree, Luisa said she was determined not to ask her novelist father to help her get a job at a bookstore. "It turns out, I asked Anne Lamott to get me a job at a bookstore."

Growing up, she said, she never gave much thought to how her father conducted research, but after accompanying him to Siberia--where they had dinner with locals who wanted to get them very drunk, got an introduction to Russian art through one oligarch's massive collection of some of the worst paintings ever, and took the slowest train ride ever--she was looking at some of the mishaps from their family travels differently.

"It's all material," said Smith. "You, your sister and your brother all grew up with that excuse." (Luisa's brother now works at the Strand in New York City--but he trained at Book Passage with Crosby and his sister.)

Talking about the World War II Italy setting of his new book, The Girl from Venice (Simon & Schuster), Luisa asked her father to share how visiting a place inspired his work. Smith recalled that he once spotted two guys rowing "non-gondola style"; they came out of the darkness singing in a way that exhibited "the kind of magic you only get in Venice."

"You probably have very little idea of what people actually do to make a living," his daughter noted, and yet her favorite parts of the novel are the fishing and Cenzo, the fisherman character. "Mine, too," said Smith. "I find that if I put myself in an interesting place, things will come."

Smith and his daughter traveled to Chita, which they described as the most bitter, cold and saddest place--in deepest Siberia. There, Smith discovered a museum devoted to the Decembrists--a group of elite St. Petersburg residents who in 1825 rose up against the czar. "They didn't get very far," said Smith. The Decembrists were exiled to Chita, and their wives followed their husbands to that dreadful place.

"So, will that end up in the book?" asked the daughter. "We'll see," was the author's retort.

During a q&a, they addressed the current situation in Russia, and many Russians' fascination with the possibility of a President Trump. "People either said he was crazy or they followed us out of restaurants to tell us how great he is," said Luisa.

While Smith was a bit nostalgic for the old days when simply being caught with a copy of his novel Gorky Park meant jail time in Russia, he still loves the country that he has visited often and used as the settings for many of his books. "It's astonishingly beautiful," he said about Russia overall, and Moscow in particular. "There's no better capital in the world." But the society is "condemned" to being run by thieves and oligarchs for the foreseeable future.

"They miss being powerful," said Luisa.

"That's a good thing to say," her father added.

Luisa--and all of her family--are the first readers of Martin Cruz Smith's work. "I've been so lucky in every possible way," said Smith. "In my children, in the many books I've written, and in what I am going to do next."

For Luisa Smith, having this conversation at NCIBA gave her the chance to speak with her favorite author in front of her favorite group of people. --Bridget Kinsella

[More about NCIBA's fall discovery show in tomorrow's issue.]

Obituary Note: Gillon Aitken

U.K. literary agent Gillon Aitken died October 28, the Bookseller reported. In the mid 1970s, he left his position as managing director of publisher Hamish Hamilton to found the Gillon Aitken literary agency. From 1986, it was run as Wylie, Aitken & Stone until Andrew Wylie left in 1996 to set up his own agency. Clare Alexander became a literary agent in 1998 and the company became Aitken Alexander Associates.

"A towering figure in so many of our lives, publishing has lost a great agent from a brilliant generation," Alexander said. "He was a wise counsel, a true intellectual and an irreplaceable friend. I am sure he would wish to be remembered in the words of some of the many authors who valued his guidance deeply and who came to love him so much."

Sebastian Faulks described Aitken as "one of my closest friends. He was also my literary agent for 30 years. He was a wonderful mixture of the grand and the modest: lofty, amusing, well-connected but warm in friendship and with little personal pride."

Helen Fielding called him "the quintessential British gentleman. His decency, dazzlingly dry wit, stoicism, wisdom, erudition, kindness, elegance and huge sense of fun represented the best of traditional British values.... He was a rare and irreplaceable treasure in the literary world."


Image of the Day: A Toast to PRH Rep Ron Shoop

During the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association fall discovery show last week, friends and colleagues toasted Ron Shoop, longtime Penguin Random House sales rep who is retiring soon. From l.: Valerie Walley, PRH; Anna-Lise Sandstrum, Chronicle Books; Tom McIntyre, Hachette; Jim Hankey, HarperCollins; Wendy Pearl, PRH; Michele Sulka, PRH; Shoop; Jenn Ramage, PRH; Bob Belmont, PRH; Andy Weiner, Abrams; Lise Solomon, Consortium; and Reed Oros, Macmillan.

Halloween Treat: 'Amazing Occult Bookshops in Cinema'

Observing that "some of the most interesting bookshops in movies offer tomes on magic and the occult," Flavorwire featured a selection of "amazing occult bookshops in cinema." These bookstores offer "a portal for film protagonists to find answers about the spooky goings-on around them. Plus, the shops just make for really cool sets."

Road Trip: 'Bookworm's Tour of Barcelona's Librerías'

Noting that the "Catalan capital may be more famous for Gaudí and tapas, but it has dozens of great bookshops, too," the Guardian featured "a bookworm's tour of Barcelona's librerías." The city's "unique and varied bookshops don't feature heavily on many visitors' hit lists. Yet they should. There are around 50 spread across the city."

"Every bookshop is an invitation to travel," said Spanish author, bibliophile and the Guardian's tour guide Jorge Carrión, adding that after he recently moved to a new apartment, "I had to give 1,000 books to a friend. If you've got more than 5,000 books, you've lost control."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Tommy Hilfiger on Wendy Williams

CBS This Morning: Jeff Kinney, author of Double Down: Diary of a Wimpy Kid #11 (Amulet Books, $13.95, 9781419723445).

Fresh Air: Kerry Egan, author of On Living (Riverhead, $24, 9781594634819).

Diane Rehm: Claudia Hammond, author of Mind over Money: The Psychology of Money and How to Use It Better (Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780062317001).

CBS's Inside Edition: Deborah Ziegler, author of Wild and Precious Life (Atria/Emily Bestler, $26, 9781501128516).

Dr. Oz: Dr. Richard S. Isaacson, co-author of The Alzheimer's Prevention & Treatment Diet (Square One, $17.95, 9780757004087).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Nathan Lane, co-author of Naughty Mabel Sees It All (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781481430241).

Good Morning America: Curt Menefee, co-author of Losing Isn't Everything: The Untold Stories and Hidden Lessons Behind the Toughest Losses in Sports History (Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062440075).

Today: Tricia Seaman, co-author of God Gave Me You: A True Story of Love, Loss, and a Heaven-Sent Miracle (Howard, $25.99, 9781501131837).

E! News Daily: Tyler Henry, author of Between Two Worlds: Lessons from the Other Side (Gallery, $25, 9781501152627).

Wendy Williams: Tommy Hilfiger, co-author of American Dreamer: My Life in Fashion & Business (Ballantine, $30, 9781101886212).

Movies: Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Sony Pictures has released a new trailer for Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, directed by Ang Lee and based on the bestselling novel by Ben Fountain. Deadline reported that the project is "the first from a major studio to be shot in 4K, native 3D at the ultra-high rate of 120 frames-per-second--much higher than what audiences are accustomed to." The film, which will be out November 11, stars Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Vin Diesel and Steve Martin.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk was screened recently in Hollywood "to a handful of people with a q&a afterwards with Lee and producer Marc Platt," Deadline wrote. Lee "talked about how he initially did a short film using the technology to experiment with the lighting, make-up and costuming as the resolution is so high that every detail can be examined by the audience. The perception to the viewer is as if they are actually standing next to actors inside the scene."

Books & Authors

Awards: World Fantasy Winners; V.S. Pritchett Memorial Shortlist

The World Fantasy Awards winners, announced during the World Fantasy Convention, are:

Novels: The Chimes by Anna Smaill (Sceptre)
Long Fiction: The Unlicensed Magician by Kelly Barnhill (PS)
Short Fiction: "Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers" by Alyssa Wong (Nightmare 10/15)
Anthology: She Walks in Shadows edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles (Innsmouth Free Press)
Collection: Bone Swans by C.S.E. Cooney (Mythic Delirium)
Artist: Galen Dara
Special Award, Professional: Stephen Jones, for The Art of Horror (Applause Theatre & Cinema)
Special Award, Nonprofessional: John O'Neill, for Black Gate

Lifetime Achievement Awards: David G. Hartwell and Andrzej Sapkowski.


Clare Colvin, Jasmin Donahaye, Fiona Marshall and Kenneth Steven have been shortlisted for the £1,000 (about $1,220) V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize, which honors "the best unpublished short story of the year," the Bookseller reported. The winning story, which will be announced at a public event featuring Ali Smith November 17, will be published in Prospect magazine and in RSL Review.

Book Review

Review: Pilgrimage: My Search for the Real Pope Francis

Pilgrimage: My Search for the Real Pope Francis by Mark K. Shriver (Random House, $28 hardcover, 320p., 9780812998023, November 29, 2016)

Despite being from one of the most famous Catholic families in the United States and immersed in the Church all his life, Mark Shriver experienced reservations about an institution that has struggled with scandal and controversy. But the election of Jorge Bergoglio as pope in March 2013 grabbed Shriver's attention and fascination. When the opportunity arose for him to write about this unusual man causing so much fuss in the Vatican, he knew he would do it. He just didn't have any idea what an effect it would have on him.

Shriver, president of Save the Children Action Network and a former Maryland politician, blends historical research with interviews with family, friends and colleagues of the pontiff. He illuminates the special relationship Bergoglio shared with his grandmother Rosa and the lessons the future pope would learn from this Italian activist who protested against Mussolini in the 1920s and later immigrated to Argentina. "Faith and ritual and compassion, in her view, were inseparable, and young Jorge soaked up that perspective." Shriver describes Argentina, its culture and how Bergoglio's experiences living there affected the man he would become. Shriver then assembles the pieces of Bergoglio's life into an informal, accessible, compelling narrative of an exceptional human being--who, according to a former teacher, "favors the 'lived' experience over ideology."

From Bergoglio's childhood schools to the confessional in the modest basilica where he made his decision to enter the priesthood to the dangerous barrios where he worked, Shriver takes his readers on a tour of Bergoglio's world. He carefully reveals the unusual character of the Catholic Church's leader: his understanding and love of science, his embrace of other religions, his famous phrase, "Who am I to judge?"--even his disdain for the flashy ornamentation of his position. Shriver's own experiences with the Church in the much wealthier United States allow him to interject his personal reactions, as well as questions and realizations about himself. The juxtaposition of Shriver's revelations about Bergoglio beside his own self-discoveries make Pilgrimage more than a simple biography of Pope Francis, it's a mission of faith that transcends denomination and even religion.

There are humorous stories and painful ones; more than any others, there are inspiring stories. The one person Shriver never talks to personally--despite his best efforts--is Jorge Bergoglio himself. But as Shriver concludes his biography, he uncovers his greatest gift from the pope: "like a great teacher, he provoked me to question my own beliefs and attitudes and the way I live and act. He did so not through guilt or shame but by showing that real faith frees one to live joyfully. He had interviewed me." --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Shelf Talker: Mark Shriver guides readers through the world of the Catholic Church's humble leader, Pope Francis, while discovering his own faith along the way.

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