Also published on this date: Monday, December 12, 2016: Kids' Maximum Shelf: Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets

Shelf Awareness for Monday, December 12, 2016

Storey Publishing: The Universe in Verse: 15 Portals to Wonder Through Science & Poetry by Maria Popova

Tommy Nelson: You'll Always Have a Friend: What to Do When the Lonelies Come by Emily Ley, Illustrated by Romina Galotta

Jimmy Patterson: Amir and the Jinn Princess by M T Khan

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout

Quotation of the Day

Politics & Prose's 'Deepest Gratitude'

"On behalf of the entire staff at Politics & Prose, we want to convey our deepest gratitude to the many customers and friends who have expressed concern and support for us since the events of December 4. We cannot imagine a community more dedicated to its local businesses, its residents, and a shared belief in collective strength through respectful dialogue with one another. That P&P is part of such a community makes us proud--and more committed than ever to providing a safe gathering place that promotes tolerance, inclusion, and diversity."

--Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine, owners of Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C., in a statement about the gunman who went into a neighboring business in reaction to hateful fake news spread online. See the full statement here.


Weldon Owen: The Gay Icon's Guide to Life by Michael Joosten, Illustrated by Peter Emerich


Fire-Damaged B&N in Albuquerque Reopens

The Barnes & Noble in Albuquerque, N.Mex.'s Coronado Mall, which was damaged by an arson fire November 26, has reopened, KOB-TV reported, adding that "shoppers say there is a little bit of a smoke smell, but that won't stop book lovers from packing the store in search of gifts for the holidays."

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Monroe College Bookstore in New Rochelle, N.Y., Relocates

The bookstore at the Monroe College campus in New Rochelle, N.Y., operated by Barnes & Noble College, has opened downtown, near the commuter train station, with the "first-ever" Starbucks downtown, according to New Rochelle Talk. The 9,000-square-foot bookstore and coffee shop is at New Roc City at LeCount Place and replaces Monroe College's earlier bookstore. B&N College also manages Monroe College's bookstore on its campus in the Bronx.

"Our expanded new bookstore is a vibrant community space that, in addition to serving our students' textbook needs, offers local residents a place to pick up a bestseller, meet over coffee, and even occasionally enjoy the talents of local artists and performers," said Marc Jerome, executive v-p of Monroe College. "We think it will be a great complement to the city's downtown revitalization efforts, and look forward to the store's official grand opening."

Besides selling traditional academic items, including textbooks, branded apparel and school supplies, the store offers romance novels, health & fitness titles, teen novels, children's books, bestsellers by Mary Higgins Clark, J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin and others, New Rochelle Talk reported. Sidelines include board games, puzzles and children's toys. The Royal Fleur performance stage will present live music performances and a weekly "open mic" and karaoke night.

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

Fairfield University Bookstore Celebrates Fifth Anniversary Downtown

With author events, musical performances and appearances by the university mascot and Santa, over the weekend, the Fairfield University Bookstore, Fairfield, Conn., celebrated its fifth anniversary in the site of a former Borders store downtown, the Fairfield Citizen wrote.

When the Fairfield Borders closed in 2011, Fairfield University opened in the space and moved its textbook services there. Managed by Follett, the store also sells gear for several public and private local high schools and has a Starbucks Café. The school kept its on-campus bookstore, but it no longer sells texts. The University provides shuttles to take students to and from the downtown store.

Special events coordinator Nancy Quinn said that the store is a draw that brings students downtown to visit it and other businesses and makes it easier for town residents to participate in university events. The bookstore participates in downtown merchant events, does local school visits, has exhibited public school students' art and hosts local musicians in the café.

Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau said, "We are looking for ways to continue to grow our partnership with Fairfield University. I think it's critical to the future of our town in this very competitive and turbulent economy. We need to use every resource we have, and Fairfield University is a great resource in terms of making our town more competitive, more dynamic and valuable to businesses and residents."

LeCount New HarperCollins V-P, Director of Sales, General Books

Andy LeCount

Effective December 29, Andy LeCount is joining HarperCollins as v-p, director of sales, for general books. He has worked at Hachette Book Group since 2008, most recently as executive director, chains. As part of his responsibilities, he has been the primary liaison between the sales and publishing teams at Little, Brown and been engaged in all aspects of the publishing process, from acquisitions to sell-in. Previously, he sold national accounts for Macmillan, worked as a marketing manager at Rodale, was a features editor and buyer at, worked in the publicity department at Tor and started his career at Encore Books.

Josh Marwell, president of sales at HarperCollins, said, "Andy now brings his well-rounded résumé to HarperCollins, where he will direct the overall sales effort for the adult hardcover and trade paperback imprints, as well as supervise the adult sales teams for Barnes & Noble and Amazon. His extensive experience is particularly well-suited to this important role."

Obituary Note: Patricia Robins

Award-winning romance novelist Patricia Robins, who often wrote under the pen name Claire Lorrimer and published 160 novels that sold 10 million copies, died December 4, the Daily Mail reported. She was 95. Last March, she was honored with an Outstanding Achievement Award by the Romantic Novelists' Association.

"As her writing career began to slow down, she devoted more time to her grandchildren and discovering inspiration for murder mystery novels," the Daily Mail noted, adding that Robins "finished her last only weeks before her death, and had already begun to talk about starting another."

Asked once if she ever planned to retire, she replied: "Yes, after every book is finished, I decide it is the last one, and then I get an idea in my head and it germinates and before I know it I've started typing and we are off again."


Image of the Day: Anderson's Celebrates Naperville Reads

Anderson's Bookshops, Naperville, Ill. celebrated Naperville Reads last week, at Wentz Concert Hall on the campus of North Central College. Eleven authors and illustrators participated in the community's annual effort to foster reading; this year's theme was "United Through Story: What's Yours?" Authors and illustrators, traveling in pairs, also visited schools over two days and spoke to first and second grade students in the two public school districts--more than 7,500 children participated. Pictured: (l.-r.) Matt de la Peña, Kathryn Otoshi, Tonya Bolden, Christian Robinson, Dean Robbins, Ruth Chan, Selina Alko, Miranda Paul and Duncan Tonatiuh.

Indie Bookstores Among 'Coziest Spots in Iowa'

"When the weather outside is frightful, you'll find these 19 cozy places so delightful!" Travel Iowa noted in recommending several indie bookstores, including:

The Book Vault, Oskaloosa: "Cozy up in a corner with a classic novel from the Book Vault, a bank gone bookstore in the heart of Oskaloosa. This historic downtown building keeps hundreds of books in some of the old bank vaults."

Plot Twist Bookstore, Ankeny: "This book store has an events calendar to keep you out of the cold all winter long with ornament making or book signings."

The Book Vine, Cherokee: "[Y]ou can sip on fine wine while browsing the book selection. The tin roof, fireplace and tall bookcases with sliding ladders add to the cozy atmosphere."

Book Vault manager April Gorski told the Oskaloosa Herald: "We are a cozy store. I imagine there's a lot of other nice stores, but we like to think that we're pretty special, so this is kind of a feather in our cap.... You come in and just have a feeling that you stepped back in time, and being surrounded by books and the other eclectic things that we put here just add to that. We're not trying to be too hip and too cool and too loud. We're just ourselves."

B.C. Sales Rep Doug Findlay Retiring

After 27 years as British Columbia sales rep with HarperCollins Canada, Doug Findlay is retiring. He started his book career at Vancouver's BookExpress, then briefly worked in the magazine wholesale business before becoming B.C. sales rep in 1989.

As HarperCollins field sales director Terry Toews wrote, "Doug's passion for books, devotion to his accounts and his unflagging sense of humour have earned him the respect of his colleagues, customers and a long list of authors. He was the heart and soul of the field rep group and his quick wit got everyone through many long days at sales conferences. His instincts, in particular for the children's lists, were uncanny at times. He was most proud of his Indie Choice selections, many of which went on to become major award winners. Titles like The One & Only Ivan, Pax and, most recently, A Boy Called Christmas, have become modern classics.... He will be widely missed."

Bill Gates Picks Favorite Books of 2016

On his blog, gatesnotes, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates listed his favorite books of 2016. Here are his top four titles, with an honorable mention, and a little of what he had to say about them:

String Theory by David Foster Wallace (Library of America, $19.95, 9781598534801).
"String Theory is a collection of five of Wallace's best essays on tennis, a sport I gave up in my Microsoft days and am once again pursuing with a passion. You don’t have to play or even watch tennis to love this book. The late author wielded a pen as skillfully as Roger Federer wields a tennis racket."

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (Scribner, $29, 9781501135910).
"This memoir, by the co-founder of Nike, is a refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like: messy, precarious, and riddled with mistakes. Here Knight opens up in a way few CEOs are willing to do. He tells his story as honestly as he can. It’s an amazing tale."

The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee (Scribner, $32, 9781476733500).
"In his latest book, Mukherjee guides us through the past, present, and future of genome science, with a special focus on huge ethical questions that the latest and greatest genome technologies provoke. Mukherjee wrote this book for a lay audience, because he knows that the new genome technologies are at the cusp of affecting us all in profound ways."

The Myth of the Strong Leader by Archie Brown (Basic Books, $29.99, 9780465027668).
"This year's fierce election battle prompted me to pick up this 2014 book, by an Oxford University scholar who has studied political leadership--good, bad, and ugly--for more than 50 years. Brown shows that the leaders who make the biggest contributions to history and humanity generally are not the ones we perceive to be 'strong leaders.' "

And the honorable mention:
The Grid by Gretchen Bakke (Bloomsbury, $27, 9781608196104).
"Part of the reason I find this topic fascinating is because my first job, in high school, was writing software for the entity that controls the power grid in the Northwest. But even if you have never given a moment's thought to how electricity reaches your outlets, I think this book would convince you that the electrical grid is one of the greatest engineering wonders of the modern world."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ta-Nehisi Coates on the Daily Show

Live with Kelly: Bryan Cranston, author of A Life in Parts (Scribner, $27, 9781476793856). He will also appear on the Tonight Show.

Tavis Smiley: Ibram X. Kendi, author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (Nation Books, $32.99, 9781568584638).

Ellen: Amy Schumer, author of The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo (Gallery, $28, 9781501139888).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Maureen Dowd, author of The Year of Voting Dangerously: The Derangement of American Politics (Twelve, $30, 9781455539260).

Daily Show: Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau, $24, 9780812993547).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Senator Bernie Sanders, author of Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In (Thomas Dunne, $27, 9781250132925).

TV: Sherlock Season 4 Trailer

"Three years since its last episode aired, Sherlock finally returns to television on New Year's Day," on PBS Masterpiece, Indiewire reported. A trailer for the fourth season of the BBC series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman has "cuts of the returning cast, as well as introduces fans to this season's new villain Culverton Smith (Toby Jones), who toys with Holmes in unexpected ways."

Books & Authors

Awards: PEN America Literary; Women in Publishing

PEN America has announced longlists for the 2017 Literary Awards, celebrating a total of 90 books from 2015 and 2016. Finalists in these categories will be unveiled January 18, and winners named February 22, excepting the awards for debut fiction and essay, as well as those for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in Literature. Those awards will be announced live at the 2017 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony on March 27 in New York City.

"In a time of political upheaval, people are looking to literature for solace and for answers," said PEN America executive director Suzanne Nossel. "The PEN America Literary Awards grant us an opportunity to celebrate that which we support: the free and open exchange of ideas and perspectives. With the announcement of these longlisted titles, we recognize exceptional writers whose work contributes to a deeper understanding of the diversity of human experiences--a contribution that is more essential than ever at a time of polarization."


Kate Wilson, founder and managing director of U.K. publisher Nosy Crow, is the winner of this year's Women in Publishing's Pandora Award, which is given annually to "a woman who has made a 'significant and sustained contribution to the publishing industry,' " the Bookseller reported. Also shortlisted for the prize were Byte the Book founder Justine Solomons, who was the runner-up, and Alison Jones, who runs a publishing consultancy.

Book Review

Review: Class

Class by Lucinda Rosenfeld (Little, Brown, $26 hardcover, 352p., 9780316265416, January 10, 2017)

What happens when a conscientious parent's liberal ideals collide with the realities of a contemporary urban educational system? Lucinda Rosenfeld (The Pretty One) explores the discomfort of that sometimes yawning chasm in her novel Class, a shrewd portrait of one woman's ingenious effort to bridge the gap.

Set in a gentrifying neighborhood of an unnamed city, Rosenfeld's novel is told from the point of view of Karen Kipple, a woman in her mid-40s who works as the director of development for a small nonprofit dedicated to eliminating childhood hunger in the United States. Karen's husband, Matt McClelland, has abandoned his job as a lawyer for evicted tenants in order to devote his energies to building a website for low-income city dwellers. The pair lavish most of their remaining attention on their only child, eight-year-old third grader Ruby. But Karen isn't quite happy. She frets over the spark that's gone out of their marriage after 10 years, a sore spot exacerbated when she meets a college classmate who's started a successful hedge fund.

In their own minds, Karen and Matt's progressive credentials are burnished by their decision to send Ruby to a public elementary school where only 20% of the students are white, convinced she'll receive an "invaluable, once-in-a-lifetime education in multiculturalism and class difference." Among her peers who choose to send their children elsewhere, Karen has two goals: "to foster guilt and shame, and to instill doubt about whatever alternative had been secured."

But when one of Ruby's friends is allowed to transfer to a less racially mixed school after an incident with an African American classmate, Karen begins to question whether she's sacrificing her daughter's well-being to pride in her principles. On a walk through an adjacent neighborhood, she hatches an audacious scheme designed to safeguard Ruby's education, one that becomes ever more daring as she struggles to be equally protective of her own liberal values.

Whether it's the obsession with property values and favored brands or the constant comparisons of wealth and social status, Brooklyn resident Rosenfeld's writing showcases the keen eye of a cultural anthropologist steeped in the rituals of the urban upper-middle class. With an acerbic wit and insight revealed in the double meaning of the novel's title, she deftly punctures the hypocrisy that's sometimes exposed in the daunting process of trying to be true to one's professed beliefs. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Lucinda Rosenfeld offers a piercing take on one woman's struggle to narrow the gap between her liberal ideals and the realities of modern urban life.

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