Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, March 7, 2017

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


Three Booksellers Win 2017 International Book Fair Scholarships

The three winners of the 2017 International Book Fair Scholarship for U.S. Booksellers, sponsored by Europa Editions and Other Press, are Jonathon Welch of Talking Leaves Books, Buffalo, N.Y.; Jennifer Witte of Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif.; and Camilla Orr of Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe and Phoenix, Ariz. The scholarship will allow them to attend the Turin International Book Fair May 18-22.

At the fair, the three will take part in a customized schedule of panels, meetings and parties with international booksellers, publishers and authors. The fair is hosting a pop-up indie bookstore that will serve as a home base for the booksellers, a venue for meetings and a hub for bookseller exchange and author events.

The organizers noted that the number of applicants for this year's International Book Fair Scholarship doubled compared to applicants for the inaugural scholarship last year. "The program is growing," said Michael Reynolds, editor in chief of Europa Editions. "I hope they'll join Europa and Other and that soon we'll be seeing delegations of U.S. booksellers regularly attending all of the major international book fairs and festivals."

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

Booksellers Among National Book Awards Judges

Among the 20 judges just announced for the 2017 National Book Awards are three booksellers:

Fiction: Annie Philbrick, owner of Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn., and Savoy Bookshop and Café, Waverly, R.I., an American Booksellers Association board member and a former president of the New England Independent Booksellers Association.

Nonfiction: Steve Bercu, CEO of Bookpeople, Austin, Tex., and immediate past president of the ABA.

Young People's Literature: Suzanna Hermans, co-owner of Oblong Books & Music, Rhinebeck and Millerton, N.Y., an American Booksellers for Free Expression Advisory Council member and a former president of the New England Independent Booksellers Association.

U.K. Indies: Fewer Shops, but 'Rate of Closure' Slows

One of 21 new bookstores in the U.K.

The number of independent bookshops in the U.K. fell for the 11th consecutive year in 2016, but the rate of closure has slowed, the Bookseller reported. According to the Booksellers Association, 32 indies closed last year and 16 did not renew their BA membership, but 21 new stores opened.

Noting that the rate of closure for indies has diminished compared to 2015 (46) and 2014 (48), BA CEO Tim Godfray said, "The fact that bookshop closures have slowed is encouraging and is testament to the innovative, creative ways in which bookshop owners are continuing to fight to stay on the high street. However, much more needs to be done to level the playing field for bookshops to compete effectively. The BA is fighting hard to address these issues, including making representations on business rates and unfair competition."

The BA's membership figures "are looking healthy overall, increasing by 248 outlets in 2016 to 4,729, boosted by new members such as the National Trust. It is the fifth year in a row that the trade body's membership has increased: it stood at 3,580 in 2012," the Bookseller noted.

Baumgardner Stepping Down as Head of Feminist Press

Jennifer Baumgardner

Jennifer Baumgardner is leaving her position as executive director and publisher of the Feminist Press at CUNY, effective May 31. The press has begun a job search for a new leader.

Baumgardner has been at the press since 2013, overseeing the creation of Anastasia Higginbotham's Ordinary Terrible Things children's book series, the annual Feminist Ball, STEMinism, the Louise Meriwether First Book Prize for a debut author of color, and Amethyst Editions, an imprint curated by Michelle Tea. During her tenure, the press published the plays Slut and Now That We're Men by Katie Cappiello as well as The Cosmopolitans by Sarah Schulman, Black Dove by Ana Castillo and The Crunk Feminist Collection by Dr. Brittney Cooper, all of which contributed to the strongest sales the Feminist Press has had in years.

"Working for the Feminist Press at CUNY has been an honor," Baumgardner said. "I am grateful for Florence Howe's vision, the support and energy of the board, and the awesome staff. Feminist Press is the longest-running women's press in the world, and I know that it will be around for a long, long time."

Obituary Note: Paula Fox

Author Paula Fox, "whose work illuminated lives filled with loss, dislocation and abandonment, conditions she knew firsthand from a very early age," died March 1, the New York Times reported. She was 93. Fox wrote a half-dozen novels for adults and more than 20 books for young people. The Times noted that what the books had in common was "a cool, elegant style that was haunting in its pared-down economy; minute observation; masterly control of tone and pacing; and an abiding concern with dissolution--of family, of home, of health, of trust."

Fox's best-known novel for adults is Desperate Characters (1970), which was adapted into a film starring Shirley MacLaine and Kenneth Mars. She won the Newbery Medal in 1974 for The Slave Dancer. Her work also includes two memoirs: Borrowed Finery (2001) and The Coldest Winter: A Stringer in Liberated Europe (2005).

"Because so much of Ms. Fox's work was for young people, her fiction for adults was sometimes overlooked," the Times wrote, adding that in 1984, the Nation described her as "one of our most intelligent (and least appreciated) contemporary novelists." Her reputation as an author of adult books received a boost later in her career when Jonathan Franzen "became an ardent champion after devouring an out-of-print copy of Desperate Characters he had come across by chance." This led Norton to publish new editions of that book as well as Fox's other adult novels, including The Widow's Children, A Servant's Tale and The God of Nightmares.

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Seriously HAPPY:
10 life-changing philosophy lessons from Stoicism to Zen to supercharge your mindset
by Ben Aldridge
illus. by Michelle Brackenborough
GLOW: Holler: Seriously HAPPY: 10 Life-Changing Philosophy Lessons from Stoicism to Zen to Supercharge Your Mindset by Ben Aldridge

Mental health matters are unpacked through philosophy and quirky challenges in Ben Aldridge's uplifting first YA title, Seriously HAPPY, which mixes personal stories and synopses of teachings from OG philosophers. Alongside Aristotle and Socrates, Aldridge includes insights from lesser-known great minds like Bao Gu, a female Chinese Taoist physician, and Nigerian philosopher Orunmila, to show readers how to be confident, decisive, and resilient. Aldridge personally "employed Stoicism and other philosophies as key strategies in overcoming severe and debilitating anxiety and panic attacks as a young man," says Holler publisher Debbie Foy, adding that Aldridge's conversational tone makes the subject matter accessible and inviting to a young adult audience. "He is clear that everyone deserves happiness in their lives but what constitutes 'happiness' is different for all of us." --Rachel Werner

(Holler, $12.99 Hardcover, ages 12-up, 9780711297807, 
September 3, 2024)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: {pages} + Eso Won

{pages} a bookstore in Manhattan Beach, Calif., and Eso Won Books in Los Angeles recently teamed up for a joint book club discussion of Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me. Attendees included James Fugate from Eso Won Books; David Holmes, professor of African American Studies at Pepperdine University; and Linda McLoughlin Figel and Margot Farris, co-owners of {pages}. The book club meeting took place at Eso Won, and many from {pages} made the trip to L.A. for the event.

Pennie Picks A Man Called Ove

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman (Washington Square Press, $16, 9781476738024) as her pick of the month for March. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"This month's book buyer's pick, A Man Called Ove, is nothing short of a true gem. It's no cliché to say that I laughed and cried while reading this book.

"We've all known an Ove, the classic grumpy old man. He's particular and unyielding. But when a young family moves in--and his backstory is slowly revealed to readers--we learn how and why he became the person he is.

"What I love most about this book is the way it serves as a gentle reminder that everyone has a story--and most of the time we have no idea what lies below the surface of a cantankerous exterior."

Personnel Changes at Hachette Book Group

Martha Bucci has been appointed executive director of chain sales & Little, Brown sales liaison at the Hachette Book Group. For the past four years, she's been the executive director of the Hachette Book Group Canada and run its 10-person Toronto office, responsible for Canadian sales and managing social media, marketing and publicity efforts. She has 15 years of publishing experience, nine of which have been at Hachette Book Group Canada. She will relocate to New York and begin her new job by April.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Derek Jeter in CBS This Morning Lineup

Today Show: Danica McKellar, author of Goodnight, Numbers (Crown, $16.99, 9781101933787).

Fresh Air: Norman Ohler, author of Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9781328663795).

Good Morning America: Tony Robbins, author of Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781501164583).

CBS This Morning: Derek Jeter and Tim Green, authors of Baseball Genius (Jeter Publishing, $16.99, 9781481468640).

Dr. Oz: Clint Emerson, author of 100 Deadly Skills: Survival Edition: The SEAL Operative’s Guide to Surviving in the Wild and Being Prepared for Any Disaster (Touchstone, $19.99, 9781501143908).

Daily Show: Tressie McMillan Cottom, author of Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy (New Press, $26.95, 9781620970607).

Tonight Show: Tim Ferris, author of Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9781328683786).

Books & Authors

Awards: RBC Taylor Canadian Nonfiction WInner

Ross King won the C$25,000 (about US$18,640) RBC Taylor Prize, which honors the best in Canadian nonfiction, for his biography Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies, CBC News reported. As winner, King will select the next recipient of the RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writer Award, which is given to an up-and-coming Canadian writer who will receive $10,000 and be mentored by King.

In its citation, the jury said: "In this elegantly written and superbly researched book, Ross King illuminates Water Lilies and Monet as no one has before. Ross King brilliantly captures the furies of Monet and the enormous challenges he overcame in painting the twenty-two panels of lilies that surround L'Orangerie. An exceptional art historian, King grasps the political tempests of wartime France and his portrait of Monet's close friend, French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, will be essential reading for all who want to understand the intersection of politics, nationalism, and culture in France during the First World War."

Jeff Zentner: Mood, Ambience and Melody

photo: J. Hernandez

YA novelist, lawyer and former singer/songwriter Jeff Zentner is a believer in creative outlets. His The Serpent King won the William C. Morris Award; his new novel is Goodbye Days (Crown, March 7, 2017). Here, Zentner, who lives in Nashville, Tenn., explains to Shelf Awareness why he doesn't (always) write in a gazebo beside a lake while sipping bourbon.

A prosecutor for Tennessee? An alt-folk-noir musician? An acclaimed YA author? Do you sleep?

I do! Seven hours a night! First off, I'm not a musician anymore. Turns out, I'm a lot better at writing books.  

Do the music and the lawyering influence the writing? And vice versa?

Music influenced my writing by giving me a deep love for mood and ambience, as well as melodic flow of language. Lawyering influenced my writing by teaching me to write clean, clear, precise declarative sentences. 

Writing influenced my lawyering by giving me a better eye for story arc. The one who best tells the narrative of the case will control the case, and who controls the case wins. 

In a TEDX talk you gave, you spoke about keeping a sacred space in your life for creativity. How do you balance the different creative aspects of your life?

I write on the bus to and from work, on my iPhone. I wrote about 70% of The Serpent King on my phone and about 80% of Goodbye Days. I do a lot of multitasking in general. I do a lot of writing in my head while I run and walk and kayak.

I write in my head while I'm standing in line at the grocery store. I think it's important to view writing as something you don't only do in a gazebo beside a lake while sipping bourbon. 

Does being creative for a living compromise your creative output?

My living actually doesn't come from creativity. That's what my day job is for, and I think that's key to maintaining my creative output. I'm at my most creative when I don't need to be; when I'm not relying upon creativity to pay the bills. I'm not a bohemian personality who can set material worries aside to create. I like security. If I don't know where the mortgage payment is coming from, I don't write well. 

Where did your ideas for The Serpent King and Goodbye Days come from?

The idea for The Serpent King came from two of my songs from my music days-- songs which had no apparent connection until I started writing the book. 

I got the idea for Goodbye Days while I was out for a walk one day and several military helicopters flew over. I suddenly had a flash of inspiration for a story about a young man who helps the families of soldiers from a small Southern town who are killed in combat mourn the loss of their sons. With the help of my editor, we refined and evolved that idea into its present form. 

Do you have stories to share about how your music or writing or legal work have changed someone's life?

Writing sure changed my life. I started writing in my mid-30s. That's far too old to have your big musical break, but perfect for breaking into writing. I never imagined in a million years that I'd be living my most exciting creative life just shy of 40. 

As for others, I got an e-mail from a brilliant young man a couple of weeks ago, in which he said that The Serpent King literally saved his life. I'm afraid I don't know exactly how. That's just the phrasing he used. It's not the first e-mail like that I've gotten. I get beautiful letters from teens all over the country, telling me that The Serpent King gave them hope and made them feel less alone.

I guess my legal work changes people's lives by sending them to prison for long periods of time. 

What were you like as a teen?

I was very broody and angsty. I felt lonely a lot. I had a wide goth streak in me. I wore a motorcycle jacket every day, even if it was 100 degrees. 

What are you working on now?

I'm working on a comedy right now that's about two high school girls who have a public access show where they show cheesy old horror movies. Think Wayne's World meets Ghost World

Anything else you'd like to share with the readers of Shelf Awareness?

In the book I'm working on, not even one person will die. 

--Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Book Review

Review: The Evangelicals

The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America by Frances FitzGerald (Simon & Schuster, $35 hardcover, 752p., 9781439131336, April 4, 2017)

The Evangelicals is a comprehensive history of white evangelical movements in the United States, geared to provide a deeper understanding of present-day evangelicals and their influence. Journalist and historian Frances FitzGerald (Fire in the Lake) presents nearly 300 years of complex ideologies, schisms, social reforms and energetically creative theology in a well-organized, eye-opening narrative.

FitzGerald locates some of the deepest roots of U.S. culture in the two Protestant revivals of the 18th and early 19th centuries, known as the Great Awakenings. The revivalists of these movements transformed the rigid and hierarchical colonial society into the more democratic and free-thinking one of the 19th century. Their version of Christianity dominated the U.S. for a hundred years and "brought a populist anti-intellectual strain into American Protestantism" that still reverberates in American distrust of expertise and belief in individual freedom and conscience.

In reaction to forms of Christianity that emphasized strict church hierarchies and a vengeful, disapproving God who doomed most of humanity to hell, Evangelism offered the transformative emotional appeal of universal access to a direct relationship with Christ the savior. Early revivalists lobbied for the separation of church and state, and many fought against social hierarchies and religious organizations. One particularly influential preacher, Charles Finney, promoted individual choice and agency as well as equal moral authority for women, and viewed children "not as depraved beings whose will had to be broken, but innocents to be nurtured and educated." Volunteer societies sprang up to improve communities, and evangelicals drove educational and health reforms and the temperance movement. They served the needs of new immigrants, "built asylums, schools for the deaf and dumb, hospitals for the tubercular... reformed the penal system and the prisons." But they eventually split over the abolition of slavery and the civil war. In the South, "the rejection of emancipation led to the rejection of all social reform," as well as a separation of religion from social and political life that mostly held until the Moral Majority and Roe v. Wade.

FitzGerald re-examines the early split between fundamentalists and modernists, followed by the rising power of the Southern Baptist Convention throughout the 20th century, with its promotion of white supremacy and states' rights. She describes how activist pastor and televangelist Jerry Falwell "provided a new political agenda and the justification separatist Baptists were looking for to join the national debate... he introduced the fundamentalist sense of perpetual crisis, and of war between the forces of good and evil, into national politics, where the rhetoric has remained ever since." This book is not only for those with a particular interest in religious history; it is for anyone with a serious interest in American social movements, politics and culture. It is a history that strongly re-emphasizes the evolution of a nation, and those who hope to shape the future are wise to study the past. --Sara Catterall

Shelf Talker: The pervasive influence of evangelical movements on U.S. culture and politics is illuminated in this comprehensive history.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Going Down Hard (Billionaire Bad Boys Volume 3) by Carly Phillips
2. Pucked Off by Helena Hunting
3. Royally Matched by Emma Chase
4. Crown of Lies by Pepper Winters
5. First Year by Rachel E. Carter
6. The Bennington P.I. Collection by D.W. Ulsterman
7. Diesel (A Blood Riders MC Novel Book 4) by Tia Lewis
8. Stolen Princess (Princess Series Book 2) by Alexa Riley
9. Silent Child by Sarah A. Denzil
10. Slow Cooker Recipes Cookbook by Clark Weber

[Many thanks to!]

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