Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Simon & Schuster: Fall Cooking With Simon Element

Tor Nightfire: Devils Kill Devils by Johnny Compton

Shadow Mountain: Highcliffe House (Proper Romance Regency) by Megan Walker

Simon & Schuster: Register for the Simon & Schuster Fall Preview!

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster: The Ministry of Time Kaliane Bradley


AAP Sales: Up 4.9% in First Quarter

In the first quarter of 2017, revenues for book publishers rose 4.9%, to $2.33 billion, mainly because of increased growth in two large categories, adult books and higher ed course materials, according to the Association of American Publisher's StatShot report, based on sales information from some 1,200 publishers.

Trade sales in the quarter grew 0.9%, to $1.477 billion, with adult books gaining 3.4%, but children's/YA down 3.2% and religious presses off 7.4%.

In educational and scholarly publishing, higher ed sales grew 24.3%, to $470.2 million; professional publishing rose 4.5%, to $119.5 million; pre-K slipped 0.7%, to $241 million; and university presses fell 2.4%, to $12.5 million.

Overall print book sales rose some $12 million. The format with the biggest gain in sales was again downloadable audio, up 28.8%, followed by hardbacks, up 8.2%, other (including physical audio and board books), up 4.1%. The two major formats with sales decreases were paperback and mass market, down 4.7%, and e-books, off 5.3%.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Pope New Director of Johns Hopkins University Press

Barbara Kline Pope

Barbara Kline Pope has been named director of Johns Hopkins University Press and will assume this new role at the end of September. She replaces Kathleen Keane, who retired in April.

Pope has spent 34 years at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, starting as an assistant marketing director, and was most recently executive director for communications and executive director of the National Academies Press. She is a past president of the Association of American University Presses and is on the management boards of MIT Press and Purdue University Press.

Johns Hopkins Provost Sunil Kumar said Pope is distinguished by her "openness to innovation, commitment to connecting with audiences and stakeholders, and passion for sharing knowledge."

Pope commented: "I'd really like to have the experience of running a large university press and bring to it my own knowledge of science publishing and also learn new aspects of the business from others in the field." She added that this position will be "a capstone on my career."

Graphic Universe (Tm): Hotelitor: Luxury-Class Defense and Hospitality Unit by Josh Hicks

Obituary Note: Sam Shepard

Sam Shepard, the celebrated playwright, actor, author, screenwriter and director, died July 27, Broadway World reported. He was 73. Shepard is the author of 44 plays as well as several books of short stories, essays and memoirs. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his play Buried Child. Two of his other plays, True West and Fool for Love, were nominated for a Pulitzer. He was an Oscar nominee for his portrayal of Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff, and received the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a master American dramatist in 2009.

Shepard's books include Motel Chronicles, Cruising Paradise, Day out of Days, Rolling Thunder Logbook, Great Dream of Heaven and Hawk Moon.

In a 2016 New York Times q&a, Shepard was asked if he felt he had achieved something substantial in his career. "Yes and no," he replied. "If you include the short stories and all the other books and you mash them up with some plays and stuff, then, yes, I've come at least close to what I'm shooting for. In one individual piece, I'd say no. There are certainly some plays I like better than others, but none that measure up."

In a tribute, New Yorker magazine theater critic John Lahr wrote: "Sam Shepard arrived in New York in 1963, at the age of nineteen, and took the city by storm. He was funny, cool, detached. He found his groove early--a cowboy mouth with matinée-idol looks. Shepard... had an outsider's mojo and a cagey eye for the main chance. He quickly became part of that newest American class: the hipoisie. He wrote screenplays for Michelangelo Antonioni and songs with Patti Smith. He hung with Bob Dylan. To the downtown New York theatre scene, he brought news of the West, of myth and music. He didn't conform to the manners of the day; he'd lived a life outside the classroom and conventional book-learning. He was rogue energy with rock riffs. In his coded stories of family abuse and addiction, he brought to the stage a different idiom and a druggy, surreal lens. He also had the pulse of youth culture. He understood the despair behind the protean transformations that the culture was undergoing--the mutations of psychic and physical shape that were necessary for Americans to survive the oppression of a nation at war, both at home and abroad. Martians, cowboys and Indians, and rock legends peopled Shepard's fantasies. He put that rage and rebellion onstage."

GLOW: Workman Publishing: Atlas Obscura: Wild Life: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Living Wonders by Cara Giaimo, Joshua Foer, and Atlas Obscura

Bookseller Nina Barrett to Publish Leopold and Loeb Case Book

Nina Barrett

Nina Barrett, who founded Bookends & Beginnings in Evanston, Ill., in 2014, is writing a book on the 1924 Leopold and Loeb murder case that will be published next spring by Agate Publishing under its Midway Books imprint. Agate, distributed by PGW/Ingram, is also located in Evanston.

The book will be based on material in the Northwestern University's Leopold and Loeb collections and is tentatively titled The Leopold & Loeb Files: An Intimate Look at One of America's Most Infamous Crimes.

The material Barrett is basing the book on includes the 5,000-page court transcript of the sentencing hearing; the original ransom note sent to Bobby Franks's father; a transcript of the interrogations and confessions of Leopold and Loeb in police custody; psychiatric reports commissioned by Clarence Darrow; and correspondence between Leopold and Elmer Gertz, the attorney who won him parole and kept in touch for the rest of Leopold's life. The book will feature new analysis of some historical materials and previously unpublished graphics.

"We've seen this case tackled repeatedly by true crime writers, and by novelists and dramatists exercising their artistic license," Barrett said, "but nothing compares to hearing Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb themselves talking about why they decided to murder Bobby Franks, how exactly they accomplished it, and what they felt about it afterwards."

The book also highlights Clarence Darrow, hired by the Leopold and Loeb families to save their sons from the death penalty, and Robert Crowe, the state's attorney who argued the case for the prosecution.

The book has a legal history of its own: it was the subject of a 2014 dispute between Northwestern and Barrett, which was settled in 2015. As a result of the settlement, Barrett and Northwestern share ownership of the book's copyright.

"We're very happy to be working with Nina Barrett and Northwestern on this very worthy project," said Agate president and publisher Doug Seibold. "We think it presents a new and very important perspective on this infamous murder case."

Barrett added that the project began when she curated an exhibit on the Leopold and Loeb case some eight years ago and began delving into "the question of why it's become such a persistent piece of American cultural heritage," she said. "So much mythology has accumulated around its life-and-death storyline and its larger-than-life characters, based on the way contemporary journalists sensationalized their coverage and then other writers and dramatists have continued to embroider their themes. Alfred Hitchcock's film Rope is a great example.

"Reconstructing the story from the original documents--which preserve it almost start-to-finish in dialogue form--felt to me like the process conservators use on ancient paintings to remove layers of dirt and grime that accumulate with time. So in the end you have that same familiar image, now springing to life in an entirely new way: A tragedy of Shakespearean proportions that actually needs no embellishment at all."

Barrett has published three books, including I Wish Someone Had Told Me: A Realistic Guide to Early Motherhood, as well as literary essays and reviews in the New York Times Magazine, the Nation and other publications. She's also a trained chef and two-time James Beard Award winner for her food reporting for Chicago's NPR affiliate radio station WBEZ.

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

PBS Launching the Great American Read in 2018

PBS will launch the Great American Read, an eight-part television series and nationwide campaign that "explores the joy of books and the power of reading, told through the prism of America's 100 best-loved books, chosen by the public." The initiative is designed to "spark a national conversation about reading and the books that have inspired, moved and shaped us."

In addition to the PBS series, the Great American Read will feature community reading programs and special events, and a range of digital and social media initiatives. The series will include testimonials from notable figures in the entertainment, sports, news and literary worlds, and culminate in the first-ever national vote to choose "America's Best-Loved Book."

The Great American Read launches in spring 2018 with a multi-platform digital and social campaign leading up to the reveal of the 100 books selected by the American public and an advisory panel of literary professionals. Beginning with a two-hour kick-off event in May, the documentary special will feature appearances by celebrities and everyday Americans passionately advocating for and explaining their personal connections to their favorite books.

Voting and social media engagement will continue throughout summer, with six episodes of the series exploring the nominated books through various themes, including "Being American," "Heroes," "Growing Up," "What We Do for Love" and more. PBS stations will partner with local organizations and booksellers to activate and inspire the next generation of readers through library, education and community initiatives. Moving toward autumn, voting will close and America's top 10 books will be revealed, counting down to America's Best-Loved in the final episode of the series in September.

"The time is right for this nationwide reading initiative that will encourage conversations and complementary activities in communities across the country. We can't wait to see what America chooses," said Beth Hoppe, PBS chief programming executive & general manager, general audience programming.

"The Great American Read will speak to all Americans," added Jane Root, CEO of TV production company Nutopia. "These books tell our story, explore our passions and celebrate the depth and range of our culture. Which book will win? I don't know, but I'm super excited to follow the journey and find out."


Waterstones Ribs Brit MP Over Jane Austen Gaff

When British House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom was taking questions from fellow members recently, shadow leader Valerie Vaz "brought up the achievements of women, naming numerous famous figures who passed away this year," the Independent reported. When Vaz finished, Leadsom expressed her appreciation as well, and then said, "I would just add one other great Lady to that lovely list. And that's Jane Austen, who will feature on the new £10 note, which is one of our greatest living authors."

On Twitter, bookstore chain Waterstones couldn't resist the "greatest living author" miscue, quipping: "We are currently moving all our Jane Austen stock from Classics into Greatest Living Authors. Thanks Andrea Leadsom for the heads up." And: "Anyone know who Jane Austen's agent is? We'd love to book her for an event."

Kitchen Arts & Letters: 'Worth the Trek'

Kitchen Arts & Letters in New York City "has been a bookstore staple for many chefs, home cooks and food lovers for more than three decades," Megy Karydes wrote in Forbes magazine, noting that she recently made time on a trip to the city to stop by "and, boy, I wasn't disappointed. Floor-to-ceiling shelves are lined with decadent books on everything from how to cook, sustainability, food history and, of course, cookbooks. Lots of cookbooks. You could spend hours in the space, even though it's tiny, because it's so well-curated. You'll find books you never knew you needed. The scrumptious imagery in the heavy tomes beg you to risk your luggage being overweight on the scale. Images of freshly-baked bread or elegantly-plated dishes grace the book covers and recipes that line the inside pages of every kind of cookbook you could imagine existed."

IPG to Distribute Quarto Iberoamericana

For its new Spanish-language imprint, Quarto Iberoamericana, which launches in October, Quarto Group has signed two distributors for areas not covered by Quarto's partner Catapulta Editores.

Independent Publishers Group will handle sales in the U.S. and Canada through Spanish Books, its Spanish-language book division, and Editorial Gustavo Gili de Mexico will handle sales in Mexico.

Joe Matthews, CEO of IPG, said, "We're honored and privileged to represent Quarto to the more than 40 million Spanish speakers in the U.S., with a list of such exceptionally high quality."

Personnel Changes at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Stephanie Buschardt has joined Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as publicist. She previously was editorial assistant at Kirkus Reviews, and before that worked in the publicity department at Other Press.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ariel Levy on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Ariel Levy, author of The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir (Random House, $27, 9780812996937).

Fresh Air: Al Gore, author of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (Rodale, $25.99, 9781635651089).

CNN's Money with Maggie Lake: Tyler Gage, author of Fully Alive: Using the Lessons of the Amazon to Live Your Mission in Business and Life (Atria, $25, 9781501156021).

Books & Authors

Awards: National Biography; Texas Writers' League

The State Library of New South Wales announced that Before Rupert: Keith Murdoch and the Birth of a Dynasty by Tom D.C. Roberts won the AU$25,000 (about US$19,965) National Biography Award "for a published work of biographical or autobiographical writing aiming to promote public interest in these genres."

The judges' said the winning book "reveals how a critical engagement with a life that has been much written about, and richly mythologised, can yield new perspectives and insights, thus liberating the reader from the realm of myth. Before Rupert is deeply scholarly yet utterly accessible and enticing. The author draws on a remarkable range of sources, many for the first time, to show how the founding father succeeded in his boundless ambition.... Roberts has crafted a masterful biography, full of remarkable insights into a celebrated figure in Australian business and political history."


Winners and finalists have been announced for the Writers' League of Texas Book Awards, sponsored by the Writers' League of Texas. Finalists and discovery titles can be seen here. The winners are:

Fiction: News of the World by Paulette Jiles
Nonfiction: The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America's First Serial Killer by Skip Hollandsworth
Poetry: Hammer Is the Prayer by Christian Wiman
Picture Book: Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness by Donna Janell Bowman

Midwest Connections July and August Picks

From the Midwest Booksellers Association, Midwest Connections Picks for July and August. Under this marketing program, the association and member stores promote booksellers' handselling favorites that have a strong Midwest regional appeal.

South Pole Station: A Novel by Ashley Shelby (Picador, $26, 9781250112828). "A winning comedy of errors set in the world's harshest place, Ashley Shelby's South Pole Station is a wry and witty debut novel about the courage it takes to come together, even as everything around you falls apart. For readers of dysfunctional family dramas such as Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney's The Nest (but in Antarctica, with beards)."

Tough Luck: Poems by Todd Boss (Norton, $26.95, 9780393608625). "At the center of Tough Luck is a poem about the ill-fated I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis and its disastrous collapse, which killed 13 people and injured 145. The freighted, swiftly moving poems in Tough Luck crisscross the chasm between peril and safety as if between opposing riverbanks, revealing a frequently heart-stopping view of the muscled waters below."

Dear Cyborgs: A Novel by Eugene Lim (FSG Originals, $14, 9780374537111). "In a small Midwestern town, two Asian American boys bond over their outcast status and a mutual love of comic books. Meanwhile, in an alternative or perhaps future universe, a team of superheroes ponders modern society during their time off. Between black-ops missions and rescuing hostages, they swap stories of artistic malaise and muse on the seemingly inescapable grip of market economics."

The Marsh King's Daughter by Karen Dionne (Putnam, $26, 9780735213005). "Riveting, haunting, and set against the stunning landscape of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, The Marsh King's Daughter is a transcendent novel of psychological suspense, the story of a woman who must risk everything she has and use every skill she possesses to hunt down the dangerous man who shaped her past and now threatens to steal her future: her father."

Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781501102233). "This is the story of what happens to an industrial town in the American heartland when its factory stills--but it's not the familiar tale. Most observers record the immediate shock of vanished jobs, but few stay around long enough to notice what happens next, when a community with a can-do spirit tries to pick itself up."

A Different Pond by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui (Capstone, $15.95, 9781623708030). "A Different Pond is an unforgettable story about a simple event--a long-ago fishing trip. As a young boy, Bao Phi awoke early, hours before his father's long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. A successful catch meant a fed family. Between hope-filled casts, Bao's father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam."

The Wrong Way to Save Your Life: Essays by Megan Stielstra (Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780062429209). "In this poignant and inciting collection of literary essays, Megan Stielstra tells stories to ward off fears both personal and universal as she grapples toward a better way to live. In her titular piece 'The Wrong Way To Save Your Life,' she answers the question of what has value in our lives--a question no longer rhetorical when the apartment above her family's goes up in flames. 'Here is My Heart' sheds light on Megan's close relationship with her father, whose continued insistence on climbing mountains despite a series of heart attacks leads the author to dissect deer hearts in a poetic attempt to interrogate her own feelings about mortality."

Cicada Summer by Maureen Leurck (Kensington, $15, 9781496706522). "In this moving, witty novel, author Maureen Leurck explores the intricacies and joys of renovation and rediscovery--as one woman's improvement project promises to transform much more than a home."

Book Review

Review: Quakeland: On the Road to America's Next Devastating Earthquake

Quakeland: On the Road to America's Next Devastating Earthquake by Kathryn Miles (Dutton, $28 hardcover, 368p., 9780525955184, August 29, 2017)

Get ready. Don't live in San Francisco or Seattle? After reading Quakeland, the account of Kathryn Miles's trek across the United States in search of earthquakes, you'll realize there are fault lines all over.

Miles found that tectonic plates moving far below the earth's surface do not cause all quakes. Humans are responsible for much of the shaking by redistributing stress in rock, inducing tremors from oil and natural gas extraction, mining, building dams and reservoirs, wastewater injection, nuclear testing and even the construction of some high-rise buildings. In the first 40 years after completion of Hoover Dam, the waters of Lake Mead set off over 10,000 quakes. This happens with dams worldwide; ironically, the dams themselves perform well in earthquakes.

In Stillwater, Okla., tremors were first felt in 2006, when aggressive fracking began, followed by wastewater injection. Now the town gets 900 earthquakes a year. Many residents have taken to using plastic cups and plates because glass and china break. Every day, they hear claps, rumbles and booms. State geologists proved the connection between injection wells and tremors; the state ignored them, since its economy relies on oil, natural gas and wastewater storage.

As well as active zones in California and Alaska, there are active plates up and down the East Coast. A brittle grid underlies much of Manhattan; the Midwest has the New Madrid fault line. In Yellowstone, there are some 2,000 earthquakes annually. "Charting the seismic rising and falling of the Pacific Northwest is like playing Whack-a-Mole. Keeping track of Yellowstone is pretty much like playing the turbo version of that game--while you're drunk." According to the United States Geological Survey, more than 75 million Americans live in areas of significant seismic risk. On any given day, Earth experiences a thousand or so observable quakes. In the U.S., the aging infrastructure and lack of seismic retrofitting guarantees a major disaster at some point.

Faults, and their proliferation, keep surprising us--there is no known method for predicting earthquakes, nor is there likely to be one. Miles presents apocalyptic scenarios, but says, "We can create resiliency plans and policies that end in a very different scenario: one with far fewer lives lost." We should be in "permanent emergency" mode. Not just communities--everyone needs a plan: water and food for a week, a first-aid kit, a meeting place.

Miles covers the history of seismology and plate tectonics, and the passion, ingenuity and patience of seismologists and their cohorts. She considers past and recent quakes resulting from hundreds or thousands of years of accumulated energy, and quakes from recent fracking. Her descriptions of the earthquake plans of the Memphis airport and FedEx are fascinating, as is her research into Idaho's Lucky Friday silver mine and tsunami measures in Washington State. Quakeland is everything a popular science book should be: well-researched, anecdotal, sometimes humorous, and easily understood. --Marilyn Dahl

Shelf Talker: Travel across America with Kathryn Miles for a compelling story of fault lines, seismologists and the clear and present danger of earthquakes.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Beautiful Mistake by Vi Keeland
2. Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos
3. Buttons and Shame (Buttons Book Four) by Penelope Sky
4. HOT Valor by Lynn Raye Harris
5. Rocky Mountain Home by Vivian Arend
6. Spellbinder by Thea Harrison
7. Out on a Limb by Carolyn Jourdan
8. The Dragon's Treasure by S.E. Smith
9. Trust by Kylie Scott
10. Because of Lila by Abbi Glines

[Many thanks to!]

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