Also published on this date: Wednesday, March 28, 2018: Maximum Shelf: Visible Empire

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, March 28, 2018

William Morrow & Company: The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

Shadow Mountain: The Witch in the Woods: Volume 1 (Grimmworld) by Michaelbrent Collings

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Indiana University Press: The Grim Reader: A Pharmacist's Guide to Putting Your Characters in Peril by Miffie Seideman

St. Martin's Press: Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder by Kerryn Mayne


Judith Curr to Head HarperOne, Amistad and Rayo

Judith Curr

Judith Curr will join HarperCollins as president and publisher, HarperOne, Amistad and Rayo, effective April 2. She will also be a member of the global executive committee. Curr, who founded Atria Books in 2002 and was named president and publisher of Atria Publishing Group in 2012, left that position in January. A native of Australia, she has been an executive in U.S. publishing since 1996.

In her new role, Curr will work with the existing team, expanding the imprint's current editorial scope to include developing, marketing and building fiction and nonfiction properties with global appeal for both the HarperCollins English- and foreign-language publishing programs. According to the company, the goal is to increase HarperOne's list from 50 titles to 120 titles per year. She will also continue to build the company's list of diverse writers and stories within the HarperOne list, as well as expand the Amistad and Rayo trade lists. HarperOne staff will continue to work out of both the New York and San Francisco offices.

"I have always greatly admired Judith's creative and entrepreneurial approach to publishing, evidenced by The Secret exploding into a cultural phenomenon, and Fredrik Backman's A Man Called Ove climbing bestseller lists around the world," said HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray, to whom she will report. "Her ability to achieve broad success across a wide range of genres is remarkable, and her focus on publishing books that help shape the culture in positive ways makes her a perfect leader for the HarperOne group. Judith brings tremendous experience, passion and energy to the next set of global blockbusters across HarperCollins offices around the world."

Curr commented: "I have great respect for Brian Murray, particularly his global vision. My role--to build upon the already successful and diverse HarperCollins imprints--perfectly combines my passions in publishing. It comes at a time when publishing is full of opportunities and challenges, and as new voices and readerships are emerging both globally and locally."

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland

Karma to Open Bookshop at Former St. Mark's Location

Karma will be moving into the space once occupied by St Mark's Bookstore.

Karma, the New York City bookseller and art gallery, is preparing to open a location at 136 E. 3rd St., the former site of St. Mark's Bookshop. The East Village Patch reported that documents filed with the city's Department of Buildings show the lease has been taken over by Karma, which currently has an existing location just a block away from its new storefront at 188 E. 2nd St., and another in Amagansett, N.Y.

The closure of St. Mark's Bookshop in 2016 came after several years of financial difficulties and despite a few possible offers of support at the last minute that might have kept the store open. The cost of the store's move in 2014 to a much more affordable location was more expensive than expected, and St. Mark's never really recovered from the Great Recession.

Chronicle Books: Life Wants You Dead: A Calm, Rational, and Totally Legit Guide to Scaring Yourself Safe by Evan Waite, Illustrated by Paula Searing

At S&S: Russo Retiring, Changes in Digital, Int'l Sales

Seth Russo

Seth Russo, v-p, director of international sales, at Simon & Schuster, is retiring, effective April 20.

In related moves, Colin Shields, v-p and executive director, global digital and international sales, will take on direct, day-to-day responsibility for S&S's international sales channel, and Christina "Chrissy" Festa will add audio sales to her responsibilities and become director, audio, digital and online sales.

Russo has had a career of more than 35 years in international sales, including two stints leading the Simon & Schuster international sales team, from 1992 to 1997, and 2010 to present. He has also served as chair of the international committee of the Association of American Publishers and as a lecturer at the New York University Summer Publishing Institute.

In an announcement, Gary Urda, senior v-p of sales at S&S, wrote that Russo "successfully steered the international sales team through various opportunities and challenges, including the digital transition, the advent of online retailers, the rise of developing markets in Asia and the integration of many new publishers to our distribution client portfolio. Through all this, he developed a strong international sales team, and his efforts have contributed to sustained growth in that channel...

"Seth is looking forward to spending more time with his family, to dividing his time between New York and France, diving into the many books he has helped bring to the international marketplace, and to taking on special projects as may engage his interest."

GLOW: Tundra Books: We Are Definitely Human by X. Fang

Indies Plan for Bookstore Day 2018

With the fourth annual Independent Bookstore Day roughly a month away, Shelf Awareness is taking an early look at what indies around the country have planned for Saturday, April 28.

In conjunction with IBD, the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association will roll out the first annual Midwest Indie Bookstore Roadmap. Drawn by Twin Cities artist Kevin Cannon, the map features around 150 bookstores across 10 states, and though it is not to scale, it does include major highway systems, landmarks and pop-out illustrations for urban areas.

Beginning April 28, customers can pick up one of the maps at any bricks-and-mortar indie that sells new books in the MIBA region, and over the next year, customers can enter to win a $25 gift card each month by visiting a bookstore featured on the map, taking a photo at the store, and posting it to social media using the hashtag #BookstoreRoadmap. And on Independent Bookstore Day 2019, one of the #BookstoreRoadmap posts made over the past year will be chosen to win a $500 gift card to any store on the map. MIBA stores will receive their maps prior to April 28, and more information about the roadmap and contest can be found here.

Independent bookstores in Seattle, Wash., are once again teaming up for Seattle Independent Bookstore Day. On April 28, book lovers can pick up a SIBD passport at any of the 19 participating stores and get their passports stamped at each store they visit. Shoppers who collect three or more stamps will receive a one-time, 30%-off coupon at any one of the 19 stores. Shoppers who collect stamps at every one of the 19 stores will earn a Champion Card that will give them 25% off at every SIBD store for the next year. According to Terry Tazioli of University Book Store, 42 people made it to all participating stores in 2015, while 320 people received Champion Cards on IBD 2017. The SIBD organizers hope for another record-breaking day in 2018.

In Brooklyn, N.Y., Greenlight Bookstore will celebrate Independent Bookstore Day at its Fort Greene and Prospect Lefferts Gardens locations. While both stores will have some activities in common, such as day-long celebrations of Dr. Seuss and Llama Llama, as well as story time sessions during which Brooklyn community leaders will read from the picture book Maisy Goes to the Local Bookstore, each store will host its own special events. At Prospect Lefferts Gardens, a variety of children's illustrators, cartoonists and authors will draw sketches and portraits for customers. At the Fort Greene store, Greenlight will host its first annual Bookstore Day Literary Pub Quiz, with literary trivia questions provided by local authors.

At Left Bank Books in St. Louis, Mo., plans for Independent Bookstore Day include custom, literary-themed pancakes made by a local "pancake artist," a Llama Llama coloring party, a Staff Pick Supermarket Sweep in which two Left Bank booksellers compete to "handsell their favorite books," and a bullet journaling class. Also on the schedule are a one-hour used book sale, a bookstore scavenger hunt and a Literary Dance Party in support of River City Readers, featuring specially made cocktails. Throughout the day, Left Bank will sell IBD merchandise as well as limited-edition signed prints from Mary Engeldark.

And in Berkeley and Oakland, Calif., Pegasus Books will be hosting IBD festivities at its three locations. Each store will have the IBD exclusive merchandise for sale, and snacks and treats available for customers, as well as a prize wheel, which customers can spin when they purchase a book. Prizes include a gift basket of new books, Pegasus-branded gear and more. That evening, Pegasus will host an author event with writer and activist Betty Reid Soskin at the store's downtown Berkeley location. Soskin will discuss her memoir, Sign My Name to Freedom: A Memoir of a Pioneering Life.

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

Obituary Note: Wilson Harris

Guyanese novelist and essayist Wilson Harris, "who addressed themes of colonialism and cultural identity in weaving stories of history, fantasy, myth and philosophy," died March 8, the New York Times reported. He was 96. Harris, who lived in England for nearly 60 years, "had been a land surveyor for almost 15 years. But that work, which involved trips into Guyana's jungles and vast savanna and contact with its diverse populations, turned out to be excellent preparation for a literary career."

His first novel, Palace of the Peacock, was published in 1960, the year after he relocated to England, and became part of his Guyana Quartet along with The Far Journey of Oudin (1961), The Whole Armour (1962) and The Secret Ladder (1963). Harris wrote 26 novels in all, including Jonestown (1996), Resurrection at Sorrow Hill (1993), The Dark Jester (2001), and The Ghost of Memory (2006).

"One thing that set Harris apart was the breadth of his vision, the Guardian wrote. "He was interested in physics, anthropology, mythology, alchemy and the pioneers of the unconscious, particularly Carl Jung. "He also warned against the trap of victimhood in postcolonial fiction, which could lead the oppressed to become as prejudiced as their former oppressors."


Image of the Day: Bill Petrocelli & Through the Bookstore Window

Bill Petrocelli, co-owner of Book Passage, launched his new mystery, Through the Bookstore Window (Rare Bird Books), at his Corte Madera, Calif., store on Saturday.

Pictured: Bill Petrocelli (seated) with (l.-r.) director of events Karen West; Bill's daughter Kathryn Petrocelli, director of conferences; staff member Allison Bainbridge; Bill's wife and co-owner of the store, Elaine Petrocelli.

Cool Idea of the Day: Supporting My Bookstore

Not long after reading Ronald Rice's My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop, printing professional and self-professed "bibliomaniac" Paul Golden decided to support independent bookstores in a novel way: by buying a book from each of the 82 bookstores mentioned in My Bookstore.

He began in 2013, buying Abraham Verghese's Cutting for Stone from Prairie Lights Books & Cafe in Iowa City, Iowa. From there, he created a list on his computer of "the 82" and began ordering books, pretty much in the sequence they appear in the table of contents of My Bookstore. Golden said he now has only 20 stores left to go, but he did note that, unfortunately, quite a few of the featured stores have closed permanently, before he was able to make a purchase.

When it comes to deciding what book to buy next, Golden said he usually browses the New York Review of Books until he finds something that sounds interesting and does not make a point of trying to buy a book that has some connection to a given store or the My Bookstore essay. The one exception to this was Cutting For Stone--Verghese himself wrote the article about Prairie Lights. Golden does, however, make a point of asking for a bookmark or "some other ephemera from their shop" to have as a keepsake.

Golden reported that the last bookstore on his list is The Bookloft in Great Barrington, Mass., and he has no idea which book will be his final purchase. Once he's completed the project, he continued, he plans to re-read My Bookstore and "try to draw some mental image or connection between the essay in the book and my own interaction with the bookseller at those shops."

He added that it has been "fascinating speaking with book people around the country," and "without exception the response to my project has been met with interest and gratitude."

Media and Movies

Bloomsbury to Partner with British Film Institute

Bloomsbury has become the British Film Institute's publishing partner and will be responsible for commissioning, production, global sales, marketing, publicity and distribution of BFI Publishing books worldwide.

In a joint statement, Bloomsbury and BFI said they "share a commitment to high production and research values, and to diversity and young audiences. We look forward to working together to disseminate the BFI books and brand globally, while introducing new directions in the program and exploring new initiatives in digital publishing."

Jenny Ridout, Bloomsbury's global head of academic publishing, said: "We are delighted to be working with fellow colleagues at the BFI, along with BFI authors, customers and readers to develop new directions, global audiences and exciting digital initiatives for the list. We look forward to a strong creative collaboration, and a shared sense of commitment, values and purpose."

Rob Winter, head of publishing, commented: "I can't think of anyone better suited or more closely aligned to the ambitions of the BFI [than Bloomsbury]. Their reputation in the visual arts and the dynamic range of publishing they offer in both trade and academic spaces will ensure the BFI reaches the broadest spectrum of readers--all of us bound by our passion for film and the moving image."

Media Heat: Sara Saedi on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Sara Saedi, author of Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card (Knopf Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9781524717797).

Morning Joe: Ross Douthat, author of To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781501146923).

Watch What Happens Live: Chrissy Metz, author of This Is Me: Loving the Person You Are Today (Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062837875).

E!'s Daily Pop: Erika Jayne, author of Pretty Mess (Gallery, $27, 9781501181894).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Mike Epps, author of Unsuccessful Thug: One Comedian's Journey from Naptown to Tinseltown (Harper, $26.99, 9780062684899). He's also on Rachael Ray today.

Conan: Sean Penn, author of Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff: A Novel (Atria, $24, 9781501189043).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Alex Wagner, author of Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging (One World, $28, 9780812997941).

Books & Authors

Woodson Named Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award Laureate

American author Jacqueline Woodson was named laureate of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, which is given annually to authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and reading promoters "to promote interest in children's and young adult literature." The winner receives five million Swedish kronor (about $608,514).

In praising this year's honoree, the jury's citation said Woodson "introduces us to resilient young people fighting to find a place where their lives can take root. In language as light as air, she tells stories of resounding richness and depth. Jacqueline Woodson captures a unique poetic note in a daily reality divided between sorrow and hope."

Woodson is the author of more than 30 books, including novels, poetry and picture books. Earlier this year, she was named the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Woodson is a four-time Newbery Honor Medalist, Coretta Scott King Book Award-winner, former Young People's Poet Laureate and winner of the National Book Award in 2014 for Brown Girl Dreaming.

Awards: Dylan Thomas International; Republic of Consciousness; B&N Discover

A shortlist has been unveiled for the £30,000 (about $42,325) International Dylan Thomas Prize, which is sponsored by Swansea University and recognizes the "best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under." The winner will be announced May 10. The shortlisted titles are:

Kumakanda by Kayo Chingonyi
Her Body & Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
First Love by Gwendoline Riley
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
Idaho by Emily Ruskovich
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent


Influx Press won the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses, which recognizes "independent publishers from the U.K. and Ireland that take the risk to publish brave and bold literary fiction," for its title Attrib. and Other Stories by Eley William, the Bookseller reported. Influx Press receives £5,000 (about $7,115), with £3,000 going to the publisher and £2,000 to the author.

Prize founder Neil Griffiths said Influx's achievement was "exactly what the Republic of Consciousness Prize was set up to reward. A small press that is so focused on what it wants to publish it can see unusually brilliant writing more clearly--especially when it comes to short stories. Eley Williams is that rare thing, a deeply serious writer working on a playful level. In the middle of her story 'Smote', I was floored. I realized I was reading a prose poet of a very high caliber indeed, and I said to myself: this book will win. The judges agreed."


Barnes & Noble has chosen 22 titles for the Summer 2018 Discover Great New Writers program. The books--15 novels and seven works of nonfiction--are being published between April and August. Miwa Messer, director of the Discover Great New Writers program, said that the selections "wowed us and broke our hearts--sometimes in the same sentence. These are [books] that we can't stop thinking about, because the writing is just that sharp and snappy and good and the narrative voice just that unforgettable."

Reading with... Futhi Ntshingila

photo: Cori Wielenga

Futhi Ntshingila was born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. She is the author of the novels Shameless (UKZN Press) and Do Not Go Gentle (Modjaji Books). Her work deals with women who are on the peripheries of societies. She is a former journalist with a postgraduate diploma in journalism from Rhodes University and master's degree in conflict resolution from the University of KwaZulu Natal. Her novel We Kiss Them with Rain was just published by Catalyst Press.

On your nightstand now:

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Favorite book when you were a child:

As a child, I had my grandmother telling me stories and folktales. I would be lying if I said I had a favorite book as a child. I did not have books then. At school, I remember Inkinsela YaseMgungundlovu by Sibusiso Nyembezi. This translates as "The Rich Man of Pietermaritzburg."

Your top five authors:

Ayana Mathis--The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

Sue Nyathi--The Polygamist

Angela Makholwa--current favorite The Blessed Girl

Maya Angelou--Everything of hers

Toni Morrison--Everything of hers

Book you've faked reading:

At school they prescribed an odd book called I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven. I was young and I couldn't identify with it at all. I read bits, but I don't think I finished. In exams I had to give a brief summary of the book. I did despite having not finished reading it. Actually, I should go back to read it again and see if I would feel differently now.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Currently, it's Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Ask me again in three months, it would be another title. I read and fall in love with a lot of books. We are in an age where there is so much creative production; we are left spoiled for choice.

Book you've bought for the cover:

None. I look at the blurbs on the back and I get pulled in. I try not to be influenced by reviews because I think lately reviewers are a depressed lot with acid tongues and excessive meanness.

Book you hid from your parents:

None, my parents have long left me to my own devices with my choices from reading to life decisions that I make. I gained their trust early on.

Book that changed your life:

I don't think I have one because I think with each one I am changed by the time I'm done. I haven't had a definitive Damascus moment with a singular book, really.

Favorite line from a book:

"I know why a caged bird sings"--I know that it is a title of one of Maya Angelou's autobiographies but it is my favorite line because it carries with it so much hope.

Five books you'll never part with:

A collection of Maya Angelou's autobiographies.

The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, Beloved, Paradise, A Mercy and Home by Toni Morrison

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

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Book Review

Children's Review: The Brilliant Deep

The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World's Coral Reefs by Kate Messner, illus. by Matthew Forsythe (Chronicle, $17.99 hardcover, 48p., ages 6-10, 9781452133508, May 8, 2018)

In a visually exhilarating exploration, author Kate Messner (Over and Under the Pond) and illustrator Matthew Forsythe (The Bad Mood and the Stick; Warning: Do Not Open This Book!) tell the inspiring story of Ken Nedimyer and the Coral Restoration Foundation.

Nedimyer, son of a NASA engineer, grew up in Florida but, unlike his father, "Ken's dreams weren't in the stars. He loved the ocean." Messner tells her readers, "[h]e watched TV shows about underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau. He visited the beach whenever he could, swimming far out to a world of angelfish and sea stars." Forsythe's illustrations set tone: calming, inviting colors as a young Ken watches the sun rise over the water; bold, dark colors in an exciting underwater Cousteau adventure.

As Nedimyer ages, he continues to submerge himself in ocean life--literally while scuba diving in the ocean and metaphorically in his own bedroom housing 30 aquariums. The textures of Forsythe's corresponding illustrations create a feeling of authenticity and seem to pulse with the life that fascinates the adolescent Nedimyer.

And when Messner shares the foreboding news, "One summer, hotter than the rest, Ken noticed the corals were losing their color, and there weren't as many fish," a silent, dark double-page spread follows, conjuring thoughts of an eerie, watery graveyard. From this sad, gloomy depth, the story begins to buoy.

The audience learns about live rock farms and staghorn corals. They share in the excitement of Nedimyer's discovery of the coral as well as his experiments replanting them on the dying reefs and the inception of the Coral Restoration Foundation. As the other ocean wildlife--gulls and fish--follow him in the illustrations, there's a sense of support, encouragement, maybe even a cheer squad. The intensity increases, the colors brighten and hope emerges from the vivid pages, Messner and Forsythe giving readers cause for jubilation in Nedimyer's adventure.

The stunning attention to detail in Forsythe's art--he carefully shapes a "dab of epoxy" being squeezed from a tube to match the text, "just the size of a Hershey's Kiss"--complements Messner's narrative and helps bring it to life. His illustration at the end depicting an adult Nedimyer sitting in front of the same ocean as the boy Nedimyer at the book's opening, brings the tale to a satisfying, heart-warming end. And Messner's final words, "It starts with one"--the same four that opened the story--remind the audience that the sun will come up again tomorrow, giving them a chance to be the "one" as well. 

An excellent introduction to environmental awareness and respect, The Brilliant Deep is sure to spark interest and inspire many young readers. The endnotes, providing additional resources and vocabulary terms, give budding marine biologists more avenues to explore and learn. As we know from Ken Nedimyer, "It starts with one." The Brilliant Deep may be that one that triggers the next young Nedimyer. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Shelf Talker: The ocean comes alive in this dazzling, nonfiction picture book about the life of Ken Nedimyer and his efforts to save the coral reefs through the creation of the Coral Restoration Foundation.

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