Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Basic Books: What We Owe the Future by William Macaskill

Blackstone Publishing: River Woman, River Demon by Jennifer Givhan

Sourcebooks Explore: Black Boy, Black Boy by Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond, illustrated by Ken Daley

Berkley Books: Pride and Protest by Nikki Payne; A Dash of Salt and Pepper by Kosoko Jackson; Astrid Parker Doesn't Fail by Ashley Herring Blake

Soho Crime: Cruz by Nicolás Ferraro, translated by Mallory N. Craig-Kuhn

Ace Books: Station Eternity (The Midsolar Murders) by Mur Lafferty


Andrew Sean Greer, James Forman Jr. Among Pulitzer Winners

Andrew Sean Greer's novel Less and James Forman Jr.'s book Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America are among the 2018 Pulitzer Prize winners, each of whom receives $15,000. This year's books category winners and finalists:

Fiction: Less by Andrew Sean Greer (Lee Boudreaux Books/Little, Brown), "a generous book, musical in its prose and expansive in its structure and range, about growing older and the essential nature of love." Also nominated were In the Distance by Hernan Diaz (Coffee House Press) and The Idiot by Elif Batuman (Penguin).

General nonfiction: Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman Jr. (FSG), "an examination of the historical roots of contemporary criminal justice in the U.S., based on vast experience and deep knowledge of the legal system, and its often-devastating consequences for citizens and communities of color." Also nominated were Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-America World by Suzy Hansen (FSG) and The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin's Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World--and Us by Richard O. Prum (Doubleday).

History: The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea by Jack E. Davis (Liveright/Norton), "an important environmental history of the Gulf of Mexico that brings crucial attention to Earth's 10th-largest body of water, one of the planet's most diverse and productive marine ecosystems." Also nominated were Fear City: New York's Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics by Kim Phillips-Fein (Metropolitan Books) and Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America by Steven J. Ross (Bloomsbury).

Biography or autobiography: Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser (Metropolitan Books), "a deeply researched and elegantly written portrait of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House on the Prairie series, that describes how Wilder transformed her family's story of poverty, failure and struggle into an uplifting tale of self-reliance, familial love and perseverance." Also nominated were Richard Nixon: The Life by John A. Farrell (Doubleday) and Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire: A Study of Genius, Mania, and Character by Kay Redfield Jamison (Knopf).

Poetry: Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 by Frank Bidart (FSG), "a volume of unyielding ambition and remarkable scope that mixes long dramatic poems with short elliptical lyrics, building on classical mythology and reinventing forms of desires that defy societal norms." Also nominated were Incendiary Art by Patricia Smith (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press) and semiautomatic by Evie Shockley (Wesleyan University Press).

Drama: Cost of Living by Martyna Majok, "an honest, original work that invites audiences to examine diverse perceptions of privilege and human connection through two pairs of mismatched individuals: a former trucker and his recently paralyzed ex-wife, and an arrogant young man with cerebral palsy and his new caregiver." Also nominated were Everybody by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and The Minutes by Tracy Letts.

Disney-Hyperion: Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad

Busboys and Poets Eyes Branch in Denver

A Denver developer's plan to remake the historic Rossonian Hotel in the Five Points neighborhood includes an unusual addition: in an adjoining lot, the company will put up "a nine-story, mixed-use building that will be anchored by the first non-Washington, D.C.-area location of Busboys and Poets," the Denver Post reported.

The project was presented last night by Palisade Partners, headed by the aptly named Paul Books. The remade hotel, which has been vacant for years, will become a boutique hotel with a basement jazz club and ground-floor restaurant and lounge that will be called Chauncey's, in honor of project partner Chauncey Billups, a retired star of the Denver Nuggets who grew up in the area. In part, the Rossonian Hotel development aims to address the rapid gentrification of the historically African-American neighborhood.

Billups said: "Like all of you guys, I've seen the city change in a major way. I don't think it's a negative thing. The only negative thing about it is if they buy it all up and don't partner with us."

According to the Post, "Books credited project partner Haroun Cowans and previous Rossonian owner and longtime Five Points developer Carl Bourgeois for starting the dialogue that got Busboys and Poets involved. Once open, the business will host inclusive programming with a 'strong African American base,' he said."

Founded in 2005 by Andy Shallal, Busboys and Poets has six locations in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia that are combination restaurants/community centers/bookstores. Early on, Teaching for Change operated the book sections of Busboys and Poets. Then for several years, Politics & Prose sold books in Busboys and Poets, but phased those out last year as Busboys and Poets began its own bookselling operations at all locations.

GLOW: Drawn & Quarterly: Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton

BookExpo to Feature Vital Bookstore

Working with Franklin Fixtures, BookExpo this year is introducing a trade show floor exhibit called the Vital Bookstore, a "collaborative learning space [that] will give visitors insights into best merchandising practices to help drive success and engagement for the in-store and community experience. The exhibit will be supported by education sessions geared to helping sellers and publishers maximize sales."

The exhibit will feature four walk-through store variations: a café; a store with modern décor and sideline merchandising strategies; a traditional store with a classic library look and shelving designs; and a children's store with features designed to engage young readers.

Visitors can explore the exhibit in three ways. One is by taking a self-guided tour, examining fixtures, shelf talkers and photos showcasing great ideas from large and small bookstores across the U.S. Or they can join a guided tour of eight to 10 people led by a volunteer docent. They can also join one of many 45-minute sessions with bookstore owners and experts on a variety of topics, such as Creating Store Sales in Non-Traditional Ways, Easy Merchandising Changes That Work and Disaster Preparedness.

Franklin Fixture owners Dave and Lisa Uhrik

With advice from bookstore owners and national experts, Franklin Fixtures owners Lisa and Dave Uhrik are developing the Vital Bookstore. Franklin Fixtures is the bookstore and library display company that has supplied fixtures for the vast majority of indies.

The timing for the Vital Bookstore is ideal, according to Lisa Uhrik, who said, "It's the 20th anniversary of the movie You've Got Mail, which I call 'The Great Bookstore Misinformation Myth'--the myth that small bookstores were dying. The bookstore the movie replicated as a set (New York City's Books of Wonder) has been in business for 38 years and has expanded seven times over the past two decades. Independent bookstores aren't dying; their role is evolving. They're becoming essential cornerstones of their communities."

For his part, Ed Several, senior v-p of BookExpo, said, "The introduction of the Vital Bookstore and the education sessions the ABA will be delivering reinforce the new mission for BookExpo to deliver a platform focused on building a booksellers business and supporting librarians and booksellers in their goal of better serving their community. BookExpo is where the business of bookselling gets done in North America, and the Vital Bookstore is another tool that visitors won't get anywhere else."

Blackstone Publishing: Beasts of the Earth by James Wade

Bookstore Sales Up 2.3% in February

February bookstore sales rose 2.3%, to $706 million, compared to February 2017, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. This marked the first gain in bookstore sales in more than half a year.

For the first two months of the year, bookstore sales were $2.01 billion, down 5% compared to the first two months of 2017.

Total retail sales in February rose 4%, to $437.3 billion. For the year to date, total retail sales have risen 4.6%, to $882.6 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing new books."

Norton Founds First Imprint for Young Readers

W.W. Norton & Company has launched Norton Young Readers, its first imprint devoted to young readers.

Norton president Julia A. Reidhead commented: "As we approach our centennial, Norton Young Readers enables us, uniquely among publishers, to grow readers for life, from preschool through middle school, high school, college, and beyond."

Simon Boughton

The new imprint will be headed by Simon Boughton, formerly senior v-p and publishing director, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. Boughton began his career as assistant editor at Kingfisher Books in London. He eventually became an editor at Simon & Schuster Children's Books; editor-in-chief, Crown Books for Young Readers; and v-p and publishing director, Knopf and Crown Books for Young Readers. In 2000, he founded Roaring Brook Press and in 2006 oversaw the launch of its First Second graphic novel imprint. He has also been publisher of Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers.

Boughton said: "Norton's longstanding reputation for excellence sets the bar high, but its independent, collaborative spirit and spectacularly welcoming people provide all the creative freedom and encouragement one could hope for."

Obituary Notes: Patrick McManus; Alfred Crosby

Patrick McManus, the humorist, outdoor writer and bestselling author who "mined his own life for his stories," died April 11, the Spokesman-Review reported. He was 84. Establishing himself "as one of the country's most popular magazine writers," McManus wrote a monthly humor column called the Last Laugh from 1982 to 2009 for Outdoor Life magazine, and was also a columnist for Field and Stream from 1977 to 1982.

He published 14 collections of his columns, beginning with A Fine and Pleasant Misery (1978) through The Horse in My Garage and Other Stories (2012). McManus also wrote a series of mystery novels featuring Sheriff Bo Tully, most recently Circles in the Snow (2014). His book on writing, The Deer on a Bicycle: Excursions into the Writing of Humor, was published in 2000; and he co-wrote (with his sister Patricia McManus Gass) the cookbook/memoir Whatchagot Stew (1989).

For more than two decades, a stage adaptation of his stories has toured the country, featuring Tim Behrens in one-man shows as McManus's "indentured actor," the Spokesman-Review wrote.

"It was a pleasure to work with him," Behrens said. "I loved him. It was a very close relationship. He was a gentleman and a scholar and a wordsmith."


Alfred W. Crosby, who, in the eyes of many of his peers, was the father of environmental history, died March 14, the New York Times reported. He was 87. Crosby's childhood infatuation with Christopher Columbus "led him, as a scholar, to delve into the biological and cultural impact of Columbus's voyages to the Americas. And to purse that investigation he expanded the historian's toolkit."

In The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 (1972), Crosby "examined in pithy, sometimes wry prose how disease had devastated indigenous populations after Columbus landed. He also described a parallel development that transformed global ecology forever," the Times noted. His books include Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900 (1986); Germs, Seeds and Animals: Studies in Ecological History (1994); The Measure of Reality: Quantification and Western Society, 1250-1600 (1997); and Children of the Sun: A History of Humanity's Unappeasable Appetite for Energy (2006).

Crosby's work "had wide impact," the Times wrote, noting that author Charles Mann's 2011 bestseller, 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, was an effort, encouraged by Professor Crosby, to update Ecological Imperialism. "Al was an exceptionally independent thinker whose work pioneered half a dozen new genres," Mann said. "Scores, if not hundreds of writers--me among them--have scribbled their works in the margins of The Columbian Exchange and Ecological Imperialism."


Image of the Day: Indie Icons on Indie Bookselling

Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle hosted a conversation with (l.-r.) Paul Constant of Seattle Review of Books, Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay, and Paul Yamazaki, City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco. Seattle-area booksellers, publishing reps, readers and authors gathered to hear two icons of indie bookselling share stories about their lives in books and discuss how indie bookstores, through all the ups and downs of the past several decades, have transformed the book world.

Bookshop Chalkboard of the Day: Booked on 25th

"Treat Yo' Shelves." Booked on 25th, Ogden, Utah, shared a photo on Facebook of its sidewalk sandwich board, noting: "It is a beautiful day and our door is wide open. Come and treat 'yo' shelves' before the weather turns cold again!"

Personnel Changes at Catapult, Counterpoint, Soft Skull Press; HMH

Megan Fishmann has been promoted to associate publisher and senior director of publicity for Catapult, Counterpoint, and Soft Skull Press.


Michelle Triant has been promoted to publicity manager at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She started at the company in 2009 and was most recently senior publicist.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Beverly Bond on the Real

CBS This Morning: Wendy Mogel, author of Voice Lessons for Parents: What to Say, How to Say it, and When to Listen (Scribner, $27, 9781501142390).

Dr. Oz: Natalie Morales, author of At Home with Natalie: Simple Recipes for Healthy Living from My Family's Kitchen to Yours (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780544974494).

The Real: Beverly Bond, author of Black Girls Rock!: Owning Our Magic. Rocking Our Truth. (Atria/37 INK, $30, 9781501157929).

The View: James Comey, author of A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership (Flatiron, $29.99, 9781250192455).

Daily Show: Chelsea Clinton, author of She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History (Philomel, $17.99, 9780525516996).

Books & Authors

Awards: Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel Longlist

A longlist has been released for this year's Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, which celebrates "the very best in crime fiction" and is open to U.K. and Irish crime authors. The shortlist of six titles will be announced May 27, followed by a six-week promotion in libraries and in WH Smith stores.

The overall winner, which will be decided by the panel of judges as well as a public vote, will be named July 19 on the opening night of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. The winner receives £3,000 (about $4,300) and a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier. The longlisted titles are:

Want You Gone by Chris Brookmyre
The Midnight Line by Lee Child
The Seagull by Ann Cleeves
Little Deaths by Emma Flint
The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths
The Dry by Jane Harper
Spook Street by Mick Herron
A Death at Fountains Abbey by Antonia Hodgson
He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly
Sirens by Joseph Knox
The Accident on the A35 by Graeme Macrae Burnet
You Don't Know Me by Imran Mahmood
Insidious Intent by Val McDermid
The Long Drop by Denise Mina
A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee
Rather Be the Devil by Ian Rankin
The Intrusions by Stav Sherez

Top Library Recommended Titles for May

LibraryReads, the nationwide library staff-picks list, offers the top 10 May titles public library staff across the country love:

Furyborn by Claire Legrand (Sourcebooks Fire, $18.99, 9781492656623). "Fierce, independent women full of rage, determination, and fire. The first novel in the Empirium trilogy holds appeal for both young adult and adult readers. For fans of Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time, and The Hunger Games." --Kristin Friberg, Princeton Library, Princeton, N.J.

The Other Lady Vanishes by Amanda Quick (Berkley, $27, 9780399585326). "Historical romantic suspense. Who would suspect that the quiet California seaside tea shop waitress is actually an escaped mental patient? The second book in Quick's Burning Cove series has the same 1930s vibe and glamorous, gossipy Hollywood ambiance as The Girl Who Knew Too Much." --Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, N.Y.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware (Gallery/Scout Press, $26.99, 9781501156212). "Ware's best book by far. I finally stopped trying to puzzle it out and just sat back to enjoy the ride." --Susanne Guide, Union County Public Library, Liberty, Ind.

The Perfect Mother: A Novel by Aimee Molloy (Harper, $27.99, 9780062696793). "A frank look at mommy culture wrapped in an original twist on the suburban, psychological thriller." --Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, N.J.

Love and Ruin: A Novel by Paula McLain (Ballantine, $28, 9781101967386). "Biographical and historical fiction. Another fascinating Hemingway wife from McLain who always writes interesting women and great period detail." --Elizabeth Angelastro, Manilus Library, Manilus, N.Y.

Tin Man: A Novel by Sarah Winman (Putnam, $23, 9780735218727). "A beautifully written story of love, loss, grief, friendship, and acceptance. The story winds in and out of time in a figure eight like waves reaching shore and receding again." --Donna Burger, Bryant Library, Roslyn, N.Y.

Our Kind of Cruelty: A Novel by Araminta Hall (MCD, $26, 9780374228194). "Disturbing psychological suspense with an unreliable narrator. This is a love story. Or is it? It's more a story of obsession." --Jennifer Ohzourk, St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis, Mo.

Paper Ghosts: A Novel of Suspense by Julia Heaberlin (Ballantine, $26, 9780804178020). "Grace has spent years secretly investigating the disappearance of her older sister. Grace's prime suspect is Carl Feldman, a photographer, who has been acquitted of the crime and now suffers from dementia. Grace decides that a road trip may jog Carl's memory." --Galen Cunniff, Scituate Town Library, Scituate, Mass.

The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781501153198). "Perfect for the reality TV addicted, this book is gossip laden, full of edge, and contains plenty of surprises." --Sharon Layburn, Huntington Public Library, Huntington Station, N.Y.

The Ensemble: A Novel by Aja Gabel (Riverhead, $26, 9780735214767). "Set against the backdrop of the highly-competitive and merciless world of classical music, this brilliantly written debut is an exquisite portrait of a group friendship spanning decades. Gabel weaves a lyrical tale of four young musician's journeys and their complex, yet resilient, relationships with each other. For fans of The Interestings, A Little Life, and A Secret History." --Mayleen Kelley, J.V. Fletcher Library, Westford Mass.

Book Review

Review: Junk

Junk by Tommy Pico (Tin House Books, $15.95 paperback, 80p., 9781941040973, May 8, 2018)

If future aliens find Tommy Pico's book-length poem Junk among the ruins of human civilization, they might understand what it was like being alive in the year 2018, on the cusp of major cultural and ecological change.

Pico (Nature Poem) doesn't so much distill the times as incarnate them in verse, breathlessly. Seventy-two pages of free-flowing couplets comprise the third in the poet's Teebs trilogy. Ostensibly about a romantic breakup, Junk, as the name would suggest, teems with ephemera: junk food, junk clothes, junk feelings. The poet--often referred to as the alter-ego Teebs--swims through this post-industrial, consumer-oriented inheritance with a stream-of-consciousness style that recalls the generation-defining mythos of Allen Ginsberg's Howl. The poem opens in "the multiplex Temple of/ Canoodling and Junk food," with the poet's anxiety and sexuality likened to "a snipe hunt Love in the time of/ climate change."

Unlike Howl, though, Junk is funny. Instead of romanticizing tragically hip beatnik bros, Pico turns to pop culture icons for inspiration. "My safe/ word is Go to hell Katy Perry," the poet declaims. He revels in the dregs of pop culture as much as in junk food. Between tributes to Janet Jackson and hankerings for spicy Fritos, he philosophizes on the nature of his theme: "Junk as insulation from the cold/ shoulder of people Junk as a/ way of being at the center of yr own universe."

It's the frivolity of Junk that makes its more serious themes and undertones all the more striking. Playful amusement yields to self-loathing and alienation. The poet is Native American--Pico hails from the Kumeyaay Nation of Southern California--and queer. Past struggles on the Indian reservation intrude on racy literary life in New York City. The consumerist urban world outside the reservation is a dizzying, erasing force, driven by white supremacy, heteronormativity and planet-warming fossil fuels. Mired in marginalization, the poet wonders, "How can 'happiness' be anything more than a metaphor for privilege?"

The genius of Junk lies in the poet's outward vision, in his ability, heeding "the gusting forward of time," to create new space for himself and others like him, to create a new sense of identity. Toward the end of the book, the poet self-deprecatingly proclaims, "this is a poem of vibrant inconsequence." The irony, of course, is that it's not. Heady, heartfelt and unforgettable, Junk stands out as the work of an original and vital voice. --Scott Neuffer, writer, poet, editor of trampset

Shelf Talker: Native American poet Tommy Pico indulges modern American consumer culture in this fun yet profound book-length poem.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Rock Chick Reborn (Rock Chick Series Book 9) by Kristen Ashley
2. Kinda Don't Care by Lani Lynn Vale
3. Deadly Trio: 3 English Mysteries by Emma Jameson
4. Rebel Heir by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward
5. Miss Hastings' Excellent London Adventure (Brazen Brides Book 4) by Cheryl Bolen
6. Vegas Baby by Amy Brent
7. The Birthday List by Devney Perry
8. The Hot One by Lauren Blakely
9. Accidentally Married by R.R. Banks
10. Wrapped in My Wife by Alexa Riley
[Many thanks to!]

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