Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Inkyard Press: The Wrong Kind of Weird by James Ramos

Other Press (NY): The Rebel and the Thief by Jan-Philipp Sendker, translated by Imogen Taylor

Holiday House: Welcome to Feral (Frights from Feral) by Mark Fearing

Charlesbridge Publishing: Too-Small Tyson (Storytelling Math) by Janay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Anastasia Williams

Berkley Books: Stone Cold Fox by Rachel Koller Croft

Blackstone Publishing: The Keeper of Stories by Sally Page

John Scognamiglio Book: In the Time of Our History by Susanne Pari

Quotation of the Day

Bookselling for 'the Love of Reading & Spreading that Love'

"Owning and operating a bookstore has been my personal dream, a dream I've quietly clung to for many years. Truthfully, I long doubted that such a dream could ever become a reality. There aren't many African Americans who own bookstores and even fewer African American women doing so. I've had to search for role models....

"You don't go into this business for money. You go for the love of reading and spreading that love to as many people as you can. I'm thrilled to have local authors and creative vendors selling a variety of items in my store. I even stock an author from Charleston, mystery writer John Stamp. We also recently increased our Christian fiction, nonfiction, bibles and church supply inventory. Right now, I cannot afford mainstream authors, but one day I will. That's why I'm still working full-time and part-time jobs. I'm also still living in Charleston, involved in local organizations such as the Charleston Friends of the Library, and I am blessed with an amazing staff that takes care of the store in my absence."

--VaLinda Miller, owner of the Booksmith in Seneca, S.C., and the primary bookseller of Black Ink: A Charleston African-American Book Festival, in a column for Skirt magazine

Atria Books: The Night Travelers by Armando Lucas Correa


Pagination Bookshop to Open in Springfield, Mo.

Pagination in progress

Pagination Bookshop, "a cozy, independent bookstore, complete with a fireplace and a Harry Potter-inspired cupboard under the stairs," will be opening later this year at 1150 E. Walnut St. in Springfield, Mo., the News-Leader reported. Owned by Jennifer Murvin and Kory Cooper, the shop will sell new and used titles "with an emphasis on books from independent publishing presses, small presses and local authors," as well as literary gifts and stationery.

"We really want to spend time curating choices of books for our particular community," Murvin said. "It's my goal to invite writer friends, friends in the literary arts to curate special shelves in their areas of expertise as recommendations for people."

They purchased the house, which was originally built in 1905 and remodeled with an addition in 1925, in August. Murvin said the moment they walked inside and saw its wide, airy living room, built-in bookshelves and cupboard under the stairs, they knew they had found what they were looking for, a "dream bookstore house.... We thought, okay, this is it. This is the perfect space."

The owners also have plans to convert the top floor into bed-and-breakfast suites. "Anybody can stay there, but in my mind I envision artists and writers staying up there and having the energy from hundreds and hundreds of books floating up from the bottom floor into their head," Murvin noted. "We felt Walnut Street was the absolutely perfect location for us. It's close enough to the university, close to Pickwick... close to downtown. We hope everyone feels like we're their neighborhood bookstore."

Barefoot Books: Save 10%

French Booksellers Protest Award Selection of Amazon Novel

French booksellers have called on literary judges to "defend books and not those who threaten them" after Marco Koskas's Bande de Français, which was self-published on Amazon's CreateSpace platform, was among the 17 titles selected to contend for this year's Prix Renaudot, one of the country's most prestigious awards.

Although Koskas has said he was forced to self-publish after being unable to find a French publisher, Syndicat de la librairie française contended that the jury has put them in an impossible position. The novel is available only through Amazon, so it is "technically and commercially almost impossible" for bookshops to stock it.

"Morally, above all, they refuse to 'jump into the wolf's mouth,' " the Syndicat said in a statement, warning that including Bande de Français on the Renaudot longlist "does a disservice to the author himself, as well as to booksellers, and is a worrying sign for the future of book creation and distribution."

Koskas countered that he was "amused and proud" to find himself picked out, adding that Syndicat's call for him to be excluded was a "great lack of fair play, not to say blackmail." He told the Guardian that bookshops should not be angry with him nor with the Renaudot jury, but with the publishers who "made a mistake about my book."

The author also expressed his affection for bookshops, but cautioned that "if they are bookshops where you can't find my books, when I have spent my life writing books, well, let's say that I am becoming less sympathetic to booksellers' plight."

French author Laurent Binet contended the problem wasn't that the title was self-published, but that it was published through Amazon: "For us, literary prizes have an enormous impact and generate a lot of sales, so the stakes are high. In France, our bookshops are doing better than elsewhere because of a very restrictive book policy... and also thanks to our attachment to paper books. The sale of e-books is still marginal. But this relative good health is fragile, and it would take little to destabilize it. And Amazon is clearly seen as the No. 1 threat. The move from the Renaudot is seen as a sort of Amazon Trojan horse."

Ginger Fox: Free Freight and a Free Book Lovers Mug

Kaplan Test Prep Buys Barron's Test Prep/Study Aid/Foreign Language Assets

Kaplan Test Prep has acquired the test prep, study aid and foreign language assets of Barron's Educational Series--altogether about 650 titles--as well as the Barron's brand name. Barron's other titles, including children's, parenting, cooking, art, hobby and craft, coloring and activity and pet books--about 1,350 titles--will continue to be published under a new name, B.E.S. Publishing, which remains in the company's headquarters in Hauppauge, N.Y. Some Barron's Educational Series employees have been let go as a result of the sale.

Manuel Barron, 98, who founded Barron's in 1941, said: "I couldn't be more pleased to pass the torch on to a company that shares the same roots and values as Barron's. Kaplan has also been a strong innovator in delivering educational programs and products, and I'm thrilled that Kaplan will be powering the future of the Barron's brand to new generations of students."

John Polstein, CEO of Kaplan Test Prep, a Graham Holdings Company subsidiary, commented: "Kaplan and Barron's have always had a symbiotic relationship since our founder, Stanley Kaplan, worked for Manuel Barron decades ago to help a generation of students prep for the [New York State] Regents exams. As we look to prep future generations, we are thrilled to bring Barron's into our portfolio and look forward to helping the Barron's brand flourish."

Polstein said Kaplan has no plans to integrate the brands: "Kaplan and have both been successful taking different approaches to instruction and learning, as they appeal to different types of learners. We plan to continue with that approach."

Red Comet Press: Robin Robin: Based on the Netflix Holiday Special by Dan Ojari, Mikey Please, illustrated by Briony May Smith

Granta Closing Portobello Imprint

Granta Publications will close its Portobello Books imprint, effective January 2019, with all authors under contract to be published by Granta Books, the Bookseller reported. The publisher added that no change in output or personnel would result from the development, with the list size of Granta Books expanding to incorporate the Portobello titles.

Portobello Books was founded in 2005 by Philip Gwyn Jones, Sigrid Rausing and Eric Abraham. Rausing, who bought Granta in 2006 and merged the two independent publishing houses, along with Granta magazine, in 2011 to become Granta Publications (Jones left Granta in 2013), said: "I am so proud of everything we have achieved, but publishing all our books under the Granta imprint allows us to truly focus on building our reputation as a quality publisher of global literary fiction and non-fiction and will bring the editorial vision of the books and magazine closer together."

Camcat Books: Armadas in the Mist: Volume 3 (The Empire of the House of Thorns) by Christian Klaver

Obituary Note: David Yallop

British writer David Yallop, "an investigative journalist who wrote popular books about true crime and conspiracy, including a bestseller asserting that Pope John Paul I was murdered as part of a Vatican plot," died on August 23, the New York Times reported. He was 81.

His 1984 book In God's Name: An Investigation Into the Murder of Pope John Paul I "was perhaps the most controversial of all," but spent 15 weeks on the Times' bestseller list and won the Crime Writers' Association's Gold Dagger award for nonfiction in 1984.

Yallop took on the Catholic Church again in The Power and the Glory: Inside the Dark Heart of John Paul II's Vatican (2006) and Beyond Belief: The Catholic Church and the Child Abuse Scandal (2010). His other books include  Deliver Us From Evil (1981) and Tracking the Jackal: The Search for Carlos, the World's Most Wanted Man (1993).


Image of the Day: 'Josh the Bookseller' Now 'Josh the Author'

Josh Crute, who recently "retired" after three years in the children's department of Vroman's, Pasadena, Calif., to write full time, celebrated his first book, Oliver: The Second-Largest Living Thing on Earth (Page Street Kids), this past weekend with the rest of the Vroman's children's department and a standing room only crowd. He and illustrator John Taesoo Kim's charming book features Oliver, the second-largest tree in the Sequoia National Forest, and playfully addresses topics like "not winning" and interconnectedness. Vroman's president and CEO Allison Hill said, "Josh has been a beloved member of our children's department for years, sought out by parents and kids for his spot-on book recommendations. The only comfort we have in losing 'Josh the bookseller' is knowing we're gaining 'Josh the author.' We're looking forward to Josh's long, illustrious writing career." Josh has two more picture books due out next year, also from Page Street Publishing. In the photo, Vroman's booksellers: from l. to r., back row: Eva Andrews, Nolan Machock, Miles Grant, Tyler Meyer, Ashlee Null, Leticia Plasencia, Karrie Hyatt. Front row: Matt Miyasaki, Steve Ross, Josh Crute and Susan Mooradian.

Parnassus Books' Staff Tests Reese Witherspoon's Hair Tips

To celebrate this week's release of Reese Witherspoon's Whiskey in a Teacup: What Growing Up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love, and Baking Biscuits (Touchstone), the staff at Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn., was inspired by the new book's tutorial on how to use hot hair rollers and "because we're nothing if not thorough around here--and we want to make sure we're ready when Witherspoon comes to Nashville on Sunday, September 23--we gave it a try."

On the store's blog, Parnassus shared photos of the process and results before reaching a final verdict: "This tutorial was amazingly easy to follow. Even the shop dogs could do it.... With our new hair, we gained tremendous multi-tasking powers. Karen could even balance a book in one hand with a little whiskey coffee in a teacup in the other!... Seriously, though: There's so much more to this book than hair lessons."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Doris Kearns Goodwin on Andrea Mitchell Reports

CBS This Morning: Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults): A True Story of the Fight for Justice (Delacorte, $18.99, 9780525580034).

MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports: Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Leadership: In Turbulent Times (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781476795928). She will also appear on CNN's Amanpour.

Wendy Williams: Omar Epps, author of From Fatherless to Fatherhood (Lulu Publishing, $19.99, 9781483485034).

Movies: The Kept

Angelina Jolie will star in The Kept, a film adaptation of James Scott's 2014 novel, Variety reported, adding that Imperative Entertainment recently acquired the rights to the work. Alice Birch (Lady MacBeth) is writing the screenplay. Jolie will produce with Imperative's Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas, while the company's head of film, Jillian Apfelbaum, oversees development and production.

Books & Authors

Awards: John W. Kluge

Drew Gilpin Faust received the $1 million John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity, which recognizes individuals "whose outstanding scholarship in the humanities and social sciences has shaped public affairs and civil society." Faust is a historian, the president of Harvard University and author of six books, including the Bancroft Prize-winning work This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War.

"The Library of Congress is thrilled to recognize Drew Gilpin Faust for her extraordinary work researching, writing and teaching about the fabric of American life," said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. "Through her extensive writing about Southern identity, she has explored themes of deep relevance to our national conversation on race and gender. As the first female president of Harvard University, she has also led one of the most esteemed educational institutions in the world through a period of intense growth and transformation."

Faust commented: "I am deeply honored to receive the Kluge Prize and would like to thank the Library of Congress for this recognition and for the vital mission it pursues on behalf of our nation. The humanities and social sciences have never been more important to our understanding of society and the increasingly connected world we inhabit. They allow us to see the world through the eyes of others, to understand the common hopes and aspirations we share, to cultivate judgement and discernment, and to identify and pursue the questions that must animate our pursuit of a better future."

Hayden selected Faust from a list of finalists for the prize, which is administered by the Kluge Center in the Library of Congress. The center's mission is to "reinvigorate the interconnection between thought and action," bridging the gap between scholarship and policymaking.

Reading with... Sara Raasch

photo: Joodie Photo
Sara Raasch has known she was destined for bookish things since the age of five, when her friends had a lemonade stand and she tagged along to sell her hand-drawn picture books. Not much has changed since then--her friends still cock concerned eyebrows when she attempts to draw things and her enthusiasm for the written word still drives her to extreme measures. She's the author of the Snow Like Ashes trilogy, and her pirate fantasy, These Rebel Waves (HarperCollins), was released on August 7, 2018.
On your nightstand now:
I'm halfway through Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan (2019) which is grotesque and enchanting with this amazing Eastern European-inspired world. Up next, I'm so excited for the gritty women pirates in Seafire by Natalie C. Parker.
Favorite book when you were a child:
The Felicity: The American Girl series. The characterization in such short books enchanted me--and what pushed enchantment to obsession was the richness of this period. I let my love of colonial America influence the culture of These Rebel Waves. (I also will never stop begging American Girl to let me write a YA Felicity book.)
Your top five authors:
Sharon Shinn: Mystic and Rider showed me what can be done with immersive world building. CS Pacat is a close second--the Captive Prince trilogy set the standard for enemies-to-lovers. Seth Dickinson's The Traitor Baru Cormorant is gruesome and raw, and I am anxiously awaiting the sequel. Jasper Fforde will always have my heart for his way with satire--the Nursery Crimes series is a delightful mash-up of police crime and nursery rhymes. Finally, Rupi Kaur--that woman's way with imagery is at once humbling and inspiring.
Book you've faked reading:
Harry Potter. It's easier to fake having read it than to have to explain why I never read it. The reason? I was (still am) a hipster when it comes to popularity, so when Harry Potter rose to world domination, I chose not to read it. Which is not a good enough reason, I know--hence my fakery.
Book you're an evangelist for:
The Captive Prince trilogy. No author has captured (pun intended) the slow-burn romance like CS Pacat. If you see the books in hard copy, they're so short! How could she execute a slow romance in so little pages? But Pacat is a magician, and by the time you finish the first book, you will be smitten with Damen and even, yes, Laurent.
Book you've bought for the cover:
A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge. The U.S. version is this rich navy-blue, and the detail on the mask is intricate. After buying it, I was thrilled to discover that Hardinge's writing matched the exterior.
Book you hid from your parents:
I got the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon when I was 11, convinced they were innocent Scottish romances. I didn't realize until I was well into the first one the sorts of scenes that populate these books. I had no idea how to tell my parents that I probably shouldn't have been reading them.
Book that changed your life:
I mentioned this already, but it's vital to who I am as an author: Mystic and Rider by Sharon Shinn. Without that book, I never would have begun exploring fantasy worlds. Picking it up in a Walmart book bin during high school was a complete moment of fate.
Favorite line from a book:
I have this quote tattooed: "To each his own magic." It's from Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy. I love the permission it gives in acknowledging that each of us has "magic" unique to who we are. No one magic fits everyone, and we shouldn't try to force our particular magic on others.
Five books you'll never part with:
I have a signed copy of CS Pacat's Captive Prince--she's an Australia-based author, and one of my friends snagged me a copy. My author copy of Snow Like Ashes is signed by the actress I fancast as my main character: Ksenia Solo. I have an ARC of Pacifica by Kristen Simmons that is the first time I saw my blurb on a cover--that Simmons is a dear friend made it so much sweeter! Winterspell by Claire Legrand brings up memories of my first signing: Legrand did the event with me, and seeing Winterspell reminds me of friends and snowy warmth. I also have an ARC of Variant by Robison Wells--it was the first ARC I ever got, and I love that it reminds me of those early, innocent days.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is one of those scrumptious books where each sentence is a truffle of mastery. I flew through it the first time, simply because it is so delectable, but I would love to be able to go back and savor it more slowly.
Upcoming book you're excited about:

I adore Claire Legrand (I mentioned Winterspell above), and her next book, Sawkill Girls, comes out this October. It sounds like the type of brooding, romantic storyline she excels at, with lush characters I'm sure will shatter my heart.

Book Review

YA Review: Blanca & Roja

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore (Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan, $17.99 hardcover, 384p., ages 13-18, 9781250162717, October 9, 2018)

Stories borrowing from fantasy, fairy tales and fables swirl around teen sisters Blanca and Roja del Cisne--cautionary tales all. "Because when there is a family in which one of every two daughters grows an ink-black bill and a pale-feathered neck and snow-bright wings, people like to think they know why."
In Blanca & Roja, Mexican-American author Anna-Marie McLemore (The Weight of Feathers; When the Moon Was Ours) tells a story that readers will, at first, likely interpret as straight-up fairy tale. All the elements are there: two sisters (one fair and gentle, one dark and fierce); a curse; handsome "princes." But McLemore takes the fairy tale mold and stretches and reforms it to suit her own artistic needs.
Although the sisters, whose last name means "of the swans" in Spanish, have always known that one of them is destined to be turned into a swan, they are determined to fight this curse. As the legend goes, the swans arrive soon after the younger of the two del Cisne girls turns 15. But, at an early age, sweet Blanca began feeding her fierce younger sister herbs and berries and white rose petals to sweeten her nature and confuse the swans. She herself took the jagged-leafed herbs, the mouth-puckering berries and the red rose petals. "If the swans can't tell us apart," she says, "they can't decide which of us to take."
Now, Roja's 15th birthday has come and gone, and the swan bevy has not shown up. However, a yearling bear and a baby swan--a cygnet--have appeared. Are these creatures the nahuales their mother used to tell them about, humans that can transform into animal forms? When the animals disappear and two missing local teens (one a boy, the other gender fluid) reappear, the possibility becomes closer to a certainty. Tension grows between the close sisters as they begin to question each other's actions and motives.
It's not until they give themselves "to what [they] feared" that the curse shifts: "Even in losing ourselves, we had stolen power away from los cisnes," Blanca says. "There had to be something for us in that, even if it was only the sharp edges of our nightmare being worn smooth."
What sets McLemore's writing apart in the magical realism genre is the way her rich, beautifully ornamented language is shot through with a vein of proud feminism and the importance of owning one's identity. Roja says, "I was neither the selfless mermaid nor the ruthless nixie. I was a girl who would never exist in a fairy tale, not just because of the brown of my body but because of my heart, neither pure enough to be good nor cruel enough to be evil. I was a girl lost in the deep, narrow space between the two forms girls were allowed to take."
In the end, Blanca & Roja is about, as Blanca says, "giving up the stories we thought we already knew." --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor
Shelf Talker: Magical realism weaves through McLemore's Swan Lake and "Snow-White and Rose Red" inspired story of two sisters fighting an ancient curse in which one of them will be turned into a swan.

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