Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, December 19, 2018

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


Patterson Gives Holiday Bonuses to More than 300 Booksellers

As part of his Holiday Bookstore Bonus Program, James Patterson, in partnership with the American Booksellers Association, is distributing grants to 333 booksellers, each of whom will receive $750, the Associated Press reported. The winners were nominated by customers, booksellers, publishing industry colleagues and others, who were invited to answer the grant application’s one question: "Why does this bookseller deserve a holiday bonus?"

In a statement, Patterson said that he was happy to make "a small difference" in the lives of people who had helped so many in their communities. A complete list of recipients is available here.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

New Owner for Village Bookstore in Pleasantville, N.Y.

The Village Bookstore, Pleasantville, N.Y., is beginning "the next phase in its long history" as new owner Jennifer Kohn "looks to keep the beloved store thriving," the Examiner reported. Roy Solomon and Yvonne vanCort, who have owned the 46-year-old bookshop since 2003, "passed the torch" to Kohn this month.

"I started feeling more and more like I wasn't fully staying on top of everything, and the last thing I wanted to do was run this store into the ground," vanCort said. "We love this store, we love being in the community and we're going to miss it enormously, but I think for the store and the community it's way better to have a young, energetic, fresh face here.... I love bookstores. Bookstores are not like any other business. It really is a place where people come to learn. It's not just buying and selling stuff, it's a totally different transaction in nature."

Kohn, who had expressed interest in buying the store for more than two years, "has an extensive background in business, branding, communications and public relations and hopes to elevate the Village Bookstore's presence, something Solomon and vanCort believe she can do," the Examiner wrote.

"We've gotten the store to a place where it's worth spreading the word and marketing to a much broader world, and we don't have the knowledge, skills, energy and expertise," vanCort said. "Jen has it and we're very excited."

Kohn wants to preserve the elements of the store that people love while increasing social media presence, programming and handselling. "Bookstores are all about community, discovery, happiness and joy and I think everything that we do will be under one of those buckets," she said. "People like being in a bookstore because it's a fun and happy environment and we want to keep that. The store really is the town store and it's our store collectively."

VanCort noted that she is "going to miss the daily contact with the wonderful people. This has been our social life for 15 years."

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

Poisoned Pen Press to Become Sourcebooks Imprint

Sourcebooks, which recently expanded into the mystery category, is acquiring the majority of Poisoned Pen Press's titles and will add its own mystery titles to create the Poisoned Pen Press imprint. The Poisoned Pencil YA mysteries will move to Sourcebooks' Fire imprint.

In a statement, Poisoned Pen Press editor-in-chief Barbara Peters and founder/president Robert Rosenwald, said: "It's a privilege to integrate Poisoned Pen Press with an independent, innovative publisher that shares our core values and has raised teamwork to not just the way it operates but to an art. We know that what started small 21 years ago has, like Sourcebooks, continually grown. To enhance the experience of our authors and their readers, as well as of our staff, this is the right time, with a fantastic fit, for Poisoned Pen Press to become the mystery imprint at Sourcebooks. In conversations with our authors, they are equally thrilled to be moving forward this way."

Rosenwald founded Poisoned Pen Press in 1997, naming it in tribute to wife Barbara's legendary mystery bookshop, the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, Ariz., which opened in 1989. The press publishes about 60 books annually.

Peters will continue to acquire frontlist titles as editor-in-chief of Poisoned Pen Press, while Sourcebooks senior editor Anna Michels will also acquire new titles and oversee the imprint. Rosenwald will stay on as director of development. Most Poisoned Pen Press employees will be retained and continue to work out of the Scottsdale office. The Poisoned Pen Bookstore remains under its current ownership.

"We couldn't be more excited to bring Poisoned Pen Press's illustrious name and roster of authors to Sourcebooks," said Michels. "Over the past 20-plus years, Robert and Barbara have curated a list that is unparalleled in terms of editorial excellence and appeal to the mystery reader, and our shared goal is to continue that tradition of publishing superb content while implementing a commercially oriented vision of wider distribution and increased marketing support. Sourcebooks and Poisoned Pen Press coming together really feels like a joining of powerful forces, and I can't wait to work with Robert and Barbara to create amazing things for all the authors housed under this new imprint."

"I love the way that Barbara and Robert think about mystery, and I look forward to doing what Sourcebooks does best--building big success for Poisoned Pen Press authors with broader sales distribution and innovative marketing," said Dominique Raccah, Sourcebooks publisher and CEO. "We love to support fellow entrepreneurs, and I can't wait to work with Barbara, Robert and our new Sourcebooks staff to expand their amazing impact in the world of mysteries, suspense, thriller and horror."

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

Porter Square Books' Games/Puzzles/Artwork Pop-Up

During the holiday season, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass., is hosting a pop-up shop in a vacant storefront in its shopping center. The shop features board games, card games and puzzles for adults, as well as work by local artists. It will be open until December 24 and is being staffed by store booksellers "who also happen to love games, as well as a few outside experts we've brought in to help," Porter Square  said.

Cambridge Wicked Local described the pop-up this way: "Despite the open ceilings and gray concrete floors, the shop is colorful and bright, lined with art on one side and game shelves on the other."

Marketing director Josh Cook told Wicked Local that the owners asked the bookstore if it wanted to use the space during the holiday season. "We said 'yes' first, and then tried to figure out what would be the best use of that space."

Co-owner David Sandberg said: "We like games and puzzles, but we don't have much space for them in the regular bookstore, so we thought it would be good to use this space."

"That selection reflects as much thought as we put into selecting books for the store," Cook added. "It is a curated selection. We put some thought and care into making sure it was the most fun, the best quality, and the most interesting games."

Through the store's partnership with the Cambridge Arts Council, four or five artists are "in the shop each day selling prints, photographs, and other crafts. Artists rotate each week, so the shop is constantly changing," Wicked Local wrote. Sandberg said that the local artists make the space more exciting and attractive.

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

Watertown, N.Y.'s The Reading Room to Close

The Reading Room bookstore in Watertown, N.Y., will close December 31 after more than three years in business. In a Facebook post announcing the decision, owner LuAnne E. Rowsam wrote: "With a heavy heart I am announcing that we are closing.... I have loved running the bookstore and have met some amazing people. This area just can't support a bookstore like mine. Amazon and Kindles are my biggest foes. Thank you for letting provide you and the children of the north country for the past 3 1/2 years. I will miss all of you."

Rowsam "had tried advertising and hosting events like children's book readings and local author meet-and-greets, but couldn't attract the foot traffic she needed to maintain her store," the Daily Times reported.

Online competition was also a factor. "When a customer is standing right in front of me and ordering books from Amazon, it's a slap in the face," she said, adding that once she closes her store, she plans to take a month off before entering another occupation. "I honestly would love to do something where I have a paycheck but can still give back to the community."


'Indie Bookstores Give Back This Holiday Season'

"Booksellers nationwide are using the holiday season as an opportunity to give back to their local communities through donations and fundraising," Bookselling This Week wrote in highlighting just a few of the many ways indies are contributing.

Picture Dr. Frasier Crane at McNally Jackson Williamsburg

"Somebody is photoshopping Dr. Frasier Crane into our Williamsburg store on Google Maps and honestly that’s fine," McNally Jackson in New York City posted on Facebook Monday, sharing an image of Kelsey Grammer's character from the long-running NBC sitcom Frasier as a customer.

The bookseller first noticed that photos "had been doctored--no pun intended--while trying to resolve some issues they were having with Google Maps this week. And, apparently they've been around for quite some time," Mashable reported.

"Based on what's in the window, it's from very early on, when we first opened," Sam, from McNally Jackson's Williamsburg store, told Mashable. "I was honestly impressed with the quality of the Photoshop--Frasier is behind the letters in the window, and appropriately fuzzed out. This person took some time!"

Personnel Changes at Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

At Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing:

Cassie Malmo is joining the company as publicity manager. She was most recently senior publicist at Disney Publishing Worldwide.

Lauren Carr is joining the company as publicist. She was most recently publicist at Bonnier Publishing.

Annika Voss is joining the company as digital and social marketing coordinator. She was most recently marketing operations assistant at Scholastic.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Adam Horovitz, Michael Diamond on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Adam Horovitz and Michael Diamond, authors of Beastie Boys Book (Spiegel & Grau, $50, 9780812995541).

Movies: Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Annapurna Pictures has released a trailer for Richard Linklater's Where'd You Go, Bernadette, based on Maria Semple's bestselling 2012 novel, Deadline reported. Written by Linklater, Holly Gent and Vince Palmo, the project stars Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig, Emma Nelson, James Urbaniak, Judy Greer, Troian Bellisario, Zoe Chao and Laurence Fishburne.

Producers are Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson and Ginger Sledge, and exec producers are Megan Ellison and Jillian Longnecker. Where'd You Go, Bernadette opens in theaters March 22.

Books & Authors

Awards: Quarto Translations Diversity

Heather Marks won the 2018 Quarto Translations Diversity Award, run by the Golden Egg Academy, for her YA manuscript set in both 18th century Bristol and the Caribbean. The Bookseller reported that the prize, which was launched last year, "is for a manuscript that celebrates cultural diversity, including but not limited to ethnicity, gender or ability."

Marks, who will receive a year of free editorial support on Golden Egg's academy foundations course, said she "wanted to create a fictional world based in historical truth and populate it with ethnically and sexually diverse characters, just as it would have been in the 18th century... so that children of color are reflected in the literature they read, and that all children are educated on histories that are unknown but inform so much of our present."

Golden Egg Academy founder Imogen Cooper said Marks's story stood out for her writing and ability to manage two narratives.

Robin Bennett of Quarto Translations commented: "We are very proud to sponsor this award because Quarto Translations firmly believes that is also what inclusive writing does. Children long to see themselves in books but are also drawn to new characters and notions."

Reading with... Bryan E. Robinson

photo: John Michael Riley

Bryan E. Robinson is the author of #CHILL: Turn Off Your Job and Turn On Your Life (Morrow, December 31, 2018). He is a psychotherapist and author of two novels and 40 nonfiction books that have been translated into 15 languages. He is a contributor to Thrive Global, Psychology Today and The Big Thrill, and has been featured on 20/20, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, the Early Show and ABC World News Tonight. Robinson maintains a private clinical practice and lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains with his spouse, three golden doodles and occasional bears at night.

On your nightstand now:

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, The Hush by John Hart (my favorite contemporary author) and A Mind Unraveled: A Memoir by Kurt Eichenwald. I usually have a nonfiction and fiction book going simultaneously. Since I write in both genres, the combo keeps me balanced and informed.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I still love everything about this book--the beauty/brutality paradox of Southern contradictions: cloaked messages full of dysfunctional relationships, racism and deep pockets of religious fundamentalism along with the natural beauty and wildlife of the South, embroidered branches of sprawling live oaks drooping with heavy beards of Spanish moss, stretching low to brush the lush vegetation. And, of course, life along the river. I loved the sense of mystery, the relationship between Huck and Jim crossing racial lines, and the coming of age of Huck Finn. Just hearing or reading the title of the book gives me chills of excitement. In some ways, the book has implications for today's culture.  

Your top five authors:

Most of my top five authors are Southern writers:

John Hart. His poetic writing is drenched in beautiful, rich literary soil and at the same time yields a gripping, entertaining and exquisite mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat. His mysteries usually revolve around family dysfunction, in his words: "It's a place to cultivate secrets and misdeeds where betrayal cuts deeply, pain lingers, and memory becomes timeless."

Flannery O'Connor. I love everything she's written. She was an artist who knew how to brilliantly tease the human psyche to the surface.

Pat Conroy. My top all-time favorite writer. I love to read the descriptions in his writing, although it's one of the things critics slammed him for. He was a master at peeling off the veneer of deeply flawed, eccentric characters hiding behind a façade of respectability and superiority.

Anthony de Mello, an Indian Jesuit priest and psychotherapist, who wrote The Way to Love and Sadhana, a Way to God. They were the first books I read that enlightened me to the idea of the power of perspective and spirituality: "Nothing has changed but my attitude, therefore, everything has changed."

Fannie Flagg, especially Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, one of my all-time favorites, again showing the deeper meaning of life with a dash of humor that keeps you on the edge of your seat or makes you fall out of it laughing.

Book you've faked reading:

I love this question because I think most of us have done this for a variety of reasons. I tried to read Martin Buber's I and Thou in my youth so I could pontificate along with others about the meaning of life. But I never understood it, although I tried like hell to. I finally gave up until later in my life when it started to make sense thanks to the painful arrows of life's lessons and curve balls.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger, one of the best books (maybe the best book) I've read in the last five years. I'm a sucker for coming-of-age books, and this one includes twists and turns and a page-turning mystery with a deeper spiritual message about life and an awesome surprise ending. Also, The Help by Kathryn Stockett reminded me of the racial prejudice I observed in my own North Carolina upbringing that still exists nationwide.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. I love all the Harry Potter covers.

But I didn't enjoy reading them because I like stories that are more closely tied to the social realities and personal obstacles in life.

Book you hid from your parents:

My parents were so self-absorbed with their own troubling agendas that they didn't pay much attention to what I read.

Book that changed your life:

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. I realized if Frankl could survive the atrocities he wrote about in Dachau and Auschwitz, then I could overcome and survive the traumas of my childhood. This book gave me hope to heal. It helped me see that mind over matter is real and that freedom resides inside us--the most powerful thing any of us can ever know: "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."

Favorite line from a book:

My favorite line: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." --Anaïs Nin, from The Diary of Anaïs Nin (1903-1977). Truer words have never been written.

Five books you'll never part with:

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Revolution from Within by Gloria Steinem (because she uses my upbringing as a case study in this book and wrote a personal message to me in my copy)

Sanctuary by William Faulkner. It was my adult introduction to literary regionalism--popularized by Faulkner through dialect, history, customs and landscape of the South. I minored in anthropology and have always been an anthropologist at heart. Both Faulkner and Zora Neal Hurston heavily influenced my first novel, Limestone Gumption: A Brad Pope and Sisterfriends Mystery, set on the banks of the Suwannee River in Florida.

Limestone Gumption, because it was a communion of my boyhood dream--to write fiction with some of the elements of the Southern authors I had read. I still have a deep attachment to the storyline.

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

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It affected me the way Huckleberry Finn affected me. I related to it from the difficulties in my own childhood in coming of age. And The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls because it reminded me of my own challenges growing up.

Book that scared the crap out of you:

Pet Sematary by Stephen King. I remember reading it, and I had to put it down. My heart was racing so fast I thought I would have a heart attack. But I finally kept picking it up and made it through word by word.

Book Review

Children's Review: Carter Reads the Newspaper

Carter Reads the Newspaper by Deborah Hopkinson, illus. by Don Tate (Peachtree Publishing, $17.95 hardcover, 36p., ages 6-10, 9781561459346, February 1, 2019)

Deborah Hopkinson and Don Tate's exemplary picture book about Carter G. Woodson, "the father of Black History," celebrates a lesser-known historic American. Woodson didn't "help people escape from slavery, start a bus strike, or lead a movement of millions"; instead, he "transformed the way people thought about history" and set the groundwork for Black History Month. Celebrated in February, Black History Month serves as a time "to honor heroes like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr.," along with so many others.

Carter Woodson was born on a farm, 10 years after the Civil War ended, to parents who had been slaves. He went to school only part time because he was needed at home, but his father, who had escaped slavery to join the Union Army, "believed in being an informed citizen." Unable to read or write himself, he encouraged Carter to read the newspaper aloud, which gave the boy "his first glimpse of the wider world."

When Carter was 16, he joined his brother in the coal mines. There, he met Oliver Jones, who had a profound effect on him. During the Civil War, Jones "had fought for freedom and equality," and, years later, "[h]e was still willing to do his part to further the cause." Jones held post-work gatherings in his home, where Carter again read newspapers aloud. He also researched answers to questions his friends posed about what they had learned. It was "school of a different kind," and Carter was inspired by these men. "[His] interest in penetrating the past of [his] people was deepened." Carter went on to high school, college and eventually got his Ph.D. from Harvard, becoming "the first and only Black American whose parents had been slaves to receive a doctorate in history."

Throughout his life, Woodson understood that learning occurs in all kinds of places, in all kinds of ways, and he labored to make sure that history included "all people." When one of his professors said "that Black people had no history," it became Woodson's life work to prove him wrong--even though the stories of black Americans "weren't part of any history book," Woodson knew they still had a history. In 1926, Woodson chose "the second week of February" to be Negro History Week "to mark the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln." Later, February became Black History Month, which is now celebrated nationally. Carter Woodson learned the stories of his people, and he wanted to make sure that everyone in the United States learned them, too.

This inspiring picture book combines a rich but focused text with clear, expressive mixed-media illustrations. It sheds light on an important, inspiring, but little-known subject, and the supplemental back matter gives weight to the exceedingly important takeaways that history must include all people, and that anyone can change history. "And we can, too." --Lynn Becker, blogger and host of Book Talk, a monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI

Shelf Talker: Without Carter G. Woodson's dedication to truth and inclusion, we might not have Black History Month as a time to honor key heroes in United States' history.

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