Shelf Awareness for Thursday, February 19, 2015

Del Rey Books: The Violence by Delilah S Dawson

Wednesday Books: Omens Bite: Sisters of Salem by P C Cast and Kristin Cast

Sterling Children's Books: Mango All the Time (Mango Delight, 3) by Fracaswell Hyman

Margaret Ferguson Books: Worser by Jennifer Ziegler

Blue Box Press: The War of Two Queens (Blood and Ash #4) by Jennifer L Armentrout

Hogarth Press: Very Cold People by Sarah Manguso


Sean Shoemaker New PGW President

Effective April 1, Sean Shoemaker will become president of Publishers Group West. He has been v-p of operations and a member of the PGW Executive Committee and earlier was key accounts manager and director of account services. Before joining PGW in 1995, he worked at Parallax Press and at his family's publishing company, North Point Press.

Shoemaker replaces Susan Reich, who is retiring. The two will work closely together to ensure a smooth transition.

Mark Suchomel, president, client services, at Perseus Books Group, said the appointment was "the culmination of a search process I undertook, receiving input from employees at every level of the PGW organization… In addition to a strong operations and finance perspective, Sean brings to the role a keen awareness of the needs of PGW's clients and customers, and the value PGW brings to both. He has a stellar reputation as a straight shooter and is held in the highest regard by clients and his colleagues at PGW and Perseus. Importantly, Sean has the historical perspective and deep understanding of what is required to build on PGW's extraordinary legacy as an industry leader."

Atheneum Books: Room for Everyone by Naaz Khan, illustrated by Mercè López

What Pet Should I Get?: New Dr. Seuss Book

Less than three weeks after news that a long-lost manuscript by Harper Lee will be published July 14, Random House Children's Books has announced that it will publish a long-lost manuscript by Dr. Seuss on July 28.

Called What Pet Should I Get?, the book was initially found in Theodor Geisel's home shortly after his death in 1991, then "rediscovered" in 2013 by his widow, Audrey Geisel, and longtime secretary and friend Claudia Prescott.

"It's up to the level of what one expects from a Dr. Seuss book: the humor, the wonderful illustrations, the rhyming, the imagination, all the things that are so Seussian," said Barbara Marcus, president and publisher of Random House Children's Books.

What Pet Should I Get? features the brother and sister who starred in One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. The book is supposed to have been written between 1958 and 1962.

"While undeniably special, it is not surprising to me that we found this because Ted always worked on multiple projects and started new things all the time--he was constantly writing and drawing and coming up with ideas for new stories," Audrey Geisel said. "It is especially heartwarming for me as this year also marks twenty-five years since the publication of the last book of Ted's career, Oh, the Places You'll Go!"

Last September, Random House published Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories. The publisher said it will publish two other Seuss titles in the future.

University of Minnesota Press: We Are Meant to Rise: Voices for Justice from Minneapolis to the World edited by Carolyn Holbrook and David Mura

Ted Heinecken to Retire

Ted Heinecken

After more than five decades in publishing sales, legendary rep Ted Heinecken is retiring from Fujii Associates on February 28.

Heinecken began his bookselling career in the Midwest in 1963 selling Oxford University Press and then, from 1969 to 1977, as a partner in Heinecken-Ide Associates. He then managed Heinecken and Associates from 1978 until its acquisition by Fujii Associates in 2008. One striking sign of his longevity: he has attended 52 consecutive ABA/BookExpo America shows.

Among many colleagues and publishing figures offering praise, Carolan Workman, president of Workman Publishing, said: "Ted Heineken and Peter Workman grew up in publishing together and enjoyed a relationship filled with enormous respect and affection. 42 years! We will miss Ted's wisdom and professional savvy; his astute--and rarely withheld--opinions; his extraordinary sales ability; and his dedication, loyalty and friendship. But, not his cigar. We thank him with all our hearts and wish him the rich and rewarding retirement he so deserves."

Gary Gentel, president of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's trade and consumer publishing group, said, "Ted Heinecken has been a valued member of the HMH family for close to four decades. As owner of Heinecken and Associates and then later as an integral member of Fujii Associates, Ted played the role of trusted adviser and friend. His advocacy on behalf of his account base and all independents everywhere was legendary and when Ted spoke, we listened. We will miss his warm personality, incredible work ethic, and presence in our lives."

And Don Sturtz commented: "It's impossible to measure what Ted has meant to the rep business in general, and Fujii Associates specifically. It's people like Ted Heineken, who come to work with a smile and generous spirit that help the rest of us carry on. Always a gentleman, I hope Ted will continue to stay in touch and allow us to tap into his special perspective that only an elder statesman in our industry can offer. And I know I speak for everyone when I say this is a bittersweet moment... saying goodbye to a friend, coworker, and mentor who has meant so much."

For his part, Heinecken said, "I have always held the conviction that being a part of the book trade community is a special calling, requiring a love of the book and a belief in the printed (whether or not on paper) word as a keystone of our culture."

Book Industry Charitable Foundation: Penguin Random House is matching donations up to a total of $15,000!

WI10: ABA Past Presidents Reflect

In an unusual gathering, six former presidents of the American Booksellers Association answered a series of questions posed by current ABA president Steve Bercu, owner of BookPeople, Austin, Tex., at the ABA Past Presidents Report panel at Winter Institute 10 last week in Asheville, N.C. Together they affirmed that knowing all they know, they would still happily become booksellers if they could do it all over again. Perhaps most important, they provided perspective on changes in the industry--there have always been challenges, they said, which in the past several decades have included heavy discounting by competitors beginning in the 1980s, the expansion of big box stores, bookselling on the Internet and the growth of digital books. But, as Becky Anderson, co-owner of Anderson's Bookshops in Naperville and Downers Grove, Ill., put it: "We have remained true to the object that we love. The book will never go away.... This object means everything, and we will always be here."

Steve Bercu introduces past ABA presidents Howorth, Kaplan, Robinson, Anderson, Tucker and Shanks.

Richard Howorth, co-owner of Square Books, Oxford, Miss., said he believed that if were to do it all over, his desire to open a store would be "just as great and powerful and foolhardy" as it was in 1979.

Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books, with stores in south Florida, the Cayman Islands and Westhampton Beach, N.Y., said that "the people before us had their own constellation of problems." He recalled in 1981 visiting famed Chicago bookseller Stuart Brent, who, when Kaplan said he was opening a store, grabbed Kaplan by the neck and said, "Boychik, don't do it!" Brent then complained about changes in the industry, including the fact that he could no longer just go visit the late Bennett Cerf when he was in New York.

Chuck Robinson, co-owner of Village Books, Bellingham, Wash., said that when he and his wife, Dee, opened in 1980, interest rates hit 23%. At prospective bookseller school, Robinson recalled, ABA executive director Roysce Smith said to him and the other students, "I don't know if I'm looking at 50 of the bravest or 50 of the most foolish people."

Becky Anderson, who began working in her family's bookstore when she was 11, said that if she could go back in time and talk to herself then, "I'd say be more aggressive and put out the message of the importance of buying local."

Michael Tucker, owner of Books Inc., with a dozen stores in California's Bay Area, admitted that when he started as a bookseller, "I had no idea what we were getting into." But he praised the bookselling world for its collegiality and for how booksellers readily share ideas. "I love this business," he said, adding, "There's always going to be a crisis."

Gayle Shanks, co-owner of Changing Hands, Tempe and Phoenix, Ariz., said she's "happy to go to work and come [to Winter Institute] and see friends.... I've had a ton of fun in my business over the years. Every day is a new adventure."

Some of the past presidents made fun of their own lack of business sense when they started out. Robinson said, "We don't have time for me to describe all I didn't know when we started in the business." Bookselling attracts people who aren't well versed in business, he noted, which is different from most businesses. By contrast, he said, "No one opens a hardware store without knowing about business."

He recalled that in the first year at Village Books, sales grew 70% more than projections, but the store seemed always to be low on cash. "We couldn't figure out what was going on." Then he consulted a banker, who explained immediately: "Growth eats cash."

Kaplan recalled opening his first store with no background in retail, saying, "I didn't know what sales tax was, and I had a weird idea that banks would pay checks no matter what."

He added that the "ethos of being a bookseller" as a "higher calling" that involves "a passionate desire to bring books to people," has led many to think of money as "a little dirty secret that we don't want to talk about as much as we should." If he started over, Kaplan said, "I'd get a really great business adviser to sit with me and advise me."

Shanks said she wished there were a way for booksellers to "monetize" their experience and knowledge about books and authors and the industry. "What we do is really important to our culture," she said, "and we should be paid for it in a much bigger way."

Several of the past presidents noted that booksellers who own their buildings have a major business advantage. Kaplan said that one thing he'd learned in his career was that "I should have been in real estate." He summed up a common conundrum for booksellers: "Many of us open stores on the edge of town or in a depressed area. We build up a neighborhood, and then we suffer because rents go up." One of his examples concerned South Beach, where rents were $6 a square foot when he opened and are $500 a square foot now.

Howorth provided another illustration of the phenomenon, saying he bought his first building in 1984. In 2005, he bought his second, which was "half the size and cost 10 times more."

While acknowledging some improvements in relations with publishers, some of the past presidents touched on tensions. As Shanks said, "We keep talking with publishers about being their partners. One challenge is figuring out what true partner does and what that relationship is." She said she hoped publishers would remember that "we are their front and center line for getting books to the public."

Anderson said she feels "the partnership isn't quite equal. A partnership has to be two-way street, and sometimes I feel we give too much on our side."

Kaplan emphasized "the challenge of creating some kind of rationalization of the relationship we have with publishers." He added that some business practices have to change "in order to make sense for all of us."

Howorth noted that "our partners in publishing expect us to uphold the value of suggested retail and then sell with deep discounts to consumers," which he called "deeply challenging."

Tucker praised "the big increase in dialogue between booksellers and publishers and authors." Howorth added that "authors of late have been much more outspoken in support of bookstores, and that's a great thing."

The former presidents had an optimistic view of the future. Anderson said, "Young booksellers have so many brilliant, cool ideas and we should give them freedom to do these ideas." Likewise, Anderson said, her stores are "ramping up what we do to connect with kids," particularly middle schoolers. "Kids are the future."

Tucker added that "the most exciting thing for me is seeing the energy of young booksellers who are coming up. They're way smarter than I was coming into the business. It's a joy to me to see so many new faces at Winter Institute--and they're all young. That means there's a future for this." --John Mutter


Personnel Changes at Ecco

Effective March 4, Sonya Cheuse is joining HarperCollins as director of publicity for Ecco. She has been deputy director of publicity at Grand Central Publishing since 2012 and earlier worked in publicity at Viking Penguin and Spiegel & Grau.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Paige McKenzie on Today

This morning on the Today Show: Paige McKenzie, author of The Haunting of Sunshine Girl (Weinstein Books, $16, 9781602862722), which will be published March 24.

TV: August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand

Tomorrow, Friday, February 20, at 9 p.m., on PBS, August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand, a documentary about the Tony- and Pulitzer-winning playwright, makes its premiere. Sponsored by Thirteen's American Masters and WQED, the documentary is timed in honor of the 70th anniversary of Wilson's birth, the 10th anniversary of his death and Black History Month.

Director and producer Sam Pollard (Slavery by Another Name, American Masters--Marvin Gaye: What's Going On) had unprecedented access to Wilson's theatrical archives and rarely seen interviews. Film and theater luminaries, including Viola Davis, Charles Dutton, Laurence Fishburne, James Earl Jones, Suzan-Lori Parks and Phylicia Rashad, share their stories of bringing Wilson's work voice to the stage. In addition, Wilson's sister Freda Ellis; his widow, costume designer Constanza Romero; and others trace the playwright's influences, evolution, struggles and triumphs.

This Weekend on Book TV: Wes Moore

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, February 21
10 p.m. Wes Moore, author of The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters (Spiegel & Grau, $25, 9780812993578). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Sven Beckert, author of Empire of Cotton: A Global History (Knopf, $35, 9780375414145). (Re-airs Monday at 5:30 a.m.)

Sunday, February 22
8 p.m. Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy, authors of Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin (Brookings Institution Press, $32, 9780815726173), at Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe, Washington, D.C.

10 p.m. Lynsey Addario, author of It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War (Penguin Press, $29.95, 9781594205378), at Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Monday at 7:15 a.m.)

Books & Authors

Awards: Ngaio Marsh Longlist

The longlist has been announced for this year's Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel, which is judged by a panel of crime fiction experts from New Zealand, Australia, the U.S., U.K. and Iceland, Booksellers New Zealand reported. Finalists will be revealed in May, with a winner named later this year. The longlisted titles are:

Drowning City by Ben Atkins
Five Minutes Alone by Paul Cleave
Databyte by Cat Connor
The Petticoat Men by Barbara Ewing
A History of Crime: The Southern Double-cross by Dinah Holman
Trilemma by Jennifer Mortimer
Swimming in the Dark by Paddy Richardson
The Children's Pond Fallout by Paul Thomas

Top Library Recommended Titles for March

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

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy: A Novel by Rachel Joyce (Random House, $25, 9780812996678). "Miss Queenie Hennessy, who we met in Joyce's first book, is in a hospice ruminating over her abundant life experiences. I loved the poignant passages and wise words peppered throughout. Readers of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry will enjoy this book. There's no fast-paced plot or exciting twists--it's just a simple, sweet story of a life well-lived." --Andrienne Cruz, Azusa City Library, Azusa, Calif.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson (Crown, $28, 9780307408860). "In cinematic terms, this dramatic page-turner is Das Boot meets Titanic. Larson has a wonderful way of creating a very readable, accessible story of a time, place, and event. We get three sides of the global story--the U-boat commander, British Admiralty and President Wilson--but what really elevates this book are the affecting stories of individual crew and passengers." --Robert Schnell, Queens Library, Jamaica, N.Y.

Prudence by Gail Carriger (Orbit, $20, 9780316212243). "I was hoping we'd be seeing Prudence in her own series. Baby P--Rue to you--is all grown up and absolutely delightful. First-time readers will think it's a wonderful book on its own merits. However, it becomes spectacular when we get to revisit some of the beloved characters from the Parasol Protectorate. Gail Carriger is always a delight!" --Lisa Sprague, Enfield Public Library, Enfield, Conn.

The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose (Atria, $25, 9781476778068). "Rose weaves a passionate tale of sensuality, heartbreak and despair, exposing readers to a side of Paris that is as haunting as its main characters. The melding of time and generations transform Sandrine and La Lune into a single force to be reckoned with. The unexpected ending will leave readers wanting more." --Marianne Colton, Lockport Public Library, Lockport, N.Y.

Cat Out of Hell by Lynne Truss (Melville House, $24.95, 9781612194424). "Cats don't live nine lives. They survive eight deaths. There's something special about Roger, the cat, and it's not that he can talk. Truss spins readers through a hauntingly, portentous tale. When my cat's tail thrums, I'll forever wonder what devilment will follow." --Ann Williams, Tippecanoe County Public Library, Lafayette, Ind.

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver (HarperCollins, $18.99, 9780062224101). "Reminiscent of E. Lockhart's We Were Liars, this book begs for a re-read after you finish it. Nick, the main character, is recovering from a devastating trauma. Her family life is turned upside down, and a longtime childhood friendship is strained due to her sister's exploits. I recommend this book to anyone who loves to read multi-layered stories." --Sybil Thompson, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Cleveland, Ohio

Delicious Foods: A Novel by James Hannaham (Little, Brown, $26, 9780316284943). "How can you not be immediately intrigued by a novel that opens with a teenage boy driving from Louisiana to Minnesota after both his hands have just been cut off at the wrist? When you read this novel, you're dropped right into a world--darkly funny and audaciously bold." --Meghan Hall, Timberland Regional Library, Lacey, Wash.

The Fifth Gospel: A Novel by Ian Caldwell (Simon & Schuster, $25.99, 9781451694147). "A murder on Vatican property begins this tale of religion, politics, and family. Two brothers, both priests, struggle to make sense of their friend's murder. When one is accused, the other must go to extreme lengths to prove his brother's innocence. Caldwell's second novel is a book to savor. This is a heart-wrenching book you will want to read more than once." --Elizabeth Kanouse, Denville Public Library, Denville, N.J.

The Pocket Wife: A Novel by Susan Crawford (Morrow, $25.99, 9780062362858). "Dana is a 'pocket wife' because her lawyer husband barely gives her the time of day. One afternoon, she drunkenly argues with her neighbor Celia, takes a nap, then wakes to find Celia dead. Could she have murdered Celia? Dana, suffering from manic episodes, tries to solve her friend's murder before she loses all self-control. Highly recommended for fans of Gone Girl." --Katelyn Boyer, Fergus Falls Public Library, Fergus Falls, Minn.

Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy (Putnam, $26.95, 9780399172779). "This beautifully written novel juxtaposes the glory of the Appalachians against the despair of everyday life. Jacob McNeely recognizes his family's brutality, but Maggie, the love of his life, gives him hope. Achingly told, the visceral prose will stay with readers long past the conclusion. Fans of the Southern fiction of Ron Rash and Wiley Cash will fall in love with this new voice." --Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, N.J.

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan by Rafia Zakaria (Beacon Press, $26.95, 9780807003367). "This is a masterfully executed, gripping, and intimate account of both the situation of Pakistani women and the troubling politics of the Pakistani state. Zakaria chronicles the humiliation of her aunt, a barren wife, as she is relegated to second-class status and moved upstairs to make room for her uncle's second wife. Into this remembrance, the author skillfully weaves the story of Benazir Bhutto, the charismatic and powerful Pakistani leader plagued by the dark history and politics of her country which eventually led to her assassination. A dark tale, The Upstairs Wife offers the reader much insight into the history and culture of Pakistan." --Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colo.

The Country of Ice Cream Star: A Novel by Sandra Newman (Ecco, $26.99, 9780062227096). "Newman drops the reader into a small tribe of scavengers, hunting and thieving out a meager survival in the woods of Massachusetts, approximately 80 years after an unnamed plague has wiped out most of the U.S. population. The world Newman creates is original, richly detailed, and compellingly realized, including the patois in which the story is told. At turns violent, romantic, funny, and touching, The Country of Ice Cream Star wraps an exploration of power, American institutions, race, and human nature into a ripping, twisting, and turning post-apocalyptic tale that is epic in scope and achievement." --Matt Nixon, The Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis, Tenn.

Roosevelt's Beast: A Novel by Louis Bayard (St. Martin's Griffin, $16.99, 9781250053114). "It is 1914 and Teddy Roosevelt and his son, Kermit, along with other members of a scientific expedition, are traveling deep into the jungle to map Brazil's Rio da Duvida, the River of Doubt. Kermit and Teddy are kidnapped by a mysterious Amazonian tribe, and the head tribesman explains that the tribe needs their help to kill 'The Beast With No Tracks,' which has been killing jaguars as well as humans, but has never been seen. Another wonderful reinvention of the past by acclaimed author Bayard, whose literary style includes wit, suspense, and psychological horror with a twist." --Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, Mich.

For Teen Readers
Zodiac by Romina Russell (Razorbill, $17.99, 9781595147400). "Each of the 12 Zodiac constellations is inhabited by people who embody that sign's characteristics. Divided by their own natures, each house is guided by individuals proficient in reading portents in the stars. Only one girl sees the threat that comes for them all, and only she can foresee that to survive the challenges ahead, all the houses must once again learn to trust one another." --Valerie Campbell, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, N.C.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, February 24:

Mightier than the Sword by Jeffrey Archer (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250034519) is book five of the Clifton Chronicles series.

Prodigal Son: A Novel by Danielle Steel (Delacorte Press, $28, 9780385343152) follows twins who become enemies as children.

I Am Radar: A Novel by Reif Larsen (Penguin Press, $29.95, 9781594206160) ties a globe-spanning story into a mysterious pitch-black baby born to white parents.

Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947 by Bruce Hoffman (Knopf, $35, 9780307594716) explores the founding of Israel.

Effortless Healing: 9 Simple Ways to Sidestep Illness, Shed Excess Weight, and Help Your Body Fix Itself by Joseph Mercola (Harmony, $26, 9780553417975).

Now in paperback:

Inspiralized: Turn Vegetables into Healthy, Creative, Satisfying Meals by Ali Maffucci (Clarkson Potter, $19.99, 9780804186834).

Book Review

Review: The Sellout

The Sellout by Paul Beatty (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26 hardcover, 9780374260507, March 3, 2015)

Born in Los Angeles and a long-time resident of New York City, Paul Beatty tramples the stereotypes and accepted sociology of American black males with dazzlingly smart fiction. The protagonists of his first two novels, White Boy Shuffle and Slumberland, are well-read and well-schooled in street vernacular and hip music, with a sardonic skepticism about what it means to be a black man in the modern world. His new novel, The Sellout, takes this same mix to the next level; it's an over-the-top fable of a young black man with the street name Bonbon who farms an urban tract in the once-rural (fictional) town of Dickens in South Los Angeles. Bonbon was raised by an academic sociologist with a penchant for using his son for behavioral experiments and who was famous among the Dickens "Dum Dum Donut Intellectuals" as a "ni**er-whisperer" who defused potential violence and suicide with his soothing voice: a "doo-wop tenor, deep... that rooted you in place like a bobby-socked teenager listening to the Five Satins sing 'In the Still of the Night.' " When his father is accidentally shot by the LAPD, Bonbon receives a $2-million wrongful death settlement and, as he says, "He and I bought the farm on the same day."

Though he'd expected to live a traditional Dickens life as "another Willie Lump Lump with a six-line résumé rife with spelling errors, trekking back and forth between the Job Center, the strip club parking lot, and the civil service exam tutorials," instead, with his new wealth and land, Bonbon develops his farm in the tradition of George Washington Carver, finding his own peanut "in the plant life that had the most cultural relevance to me--watermelon and weed." Bonbon hangs with his on-again, off-again girlfriend, city bus driver Marpessa, and local "celebrity" Hominy Jenkins, the last living Little Rascal from the famous 1920s and 1930s Our Gang film shorts. When Hominy tires of telling stories of his movie days, he insists that he become Bonbon's slave to restore the "plantation." In a plan to reinstate Dickens as a proper community, Bonbon rallies citizens to paint white lines down streets circumscribing the town, erects a fake Dickens exit sign on the freeway, designates the public Chaff Middle School as nonwhites-only, and solicits the addition of the whites-only prep school Wheaton to the neighborhood ("Apartheid united black South Africa, why couldn't it do the same for Dickens"). While he enjoys his "Wheaton-Chaff" segregation joke, the law finally comes after Bonbon for violation of several Civil Rights Acts, two Amendments and "at least six of the goddamn Ten Commandments." His case ultimately goes to the Supreme Court, a scene carefully and amusingly set up in the The Sellout's prologue.

Beatty is funny as hell and approaches what is a serious consideration of race with a relentless parade of stereotypes such as: "If there's one thing a successful black man... loves more than God, country, and his ham-hock-limbed mama, it's his shoes." But Beatty's satire isn't limited to blacks--he also skewers whites, Mexicans, celebrities, Africans, even autistic kids. Behind all the humor, however, Beatty asks important questions about racism and identity. The Sellout is a knock-out punch to everything all races smugly accept as our appropriate roles in a diverse world. It's always more complicated than we think. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: Beatty's saga of a black man farming in South Los Angeles and charged with violations of numerous Civil Rights Acts and Constitutional Amendments is a virtuoso satire with a serious undercurrent.

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