Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 6, 2015

Blackstone Publishing: An Honorable Assassin (Nick Mason Novels #3) by Steve Hamilton

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine

Running Press Kids: The Junior Witch's Handbook, The Junior Astrologer's Handbook, and The Junior Tarot Reader's Handbook by Nikki Van De Car

Scholastic Press: Ruin Road by Lamar Giles


Chicago Stores Set Independent Bookstore Day Activities

Twelve Chicago-area indies are teaming up to put their own twist on Independent Bookstore Day. On May 2, the participating stores will provide customers with activities that include author visits, raffles, special sales, baked goods and refreshments, and, exclusive to these Chicago bookstores, illustrated pages from an unreleased Stuart Dybek story. Customers are encouraged to travel from store to store to gather the pages and complete the story, which was illustrated by Dmitry Samarov specifically for the event. Last year, nine Chicago indies, inspired by California Bookstore Day, held the first Chicago Independent Bookstore Store July 11.

The participating stores are: Women & Children First, Powell's Bookstore University Village, Uncharted Books, City Lit Books, Open Books Pilsen, Open Books River North, Roscoe Books, Unabridged Bookstore, Sandmeyer's Bookstore, Seminary Coop, 57th Street Books and the Book Cellar. More information on the schedules of particular stores can be found here.

Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!

Amazon Launches Prime Now in Atlanta

Amazon has expanded its Prime Now program, the one-hour delivery service for Prime members, to parts of Atlanta, Ga. Prime Now is also available in parts of Baltimore, Brooklyn, Dallas, Manhattan and Miami. Dave Clark, Amazon's senior v-p of worldwide operations, said Amazon plans "to continue expanding Prime Now to additional cities this year."

Welcome, Kristianne Huntsberger!

Welcome to Kristianne Huntsberger, who has joined Shelf Awareness as publishing assistant. Working in our Seattle office, Kristianne has solid experience for the job. She worked at Elliott Bay Book Company from 2002 to 2004, went to grad school, then returned and has served as on-call events staff since 2008. She wrote regularly for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association's Northwest Booklovers blog, contributes to Alaska Airlines magazine and has her own blog, Spectator Spots, where she offers observations on our relationship with place.

Also a storyteller, she has won grants from 4Culture and the City of Seattle for the workshops she hosts with refugee youth and groups of women--a project she started while living and teaching in Myanmar.

Obituary Note: Dan Odegard

Dan Odegard

Dan Odegard, longtime bookseller, died last Tuesday, March 31. He was 69 and had battled multiple myeloma (plasma cancer) for five years, according to the Pioneer Press.

Odegard co-owned Odegard Books in St. Paul and Edina, Minn., from 1978 to 1992. Afterward, he held a variety of jobs, including bookstore consultant, publisher, literary agent, school director and director of administration for Project Pathfinder, a nonprofit that provides outpatient mental health and treatment services.

Memorial donations to Mayo Clinic Cancer Research will be matched through April 28. Services will be announced later.


Image of the Day: Dapper Dog

The always stylish Bodhi the Menswear Dog takes an important sales meeting with Walter Weintz, chief sales officer for Workman Publishing, about Menswear Dog Presents the New Classics (Artisan, April 21).

Cool Idea of the Day: Blackwell's to Celebrate City Lights

Booksellers celebrating booksellers dept.: From the Facebook page of the U.K.'s Blackwell's store in Oxford, an event listing for June 3: "To celebrate 60 years of 'City Lights' bookstore and publishers, we'll be hosting an evening of readings from selected authors published by City Lights including Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Angel-headed Hipsters and Mohammedan Angels Welcome!"

Personnel Changes at Scott Manning & Associates

Abigail Welhouse has been promoted to publicist at Scott Manning & Associates. She was previously associate publicist, and joined the company five years ago.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Philip Glass, Candice Bergen, Elizabeth Warren

This morning on the Today Show: Bethenny Frankel, author of I Suck at Relationships So You Don't Have To: 10 Rules for Not Screwing Up Your Happily Ever After (Touchstone, $24.99, 9781451667417).


This morning on Fox & Friends: Kay Robertson, co-author of Duck Commander Kitchen Presents Celebrating Family and Friends: Recipes for Every Month of the Year (Howard, $22.99, 9781476795737).


Today on Fresh Air: Philip Glass, author of Words Without Music: A Memoir (Liveright, $29.95, 9780871404381).


Today on Diane Rehm: Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr., author of Democracy in the Dark: The Seduction of Government Secrecy (New Press, $27.95, 9781620970515).


Today on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews: Bernard B. Kerik, author of From Jailer to Jailed: My Journey from Correction and Police Commissioner to Inmate #84888-054 (Threshold Editions, $27, 9781476783703).


Tonight on the Daily Show: Gene Baur, co-author of Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer, and Feeling Better Every Day (Rodale, $29.99, 9781623364892).


Tonight on the O'Reilly Factor: Judith Miller, author of The Story: A Reporter's Journey (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781476716015). She will also appear tomorrow on Fox's Kelly File.


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Candice Bergen, author of A Fine Romance (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9780684808277).

Also on the Today Show: Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, author of Gummi Bears Should Not Be Organic: And Other Opinions I Can't Back Up With Facts (Gallery, $15, 9781476787305).


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman, authors of A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life (Simon & Schuster, $25.99, 9781476730752). They will also appear on Charlie Rose and Entertainment Tonight.


Tomorrow on NPR's On Point: Jody Scaravella, co-author of Nonna's House: Cooking and Reminiscing with the Italian Grandmothers of Enoteca Maria (Atria, $30, 9781476774114).


Tomorrow on Live with Kelly and Michael: Jon Cryer, author of So That Happened: A Memoir (NAL, $27.95, 9780451472359). He will also appear on Late Night with Seth Meyers.


Tomorrow night on Conan: Senator Elizabeth Warren, author of A Fighting Chance (Picador, $17, 9781250062253).

On Stage: The Man Who Fell to Earth

David Bowie is co-writing a stage adaptation of The Man Who Fell to Earth, the 1976 film he starred in that was based on the novel by Walter Tevis. The New York Times reported that Bowie will "collaborate with Enda Walsh, the Irish playwright who won a Tony Award for Once, in writing the new piece, entitled Lazarus." The play will feature new songs by Bowie, as well as new arrangements of older songs, but he will not appear in the production.

James C. Nicola, artistic director of Off Broadway's New York Theater Workshop, "said he was not sure how to describe the project--whether even to call it a musical--and said it been in secret development for some years," the Times wrote.

"It's going to be a play with characters and songs--I'm calling it music theater, but I don't really know what it's going to be like, I just have incredible trust in their creative vision," Nicola said. "I'm really excited about it. These are three very different sensibilities to be colliding."

Books & Authors

Awards: Hugo Nominations; Ted Hughes Winner

Nominations for the 2015 Hugo Awards in 17 categories have been announced and can be seen here. Winners will be celebrated on August 22 at Sasquan in Spokane, Wash.


Andrew Motion's Coming Home won the Poetry Society's £5,000 (about $7,460) Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry, which "seeks to recognize excellence in new poetry and highlight exciting and outstanding contributions made by poets to our cultural life in 2014."

Judge Julia Copus praised Coming Home as a "deserving winner. We loved the way in which the listener is invited in to the writing process: first we eavesdrop on conversations with the soldiers, and then we witness the poems hatching from those conversations."

Book Review

Review: The Dig

The Dig by Cynan Jones (Coffee House Press, $15.95 trade paper, 9781566893930, April 7, 2015)

Cynan Jones (The Long Dry) is a Welsh writer who has published three novels, but The Dig, winner of the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize, is his first published in the United States. It's not about an archeological dig, but it resembles one in the way Jones quietly scrutinizes his rural site's landscape and excavates his characters in an almost meditative way, using spare, simple, contemplative prose.

Structurally, the short novel is comprised of brief paragraphs with generous spacing--like a book of prose poems. Some are just a sentence long: "In the light the tools looked as if they were made of stone." The book has five parts, or acts, enigmatically titled The Horse, The Dig, The Cloth, The Sea and The Shard, as if it were a series of parables. But it's more in tune with Thomas Hobbes's definition of life: "nasty, brutish and short."

At The Dig's heart of darkness are two Welshmen. One, a "gruff and big man," forces badgers out of their setts for money or sport, to pit them against hounds. The practice was outlawed in 1835 but continues. The book opens powerfully with a brutal scene of this man trying to disfigure (thus hide) a dead badger. He's a violent man, without compassion. He is also a man whose life is governed by fear. If caught, he'll be sent back to jail. Jones portrays him as someone who takes life rather than give it, one who destroys, unlike his neighbor.

Daniel is a livestock farmer whose beloved wife recently died after being kicked in the head by a friend's horse. It's lambing season and he's busy tending to the land, the sheep and the delivery of baby lambs: "[H]e draws the lamb in one smooth strong stroke, and slaps and rakes its wet moss-like fur to make it breathe, feels the power of its fast heartbeat in the chicken-bone cage of its ribs, still wet in his hands... glistening oiled newborn thing--all of these things awatered." His wife's death rests heavily upon him. Exhausted by grief, "[t]he scent of her was in the room and it almost choked him to understand how vital to him this was."

Jones's narrative moves back and forth between the two men. When the badger baiter crosses onto the farmer's land in pursuit of his quarry, it's only a matter of time before they will clash: "The spade coming was like the wing of a bird." There's nothing bucolic about this elemental, extraordinary tale of good and evil. It's a bitter pill made easy to swallow thanks to art and its paean to life. The Dig is about cruelty, isolation and loss in a dark age. --Tom Lavoie, former publisher

Shelf Talker: Cynan Jones's first novel published in the United States is a spare, visceral story of isolation, sadness and love.

Powered by: Xtenit