Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 13, 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

Quotation of the Day

Showrooming 'Is Really Just a Genteel Form of Shoplifting'

"For all the ease and convenience of online shopping or the digital download, I still feel a town without a bookshop is missing something.... For much of the early nineties I worked in bookshops myself, running the children's section in Waterstones Notting Hill with a rod of iron and believing, like all booksellers, that books are somehow special, that the expertise and enthusiasm of booksellers is vital, that if you love bookshops you should spend money there, and that to discover a book on display in a well-staffed, lovingly-maintained shop, to hold it in your hand then to sneak off and buy the same book online is really just a genteel form of shoplifting."

--Author David Nicholls,  speaking at the London Book Fair Digital Minds Conference this morning (via the Bookseller)


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Restivo-Alessi Leads Expanded HarperCollins Int'l Effort

Chantal Restivo-Alessi

Chantal Restivo-Alessi, chief digital officer at HarperCollins, is adding a new title: executive v-p, international. In this new position, she will oversee the HarperCollins foreign-language program and work closely with the division heads, English-language publishers and the Harlequin international teams, who will collaboratively set the lists for each market.

In a memo to staff, president and CEO Brian Murray explained that since buying Harlequin nearly a year ago, HarperCollins has "made great strides towards expanding the company's presence in foreign language publishing markets--having already introduced HarperCollins Germany, HarperCollins Iberica and HarperCollins Español." This international expansion requires "extensive coordination and the development of new processes and procedures," which Restivo-Alessi will address.

Since Restivo-Alessi joined HarperCollins in 2012, Murray continued, she "has worked tirelessly to ensure that we are sharing best practices and coordinating efforts around the world. We are increasingly in-sync in terms of alignment of global policies in the areas of business development and digital efforts. The author is at the forefront of her decision-making, and she always has the entire HarperCollins organization in mind."

Murray said that Restivo-Alessi will work in partnership with Steve Miles, Harlequin's COO, international, who, with his team, will continue to manage Harlequin Australia and all translation markets. "Although we have rebranded our foreign-language offices as HarperCollins, revenues from our translation markets will primarily come from Harlequin series and individual titles for many years to come as we ramp up our HarperCollins publishing efforts."

In addition, Rob Zaffiris, senior v-p, finance and strategic new business development, will continue to be involved in identifying, negotiating, closing and setting up both domestic and international acquisition targets, Murray said. "This will include working with our joint venture partners in Brazil, Italy and France, where we are expanding our relationships in order to build our translation program with the ideal partners and services behind our publishing efforts in each market."

Amazon Drone Testing Gets Clearance for U.S. Takeoff

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration granted Amazon permission last week to test delivery drones outdoors, but the online retailer must keep flights at an altitude of no more than 400 feet and no faster than 100 miles per hour, Reuters reported. In March, the FAA had given permission for tests involving a prototype, but Amazon protested that the version approved had become obsolete while the company waited more than six months for the agency's approval.

Quartz noted that "while Amazon Prime's reportedly tens of millions of members shouldn't expect drones dropping in on their doorsteps anytime soon, this latest move suggests the FAA is finally taking the future potential of commercialized unmanned aerial vehicles more seriously."

On Board with Amtrak: PRH E-Book Excerpts

Penguin Random House will offer complimentary previews of selected titles as the exclusive book content partner for the launch of a newly redesigned AmtrakConnect on-board Wi-Fi page. Amtrak Acela Express passengers riding between Boston and Washington, D.C., via New York and Philadelphia, will have access to 20 free excerpts from a variety of genres, both fiction and nonfiction, across the publisher's adult imprints. Each preview will include a buy button to allow customers to purchase any of the titles directly from several retailers while on board.

"Reading for pleasure is an activity that many passengers look forward to during their rail journey. We're thrilled to work with Amtrak to share great books with readers. The partnership allows us to help thousands of train passengers each day discover their next book," said Christine McNamara, v-p and director of partnerships, on behalf of PRH.

In the coming months, the program will be expand to Northeast Regional trains that are wi-fi enabled. Audiobook content will also be included. Plans call for the partnership to continue throughout the year, with updated selections as new titles are released.

Obituary Notes: Günter Grass; Stanley I. Kutler

Günter Grass, the author, social critic and Nobel Laureate who "became one of Germany’s foremost intellectuals and gadflies," died earlier today, the Washington Post reported, adding the "themes that consumed his literature--guilt, atonement and hypocrisy--were also central to his political commentary." He was 87. Grass's many books included The Tin Drum, Cat and Mouse, Dog Years, Crabwalk, The Flounder and his controversial autobiography, Peeling the Onion.

In awarding him the 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Swedish Academy praised Grass for embracing "the enormous task of reviewing contemporary history by recalling the disavowed and the forgotten: the victims, losers and lies that people wanted to forget because they had once believed in them." The Academy also called his landmark 1959 novel The Tin Drum "one of the enduring literary works of the 20th century."

The Guardian noted that Grass "was surprised by the strength of the reaction" to his 2006 autobiography, Peeling the Onion, in which he recounted being conscripted into the army in 1944 at the age of 16 and serving as a tank gunner in the Waffen SS.

Translator Anthea Bell praised Grass as "a literary figure of the most enormous stature in postwar German letters, and throughout the world."

On Twitter this morning, Salman Rushdie wrote: "This is very sad. A true giant, inspiration, and friend. Drum for him, little Oskar."


Historian Stanley I. Kutler, who fought for the release of President Richard Nixon's White House tapes and subsequently wrote Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes, "a book that became a standard reference on Watergate," died last Tuesday, the New York Times reported. He was 80. A prolific writer, his books included The Wars of Watergate: The Last Crisis of Richard Nixon and Privilege and Creative Destruction: The Charles River Bridge Case. Kutler also edited the Dictionary of American History and founded and edited the journal Reviews in American History.


Image of the Day: Surprises at BookCourt

Last week, Tania Luna and LeeAnn Renninger, "surprisologists" and the authors of Surprise: Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected (Perigree), visited BookCourt in Brooklyn, N.Y., to talk about their new book and the phenomenon of surprise. The event included a session of "flavor-tripping," in which ingesting a particular type of tablet causes subsequent flavor sensations to change, and the authors had everyone present pose with their "best" surprised expressions.

Happy 25th Birthday, R.J. Julia Booksellers!

Congratulations to R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn., which celebrates its 25th anniversary this Sunday, April 19, with an all-day party for its "loyal readers and new friends." The festivities will include cake, champagne, raffles, giveaways, extra savings throughout the store and "fun surprises." Other 25th anniversary events include an all-day family picnic in July and a gala fund-raiser in the fall.

Owner Roxanne Coady commented: "I never considered a bookstore a relic, even when many thought the day of the printed book was over. Maybe what has girded our survival in the midst of extraordinary change in reading habits is that a bookstore stands in testament to timelessness--it is the antidote to all that is fleeting, unimportant and flimsy. We enter a bookstore and there is an undeniable quality of celebration of all that is and can be possible--these are fundamental, almost spiritual needs that we all have."

Head book buyer Andrew Brennan said, "Our booksellers love to read. We're all lucky to have a place that you can come to and have a passionate and honest discussion about a book with someone who has actually read it."

Store manager Lori Fazio added: "I love to see young readers meet their favorite author for the first time and hear customers tell us how much they loved a book recommended to them by our booksellers. To see so much joy in their faces, knowing that they have a comfortable place where the love of books is alive and well, keeps me adrenalized for the next 25 years."

During the last quarter of a century, R.J. Julia has opened its doors 10,000 times, welcomed more than 3,000 authors to the community and neighboring towns, donated more than $2 million to charities and introduced more than five million books to readers.

Bookstore Bicycle Thief in S.C.

From the Facebook page of Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston, S.C., on Saturday: "This afternoon someone stole our light blue Raleigh bicycle. Jonathan bought this bike even before he bought the bookstore. It is our namesake AND WE WANT IT BACK. If you see it, will you bring it back please?!"

And then yesterday, a happy ending: "Look who is home!!! Thanks to you guys, a helpful tip from Michael LaMontagne, and Officer Webb we got our baby back. We cannot thank you enough for sharing the post and keeping an eye for it. Who says social media doesn't pay off?!"

Book Trailer of the Day: Undertow

Undertow by Michael Buckley (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers), the first YA novel by the author of the Sisters Grimm and NERDS series.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Bryan Burrough on Fresh Air

Today on Fresh Air: Bryan Burrough, author of Days of Rage: America's Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence (Penguin Press, $29.95, 9781594204296).


Today on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews: Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman, authors of A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life (Simon & Schuster, $25.99, 9781476730752).


Today on Diane Rehm: Candice Bergen, author of A Fine Romance (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9780684808277).


Today on the View: Octavia Spencer, author of The Sweetest Heist in History (Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective) (Simon & Schuster, $16.99, 9781442476844).


Tomorrow on the Today Show:

Kay Robertson, co-author of Duck Commander Kitchen Presents Celebrating Family and Friends: Recipes for Every Month of the Year (Howard, $22.99, 9781476795737)
Jack and Suzy Welch, authors of The Real-Life MBA: Your No-BS Guide to Winning the Game, Building a Team, and Growing Your Career (HarperBusiness, $29.99, 9780062362803)
Kelley Paul, author of True and Constant Friends: Love and Inspiration from Our Grandmothers, Mothers, and Friends (Center Street, $25, 9781455560752)
Fredrik Eklund, author of The Sell: The Secrets of Selling Anything to Anyone (Avery, $26.95, 9781592409310).


Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Pauley Perrette, Darren Greenblatt and Matthew Sandusky, authors of Donna Bell's Bake Shop: Recipes and Stories of Family, Friends, and Food (Simon & Schuster, $24.99, 9781476771120). They will also appear on Live with Kelly and Michael and Entertainment Tonight.


Tomorrow morning on Morning Joe: 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). She will also appear on Watch What Happens Live.


Tomorrow on Diane Rehm: Akhil Reed Amar, author of The Law of the Land: A Grand Tour of our Constitutional Republic (Basic Books, $29.99, 9780465065905).


Tomorrow on Jimmy Kimmel Live: Aaron Franklin, co-author of Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto (Ten Speed Press, $29.99, 9781607747208).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Fareed Zakaria, author of In Defense of a Liberal Education (Norton, $23.95, 9780393247688).


Tomorrow night on the Late Late Show with James Corden: Jon Cryer, author of So That Happened: A Memoir (NAL, $27.95, 9780451472359). He will also appear on the Meredith Vieira Show.

Pygmy Song Memoir on Screen and Back in Print

A captivating song on the radio brought Louis Sarno from New York to Central Africa more than 25 years ago. That melody came from a hunter-gatherer tribe of Bayaka Pygmies living in the Congolese rain forest. Sarno has spent three decades living with the Bayakas and recording their hypnotic music. In 1993, he published a memoir called Song from the Forest: My Life Among the Ba-Benjellé Pygmies, which has since gone out of print.

A new documentary based on Sarno's life, Song from the Forest, prompted Trinity University Press to reprint Sarno's memoir with the title Song from the Forest: My Life Among the Pygmies ($18.95, 9781595347480). This tie-in edition includes an afterword by the film's German director, Michael Obert, a foreword by journalist Alex Shoumatoff and cover art based on the film's poster. The tie-in is available now; the movie opened in New York City on April 10.

TV: Orange Is the New Black

The first trailer has been released for Season 3 of the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, based on Piper Kerman's memoir and starring Taylor Schilling and Uzo Aduba. reported viewers can expect to see more of Adrienne C. Moore (Cindy Hayes), Selenis Leyva (Gloria Mendoza), Nick Sandow (Joe Caputo) and Samira Wiley (Poussey Washington), "who were upper to regular during the past year." Season 3 will be released June 12.

Books & Authors

Awards: NCIBA Books of the Year

Winners of the 2015 NCIBA Book of the Year awards, voted on by booksellers from member strores of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, are:

Fiction: An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alemeddine (Grove)
Nonfiction: Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit (Haymarket)
Regional Title: The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature by Ben Tarnoff (Penguin)
Food Writing: Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes by Cortney Burns and Nicolaus Bella (Chronicle)
Poetry: The Poetry Deal by Diane Di Prima (City Lights)
Children's Picture Books: President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath by Mac Barnett (Candlewick)
Middle Grade Readers: The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm (Random House Books for Young Readers)
Teen Lit: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (Dial)

GBO Picks A Gushing Fountain

The German Book Office in New York City has chosen A Gushing Fountain by Martin Walser, translated by David Dollenmayer (Arcade Publishing, $24.99, 9781628724240), as its April Book of the Month.

Published in English for the first time, A Gushing Fountain is a semi-autobiographical account of the rise of Nazism in a small town.

The GBO said: "In a provincial town on Lake Constance, Johann basks in the affection of the colorful staff and regulars at the Station Restaurant. But in these hard times, with businesses failing all around them and life savings gone in an instant, people whisper that only Hitler can save them. As the Nazis gradually infiltrate the churches, the school, the youth organizations--even the restaurant--and come to power, we see through Johann's eyes how the voices of dissent are silenced one by one, until war begins the body count that will include his beloved older brother."

Author Martin Walser is a major postwar German writer and winner of the 1981 Georg Büchner Prize and the 1998 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade.

Translator David Dollenmayer won the 2008 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize and the 2010 Translation Prize of the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York. He regularly translates reviews by art historian Willibald Sauerländer for the New York Review of Books.

Book Review

Review: What About This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford

What About This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford by Frank Stanford (Copper Canyon, $40 hardcover, 9781556594687, April 14, 2015)

Frank Stanford's What About This is a monumental achievement. So much of Stanford's work was unpublished, scattered about in limited-edition, hard-to-find volumes, but now it has been collected and readers will rejoice to discover (or rediscover) a distinct poetic voice. As poet Dean Young describes it in his succinct, insightful introduction: this book is "lightning that comes up from the ground."

Stanford was born in Mississippi in 1948, and 29 years later, in Fayetteville, Ark., he shot himself three times in the heart. One of the last poems he wrote was "Memory Is Like a Shotgun Kicking You Near the Heart," with these lines:

I think of the hair growing on the dead,
Any motion without sound,
The stars, the seed ticks
Already past my knees,
The moon beating its dark bush.

He wrote hundreds of poems. In 1969, he started his epic, book-length poem, "The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You," which begins: "tonight the gars on the trees are swords in the hands of knights/ the stars are like twenty-seven dancing russians." Then follow 15,283 more lines.

He was a voracious reader and was heavily influenced by Thomas Merton and French writers. He loved the Surrealists and Rimbaud, Mallarme, Follain and the French filmmakers Cocteau and Buñuel. His poetry is wildly imagistic, imbued with Southern folklore and culture, and it's--to use Stanford's own word--"strange." "If a person is quiet enough inside he might be able to catch on to what I'm trying to do in my poetry." Certain words recur throughout: river, knife, stream, blood, moon, gar, fish, dark, dream, singing. As Young writes in his introduction, these poems "seem as if they were written with a burned stick. With blood, in river mud."

In "Belladonna," from Stanford's first published collection, The Singing Knives (1971), he writes about "A song that comes apart/ Like a rosary/ In the back of a church." Here is "Orphans":

We lived in the big house, we lived
In the ditch like a hubcap. We stole
Eggs, we stole flour. In town they accused us:
Dreaming without sleeping, of wearing our hands.
We swam with our hair, we sold black wind
To soldiers who went by in summer,
We held our breath, passed on the road.

This collection, more than 700 pages, is filled with amazing, forceful, words-on-fire poems that will have readers shaking their heads in amazement. Here indeed is lightning in one's hands. In an unpublished fragment Stanford tells us: "This poem is asleep. I/ don't want you yelling at it,/ waking it up. Let it dream." --Tom Lavoie, former publisher

Shelf Talker: The collected poems of the Ozarks Surrealist Frank Stanford is a seminal work that will be read and talked about for years to come.

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