Shelf Awareness for Monday, July 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


B&N Finds New CEO at Sears Canada

Ron Boire

In connection with Barnes & Noble's spinoff of its college operations as Barnes & Noble Education--which likely will take place by the end of August--Ronald D. Boire, current president and CEO of Sears Canada, will become CEO of Barnes & Noble, Inc., which will consist of the company's retail and Nook operations. His appointment is effective September 8. At the same time, current B&N CEO Michael P. Huseby will become executive chairman of B&N Education.

In a related appointment, Jaime M. Carey has been promoted to chief operating officer of Barnes & Noble, effective immediately. He was chief merchandising officer.

Before becoming head of Sears Canada, Boire was executive v-p, chief merchandising officer and president, Sears and Kmart Formats at Sears Holdings. Earlier he held other executive positions, including president and CEO of Brookstone; president, North America, of Toys R Us; executive v-p, global merchandise manager for Best Buy; and worked at Sony Electronics for 17 years, where he was, among other positions, president of Sony's personal mobile products company and president of the consumer sales company.

Huseby joined B&N in March 2012 as chief financial officer, president of Barnes & Noble, Inc., and CEO of Nook Digital. He became CEO of B&N in January 2014.

B&N chairman Len Riggio said that under Huseby's leadership, "we have improved the performance of all of our business segments and he has helped put the company in a position to separate the college and retail businesses. Mike will now bring his financial and strategic leadership to the separate Barnes & Noble Education company."

Carey joined B&N in 2003 as director of newsstand. In 2008, he became chief merchandising officer. Riggio said that he has done "an outstanding job [and] put together a great team of buyers and merchants who have improved our sales performance and increased gross margins, as well. In his newly expanded role, Jaime will work closely with Ron on all aspects of Company operations and be responsible for merchandising, marketing, e-commerce, Nook and proprietary publishing."

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Go Set a Watchman: First Chapter Appearing on Friday

The Guardian will publish the first chapter of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee online this Friday, July 10, and print it in the newspaper's July 11 edition, according to the Bookseller, which called the move "part of the publicity campaign" for the novel.

Go Set a Watchman will be released on Tuesday, July 14, and has been heavily embargoed. Bookstores, libraries and others are planning a range of events next week to celebrate the book's publication. See our listings of them here and here.

Vancouver Plaza to Be Named for Bookseller Jim Deva

Jim Deva

The city of Vancouver, B.C., is proposing a public plaza in Davie Village that will be named in honor of Jim Deva, co-founder of Little Sister's Book & Art Emporium and a leader of Vancouver's GLBT community, MetroNews reported. Deva, who fought a censorship case to the Supreme Court of Canada and won, died last September at age 65.

Traffic will be closed permanently for a block at the plaza, which will include moveable seating, a speaker's corner kiosk (with the suggested name "Jim Deva's Soap Box"), expanded patios, overhead strand lighting, a rainbow mosaic and light masts with power portals.

SIBA Owners Retreat Set for Raleigh, N.C.

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, with support from Baker & Taylor, is hosting an Owners Retreat for independent bookstore proprietors at the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown, July 28-29. Registration is $50, covering hotel and meals, with attendance limited to 20 owners.

The Owners Retreat was created on the basis of feedback from booksellers to provide store owners a place to discuss challenges they face as small business owners as well as independent booksellers, with a chance to brainstorm ideas and solutions in a focused setting. Among the topics that will be covered are finances, employee relations and growing your business.

The keynote speaker for lunch on July 28 is Dr. John Sherlock of Western Carolina University's Department of Human Services, Human Resources Program, who will discuss human resource management. On July 29, Margaret Lane, v-p of retail at B&T, will be the breakfast speaker, talking about strength-based leadership. Copies of Strength Finder by Tom Rath will be given to attendees.

The event also includes attendance at the SIBA Booksellers Summer Revival at Quail Ridge Books on July 29. For more information and to register, please visit the SIBA Owners Retreat web page.


Image of the Day: Green Apple Selfie

Graphic novelist and cartoonist Raina Telgemeier snapped this selfie with comics writer and artist (and husband) Dave Roman during their appearance at Green Apple Books on the Park, San Francisco, Calif., last week.

Letterpress Books Thrives in Portland, Maine

Letterpress Books, Portland, Maine, first opened in October 2013 and "is seeing business increase by the day, bolstered by good word-of-mouth, Portland's strong Buy Local movement, and its owners' commitment to filling the diverse needs of the local community," Bookselling This Week reported.

"We're still getting discovered," said owner and manager Katherine Osborne. "Twenty-five percent of our customers every day are people who haven't been in the store before. Lots of regulars are sending their family and friends over. Word of mouth has been huge.... Everyone's really thrilled to have a bookstore in the neighborhood."

Papercuts JP Named 'Boston's Best Book Nook'

Papercuts JP, which opened last November, was recently named Boston's Best Book Nook by the Improper Bostonian, which described the shop as "a charming neighborhood book nook that makes up for its small size (500 square feet) with thousands of thoughtfully curated titles. But like any good indie bookstore, Papercuts is more than simply a place to shop; keep an eye out for goings-on such as local author readings, live music and boozy spelling bees."

Owner and manager by Kate Layte told Jamaica Plain News that she "thought long and hard about the name [of the store]. Books aren't sacred. They are large sheets of paper folded up and trimmed. A book is just one big signature sheet 2 by 3 feet cut up. I do origami. I make accordion foldings out of books. I create things.... Adding the 'JP' was automatic. A lot of my inspirations are here: ee cummings and Eugene O'Neill are buried at Forest Hills. Sylvia Plath is here.... JP has inspired me."

Personnel Changes at Chronicle Books

Effective July 16, Amy Cleary is joining Chronicle Books as marketing & publicity manager, food and drink. She has been store manager at Omnivore Books on Food, San Francisco, Calif., and earlier was a publicist at UC Press and Ten Speed Press.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jimmy Carter on Morning Joe

This morning on CBS This Morning: Jen Chaney, author of As If!: The Oral History of Clueless as told by Amy Heckerling and the Cast and Crew (Touchstone, $16.99, 9781476799087).


Today on the View: Charlie Wilson, author of I Am Charlie Wilson (Atria, $25.99, 9781476790077).


Tonight on a repeat of Conan: Aziz Ansari, author of Modern Romance (Penguin Press, $28.95, 9781594206276).


Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Brad Thor, author of Code of Conduct: A Thriller (Emily Bestler/Atria, $27.99, 9781476717159). He will also appear on Imus in the Morning and Fox Business's Lou Dobbs Tonight.


Tomorrow morning on Morning Joe: Jimmy Carter, author of A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781501115639). He will also appear on Hardball with Chris Matthews.


Tomorrow on the Meredith Vieira 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).


Tomorrow on the Wendy Williams Show: Ian Halperin, author of Whitney and Bobbi Kristina (Gallery, $26, 9781501120749).


Tomorrow night on a repeat of the Daily Show: Judd Apatow, author of Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy (Random House, $27, 9780812997576).

TV: Roots

Laurence Fishburne will star as Alex Haley, author of Roots: The Saga of an American Family, in A+E Networks' remake of Roots, "one of the most celebrated TV programs of all time," reported, adding that the new version will be "an original, contemporary production, incorporating more material from Haley's novel, as well as carefully researched new scholarship of the time."

The series is being written by Lawrence Konner (Boardwalk Empire), Mark Rosenthal (Mona Lisa Smile), Alison McDonald (Alpha House) and Charles Murray (Sons of Anarchy). It will be simulcast on A&E, History and Lifetime in 2016.

Movies: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies; Diary of a Teenage Girl

New photos have been released from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, based on the bestselling book by Seth Grahame-Smith. Indiewire noted that "the most interesting thing about the film might be the approach, which director Burr Steers (Igby Goes Down) is promising won't be arch."

"The idea was that it was Pride and Prejudice set in this alternate world and then for everyone to play it straight," said Steers. "The movie's big wink is that there is no big wink." Pride and Prejudice and Zombies opens February 5, 2016.


A new U.K. trailer and selection of pics have been released for Marielle Heller's The Diary of a Teenage Girl, based on the YA graphic novel by Phoebe Gloeckner, Indiewire reported. The movie, starring Bel Powley, Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgard, won the Special Jury Award for Excellence in Cinematography prize at Sundance and opens August 7 in limited release.

Books & Authors

Awards: SIBA Winners; NEIBA Finalists

The winners of the 2015 SIBA Book Awards, sponsored by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, are:

Fiction: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (Viking)
Nonfiction: Factory Man by Beth Macy (Little, Brown)
Young Adult: League of Seven by Alan Gratz, illustrated by Brett Helquist (Starscape Books)
Children's: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (Nancy Paulsen Books)
Cooking: Heritage by Sean Brock (Artisan Publishers)


The finalists for the 2015 New England Book Awards have been selected. New England Independent Booksellers Association members are now voting for winners, which will be announced July 20.


A Slant of Light by Jeffrey Lent (Bloomsbury)
The Bird Skinner by Alice Greenway (Grove)
Blue Horses: Poems by Mary Oliver (Penguin)
Mayumi & the Sea of Happiness by Jennifer Tseng (Europa)
Wonder Garden by Lauren Acampora (Grove)


Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (Metropolitan/Macmillan)
Hammer Head by Nina MacLaughlin (Norton)
The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander (Grand Central)
The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck (Simon & Schuster)
Prince of Los Cocuyos by Richard Blanco (Ecco)


Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola, illustrated by Emily Carroll (Candlewick)
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (Little, Brown)
The Golden Specific by S. E. Grove (Viking)
Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly, illustrated by Skottie Young (HarperCollins)
The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein (Little, Brown)

Book Review

Review: Fear and the Muse Kept Watch

Fear and the Muse Kept Watch: The Russian Masters--From Akhmatova and Pasternak to Shostakovich and Eisenstein--Under Stalin by Andy McSmith (New Press, $27.95 hardcover, 9781595580566, July 7, 2015)

Can the arts survive under a totalitarian regime? That's the basic question addressed in Andy McSmith's revelatory Fear and the Muse Kept Watch, and his answer is yes--but they can also cost you your life. McSmith (No Such Thing as Society), senior reporter for the Independent, has done a masterful job of researching and describing what it was like for writers, musicians and filmmakers to create under one of the most oppressive regimes in history. 

Joseph Stalin and his henchmen kept a watchful eye over what was being written and performed, and a careful artist could work to become a favorite of the dictator (Boris Pasternak, Maxim Gorky). But if the artist stepped out of line, it likely meant imprisonment or, in the cases of Isaac Babel and Osip Mandelstam, death. Stalin personally screened every new film at the Kremlin before it could be released. Pasternak once remarked that independent thought under the regime was a "form of meningitis." As McSmith notes, "it beggars belief that anything of any lasting value could be created." But art was created, and many of those works are masterpieces.

McSmith focuses on about a dozen intellectuals and shows how they lived and worked under the regime's persistent surveillance. Composer Dmitri Shostakovich, constantly harassed and intimidated, had to reach an "accommodation with the regime or abandon his vocation," before going on to write his Fourth, Fifth and Seventh Symphonies. Sergei Prokofiev composed one of the world's classic pieces, Peter and the Wolf, and, later, his ballet Romeo and Juliet, both commissioned by the government. He also wrote the music for Sergei Eisenstein's pro-Russia film Alexander Nevsky. Eisenstein's 1925 masterpiece, Battleship Potemkin, received a poor reception from the Soviet government until the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky spoke up for it. McSmith notes that Eisenstein didn't make films to please Stalin, "he tried to please Stalin so that he might be allowed to make films."

Mikhail Sholokhov was one of the dictator's favorite authors, and his novel And Quiet Flows the Don won the Stalin Prize. It became very popular and made Sholokhov the only Soviet writer to win the Nobel Prize with his government's approval. Meanwhile, Mikhail Bulgakov's fierce critique of the Soviet regime, The Master and Margarita, was written secretly and published only after the author's death.

The poet Anna Akhmatova survived the regime's ire, even as her family suffered greatly, because she was so popular. McSmith feels that one of the reasons some artists were able to produce such great works under such trying conditions was that the Russian people, their audience, adored them so much--they had "an intense love for great art and accurate taste." Using extensive primary and secondary sources, McSmith reveals a remarkable story about art triumphing over evil. --Tom Lavoie, former publisher

Shelf Talker: How resilient artists and their masterpieces survived one of the most oppressive regimes in history.

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