Shelf Awareness for Thursday, July 30, 2015

Overlook Press: Bad Men by Julie Mae Cohen

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

Akaschic Books, Ltd: Go the Fuck to Sleep Series by Adam Mansbach, Illustrated by Ricardo Cortés

Tommy Nelson: You'll Always Have a Friend: What to Do When the Lonelies Come by Emily Ley, Illustrated by Romina Galotta


Ohio's Athens Book Center to Close

The Athens Book Center, Athens, Ohio, is closing by the end of August, according to the Athens News.

Owner Ray Stephens said that nearby Walmart and Kroger stores and Amazon had hurt business, adding that some of the store's clientele had moved from Athens. "The people who use the kind of bookstore that the Athens Book Center is are no longer staying in town," he said. "Retirees are moving out."

The Athens Book Center sells new and used books and was founded in the 1990s. Stephens's wife bought and ran the store. After her death in 2012, Stephens became the owner. "It was a choice I made after she died that I would try to keep it open," he said. "I tried various sundry things, but we very clearly just can't generate the amount of sales needed to make the bookstore go."

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

University of Akron Press Shut Down

In more bad news from Ohio, the University of Akron Press "was shuttered Tuesday as the university is trimming millions in expenses," the Beacon Journal reported, and the director and two staff members "were given their walking papers." Mary Biddinger, editor of the Akron Series in Poetry, will lose her job at the press, but keep her teaching position in the English department. The director, Thomas Bacher, has six months remaining on his contract. The nonprofit publisher was founded in 1988.

"This is it. We can't publish any more books or poetry and we can't ensure the future of those books in the pipeline will be published," said Bacher, who has been director for seven years. "We've done some really good things academically, and people value books with the University of Akron name on it, which are available in a market worldwide.... We've never gone over budget here. There was no transparency. There were other ways to save money. Everyone could have shared the pain across the board, but when you're on the block you're on the block. We're just the low-lying fruit to pick. I don't want to work for a university that values beans over brains."

Expressing shock at the announcement, the Association of American University Presses responded with a statement that concluded: "Sudden and unplanned press closures are not a solution to budget crises. Such a top-down approach produces breached contracts, alienated faculty and staff, and culturally impoverished communities. AAUP understands from recent statements that the University of Akron is willing to explore alternatives to closure, and we pledge our full resources to helping them find a better outcome for their authors, their employees, and the people of Akron."

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

Kobo E-Partners with Mexican Retailers

In what Kobo describes as "an unprecedented partnership in the Americas," the company is joining forces with two of Mexico's book retailers to offer Mexican consumers its range of e-books, e-reading services and products. Kobo will power the e-bookstore for both publisher and retailer Libreria Porrúa, with nearly 70 bookstores; and Gandhi, a chain of nearly 30 stores. Although the chains are competitors in other areas, they have jointly created a new service called Orbile, which will open in September.

"We have worked very closely with the teams at both Porrúa and Gandhi to create the best e-bookstore possible, and formed an alliance that is a first for us and the industry in the Americas," said Rakuten Kobo president Michael Tamblyn. "The passion for books and reading is a common bond amongst us, and we look forward to offering this market not only a wide assortment of e-books but an inspiring shopping and reading experience as well."

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

Obituary Note: Stan Collins

Stan Collins

Stan Collins, co-owner of Once Upon a Time children's bookstore, Asheville, N.C., died last Friday, July 24, the Citizen-Times reported. He was 73.

He and his wife, Mary, founded the store 22 years ago after Collins had been downsized from a corporate job. "After cornering the market on children's books, the store added toys and even children's clothing to its offerings," the paper wrote. "The pair later sold the clothing aspect of the business, which grew into the William & Grace children's store on Swan Street."

Mary Collins said she will continue to run the store, noting that closing it is the last thing her husband would have wanted. "Even through some of the tough economic times, he was determined to keep Once Upon A Time going," she said.

Mary Collins said that her husband read every book in the store. "Whether it was a book for a 1-year-old or for a 15-year-old, Stan knew all of the books in his store," she said. "To him, it wasn't work--it was joy. It was his total joy."

Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. this morning at St. Eugene’s Catholic Church, 72 Culvern St., in Asheville.


Image of the Day: Circling the Sun

Barrett Bookstore's event at the Darien (Conn.) Community Association was the first stop for Paula McLain on her tour for her new novel, Circling the Sun (Ballantine Books). She spoke to a packed house about how she came to write the book--about aviatrix Beryl Markham--after the success of The Paris Wife, and signed copies. Pictured: McLain (second from right) with three of her fans.

NYC's Drama Book Shop Counts Down to Its Centennial

Next year, the Drama Book Shop in Manhattan plans to celebrate its centennial, "but the exact anniversary is anything but precise," Backstage reported.

"It's a little hard to pick an actual year the store started, because it started not as a store but as a bookshelf in the offices of the Drama League of New York," said Allen Hubby, the shop's v-p and co-owner, adding that in either 1916 or 1917 the books were separated into their own office space. Nevertheless, the shop will hold "a big campaign in October of next year, a big party, and lots of events."

In addition to its extensive collection of plays, the Drama Book Shop "stocks plenty of industry publications, memoirs and literature full of up-to-date information.... The shop's crucial role in the New York theater scene was recognized in 2011 with an honor for Excellence in Theatre at the 65th annual Tony Awards," Backstage wrote.

Describing his staff as "walking libraries," Hubby said, "We have a very low turnover, which tells me people must like working here.... The staff is very good at helping actors. They know plays by type, age, gender, if you're looking for comedy or even a dialect monologue."

Rubbo on Bookselling: 'Very Much a Collaborative Thing'

Smart Company spoke with Mark Rubbo, who bought Readings in Melbourne, Australia, in 1976 and has built it into one of the country's largest independent bookstores, with five locations in and around Melbourne. Some of our favorite parts from Rubbo's comments:

Mark Rubbo

In our industry, we're so dependent on creators and I love the idea of helping those people--helping authors and musicians find a market.... It became my guiding principle with marketing--to pick something we really believed in and we could get passionate about and then just try to flog it.

As a retailer I love to sell stuff, but it's not just about the transaction. To me, what makes it interesting is putting the consumer, us and the creators together and also the publishers. I see it as very much a collaborative thing.

My advice for people just starting out is do what you love. Do it with integrity and think about what kind of impact you're going to have on people. It should be a good impact. Also, be prepared to work very hard.

As you get successful, you need to give back to the people who have created your success. By that I mean the community. So we started the Readings Foundation and that has been very important. We give 10% of our profits, but it works out a bit more--I personally give a bit to it. That's very fulfilling and I wish more businesses would do it.

Personnel Changes at Simon & Schuster

Sarah Reidy has been promoted to associate director of publicity at Simon & Schuster. Before joining the company as senior publicity manager in 2013, she held publicity positions at Other Press, Gallery Books, Soho Press and Penguin Group USA.

Media and Movies

On Stage: Mother of Rain

Mother of Rain, the debut novel by Karen Spears Zacharias, is being adapted for the stage by the Springer Theater, the State Theater of Georgia. The play, which premieres April 7-17, 2016, will be directed by Kimberly Faith Hickman, who is also directing a stage adaptation of Elinor Lipman's The Inn at Lake Devine.

Paul Pierce, artistic director for the Springer, is writing the adaptation, with Kerry Phillips producing the music. The novel, published by Mercer University Press, won the 2013 Weatherford Award for Best in Appalachian Fiction and was a nominee for the Cook's Corner Book Award. Burdy, a sequel, will be released in September.

This Weekend on Book TV: Glenn Beck

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, August 1
4:45 p.m. Jared Bernstein, author of The Reconnection Agenda: Reuniting Growth and Prosperity (CreateSpace, $12.55, 9781511769389). (Re-airs Monday at 4 a.m.)

7 p.m. Glenn Beck, author of It IS About Islam: Exposing the Truth About ISIS, Al Qaeda, Iran, and the Caliphate (Threshold Editions, $14.99, 9781501126123). (Re-airs Sunday at 3 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.)

7:30 p.m. Kentaro Toyama, author of Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology (PublicAffairs, $27.99, 9781610395281).

9 p.m. Aubrey Hruby and Jake Bright, authors of The Next Africa: An Emerging Continent Becomes a Global Powerhouse (Thomas Dunne, $25.99, 9781250063717). (Re-airs Monday at 5:30 a.m.)

10 p.m. Michael Tanner, author of Going for Broke: Deficits, Debt, and the Entitlement Crisis (Cato Institute, $18.95, 9781939709745). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Terry Alford, author of Fortune's Fool: The Life of John Wilkes Booth (Oxford University Press, $29.95, 9780195054125).

Sunday, August 2
12 p.m. In depth q&a with Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control (Verso, $16.95, 9781781680773). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

4:15 p.m. Alvin E. Roth, author of Who Gets What--and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780544291133).

7 p.m. Ralph Peters, author of Valley of the Shadow: A Novel (Forge Books, $26.99, 9780765374035).

8:15 p.m. Richard Paul and Steven Moss, authors of We Could Not Fail: The First African Americans in the Space Program (University of Texas Press, $30, 9780292772496), at BookPeople in Austin, Tex.

10 p.m. William Davies, author of The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being (Verso, $26.95, 9781781688458).

Books & Authors

Author's Car (and Birthday) Saved by Superfan

Brad Parks, winner of the Shamus, Nero and Lefty Awards, and whose latest novel, The Fraud, was released by Minotaur Books on July 7, offers this account of a most unusual fan, birthday and author event:

The first time I met Erwin, my debut novel was but a squalling infant, less than a week old.

This was six years and six books ago, a time of wonder and innocence in my authorial life, and Erwin had been one of the last stragglers on line during a signing at a Barnes & Noble in Springfield, N.J. He approached with my book already encased in protective plastic.

"So, your print run," he asked, a calculating glint in his eye. "How small is it?"

Parks (center) with his savior Erwin and other fans at Thrillerfest/Fanfest 2013.

This was my introduction to the economics of book collecting. Erwin had decided that a signed, first edition, first printing of my debut novel was going to valuable someday--a notion I didn't want to disabuse him of. We chatted amiably, and on he went.

I was 35 at the time. I never could have guessed that someday Erwin would become the man who saved my 41st birthday.

Speed up the story to earlier this July, on a Thursday, at approximately 11:30 a.m. I had arrived in Manhattan for Thrillerfest, the annual conference of the International Thriller Writers, and was looking for a place to stash my car. The Parking Gods smiled on me: a tiny spot with Monday/Thursday 9:30-11 a.m. street cleaning had just opened up. I crammed my car in, with two eyelashes to spare on either side, and walked away triumphant.

"I just won at New York City parking!" I texted my wife.

On Sunday afternoon, three days of boisterous Thrillerfesting later, I returned to my winning spot. It was just before 1 o'clock. I had a signing for my newly released thriller, The Fraud, at the Springfield, N.J., Barnes & Noble in an hour.
That's when I began to understand the aforementioned Parking God had been the trickster Loki. My car was gone.

I drive a Ford Fusion whose speedometer reading is starting to look like an ISBN number, so theft seemed unlikely. I looked up: I had read the street cleaning sign properly. I looked left and right: every other car on the street was still there.

Then I looked behind me, where there was a garage door, well-camouflaged into the surrounding wall, with faint orange spray paint stenciled on it: "NO PARKING. TOW-AWAY ZONE."

For a moment, I was actually dizzy. Many hundreds of fans--okay, many ones of fans--were going to be crushed when I no-showed.

I staggered around, bewildered. Cab after cab passed me by, as if they could sense my desperation and wanted no part of it. Then I spied a minivan with livery tags and a printed sign on the front seat that said "UBER." After a quick negotiation and a stop at the ATM, I was on my way.

During the ride out, I ascertained my car was at an impound lot in Long Island City, though it might as well have been East Hell--they are equally accessible when you are stranded without a car in suburban New Jersey. I called the phone number listed, and a man told me the lot was closed on Sundays.

My heart sank. My birthday was the next day. My young children had planned a full slate of festivities. But instead of playing with them, I was going to be battling my way across New York City and then making the six-hour drive home.

The only glimmer of hope was when the man told me a driver was heading out to the lot at 6:30 that night. If I could meet him then, I could get my car.

There was no way my book tour budget could accommodate another Uber ride along with the ransom I'd have to pay to retrieve my car. I thought of the public transportation gymnastics involved--a cab to the Springfield train station, a train to the subway, two subway switches and a long walk through a post-industrial wasteland. My chances for a happy birthday seemed dim.

I arrived at the Barnes & Noble with five minutes to spare and a case of the Woe-Is-Me's already setting in.

And there, sitting in the front row, was Erwin.

Since that first signing six years ago, Erwin has become one of my frequent fliers. He reliably finds me once per book tour so I can scrawl my name in the latest first edition for him. Two years ago, he brought his wife to an event in Paramus, because he wanted me to meet her. This time, he brought along his brother-in-law from Germany.

Erwin knows my print runs have grown since that debut novel, but that doesn't matter to him. He's told me he has no plans to sell any of his signed books. He says they're far more important to him than whatever money someone might offer for them.

It is tempting to get misty-eyed about how much I've come to appreciate readers like Erwin over the past six years; about how meaningful it is to me that they've connected to my words and stories; or about how their loyalty makes the long, lonely toil at the keyboard--to say nothing of the unplanned inconveniences of book tours--feel worth it.

I won't do that. I'll just say I hope every author has an Erwin. And it brightened my otherwise crappy day to see him at my signing.

And that was before I learned he had recently moved to Long Island. And that he'd be happy to give me a ride to the impound lot after the signing.

(As a side note, I did take time to explain to the German brother-in-law, who had never been to a book signing before, that it wasn't typical for the author to bum a ride off members of the audience after the event).

We made it to the impound with time to spare and I was home before midnight. It was one heck of a happy birthday. I owe Erwin my thanks for that. And for so much more.

Awards: New England; RITA Winners

The winners of the 2015 New England Book Awards, voted on by members of the New England Independent Booksellers Association, are:

Fiction: Blue Horses: Poems by Mary Oliver (Penguin Press);
Nonfiction: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (Metropolitan/Macmillan)
Children's: Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola, illustrated by Emily Carroll (Candlewick)

The awards will be presented during NEIBA's annual awards banquet at the Biltmore Hotel in Providence R.I., on October 6.


The winners of the 2015 RITA Awards, sponsored by the Romance Writers of America, are:
Best first book: Run to You by Clara Kensie (Harlequin/TEEN)
Contemporary romance, long: Baby, It's You by Jane Graves Grand Central/Forever)
Contemporary Romance, mid-length: One in a Million by Jill Shalvis (Grand Central)
Contemporary romance, short: A Texas Rescue Christmas by Caro Carson (Harlequin)
Paranormal romance: Evernight by Kristen Callihan (Grand Central/Forever)
Historical romance, long: Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran (Pocket Books)
Historical romance, short: Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare (Avon)
Young adult romance: Boys Like You by Juliana Stone (Sourcebooks/Fire)
Erotic romance: The Saint by Tiffany Reisz (Harlequin/Mira)
Romance novella: His Road Home by Anna Richland (Harlequin/Carina Press)
Romantic suspense: Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb (Putnam)
Inspirational romance: Deceived by Irene Hannon (Baker Publishing Group/Revell)

Winners of this year's RWA Golden Heart awards, which recognize excellence in unpublished romance manuscripts, can be found here.

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 Book of Speculation: A Novel by Erika Swyler (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250054807). "Hauntingly beautiful, The Book of Speculation weaves a spectacular multigenerational story of magic, love, betrayal, and redemption. The story follows Simon, a young librarian and the descendant of circus mermaids, whose family is steeped in loss. Alongside his story is woven another's: Amos, a mute boy from the 1700s with a special gift. As histories are unveiled and unlikely connections are discovered, Simon is sent a mysterious book with a sinister message. Can he discover the secret that haunts his family in time? Fantastical history, engaging characters, and a love of the written word combine in this compelling novel." --Jax Caldwell-Dunn, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif.

The Truth and Other Lies: A Novel by Sascha Arango (Atria, $24.99, 9781476795553). "Henry Hayden has it all: loving wife, faithful dog, money, fame, and the respect of those lucky enough to be called his friends. Henry is actually someone who will go to extreme lengths to protect the one thing that truly matters to him: himself. When his mistress tells Henry that she is pregnant, the news sets off a chain of events that causes Henry to commit the biggest mistake of his life and forces him to stay one step ahead of the law. Arango's novel is twisty, cynical, and brilliant." --Teresa Steele, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, Colo.

Accidents of Marriage: A Novel by Randy Susan Meyers (Washington Square Press, $16, 9781451673050). "When is the time when 'enough is enough?'  Meyers deftly explores the issue of emotional abuse in her new novel. This is the story of Maddy and Ben and their three children. Maddy, a working mother, struggles to balance both career and family. Ben, a public defender, lives with a short fuse and drives the car that sends Maddy to the hospital in critical condition after a road rage encounter. Told from the points of view of Maddy, Ben, and Emma, the oldest sibling, Accidents of Marriage is an engrossing and provocative read." --Fran Keilty, Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot, Conn.

For Ages 9 to 12
Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley (Dial, $17.99, 9780525428435). "Who doesn't love the circus? Thrilling performances, exotic animals, and the constant promise of surprise make circuses seem magical. In Circus Mirandus the magic isn't an illusion, but rather very real--and astounding! Raised by his beloved Grandpa Ephraim, Micah has grown up hearing tales of his grandpa's visit to an incredible circus as a boy. It was during that visit that Ephraim was promised a miracle, and now, many decades later, Ephraim is ill and needs that miracle. Can Micah find Circus Mirandus and obtain the promised wish that could save his grandfather? Micah is a wonderfully appealing young hero--vulnerable and almost desperate, yet he shows bravery, resilience, and a decency that never flags. His selfless quest to save his grandfather is the stuff of classic hero tales. While it honors the old epics, Beasley's glorious debut is fresh, unique, and completely original." --Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, Mass.

For Ages 3 to 5
Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins (Chronicle, $16.99, 9781452138510). "Rude Cakes is a fun and silly book that is sure to cause a laugh riot. While rude cakes misbehave, giant cyclopses are the model of good behavior. Fortunately, one rude cake's encounter with a giant cyclops--where he's mistaken for a jaunty dancing hat--is what that cake needs to change his not-so-sweet ways. The playful text and humorous illustrations blend perfectly to create a top-notch read." --Mark Adam, Mrs. Nelson's Book Fair Company, Pomona, Calif.

For Teen Readers
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes (Dial, $17.99, 9780803740709). "Minnow Bly has spent the last 12 years of her life in the Montana wilderness with the Kevinian cult. She has no family, no education, no hands, and virtually no self worth. When the cult compound is burned down and the Prophet is found dead, the authorities turn to Minnow for answers. As she adjusts to life in juvenile detention and struggles with the decision to help the FBI, Minnow is finally able to educate herself and dream. Oakes has created a wonderfully strong female character in Minnow--one who isn't scared to think for herself and who is able to dream, even after years of being told she cannot. Highly recommended!" --Teresa Steele, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, Colo.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, August 4:

Joy: Poet, Seeker, and the Woman Who Captivated C.S. Lewis by Abigail Santamaria (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780151013715) is a biography of Joy Davidman, wife of C.S. Lewis.

Boss Life: Surviving My Own Small Business by Paul Downs (Blue Rider Press, $26.95, 9780399172335) is from the owner of Paul Downs Cabinetmakers and a contributor to the New York Times "You're the Boss" blog.

Alert by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316407038) is the eighth Michael Bennett thriller. (Monday, August 3.)

Flood of Fire: A Novel by Amitav Ghosh (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28, 9780374174248) concludes the historical fiction Ibis Trilogy.

Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews (Ace, $25.95, 9780425270677) is the eighth entry in the supernatural Kate Daniels series.

Destiny: Step into Your Purpose by T. D. Jakes (FaithWords, $25, 9781455553976) gives spiritual advice.

Saban: The Making of a Coach by Monte Burke (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781476789934) is the biography of a University of Alabama football coach.

The Sweet Life: Find Passion, Embrace Fear, and Create Success on Your Own Terms by Dulce Candy Ruiz (Avery, $22.95, 9781592409501) is the memoir of a YouTube star.

The Scorch Trials Movie Tie-in Edition (Maze Runner, Book Two) by James Dashner (Delacorte, $10.99, 9780553538410).

People Tools for Love and Relationships: The Journey from Me to Us by Alan Fox (SelectBooks, $16.95, 9781590793565).

Obsession in Death by J.D. Robb (Berkley, $7.99, 9780425278895).

Book Review

Review: Kanye West: God and Monster

Kanye West: God and Monster by Mark Beaumont (Overlook, $18.95 trade paper, 9781468311372, August 11, 2015)

Opinions about musician Kanye West could fill libraries. From smooth samples crooning over The College Dropout to ominous beats growling throughout Yeezus, West's remarkable musical legacy seems matched only by the divisive nature of his celebrity. Like David Bowie, West proves to be a groundbreaking artist unconstrained by form or convention, inspired by music, fashion, fine art and film. The public might be split on whether he is messiah or villain, but stardom has always been part of his plan, convinced as he was from boyhood of his destiny to be the greatest rapper of all time.

Music journalist Mark Beaumont (Jay-Z: The King of America) peels back the demonized veneer and eschews mythos to present an in-depth, if sometimes chaotic, profile of Kanye West's career. Kanye West: God and Monster situates the man, his music, his relationships and his outbursts within context. Would he have co-opted Taylor Swift's Video Music Awards speech had he not been so emotionally exhausted since his mother's death? Would he appear so paranoid were his persona not continually twisted by corrosive tabloid media? Never shy about his accomplishments, would Kanye West be labeled as indefensibly arrogant if his renown had remained strictly within the halls of hip-hop fame, an art form predicated upon braggadocio?

Beaumont traces the hard-won trajectory of a passionate music maker determined to prove his worth despite pervasive skepticism. West's star initially rose in the production studio, where he created beats and warped music samples into fresh sounds that garnered interest from hip-hop pillar Jay-Z. Their collaboration would evolve into a deep, fraternal friendship, but West still had to fight for recognition as more than a revolutionary producer. When he finally released his debut, The College Dropout, audiences rejoiced, but no matter how many records he sold, his next efforts were met with industry pessimism that lightning doesn't strike twice.

Though his ego draws ongoing public ire, in context West appears more indefatigable than arrogant: "I don't see what's wrong with going in and saying, 'I'm going to sell three million records,' " Beaumont quotes the artist--using a wealth of magazine features, interviews, social media posts and Donda West's memoir, Raising Kanye. "What if someone was like, 'I'm going to finish school'...? What if it was just as hard for that person to finish school...?" Frequently West rises above naysayers and highlights social problems like racism, homophobia, economic inequality and more.

His fans and hip-hop aficionados may find Kanye West most intriguing, but Beaumont's omniscient narrative renders the man and his work accessible to the uninitiated, too. Though occasionally straying into questionable phrasing--describing West, after Kim Kardashian's divorce from basketball player Kris Humphries, as animalistically "coiled... to pounce"--Beaumont's profile demonstrates the artist's vast stores of energy, ingenuity, resilience, ambition and confidence. In the engine of West's driven creativity, ego is mere exhaust from the afterburner; his resolve has always been to make incredible music. --Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: Music journalist Mark Beaumont provides an eye-opening chronicle of the praised and notorious Kanye West, from hip-hop underdog to pop icon.

Powered by: Xtenit