Shelf Awareness for Monday, September 14, 2015

Atlantic Monthly Press: Those Opulent Days: A Mystery by Jacquie Pham

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber

Carolrhoda Lab (R): Here Goes Nothing by Emma K Ohland

Allida: Safiyyah's War by Hiba Noor Khan

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley


Pearson CEO: 'Most Unlikely' We'll Sell PRH Stake Now

Pearson intends to keep its 47% stake in Penguin Random House until at least 2017, Pearson CEO John Fallon told Bloomberg.

"It's most unlikely that we'll exercise the option at this time," Fallon said. "The business is doing well, and we are one year away from achieving peak synergies."

Under the 2012 Penguin Random House merger agreement, Pearson and Bertelsmann can sell their shares beginning this October, with each merger partner having the right of first refusal. In 2017, the companies will have the option of selling shares in Penguin Random House in an IPO.

At the end of August, Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe said that his company "could imagine raising our stake in Penguin Random House in steps. It's up to Pearson whether they want to sell or not."

Speculation mounted this year that Pearson might want to sell following the company's recent sale of the Financial Times and its stake in the Economist to focus on education. Bloomberg observed that the sale of those assets has created "a windfall of about $2 billion" that allows Pearson to wait to sell its stake in Penguin Random House.

PM Press: P Is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi, Illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi

Chapter2Books on the Move... Upstairs

Chapter2Books, Hudson, Wis., will relocate within its current building later this fall. Sue Roegge, co-owner of the bookstore with her husband, Brian, said that "Hello the House, a vintage store in our building but upstairs at street level, is closing at the end of September. We will be taking over their storefront at 226 Locust St. All our contact info will stay the same, but we're getting out of our basement!" The bookshop will not have to close during the move because its current space isn't being rented out in October.

"Our store will now have a nice huge window for display. Locust St. has lovely shops. We're right next door to a wonderful florist and a chocolate shop. We missed that so much being in the lower level," Roegge noted, adding: "We will continue to sell new and used books, with an emphasis on our children's section, popular fiction and nonfiction and our regional section. We also sell toys and gifts. Our event schedule is packed with excellent authors too. We will also be renting some of the back area of the store to vendors who currently rent there, selling re-purposed and vintage goods."

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

Pottermore's 'Radical New Design & Approach'

Pottermore, the Harry Potter-themed website that made its debut in 2012, will be overhauled and relaunched later this fall "with a radical new design and approach," the Bookseller reported, adding that the "new mobile-first version will drop the gaming elements, focus on its core audience of young adults, and allow its content to be indexed by search engines."

"When Pottermore first started, it was positioned for the next generation of readers, and that next generation was almost by default tagged to be children," said Pottermore CEO Susan Jurevics. "So the current site gamified the content, making it very simplistic in terms of collecting things and casting spells. That was appropriate for children, but that wasn't actually the core audience." She noted that the user base is "overwhelmingly young adult and female."

The relaunch also reflects technological advancements: "From a technology point of view, when Pottermore was designed and conceived, the iPad had not yet been launched, and the population didn't yet sleep with their phones on. The current Pottermore is really a laptop or desktop experience and that type of usage is going away," Jurevics said.

In addition, a Harry Potter world has gradually evolved outside of the original books, and J.K. Rowling "finds these corollaries in the real world and evolves the magical world through a lot of the new writing, for example when she created the Quidditch World Cup," Jurevics observed. "But in the very linear narrative--focused on the books--that we had, there was no place for that. She can now write content that is about the wider wizarding world, but is not anchored to books one to seven."

Obituary Notes: William H. Grier; Basil H. Johnston

William H. Grier, "a psychiatrist whose book Black Rage, written with his colleague Price M. Cobbs, drew widespread attention to the psychic damage inflicted by racism and the causes of black anger, a topic of intense interest in the aftermath of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.," died September 3, the New York Times reported. He was 89.


Basil H. Johnston, author, storyteller, historian and preserver of the Anishnaabe language, died September 8, CBC News reported. He was 86. A member of the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation in Ontario, Johnston wrote 25 books, often about Anishinaabe history, including five in the language of the Anishinaabe. "He was a treasure trove to the community and true keeper of the language," said Gregory Nawash, chief of the Chippewas of Nawash. "Basil learned very early in life that knowledge is power."


Image of the Day: Angelini at Hicklebee's

Author Josephine Angelini visited Hicklebee's in San Jose, Calif., to teach an afternoon writers' workshop, followed by an evening in-store author event to celebrate the release of Firewalker (Feiwel & Friends), a "fanta-sci" novel that incorporates parallel universes, alternate selves, string theory and Salem witchcraft. Both events featured a wealth of writing tips and strategies from Angelini. Pictured: Angelini (standing, center) with the attendees of the writer's workshop.

Happy 5th Birthday, Sheafe Street Books!

Congratulations to Sheafe Street Books, Portsmouth, N.H., which is marking its fifth anniversary this month. Owned by Ken Kozick, a former sales rep for Golden-Lee Book Distributors, Bookazine, Falcon Press and Globe Pequot Press, the store is on the first floor of a townhouse in historic downtown Portsmouth and sells a mix of new, used and collectible books.

Because of a "serious road construction project" that probably won't be finished for another month, Kozick will wait to throw a party with "a sale during the day and some free beer after closing hours."

Cool Idea of the Day: Half-Way to St. Patrick's Day Party

Clinton Book Shop, Clinton, N.J., is hosting a Half-Way to St. Patrick's Day Party this Thursday, September 17, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Billed as "a great excuse to have a party," the event will feature Irish music, refreshments, Irish-American author Mike Farragher and musical guest Tim Johnston. Farragher is the author of the This Is Your Brain on Shamrocks series; his latest book is A Devilish Pint (CreateSpace, $10.99, 9781514716199), a humorous collection of short stories and personal essays.

Bookworm Tours 'Tennessee's Best Bookstores'

For the Huffington Post, Fiona Moriarty offered a "bookworm's tour through Tennessee's best bookstores." She noted that "while it may not seem the obvious choice for more reserved bookworms, the following stops show that for book-loving travelers there is a quieter, more literary side to the state that's well-worth exploring." The featured bookshops included Union Ave Books in Knoxville ("a locally-owned, independent gem of a store"), Parnassus Books in Nashville ("a must-visit for any book lover") and Burke's Book Store in Memphis (a "kind and knowledgeable staff").

Personnel Changes at Grove Atlantic, Chronicle, Ecco

At Grove Atlantic:
John Mark Boling has been promoted to senior publicity manager.

Justina Batchelor has been promoted to publicity manager.

Becca Putman has been promoted to sales and marketing associate & academic marketing manager.


At Chronicle Books:

Genny McAuley is being promoted to national accounts manager.

Christina Mott is being promoted to associate client account manager.

Casie Kolbeck is being promoted to trade sales coordinator.

Erin Dunigan is moving positions to associate sales manager, special markets.


Stephanie Mendoza has been promoted to associate publicist at Ecco.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jewel on the View

This morning on Good Morning America: Suzy Favor Hamilton, author of Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness (Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062346223)


This morning on the Today Show: Mindy Kaling, author of Why Not Me? (Crown Archetype, $25, 9780804138147).


Today on Fresh Air: Scott Shane, author of Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President, and the Rise of the Drone (Tim Duggan Books, $28, 9780804140294).


Today on Diane Rehm: Thomas Mallon, author of Finale: A Novel of the Reagan Years (Pantheon, $27.95, 9780307907929).


Today on NPR's Marketplace: Bethany McLean, author of Shaky Ground: The Strange Saga of the U.S. Mortgage Giants (Columbia Global Reports, $12.99, 9780990976301).


Today on NPR's It's Your Health: Michael and Sarah Bennett, authors of F*ck Feelings: One Shrink's Practical Advice for Managing All Life's Impossible Problems (Simon & Schuster, $19.99, 9781476789996).


Today on Live with Kelly and Michael: Neil Patrick Harris, author of Choose Your Own Autobiography (Three Rivers Press, $16, 9780385347013). He will also appear on the Wendy Williams Show.


Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Cat Cora, author of Cooking as Fast as I Can: A Chef's Story of Family, Food, and Forgiveness (Scribner, $25, 9781476766140).


Tomorrow morning on NPR's Morning Edition: David Maraniss, author of Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story (Simon & Schuster, $32.50, 9781476748382).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Don and Susie Van Ryn, Colleen Newell and Whitney Cerak, co-authors of Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope (Howard, $15.99, 9781439153550).


Tomorrow on Sirius XM's Maggie Linton Show: Damon Tweedy, author of Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine (Picador, $26, 9781250044631).


Tomorrow on the View: Jewel, author of Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story (Blue Rider, $27.50, 9780399174339).


Tomorrow on Rachael Ray: Colin Atrophy Hagendorf, author of Slice Harvester: A Memoir in Pizza (Simon & Schuster, $23, 9781476705880).


Tomorrow on Diane Rehm: Tom Gjelten, author of A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781476743851).


Tomorrow night on Late Night with Seth Meyers: Judd Winick, author of Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth (Random House, $13.99, 9780385386173).

Movies: London Fields; Ready Player One; The Circle

A clip is out for London Fields, based on the novel by Martin Amis and directed by Mathew Cullen. reported that the movie, which premieres September 18 at the Toronto International Film Festival, stars Amber Heard, Billy Bob Thornton, Theo James, Jim Sturgess, Jason Isaacs, Cara Delevingne and Jaimie Alexander. Amis and Roberta Hanley (Veronica Decides to Die, Woundings) wrote the screenplay.


Olivia Cooke (Me, Earl & The Dying Girl) "has nabbed the female lead" in Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One, based on the bestselling novel by Ernie Cline, according to the Hollywood Reporter, which noted that Spielberg "has been reading actors in Los Angeles and New York with the hope of finding both the male and female leads at the same time. That hasn't happened and the hunt for the male continues, though Cooke rose to the top after tests that included Elle Fanning and Lola Kirke."


Patton Oswalt "has joined what's shaping up to be an interesting cast for The Circle," director James Ponsoldt's film adaptation of Dave Eggers's bestselling book, reported. Oswalt joins Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, John Boyega and Karen Gillan in the cast for a movie that "is expected to draw interest from buyers at the just-underway Toronto Film Festival as a hot title, even though it isn't anywhere in the lineup."

Books & Authors

Awards: PEN Center USA; Canadian Children's Book Centre

Winners were announced for this year's PEN Center USA Awards, which recognize the best writing in the western U.S. The winning writers in each category receive $1,000 and will be honored November 16 at the Literary Awards Festival in Beverly Hills, Calif. The 2015 PEN Center USA Award winners are:

Fiction: Bridge by Robert Thomas (BOA Editions)
Creative nonfiction: The Unspeakable by Meghan Daum (FSG)
YA/children's: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton (Candlewick)
Poetry: Citizen by Claudia Rankine (Graywolf)
UC Press first book: Reading Basquiat by Jordana Moore Saggese
Graphic literature innovator: G. Willow Wilson
Research nonfiction: Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming by McKenzie Funk (Penguin)
Translation: Ainsley Morse and Peter Golub for Anatomical Theater by Andrei Sen-Senkov (Zephyr)
Drama: Arlington by Victor Lodato
Journalism: Daniel Alarcón for "The Contestant" (California Sunday Magazine)
Screenplay: The Imitation Game by Graham Moore
Teleplay: Noah Hawley for "The Crocodile's Dilemma" (Fargo)

Filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. The First Amendment Award will go to John Kiriakou and the Award of Honor to ProPublica.


Finalists for the 2015 Canadian Children's Book Centre awards can be viewed here. Winners will be announced at the TD Canadian Children's Literature Awards and Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l'enfance et la jeunesse in Toronto on November 10. Overall, C$135,000 (about US$101,780) in prize money will be awarded.

Papal Visit: Books for Francis's U.S. Tour

Next week, from September 22 to 27, Pope Francis will visit Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia, his first trip ever to the U.S. He'll have a full schedule of religious services, meetings with world leaders--including a visit to the White House--addresses to the Congress and the U.N. General Assembly, and tours of the 9/11 memorial and a prison in Philadelphia. (See his full schedule here.) Francis's two-year progressive papacy has begotten a wide range of titles, from biographies to compilations of his own writings and talks. In preparation for the attention his upcoming visit is sure to attract, here is a partial list of these works both by and about the Pope:

By Pope Francis:

Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality: On Care for Our Common Home by Pope Francis (Melville House, $14.95, 9781612195285, July 23, 2015) is a clarion call to Catholics and the rest of the world to combat climate change and its root cause--a catastrophic inequality in the global distribution of wealth. Includes an introduction by Naomi Oreskes, a Harvard professor and author of Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.

On the Care for our Common Home: Group Reading Guide to Laudato Si by Bill Huebsch (Twenty-Third Publications, $3.50, 9781627851220, Aug. 3, 2015) is a 48-page guide to the aforementioned encyclical.

Pope Francis' Little Book of Wisdom: The Essential Teachings, compiled by Andrea Kirk Assaf (Hampton Roads, $14, 9781571747389, Sept. 1, 2015) collects teachings from Pope Francis into 15 chapters on love, family, humility and other topics.

The Church of Mercy by Pope Francis (Loyola Press, $16.95, 9780829441703, April 25, 2014) collects speeches, sermons and papers written during Francis's first year into a meditation on how the church should function after recent tumultuous times. This Vatican-authorized book, which promotes a message of hope and selfless service, has sold more than 100,000 copies since its release. (To see our Dedicated Issue on this and other Loyola Press titles by and about the Pope, click here.)

Walking with Jesus: A Way Forward for the Church by Pope Francis (Loyola Press, $16.95, 9780829442540, April 5, 2015) shows how individuals and communities can turn the messages from Church of Mercy into positive action.

Pope Francis and the Joy of Family Life: Daily Reflections by Pope Francis, edited by Kevin Cotter (Our Sunday Visitor, $16.95, 9781612789293, Sept. 1, 2015) collects brief meditations on family from Pope Francis for daily consumption. A similar title from the same publisher: A Year of Mercy with Pope Francis: Daily Reflections ($16.95, 9781612788357, Nov. 11, 2014).

God Is Always Near: Conversations with Pope Francis by Pope Francis, edited by Gary Seromik (Our Sunday Visitor, $17.95, 9781612789149, June 15, 2015) includes interviews with the Pope, who was once reluctant to speak with journalists, on the needs of the Church and the larger world.

Reflections from Pope Francis: An Invitation to Journaling, Prayer, and Action by Susan Stark and Daniel J. Pierson (Tarcher, $15.95, 9780399173202, Feb. 24, 2015) turns homilies, speeches and addresses from the first year of Francis's papacy into a journal with spaces for readers to write their own reflections on his teachings.

Morning Homilies II by Pope Francis (Orbis Books, $23.50, 9781626981478, Oct. 1, 2015) contains morning masses given to guests and residents in St. Martha's Guesthouse, where Pope Francis lives, between September 2013 and January 2014.

Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus by Pope Francis, edited by Gustavo Larrázabal (Crossroad Publishing, $16.95, 9780824520854, Sept. 15, 2015) gives the Pope's own thoughts on what being Christian really means.

The Joy of the Gospel: Evangelii Gaudium by Pope Francis (Image, $14, 9780553419535, Oct. 7, 2014) is an Exhortation given in 2013 in which Francis gives a message of hope and advocates helping the powerless.

About Pope Francis:

Pope Francis: Life and Revolution: A Biography of Jorge Bergoglio by Elisabetta Piqué (Loyola Press, $16.95, 9780829442175, Oct. 21, 2014) turns an Argentine journalist's longtime friendship with a man she knew simply as "Padre Jorge" into a biography of Pope Francis with an insider's perspective. Piqué also uses 75 interviews conducted with lay people and church officials.

Pope Francis: A Photographic Portrait of the People's Pope by Michael Collins (DK, $25, 9781465439833, Aug. 4, 2015) chronicles a year of Francis's papacy through 250 previously unpublished pictures by Vatican photographer Rodolfo Felici. Father Michael Collins uses his experience as a former Vatican adviser to contextualize these images of masses, foreign visits and behind-the-scenes moments.

Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads by Chris Lowney (Loyola Press, $16.95, 9780829440911, Oct. 4 2013) uses former Jesuit seminarian Lowney's experience as a managing director for JP Morgan Chase to analyze Francis's leadership style. Washing the feet of young inmates and forgoing the papal palace for a small apartment demonstrate leading by example in a spirit of humble service.

Bringing Lent Home with Pope Francis: Prayers, Reflections, and Activities for Families by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle (Ave Maria Press, $3.50, 9781594716171, Oct. 2, 2015) is an activity and reflection guide for Lent with quotes from and stories about Pope Francis.

This Economy Kills: Pope Francis on Capitalism and Social Justice by Andrea Tornielli and Giacomo Galeazzi (Liturgical Press, $19.95, 9780814647257, Aug. 24, 2015) looks at Francis's more controversial statements, some of which were labeled Marxist in the U.S., even by fellow Catholics.

The Heart of Pope Francis: How a New Culture of Encounter Is Changing the Church and the World by Diego Fares, S.J. (Crossroad Publishing, $14.95, 9780824520748, Sept. 15, 2015), written by an Argentine priest who has known Francis for 40 years, looks at the Pope's life and how he is remaking the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis and the New Vatican by Robert Draper, photographs by David Yoder (National Geographic, $40, 9781426215827, Aug. 4, 2015) combines essays, interviews and six months of behind-the-scenes photos into a portrait of “the people's Pope.”

The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope by Austen Ivereigh (Picador, $16, 9781250074997, Aug. 25, 2015) is a biography of Francis that focuses on how his life in South America shaped his advocacy of the Catholic Church as a "Church of the Poor."

The Francis Miracle: Inside the Transformation of the Pope and the Church by John L. Allen (Time, $27, 9781618931313, March 3, 2015), by a Boston Globe reporter who has spent his career covering the Vatican, is a guide to inner Church workings and Francis's impact on the institution.

Pope Francis: The Struggle for the Soul of Catholicism by Paul Vallely (Bloomsbury, $30, 9781632861153, Aug. 18, 2015) looks at how Francis's attempted reforms have clashed with entrenched Vatican power structures, like bureaucrats in the Vatican Bank. --Compiled by Tobias Mutter

Book Review

Review: Slade House

Slade House by David Mitchell (Random House, $26 hardcover, 9780812998689, October 27, 2015)

Even for an author like David Mitchell, well known for embracing the strange and distinct in novels like The Bone Clocks and Cloud Atlas, Slade House is an odd piece of writing. Unlike Mitchell's recent 600-plus-page behemoths, Slade House could easily qualify as a novella, with its 256 pages padded by an unusually small trim size and generous chapter breaks. The book's brevity may be explained by its origin--the first chapter is an adaptation of a short story called "The Right Sort" that Mitchell released in truncated pieces over Twitter. Regardless of length, Slade House is a complex, twisty little gem that fans of the author will absolutely devour.

Slade House is, at its core, a haunted house story. That fact, along with the novel's brevity, invites comparisons with Henry James's classic novella The Turn of the Screw, but the novel's cyclical, time-hopping, plot-dense structure is pure David Mitchell. The story begins in 1979, as a possibly autistic boy named Nathan accompanies his mother to a strange house filled with upper-crust English partygoers. Their visit takes a turn for the worse as the house starts to reveal its surreal nature, and Nathan eventually finds himself introduced to the (literally) soul-sucking twins who serve as the antagonists in the novel. Four more chapters introduce four new main characters to the house and its constantly morphing inhabitants at an interval of nine years. Slade House finds its horror in the plot's repetition, summoning up a helpless feeling of inevitability fended off only by its slight variations in each chapter and Mitchell's devilish wit.

Each new character becomes well rounded and familiar in a short amount of time thanks to Mitchell's fantastically nimble first-person narration. Readers left cold by the convoluted plot--with heavy ties to The Bone Clocks and at least a few references to The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet--will still find themselves thoroughly enchanted by Mitchell's virtuosic prose. In this excerpt from the first chapter, Mitchell even manages a cheeky meta-textual wink at the structure of the novel about to unfold:

On the way here we saw zebras and giraffes. No spooky portraits, no Slade House, no mastiff. Mrs. Todds my English teacher gives an automatic "F" if anyone ever writes "I woke up and it was all a dream" at the end of a story. She says it violates the deal between reader and writer; that it's a cop-out, it's the Boy Who Cried Wolf. But every single morning we really do wake up and it really was all a dream.

Mitchell is the rare kind of genius who can insert what amounts to a thesis statement into the mouth of a character without violating that character's integrity. It's exactly the sort of neat trick that Mitchell fans have been raving about for years, and with good reason. Cliché or no, Slade House reinforces the notion that there really is no one out there like David Mitchell. --Hank Stephenson, bookseller, Flyleaf Books

Shelf Talker: Slade House is David Mitchell's snack-sized take on the haunted house genre, with the labyrinthine plot, fully realized characters and brilliant prose that have come to mark his body of work.

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