Also published on this date: Tuesday, September 29, 2015: Maximum Shelf: Our Lady of the Ice

Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Harper Voyager: Dragon Rider (Soulbound Saga #1) by Taran Matharu

Albatros Media: Words about Where: Let's Learn Prepositions by Magda Gargulakova, illustrated by Marie Urbankova

Blackstone Publishing: Ordinary Bear by C.B. Bernard

St. Martin's Griffin: One Last Shot by Betty Cayouette

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Page Street YA: The Final Curse of Ophelia Cray by Christine Calella


MacArthur 'Genius' Award Authors

The 24 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius" grants--$625,000 paid out over five years to people who "show exceptional creativity in their work and the prospect for still more in the future"--include these authors:

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates, journalist and author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle as well as Between the World and Me.

Ben Lerner, novelist, poet and critic, whose novels are Leaving the Atocha Station and 10:04 and poetry collections are The Lichtenberg Figures, Angle of Yaw and Mean Free Path.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, playwright, composer and performer who created the hit play Hamilton, based on Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton.

Marina Rustow, a historian and author of Heresy and the Politics of Community: The Jews of the Fatimid Caliphate. She is also co-editor of Jewish Studies at the Crossroads of Anthropology and History: Authority, Diaspora, Tradition.

Ellen Bryant Voigt, a poet whose works include Claiming Kin, Forces of Plenty, Kyrie and Headwaters. She has also written two books on the writer's craft: The Flexible Lyric and The Art of Syntax: Rhythm of Thought, Rhythm of Song.

HarperOne: Be a Revolution: How Everyday People Are Fighting Oppression and Changing the World--And How You Can, Too by Ijeoma Oluo

New Book Festival Coming to Columbia, S.C.

When the Humanities Council of South Carolina announced in July that the S.C. Book Festival would be discontinued, Annie Boiter-Jolley and Darien Cavanaugh "quickly decided the Midlands wouldn't be the same without it," so they began organizing what will be the inaugural Deckle Edge Literary Festival, scheduled for February 19-21, the State reported.

"We felt like we couldn't let this happen," said Boiter-Jolley, operations manager for Jasper Magazine. "Columbia needs a literary festival and we figured that we just needed to jump on it so that there would be no gap from one year to the next.... I definitely feel like this festival is going to tie in nicely with what the Humanities Council is trying to do. They've been really supportive of our efforts to continue this tradition."

Cavanaugh said that the S.C. Book Festival was "a tremendous gift to readers and writers in the South, and we're grateful to the Humanities Council for sharing their expertise with us as we create something new. We would not have been able to move so quickly on launching Deckle Edge without their guidance and good will."

Harpervia: Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj

Handler and Brown Giving $1 Million to Planned Parenthood

photo: Sonia Sones

Wow. Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, and his wife, children's book author and illustrator Lisa Brown, are giving $1 million to Planned Parenthood. In a tweet, they explained: "We've been very fortunate, and good fortune should be shared with noble causes."

House Republicans want to cut federal aid to Planned Parenthood, and some are threatening to shut down the government unless this happens. Planned Parenthood receives more than $500 million a year in federal aid, mostly from Medicaid, which goes to providing a range of health care services for mostly lower-income women such as screening and treating infections and STDs and birth control, but not abortions.

Obituary Note: Debbie Robins de La Bouillerie

Hollywood film and television producer Debbie Robins de La Bouillerie, "a highly respected executive and culture expert with deep roots in the entertainment industry" as well as a bestselling author, died August 31, the Huffington Post reported. She was 58. Her books include Shovel It! Kick-Ass Advice to Turn Life's Crap into the Peace and Happiness You Deserve and Where Peace Lives.


Image of the Day: PRH Rep-a-rama!

Diesel in Oakland, Calif., was the host earlier this month of the first-ever "Penguin Random House Rep-a-Rama": a hybrid new-title presentation and party for East Bay booksellers.

Some 50 booksellers from 20 of the area's indies (including A Great Good Place for Books, Bay Books, Books Inc., Book Passage, Bookshop Benicia, Diesel, Face in a Book, Laurel Bookstore, Mrs. Dalloway's, Pegasus Books, Rakestraw, Read Booksellers and Towne Center Books) came together for pizza, snacks, drinks, troves of ARC and lots of sales tips about Penguin's and Random House's fall 2015 and spring 2016 adult and children's titles. Presenting local field reps were Steve Atinsky, RH Adult; Dandy Conway, RH Children's Books; Steve Kent, Penguin Young Readers; Wendy Pearl, Penguin Adult; and Ron Shoop, RH Adult.

Stripped Covers: B&N Bumps Burlesque

Only in New York.

An event last night at the Barnes & Noble on the Upper West Side in New York City for Leslie Zemeckis, author of Goddess of Love Incarnate: The Life of Striptease Lili St. Cyr, became a bit raucous. The Daily News reported that the signing was going to feature a burlesque show with dancers in the window, but that B&N managers got cold feet because they thought the dancers' outfits would be "too revealing" and asked the dancers to stay fully clothed and perform inside, in the events area.

In protest, Bambi the Mermaid, Lil Miss Lixx, Jo Boobs Weldon, Whitney Ward and the author--some of whom were topless--protested outside the store.

"It's freeing and empowering to just be shaking your thing and not having it thought of as a disgusting thing or anything that should be hidden," Zemeckis told the Daily News. "The crowd loved it and it was fun!"

Cool Idea of the Day: Art Appreciation

This week, BookPeople of Moscow, Idaho, celebrates the second anniversary of Moscow First Thursday, a monthly event designed to gather people downtown to appreciate artwork, the Argonaut reported. This week's event will feature the artwork of Scott Nash, Nancy Gibson Nash and Rilla Alexander.

"It is so fun to see so many people out strolling downtown, whether in the dark of winter or in the warmth of fall," said Jesica DeHart, the bookstore's co-manager and buyer. "It is a great way for artists and musicians to get their work out and for businesses to get foot traffic through their door.... When you spend a lot of creative energy and enthusiasm creating brilliant and exciting events then of course you want to entice people to come and experience them. My responsibility comes from my own personal sense of ambition for wanting to entice people to experience all that BookPeople has to offer from displays, books, merchandise, events, philanthropic giving and community partnership and outreach."

In Calgary, the Cookbook Co. Cooks

"There are those who write cookbooks, and those who sell them," CBC News reported, noting that Gail Norton, owner of the the Cookbook Company Cooks in Calgary, "does both, and teaches on the side."

Norton recalled that after graduating from the University of Calgary with a degree in special education, she "went on a road trip across Canada, and saw the Cookbook Store in Toronto. I felt like there was electricity pulsing through my fingertips. So I came back and didn't get a teaching job. Again, ignorance was bliss--I got together with my mom, who has great attention to detail and the memory of 10 elephants, which helps when it comes to book titles and authors. We made up our own index card system, and off we went."

The Cookbook Company opened in 1984, and in 1996 moved to the current location of the Cookbook Company Cooks on 11th Avenue, where they also added a cooking school. Nine years ago, they "opened a new, larger, sunnier space upstairs, where they host even more classes, community and corporate events and cookbook launches," CBC News wrote.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Martha Stewart, Erica Jong, Elizabeth Gilbert

Today on Fresh Air: James O'Connell, author of Stories from the Shadows: Reflections of a Street Doctor (BHCHP Press, $19.95, 978-0692412343).


Tonight on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Jesse Eisenberg, author of Bream Gives Me Hiccups (Grove, $26, 9780802124043).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Martha Stewart, author of Martha Stewart's Appetizers: 200 Recipes for Dips, Spreads, Snacks, Small Plates, and Other Delicious Hors d'Oeuvres, Plus 30 Cocktails (Clarkson Potter, $27.50, 9780307954626).


Tomorrow on Diane Rehm: Erica Jong, author of Fear of Dying: A Novel (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250065919).


Tomorrow on the Meredith Vieira Show: Alan C. Fox, author of People Tools for Love and Relationships: The Journey from Me to Us (SelectBooks, $16.95, 9781590793565).


Tomorrow night on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (Riverhead, $24.95, 9781594634710).


Tomorrow night on Conan: Kunal Nayyar, author of Yes, My Accent Is Real: And Some Other Things I Haven't Told You (Atria, $26, 9781476761824).

Movies: The Forest of Hands & Teeth

Maisie Williams has been cast in the lead role for the film adaptation of Carrie Ryan's novel The Forest of Hands and Teeth, reported. Actress Kate Maberly (The Secret Garden, Finding Neverland) will adapt, direct and produce with Doug Liman.

"I am so incredibly excited to be stepping into the Forest and collaborating with such a brilliant creative mind as Doug's," Maberly said. "We can't wait to bring Ryan's fantastical world to life, and are absolutely thrilled to have Maisie on board."

Books & Authors

Awards: Thurber Winner; Forward for Best Poetry Collection

Julie Schumacher has won the $5,000 2015 Thurber Prize for American Humor for Dear Committee Members (Doubleday).

Judge Sloane Crosley commented: "It's jealousy-inducing to read with more brilliant laughs per square inch than any book I've read in at least five years." Fellow judge David Giffels called Dear Committee Members "a dazzling satire," and judge Liza Donnelly said that Schumacher's "humor sizzles and settles into you and catches you off-guard."

Runners-up for the Thurber Prize were Roz Chast for Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (Bloomsbury) and Annabelle Gurwitch for I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50 (Blue Rider Press).


Claudia Rankine won the £10,000 (about $15,180) Forward Prize for the Best Poetry Collection for Citizen: An American Lyric. A.L. Kennedy, chair of the jury, commented: "This is writing we can recommend with real urgency and joy. It's a stylistically daring poetic project about the dehumanization of those deemed outsiders--we found it exhilarating and genuinely transformative."

The £5,000 (about $7,590) Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection was awarded to Mona Arshi for Small Hands. And the winner of the £1,000 ($1,518) prize for Best Single Poem was Claire Harman for "The Mighty Hudson."

Book Review

Review: Drinking in America: Our Secret History

Drinking in America: Our Secret History by Susan Cheever (Twelve, $28 hardcover, 9781455513871, October 13, 2015)

Historian and biographer Susan Cheever (E.E. Cummings) believes alcohol and drinking have been an underlying force shaping the American story from the 17th century to the present. She launches her engrossing, insightful narrative with the Mayflower, which transported 200 barrels of alcohol to the New World. The voyage was beset with difficulties, and adults and children consumed beer for sustenance and to maintain health, as water stockpiled in barrels onboard grew fetid. Running out of beer was a major reason the Pilgrims landed at Cape Cod and not further south. Ten years later, the Puritans jump-started the American brewing industry and their efforts paved the way for the production of distilled liquor: whiskey, cider and, later, rum.

By the middle of the 18th century, taverns in the early colonies "served as inns, courthouses and town halls before those structures were built." As anger against England surged, excessive drinking, combined with talk of politics, provoked unrest and defiance. Thus, the idea of independence escalated, leading to the American Revolution, which was fueled by rum consumption. The founding fathers, including George Washington, plied soldiers with alcohol to embolden them to fight and also to numb the pain of the wounded and dying.

The well-researched and well-developed timeline Cheever presents winds through the Whiskey Rebellion; Johnny Appleseed planting apple orchards on the frontier that led to healthy apple cider production and, later, 66 proof applejack; Meriwether Lewis's reliance on whiskey to help build the Erie Canal; alcohol profiteering, including how the rum trade was connected to slavery; and the Civil War, where liquor helped turn the tide of battle--for better or worse.

To great effect, Cheever contrasts the personalities and accomplishments of teetotalers in history such as Alexander Hamilton, General Custer and Abraham Lincoln against ardent drinkers like John Adams, two of whose sons died of alcoholism at a time when it was a rare diagnosis. The Adams family dynamic serves as a springboard into Cheever's personal story and family legacies of alcoholism as inherited diseases. In later chapters, Cheever profiles the anti-alcohol temperance movement and prohibition, leading to more contemporary issues of how alcohol has served as a vice of the creative life, including that of her own father, John Cheever; the effect of alcohol on Joseph McCarthy's paranoia and arrogance; how hangovers may have dulled Secret Service response on the day of President Kennedy's assassination; Richard Nixon's veiled alcohol addiction; and the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous and Mothers Against Drunk Driving to combat alcoholism as a significant public health problem.

Cheever cites many examples of how alcohol and drinking have been divisive and destructive forces that have brought "pain... and incompetence" to the history of our national landscape. But she makes an equally effective and compelling historical case for how "drinking is a cherished American custom--a way to celebrate and a way to grieve and a way to take the edge off. It brings people together." --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: An engrossing, in-depth examination of the profound ways alcohol and drinking have shaped and contributed to American history.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Hollywood Dirt by Alessandra Torre
2. A Tiger's Bride (A Lion's Pride, Volume 4) by Eve Langlais
3. Paula Deen Cuts the Fat by Paula Deen
4. Screwed by Kendall Ryan
5. First 100 Words by Roger Priddy
6. The Greek's Forgotten Wife (The Boarding School Series Book 1) by Elizabeth Lennox
7. Grayson's Vow by Mia Sheridan
8. Drowning to Breathe (Bleeding Stars Book 2) by A.L. Jackson
9. Beneath This Ink by Meghan March
10. Eat It Later by Michael Alvear

[Many thanks to!]

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