Shelf Awareness for Thursday, October 1, 2015

Holiday House: Ros Demir Is Not the One by Leyla Brittan

HarperAlley: I Shall Never Fall In Love by Hari Conner

W. W. Norton & Company to Sell and Distribute Yale University Press and Harvard University Press

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

Quotation of the Day

Banned Books Week: 'Better than Christmas'

"Banned Books Week is my favorite week of the whole year. Seriously, it's better than Christmas.... Promoting books that have been banned or challenged shines a light on these attempts at censorship. It is an eye-opening experience for many.... We are basically a country built by rebels. When someone tells us 'you can't read that,' we naturally pick it up and read it."

--Kathy Adams, children's book specialist at Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, Minn., speaking with Minnesota Public Radio

 Treasure Books, Inc.: There's Treasure Inside by Jon Collins-Black


HarperCollins Creates HarperCollins Italia

HarperCollins has bought Mondadordi Libri's interest in Harlequin Mondadori, a joint venture for the past 34 years, and is renaming the publisher HarperCollins Italia.

Brian Murray

The Harmony romance imprint will continue to publish, and HarperCollins Italia will expand its commercial trade publishing with titles from HarperCollins and Harlequin as well as local authors. Harlequin Mondadori managing director Paola Ronchi will become managing director of HarperCollins Italia.

HarperCollins president and CEO Brian Murray commented: "This is the next step in our plans to provide our authors with a global, multi-language publishing platform to help them reach the widest possible audience for their work."

The move follows similar HarperCollins efforts, after its purchase of Harlequin last year, to consolidate and build foreign-language publishing in Germany, Poland, the Nordic countries, the Netherlands, Spain, Brazil and Japan.

Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!

Kinokuniya Aims to Make More First Printing Deals

Based in part on its experience buying 90,000 copies of the 100,000-copy first printing of Haruki Murakami's essay collection Novelist as a Vocation last month in Japan, Books Kinokuniya plans to "increase direct purchases of books from publishers," Kinokuniya president Masashi Takai told the Yomiuri Shimbun (via Asia One).

Takai said that other publishers are interested in similar deals, which are made on a nonreturnable basis, Kinokuniya aims "to revitalize local bookstores before online retailers become dominant," Takai said. "At 'real' bookstores [in contrast to online ones], people can encounter various books and store clerks that could increase the number of people who love reading. Of course, we cannot return unsold copies [under this method]--we cannot start anything new unless we take risks. Our approach has received some good responses [from other bookstores]." Kinokuniya sold some of the 90,000 copies of Novelist as a Vocation to other bricks-and-mortar booksellers in Japan.

Takai added that through a joint venture project with Dai Nippon Printing Co.--which includes the Maruzen and Junkudo bookstore chains--Kinokuniya will try "a pilot project in which more than one chain will jointly purchase books directly from publishers."

Refugee Relief: Scholastic Giving $25K to Save the Children

Through the Scholastic Possible Fund, Scholastic is donating $25,000 to Save the Children to help with immediate relief efforts for Syrian refugee children and their families. Scholastic also will match employee contributions up to an additional $25,000 for a total donation of up to $50,000.


Scholastic said it has worked with U.S. embassies and large NGOs to provide assistance to Syrian refugees since early 2013 and is committed to supporting long-term assistance to refugee children by donating culturally relevant, age-appropriate books and other educational materials, including the My Arabic Library collection, an Arabic-language classroom library program for grades 1 through 6.

"Through our work in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan in recent years delivering Arabic language books and learning materials, we have seen first-hand the power of books to provide stories of resilience and courage to these displaced children," Scholastic chairman, president and CEO Dick Robinson said. "Now, as refugee families move beyond the Middle East and into Europe, the U.S., Canada and Australia, Scholastic is not only committed to helping provide support to meet families' immediate needs, but also to working long-term with Save the Children and other international humanitarian organizations to help these children regain a sense of security and normalcy as they settle into new lands."


Image of the Day: Pomegranate Helps the Food Bank

Last Saturday, eight employees from Pomegranate spent the morning volunteering at the Portland, Ore., Food Bank. They packed pears, potatoes and canned salmon, and made pancake mix, enough for more than 20,800 meals. 

Pictured: (l.-r.) Cory Mimms, associate publisher; Jennifer Messinger, production manager; Stephanie Odeh, designer; Kristen Conley, customer service team lead; Leslie Davisson, sales and marketing director; Sue Korpela, office manager; (bottom row) Patrice Morris, art director; Craig Bunn, sales associate.

Road Trip: '11 Unusual Bookstores You Can Visit'

Mental Floss featured "11 unusual bookstores you can visit," noting: "Sure you can buy books on Amazon, but nothing compares to going to a bookstore and picking out the right title by hand. Here are some unique bookstores that are filled with as much charm as they are books."

L.A.'s the Last Bookstore: 'Destination & Gathering Point'

In an editorial supporting the Last Bookstore's efforts to bolster its lineup of evening readings and events during the past year, Los Angeles Downtown News noted that challenges faced by indies nationwide are "part of what makes the success of the Historic Core's cheekily named the Last Bookstore so pleasing. It started in 2009 in a tiny space at Fourth and Main streets, and two years later owner Josh Spencer moved it to a massive, 10,000-square-foot former bank at Fifth and Spring streets. It has emerged as a Downtown destination and gathering point... Spencer took a gamble, and it has paid off. The Last Bookstore both serves Downtown and is of Downtown. Though still relatively young, it is hard to think of the community without this resource....

"We hope the Last Bookstore continues this activity. Downtown is richer when there is a wide swath of things to do. The voices ushering forth from the shop have become an important part of the community."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Andy Weir Talks About The Martian

Today on Fresh Air: D. Watkins, author of The Beast Side: Living (and Dying) While Black in America (Hot Books, $21.99, 9781510703353).


Tomorrow on PRI's the Takeaway: Andy Weir, author of The Martian (Crown/Archetype, $15, 9781101903582).


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


Tomorrow on the Meredith Vieira Show: Josh Altman, author of It's Your Move: My Million Dollar Method for Taking Risks with Confidence and Succeeding at Work and Life (HarperOne, $25.99, 9780062369253).

Movies: The Revenant

"There's lots of reasons to love The Revenant or at least anticipate it highly," Indiewire noted in showcasing a new trailer from the film, which is based on Michael Punke's novel, directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman), and stars Leonardo Di Caprio and Tom Hardy. The Revenant opens in limited release December 25 and then expands January 8.

This Weekend on Book TV: The Baltimore Book Festival

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, October 3
6:30 p.m. Irwin Gellman, author of The President and the Apprentice: Eisenhower and Nixon, 1952-1961 (Yale University Press, $40, 9780300181050). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

7:45 p.m. Wes Moore, author of The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters (Spiegel & Grau, $25, 9780812993578), at the 20th annual Baltimore Book Festival. (Re-airs Sunday at 7:30 a.m.)

8:45 p.m. A panel from the Baltimore Book Festival in which authors discuss the future of Baltimore. (Re-airs Sunday at 8:30 a.m.)

10 p.m. Martha Kumar, author of Before the Oath: How George W. Bush and Barack Obama Managed a Transfer of Power (Johns Hopkins University Press, $39.95, 9781421416595). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Margo Jefferson, author of Negroland: A Memoir (Pantheon, $25, 9780307378453). (Re-airs Sunday at 7:45 p.m.

Sunday, October 4
12 p.m. Live In Depth q&a with Thom Hartmann, author of The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America--and What We Can Do to Stop It (Twelve, $16, 9780446584821). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

11 p.m. Wil Haygood, author of Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America (Knopf, $32.50, 9780307957191).

Books & Authors

National Book Foundation: '5 Under 35'

The National Book Foundation has announced the 2015 "5 Under 35" honorees, recognizing five young fiction writers. In honor of the award's 10th anniversay, this year's selections were chosen by previous 5 Under 35 winners:

Colin Barrett, author of Young Skins (Black Cat/Grove Atlantic, March 2015), selected by Paul Yoon, author of Once the Shore.
Angela Flournoy, author of The Turner House (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 2015), selected by ZZ Packer, author of Drinking Coffee Elsewhere.
Megan Kruse, author of Call Me Home (Hawthorne Books, March 2015), selected by Phil Klay, author of Redeployment.
Tracy O’Neill, author of The Hopeful (Ig Publishing, June 2015), selected by Fiona Maazel, author of Woke Up Lonely.
Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, author of Fra Keeler (Dorothy, a publishing project, Oct. 2012), selected by Dinaw Mengestu, author of All Our Names.

The five will be honored November 16 during a celebration at powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn, N.Y., hosted by actor and host of Reading Rainbow LeVar Burton. Ben Greenman, an editor at the New Yorker and author most recently of The Slippage, will DJ, MC and moderate a conversation among the young writers. Columnist Rosie Schaap will guest bartend.

Awards: Dayton Literary Peace; Goldsmiths; CWA Daggers

The winners of this year's Dayton Literary Peace Prize, which recognizes "writers whose work uses the power of literature to foster peace, social justice, and global understanding," are The Great Glass Sea by Josh Weil in the fiction category and Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson for nonfiction. Each author receives a $10,000 prize and will be honored November 1 at the 10th Annual Dayton Literary Peace Prize Gala.

"This year's winners tell the often tragic stories of lives shaped by outside forces--systemic injustice, political corruption, racism, war--that are beyond any one person's control," said Sharon Rab, founder and co-chair of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation. "While no one can singlehandedly topple those forces, these books remind us that we can and must work together to diminish them."

The runners-up are All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (fiction) and The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs (nonfiction).


A shortlist has been announced for the 2015 Goldsmiths Prize, "embodying the prize's spirit of creative risk and offering a fascinating tableau of contemporary fiction at the cutting edge." The winner will be named November 11. The shortlisted titles are:

Beatlebone by Kevin Barry
Acts of Assassins by Richard Beard
Satin Island by Tom McCarthy
The Field of the Cloth of Gold by Magnus Mills
Grief Is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
Lurid & Cute by Adam Thirlwell


The final three winners of Specsavers Crime Writers' Association Dagger Awards have been announced:

Goldsboro Gold Dagger: Life or Death by Michael Robotham
Ian Fleming Steel Dagger: Cop Town by Karin Slaughter
John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger: Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson

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:

Jade Dragon Mountain: A Novel by Elsa Hart (Minotaur, $25.99, 9781250072320). "Hart has written an excellent historical whodunit set in a remote province of Imperial China in 1708. Li Du, a librarian in exile, investigates the murder of an old Jesuit priest a few days before the arrival of the emperor. Full of mythological, cultural, and historical details, Jade Dragon Mountain also offers a fascinating analysis of the period when foreign businessmen began coveting China's riches, in particular its tea. The plot is tight, the characters and suspects are fully developed, and the story keeps readers guessing with a few extra surprises at the end. I highly recommend this book and I am looking forward to reading more adventures featuring Li Du." --Pierre Camy, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, Mich.

The Girl From the Garden: A Novel by Parnaz Foroutan (Ecco, $26.99, 9780062388384). "In her accomplished, arresting debut, Foroutan tells a story almost biblical in its basics. People in a mixed, but very religious, clan-determined society in Iran have their lives and roles set out in firmly dictated ways. Conflict ensues when what is prescribed doesn't happen as it should and when basic human longings for autonomy and a sense of self start to emerge. Foroutan writes of a family's unraveling in a powerful story that will vividly live on in the reader's memory and imagination. Brilliant!" --Rick Simonson, the Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, Wash.

Sweetland: A Novel by Michael Crummey (Liveright, $14.95, 9781631491108). "Crummey takes readers into the heart of the insular fishing community of Chance Cove, Sweetland Island, Newfoundland. Sixty-eight-year-old Moses Sweetland's family founded the town, and he is the only holdout when the government offers the residents a generous cash settlement to relocate to the mainland, that is effective only if everyone signs on. Told in sparse, beautiful prose with generous helpings of the local dialect, Sweetland is a requiem for the intimate knowledge of place that a transient society can just barely remember." --Sarah Goddin, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, N.C.

For Ages 4 to 8
Nerdy Birdy by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Matt Davies (Roaring Brook Press, $16.99, 9781626721272). "Nerdy Birdy tries to hang out with the cool birds, but it doesn't work out so well. He likes reading and video games and reading about video games--things none of the cool birds like. Then he finds some fellow nerdy birdies who like the same things he does and Nerdy Birdy isn't lonely anymore. When a new bird who is different from his friends shows up, Nerdy Birdy has to decide what is more important: fitting in, or making friends. This book will appeal to kids who are different and will make a great conversation starter for parents to talk to their children about inclusion." --Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, S.C.

For Ages 9 to 12
Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco by Judith Robbins Rose (Candlewick, $16.95, 9780763672355). "Jacinta is one of my new favorite characters. Her story rings true to the plight of many preteen girls--conflicting emotions about growing up, the desire to be good at something and fit in, the feeling of both loving and hating your parents at the same time, and more. But Jacinta must also deal with the anger, fear, and confusion of being the American-born daughter of undocumented Mexican immigrants. Young readers will love Jacinta's tenacity and will be able to both identify with and learn from her important story." --Amy Oelkers, the Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, Minn.

For Teen Readers
Trouble Is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly (Kathy Dawson Books, $17.99, 9780525428404). "Zoe's life has changed because of her parent's divorce, and when Digby shows up on her front porch, she knows he is trouble. But Zoe cannot seem to say no to him. When she realizes that Digby's family situation is worse than hers, the story gets personal. Tromley has written a mystery/adventure with quirky characters who do not seem to like each other. This is what a YA book should be--smart, funny, and surprising. A terrific read!" --Margaret Brennan Neville, the King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Thirteen Ways of Looking

Thirteen Ways of Looking: Fiction by Colum McCann (Random House, $26 hardcover, 9780812996722, October 13, 2015)

Winning the 2009 National Book Award for his novel Let the Great World Spin elevated Colum McCann's reputation in the literary world. But it didn't take a prestigious award to establish that McCann is a gifted writer whose work should be read by those who are interested in being moved and challenged by one of our best contemporary authors. Thirteen Ways of Looking, his first collection of short fiction since 2004, only confirms that status. 

Roughly half of the book consists of the title novella, inspired by the iconic Wallace Stevens poem. In it, McCann juxtaposes an account of the final day of Peter Mendelssohn, a retired Brooklyn judge, with the investigation into his death after he's assaulted leaving an Upper East Side restaurant on a snowy afternoon. As McCann painstakingly describes the police detectives' exhaustive study of video for clues to the identity of Mendelssohn's assailant--a distinctly intense form of looking--he makes clear how these investigators "work in much the same way as poets: the search for a random word, at the right instance, making the poem itself so much more precise."

"What Time Is It Now, Where Are You?" the briefest story in the collection, is a clever metafictional exercise. In it, McCann plays with the creation of a story about a female American soldier on lonely guard duty in Afghanistan, waiting to make a call home on New Year's Eve, in the process revealing the infinite complexity of choices an author must make in crafting even the simplest story.

The story "Sh'khol" already has garnered McCann a 2016 Pushcart Prize and a spot in Best American Short Stories 2015. Set on the Galway coast, where "white spindrift blew up from the sea, landing softly on the tall hedges in the back garden," it tells the gripping story of the disappearance of Tomas, a deaf Russian teenager adopted by Rebecca, an Irish woman. Skillfully evoking both the physical setting and the emotional conflict at the heart of the story, McCann brings to bear his descriptive powers in this redemptive story.

McCann's writing has always been distinguished by its humanity, a quality best displayed in "Treaty," in which Beverly, an Irish Maryknoll nun who was captured and tortured in Colombia nearly four decades earlier, believes she has glimpsed her sadistic captor on television at a peace conference in London. Rejecting simple answers, the story is a mature treatment of how the victim of an atrocity struggles to come to terms with that experience.

"For all its imagined moments, literature works in unimaginable ways," writes McCann in an author's note. Whether reading him for his stories or for his sentences, Colum McCann is one of those writers whose work consistently engages the imagination. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Colum McCann's first collection of short fiction since 2004 showcases his gift for evocative prose and empathetic storytelling.

Deeper Understanding

Stand Up Comics: Girls Rule

Copperhead Vol. 1: A New Sheriff in Town by Jay Faerber and Scott Godlewski (Image Comics, $9.99, 9781632152213)
Clara Bronson needed a fresh start after some as-yet unspecified event required she leave home as quickly as possible. Copperhead, a small mining town on the planet Jasper, needed a new sheriff after the last one was shot. So begins an excellent sci-fi western that plays with all the tropes in new and inventive ways.

Clara is a badass peace officer who's also trying to take care of her kid all on her own. Her deputy Budroxifinicus (don't call him Boo) is a surly alien whose species just got through losing a war against humanity. And they're not the only western archetypes: there's the alcoholic doctor; the rich, powerful and possibly crooked land owner who thinks he is above the law; the loner fighting for a civilization he can never be a part of; the homesteaders living at the edge of town; and the lower class of war veterans everyone looks down on, including the other vets they fought side by side with.

If this first volume is any indication, Copperhead will be joining an excellent crop of traditional yet modern fantasy and science fiction tales with an Old West aesthetic.

Handselling opportunities: Fans of westerns like True Grit, Longmire, Justified, Firefly and Philipp Meyer's The Son.

SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki (Drawn & Quarterly, $22.95, 9781770461987)
What do you get when you cross Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters and stir in a lot more high school melodrama? You get the super great but totally weird SuperMutant Magic Academy, in which a handful of students try to navigate through school, friendship and life.

Tamaki's book started life as a webcomic, and you can tell by the first few strips, where she is trying to decide on a tone, art style and narrative structure. Even some of the characters she uses in those first few strips never appear again, but we do get early versions of Frances, Gemma, Marsha, Wendy and Evan the Everlasting Boy, who become the protagonists of the strips as they progress.

Most of the strips are hilarious while being incredibly true, with characters being equal parts caricature and real, and a few who are philosophically profound. Those strips almost exclusively star Evan the Everlasting Boy, an immortal kid seeking the meaning of life and death. The best part of SuperMutant Magic Academy, however, is that Tamaki has captured exactly what high school was like for many Americans, only with more magic, mutants, anthropomorphic animals and performance art.

Handselling opportunities: Fans of coming-of-age stories with a little more weirdness and a lot more performance art.

Lumberjanes Vol. 1 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis and Brooke Allen (BOOM! Box, $14.99, 9781608866878)
Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady Types (motto: Friendship to the Max!) is the summer camp that Jo, April, Molly, Mal and Ripley attend. We first meet the campers of Roanoke Cabin as they're attacked by three-eyed foxes, which they easily dispatch. We learn that they routinely find themselves in the middle of extremely odd and likely magical situations. They are more than well-equipped to deal with all the craziness, displaying skills aplenty from archery and brute strength to puzzle-solving and elaborate planning.

They're still campers, so they earn some of the best merit badges ever devised, like the Pungeon Master Badge, which you get for making the most excellent puns. These are handed out by the girls' scoutmaster, Jen, who just wants them to follow camp rules and not put themselves in danger.

Stevenson, Ellis, Allen and their editor Shannon Watters have crafted an excellent and hilarious adventure story with great characters we can all relate to. And the fact that nearly every person working on this comic is female (from the writers and artist, to the colorist and letterer, to the editors and the many, many cover artists) is both a cause for celebration and a cause to reflect on why such a situation is still an anomaly worthy of celebration.

Handselling opportunities: Anybody who loves fun, all-ages adventure stories with amazing characters and great humor.

Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr (DC Comics, $14.99, 9781401257989)
Barbara Gordon was once merely the super smart daughter of Commissioner Jim Gordon studying to be a librarian. When the Batman started fighting crime in Gotham, however, she was no longer content just to save the denizens of the city from a bookless life; she wanted to save them from each other. She made her own cape and cowl and defended the helpless as Batgirl.

The character of Batgirl has a very long history that readers thankfully don't really need to know before diving into this volume. Whatever background you need is provided in the text--and this includes Barbara's time as the paralyzed hero Oracle--so it's a great jumping on point for new readers wondering what the fantastic new costume is all about. The art in general is great, and Babs Tarr deserves all the praise we can give her.

The story is a fun, new direction for Batgirl where she gets to be young and hip instead of dour and depressed. Even her villains are more fun (though they can be a bit corny, especially the privacy-invading hacker/DJ Riot Black). This is a Batgirl that parties, has crushes, goes on dates and hangs out with her friends, all while fighting drunk drag racers, deranged impostors, evil cosplayers and a villain who can only be described as a dark reflection of Batgirl herself.

Handselling opportunities: Fans of fun action stories that feature longer glimpses into what the hero does during her downtime.

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