Also published on this date: Tuesday, December 15, 2015: Maximum Shelf: The Widow

Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Blackstone Publishing: An Honorable Assassin (Nick Mason Novels #3) by Steve Hamilton

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine

Running Press Kids: The Junior Witch's Handbook, The Junior Astrologer's Handbook, and The Junior Tarot Reader's Handbook by Nikki Van De Car

Scholastic Press: Ruin Road by Lamar Giles


James Patterson Gives Bookseller Bonuses

James Patterson during a recent appearance at the Vero Beach Book Center.

Some 87 independent bookstore employees are now receiving bonuses ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 as part of James Patterson's bookseller bonus program, announced earlier this year and handled in conjunction with the American Booksellers Association. (For the full list from the ABA, click here.) At the same time, more school libraries are receiving grants of between $1,000 and $10,000 as part of a library grant program, handled in conjunction with the Scholastic Reading Club, a program totaling about $1.75 million. The bestselling author, who has donated millions of dollars to bookstores, libraries and other organizations in the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand, and more than a million books to children, had announced  the bookseller bonus program, with bonuses totalling $250,000, earlier this fall. Anyone could nominate a bookstore employee by answering one question: "Why does this bookseller deserve a holiday bonus?" Patterson himself chose the winners.

According to an early report from the AP (via U.S. News & World Report), bookstore beneficiaries include Mark Haber, manager of Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Tex., who received a $5,000 bonus. He was nominated by an employee at the store, who wrote that Haber's "excitement for books in translation is so well-known around the store, it's only halfway a store in-joke that his enthusiasm has created a 'Cult of Mark' (or sometimes 'Haberclique'), because there's a steady group of regulars who will essentially buy anything" that Haber recommends.

Mark Haber at Brazos

Haber wrote to the AP: "I can only say that I love books and live for literature. Introducing great works to readers is a joy and a privilege. In Houston, at Brazos Bookstore, you'd never know there was an or a decline in reading traditional books. Books are alive and well in this city."

NPR had a short segment with comments from other recipients.

ABA CEO Oren Teicher told the AP: "Once again, we are enormously grateful for James Patterson's wonderful generosity. Nobody puts their money where their mouth is more than Jim. Providing extra financial support to individuals who spend their entire day putting books into the hands of customers and spreading the joy of reading is an extraordinary gesture."

In a statement, Patterson said the program is a "humble acknowledgment of some of the terrific work taking place in libraries and bookstores. Here's to communities supporting their bookstores and libraries. Here's to a country that makes reading a priority. Here's to flourishing libraries and booksellers, and to a joyful holiday season!"

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

William E. Wood Is New B&N CIO

Bill Wood

Barnes & Noble has appointed William E. Wood chief information officer, reporting to CEO Ron Boire. Prior to joining the company, he was CIO at EZCORP, a pawn shop operator, and has served as an IT executive at Bass Pro Shops, Brookstone and Dollar General Corp.

"We are thrilled to welcome Bill to Barnes & Noble and are excited to have someone with such broad experience in Information Technology join the team," said Boire. "Bill is a proven leader in this area and his appointment signals our continued commitment to being a leading omni-channel retailer."

BAM to Open 2nd & Charles Store in Midlothian, Va.

Books-A-Million will open one of its 2nd & Charles stores, which buy and sell used books and other media, in a 20,062-square-foot space at the Chesterfield Crossing shopping center in Midlothian, Va. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that the store, which is expected to open during the first quarter of 2016, will be one of two 2nd & Charles locations in the state--the other is in Woodbridge--but "the chain expects to add at least four more Virginia stores, with at least one more planned for the Richmond area."

Jocelyn Schmidt Promoted at Penguin Young Readers

Jocelyn Schmidt

Jocelyn Schmidt has been promoted to v-p, associate publisher, Penguin Young Readers. She has been v-p, executive director, brand management, and joined the Group in 2010 to build a brand department.

Jen Loja, president of Penguin Young Readers, to whom Schmidt reports, said that Schmidt has become "an invaluable contributor to our success and an indispensable part of Penguin Young Readers. When she came to us five years ago, she was new to children's publishing, but her years of sales experience on the adult side at Random House helped her dive right in and make an immediate--and lasting--impact. Among many other initiatives, she established regular business reviews and goal-setting with more than 35 of our key brands. She quickly began communicating directly with our authors and artists about what was happening with their business within the larger house, and became a beacon and facilitator for all of our major literary estates and their caretakers."

In her new position, Schmidt will be take on "day-to-day responsibility for the overall publishing schedule of the Group," Loja added, and she will continue to oversee the brand management department.

Obituary Notes: Benedict Anderson; Esta Freedman Burroughs

Benedict Anderson, "a hugely respected author and scholar" whose best-known book, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, was first published by Verso in 1983 and became "an instant classic," died December 12. He was 79.

In a tribute on Verso's blog, Tariq Ali wrote that Anderson was "one of our most respected and gifted authors whose works we have been proud to publish over the decades.... During the last few weeks we had been in regular communication with him, finalizing his memoir, A Life Beyond Boundaries, that was first published in Japan in response to insistent demands from Japanese scholars who wished to know more about his life and intellectual trajectory. Over the coming weeks, much will be written about him as the shock of his death reverberates in different parts of the globe. Our condolences to his family for whom, we know, the loss is immeasurable."


Esta Freedman Burroughs, who worked at the Remarkable Bookshop, Westport, Conn., for more than 30 years, died last Friday. She was 102.

She was a friend of Esther and Sydney Kramer, who founded the bookstore, where she worked until its closing in 1994. In many ways, she was the heart and soul of the iconic store.

Local columnist and writer Dan Woog said that Burroughs "waited on Paul Newman, Liz Taylor, Bette Davis, Keir Dullea, Christopher Plummer and Patty Hearst. She also massaged the egos of many local authors, who visited constantly to check on sales of their books.

"An avid reader, Esta enjoyed meeting writers. The opportunity to read any title was a great perk--and a huge advantage for customers. They asked countless questions about books. She answered them all."


Image of the Day: Book Passage Book Club Publishes Book

Book Passage in Corte Madera, Calif., hosted the launch party for Dragon Mist, by the Book Passage INK book club (for 10- to 13-year-olds) and published by the bookstore's own Book Passage Press. After a visit from Eric Elfman, screenwriter and co-author of middle-grade novels Tesla's Attic and Edison's Alley, the INK members decided they wanted to write one of their own. The group spent several sessions under the guidance of Book Passage book club facilitator (and author) Amanda Conran, discussing setting, characters, backstory and plot. Everyone agreed to the contents of each chapter before moving on. At the launch, the authors took turns reading, and more than 100 copies were sold, with proceeds going to Book Passage's Giving Tree charity, which provides books for children in need. Above, the reader is Charlotte, with Amanda Conran at left.

Library Video of the Day: Ties the Room Together

From KUER's VideoWest/RadioWest's intro to the video Ties the Room Together: "Josh Hanagarne is a writer and a librarian in Salt Lake City who's written beautifully about his experiences with Tourette syndrome. We had him on RadioWest to talk about his 2013 book The World's Strongest Librarian. We want to thank Josh for letting us tag along and pry into his life."

Personnel Changes at Random House

Lara Phan has been promoted to director, account marketing, Random House, working with adult and children's titles.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Neil Gaiman on Fresh Air

Watch What Happens Live: Whoopi Goldberg, author of If Someone Says "You Complete Me," RUN!: Whoopi's Big Book of Relationships (Hachette Books, $26, 9780316302012).

Fresh Air: Neil Gaiman on the 25th anniversary of his Sandman series.

Also on Fresh Air: Thomas Laqueur, author of The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains (Princeton University Press, $39.95, 9780691157788).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Donald Trump, author of Time to Get Tough: Make America Great Again! (Regnery, $16.99, 9781621574958).

Conan: Dick Van Dyke, author of Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging (Weinstein Books, $25.99, 9781602862968).

Movies: Very Persistent Gappers of Frip; Counterfeit Son

Mike Jones is adapting George Saunders's children's book The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip for MGM. reported that Saunders "will serve as a producer on the project, which will be an animated feature."


Salim Akil (Sparkle, Jumping the Broom) will direct as well as "polish the script" for Counterfeit Son, based on the 2000 YA novel by Elaine Marie Alphin. reported that Akil will be working on a script written by Matthew Aldrich, and the film is being produced by Steve Wegner, Broderick Johnson, Andrew Kosgrove and Jessica Rhoades.

Books & Authors

Awards: Aussie Prime Minister's Literary

The 2015 Prime Minister's Literary Award winners were named by Malcolm Turnbull, Australia's Minister for the Arts, the Australian reported. Joan London won the A$80,000 (about US$58,045) fiction prize for The Golden Age, which the judging panel praised as a "novel of great beauty and depth." Category winners and shortlisted authors, who are listed here, shared A$600,000 (about US$435,340) in prize money.

Book Review

Review: The Expatriates

The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee (Viking, $27 hardcover, 9780525429470, January 12, 2016)

Janice Y.K. Lee's first novel, The Piano Teacher (2009), was a critically recognized and popular historical romance, set during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong in the 1940s. Her second, The Expatriates, also takes place in Hong Kong, but in the 2010s (even referencing the disappearance of Malaysian flight 370)--a time that might be considered the American occupation of Hong Kong, when global U.S. companies post their future hotshots (almost exclusively men) to temporary assignments in this regional financial and trading hub. Expatriate professionals drag their families along and cluster together in tony Repulse Bay high-rises. Their immigrant Filipina or Thai or Korean help--cooks, nannies and drivers--afford the wives the luxuries of pampering the kids, having wine spritzer lunches at the American Club, and flitting off to Phuket beaches or to shop in mainland Shenzhen. In this fishbowl community, Lee focuses on three expat women who share citizenship and language but struggle individually with their secrets and insecurities.

Hilary comes to Hong Kong with her inherited California money and busy international lawyer husband, David. With her wealth, powerful spouse, attractive friends and servants, she has everything--except the child she desperately wants but can't conceive. Surrounded by other women in a "veritable frenzy of fertility, pregnancies, baby showers, births," she resorts to overseeing music lessons for a mixed-race teen orphan boy in what gossiping friends call an "adoption test drive."

Bringing her three young children for the global exposure, Margaret leaves her landscape architecture position in San Francisco to follow her multinational business executive husband, Clarke, who will "oversee Asia Pacific, ex-Japan... [and receive] a housing package, a car and driver, live-in maid, school fees... a country club membership." Because of Clarke's constant travel, Margaret is lonely and conflicted about raising children in such an insular world, until an unimaginable family loss occurs on a vacation in Seoul and brings her to her knees.

Mercy is the odd woman out--an expat living on the wrong side of Victoria Peak. Although a Columbia University graduate, she is a second-generation Korean American immigrant of the "Queens Koreans... struggling families, dry cleaners and deli owners and ministers." Graduating jobless among the rich whose family connections secure them lucrative positions, she retreats home to Queens, doing temp work and dating the wrong guys until she impulsively heads to Hong Kong to start over.

The story of these three women is told in chapters simply titled with their first names (surnames are only tags attached by husbands and fathers). Their lives intersect in Hong Kong's surprisingly small-scale island metropolis. They share similar but idiosyncratic concerns about motherhood, lovers, money and self-fulfillment. The men in Lee's expat Hong Kong are aloof breadwinners at best, cruel and indifferent cads at worst. At its core, The Expatriates is a novel about modern women--unflinching but empathetic in its observation of weakness and triumphant in its portrayal of quiet strength. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: Set within the pampered opulence of Hong Kong's expat community, The Expatriates compassionately follows three complex women as they discover their own vulnerabilities and resilience.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Celebration After Dark (McCarthys of Gansett Island Series Book 14) by Marie Force
2. The Elf on the Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda B. Bell
3. Guinness World Records 2016 by Guinness World Records
4. Challenging Saber (The Alliance Book 4) by S.E. Smith
5. Shifter Wonderland by Various
6. Final Debt by Pepper Winters
7. Pretend You're Mine by Lucy Score
8. Bad Boy's Baby by Sosie Frost
9. A Shade Of Vampire by Bella Forrest
10. To Love Jason Thorn by Ella Maise

[Many thanks to!]

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