Shelf Awareness for Thursday, January 14, 2016

Flatiron Books: The Courting of Bristol Keats: [Limited Stenciled Edge Edition] by Mary E Pearson

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Chronicle Books: Taste in Music: Eating on Tour with Indie Musicians by Luke Pyenson and Alex Beeker

Doubleday Books: Death at the Sign of the Rook: A Jackson Brodie Book by Kate Atkinson

Groundwood Books: Who We Are in Real Life by Victoria Koops

Agate Bolden: 54 Miles by Leonard Pitts Jr.


ALA Midwinter: The Librarians Go to Boston

Librarians, publishers and other industry professionals--more than 11,700 of them--got lucky in Boston this year: no snow for the 2016 American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting, January 8-12. Ken Burns and Chelsea Clinton were two of the featured speakers, sure, but this is the show where the ALA Youth Media Awards (Caldecott! Newbery!) are announced at a press conference where librarians actually scream at the top of their lungs when a book they love shows up on the Jumbotron of Winners. (It's very exciting.) What follows is an unapologetically children's & YA literature-centric series of snapshots from Boston.

Susie Jaramillo (left) and Deborah Sloan
Alessandra Balzer (left) and Donna Bray

Book Talk
Children's marketing guru Deborah Sloan (and the woman behind KidsBuzz) got the party started at the Westin Hotel's City Bar even before the Boston Convention Center's exhibit hall opened. Here, a stellar crowd of children's book aficionados (including Terry Hong, the chair of the USBBY Outstanding International Books Committee) toasted to an enticing crop of spring titles from small publishers including minedition, Clavis, Phaidon, NubeOcho Editions and Encantos. Author-illustrator and publisher Susie Jaramillo and Deborah Sloan hold Little Chickies/Los Pollitos, due this spring, a cheerful novelty book based on a nursery rhyme and song, one side Spanish, one side English. (If you ever meet Susie, ask her to sing it.)

The early-morning HarperCollins Children's Books breakfast is a decades-old tradition. Here, Alessandra Balzer and Donna Bray of Harper's imprint Balzer + Bray reveal a few of their favorite upcoming titles, including Jessica Olien's The Blobfish Book; Kevin Diller and Justin Lowe's Hello, My Name Is Octicorn; and Sara Pennypacker's Pax. Also spotted: Greenwillow v-p & publisher Virginia Duncan talking with children's book specialist Maria Salvadore about Newbery Medalist Lynne Rae Perkin's picture book Frank and Lucky Get Schooled, due in June.

Hervé Tullet and Jennifer M. Brown
Sarah Rucker (left) and Sonali Fry

On the Floor
The exhibit hall at Midwinter ALA is a wonder of chance encounters. Shiny new books and free-for-the-taking galleys abound, yes, but attendees never know who they will bump into--esteemed colleagues, fascinating new people of every stripe, and even the occasional wandering author or artist. Here, French author-illustrator Hervé Tullet--who has just moved from Paris to New York and is promoting his new book Let's Play! (Chronicle)--ran into (and then embraced, as is customary) Jennifer M. Brown, v-p & publisher of Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers (and former children's editor at Shelf Awareness). Say cheese!

Look at all those stars: sales director Sarah Rucker and editorial director Sonali Fry from Little Bee Books are thrilled about the buzz surrounding their January 2016 title Freedom in Congo Square, a picture book about the fascinating history of New Orleans's Congo Square by Coretta Scott King Honorees Carole Boston Weatherford (Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom) and illustrator R. Gregory Christie (The Palm of My Heart: Poetry by African American Children; Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth; Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan; The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem's Greatest Bookstore).

Librarians cheer as the winner is announced on the big screen.

The Youth Media Awards
Midwinter ALA is always abuzz with which book might win the Newbery or Caldecott (and 19 other possible prizes, from the Coretta Scott King awards to the Mildred L. Batchelder awards), but this year the mutterings were just that... there was no loud, shared buzzing. A few people had mentioned Rebecca Stead's Goodbye Stranger (Wendy Lamb/Random House) as a potential Newbery, some were raving about Steve Sheinkin's Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War (Roaring Brook/Macmillan), but really, the guesses were all over the map. So when Latino author Matt de la Peña was announced as the winner of the 2016 John Newbery Medal for the writing in the picture book Last Stop on Market Street (Putnam), illustrated by Christian Robinson (Leo: A Ghost Story; Gaston; Josephine), it was a shocker for everyone, perhaps especially for de la Peña. As he said in Shelf Awareness's interview with him this week, "I just never in my wildest dreams, even for half a second, thought about the word Newbery."

Illustrator Sophie Blackall won the 2016 Randolph Caldecott Medal for Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, written by Lindsay Mattick (Little, Brown); Laura Ruby won the 2016 Michael L. Printz Award for Bone Gap (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins); and Jerry Pinkney, illustrator of the 2010 Caldecott Medalist The Lion & the Mouse (Little, Brown) and five other Caldecott Honors, took home two prestigious awards: the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award and the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Pura Belpré Award that honors Latino/Latina authors and illustrators. The complete list of Youth Media Awards and titles is here, and the Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder banquet happens at ALA's annual conference in Orlando in June.

Though the ALA Notable Children's Books are not announced with the rest of the Youth Media Awards, these books are not to be missed. Librarians and other children's book specialists read everything published in 2015--all age groups, all genres, even books in translation--to come up with a fantastic, and fantastically lengthy, list of the year's best books, divided by age level.

Getting the best books into the hands of young people is a goal shared by all the children's and YA librarians and other professionals at ALA, and to mix and mingle with those doing exactly this feels like a celebration. --Karin Snelson, children's & YA editor, Shelf Awareness

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ALA, PRH Supporting Second Annual National Readathon Day

In other ALA news, the association and Penguin Random House are joining forces to support the second annual National Readathon Day, which will take place on Saturday, May 21, and is dedicated to "the joy of reading and giving, when readers everywhere can join together in their local library, school, bookstore, and on social media (#Readathon2016) to read and raise funds in support of literacy."

Readathon Day will be presented as part of ALA's Libraries Transform campaign and will benefit ALA's Every Child Ready to Read initiative, a program that supports the early literacy development of children from birth to age five in libraries across the nation.

In connection with Readathon Day, Penguin Random House has announced its Library Awards for Innovation, under which libraries across the country can apply for grant awards to support creating innovative community-based programs in 2016. Libraries are encouraged to use Readathon Day as a jumping off point for submissions to the Library Awards for Innovation.

Individuals can contribute to ALA and Every Child Ready to Read on the Firstgiving Fundraising page. All readers are encouraged to join in Readathon Day fun on social media, using the hashtag #Readathon2016. The official website has more information on how to get involved online and in person, including sharing images and videos, and hosting local reading parties.

#WI11 Buzz Books: Fiction

To get an idea of what 2016 has in store for booklovers, Shelf Awareness has reached out to both publishers and booksellers to compile this list of buzz books, many of which will be featured at the ABA's Winter Institute, which starts Saturday, January 23, in Denver, Colo. Today's first installment, fiction, features half a dozen debut authors and a host of returning favorites. Installments on nonfiction, YA and middle grade, and children's and early readers will run in the next few issues.

Debut Novels
Set in Northern California in the late 1960s, Emma Cline's debut novel, The Girls, follows a lonely teenager named Evie Boyd as she falls in with a mysterious, alluring group of older girls at the start of her summer vacation. Desperate to belong and completely infatuated with one of them, Evie is quickly drawn into a family of young women and teenage girls led by a charismatic, Manson-esque figure. As the summer goes on and Evie increasingly dissociates from her previous life, the family's behavior becomes more and more dangerous. Hilary Gustafson, the co-owner of Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Mich., said she was blown away by The Girls. Explained Gustafson: "I love how the characters stare into a blank reality, then squint to make it into something deliriously grand or hallucinogenically frightening. A literary page-turner that is a masterwork." The Girls will arrive in stores on June 14 from Random House.

Another hotly anticipated debut novel is Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss. Due out April 5 from Scout Press, the book is set in the SoHo arts scene of the 1980s. The lives of James Bennett, an art critic for the New York Times, and Raul Engales, a painter in exile after the 1976 military coup in Argentina, are intertwined by a woman named Lucy Olliason and an orphan boy from Raul's home country. Gayle Shanks, co-owner of Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix, Ariz., called Tuesday Nights one of her two most anticipated books for 2016, while Sarah Bagby, owner of Watermark Books in Wichita, Kan., called the novel a quick, very interesting read and extolled Prentiss's prose. "She can write a sentence so well," said Bagby. "Every sentence is a double-edged sword."

Elizabeth J. Church's debut novel, The Atomic Weight of Love (Algonquin), will be in stores on May 3. It tells the story of Meridian Wallace, a driven young woman who has dreamed of getting a Ph.D. in ornithology since she was a young girl. While pursuing her degree, however, she falls in love with her physics professor. The two marry, and during World War II,nMeridian sets aside her dreams of being a scientist when her husband gets recruited to for a top-secret project in Los Alamos, N.Mex. Years later, a relationship with a Vietnam War veteran makes Meridian reconsider all that she's given up. Anne Holman, co-owner of the King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, loved the book, calling it a likely contender for the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association's Reading the West Book Awards.

Manuel Gonzales, author of the 2014 short story collection The Miniature Wife: and Other Stories, will make his novelistic debut on April 12 with the sci-fi novel The Regional Office Is Under Attack! (Riverhead). Led by a mysterious and powerful woman named Oyemi, the Regional Office uses oracles to track down evil-doers and a corps of female assassins to accomplish its goals. And after a prophecy foretells that someone will bring down the Regional Office from within, it is suddenly under attack. The narrative follows the intersecting paths of two women: one is Rose, an assassin leading the attack on the Regional Office, and the other is Sarah, devoted to protecting the regional office. Suzanna Hermans, co-owner of Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck and Millerton, N.Y., named it as one of her favorite reads of 2016.

Due out on February 2 from William Morrow, Julia Claiborne Johnson's Be Frank with Me is another highly anticipated debut novel. After losing nearly all of her money in a Ponzi scheme, reclusive literary legend M.M. "Mimi" Banning must write a new book for the first time in years. In the hope that it will help Mimi actually deliver the manuscript, her publisher sends a woman named Alice Whitley to the author's Bel Air mansion to serve as her assistant. Alice quickly becomes the constant companion of Mimi's nine-year-old son, Frank, who could not be more different from the average boy his age. Anne Holman called Be Frank with Me a "great novel about a kid who's 'different,' and the way he shapes the world and the people around him."

The sixth and final debut novel on this list is Shelter by Jung Yun. Due out on March 15 from Picador, it tells of a young father named Kyung Cho. Kyung and his wife, Gillian, are deeply in debt and Kyung is incessantly anxious about his family's future. Kyung's parents live nearby, and though they are well-off, Kyung can't bring himself to ask for their help due to longstanding resentments. After an act of violence leaves Kyung's parents unable to live on their own, Kyung must take them in. It is not long before old tensions quickly mount. Sarah Bagby highlighted this novel about "violence within a family and violence done to a family.... It reads like a thriller but has the depth of the greatest literary fiction."

Colombian novelist Juan Gabriel Vásquez will make a rare appearance at Winter Institute this year. His last book, The Sound of Things Falling, was a bestseller and winner of the 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His next novel, Reputations, will be out this fall from Riverhead. The story focuses on a Colombian political cartoonist whose drawings can influence politics at the nation's highest level and what happens when his early, explosive work is suddenly reevaluated. Robert Sindelar, managing partner of Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park and Ravenna, Wash., picked it as one of his most anticipated novels of the year. Said Sindelar: "[Vásquez] is one of my favorite living writers and is one of the best kept secrets in contemporary fiction."

In Dana Spiotta's upcoming novel Innocents and Others (March 8, Scribner), best friends Meadow and Carrie both become filmmakers after growing up together in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Their lives are upended when they meet a mysterious older woman named Jelly, who calls powerful men she's never met and convinces them to divulge their secrets. Mark Laframboise, buyer at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C., called it a "great novel about filmmakers," and Hilary Gustafson of Literati Bookstore said, "It's strange in all the right ways, and has snappy prose that is fun in the most literary sense. I feel like this could be a real breakout book for her."

One of the biggest books of 2016 will likely be Zero K, Don DeLillo's first novel in six years. Due out from Scribner on May 10, the book follows the wealthy Lockhart family. Billionaire Ross Lockhart's young wife, Artis, is very ill, and Ross happens to be the main investor in a cryogenic facility that preserves bodies until medical science advances enough to cure any infirmity. Ross's son Jeffrey, the book's narrator, joins his father and Artis at the facility to say goodbye. Linda Marie Barrett, general manager of Malaprop's Bookstore and Cafe in Asheville, N.C., expects the book to be a hit, while Mark Laframboise said the novel "raises big questions about life, identity, mortality, family."

The final book on today's list is Barkskins, Annie Proulx's first novel in 14 years. An epic spanning some 300 years, Barkskins begins with two poor Frenchmen, René Sel and Charles Duquet, arriving in New France in the late 1600s and follows their descendants across the world over the next centuries. Wherever and whenever they live, they exploit the natural world, with Duquet's and Sel's modern descendants witnessing an unprecedented ecological catastrophe. Proulx's past works have won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Barkskins is coming from Scribner on June 14. --Alex Mutter

Obituary Note: C.D. Wright

Celebrated American poet C.D. Wright, who was known for "a signature styling of journalistic investigation, hybrid language, collaborations and sharp wordplay" as well as being "fiercely committed to poetry," died Tuesday, her publisher, Copper Canyon, reported "with profound sadness." She was 67. Wright published many books of poetry and prose, including One With Others, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award and the Lenore Marshall Prize. Her most recent book--The Poet, The Lion, Talking Pictures, El Farolito, A Wedding in St. Roch, The Big Box Store, The Warp in the Mirror, Spring, Midnights, Fire & All--was just released.

When Wright was elected to the Academy of American Poets board of chancellors in 2013, Anne Waldman praised her selection: "Brilliantly astute, generous, witty, panoramic, celebratory, C.D. Wright is one of our most fearless writers, possessed with an urgency that pierces through the darkness of our time. She carries a particular Southern demographic that bears witness, that investigates history, humanity, and consciousness in powerfully innovative, often breathtaking language. Hers is a necessary poetics, on fire with life and passion for what matters."

From her poem "Obscurity and Voyaging":

The hand was having a hard time holding the pen.

A superficial cut.

A long clear silent night.

A book held open by a dolostone.

The occupant selects a sentence, No one knows
how small the smallest life is.

If there's a call, it will not be answered.


Image of the Day: My Weird School's Multimillion Milestone

Dan Gutman's My Weird School series recently reached a milestone: 10 million copies sold. To celebrate, he joined his friends at HarperCollins for a champagne toast.

Katarina Bivald Recommends Indie Bookshops

Bookselling This Week featured a q&a with Katarina Bivald, author of January's #1 Indie Next list pick The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend. The book's launch is also tied to Sourcebooks Landmark's recently announced Readers, Recommend Your Bookstore! sweepstakes. Among our favorite exchanges:

Katerina Bivald

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend includes many details about starting and growing a bookstore. Why did you decide to set the story in a bookstore, and how did you learn so much about bookselling?

I started working part-time in a small independent bookshop when I was 15, and did so for the next 10 years. In a way, I guess you can say I grew up in one. When I first decided to make this a story about a bookshop, I thought it would be all about the books. But when I looked back at my time selling books, I realized I remember the people who passed through the store just as much as all the books I unpacked, carried, and sold.

As a European who frequents bookstores whenever and wherever possible, what are some similarities and differences you see between independent bookstores in Europe and those in the United States?

There are many similarities of course, including the challenges faced. The death of bookshops and physical books and independent stores and so on has been declared countless times in countless countries. My experience from visiting independent bookshops in Sweden, the U.K., and the U.S. (and any other countries I ever visit) is that they are not just hanging in there, but very much alive and kicking. They're meeting the challenges by finding new ways to reach out to their communities, getting kids to read, and making their bookshops more inviting. A bookshop I visited in the U.K. was creating a book bus. Another was making a garden for kids to read in. Every independent bookshop I've ever visited, and lots of the chain ones as well, invites authors, encourages local writers, and invites discussions on local topics.

Sometimes this leads me to minimize the challenges they face, just because they meet them so well. But I think anyone running an independent bookshop knows the hours of hard work you have to put in to make it seem so effortlessly charming for us lucky customers visiting them.

Hot Idea of the Day: Oblong Oolong

To celebrate the 40th anniversary this past fall of its first store, in Millerton, N.Y., Oblong Books & Music offered a special tea brew (with a lovely turn of phrase): Oblong Oolong. The tea was provided by Millerton's own Harney & Sons Fine Teas. Congratulations, Oblong!

World Pub Wholesale to Sell Quarto, Others

Under a new partnership, World Pub Wholesale (WPW), a wholesaler of book closeouts, remainders and promotional books recently founded by by Jeff and Mitch Press, will be the exclusive sales force for remainder, overstock, hurts and mixed skid sales for Quarto Publishing Group USA and all its imprints, including Book Sales, the promotional publisher and remainder dealer.

In addition to selling Quarto titles, WPW aims to be a resource to other publishers for the acquisition of their remainders, hurts, overstock and mixed skids to sell through the Book Sales imprint.

Bookmasters to Distribute Kettering Foundation

Bookmasters will provide sales, distribution, and fulfillment services in the U.S. and Canada for the Kettering Foundation, Dayton, Ohio, which focuses on research on democracy.

The Foundation's publications include the annual Higher Education Exchange, the Kettering Review and Connections. In addition, the National Issues Forums Institute, a sister organization, releases guides throughout the year that frame issues for public deliberation.

Personnel Changes at Grand Central, Open Road

Monisha Lakhotia has joined Grand Central Publishing as marketing associate for the Forever and Forever Yours imprints.


Greta Shull has become a marketing coordinator at Open Road Media, working on the literature and nonfiction lists. Previously she was a marketing intern at the company.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Peter Ross Range on Fresh Air

CNBC's John Harwood: Congressman John Lewis, co-author of March: Book One (Top Shelf, $14.95, 9781603093002) and March: Book Two (Top Shelf, $19.95, 9781603094009).

Fresh Air: Peter Ross Range, author of 1924: The Year That Made Hitler (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316384032).

The Jim Bohannon Radio Show: Jane Bryant Quinn, author of How to Make Your Money Last: The Indispensable Retirement Guide (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781476743769).

Wendy Williams: Hoda Kotb, author of Where We Belong: Journeys That Show Us the Way (Simon & Schuster, $24.95, 9781476752426). She will also appear on the Meredith Vieira Show.

ABC's World News Tonight: John Donvan and Caren Zucker, authors of In a Different Key: The Story of Autism (Crown, $30, 9780307985675).

This Weekend on Book TV: Bill of Rights Day Book Festival

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Tuesday 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, January 16
1:30 p.m. A.E. Dick Howard, author of The Road from Runnymede: Magna Carta and Constitutionalism in America (University of Virginia Press, $35, 9780813938066), at the Bill of Rights Day Book Festival at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. (Re-airs Sunday at 12:30 a.m.)

2:32 p.m. Mary Sarah Bilder, author of Madison's Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention (Harvard University Press, $35, 9780674055278), at the Bill of Rights Day Book Festival. (Re-airs Sunday at 1:32 a.m.)

3:34 p.m. Melvin Urofsky, author of Dissent and the Supreme Court: Its Role in the Court's History and the Nation's Constitutional Dialogue (Pantheon, $35, 9780307379405), at the Bill of Rights Day Book Festival. (Re-airs Sunday at 2:34 a.m.)

4:35 p.m. Sanford Levinson, author of An Argument Open to All: Reading "The Federalist" in the 21st Century (Yale University Press, $38, 9780300199598), at the Bill of Rights Day Book Festival. (Re-airs Sunday at 3:35 a.m.)

5:45 p.m. Chris Enss, co-author of Mochi's War: The Tragedy of Sand Creek (TwoDot, $16.95, 9780762760770). (Re-airs Monday at 2:30 a.m.)

6:15 p.m. Anastacia Marx de Salcedo, author of Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the U.S. Military Shapes the Way You Eat (Current, $27.95, 9781591845973). (Re-airs Sunday at 2:30 p.m. and Monday at 10:15 p.m.)

7:15 p.m. Ryan J. Owens, co-author of The Solicitor General and the United States Supreme Court: Executive Branch Influence and Judicial Decisions (Cambridge University Press, $44.99, 9781107680999). (Re-airs Sunday at 1 p.m. and Monday at 1 a.m.)

7:45 p.m. Roger Lowenstein, author of America's Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve (Penguin Press, $29.95, 9781594205491). (Re-airs Sunday at 9:30 a.m.)

8:45 p.m. Melanne Verveer and Kim Azzarelli, authors of Fast Forward: How Women Can Achieve Power and Purpose (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9780544527195). (Re-airs Sunday at 3:30 p.m.)

10 p.m. Mei Fong, author of One Child: The Story of China's Most Radical Experiment (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544275393). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. David E. Bernstein, author of Lawless: The Obama Administration's Unprecedented Assault on the Constitution and the Rule of Law (Encounter Books, $23.99, 9781594038334). (Re-airs Sunday at 4:45 p.m.)

Sunday, January 17
1:20 p.m. William S. Cohen, author of Collision: A Novel (Forge Books, $25.99, 9780765327659), at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Monday at 5 a.m.)

6:15 p.m. Adam Briggle, author of A Field Philosopher's Guide to Fracking: How One Texas Town Stood Up to Big Oil and Gas (Liveright, $26.95, 9781631490071). (Re-airs Tuesday at 5 a.m.)

7:15 p.m. Courtney Jung, author of Lactivism: How Feminists and Fundamentalists, Hippies and Yuppies, and Physicians and Politicians Made Breastfeeding Big Business and Bad Policy (Basic Books, $26.99, 9780465039692). (Re-airs Monday at 6:15 a.m.)

10 p.m. Eric Rauchway, author of The Money Makers: How Roosevelt and Keynes Ended the Depression, Defeated Fascism, and Secured a Prosperous Peace (Basic Books, $28.99, 9780465049691), and Kathryn Olmstead, author of Right Out of California: The 1930s and the Big Business Roots of Modern Conservatism (The New Press, $27.95, 9781620970966), at the Avid Reader bookstore in Davis, Calif. (Re-airs Monday at 8:30 a.m.)

11 p.m. Kentaro Toyama, author of Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology (PublicAffairs, $27.99, 9781610395281). (Re-airs Tuesday at 7 a.m.)

Books & Authors

Awards: National Jewish Book; RBC Taylor

The winners of the Jewish Book Council's 2015 National Jewish Book Awards have been announced. The Everett Family Foundation Jewish Book of the Year Award was given to Bruce Hoffman for Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917–1947 (Knopf). Daniel Torday took the fiction category prize for The Last Flight of Poxl West (St. Martin's). Newbery Award recipient Laura Amy Schlitz became the first winner of the Posner Award for YA literature for The Hired Girl (Candlewick Press). Other winners and runners-up in several categories can be seen here. The winners will be honored on March 9 in New York City.


The finalists for the 2016 RBC Taylor Prize for literary nonfiction are:

Ian Brown for Sixty: The Beginning of the End, or the End of the Beginning? (to be published in the U.S. by the Experiment in August)
Camilla Gibb for This Is Happy
David Halton for Dispatches from the Front: Matthew Halton, Canada's Voice at War
Wab Kinew for The Reason You Walk
Rosemary Sullivan for Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva

The winner will be announced in Toronto in March 7.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, January 19:

Blue: A Novel by Danielle Steel (Delacorte, $28.95, 978-0345531056) brings together a woman who lost her family and a homeless teenager.

The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385539289) is the latest humorous travelogue from the master of the genre.

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer (Doubleday, $29.95, 9780385535595) explores how billionaires like the Koch brothers work to undermine democracy.

A Passion for Leadership: Lessons on Change and Reform from Fifty Years of Public Service by Robert M. Gates (Knopf, $27.95, 9780307959492) gives advice on institutional reform from the former secretary of defense.

The Winter Girl: A Novel by Matt Marinovich (Doubleday, $24.95, 9780385539975) is a psychological thriller about an unhappy couple living next to a seemingly abandoned house.

The Portable Veblen: A Novel by Elizabeth Mckenzie (Penguin Press, $26, 9781594206856) is the humorous tale of a young Palo Alto couple.

Real Tigers by Mick Herron (Soho Crime, $26.95, 9781616956127) is book 3 in the Slough House espionage series.

The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage by Daymond John and Daniel Paisner (Crown Business, $26, 9781101903599) shows how scarce resources can foster entrepreneurial creativity.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend: A Novel by Katarina Bivald, translated by Alice Menzies (Sourcebooks Landmark, $16.99, 9781492623441) transplants a Swedish bookseller to Broken Wheel, Iowa, where she opens a bookstore--and reinvigorates a down-at-its-heels town.

Brooklyn on Fire: A Mary Handley Mystery by Lawrence H. Levy (Broadway, $14, 9780553418941).

The Vow-Powered Life: A Simple Method for Living with Purpose by Jan Chozen Bays (Shambhala, $14.95, 9781611801002).

Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars by Marvel Comics (Marvel, $15.99, 9780785198673).

The 5th Wave, based on the YA alien invasion series by Rick Yancey, opens January 22. A movie tie-in (Speak, $10.99, 9780142425831) is available February 10.

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:

Only Love Can Break Your Heart: A Novel by Ed Tarkington (Algonquin, $25.95, 9781616203825). "Tarkington's debut novel feels positively Shakespearean in its sense of family dynamics and the sometimes destructive power of love, but it speaks with the deceptively plain, poignant language of a Neil Young song. Set in the 1980s in a small Virginia town, the book tells the coming-of-age story of Rocky Askew as he copes with fraternal abandonment, dangerous liaisons, caregiving, and one town scandal after another with little help other than his brother Paul's old vinyl collection. Only Love Can Break Your Heart speaks to anybody working to function, however imperfectly, in any type of family." --Andrew Hedglin, Lemuria Bookshop, Jackson, Miss.

Mr. Splitfoot: A Novel by Samantha Hunt (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9780544526709). "When Cora's Aunt Ruth, whom she hasn't seen since childhood, shows up on her doorstep, mute yet demanding that Cora follow her, Cora makes a split-second decision to do that to escape her dead-end job and the father of the baby she is carrying. The tale of the road trip that follows and the details of Ruth's past are told in alternating chapters until they merge. The cast of characters and settings are mysterious and creepy, like something out of a David Lynch movie. Readers will be compelled to keep the pages turning until the secrets are revealed." --Kelley Drahushuk, the Spotty Dog Books & Ale, Hudson, N.Y.

The Jaguar's Children: A Novel by John Vaillant (Mariner, $14.95, 9780544570221). "Vaillant has established his reputation as an accomplished writer of nonfiction, and he now brings his considerable talent to this debut novel. There are no easy moments in this story told by Hector, a young man engaged in an illegal border crossing inside a sealed tanker truck. Vaillant uses Hector's narration to bring the frequent brutality of the illegal immigration experience to light in visceral detail, engaging both the reader's sympathy and revulsion, which linger long after the last page is turned." --Fran Keilty, the Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot, Conn.

For Ages 4 to 8
Be a Friend by Salina Yoon (Bloomsbury, $17.99, 9781619639515). "Dennis is a mime whose imagination shapes his world, but even mimes get lonely. Dennis comes up with a creative solution to make a new friend and discovers someone else who shares his world view. Yoon's simple drawings allow readers to see the world Dennis shapes; the message is sweet without being saccharine; and the pantomimes encourage interactive reading." --Erin Barker, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, Va.

For Ages 9 to 12: Revisit & Rediscover
Ida B … and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World by Katherine Hannigan (Greenwillow, $6.99, 9780060730269). "At first blush, Ida B Applewood seems to have the world by the tail. Home-schooled by two down-to-earth parents who operate an apple orchard, Ida B thinks like a storyteller and wields words like a poet in her relentless pursuit of Fun. When her idyllic lifestyle takes a turn and she's forced to go to public school, Ida B feels her heart begin to harden into a cold, dark stone. The emotional revenge that she wreaks on everyone around her is painful to observe and your heart will break for her as she gradually comes to terms with the changes in her life." --Collette Morgan, Wild Rumpus, Minneapolis, Minn.

For Teen Readers: Revisit & Rediscover
The Wee Free Men: A Tiffany Aching Adventure by Terry Pratchett (HarperCollins, $9.99, 9780062435262). "Tiffany Aching is a witch in the making, but when the Evil Queen of Fairies kidnaps her younger brother, Tiffany becomes a heroine. Using common sense, a frying pan, and a piece of string, this courageous girl takes on monsters in many forms. Humor, adventure, and colorful dialogue make this book unforgettable. Lucky for all of us that this is just the first volume in the five-book Tiffany Aching Adventures series!" --Becky Anderson, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, Ill.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The Evening Spider

The Evening Spider by Emily Arsenault (Morrow, $15.99 paperback, 9780062379313, January 2016)

Mystery, murder and supernatural entities are at the crux of The Evening Spider, a gothic suspense story by Emily Arsenault. Based partially on an actual crime committed in the late 19th century, the story revolves around two women who live in different centuries but share the connection of having lived in the same house. Frances Barnett, who is alive in 1885, tells her story via journal entries written from inside the Northampton Lunatic Hospital in Massachusetts, where her well-meaning husband, Matthew, has locked her away. She slowly reveals why she's been institutionalized, starting with her distress at learning she is pregnant since she'd never contemplated that possible aspect of married life, and her subsequent difficulties adjusting to life as a new mother. To break the monotony of motherhood, Frances, who was always inquisitive from childhood, surreptitiously follows the gruesome details of a famous murder trial--a trial her husband is assisting with, yet he refuses to speak in specifics to Frances about the events. The trial forces Frances to reexamine incidents she thought were true, with surprising results.

Meanwhile, in 2014, Abby Bernaki is having difficulties of her own as a new mother. Although she loves her daughter dearly, the sameness of her days presses in on her, forcing her to remember events from her past that she'd just as soon forget. When odd noises and weird coincidences take place in the old house she lives in with her husband, Abby begins an elaborate search into the checkered past of the house's previous owners. When she starts to read Frances's journal, circumstances twist and turn in unexpected ways, and Abby fears someone or something might be trying to claim her daughter while she sleeps. With the help of a few locals, she manages to unravel some odd facts about Frances, but still must come to grips with her own secrets.

The Evening Spider doesn't quite fall into the pure mystery genre that Arsenault usually writes in (The Broken Teaglass, In Search of the Rose Notes, etc.) as it contains ghostly and supernatural elements, and yet the book is not that spooky. It's more a play on psychological fears than a book about terrifying hauntings. However, with its basis in a real crime, including excerpts from news stories from that time, readers can take delight in Arsenault's highly inventive imagination as she deftly interweaves the stories of these two young mothers searching for answers. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

Shelf Talker: Two women, separated by over a century, face odd circumstances in their respective pasts while navigating the ups and downs of new motherhood.

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