Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, February 21, 2017

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

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

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

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

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

Allida: Safiyyah's War by Hiba Noor Khan

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


S&S and Threshold Cancel Yiannopoulos Book

Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have canceled Dangerous, the book by Milo Yiannopoulos that caused intense criticism in the book world. The apparent impetus for the decision was a 2015 interview that circulated in the past several days in which the Breitbart News senior editor condoned pedophilia, which led the Conservative Political Action Conference to rescind an invitation for him to speak at its annual gathering this week. Earlier, he was criticized for hate speech against a variety of groups and particularly for harassing African-American actress Leslie Jones, which led to him being banned from Twitter.

Threshold gave Yiannopoulos a $250,000 advance and planned to publish the book in March. Recently the book was postponed to June because Yiannopoulos said he wanted to add material about recent protests against his appearances on college campuses.

S&S issued this statement yesterday: "After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have cancelled publication of Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos."

On social media, some people applauded S&S's decision to cancel the book, but most were dismissive and derisive. A typical comment wondered why it took the charge of pedophilia to make the publisher cancel the book--after the author had expressed many racist, fascist, misogynistic, anti-gay, anti-transgender, anti-immigrant sentiments.

Since the deal to publish Dangerous became public at the end of 2016, a variety of people protested. Some 160 S&S children's authors and illustrators sent a letter of protest to S&S president and CEO Carolyn Reidy. Roxane Gay withdrew How to Be Heard, a Simon & Schuster/TED book that was to be published in 2018. The Booksmith in San Francisco said it would not sell any Threshold Editions titles, cut all its orders of other S&S titles by a half and promised to donate 40% of S&S sales to the ACLU.

S&S had defended itself by saying that Dangerous would not include hate speech. The National Coalition Against Censorship issued a statement criticizing efforts to boycott S&S or force the company to drop the book. "This kind of response will have a chilling effect on authors and publishers," the statement said. "Publishers and writers need the freedom to express ideas even if they are controversial and offensive to some." The statement was also signed by the American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers, the Authors Guild, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the Freedom to Read Foundation, the Index on Censorship and the National Council of Teachers of English.

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

Books Kinokuniya in Dubai Reopens After Move

After being closed for two weeks, the Books Kinokuniya in Dubai has reopened in a new location on the same floor in the Dubai Mall, what's on reported.

The former space was 68,000 square feet and had a cafe. The new space is smaller, but the store has retained its stock of more than 500,000 books and thousands of magazines in English, Arabic and other languages, although it no longer includes titles in German and Chinese. The location is still the largest bookstore in the United Arab Emirates, Books Kinokuniya said.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

Louise Penny Honored with Order of Canada

Louise Penny

Author Louise Penny, whose work includes the award-winning Armand Gamache mystery series, has been appointed to the Order of Canada. One of the country's highest civilian honors, it recognizes "outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation."

Penny was honored for capturing "the imaginations of readers in Canada and around the world. Following an 18-year career as a journalist and host with the CBC, she turned to her passion of writing. Her bestselling mysteries, set in Quebec's Eastern Townships, have garnered international acclaim and have given readers a sense of this region's unique culture. A generous mentor, she fosters the development of her fellow writers and established the Unhanged Arthur Award for Best Unpublished First Novel, a contest for emerging authors."

Little City Books Transforms into Temporary Theater

The play's the thing at Little City Books in Hoboken, N.J. The store will double as a theater this week when it hosts a production of A Walk in the Woods by Lee Blessing on Thursday and Friday evenings.

The play is being staged by faculty of the Hudson School, a local private day school with a robust theater program. Tickets cost $20 each, and all proceeds benefit the renovation of the school's theater.

Presenting plays in the shop is something that owners Kate Jacobs and Donna Garban planned for prior to opening Little City Books in 2015. A system for sound and lighting was installed, along with a theatrical curtain to create a neutral backdrop. "Otherwise everyone would perform with a wall of YA behind them," noted Jacobs. Shelves in the middle of the store are rolled away to create seating space for about 60 audience members. (A second play, in conjunction with New York City theater company Elevator Repair Service, is scheduled for April.)

A Walk in the Woods features two arms negotiators, an American and a Soviet, meeting in Geneva to hash out Cold War weapons reductions. Rather than conduct their business in a negotiation room, the duo talks outdoors as they try to find common ground. Jacobs and Garban had been interested in partnering with director and Hudson School instructor Vivian Hasbrouk, who approached them about hosting two of the show's six performances. A two-character play with a streamlined set of a park bench seemed like a perfect fit for the store's space. Starring in A Walk in the Woods are teachers and thespians Jack Coggins and John Koeppl.

Although Little City Books is not making money from the events, there are benefits. "Working with other groups always adds to our promotional reach," said Jacobs. In addition, she and Garban take the "cultural hub" part of their mission "very seriously. We tend to say yes to any proposals from the community that we think will be great additions to the cultural life of the town."

Earlier this month the store hosted "Little City Limits," with artists covering classic country music songs and a full band. All but 5% of ticket sales was given to the musicians. "We probably about broke even," said Jacobs. The credo is that an event "has to do one of three things, preferably two: make money, benefit the community and be really fun for Donna and me." --Shannon McKenna Schmidt

Obituary Note: Dick Bruna

Dutch artist and children's author Dick Bruna, "whose much-loved cartoon rabbit Miffy has sold more than 80 million books since her creation in 1955," died February 16, the Guardian reported. He was 89. Bruna produced his last Miffy book in 2011 and retired in 2014.

Born into a family of publishers, Bruna "began his career as an illustrator of book jackets, including Ian Fleming's James Bond series and Georges Simenon's Inspector Maigret thrillers," the Guardian wrote. Miffy, however, made him a celebrity. Fans from all over the world travelled to Utrecht to visit the Miffy Museum and Bruna's house.

The Bookseller noted that the author "has published over 100 books, 32 about Miffy... His most famous character is known as Nijntje ('little rabbit') in Dutch, with the English translator Olive Jones first christening the animal Miffy."

Alexandra Maramenides, managing director for Simon & Schuster Children's U.K., which issued a "complete relaunch" of the brand in 2014, said, "We are deeply saddened by the loss of Dick Bruna.... We feel very privileged to have worked with Dick Bruna, whose Miffy character is treasured by parents and children alike. Our sympathies are with his family."


Image of the Day: Isaac Marion and The Burning World

Isaac Marion appeared at Village Books, Bellingham, Wash., last week to promote his new novel, The Burning World (Atria), the sequel to Warm Bodies. Pictured: Marion (center) flanked by booksellers (l.-r.) Rebecca Brown, Leah Atlee, Hayden Winn, Stephanie Douglas, Nadia Saenz and Joe Buckley.

#KeepReading: Patchett on Nashville Public Television

Nashville Public Television's A Word on Words literary series host Mary Laura Philpott spoke with author and bookseller Ann Patchett "about Commonwealth, life before and after Bel Canto (and Parnassus Books), and making right reading choices."

Personnel Changes at Catapult, Counterpoint and Soft Skull; Tor

Dustin Kurtz has joined Catapult, Counterpoint and Soft Skull as social media editor. He was formerly manager of the Books & Books store in the Cayman Islands and earlier worked at Melville House, McNally Jackson and the WORD bookstore in Brooklyn, N.Y.


Lauren Jackson has joined the Tor publicity department as senior publicist.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Mary Graham on Fresh Air

Today: Peggy Grande, author of The President Will See You Now: My Stories and Lessons from Ronald Reagan's Final Years (Hachette, $28, 9780316396455).

Fresh Air: Mary Graham, author of Presidents' Secrets: The Use and Abuse of Hidden Power (Yale University Press, $30, 9780300223743).

Harry: Tim Tebow, co-author of Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life's Storms (WaterBrook, $25, 9780735289864).

Late Late Show with James Corden: Trevor Noah, author of Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Spiegel & Grau, $28, 9780399588174).

Tavis Smiley: Ralph Nader, author of Breaking Through Power: It's Easier Than We Think (City Lights Publishers, $13.95, 9780872867055).

TV: Castle Rock

Hulu has ordered a project titled Castle Rock, named after a fictional town featured in many of Stephen King's novels and short stories, beginning with The Dead Zone and including Cujo, The Body, Uncle Otto's Truck, Mrs. Todd's Shortcut, The Dark Half, The Sun Dog, Needful Things, It Grows on You and others.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the anthology "will weave together characters and themes from those novels that use the Castle Rock location. Each season will follow a different set of characters and storylines while interjecting themes and specific characters from previous seasons."

Sam Shaw (Manhattan) and Dusty Thomason "are also attached to the project, which hails from Abrams and his Warner Bros. Television-based Bad Robot banner," the Hollywood Reporter wrote, adding: "Castle Rock becomes the latest King-Abrams drama at Hulu following the miniseries 11.22.63."

Books & Authors

Awards: Nebulas; Branford Boase; George Washington

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America announced nominees for the 2016 Nebula Awards, the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book. The awards will be presented during the annual Nebula Conference in May. See the full lists here.


A longlist has been announced for the 2017 Branford Boase Award, which was created to recognize a book for seven-year-olds and upwards by a first time novelist and to honor "the most promising new writers and their editors, as well as to reward excellence in writing and in publishing." The shortlist will be released May 8 and a winner named this summer. Check out the complete Branford Boase longlist here.


The finalists for the 2017 George Washington Prize, which recognizes "the best-written works on the nation's founding era, especially those that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of early American history," are:

George Washington's Journey: The President Forges a New Nation by T.H. Breen (Simon and Schuster)
"Most Blessed of the Patriarchs": Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination by Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf (Liveright Publishing)
A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley by Jane Kamensky (Norton)
The Framers' Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution by Michael J. Klarman (Oxford University Press)
Fatal Sunday: George Washington, the Monmouth Campaign, and the Politics of Battle by Mark Edward Lender and Garry Wheeler Stone (University of Oklahoma Press)
Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick (Viking)
American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804 by Alan Taylor (Norton)

The winner of the $50,000 prize, sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, George Washington's Mount Vernon and Washington College, will be announced at a gala on May 25 at Mount Vernon.

Top Library Recommended Titles for March

LibraryReads, the nationwide library staff-picks list, offers the top 10 February titles public library staff across the country love:

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley: A Novel by Hannah Tinti (Dial Press, $27, 9780812989885). "Meet Samuel Hawley, a man in a constant struggle with his violent past, doing the best he can to raise his daughter. Meet Loo, his daughter, a girl with an obscure past and an uncertain future, on the cusp of adulthood. And meet Lily, the dead woman who connects them both. In this finely woven novel, the past and the present gradually illuminate the story of a man's life through the bullet wounds he carries with him and makes readers consider what it is to be both good and evil." --Dawn Terrizzi, Denton Public Library, Denton, Tex.

The Women in the Castle: A Novel by Jessica Shattuck (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062563668). "Three German women's lives are abruptly changed when their husbands are executed for their part in an attempt to assassinate Hitler. They band together in a crumbling estate to raise their children and keep each other standing. Rich in character development, this book is narrated by each of the women, giving us a clear understanding of their sense of loss, inner strength and the love they have for each other. This story examines the human side of war, where the lines are blurred between hero and victim." --Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, Tex.

The Wanderers by Meg Howrey (Putnam, $27, 9780399574634). "A private space exploration company is mounting a manned mission to Mars. To prepare for the actual event, the company plans an elaborate training program to match the conditions and potential problems the team might face. The ordeal, though simulated, is no less dramatic for the astronauts, their families, and the crew. The lines cross between fiction and reality and none of the participants is left unchanged. Part literary fiction, part sci-fi, all amazing." --Marie Byars, Sno-Isle Libraries, Oak Harbor, Wash.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (Sourcebooks Fire, $17.99, 9781492635826). "Fifteen-year-old Tea discovers that she has a power that sets her apart from the other witches in her village and will incur their hatred. She is a 'bone witch' who can raise the dead. Aware that a darkness is coming, Tea agrees to leave her home and family so she can learn to save the very people who hate her. Her training, outlined in rich and fascinating detail, includes the courtly arts of singing and dancing, as well as classes in fighting. Told in short chapters, Tea reflects on her life, revealing how she becomes a courageous warrior. Although written for young adults, this will equally appeal to adults. The cliff-hanger ending will make readers eager for the promised sequel." --Trisha Perry, Oldham County Public Library, Lagrange, Ky.

The Hearts of Men: A Novel by Nickolas Butler (Ecco, $26.99, 9780062469687). "In the summer of 1962, we are introduced to popular Jonathan and social outcast Nelson, aka 'The Bugler.' The only thing the two seem to have in common is that they both spend a few weeks of one summer at Camp Chippewa in the woods of Wisconsin. Yet, over the course of decades, their lives and the lives of those they love the fiercest are intertwined. This wonderful novel peels back the layers of male friendship and shows what loyalty, compassion, and selflessness looks like." --Jennifer Dayton, Darien Library, Darien Conn.

Eggshells by Caitriona Lally (Melville House, $16.99, 9781612195971). "Whimsical and different, this novel's humor hooked me. Vivian is an eccentric, living in Dublin and searching for a place where she can feel she belongs. How can you help but love a character who checks every wardrobe for Narnia and every yellow road for an Emerald City? This novel movingly explores the outcasts and the different among us, showing that they are only hoping to fit in and find a friend." --Linda Quinn, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, Conn.

Say Nothing: A Novel by Brad Parks (Dutton, $26, 9781101985595). "Fans of crime fiction and fans of domestic drama will find much to love in Parks' genre-blending thriller. Judge Scott Sampson is a devoted family man and a respected jurist thrown into every parent's worst nightmare: his six-year-old twins are kidnapped, and the kidnappers blackmail Scott into increasingly immoral legal decisions. Cue marital meltdown, ethical dilemmas, paranoia, and a thrill ride that suspense lovers will race through to learn what happens next. It's a departure from the author's lightly snarky Carter Ross series, but a welcome one for readers of Harlan Coben and Gregg Hurwitz." --Donna Matturri, Pickertington Public Library, Pickerington, Ohio

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel (Knopf, $25.95, 9781101875681). "There are three types of hermits in the world, according to Finkel: protesters, pilgrims, and pursuers. But Christopher Knight doesn't seem to fit any of these categories. So why, at the age of 20, did he drive into a forest in Maine and disappear for 27 years, his only human interaction a single 'hi' with a passing hiker? This book uses the incredible but true story of Knight, 'the last true hermit,' to explore themes of solitude, introversion and the meaning of life." --Megan Tristao, San Jose Public Library, San Jose, Calif.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See (Scribner, $27, 9781501154829). "Li-Yan and her family devote their lives to farming tea. Like her mother, Li-Yan is being groomed to become a midwife in her Chinese village. She yearns for more and is allowed to pursue her schooling. The arrival of outsiders seeking the Pu'er tea of Yunnan brings the modern world into this isolated village. When Li-Yan finds herself alone and pregnant, she leaves her child, wrapped with a tea cake, at an orphanage. Her daughter is adopted by a couple from California, but she is drawn to the study of tea. A sweeping historical novel that juxtaposes ancient China with its modern incarnation." --Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, Mass.

If Not For You: A Novel by Debbie Macomber (Ballantine, $27, 9780553391961). "High school music teacher Beth and tattooed auto mechanic Sam are set up by mutual friends, but neither sees a relationship developing. Their mutual disinterest quickly turns into friendship and then develops into much more. Just as their romantic relationship truly begins, Beth's controlling mother and Sam's hidden past get in the way and threaten to break them apart. As fans have grown to expect from Macomber, this tale tugs the heartstrings in every direction but is ultimately uplifting. It's impossible not to fall in love with her characters." --Jenna Friebel, Oak Park Public Library, Oak Park, Ill.

Book Review

Review: The Perils of "Privilege"

The Perils of "Privilege": Why Injustice Can't Be Solved by Accusing Others of Advantage by Phoebe Maltz Bovy (St. Martin's Press, $26.99 hardcover, 336p., 9781250091208, March 14, 2017)

Forward Sisterhood editor Phoebe Maltz Bovy delves into the virtue of a single word from the English language for her first book, The Perils of "Privilege." The cultural phenomenon concerning the idea of unearned advantages has taken on considerable power in business, political, educational and even social situations. Individuals are told to "check your privilege" at the slightest possible offense or are informed "your privilege is showing" (YPIS) when exhibiting any ignorance toward the plights of those in some way less fortunate than themselves. But Bovy argues that the function of privilege, originally intended to promote empathy and encourage change, has instead become a detriment to those ideals.

By looking at the rise of the concept of privilege since the turn of the century--in areas like journalism, social media and casual conversation--Bovy identifies how privilege call-outs impede the conversations that should be taking place and supplant them with meaningless debate or navel-gazing: "Privilege once had that nuanced, reasoned use, but once checking started to enter into it--certainly once the 'your' got involved--the problems with it began."

Bovy uses a variety of examples to illustrate the failure of this approach to privilege to meet its intended goals, whether they be reminding individuals how their identity shapes their worldviews or attempting to effect change in systems inherently biased toward a specific group. Some applications of privilege are intended to sting, such as an insult pointing out one's unearned advantages. Or Bovy's term "sanctibullying--online pile-ons where the competition was over who could be the most sensitive." Either affront puts participants on the defensive, divides those communicating and turns the conversation away from the important issue.

But other examples can be well-meaning while producing the opposite of their intended outcome, like an elite college's elimination of test scores as an entrance requirement, replaced by projects, essays or portfolios. Many standardized tests contain biases, but the alternative options for admission allow those with more resources to acquire tutors or other forms of "help."

At times Bovy's abundance of examples can become mind numbing, but they offer significant food for thought in the smorgasbord of cultural sensitivity. And Bovy doesn't leave the reader with only objections to the use of privilege; she offers thoughts on what alternatives exist. She points out that this is more than just a change in terms. "If you're wondering what to hurl instead of a YPIS, my advice would be to simply refrain from hurling, period."

The Perils of "Privilege" is thoroughly researched and astute. The rich complexity of the subject matter makes for a slower read, demanding reflection and analysis for a complete and comprehensive understanding of Bovy's argument. But the result of such an investment can have profound outcomes. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Shelf Talker: In an era when people are often called on to "check their privilege," Phoebe Maltz Bovy shows that the trend of encouraging hyperawareness is intensifying divisions.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Billionaire Unknown by J.S. Scott
2. The Knight by Skye Warren
3. Good Boy by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
4. Egomaniac by Vi Keeland
5. Moonlight Prince by Karpov Kinrade
6. Alec Halsey Mysteries by Lucinda Brant
7. The Pawn by Skye Warren
8. Crown of Lies by Pepper Winters
9. Full Package by Lauren Blakely

[Many thanks to!]

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