Also published on this date: Wednesday, March 1, 2017: Maximum Shelf: Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Overlook Press: Bad Men by Julie Mae Cohen

Shadow Mountain: Highcliffe House (Proper Romance Regency) by Megan Walker

Simon & Schuster: Register for the Simon & Schuster Fall Preview!

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster: The Ministry of Time Kaliane Bradley

Akaschic Books, Ltd: Go the Fuck to Sleep Series by Adam Mansbach, Illustrated by Ricardo Cortés

Tommy Nelson: You'll Always Have a Friend: What to Do When the Lonelies Come by Emily Ley, Illustrated by Romina Galotta


Obamas Ink Major Book Deal with PRH

photo: White House/Pete Souza

Penguin Random House will publish forthcoming books by former U.S. President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama. CEO Markus Dohle said the publisher has acquired world publication rights for two books, to be written by President and Mrs. Obama, respectively. Terms of the agreement, in which the authors were represented by Robert Barnett and Deneen Howell of Williams & Connolly, were not disclosed, though the New York Times reported that "publishing industry executives with knowledge of the bidding process said it probably stretched well into eight figures."

"We are absolutely thrilled to continue our publishing partnership with President and Mrs. Obama," Dohle said. "With their words and their leadership, they changed the world, and every day, with the books we publish at Penguin Random House, we strive to do the same. Now, we are very much looking forward to working together with President and Mrs. Obama to make each of their books global publishing events of unprecedented scope and significance."

In addition, PRH will donate one million books in the Obama family's name to First Book, a longstanding nonprofit partner of the publisher and the Washington, D.C., partner for the 2016 White House digital education initiative, Open eBooks. The Obamas also plan to donate a significant portion of their author proceeds to charity, including the Obama Foundation.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Perseus Titles Now Being Shipped by Hachette Book Group

Today, March 1, is Perseus Books' official "Go Live" day with Hachette Book Group. From now on, all orders for Perseus Books titles, including Avalon Travel (Rick Steves and Moon Travel Guides), Basic Books, Da Capo Press, Nation Books, PublicAffairs, Running Press, Seal Press, Weinstein Books and Westview Press, will be processed and shipped through HBG, completing the transition from Ingram, which had continued to handle fulfillment for Perseus since the acquisition was completed in April 2016. 

Today also marks the end of the e-mail forwarding period for addresses for staff who moved to HBG. Those former Perseus Books people can now be reached through their e-mail addresses (  

GLOW: Workman Publishing: Atlas Obscura: Wild Life: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Living Wonders by Cara Giaimo, Joshua Foer, and Atlas Obscura

Bob Jackson Retiring from Gardners

Bob Jackson

After 26 years of service, commercial director Bob Jackson will retire from Gardners, the U.K. and international book and home entertainment wholesaler, after the London Book Fair later this month. Gardners managing director Jonathan Little said that when Jackson joined the company in 1991, he "quickly took to the challenges in the competitive world of U.K. book wholesaling. Over the years he has shaped, grown and led our sales and marketing departments by example, achieving impressive growth along the way, with annual revenues today exceeding £200 million [about $248 million]. Bob has built up a strong and experienced team, who are now well poised to continue this growth into the future."

He added: "We will all truly miss Bob's input, energy and enthusiasm, and I am sure that many within the book trade will join me in wishing him well as he enters this new and well deserved chapter in his life." Before joining Gardners, Jackson worked for 19 years at Hodder & Stoughton.

Jackson told the Bookseller, "For 45 years I have been fortunate to work in a fantastic industry. Always enjoyable, working with creative and energetic people. I'm very optimistic about the future of the book Industry and I will still be watching developments, but from a more leisurely viewpoint."

In other Gardners news, Nigel Wyman and Aidan Lunn have been appointed to manage Gardners' U.K. and international markets, respectively, and will "continue working with the existing senior management team responsible for our customers."

Graphic Universe (Tm): Hotelitor: Luxury-Class Defense and Hospitality Unit by Josh Hicks

Is Waterstones' Unbranded Bookshop Model a Threat?

"Are small, unbranded Waterstones stores really a threat to independent bookshops?" asked the Guardian in a headline this week for an article on the bookseller's decision to open three unbranded branches in the past three years: Southwold Books in Suffolk, Harpenden Books in Hertfordshire and the Rye Bookshop in East Sussex.

John Wells, who has owned book, card and gift shop Wells of Southwold for 30 years, told the Daily Mail, "To call themselves Southwold Books is a bit naughty. Locals know what the shop is, but visitors don't."

In Rye, gallery owner Clive Sawyer noted that Waterstones "has crept in under the guise of a nice, independent book store, which it simply isn't. Ultimately, it's the dishonesty I really dislike."

But Waterstones managing director James Daunt countered that the motivation was size rather than subterfuge. "What people expect when they see the brand is a lot of books, but when you walk into something no bigger than a London bus, then it has got to be different," he said of the smaller locations.

Robert Topping, whom the Guardian described as "an independent bookseller who has been less than complimentary about the chain in the past," is not overly concerned. He did caution, however, that Waterstones should fear customers mistaking their unbranded shops for independents and walking out disappointed: "Independent bookshops and their readers are, in essence, independent-minded people. That is why readers shop with us and not chains."

The Guardian also noted that a "lack of concern among independents reflects the healthy state of the sector."

Daunt contended that "the vast majority [of people] have welcomed them greatly. They are very small shops in towns that had independents and very much wish they still had independents but don't. We can't open up great big Waterstones here but we can open up small ones. We are coming into quite sensitive high streets with predominantly independent retailers on them and we wish to behave as they do."

He later told the Bookseller he had received "endless e-mails from people saying, 'Can you open an unbranded shop in our area, we don't have a bookshop because it closed down.' Someone from Oakwood in Leeds contacted me this morning, and someone from just outside Bristol yesterday. We now have lots of new potential areas to look at."

Bookseller Pens a Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

"I'm a history person and a book person. That is my background, and it comes together perfectly in my writing," said Mackenzie Van Engelenhoven, events coordinator at Trident Booksellers & Cafe in Boston, Mass., and, under the pen name Mackenzi Lee, author of the upcoming YA historical adventure novel The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue.

Mackenzi Lee

Due out from Katherine Tegen Books on June 27, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is the story of Henry "Monty" Montague, a young British lord taking the "Grand Tour" through the capital cities of Europe in the 1700s. The Grand Tour, Van Engelenhoven explained, was essentially the equivalent of a gap year for upper-class young men of the late 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. These trips were intended not only for these young men to expand their boundaries, to be exposed to the wider worlds of European art, culture and high society, but also for them to sow their wild oats, to "get the crazy out of their system" before returning home to become productive members of society. Monty is taking the Grand Tour with his best friend Percy, with whom he is also secretly in love, and his little sister, Felicity, with whom he would much rather not be traveling. Along the way, the trio discovers a magical artifact, turning their trip into a swashbuckling adventure.

"I really love the idea that in history, people don't really change," said Van Engelenhoven, who first learned of the concept of the Grand Tour during a survey course in college. She found it fascinating that even back in the 1700s, young people were essentially taking gap years before the start of adulthood. At the same time, she has always loved adventure novels, and for a long time sought to write a "self-aware, tropey" adventure. What brought it all together and spurred her toward writing this novel was a renewed interest in queer history, and especially the way that queer people and characters have been left out of adventure narratives, both factual and fictitious. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, then, is her chance to give this kind of narrative to the characters "often left out."

Van Engelenhoven said she's been a writer for both "a long time and not very long," explaining that as a child, she read and wrote quite a bit, up until around the time she entered middle school. From then on, through high school, she didn't do much reading outside of assigned books and didn't write for pleasure.

"I loved reading middle grade when I was a kid," she continued. "But when it felt like I had to graduate from middle grade, at a time when YA wasn't as much of a thing, I sort of lost interest in books."

While pursuing her undergraduate degree in history, Van Engelenhoven spent time in England doing thesis research. She recalled that her thesis adviser kept saying that her history papers read like novels, and she began to realize that she might be writing the wrong kinds of things. At around the same time, while she was studying abroad, she began to read for pleasure again, and it felt like she had "found magic again" when she revisited books from her childhood. Her renewed love of reading led to a new passion for writing for teens. In particular, rediscovering Shannon Hale's 2003 fantasy novel The Goose Girl "catapulted" her back into writing.

After returning to the U.S. and graduating from college, Van Engelenhoven enrolled in the Writing for Children and Young Adults MFA program at Simmons College in Boston, Mass. She made her entrance into bookselling while in grad school, first at the Harvard Coop in Cambridge. From there she moved to Porter Square Books, where she "fell in love with indies"; after graduation, she worked in publishing for a time. Within two years, however, she made her return to bookselling at Trident Booksellers & Cafe, where she is now the events coordinator. (She still works at Porter Square Books on the weekend as a sort of "hobby bookseller.") She published her debut novel, This Monstrous Thing, also with Katherine Tegen Books, in 2015.

Van Engelenhoven added that though juggling writing with bookselling can be difficult, as she is essentially working two full-time jobs, she has found that working in a bookstore motivates her as a writer much more than working in publishing did. She said: "It rejuvenates me in a lot of ways to talk to talk to people who are writing and reading books, rather than people who are publishing them."

Van Engelenhoven will launch The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue at Trident on June 27 and soon afterward go on a short book tour. "I'm planning the tour around my friends' bookstores," she said. "It's a lucky and strange way to plan a tour." --Alex Mutter


Image of the Day: Books Kinokuniya Opens in Carrollton, Texas

Last weekend, Books Kinokuniya held the grand opening of its new store in Carrollton, Texas, with author events, cosplay contests, live music, a kimono fashion show, karate demonstrations and performances that included taiko drums by Kiyari Daiko and Dondoko Taiko, traditional Yosakoi dancing by Yosakoi Soran, and the Cherry Blossoms children's choir. Pictured: (l.-r.) Shigeharu Ono, general manager, Kinokuniya Book Stores of America; Tyrannosaurus, from the popular Japanese children's series published by Museyon; Taka Kubota; v-p, Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth and HR business partner at NEC Corporation of America; Shigekazu Watanabe, Texas area manager, Kinokuniya; Matthew Marchant, mayor of Carrollton; Junji Kurokawa, director, JETRO Houston. (Another Books Kinokuniya store opens this month in Plano, Texas.)

Manchester, Vt., Annual Town Report Dedicated to Ed Morrow

Manchester, Vt. Select Board vice-chair Wayne Bell presents Ed Morrow (l.) with framed copy of the new town report.

Ed Morrow, co-founder of the Northshire Bookstore, was honored recently for his "40 years of business, citizenship and community" by the town of Manchester, Vt., which featured him on the cover of the 2016 Town Report.

The dedication page noted that "since Ed and Barbara Morrow opened their business on Main Street next to the former Factory Point Bank in 1976, the Northshire Bookstore has been an anchor and symbol of the economic vitality of Manchester. Over the years as the bookstore grew, Ed, Barbara, Chris and Andy moved their business across the street to its current home, the former and historic Colburn House, increasing their footprint tenfold in 2003.

"Throughout this journey, Ed Morrow has been a constant resource and voice of logic and vision in our town. He has balanced his family and business focus by lending his eloquent voice to local community issues. He has served terms on the Manchester Planning Commission, as our representative on the Bennington County Regional Commission, and lent reasoned analysis to many local dialogues including school and town plans, rail service, solar and wind energy, downtown development, and many other local community issues....

"The Morrows' bookstore has responded and extended Ed's personal local commitment by regularly holding Public Issues Forums where people can immerse themselves in issues as they talk with other community members about how they can solve their concerns locally in an effort to make a national and global impact for the future. The bookstore's Spiral Press Café space has become the downtown gathering place where locals and visitors may, and do, pause to meet and share a chat, or a bite to eat."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Edward Grinnan on Good Morning America

Good Morning America: Edward Grinnan, author of Always By My Side: Life Lessons from Millie and All the Dogs I've Loved (Howard, $24.99, 9781501156380).

Ellen: George W. Bush, author of Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief's Tribute to America's Warriors (Crown, $35, 9780804189767). He will also appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

TV: Cumberbatch as Melrose

Showtime has ordered Melrose, a five-part limited series that will feature Benedict Cumberbatch as star and executive producer. Deadline reported that the project, a co-production of Showtime and Sky Atlantic, is based on the Patrick Melrose series of semi-autobiographical novels (Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, Mother's Milk and At Last) by Edward St. Aubyn.

David Nicholls (Far From the Madding Crowd), who called Cumberbatch "the perfect Patrick Melrose," is writing all of the episodes. The search for a director is currently underway for the series, which will begin shooting in New York, London and the South of France in August.

"We have been huge fans of these books for many years and David Nicholls' adaptations are extraordinary," said Cumberbatch and Adam Ackland of Cumberbatch's SunnyMarch TV.

Books & Authors

Awards: Windham-Campbell Winners

Winners were announced for the Windham-Campbell Prizes, administered by Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, to "call attention to literary achievement and provide writers with the opportunity to focus on their work independent of financial concerns." The awards are worth $165,000 to each of the eight winners and this year, for the first time, include poetry, in addition to fiction, nonfiction and drama. This year's recipients will gather at Yale September 13-15 for the Windham-Campbell Festival that will include a keynote delivered by Karl Ove Knausgård. The winners are: 

Fiction: André Alexis (Canada) and Erna Brodber (Jamaica)
Nonfiction: Maya Jasanoff (U.S.) and Ashleigh Young (New Zealand)
Poetry: Ali Cobby Eckermann (Australia) and Carolyn Forché (U.S.)
Drama: Marina Carr (Ireland) and Ike Holter (U.S.)

Writers Honored by American Academy of Arts and Letters

Ten writers are among the newly elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. They will be honored in mid-May when the academy holds its annual induction and award ceremony, during which Calvin Trillin, secretary, will induct 14 members into the 250-person organization and president Yehudi Wyner will induct three foreign honorary members. Joyce Carol Oates is delivering the centennial Blashfield Foundation Address. The new academy members include:

Henri Cole, poet
Junot Diaz, writer
Amy Hempel, writer
Edward Hirsch, writer
Ursula K. LeGuin, writer
Column McCann, writer
Ann Patchett, writer
Kay Ryan, poet

Foreign Honorary Members
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, writer of Nigeria
Zadie Smith, writer of England

Reading with... Tracee de Hahn

photo: Amy Pearman

Tracee de Hahn, author of Swiss Vendetta (Minotaur, February 7, 2017), holds degrees in architecture and history. She lives with her Swiss-Canadian husband in Virginia.

On your nightstand now:

Do the books overflowing onto the floor by the nightstand count? And what about those in the queue on my e-reader, which is technically on my nightstand? I'll keep it simple, nightstand only: Winston's War by Michael Dobbs, The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben, Stiff by Mary Roach, A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny, Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave and Madame de Pompadour by Nancy Mitford.

Favorite book when you were a child:

All of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I'd read them by third grade and could quote at will. I wanted to be a pioneer girl (my parents supported this notion, and let me cook in the fireplace and make an entirely hand-tooled rope bed and straw mattress--you get the point).

Your top five authors:

Impossible! There are old favorites, new infatuations. I think that it depends on my mood. If I'm embarking on a 16-hour flight, I'll download a few of Lee Childs's Jack Reacher books. (My record is five in a row. It was a long travel day!) If I'm spending a few weeks in India, then I'm packing Shogun by James Clavell (forget that it's the wrong culture, it is about immersion in another culture and is best to read when you have expansive bits of time). Agatha Christie takes me back to childhood. I love Kerry Greenwood's Miss Fisher series for pure entertainment. If it was top five right now in this reading moment, I'd say P.D. James, Oliver Pötzsch, James Clavell, Martha Grimes and Kate Ross.

Book you've faked reading:

That's an easy one: Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. I don't know if I've ever been asked about it, but I am prepared to lie.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Right now? Flynn Berry's Under the Harrow. Couldn't put it down!

Book you've bought for the cover:

Recently, The Gilded Hour by Sara Donati.

Book you hid from your parents:

I read all the time as a child--walking down the sidewalk, while watering the shrubs, you name it. I'm pretty sure I thought I was invisible when reading, so who needed to hide anything!

Book that changed your life:

Achebe's Things Fall Apart as a story of a society in crisis, Yann Martel's Life of Pi for the ambiguous conclusion and powerful narrator, and Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind, which I read in the summer before fifth grade and made me want to be a storyteller.

Favorite line from a book:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." from A Tale of Two Cities. Charles Dickens knew how to set up a story.

Five books you'll never part with:

Tolstoy's War and Peace, James Clavell's Shogun, Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove, Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd--my first mystery and (bonus) an unreliable narrator! The fifth slot is ever changing.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Tolstoy's War and Peace. This way I don't know that Prince Andrei dies.

Books I wish I had read, but doubt that I will:

Any book by Honoré de Balzac.

Children's Books: Celebrate Women's History Month

Shelf Awareness cheers Women's History Month with these stand-out children's and YA books that tell powerful stories about woman scientists, superheroes, space travelers and Notorious RBG.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg may not be "a rock star, a queen, a goddess," but to countless women--and men--who revere her for her work on behalf of the rights of all U.S. citizens, she is a hero. In I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, hardcover, 40p., ages 6-9, 9781481465595, September 20, 2016), a picture-book biography by former lawyer Debbie Levy and illustrator Elizabeth Baddeley, readers learn about the determined little girl who objected to "creaky old ideas," unfairness and inequality, and who grew up to be one of the most influential and respected people in American government--and beyond.

Editor Kelly Jensen brings together 44 vivacious and diverse voices in Here We Are: 44 Voices Write, Draw, and Speak About Feminism for the Real World (Workman, $16.95, paperback, 240p., ages 12-up, 9781616205867, January 24, 2017). It's a scrapbook-style teen guide to feminism, 21st-century style, that talks about feminism, identity, gender, sexuality, relationships, ambition, faith and much more. With FAQs, interviews, cartoons, suggested reading and essays by senators, bestselling authors and illustrators, educators, civil liberties activists, a Muslim blogger and a Sierra Leone-born ballerina, this lively, educational and entertaining compilation will captivate readers.

In spite of historic gender-based obstacles, there have always been girls and women whose curiosity about the natural world leads them to science. Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science (Atheneum, $16.99, hardcover, 208p., ages 10-up, 9781481465656, September 20, 2016) is a collection of verse-stories about three such young women. In elegant, absorbing poems, Jeannine Atkins writes about Maria Merian, whose illustrations of metamorphosing caterpillars challenged 17th-century ideas about the life cycle of insects. Mary Anning collected fossils in the early 1800s as "curiosities" or "wonders," until she unearthed the first ichthyosaur ever discovered. And Maria Mitchell, after a childhood teaching herself mathematics and helping her mapmaker father make star charts for sailors, discovered a new comet in the mid-1800s. Young scientists-in-the-making will be proud to claim any one of these historic trailblazers as a role model.

With section headings like "Gritty Girls," "Peace Heroines" and "Outstanding Animals," Stephanie Warren Drimmer's The Book of Heroines: Tales of History's Gutsiest Gals (National Geographic, $14.99, hardcover, 176p., ages 8-12, 9781426325571, November 8, 2016) is a bold, bright collection, packed with photos and illustrations of impressive women who have changed the world. Athletes, world leaders, freedom fighters, space pioneers... even everyday people (and animals!) are portrayed in splashy two-page spreads, along with occasional "Daring Dudes" sidebars featuring male heroes. From ancient mythical warriors like Athena to present-day "science superstars" like Sara Seager, these heroines will thrill and inspire girls--and boys.

Naturalist and artist Anna Comstock (1854-1930) defied the social conventions of her day, turning her intense lifelong curiosity about the natural world into an untraditional career as scientific illustrator and nature educator. In the picture-book biography Out of School and into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story (Sleeping Bear, $16.99, hardcover, 32p., ages 6-10, 9781585369867, March 15, 2017), nature and science writer Suzanne Slade tells the naturalist's story in lyrical text ("She loved to hold [nature] close in her fingers, she wanted to feel it squish between her toes"), including quotations from the subject's own writing. Jessica Lanan's lovely watercolors, including some reprints of Comstock's engravings, illustrate a life spent embracing nature.

Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History (Ten Speed, $15.99, hardcover, 112p., ages 10-up, 9780399578861, September 27, 2016) is a treasury of gorgeously illustrated, engaging essays commemorating women's achievements around the world and throughout history, all well researched by author Kate Schatz. Readers will meet Enheduanna, the world's oldest known author, who lived 4,300 years ago in Mesopotamia, and Marta Vieira da Silva, the greatest female soccer player in the world, born in Brazil in 1986. Miriam Klein Stahl's striking papercut illustrations, set in black and white against bold solid-color backgrounds, capture the strength and fierceness of these 40 diverse women. Fans of Rad American Women A-Z will jump at the chance to go global with rad women both known and new to them. --Emilie Coulter, freelance editor and reviewer

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