Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Yen Press: The God of Nishi-Yuigahama Station by Takeshi Murase, Translated by Guiseppe Di Martino

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

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

St. Martin's Press: Sacrificial Animals by Kailee Pedersen

Quotation of the Day

'Read Outside Your Borders'

"We need to get more international. Given the sharp turn rightward in America and the world, I hope that event folks at bookstores all across the country start putting together more and more programs for books and authors in translation. It's already a trend in several stores across the country, in places like Chicago, San Francisco and Houston, not to mention right here in Brooklyn. But I want to see Can Xue in Cleveland, or László Krasznahorkai in Tuscaloosa, or Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o in Albuquerque. You know how you fight fascism? Read outside your borders."

--Hal Hlavinka, Community Bookstore's events coordinator and one of Brooklyn Magazine's "100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture 2017"

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!


Amazon 'May Be Looking' for Bookstore Space in L.A.

Following last week's announcement that Amazon plans to open its 10th bricks-and-mortar bookstore, in Bellevue, Wash., the Los Angeles Business Journal reported that "local brokers said the e-commerce giant has poked around several L.A. shopping districts and might have even shown serious interest in a major mall." Potential locations mentioned include Old Pasadena, Melrose Avenue and Westfield Century City.

Steve McClurkin, a leasing broker at EB Development in San Diego who represents Amazon's bookstores, said, "We have been evaluating the Southern California market for a little over a year," and noted that Amazon has scouted for options throughout the country.

"They were actively looking in Pasadena," said Avison Young agent Derrick Moore, adding that an Amazon representative was seeking about 5,000 to 6,000 square feet of ground-floor space a few months ago. Newmark Grubb Knight Frank's Jay Luchs was contacted regarding listings on Melrose's trendy shopping strip between West Hollywood and the Fairfax District. A broker who represents retail tenants said a representative for Westfield Corp.'s Century City mall, which is undergoing a $1 billion makeover, "recently indicated that Amazon would be taking space among the renovated storefronts," the Business Journal noted.

GLOW: Torrey House Press: Life After Dead Pool: Lake Powell's Last Days and the Rebirth of the Colorado River by Zak Podmore

Abrams Launches Narrative Nonfiction Imprint

Abrams has launched Abrams Press, a narrative nonfiction imprint that will publish books covering a broad range of categories, including popular culture, film, art, design, general-interest science, nature, food topics and more. The imprint's logo, designed by Abrams creative director John Gall, joins a family of logos introduced in fall 2016 as part of a wider rebranding program.

The first book to be published by Abrams Press, on May 16, will be Michael Ruhlman's Grocery: The Buying & Selling of Food in America, which blends reportage, personal history and social commentary to explores food issues through the lens of the supermarket and the ways in which we produce, market and consume our food.

Highlights of the Abrams Press fall 2017 list include Two-Dimensional Man by Paul Sahre; Breaking Bad 101 by Alan Sepinwall; and A Stash of One's Own, a collection of literary essays from some of the biggest names in the knitting world, edited by Clara Parkes.

The spring 2018 season will feature a collection of personal essays by refugee writers, edited by Pulitzer Prize–winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen; Evil by psychologist Dr. Julia Shaw; A Grand Success! by Peter Lord, David Sproxton and Nick Park; and Godforsaken Grapes by Jason Wilson. 

"These are all extraordinarily talented writers who offer unique perspectives on fascinating and diverse subjects," said executive editor Jamison Stoltz.

Abrams president and CEO Michael Jacobs commented: "With Abrams Press, we are realizing a long-standing desire to add timely, thought-provoking narrative books to our already successful adult publishing portfolio. We want to publish more writers in our own special way. With the launch of Abrams Press, it is our moment to do so."

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

Quarto's 'Scratch & Create' Craft Series to Debut

The Quarto Group has launched Scratch & Create, a format for the adult creative-craft market that incorporates metallic ink layered over commissioned drawings or unusual colorful backgrounds. With a stylus, users can scratch away the coating, uncovering full-color finished artwork, or their own designs. The series will be published in the U.S. by Quarto's Rockport Publishers imprint.

"More and more adults are looking for creative activities that can help them unwind and relax," said David Breuer, Quarto's chief creative officer. "We believe people will enjoy these innovative products that offer new ways of stimulating the mind and exercising new skills."

The publisher, which sold more than two million coloring books worldwide during the global adult coloring book craze, said Scratch & Create "takes your creativity beyond coloring and lettering, encouraging you to unwind your mind and discover a new course of relaxation and creativity."

Quarto is supporting the launch with extensive marketing and advertising. The series will debut in August 2017 with four titles, followed by four more in December. All of the scratch pages are perforated, resulting in a finished piece of work.

The publisher is also releasing a selection of books using scratchable ink for the children's market under its Wide Eyed Editions imprint. The first two titles will be published in September under the series title EtchArt.

Obituary Note: Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Amy Krouse Rosenthal, the popular author, filmmaker and speaker "who brightened lives with her wide-eyed and generous spirit--and broke hearts when she wrote of being terminally ill and leaving behind her husband Jason," died yesterday, the Associated Press reported. She was 51. Her longtime literary agent, Amy Rennert, said she "was the most life-affirming person, and love-affirming person."

Rosenthal wrote more than 30 books, including journals, memoirs and the picture stories Uni the Unicorn and Duck! Rabbit!. She made short films and YouTube videos, gave TED talks and provided radio commentary for NPR, among others. Beginning in the late 1990s, she published at least a book a year, and sometimes three or four. Rennert told the AP that Rosenthal had completed seven more picture books before her death, including a collaboration with her daughter, Paris, called Dear Girl. Her many books include I Wish You More; That's Me Loving You; Little Pea; Chopsticks; Spoon; and Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life.

Describing her as "a brilliant writer, and an even better friend," author John Green told the Chicago Sun-Times: "It's hard to imagine what my professional life or my personal life would look like without Amy's influence. Amy taught me that, for writing to work, it has to be a gift for the reader, rather than an attempt to impress them or an attempt to think you're cool or whatever."

Green tweeted yesterday: "As a parent, a writer, a spouse, and a friend, Amy Krouse Rosenthal was what I wanted to be when I grew up. Her last book, the brilliant Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal, ended: 'Bye. I love you. Thank you.' Goodbye, Amy. I love you. Thank you."

In that book, Rosenthal observed: "If it is wonderful, splendid, remarkable--a view outside a window, a lit-up fountain at night, that fig-chorizo appetizer--I am compelled to seek some sort of saturation point, to listen/stare/savor on a loop, to greedily keep at it until I've absorbed, absconded with, and drained it of all its magic.... Invariably, I will have to move on before I have had enough. My first word was 'more.' It may very well be my last."


Image of the Day: Bookwomen Speak

WNBA-Charlotte hosted a public event entitled "Bookwomen Speak: The Centennial Visionary Series," highlighting the contributions of pioneering industry leaders in North and South Carolina. Led by Wanda Jewell, executive director of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, the discussion featured Emoke B'Racz, owner of Malaprop's Bookstore/Café in Asheville; Ina Stern, recently retired associate publisher at Algonquin Books; and Betsy Teter, executive director at Hub City Press, Hub City Writers Project and Hub City Bookshop. The program was part of a year-long celebration of the WNBA and its founding in 1917. Pictured: (l.-r.) Stern, Teter, Jewell and B'Racz.

Cool Ideas of the Day: Kindness Projects

Since Second Star to the Right Children's Bookstore, Denver, Colo., opened in 2014, co-owners Marc and Dea Lavoie "have worked to create a safe and nurturing place for all of their customers." Thus, in response to the tension currently being felt by many people in the U.S., the bookshop chose to celebrate Kindness Month in February "to remind everyone who entered the Tennyson Street store of the value of being kind to one another."

The initiative kicked off February 3 with a "Spread Smiles" event in conjunction with Tennyson Street's First Friday activities. Bookshop staff decorated a wall in the store's Rumpus Room with kind and encouraging sticky notes for visitors to read, take or even add kind wishes and positive thoughts of their own if they wished. Staff and visitors also wrote kind letters to strangers and took one of their own for a little extra encouragement.

For daily story time in February, the theme of kindness was celebrated at multiple events, including a special random of act of kindness reading, a visit from Denver Police Officer Robbie, a puppy adoption event and Senior-Tot story time with a visitor from senior organization A Little Help. The month also included a Snow White Tea Party, where kids learned about etiquette and manners while dining on tea and cookies with the Disney character.

The bookstore noted that "although Kindness Month is now complete, Second Star plans to continue sharing the value of kindness, love and acceptance daily and show their customers of all ages that they are perfect just the way they are."


"Concerned about the divisive 2016 election season and its impact on children," Diane Capriola, owner of Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, Ga., launched the Year of Kindness project, which "uses monthly themed book clubs and events to help kids and their parents explore ideas of community and compassion through literature," Bookselling This Week reported. Monthly topics have included the refugee experience in January, race in February and women's rights and gender equality in March. Upcoming topics are understanding ourselves and others through poetry in April, and veterans and the military in May.

"Kids were recognizing a lot of bullying behavior going on during the election with some of the things that were cropping up on the news, and, suddenly, parents found themselves having to explain what was going on," said store manager Justin Colussy-Estes. "In part, the idea for this project came from this protective sense of how do we ensure that our children are broadminded, inclusive, and understanding, and how do we help them hold on to those values?"

For the program, the bookstore "came up with a schedule for the year by looking at diverse aspects of the community in Decatur that we wanted to highlight and make sure were part of the conversation," he added. "We reached out to authors with new books coming out who might be on tour, or if they were already coming, we asked if they would like their book to be highlighted as part of the Kindness Project." The bookshop also hosts a Kindness Project story time every month.

Bookstore Chalkboard of the Day: Out West Books

"Read a book because reality can be scary these days!" That was the message recently on the sidewalk chalkboard for Out West Books, Grand Junction, Colo., which hashtagged its Facebook post: "#buyindie #indiebookstore #gjco #downtowngj #westslopebestslope."

Personnel Changes at Simon & Schuster Children's

At the Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division:

Effective March 27, Lauren Hoffman is joining the division as v-p, marketing and publicity. She has worked at S&S on a freelance basis overseeing the brand management of Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunters publishing program. Most recently she was v-p, brand marketing, at MK Creative/Media/Marketing, and has worked for St. Martin's Press and HarperCollins. She began her career at S&S as sales coordinator, ad/promo association and associate director, advertising.

Nicole Russo has returned to S&S as senior director of publicity. She was formerly director, publicity and marketing, at Abrams. Before that, she worked eight years at S&S and earlier at Random House children's and at public relations firms.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Bassem Youssef on Colbert's Late Show

Steve Harvey: Theresa Caputo, author of Good Grief: Heal Your Soul, Honor Your Loved Ones, and Learn to Live Again (Atria, $25.99, 9781501139086).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Bassem Youssef, author of Revolution for Dummies: Laughing through the Arab Spring (Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062446893).

Also on the Late Show: Todd Barry, author of Thank You for Coming to Hattiesburg: One Comedian's Tour of Not-Quite-the-Biggest Cities in the World (Gallery, $25.99, 9781501117428).

TV: The Mothers; The Age of Miracles

Warner Bros. has optioned The Mothers by Brit Bennett; Kerry Washington, star of ABC's Scandal, is producing under the Simpson Street Banner. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Bennett will write the script and serve as executive producer for the project. Producing with Washington is Natalie Krinsky, who wrote the YA adaptation of I'll Give You the Sun for Warner Bros. Simpson Street's first production, HBO's Confirmation, starred Washington and earned her Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for her portrayal of Anita Hill.


AMC has acquired the television rights to Karen Thompson Walker's novel The Age of Miracles, which will be developed as a series produced by Shawn Levy's 21 Laps (Netflix's Stranger Things)," Deadline reported. Sinead Daly (The Get Down) will write the script, with Levy and Dan Levine producing. Deadline noted that AMC "has been high on series projects based on literary source material lately. One of the two drama projects currently in contention for a series order is Marti Noxon's Dietland, based on the 2015 novel by Sarai Walker."

Books & Authors

Awards: Publishing Triangle; Yale Younger Poets

The finalists for the Publishing Triangle Awards, honoring the best LGBTQ fiction, nonfiction and poetry published in 2016, as well as the year's best trans and gender-variant literature, have been announced and may be seen here. Winners will be celebrated April 27 at a ceremony in New York City.

In addition, Michael Bronski has been named the 2017 recipient of the Publishing Triangle's $3,000 Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement. He is an author, professor and independent scholar who has been involved in gay liberation as a political organizer, journalist, writer, editor, publisher and theorist since 1969. In 2003, his Pulp Friction: Uncovering the Golden Age of Gay Male Pulps won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Anthology. His 2011 book A Queer History of the United States, which was a finalist for the Publishing Triangle's Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction, won another Lambda Literary Award as well as an American Library Association Stonewall Israel Fishman Award. Bronski serves as the editor for two series of books at Beacon Press--Queer Ideas and Queer Action. His latest book is Considering Hate: Violence, Goodness & Justice in American Culture and Politics, co-authored with Kay Whitlock.

For the first time, the Publishing Triangle will present the $1,500 Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award, which honors an LGBTQ writer who has published at least one book but not more than two. The inaugural honoree is Chinelo Okparanta. The judges selected her as a "bold new voice," a writer who "possesses the rare gift of being able to make the personal universal. Her stories are by turns heartbreaking and healing, challenging us to think about what makes us who and what we are." Okparanta's debut short story collection, Happiness, Like Water, won the Lambda Literary Award for best lesbian fiction. Her first novel, Under the Udala Trees, was a finalist for last year's Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction and also went on to win another Lambda Literary Award.

Also, John Scognamiglio is the winner of the $500 Publishing Triangle's Leadership Award, which recognizes contributions to lesbian and gay literature by those who are not primarily writers, such as editors, agents, librarians, and institutions. Honored for his "long-standing commitment to present the best in LGBTQ literature," Scognamiglio, currently editor-in-chief at Kensington Publishing, has published an assortment of LGBTQ books: commercial fiction, literary fiction, and nonfiction. Scognamiglio began his career at Pocket Books. In 1992, he joined Kensington as an editor, was subsequently promoted to senior editor, editorial director of fiction and, in 2005, to editor-in-chief. Last month Kensington announced that Scognamiglio would be launching his own imprint, John Scognamiglio Books, in 2018.


Duy Doan won the 2017 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition for his manuscript We Play a Game, which will be published by Yale University Press in April 2018. Winners of the series also receive one of the five writing fellowships offered at the James Merrill House in Stonington, Conn.

Series judge Carl Phillips Doan "negotiates the distance between surviving and thriving, and offers here his own form of meditation on, ultimately, childhood, history, culture--who we are, and how--refusing all along to romanticize any of it."

Top Library Recommended Titles for April

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

Anything Is Possible: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout (Random House, $27, 9780812989403). "Strout does not disappoint with her newest work. Her brilliant collection takes up where her novel My Name Is Lucy Barton leaves off. The chapters read like short stories with Lucy Barton as the thread that runs between them. The characters populate Amgash, Illinois and their stories are woven together carefully and wonderfully. No one captures the inner workings of small town characters better than Strout. Written to be read and enjoyed many times, I highly recommend for readers of fine literary fiction." --Mary Vernau, Tyler Public Library, Tyler, Tex.

Beartown: A Novel by Fredrik Backman (Atria, $26.99, 9781501160769). "Backman's most complex novel to date takes place in the small, hockey-crazed village of Beartown. He deftly weaves together the stories of the players, the coaches, the parents, and the fans as Beartown's hockey team chases its dream of winning a championship. Weighty themes are explored. How high a price is too high for success? How deadly is silence? Who can you trust with your secrets? How far will you compromise your beliefs in the name of friendship? There are no easy answers. A great book club choice." --Janet Lockhart, Wake County Public Library, Cary, N.C.

Waking Gods: Book 2 of the Themis Files by Sylvain Neuvel (Del Rey, $28, 9781101886724). "The sequel to Sleeping Giants contains just as much action and page-turning suspense. The story begins four years later and is told through interviews, memos, and news reports relating to the first robot, after Themis, lands in London. Soon Earth is in an uproar and Themis and her crew are once again called upon to make contact. Read the first book before you tackle this one but the good news is that you will have a shorter time than the rest of us waiting for the next installment." --Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin Tex.

Miss You: A Novel by Kate Eberlen (Harper, $25.99, 9780062460226). "Tess and Gus meet when they are both eighteen and on holiday in Italy. Their meeting is one of those instant connections, but they go in different directions. Tess returns home, expecting to go to university, but instead her mother dies leaving her to care for her much younger sister. Gus goes to medical school and must deal with the death of his brother. Tess and Gus' lives momentarily intersect at various points over the years. I enjoyed both of their stories and the anticipation of hoping they would meet again and make a final connection." --Mary Bennett, Carmel Clay Public Library, Carmel, Ind.

The Stars Are Fire: A Novel by Anita Shreve (Knopf, $25.95, 9780385350907). "Grace, a young woman with two small children, lives by the coast in Maine in 1947. Her marriage isn't very happy, but she's dutiful and devoted to her children. After escaping a devastating fire that wiped out her town and nearby forests, Grace has to become braver, stronger, and more resourceful than she's ever had to be before. She manages it, and it's lovely to watch happen, until something unexpected makes her life contract once more. This was deeply engaging and opened a real window on what it would have been like to be a woman in a small town in the 1940s." --Diana Armstrong, Multomah County Library, Portland, Ore.

American War: A Novel by Omar El Akkad (Knopf, $26.95, 9780451493583). "In the not too distant future, the United States is again at war with itself. Fossil fuels, which have decimated the environment, are banned, but the states rich in them refuse to comply and thus break away from the union. Biological warfare, drones as killing machines, and state fighting against state contribute to make this a prescient novel. Multiple narration and differing viewpoints combine to make this an absorbing, shocking read of what could be. A must read that will be discussed by all who read it." --Marika Zemke, Commerce Township Public Library, Commerce, Mich.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385534246). "In the 1920s, a string of unsolved murders rocked the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma. Made rich by oil rights, the Osage were already victimized by unscrupulous businessmen and societal prejudice, but these murders were so egregious, the newly formed FBI was brought in to investigate. Immensely readable, this book brings a shameful part of U.S. history alive and will keep readers thinking long after they have finished the book." --Jenna Persick, Chester County Library, Exton, Pa.

The Shadow Land: A Novel by Elizabeth Kostova (Ballantine, $28, 9780345527868). "Twentysomething Alexandra heads to Bulgaria to teach English and attempt to escape the pain of losing a family member. She ends up searching for a family when she realizes she accidentally kept one of their bags after helping them on her first day in the country. With the help of Bobby, a Bulgarian taxi driver, and many other entrancing characters, the search takes her all over Bulgaria and even back in time as she learns more about the family she is trying to find. Beautifully written and completely enthralling." --Caitlin Loving, Bedford Public Library, Bedford, N.H.

A Twist In Time: A Novel by Julie McElwain (Pegasus, $25.95, 9781681773643). "Time-traveling FBI Agent Kendra Donovan remains stranded in 1858 England. When her confidante and potential lover, Alec, is accused of murdering his former mistress, Kendra must use her modern investigative skills to work through the list of suspects and clear Alec's name. Kendra must also decide whether to stay in the past with Alec or to continue to try to find a way back to the present. If she makes it home, what will be waiting for her? Highly recommended to readers of historical romance, romantic suspense, and time travel." --Glenda Ramsey, Catawba County Library System, Newton, N.C.

Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen (Berkley, $16, 9780399585012). "Hannah is eager to return home to her boyfriend, Matt Stone, with news of her impending work promotion. Hannah's joy quickly turns to terror when she finds Matt missing and the house empty of all evidence of his presence. She begins to feel she is being stalked and receives messages that she is certain are from Matt. Little by little, Hannah descends into darkness as all the truths start to unravel and a different tale emerges. This dark debut is one to devour yet savor at the same time." --Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, N.J.

Book Review

Review: Spoils

Spoils by Brian Van Reet (Lee Boudreaux/Little, Brown, $26 hardcover, 304p., 9780316316163, April 18, 2017)

Add U.S. Army veteran and Bronze Star recipient Brain Van Reet's first novel, Spoils, to the growing list of award-winning Iraq War fiction like Kevin Powers's The Yellow Birds and Phil Klay's Redeployment. Spoils tells the stories of those on both sides of the conflict and captures the boredom and brutality of war.

Van Reet's U.S. combatants are a mix of aimless young volunteers like Cassandra Wigheard, a 19-year-old army Humvee gunner; Sleed, a jumpy, go-along-to-get-along tank crewman; and Humvee driver Crump, "a class clown, C+ high school student whose primary social outlet was World of Warcraft." Among their adversaries ("itinerants, nomads, wanderers; young men banished from their homelands, lost to their parents") is Abu Al-Hool, an emir in the mujahideen, who fought previously in Chechnya and Afghanistan. As Van Reet summarizes in an early Cassandra chapter, war is a young person's game: "the adult fear of death that makes taking the kind of risks you must take to personally win a ground war too unlikely a feat for anyone but a megalomaniac, a closeted suicide, or a teenager."

Spoils, however, is not just the well-described ambience of the sand, heat, rains and stench of war, with its coarse soldier talk and extravagant weaponry--it's also a damn fine story. Weeks after invading Iraq, Cassandra's platoon is ambushed, and she, Crump and their sergeant are captured by Al-Hool's band of jihadists. Sleed's tank troop is too late to the rescue because he and two buddies are secretly looting one of Saddam's palaces. It's all hands on deck to find the MIA prisoners, but Al-Hool's crew has them secreted in wet basement cells outside Fallujah. Smoothly, Van Reet's firefight war transitions to a story of prison survival. Fatigue, torture, isolation, darkness and starvation take their toll. A weathered veteran, Al-Hool takes exception to a rising young emir's egotistic exploitation of the U.S. soldiers' distress with video propaganda scenes. The jihadist infighting and failure of the U.S. military to find them put the prisoners in a hopeless bind.

In every war, heroism is not just for those who win medals. Spoils is the story of those who rise to small acts of valor while no one is looking. When everything's on the line, war turns from boredom, mishap and mismanagement to a story of individual fortitude and moments of compassion. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: Bronze Star recipient Brian Van Reet's impressive first novel tells the story of three combatants caught in the chaos and danger of the first weeks of the Iraq War.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Cole by Tijan
2. Shadow's Seduction (Immortals After Dark Volume 17) by Kresley Cole
3. Throne of Truth by Pepper Winters
4. If You Were Mine by Melanie Harlow
5. The Hot One by Lauren Blakely
6. For His Eyes Only (Masters and Mercenaries Volume 13) by Lexi Blake
7. Treyvon (Kaliszian Book 2) by M.K. Eidem
8. Hold Your Breath Box Set by K.J. Jackson
9. Call Back by Denise Grover Swank
10. This Is Reckless by Kennedy Fox

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