Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Algonquin Young Readers: the Beautiful Game by Yamile Saied Méndez

Berkley Books: Books that will sweep you off your feet! Enter Giveaway!

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


Plans for Indie Bookstore Day 2017

With April 29 only a little over six weeks away, plans for the third annual Independent Bookstore Day are solidifying. Below is a selection of what indies around the country have in store for IBD 2017.

In Seattle, Wash., independent bookstores will once again present the Indie Bookstore Challenge. Customers who visit all 17 participating stores on April 29 and get their "passport" stamped as proof will receive 25% off at those stores for a year. In 2015, 42 people completed the challenge; in 2016 there were 120 winners. The participating stores are expecting that number to increase yet again this year. For those lacking the time or stamina to visit nearly 20 stores in a single day, any customer who gets at least three stamps will be entered to win store gift cards. The participating stores include Eagle Harbor Book Co., Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle Mystery Bookshop, University Book Store. A full list of participating stores and more information about Seattle Bookstore Day can be found here.

Five indie booksellers in Boston, Mass., will be running their own version of the indie bookstore challenge on IBD. Shoppers can pick up an IBD passport at Brookline Booksmith, Harvard Book Store, Papercuts J.P., Porter Square Books or Trident Booksellers & Cafe, and those who collect stamps from all five locations will receive $5 off a $25 purchase at each bookstore, valid until May 31.

Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, N.Y., will celebrate IBD at both of its locations. The stores will sell exclusive IBD items and run children's activities in partnership with Reading Without Walls. Children's authors and illustrators will be on hand to help with activities, give book recommendations, and more. At the Fort Greene store, there will be a "literary celebrity photo booth," with authors dropping by at different times to take picture with customers, while at the Prospect Lefferts Gardens store there will be a literary cocktail party, inspired by the IBD-exclusive book A Literary Cocktail Party, with authors as guest bartenders.

At Book Soup in West Hollywood, Calif., the IBD main event will be a discussion and signing with Kelly Osbourne. Her new memoir, There Is No F*cking Secret: Letters from a Badass Bitch (Putnam), is framed as a series of letters to different people and places in her life and discusses what it was like growing up as the middle child of Ozzy Osbourne.

And finally, Black Dog & Leventhal is publishing an updated paperback edition of Ron Rice's My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop in time for IBD. Nine new essays have been added to those originally published in 2012. Among them are tributes to Rainy Day Books in Fairway, Kan., by John Hart; R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Conn., by Bob Shea; Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck and Millerton, N.Y., by Jo Ann Beard; and Munro's Books in Victoria, British Columbia, by Steven Price. Hachette is offering an event kit and has created a Facebook page for My Bookstore. The book will be out on April 11. --Alex Mutter

Blackstone Publishing: Rogue Community College: A Liberty House Novel by David R Slayton

Amazon to Begin Collecting Sales Tax in Four States

In April, Amazon begins collecting sales tax on purchases by customers in Hawaii, Idaho, Maine and New Mexico, the Associated Press reported, adding, "The online retailer has been working in recent months to reach agreements in a handful of remaining states where it doesn't collect sales taxes."

The New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department said the monies, estimated to be "in the tens of millions of dollars," will go to the state's general fund and to the cities where purchases were made.

George Gervais of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development emphasized that the move helps create more of an equal playing field and said the increase in tax revenue will allow the state to reduce income taxes.

Marina Warner Elected First Female RSL President

Marina Warner

The British Royal Society of Literature has elected author Marina Warner as its first female president. She succeeds Colin Thubron and will be president-elect until the election is ratified at the Society's annual general meeting of Fellows on June 19. Warner's books include Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale; Stranger Magic: Charmed States & the Arabian Nights; Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth & the Cult of the Virgin Mary; and Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism.

Lisa Appignanesi, chair of the RSL, said: "It is both an honor and a delight to have the great Marina Warner take on the mantle of the RSL Presidency. She is a woman of resonant imagination and intelligence, as well as a writer of the highest distinction. I know she will guide the RSL to new heights as we move towards our bicentenary in 2020."

Warner commented: "Literature has been my life--reading, writing, listening. I believe it matters to all of us, as individuals and in our relations with one another, now and stretching back into the past.... These are strange, uneasy times. Ursula Le Guin is right when she says, 'Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.' The RSL has been committed ever since it was founded in 1820 to furthering the making, reading, discussion and enjoyment of literature in all its variety. I am proud--and touched--to become the first woman to be entrusted with the presidency. Literature matters, now more than ever."

Obituary Notes: George Braziller; Robert B. Silvers

George Braziller

George Braziller, whose eponymous publishing house "introduced Americans to groundbreaking novelists, poets and new voices from abroad, including those of Jean-Paul Sartre and Orhan Pamuk, and the works of 20th-century and classical artists in fine reprints," died March 16, the New York Times reported. He was 101.

Braziller founded George Braziller Inc., which continues today and is distributed by Norton, in 1955. Many titles he published were imports and of the highest quality, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry and short stories. His art books were often "limited editions, with high-quality prints to achieve colors and shades that, critics said, rivaled original plates," the Times wrote. "The subjects included medieval illuminated manuscripts of the 14th and 15th centuries; One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, the celebrated 19th-century landscape prints of the Japanese artist Hiroshige, and works by Joan Miró and Marc Chagall."

In 1983, he republished Henri Matisse's 1947 book, Jazz, consisting of 20 color plates and 68 pages of text, for which "it was very important that we match the quality of the original publication," Braziller wrote in his 2015 memoir, Encounters: My Life in Publishing.

Among other major titles he published were a full-color facsimile edition of The Hours of Catherine of Cleves, a 15th-century illuminated manuscript owned by the Morgan Library, and a facsimile edition of William Caxton's 1480 translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses.

In the early 1940s, Braziller founded the Book Find Club, selling remainders to subscribers. He also founded the Seven Arts Book Society. Both were sold in the 1960s to Time Inc.


Robert Silvers

Robert B. Silvers, a founding editor of the New York Review of Books, "which under his editorship became one of the premier intellectual journals in the United States," died March 20, the New York Times reported. He was 87. Although he shared editorial duties with Barbara Epstein until her death in 2006, "it was Mr. Silvers who came to embody the Review's mystique, despite, or perhaps because of, his insistence on remaining a behind-the-scenes presence, loath to grant interviews or make public appearances."

"He was one of those rare editors who is also one's ideal reader," said Ian Buruma. "He was not only sympathetic, but you knew that he would get it, and not try to rewrite because he really wanted to be a writer. He was unusual in being interested in so many things, in a profound way--a polymath who knew a tremendous amount about many subjects."

Silvers joined the editorial board of the Paris Review in 1954 and became its Paris editor in 1956, the NYRB wrote. He was an associate editor at Harper's from 1959 until 1963, when the "idea of creating a new type of magazine--in which the most interesting minds of our time would discuss current issues and books in depth--was conceived by Barbara Epstein, Jason Epstein, Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Hardwick and Robert Silvers." In February 1963, the New York Review of Books published its first issue.

Among his many honors, Silvers and co-editor Epstein were recognized by the National Book Foundation with the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community in 2006. In 2012, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama.

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
A Forty Year Kiss
by Nickolas Butler
GLOW: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler is a passionate, emotionally complex love story that probes tender places within the heart and soul. When 60-somethings Charlie and Vivian--married then divorced in their 20s--reunite after four decades, they are swept up by the very best of what their romantic relationship once offered. "Anyone who has ever thought about what might have been will find this book fascinating," says Shana Drehs, senior editorial director at Sourcebooks Landmark. "The story is a brilliant exploration of a second chance at love, always realistic but never saccharine." As Charlie and Vivian build a bridge from past to present, their enduring love paving over potholes, Butler (Shotgun Lovesongs) raises questions about how life changes people--or does it?--and delivers another heartening, unforgettable novel. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

(Sourcebooks Landmark, $27.99 Hardcover, 9781464221248, 
February 4, 2025)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


'Meet the New Owners of Village Books'

Kelly Evert, Paul Hanson and Sarah Hutton, the new owners of Village Books, Bellingham, Wash., took the reins from founders Chuck and Dee Robinson in January. They recently sat down with the Bellingham Business Journal for a q&a. Among our favorite responses:

Sarah Hutton, Dee and Chuck Robinson, Kelly Evert, Paul Hanson.

What are some of the differences between working at a corporate bookstore and working at an independent bookstore?
Hutton: I think the biggest difference that struck me when I started working here is that you have full control over what you have in the store in terms of product, in terms of advertising, or in terms of events you offer, those are all things that are chosen at the store level.... I think that's one of the biggest changes between here and the corporate life is when somebody comes to us with an idea or a proposal or a question, we can say yes.

So is it at all daunting to step into this role, or do you think you can handle it?
Evert: Yes and yes.

Hutton: Oh we can handle it, but it is daunting.

Hanson: Fortunately for the past few years we’ve been running the day to day operations. And in fact for the past five years the five of us have been meeting weekly to talk about daily operations, and also the big picture direction of the store.

What do you think Chuck and Dee's legacy is?
Hanson: It's huge. The community building that they have been doing since they hit town 36 years ago cannot be measured. Or underestimated. There are so many institutions here that they have been founding board members of, or instrumental in forming. City Club, Sustainable Connections, the Food Co-op, Whatcom Reads, the Whatcom Community College Foundation. There's not too many boards in the city of Bellingham that at least one of them hasn't served on.

Hutton: And there's also their part in the larger bookselling community. They've taught bookselling school.

Hanson: I was just remembering one of the days after I started here when Chuck and I were driving down the road, going from one meeting to the other and it seemed like every other person we passed, he said oh, they used to work at Village Books, they used to work at Village Books. Everybody he introduced me to.

Hutton: Folks have had their wedding pictures taken inside the store, and weddings here.

Evert: We had our wedding here.

Hanson: We got married on the green behind the store. The reception upstairs. Joan, one of the booksellers here, married us.

Bookstore Chalkboard of the Day: Drake--The Bookshop

U.K. bookseller Drake--The Bookshop in Stockton-on-Tees showcased its two-sided sidewalk chalkboard on Facebook, posting: "More blackboard to write on! I just need to learn how to write nicely now! I think I like our 'newest' tag line."

Great Group Reads Sought

The organizers of National Reading Group Month, sponsored by the Women's National Book Association, have called for publishers to submit titles for inclusion in the 2017 Great Group Reads program. The program, currently in its ninth year, provides book clubs, reading groups, libraries and bookstores with a valuable resource for book selections and recommendations.

The GGR Selection Committee is looking for literary fiction and memoirs published in the U.S. between October 1, 2016, and September 30, 2017, with a bent toward titles from small presses and midlist releases from larger houses that may have gone overlooked. The committee's reading period will stretch from April through July. Final selections will be made in August, with the formal announcement coming in September.

Titles should be submitted to Great Group Reads co-manager Kristen Knox by April 21, and submissions are limited to two per publisher or imprint.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Google Heads on CBS This Morning

CBS This Morning: Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg, authors of How Google Works (Grand Central, $18.99, 9781455582327).

Good Morning America: Bruce Feiler, author of The First Love Story: Adam, Eve, and Us (Penguin Press, $28, 9781594206818). He is also on the View today.

Dr. Oz: Melissa Hartwig, author of The Whole30 Cookbook: 150 Delicious and Totally Compliant Recipes to Help You Succeed with the Whole30 and Beyond (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780544854413).

Movies: The Secret Scripture Trailer

A trailer is available for The Secret Scripture, the film adaptation of Sebastian Barry's 2008 novel that "had its world premiere during the 2016 Toronto Film Festival" and will be released May 19, Indiewire reported. Directed by Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father), the movie stars Vanessa Redgrave, Rooney Mara, Jack Reynor, Theo James, Eric Bana, Susan Lynch, Aidan Turner, Adrian Dunbar, Aisling O'Sullivan, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, and Pauline McLynn.

Books & Authors

Awards: Golden Kite; CILIP Carnegie, Kate Greenaway

Winners of the 2017 Golden Kite Awards, presented to children's book authors and artists by their peers and sponsored by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, are:

YA: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (Philomel Books)
Middle grade: The Haunting of Falcon House by Eugene Yelchin (Holt)
Nonfiction: We Will Not Be Silent by Russell Freedman (Clarion)
Picture book illustration: The Music in George's Head, illustrated by Stacy Innerst (Calkins Creek)
Picture book text: The Christmas Boot by Lisa Wheeler (Dial)

Honor Books
YA: In-Between Days by Vikki Wakefield (S&S)
Middle grade: Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science by Jeannine Atkins (Atheneum)
Nonfiction: A Girl Called Vincent by Krystyna Poray Goddu (Chicago Review Press)
Picture book illustration: Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis, illustrated by E.B. Lewis (Nancy Paulsen Books)
Picture book text: Time for Earth School, Dewey Dew by Leslie Staub (Boyds Mills Press)

Sid Fleischman Humor Award: Welcome to Wonderland: Home Sweet Motel by Chris Grabenstein (Random House)


The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals has released shortlists for the 2017 Carnegie Medal (author of a book for children and young people) and the Kate Greenaway Medal (illustrator of a book for children and young people), which are judged by a panel of expert librarians. Winners will each receive £500 (about $620) worth of books to donate to their local library, a golden medal and a £5,000 (about $6,190) Colin Mears Award cash prize. Winners will be announced June 19.

Howard Norman: A Noir Sensibility

Howard Norman, winner of the Lannan Award for fiction and a two-time National Book Award nominee, is the author of The Bird Artist, The Museum Guard, The Haunting of L, What Is Left the Daughter, Next Life Might Be Kinder and the memoir I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place, among others. He divides his time between East Calais, Vt., and Washington, D.C.

His latest novel, My Darling Detective (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780544236103, March 28, 2017), is set in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Norman mixes a present-day mystery (the desecration of a Robert Capa photograph) with one from the past (two murders during a 1945 outbreak of anti-Semitism). While Jacob Rigolet and his police detective fiancée, Martha Crauchet, attempt to unravel both cases--along with the further mystery of Jacob's father--they unwind by listening to episodes of Detective Levy Detects on the radio. The serial is set right after World War II, and lends a noir-ish atmosphere to Norman's beguiling story.

What attracts you to noir?

I like to write characters who, given the right conditions, inadvertently or willfully cross a palpable moral line. Detective Levy, in the radio program Detective Levy Detects, which weaves through My Darling Detective, uses mobsters from an earlier time to solve certain crimes. This time-travel device has allowed me to fold noir of the past into noir of the present.

In classic noir films, there is a kind of floating anxiety, but it can emotionally register very deeply--as Graham Greene said, "even the soul is shadowed down a street." In this new novel, the noirish atmosphere is an intensifying element to the plot--and to the two parallel love stories at the center.

There's some great darkly witty dialogue in Detective Levy Detects. For you, does the present not lend itself to noir wit? Or even to noir?

I sometimes feel our present political atmosphere almost requires a deeper understanding of noir. Of melancholy and anxiousness and the almost desperate need to find some sense of calm deep within one's own life. I didn't want the dialogue between my narrator, Jacob, and his darling detective-fiancée, Martha, to mimic the noir repartee of Detective Levy Detects. However, I did very much want them to be influenced--intellectually and erotically--by the radio. I hope a reader feels that this is true.

In your earlier novel What Is Left the Daughter, radio plays an important part. In this new novel, radio is central. What is the attraction of radios?

My favorite subject! I remember asking my mother how it was to see television for the first time, and she said, "Jack Benny was handsomer on the radio." In My Darling Detective, the idea was quite simple. I wanted the crime drama Detective Levy Detects to provide episodes of intrigue, romance and menace that to some extent retrospectively mirror what Jacob and Martha are experiencing in their contemporary daily lives. I love a line from Virginia Woolf: "Let us turn on the radio and listen to the past."

You use a real photograph--Robert Capa's Death on a Leipzig Balcony--to begin your story. Tell us about that.

I have an original edition of the photograph on my wall. To me it depicts the ambushing pathos of World War II--an American infantryman just shot by a young German sniper in the city of Leipzig. It was in Life magazine near the end of the war. The photograph haunts me deeply. On the first page of My Darling Detective, Jacob's librarian mother attends an auction where she throws a vial of black ink at the photograph.

There was a glass frame so the photograph was not in fact destroyed; yet in one sense the rest of the novel keeps cleaning the glass so that the photograph comes into view with vivid immediacy. That photograph has an enormous effect on many of the characters in My Darling Detective.

You write strong female characters, and the detective in your novel is a woman, which turns noir conventions around (and Jacob seems content to follow Martha's lead).

The act of narrating a story is hardly a passive act, so in this sense, to me Jacob is not passive, but like certain film noir characters, finds himself needing other people--in this case, especially Det. Martha Crauchet--to organize his emotions for him. I worked hard on their relationship. Following her "lead" makes sense, because it is in fact a sequence of forensic leads that Martha follows in order to reveal Jacob's own very complicated past. She directly says to him that she wants to know the man she is marrying. So Martha is a detective in the classic sense, but also because she is solving the mystery of her future husband's life. Jacob comes to knowledge of himself by following his fiancée's leads--fortunate man. He'd be plain stupid not to.

Nova Scotia is central to your literary imagination, particularly Halifax, and the l940s are a time period you revisit. What is compelling about that period for you?

Alistair Macleod said that Halifax combined European sadness with Canadian maritime sadness. For me, Halifax sponsors a kind of displacement of the imagination; I frequently am in Halifax, where I research in the archives, walk the streets, just think about the city while walking through it. I keep notebooks. Then I return to Vermont and write a novel set in Halifax. That is what I mean by displacement of the imagination.

For far too many reasons to relate here, Nova Scotia during World War II is especially compelling. Halifax's immigrant history, wharf, streets, architecture, the coastal fog, the sea--all of it provides, emotionally speaking, literarily speaking, a symphonic sense of the world for me. The novel I am working on now, Ghost First Person, is in fact set in my Vermont farmhouse, but guess what? One character was born in Halifax. --Marilyn Dahl

Book Review

Review: Locking Up Our Own

Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman Jr. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27 hardcover, 320p., 9780374189976, April 18, 2017)

Yale Law Professor James Forman Jr. uses comprehensive research, his personal experience as a public defender in Washington, D.C., and an open mind to illustrate how the crisis of mass incarceration in the United States was constructed incrementally over a 40-year period, examining in particular the role that African Americans unwittingly played in that effort, which has made the U.S. the world's largest jailer.

Using examples from D.C.'s legislation and law enforcement history, Forman, a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, demonstrates that decisions at the state and city level are the bricks and mortar of the U.S. prison situation. Part One of Locking Up Our Own looks at the origins of mass incarceration: the war on drugs, gun control and the rise of African Americans in politics and law enforcement.

Despite some successful state-level efforts in the 1970s to decriminalize marijuana, black lawmakers and communities railed against the movement. They wanted to eradicate the drug's use from their ranks, viewing it as debilitating, harmful and, worst of all, a gateway to heroin. Forman quotes Atlanta's first black mayor, Maynard Jackson: "We cannot change anything when we do not have weapons in hand--not guns and knives--but your brains and discipline." In this area, as in others Forman covers, the logic behind lawmakers' and voters' choices to be tough on crime is an effort to help the African American communities. However, they result in different consequences altogether, which Forman goes on to examine in the second half of his book.

When black leaders in D.C. fought for and convinced the people that guns should be illegal, their motivation was to stop the hemorrhaging of black lives through black-on-black crime. Instead, guns flowed in from other states, and "stop and search" tactics resulted. Stop and search efforts uncovered few gun violations but an overwhelming number of minor drug offenses, with the potential to destroy people's livelihoods. Through these and other eye-opening examples, Forman enlightens readers about not only African Americans' contributions to the mass incarceration epidemic but also how well-meaning choices end up having a detrimental effect on the people they were most intended to protect.

Forman's comprehensive research and analysis, as well as his compassion and personal experiences, make Locking Up Our Own a powerfully important and accessible glimpse at the U.S.'s punitive criminal justice system. His observation that the country always makes room in prisons, but can't do the same in drug treatment centers, is telling of misplaced priorities. Furthermore, he recognizes that repetitive efforts to treat root problems such as education, income inequality, employment and health care rarely, if ever, take precedence over punishment. Forman's voice is one of logic and reason, and in his epilogue it is also one of benevolence: "What if we strove for compassion, for mercy, for forgiveness?" The U.S. has always struggled for justice of various kinds, and now Forman offers a strong case for the world's largest jailer to consider humanity. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Shelf Talker: A former public defender analyzes the role African Americans play in the country's mass incarceration epidemic and how hindsight reveals their good intentions to be highly detrimental. 

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Irresistible in Love (The Maverick Billionaires Volume 4) by Bella Andre and Jennifer Skully
2. The Lady by His Side (Cynsters Next Generation Novels Book 4) by Stephanie Laurens
3. Black Obsidian by Victoria Quinn
4. Cole by Tijan
5. The Play Mate by Kendall Ryan
6. If You Were Mine by Melanie Harlow
7. When a Lioness Pounces by Eve Langlais
8. The Billionaire and the Virgin by Bella Love-Wins
9. Single Dad's Bride by Melinda Minx

[Many thanks to!]

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