Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Holiday House: Ros Demir Is Not the One by Leyla Brittan

HarperAlley: I Shall Never Fall In Love by Hari Conner

W. W. Norton & Company to Sell and Distribute Yale University Press and Harvard University Press

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine


The Underground Railroad Among Pulitzer Winners

Colson Whitehead's novel The Underground Railroad, which took the National Book Award last fall, is among the 2017 Pulitzer Prize winners, each of whom receives $10,000. This year's books category winners and finalists include:

Fiction: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday), "a smart melding of realism and allegory that combines the violence of slavery and the drama of escape in a myth that speaks to contemporary America." Also nominated in this category were Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett (Little, Brown) and The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan (FSG).

General nonfiction: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond (Crown), "a deeply researched exposé that showed how mass evictions after the 2008 economic crash were less a consequence than a cause of poverty." Also nominated were In a Different Key: The Story of Autism by John Donvan and Caren Zucker (Crown) and The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery by Micki McElya (Harvard University Press).

History: Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson (Pantheon), "a narrative history that sets high standards for scholarly judgment and tenacity of inquiry in seeking the truth about the 1971 Attica prison riots." Also nominated were Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It by Larrie D. Ferreiro (Knopf) and New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America by Wendy Warren (Liveright/Norton).

Biography or autobiography: The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar (Random House), "a first-person elegy for home and father that examines with controlled emotion the past and present of an embattled region." Also nominated were In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi (Metropolitan Books) and When Breath Becomes Air by the late Paul Kalanithi (Random House)

Poetry: Olio by Tyehimba Jess (Wave Books), "a distinctive work that melds performance art with the deeper art of poetry to explore collective memory and challenge contemporary notions of race and identity." Also nominated were Collected Poems: 1950-2012 by the late Adrienne Rich (Norton) and XX by Campbell McGrath (Ecco).

 Treasure Books, Inc.: There's Treasure Inside by Jon Collins-Black

Chicago's Seminary Co-op Considers New Business Structures

The Seminary Co-op Bookstore, Chicago, Ill., is holding a town hall on Thursday to discuss proposals to change the store's structure, including possibly dissolving the co-op, dnainfo wrote.

At the bookstore's January annual meeting, director Jeff Deutsch had suggested the store, which also operates 57th Street Books, consider changing to a nonprofit and convert inactive shareholders to members who would keep discounts but lose voting rights and the ability to receive dividends if the store makes a profit. The co-op has 61,395 shareholders, but usually draws only 60 members to meetings.

At the annual meeting, dnainfo wrote, Deutsch said that sales had risen more than 5% for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the first gain in 10 years. He attributed the rise in part to a nearly doubling of events, to 348 from 188; the introduction of used textbooks; and a greater focus on selling children's books at 57th Street Books. The store had a $205,136 deficit, which was an improvement over the $300,000 deficit Deutsch inherited when he became director in 2014.

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Half Price Books in Seattle Closes

The Half Price Books near the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash., closed on Sunday, the Daily, the school's student newspaper, reported. The store was founded some 30 years ago and was part of the Half Price Books chain, which has more than 120 locations across the country.

In announcing the closing, the store wrote in part, "We have loyal customers in the University District, but unfortunately, the customer traffic hasn't been high enough to allow us to stay, so we are focusing our resources on our six other Seattle-area locations."

The paper speculated that among reasons for the closure could be "the new upzone legislation," which should make land values in the university district increase "in the near future."

Another Half Price Books, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, closed in 2013.

Whelan Stepping Down as Eason Managing Director

Conor Whelan
Liam Hanley

Conor Whelan is stepping down at the end of June from his position as managing director of Irish bookstore chain Eason, the Bookseller reported, He will be succeeded by Liam Hanly, currently Eason group finance, logistics and IT director. Whelan, who has been Eason managing director since 2009, said he felt "confident the business is set up for continued success with both Liam at the helm and a new plan in place." Eason chairman James Osborne said Whelan "has brought huge energy and commitment to the business."

Osborne added that Hanly, who joined Eason in 2010 and has previously held senior management positions in several Irish retail and wholesale businesses, "brings a wealth of retail knowledge and experience of the business."

Obituary Note: Patricia C. McKissack

Patricia McKissack in 2007

Patricia C. McKissack, who with her late husband, Fredrick McKissack, published more than 100 children's books, died on April 7, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. She was 72.

The McKissacks focused on African-American history, folklore and stories and won many awards, including a Newbery Honor and nine Coretta Scott King Author and Honor awards. In 2014, they received the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Patricia McKissack was probably best known for The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural, which won a Newbery Honor and the King Author Award in 1993. The same year, she and her husband won a King Honor for Sojourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman?

Among other titles, her first picture book, Flossie and the Fox, has been widely translated, and another picture book, Stitchin' and Pullin': A Gee's Bend Quilt, was performed on the stage.

Her latest book, Let's Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out! , a collection of games, songs and stories from African-American childhoods and illustrated by Brian Pinkney, was published in January by Schwartz & Wade.

Her son Fredrick McKissack Jr. told the Post-Dispatch that his mother had deeply missed her husband, who died four years ago. They were "best friends and partners," he said. "She tried to keep her spirits up and was coming up with ideas for new books, but she wasn't the same."

His parents had a "missionary zeal" to write about African-American characters "where there hadn't been any before," he continued. "Not all Southern characters were sharecroppers. They loved that [through their books] black kids would get a part of history they hadn't learned."


Image of the Day: The Most Beautiful Prince

Mayte Garcia, Prince's first wife, appeared at Books & Books in Miami, Fla., on Saturday to promote her memoir, The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince (Hachette). More than 150 fans waited to meet Garcia and connect to their beloved Prince (this month marks the one-year anniversary of the musician's death). Pictured: (l.-r.) Carla Hill (who introduced Mayte), Janice Garcia (Mayte's sister), their rescue puppy Ziggy, and Mayte Garcia.

Sign of Spring: Open Indie Bookshop Doors

Some people may look for robins, but for booklovers one of the first signs of spring is a bookshop's open front door. We spotted a couple of examples over the weekend in Facebook posts from indies located "up north":

Books & Mortar, Grand Rapids, Mich.: "It's a sunny, door open kind of Sunday #booksandmortar #easthillsgr #uptowngr #grbookstore #puremichigan #spring."

Quimby's Bookstore, New York City: "I love it when it's warm enough to have the door propped open. Fresh air! #quimbysbookstorenyc #freshair #springsunday #independentbookstore #zinestore #brooklynbookstore."

Cool Idea of the Day: 'Pawternity Leave'

Shelf Awareness staffer Fergus

Beginning this year, HarperCollins Publishers India will be granting "pawternity leave" to employees who are adopting a pet. Huffington Post India reported that staff "will be entitled to a week's--or 5 working days'--paid leave if they have just adopted a cat, dog or other type of pet they fancy.... In addition to pawternity leave, HCI will allow employees who find it difficult to leave their pets at home to bring them to office, which is based in Noida. The animals will be kept in a designated area for the day."

"At HarperCollins we want the very best of work-life balance for our colleagues, and that includes being mindful about their family needs," said HCI CEO Ananth Padmanabhan. "Pet children need as much attention [as human children], if not more. We don't want colleagues to worry about the number of leaves they have before deciding to start a family."

Personnel Changes at Open Road Integrated Media

At Open Road Integrated Media:

Renata Sweeney has been promoted to associate marketing manager.

Greta Shull has been promoted to marketing associate. 

Paola Crespo has been promoted to marketing associate.

Daniel O'Connor has been promoted to marketing coordinator. 

Olivia Mason has been hired as a new marketing assistant.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kelly Rowland on CBS This Morning

CBS This Morning: Kelly Rowland, co-author of Whoa, Baby!: A Guide for New Moms Who Feel Overwhelmed and Freaked Out (and Wonder What the #*$& Just Happened) (Da Capo, $25, 9780738219424).

TV: The Miniaturist

Anya Taylor-Joy, Romola Garai and Alex Hassell will star in BBC One and Masterpiece's three-part series The Miniaturist, based on the novel by Jessie Burton. Deadline reported that the cast for the project, which is now filming in Holland and the U.K., also includes Paapa Essiedu (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Hayley Squires (I, Daniel Blake) and Emily Berrington (Humans).

Directed by Guillem Morales and written by John Brownlow, the miniseries is produced by Gethin Scourfield, with executive producers Kate Sinclair and George Faber for the Forge, Elizabeth Kilgarriff for the BBC and Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece.

"From the moment I read The Miniaturist in manuscript, I knew in my gut it was something truly unique--an exquisite mix of another world with the resonances of our own, not to mention characters to die for," said Sinclair.

"I couldn't be happier to tell this amazing and atmospheric story with such a wonderful group of people," said Taylor-Joy. "I immediately fell in love with Nella's resilience and am so looking forward to telling her story and helping to bring this magical book to life."

Burton added: "This is an adventure for my book that I never dreamed possible and I'm so happy that The Miniaturist is in such capable and creative hands. The assembled cast is perfect to the vision I had in my mind's eye in every way and I know they'll make magic."

Books & Authors

Awards: Rathbones Folio Shortlist

Finalists have been named for the £20,000 (about $24,750) Rathbones Folio Prize, which celebrates "the best literature of our time, regardless of form." The winner will be announced May 24. This year's shortlisted titles, evenly split between fiction and nonfiction, are:  

The Vanishing Man by Laura Cumming
The Return by Hisham Matar
This Census-Taker by China Miéville
The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan
The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
Golden Hill by Francis Spufford
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien
Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War by Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami

Book Review

Review: The Mighty Franks

The Mighty Franks: A Memoir by Michael Frank (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26 hardcover, 320p., 9780374210120, May 16, 2017)

" 'My feeling for Mike is something out of the ordinary,' I overhear my aunt say to my mother one day when I am eight years old... 'I wish he were mine.' "

Michael Frank comes from an especially close-knit family: his mother's brother married his father's sister. He is devoted to his doubly related Aunt Hankie and Uncle Irving. The elder couple is childless, and so they "share" the younger couple's three sons, of whom Mike is the eldest. The two households are neighbors in Laurel Canyon, in the Hollywood Hills. Both grandmothers live together at the foot of the canyon. It is all very cozy: Aunt Hankie calls them "the larky sevensome," or "the Mighty Franks."

And Mike is the luckiest, larkiest one of all, because he is Aunt Hank's pet. They spend their free time together. She takes him antiquing, and sets out to teach him everything she knows. Hank (a nickname for Harriet) and Irving are successful Hollywood screenwriters, and they have the finest taste in architecture, art, literature, movies, music (nothing after Brahms) and manners. Hank has an overwhelming personality and strong opinions, and when she says that Mike has the eye, the artistic eye for the creative pursuits she prizes above all, he is naturally proud--and motivated.

The Mighty Franks is Michael Frank's memoir of the relationship he shared with his forceful aunt. While he is favored, his two younger brothers are mostly ignored (Hank sniffs that one has the makings of a scientist, the other, an athlete). He is the modelling clay she plays with, until he begins to awaken to a world larger than Aunt Hank, and forms his own opinions and tastes. She sees this as rebellion, ingratitude or worse. As Mike grows up, Hank seems to break down and the Mighty Franks begin to fissure.

Frank moves between the child's perspective of events as they unfold and a place of reflection. In writing this story, he seeks a better understanding of his aunt, the imperfect workings of his extended family and his own relationships within and outside it. Hank is firm about hierarchies: the Renaissance over the Middle Ages, Faulkner over Hemingway, Fred over Ginger, early Fellini over late. Similarly: Hank over her younger brother, both of them over their spouses, Mike over his brothers. And always Hank first.

The Mighty Franks is an immediate, gut-wrenching account of events that are often painful for young Mike. While not an easy story to take in, Frank's ruminations offer some necessary distance. His tone is serious and his prose occasionally verbose, but the saga of this flawed family is deeply involving. Any hint of sensationalism is more than balanced by the psychological insights Frank eventually achieves. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: This memoir of family wounds and favoritism charts dark territory as the author searches for understanding.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Say I'm Yours by Corinne Michaels
2. Begging for Bad Boys by Various
3. Fear the Beard (The Dixie Warden Rejects MC Book 2) by Lani Lynn Vale
4. The Arrangement 23 by H.M. Ward
5. President Elect (A Luke Stone Thriller Book 5) by Jack Mars
6. Miami Jones Florida Mystery Series Box Set by A.J. Stewart
7. Tormentor Mine by Anna Zaires and Dima Zales
8. Navigator: The Complete Series by SD Tanner
9. Dirty Filthy Rich Men by Laurelin Paige
10. Dark Fates by Various

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