Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 17, 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

Quotation of the Day

'Local Bookstores Are Doing Just Fine, Thanks'

"In his May 8 column 'Hey Walmart, Amazon is eating your lunch,' Alex Beam states that Amazon 'put almost every local bookstore out of business'--italics his. This will come as quite a surprise to the more than 20 excellent independent bookstores in the metro Boston area, many of which have been doing healthy business for years. While it is true that Amazon has been a challenge to all local brick-and-mortar retailers, the bookstores that have survived the chains, recessions, and online shopping are having a resurgence.

"New bookstores have opened all around New England. Belmont Center will see a bookstore opening within the next few weeks. The national data show a 30% increase in independent bookstores since 2009, with a total of 2,315 at the end of the year. Further, those stores report an average sales increase of 5%.

"Our local independent bookstores continue to provide their communities with author events (at which Beam has appeared), book clubs, story times, and gathering places to discover new writers and ideas. These are things that are unique to independent bookstores that Amazon can never replicate. Let's put an end to the narrative that independent bookstores are closing, and let's celebrate their value to our cities and towns."

--Steve Fischer, executive director, the New England Independent Booksellers Association, in a letter to the editor of the Boston Globe entitled "Hey Alex Beam, local bookstores are doing just fine, thanks."

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!


Michael Bamberger Wins Inaugural ABA Joyce Meskis Free Speech Award

Joyce Meskis
Michael Bamberger

The American Booksellers Association has created the Joyce Meskis Free Speech Award to honor "those who have provided extraordinary service in defense of the First Amendment rights of booksellers and their customers," named after the longtime owner of the Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colo., who is retiring this year.

The first honoree of the new award is Michael A. Bamberger, a senior partner in the New York office of the law firm Dentons and, since 1977, general counsel of Media Coalition, which defends the First Amendment rights of businesses that produce and distribute books, magazines, movies, videos, recordings and video games. He will be presented the award during the Celebration of Bookselling and Authors Awards on May 31 at BookExpo in New York City.

ABA CEO Oren Teicher commented: "It is entirely appropriate that the award should be named after Joyce who has spent her whole career fighting for free speech." Click here to see a video of Meskis discussing some of her battles, including her victory in suppressing a search warrant seeking information about the books purchased by one of her customers.

Meskis called Bamberger "a true and steady protector of the First Amendment, a stalwart colleague and wise counselor to booksellers across the nation in his many years of service to the ABA, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and their member stores."

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

New Owner of Calif. Used Bookstore to Increase New Book Selection

Glen Sewell has bought Winston Smith Books, Auburn, Calif., northeast of Sacramento, the Auburn Journal wrote, fulfilling the insurance agent's "dream of being surrounded by books and book lovers." In fact, he was able to buy the bookstore only after convincing the previous owner that unlike other suitors, he wouldn't shut down the store and sell off its inventory.

"Bookstores are not dead," Sewell told the paper. "There are a lot of people who prefer books to technology. I'm one of them."

The mostly used bookstore, which has "turned a small profit over the years," has some 40,000 volumes and a small new books section, which Sewell plans to expand, he said. Sewell and his wife, Melanie, are considering adding several things to draw more customers: book signings, poetry and fiction readings and hosting book clubs.

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

Dover Launches Ixia Press

Dover Publications is launching Ixia Press, its first new imprint in 10 years and its first foray into original narrative frontlist. Dover is best known for its Thrift Editions of classic literature and Creative Haven adult coloring titles.

Named after the South African flower that represents happiness, Ixia Press will publish, Dover said, "inspiring books on leadership, spirituality, business and wellness that foster a spirit of personal and professional growth and exploration." The list will consist of approximately 10 original books a year and 15 reprints. Nora Rawn has been named acquisitions editor for Ixia Press.

Ixia's first two titles, originals appearing in November, are What If It Does Work Out?: How a Side Hustle Can Change Your Life by Susie Moore, a business and life coach, and A Year in Hot Yoga: Daily Meditations for On and Off the Mat by Scott Ginsberg, a community leader at Yoga Tribe Brooklyn.

Winter 2018's lead title, to be published in February, is The Way of Being Lost: A Road Map to Your Truest Self by Victoria Price, daughter of actor Vincent Price, who discusses "the ways our parents can inspire us, as well as the need for us to find our own path beyond their influence."

In January, Ixia will publish Power Love: Use Your Brain to Be Your Best Self and Create Your Ideal Relationship by Steven Stosny, Ph.D., author of Love Without Hurt and the founder of CompassionPower.

Dover publisher Jennifer Feldman commented, "Personal and professional growth are a part of our everyday lives, and presenting voices that contribute in a meaningful way to our everyday conversations is something Ixia Press strives for. This is just the beginning of an evolving frontlist for Dover, and Ixia Press is the first step of moving into a new direction."

Obituary Note: Hugh Thomas

Hugh Thomas, the British historian and associate of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher "whose magisterial work chronicled great upheaval in the Hispanic world, from Spain's imperial expansion to its civil war," died May 6, the New York Times reported. He was 85. Although Thomas published numerous books, including novels, "it was his vast explorations of Spain on which his reputation was built, beginning with The Spanish Civil War in 1961."

His many titles include Conquest: Cortes, Montezuma and the Fall of Old Mexico; The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440-1870; Cuba: A History; and Golden Age: The Spanish Empire of Charles V.

In 2011, when Thomas published The Golden Empire, the second of three volumes (Rivers of Gold, World Without End) chronicling the era from the first voyage of Columbus until the reign of King Philip II in the late 16th century, Charles C. Mann described the work in the New York Times Book Review as belonging to "the genre of Nobody Does This Anymore... For better or for worse, history of the type critics dismiss as 'old-fashioned': a story in which the narrative engines are human character and action rather than the impersonal forces of economics, culture and the environment. This is a history of the conquerors, rather than the conquered."


Image of the Day: Bridget's Bookish Bridesmaids!

Look who eloped on Independent Bookstore Day! She's one of our favorite people, Bridget Kinsella, now Bridget Kinsella Tiernan, who married Liam Tiernan, an import from Belfast who has a penchant for business and singing ballads. For the service, she chose books from her shelves as "bridesmaids," who reminded her, she wrote, "of so many of my favorite indie bookstores across the country where I nurtured a literary life."

Congratulations and best wishes to both of you!

Video: Alphabet City 'One of the Coolest Places in Pittsburgh'

Alphabet City, home to City of Asylum bookstore, is "one of the coolest places in Pittsburgh," NEXT reported in featuring a video tour of the building that is home to an organization whose core mission "has to do with voices that need to be heard and that are suppressed in one way or another," according to co-founder Diane Samuels, who added that the space is "a community for readers, writers and neighbors."

PRHPS to Distribute Highlights for Children

Effective November 1, Penguin Random House Publisher Services will handle sales and distribution for Highlights for Children whose publishing program includes Highlights Press, publisher of puzzle and activity books, including Hidden Pictures, as well as joke books and novelty formats. The company also has three trade imprints, Boyds Mills Press, Calkins Creek and WordSong, a children's line dedicated to poetry. The trade backlist features picture books, fiction, nonfiction and poetry, including Words with Wings, The Knowing Book and Bubonic Panic.

"Book publishing is a vibrant and fast-growing business at Highlights, and continues the brand's legacy of creating engaging experiences for children," said Mary-Alice Moore, senior v-p and publisher.

"We are thrilled to be partnering with Highlights for Children as we continue to grow our children's portfolio, which already includes a broad array of prestigious children's publishers," said Jeff Abraham, president, Penguin Random House Publisher Services. "This is an exceptionally strong brand, recognized by children and their parents for generations. We are eager to work together to expand the reach of Highlights Press and Boyds Mills Press."

Personnel Changes at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

At Houghton Mifflin Harcourt:

Megan Wilson has been promoted to associate director, publicity. She was previously senior publicity manager.
Hannah Harlow has been promoted to director, marketing. She was previously assistant director of marketing.
Liz Anderson has been promoted to marketing manager. She was previously marketing and social media specialist.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to BookExpo 2017: Around the World in 6 NYC Neighborhoods

From a visit to Chinatown to a trip to Little Italy, you don't need to venture from the city to feed your wanderlust. Eat and shop your way from India to Peru with our guide to these New York neighborhoods.

Many cities have a Chinatown, but New York's is iconic. Jammed with shoppers haggling in Mandarin at markets, and overflowing with exotic foods, this bustling enclave is a definite "don’t miss" for visitors.

Eastern States Buddhist Temple
photo: Dorling Kindersley Ltd/Michael Moran

Mott Street is the heart of Chinatown, home to restaurants, bakeries, tea shops, herb sellers, grocers, Chinese bookstores and galleries. There are street vendors, too, selling all manner of souvenirs, from slippers and back scratchers to bamboo plants said to bring good luck.

Step out of the crowds into the quiet, incense-perfumed Eastern States Buddhist Temple of America at number 64, where more than 100 golden Buddhas gleam in the candlelight.

Among the many dining choices, Peking Duck House--known for its showy tableside carving of the house specialty--is one that has stood the test of time.

Little Italy
As Chinatown keeps expanding, it has almost overrun the once-thriving Little Italy, but there are still popular old-fashioned Italian restaurants along Mulberry Street.

Some of the old-time food stores also remain at the point where Grand Street intersects Mulberry.

Grand Street is home to the Alleva Dairy--a haven for cheese lovers for nearly a century. Piemonte Home Made Ravioli Company, which vends two dozen varieties of homemade pasta, and DiPalo Dairy, where patrons can watch mozzarella being made fresh every day, are also situated here.

Lower East Side
Once notoriously rundown, the nearby Jewish Lower East Side has since transformed into a hip enclave, with trendy restaurants and boutiques replacing the old bargain stores on Orchard Street.

The beautifully restored Eldridge Street Synagogue, now a museum open to all, is the best place to learn about the thousands of immigrants who came to New York seeking a better life. The synagogue also conducts informative walking tours designed to evoke the old neighborhood.

Right in the heart of midtown you'll find Koreatown, mostly concentrated on one block (along 32nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues).

Situated within this busy district are two large Korean banks, four hotels, a Korean book and gift store, a bakery, an herb shop, a giant Korean supermarket and more than a dozen Korean BBQ restaurants. Upstairs in many of the buildings you will find lively clubs that are open until the wee hours, some featuring karaoke.

Curry Hill
"Curry Hill," a roughly three-block corridor on Lexington Avenue, is another Manhattan enclave famed for its culinary offerings.

Here there are shops selling saris, exotic statues, incense, teas, herbs and Indian foods galore. Shops such as New Foods of India and Kalustyan's are filled with fragrant basmati rice, chutneys, dried fruits, and herbs and spices.

Many restaurants here are vegetarian and almost all offer bountiful yet inexpensive, lunch buffets.

Jackson Heights
For even more world treats, take the number seven subway to Queens, the train known as the "International Express" because almost every stop has its own global personality.

Book stall in Queens
photo: Dorling Kindersley Ltd/Rough Guides/Greg Roden

In Jackson Heights, 74th Street offers a quick trip from Mumbai to Lima. The one long block between the elevated subway station on Roosevelt Avenue and 37th Street is a rich sampling of Indian culture, with shop windows that are a fashion parade of saris and kaftans, and a dozen jewelers laden with 22-carat gold pieces.

Turn the corner on 37th Avenue and Latin America awaits with bakeries and Peruvian, Argentinian, Colombian, and Uruguayan restaurants. Turn another corner back to Roosevelt Avenue and the flavor of this block beneath the elevated tracks is more Mexican.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ari Berman on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Ari Berman, author of Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America (Picador, $18, 9781250094728).

Wendy Williams: Ashley Graham, author of A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like (Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062667946). She will also appear on Harry.

Also on Wendy Williams: Richard Blais, author of So Good: 100 Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780544663312).

The Talk: Sheila Nevins, author of You Don't Look Your Age...and Other Fairy Tales (Flatiron, $24.99, 9781250111302).

The View: Byron Pitts, author of Be the One: Six True Stories of Teens Overcoming Hardship with Hope (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781442483828).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Jeffrey Tambor, author of Are You Anybody?: A Memoir (Crown Archetype, $27, 9780451496355). (See the hilarious book trailer, in which Tambor's children interview him talk show-style.)

Movies: Death of an Author

Ben Kingsley will star in Death of an Author, adapted from the first in the planned "Intrigo" trilogy of novels by Swedish author Hakan Nesser. IndieWire reported that Benno Fürmann (North Face) and Tuva Novotny (Jalla, Jalla) will co-star in the first of three films, including Samaria and Dear Agnes, to be directed by Daniel Alfredson (The Girl Who Played with Fire). Production of Death of an Author is set to begin this week in Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia and Belgium, immediately followed by the shooting of the other two films. A theatrical release of the first movie is planned for the end of 2018.

"Hakan Nesser has fascinated millions of readers all over the world with his thrilling intrigues taking place in Maardam," said Enderby's Rick Dugdale, one of the producers. "With our trilogy of feature films we have chosen a unique and extraordinary concept to bring this mysterious world to the big screen."

Books & Authors

Awards: Orwell Shortlist

A shortlist of six books has been announced for the £3,000 (about $3,870) Orwell Prize, which recognizes work that comes closest to George Orwell's ambition "to make political writing into an art." The winner will be named June 15. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Citizen Clem by John Bew
The Seven by Ruth Dudley Edwards
All Out War by Tim Shipman
Island Story by J. D. Taylor
And the Sun Shines Now by Adrian Tempany
Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge 

Reading with... Abbi Waxman

photo: Creel Studio

Abbi Waxman worked in advertising for many years, which is how she learned to write fiction. She writes every day, largely so she can get a moment's peace from the three kids, three dogs, three cats and six chickens that have her surrounded at her home in Los Angeles. Her novel, The Garden of Small Beginnings, was published by Berkley on May 2, 2017.

On your nightstand now:

I am working on a book right now, so I tend to mostly read nonfiction day to day. Otherwise I might steal all the good stuff. Right now I'm reading I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong, which is about the teeming throngs of bacteria we have living in and around us. It's making me a bit itchy, I won't lie, but it's great.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Generally speaking, my favorite book was the one that was closest to me at the time. I was, and remain, a book slut. But to give you a more sensible answer, I loved all the Oz books by Ruth Plumly Thompson, who took over after L. Frank Baum died. She wrote more than 20 books, and they're all filled with puns, wordplay and humor. I'm reading them to my own kids now and they're just as wonderful as ever.

Your top five authors:

Like I said, I sleep around a lot, book-wise, but these are longstanding relationships. Rex Stout, who wrote the Nero Wolfe mysteries; I read and re-read these all the time. His character names alone are worth it--they're brilliant. Jane Austen, because Pride and Prejudice is the best book to read when life feels overwhelming. It's like a favorite chair, or soft quilt: I know I'll feel better when I'm wrapped up in it. It's written at a pace we rarely experience these days, where nothing happens for days, and I find that relaxing. P.G. Wodehouse, who wrote the Jeeves and Wooster books. Again, like Ruth Plumly Thompson, it's his wordplay and humor that I love. The character of Bertie Wooster is hilarious, and the relationship between he and Jeeves is priceless. Dr. Seuss, because he was a total genius and broke the fences so wide open that everyone else got out of jail, too. And finally, Michael Lewis, who is the best nonfiction writer working today, and maybe of all time. His ability to convey complicated ideas in simple terms without seeming to write down to the reader is possibly sorcery. He may have paid off the devil.

Book you've faked reading:

Good lord, so many. Anything by Hemingway or Tolstoy. I'm really not a heavy literature person. I love great writing and wonderful characters, and I'm probably missing out big time.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I get very excited about books, but a book I insisted everyone read recently was Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, who's also known as the Bloggess. I laughed so hard at this book I had to read it in chunks so as not to have a coronary. I was reading it on my Kindle in the dark, while sitting with my youngest child as she went to sleep, and she threw me out. I recommended it to EVERYONE who has sufficient bladder control.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I am such a sucker for a beautiful cover, and I feel like cover design just gets better and better every year. However, I never buy books just for the cover, but I will pick them up. Then the back cover copy needs to seal the deal. I like a pretty face as much as the next person, but if they aren't smart or funny, I'm not taking them home.

Book you hid from your parents:

I grew up in a very liberal house where censorship was a dirty word. However, I don't think my mother fully appreciated just how many Silhouette Special Edition Romance novels I had under my bed. They weren't hidden there--there just wasn't room for all of them on the shelves. So many heaving bosoms! So much masculine hardness!

Book that changed your life:

The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence. I was 14, and it was like the top of my head blew off. The world suddenly seemed enormous and ripe with possibilities. I had to read Dr. Seuss for days afterwards just to calm down. Another more recent book, if I can cheat and have two, is Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich. It changed the way I look at the world completely. Everyone should read it.

Favorite line from a book:

"You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you," from Pride and Prejudice. I'm a sucker for a good, romantic happy ending. Also, the crumbling of the icy facade of Mr. Darcy takes SOOO LOOOONG that the payoff is wonderful.

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

I don't have a good answer for this, because I will happily read and re-read books over and over, and enjoy them just as much every time. Maybe I have the memory of a goldfish, it's possible. And because there are so many books out there I get to discover new writers all the time. I read Agatha Christie as a child, for example, and didn't like her at all. Just before Christmas I picked one up again and was totally blown away. I spent the entire holidays ploughing through every one, and it was an awesome way to spend some time. No wonder she's the queen!! (I also tend to come late to most parties, if I show up at all.)

Book Review

Children's Review: Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth

Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins, $16.99 hardcover, 336p., ages 8-12, 9780062643629, June 20, 2017)

Prez Mellows hasn't talked in months. Ever since his grandfather "got into a wee spot of bother and had to be taken away" from their apartment in Traquair Gardens, Scotland, Prez has been staying at the Children's Temporary Accommodation. When he's placed in a foster home for the summer with the noisy, talkative Blythe family on Stramoddie Farm, Prez appreciates the routine and chores of farm life after years in a gradually increasing caretaking role for his feisty grandfather, whose Alzheimer's has progressed to the point where he is no longer safe on his own--or as a guardian for a young boy. But Prez worries about his grandfather and doesn't know when he'll see him again.

When Prez answers the doorbell one day--realizing only later that Stramoddie doesn't actually have a doorbell--he discovers an odd boy named Sputnik in a kilt and goggles. Sputnik marches into the house and proceeds to charm everyone in the family, who, it turns out, perceive him as a dog. The fact is, he's an alien on a mission to prove to Planetary Clearance--the organization that "get[s] rid of all the useless old stars and planets to make room for new celestial bodies," also known as "pan-galactic decluttering"--that Earth is not only not mythical, but is worth saving. Between them, Prez and Sputnik have to come up with a list of 10 things on the planet worth seeing or doing, "and then Earth can carry on waltzing around its little sun," as Sputnik says. Luckily, Sputnik can read Prez's mind, so there's no need for Prez to start speaking just because he's on a world-saving agenda, and no need for anyone else to discover that Sputnik is not a dog.

Readers who grew up with Daniel Pinkwater's Lizard Music, The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death and other madcap novels will be thrilled to share with a new generation Frank Cottrell Boyce's tremendously funny and poignant Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth. Boyce (The Astounding Broccoli Boy; Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again; Framed; Millions) has an imagination that soars, paired with a profound empathy for the inner, sometimes bewildered, life of a child who is rarely given all the information. Prez's heartbreakingly tender relationship with his grandfather provides a steady undercurrent to the wild wave of adventures he and Sputnik surf as they search for Earth's top 10 greatest hits. And with his blustery, reckless guilelessness about planet Earth ("Cows are meat with milk in the middle?") and his insistence at every turn that people never read the instructions properly, Sputnik is an intergalactic protagonist for the ages. Sometimes, apparently, it takes an alien to remind people just where--and what--home really is: "Planets shrink. Suns explode. Planets come and planets go. Home isn't a place on a map. Home isn't the place you come from. It's the place you're heading to. All the times you've ever felt at home--they're just marks on the map, helping you find your way there." --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: On a mission to save Earth from pan-galactic declutterers, an alien named Sputnik and a silent, lonely boy named Prez make a list of the 10 best things about the planet.

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