Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 8, 2017

William Morrow & Company: Death of the Author by Nnedi Okorafor

St. Martin's Press: Disney High: The Untold Story of the Rise and Fall of Disney Channel's Tween Empire

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Graphix: 39 Clues: One False Note (39 Clues Graphic Novel #2) by Gordon Korman, Illustrated by Hannah Templer

Running Press: Enter For a Chance to Win a Moonlit Explorer Pack!

Quill Tree Books: The Firelight Apprentice by Bree Paulsen


New Owner for the Book Review, Falmouth, Maine

On May 1, Clare Lygo bought the Book Review, Falmouth, Maine, from brother-and-sister owners Stephen Fournier and Donna Williams, who founded the bookstore in 1980, Bookselling This Week reported.

Lygo, who is also owner of Vespa, a residential rental property company, and has been a Book Review customer for 22 years, said, "The most important thing to me is that the next generation have a love of reading. There's no greater joy."

The store sells books, magazines, cards, wrapping and gifts and has undergone a facelift, a change in logo and the introduction of a website since the change in ownership.

Zest Books: The Gender Binary Is a Big Lie: Infinite Identities around the World by Lee Wind

Quarto Group Considering Purchase Offer

The Quarto Group has received an offer to buy the company that the board considers "attractive and reflective of the inherent value of the business as a global publishing platform" and is in early discussions with the potential buyer, Quarto announced this morning. Quarto added that it has decided not to identify the interested party "at this stage, due to the early stage nature of their interest."

Quarto, which is domiciled in the U.S. and is listed on the London Stock Exchange, sells books in 47 countries in 39 languages and in the U.S. owns Walter Foster Publishing, becker&meyer, Harvard Common Press, Voyageur Press, Burgess Lea Press, Rockport Publishers, Creative Publishing International, Motorbooks and others.

GLOW: Flatiron Books: Private Rites by Julia Armfield

Amazon Tightens Delivery Time for Third-Party Booksellers

Amazon is now treating its third-party book suppliers in a manner that resembles how it treats book publishers: at the end of the month, third-party sellers of books, CDs and DVDs in the lower 48 states will have to deliver products within four to eight days, down from four to 14 days, according to notices from Amazon obtained by CNBC.

The change, made because, Amazon wrote, "customers are more likely to purchase products that have a faster estimated delivery time at checkout," will have a major effect on many marketplace merchants, who, CNBC noted, "sell out of their garage or warehouse rather than using Amazon's fulfillment centers, have to build shipping costs into their business model, and they typically operate on very thin margins."

One third-party seller who estimated he's sold more than $1 million in books in 13 years through Amazon said he expects shipping costs to increase 25%-50% because he can no longer use the Postal Service's media mail category for cross-country deliveries.

Media mail is estimated to require two to eight days but usually takes longer cross-country, sellers say. "The risk to missing Amazon's guaranteed delivery window is that a seller gets bad reviews, which means losing visibility on listings and can eventually lead to suspension," CNBC added.

Alex Baker: Exceptional Design And Creative Services For The Publishing Industry

Mizak Named Managing Director of APA Publications

Agnieszka Mizak has been appointed to the newly created role of managing director of APA Publications, publisher of Insight Guides and Berlitz, the Bookseller reported. She was formerly the company's publishing director. In addition, APA has expanded its sales and marketing team with the creation of three new roles.

CEO René Frey said the new appointments will help support the "very positive development" of the company. "I'm very glad Agnieszka has taken up this position--it's an appointment I've had in mind for some time. With three new sales people in place, we're much closer to our clients, and wherever we present our products and vision, customers are delighted. This strengthening of our sales and marketing team will continue to support our very positive development."

Obituary Note: Jack Rabinovitch

Jack Rabinovitch, the "beloved businessman who created the Scotiabank Giller Prize, an award that boosted the profiles and sales of countless Canadian fiction authors" and honored his late wife, died August 6, CBC News reported. He was 87. Although Rabinovitch "tackled several careers throughout his life, including journalism, food retail and real estate... it was the Giller Prize that made him a recognizable face across Canada and around the world."

The idea for the award was conceived over drinks with renowned author Mordecai Richler. "It started at a pub in Montreal called Woody's and ended up at a famous restaurant in Montreal called Moishes, and over chopped liver we decided what to do," Rabinovitch said in 2012.

The prize was established in 1994, a year after the death of Rabinovitch's wife, literary journalist Doris Giller, to honor her as well as recognize excellence in Canadian fiction. Initially endowed a cash prize of CA$25,000 (about US$19,715), the Giller Prize partnered with Scotiabank in 2005 and the winner's share grew to $40,000 ($31,545), and in 2014 it increased again to $100,000 ($78,870).

"We learned a long time ago that authors are really interested in selling their books, that's how they make a living, so that's what we're trying to do--is help them make a living," said Rabinovitch, whose signature line at every Giller gala was: "For the price of a dinner in this town, you can buy all the nominated books. So, eat at home and buy the books."​


Cool Idea of the Day: 'I Didn't Buy It on Amazon!'

The Golden Notebook bookstore, Woodstock, N.Y., has launched an "I Didn't Buy It on Amazon!" campaign "to increase awareness of supporting independent bookstores and local businesses." The campaign is aimed at "our already-well-educated locals" as well as the many tourists who visit the area. As the store wrote, "Every day an out-of-towner walks in and laments 'we used to have a store like this in our town,' so we do our best to remind all customers the importance of supporting local business in their own neighborhoods as well as in the places they travel to."

The Golden Notebook has included its new "I Didn't Buy It on Amazon!" logo on postcards and on stickers that can be placed on gift-wrapped purchases.

Other indie bookstores are invited to join the campaign, and can contact designer and Golden Notebook co-owner James Conrad for help incorporating store logos in the design.

Mobile Library Serves Refugees in Greece

While volunteering in refugee camps in Greece, Laura Samira Naude and Esther ten Zijthoff "realized that the people they met needed more than food and shelter: they wanted to study, to work for their future and to find a sense of purpose," the Guardian reported. In response to the need, they launched Education Community Hope and Opportunity (ECHO) and opened a library on wheels.

After friends in London and Belgium raised funds and refitted an old minibus with shelves and Internet access, they drove it to Greece. Naude and Zijthoff appealed for books in Arabic, Kurdish, Farsi, French, Greek and English, gradually accumulating about 1,300 titles. "When the authorities don’t allow access to camps, they park the bus outside and let the word spread inside, although they are often shut down without warning," the Guardian noted.

"When we started the project, we had a vision of duplicating the library setup in multiple regions in Greece," Zijthoff said. "We are looking for people to hand over the project to, but many volunteers and organizations, not only in Greece but Serbia, Italy, Palestine and Lebanon, say the set-up could work very well. So, even if we are not the ones starting, we hope that the concept will spread."

Personnel Changes at IglooBooks/Bonnier

Alana Yuster has joined IglooBooks, an imprint of Bonnier Publishing USA, as national account manager. She was formerly brand manager at Penguin Random House.

Book Trailer of the Day: Her Right Foot

Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Shawn Harris (Chronicle Books), a September picture book on the history and symbolism of the Statue of Liberty.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Howard Markel on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Howard Markel, author of The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek (Pantheon, $35, 9780307907271). See the book trailer here.

WTTW's Chicago Tonight: Patricia Balton Stratton, author of The Chicago Picasso: A Point of Departure (Ampersand, $24.99, 9780997449396)

Conan: Wesley Snipes, co-author of Talon of God (Harper Voyager, $27.99, 9780062668165).

Movies: Chaos Walking; The Aspern Papers

Oscar nominee Demian Bichir (A Better Life) will co-star in Doug Liman's Chaos Walking, based on Carnegie Award-winning novelist Patrick Ness's YA trilogy, Deadline reported. He joins Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley in the upcoming sci-fi thriller from Lionsgate that will open March 1, 2019. The script was adapted by Charlie Kaufman, Lindsey Beers, John Lee Hancock and Gary Spinelli. Allison Shearmur, Erwin Stoff and Doug Davison are producing.


Jonathan Rhys Meyers has joined Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson in the cast for the Julien Landais-directed period drama The Aspern Papers, based on the novel by Henry James, Deadline reported. The cast also includes Jon Kortajarena, Poppy Delevingne, Morgane Polanski, Alice Aufray and Barbara Meier. The project is shooting in Venice, where the film's 19th century plot is set. Landais co-wrote the screenplay with Jean Pavans and Hannah Bhuiya. 

Books & Authors

Award: Before Columbus Foundation American Book

Winners were announced for the 2017 American Book Awards, which are sponsored by the Before Columbus Foundation "to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America's diverse literary community." The honorees will be formally recognized October 22 at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco. This year's American Book Award winners are:

Adnan's Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After 'Serial' by Rabia Chaudry (St. Martin's)
Invisible Men: A Contemporary Slave Narrative in the Era of Mass Incarceration by Flores A. Forbes (Skyhorse Publishing)
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Knopf)
Passings by Holly Hughes (Expedition Press)
Him, Me, Muhammad Ali by Randa Jarrar (Sarabande Books)
The Book of Harlan by Bernice L. McFadden (Akashic Books)
Sounding Thunder: The Stories of Francis Pegahmagabow by Brian D. McInnes (Michigan State University Press)
Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America by Patrick Phillips (Norton)
Race and the Totalitarian Century: Geopolitics in the Black Literary Imagination by Vaughn Rasberry (Harvard University Press)
Year of the Rat by Marc Anthony Richardson (Fiction Collective Two)
Green Island by Shawna Yang Ryan (Knopf)
See You in the Streets: Art, Action, and Remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire by Ruth Sergel (University of Iowa Press)
Look by Solmaz Sharif (Graywolf Press)
Memory Foam by Adam Soldofsky (Disorder Press)
The Mexican Flyboy by Alfredo Véa (University of Oklahoma Press)
Seeing the Light: Four Decades in Chinatown by Dean Wong (Chin Music Press)
Lifetime Achievement: Nancy Mercado
Editor/Publisher Award: Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative, Ammiel Alcalay, general editor

Reading Group Choices' Most Popular July Books

The two most popular books in July at Reading Group Choices were Gap Year Girl: A Baby Boomer Adventure Across 21 Countries by Marianne C. Bohr (She Writes Press) and The Little French Bistro by Nina George (Crown).

Book Review

Review: The Golden House

The Golden House by Salman Rushdie (Random House, $28.99 hardcover, 400p., 9780399592805, September 5, 2017)

Salman Rushdie (The Satanic Verses) is a writer who takes the spirit of the age and splays it in a million dazzling ways. In his novel The Golden House, the zeitgeist is terrifyingly familiar. Americans, their bigotries, their horrors, as well as their aspirations and humanity, are deconstructed and reconstructed in this grand and sweeping tragedy.

Rushdie is both an obsessive hoarder and astute critic of culture. His style, though pointed at times, resembles a maximalism in which everything within the reach of experience and culture is manifested on the page. The narrator of The Golden House, René, is an aspiring filmmaker who theorizes on history, art, cinema, literature and the nature of the auteur. This self-referential intellectualism includes entire narrative scenes in screenplay and monologue forms. In a modern nod to The Great Gatsby, René relays the story of his neighbor Nero Golden, an Indian immigrant and widower with a mysterious past and ostentatious amount of wealth. René earns the man's trust, befriends his three sons--Petya, Apu and D--but becomes dangerously entangled in family affairs when Nero's new wife, Vasilisa, makes an offer he can't refuse.

Throughout the novel, René is making a probing film about the Golden family. At the heart of his endeavor is the question of identity, particularly American identity. Rushdie asks whether the American notion of a self-made person is possible, whether one can step out of the historical and create something new, detached from the past. Nero Golden builds a new persona for himself in America, a new empire, but his past life and business dealings with the criminal underground in India catch up to him in a series of tragic reckonings. His story unfolds against the 2016 presidential election, which Rushdie satirizes to devastating effect. The comic-book villain the Joker, clearly a caricature of Donald Trump, unleashes a ghastly "national ugliness" across the land as "the weakness of the just was revealed by the wrath of the unjust."

Though Rushdie targets the Trumpian alt-right with his most acerbic critiques, he doesn't let the American left off the hook. Much of the novel revolves around Nero's son D, who struggles with gender identity, and his girlfriend Riya, who works for the Museum of Identity. Realizing the detrimental pressure some activists put on people struggling with gender and sexuality issues, Riya concludes, "To be forced into narrow definitions is a falsehood.... The Museum of Identity is too engaged with that lie."

The closet Rushdie gets to an answer to these questions of identity--of reality versus caricature--is a refreshing humanism found in the story's final moments. "Humanity was the only answer to the cartoon," René surmises. "I had no plan except love." The Golden House is a literary and philosophical tour de force. It is a new classic born of troubled times. --Scott Neuffer, writer, poet, editor of trampset

Shelf Talker: Legendary writer Salman Rushdie takes on American identity and politics in this tragic novel that reads like a postmodern update of The Great Gatsby.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos
2. Billionaire Unveiled by J.S. Scott
3. What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada
4. Beautiful Mistake by Vi Keeland
5. Blindsided by James L. Ferraro
6. Beard Up (The Dixie Warden Rejects Book 6) by Lani Lynn Vale
7. Well Built by Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde
8. The War Planners Series: Books 1-3 by Andrew Watts
9. Delta: Redemption by Cristin Harber
10. Breathless in Love by Bella Andre and Jennifer Skully

[Many thanks to!]

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