Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 22, 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


Booksellers Staring at the Sun: Eclipse 2017

Whether they were in "totality" or a percentage thereof, many booksellers shared their Eclipse 2017 experiences on Facebook yesterday. Here's a sampling:

Scanning the sky at Ada's

Ada's Technical Books & Café, Seattle, Wash.: "Well, that was cool! We had a great little crowd gather out front and those with glasses and pinhole projectors were nice enough to share with everyone else. The colander (brought out by our kitchen crew) might have been our favorite way to view!"

Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Wash.: "Staff taking a break to enjoy the 92% eclipse (and resulting 8% sunlight). The eclipse was only partial here, but our love of books is always total."

Burke's Book Store, Memphis, Tenn.: "Burke's staff eclipse-gazing."

Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn.: "We shared our eclipse glasses with people outside Bank Square Books and had a mini block party in the shade! How did you #eclipse today?--with Elissa Englund and Jessica Wick."

The Bookloft, Great Barrington, Mass.: "If anyone in the neighborhood doesn't have a pair of eclipse glasses, feel free to stop by and share our staff pair with us! We have already saved one customer from missing out!"

Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo.: "Watching the Solar Eclipse at Left Bank Books!"

Bear Pond Books, Montpelier, Vt.: "Claire got a hold of a few pairs of eclipse glasses and Amanda made some camera obscuras so we all had a fine time watching the moon eclipse the sun! Viewing was better at the back of the store."

Railroad Book Depot, Pittsburg, Calif.: "Eclipse viewers at RRBD..."

And when it was over...

Klindts Booksellers and Stationers, the Delles, Ore.: "Slightly used eclipse glasses now at Klindt's!"

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

PRHPS to Distribute Holiday House

Beginning next year, Penguin Random House Publisher Services will handle global English-language sales and distribution for Holiday House. The agreement takes effect on May 1, 2018, for the U.S. and Canada and on December 1, 2018, for all other territories.

Founded in 1935, children's publisher Holiday House has a backlist that includes The Reluctant Dragon, Big Red, See Me Run, A Child's Calendar, The Wright Brothers and Jazz. New and upcoming books include Genevieve's War by Patricia Reilly Giff; Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome; and Spliced by Jon McGoran. Holiday House publishes close to 100 titles per year.

"Holiday House is a special place for children's authors and illustrators. We want their books in the hands of as many readers as possible," Derek Stordahl, Holiday House executive v-p and general manager. "So we're pleased to partner with the PRHPS team to expand our sales efforts into new channels."

"Holiday House has a deserved reputation as one of America's finest children's publishing houses," Jeff Abraham, president of Penguin Random House Publisher Services, said. "Since their founding more than eighty years ago they have published books of great quality with wisdom and passion. We look forward to partnering with them to expand their bookseller and consumer reach even further."

Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!

Europa Editions to be Distributed by PGW

Europa Editions' titles will be sold and distributed to the trade by Publishers Group West, effective February 2018. Europa signed a multi-year deal with PGW for distribution in the U.S., Canada and international territories excluding the U.K., Ireland and Italy. Europa will leave Penguin Random House Publisher Services after three years. Prior to PRHPS, Europa was distributed by Penguin Group.

"PGW is bringing great enthusiasm and new energy to our list and our business," said Michael Reynolds, Europa's editor-in-chief. "The PGW reps are beloved and respected by booksellers everywhere, and now as part of Ingram they have the backend support they need. We made a decision based on what was best for our authors, their books, and our business. The Penguin Random House reps, some of whom have been selling our titles for almost 10 years, have done an amazing job getting us to this point, and we're indebted to them. Now, all of us at Europa are energized by the prospects for growth and the greater visibility that PGW and Ingram offer."

Kevin Votel, v-p business development for PGW, commented: "Europa is widely recognized as one of the premier publishers of literature in translation and given the current climate, there's no better time to support and sell this wonderful list of diverse and original voices. Europa's publishing is truly inspired and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to grow their audience."

Barnes & Noble Launches the B&N Podcast

Barnes & Noble has launched the B&N Podcast, which "goes behind the scenes with today's most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, their methods and what they were thinking when they wrote their books."

The programs are available on, the iTunes App Store and Stitcher. B&N will post six to eight interviews each month, with more during the packed fall publishing season.

The first featured authors include Peter Gethers, John Grisham, Paula Hawkins, Imbolo Mbue, J. Courtney Sullivan and Colson Whitehead. In the coming weeks, episodes will feature Jennifer Finney Boylan, Yaa Gyasi, Jo Nesbø and others.

Obituary Note: Brian Aldiss

Brian Aldiss, the "grand old man" of science fiction "whose writing has shaped the genre since he was first published in the 1950s," died August 19, the Guardian reported. He was 92. Aldiss was the author of science fiction classics, including Non-Stop, Hothouse and Greybeard, as well as the Helliconia trilogy. His short story "Super-Toys Last All Summer Long" was adapted into the Steven Spielberg film AI. His Horatio Stubbs saga (The Hand-Reared Boy, A Soldier Erect and A Rude Awakening) "was based on his time during the war in Burma and the far east," the Guardian noted.

Aldiss received numerous awards, including Hugo and Nebula prizes, an honorary doctorate from the University of Reading, the title of grand master from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and an OBE for services to literature.

On Twitter, Neil Gaiman noted: "This just hit me like a meteor to the heart: Brian Aldiss died on his 92nd Birthday. A larger than life wise writer." In the introduction to a new edition of Hothouse, Gaiman had written that Aldiss's career "has recapitulated British SF, always with a ferocious intelligence, always with poetry and oddness, always with passion; while his work outside the boundaries of science fiction, as a writer of mainstream fiction, gained respect and attention from the wider world."

Natasha Bardon, Aldiss's editor at HarperCollins, said, "For the short time I had the pleasure of knowing Brian, there wasn't a moment when he wasn't writing something. His passion for language and literature was wonderful and he wielded his skill like a blade. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry: there was just no stopping him. Though I came to publish Brian later in his career, I feel the luckiest, because it wasn't just the fiction I heard about. Brian told the most incredible stories: of days when he and his contemporaries were writing books that would become classics of the genre, of evenings out among other giants of literature, and of much cheekier tales, always told with a smile and twinkle in his eye. It is with great sadness that we say farewell to such a beloved author and I am so proud I was able to publish him even briefly."

In a tribute, author Christopher Priest observed: "Aldiss was by a long chalk the premier British science fiction writer--that he was also one of the most versatile writers of any kind was a fact that only a comparatively few readers outside the SF field came to discover. His work is still, in this sense, to be discovered."


Image of the Day: Whistleblower & Bear

Mel Goodman (l.) signed copies of his new memoir Whistleblower at the CIA (City Lights), while Paddington Bear hosted children's story time at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, Del., this past Saturday. Goodman reported that turnout was great for both events.

Jason Wells Joins Rodale

Jason Wells

Jason M. Wells has joined Rodale as associate publisher, director of marketing and publicity, for the Rodale Kids imprint.

He was formerly v-p, marketing and publicity, at Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.

Before that, he worked at Abrams for 14 years, most recently as executive director, publicity and marketing, at Abrams Books for Young Readers. He worked, for nearly a decade, on the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Wells also worked on books by Tom Angleberger, Cece Bell, Graeme Base, Nathan Hale, Andrea Beaty, Laurent de Brunhoff, Laura Numeroff, Michael Buckley, Trombone Shorty, Mac Barnett, Tonya Bolden, Duncan Tonatiuh and Lauren Myracle, among others.

Earlier he worked at Simon & Schuster, Disney and Penguin Random House.

"Jason knows how to create homegrown successes and manage huge properties, which is what we need to build the Rodale Kids imprint going forward," said Gail Gonzales, v-p, publisher at Rodale. "He's a natural fit for Rodale's healthy, mindful messaging--he does bike to work every day, after all--and his knowledge will be a huge asset to our already amazing children's book publishing team."

Personnel Changes at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Frank Radell has joined Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as sales representative for the trade division's office and school supply channel. He was previously at Norwood House Press.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Louise Penny on CBS This Morning

CBS This Morning: Louise Penny, author of Glass Houses: A Novel (Minotaur, $28.99, 9781250066190).

Movie: Leonardo da Vinci

Paramount acquired the rights to Walter Isaacson's book Leonardo da Vinci, "which will be crafted as a star vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio to play the painter/scientist," Deadline reported. DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson are producing via their Appian Way banner. The book will be published by Simon and Schuster in October.

"Legend has it that Leonardo DiCaprio was so named because his pregnant mother was looking at a Leonardo da Vinci painting in a museum in Italy when the future star kicked for the first time," Deadline noted, adding: "So it seems like destiny that DiCaprio someday might play his namesake, the artist who painted 'The Last Supper' and the 'Mona Lisa'."

Books & Authors

Awards: PEN Center USA; Academy of American Poets

PEN Center USA, the West Coast center of PEN International, has announced its 2017 Literary Awards finalists in the categories fiction, creative nonfiction, research nonfiction, poetry, YA, translation, journalism, and drama. The awards will be presented October 27 at the annual Literary Awards Festival in Beverly Hills, Calif., where Margaret Atwood will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. You can see the complete list of finalists here


The Academy of American Poets announced the 2017 winners of its annual poetry prizes. This year's recipients are:

Jorie Graham won the $100,000 Wallace Stevens Award, which recognizes "outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry."

Ed Roberson received the $25,000 Academy of American Poets Fellowship, which honors "distinguished poetic achievement."

Patrick Rosal's Brooklyn Antediluvian (Persea Books) won the $25,000 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for "the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States in the previous year."

sam sax's Bury It (Wesleyan University Press, 2018) won the $5,000 James Laughlin Award, which is given "to recognize and support a second book of poetry forthcoming in the next calendar year."

Piotr Florczyk (Building the Barricade by Anna Świrszczyńska, Tavern Books)  was cited for the $1,000 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, which "recognizes a published translation of poetry from any language into English that demonstrates literary excellence."

Thomas E. Peterson's translation of the work of Italian poet Franco Fortini won the $25,000 Raiziss/de Palchi Book Prize, which "recognizes outstanding translations of modern Italian poetry into English."

Frances Revel won the $1,000 Aliki Perroti & Seth Frank Most Promising Young Poet Award, which recognizes a student poet.


Book Review

Review: Forest Dark

Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss (Harper, $27.99 hardcover, 304p., 9780062430991, September 12, 2017)

Nicole Krauss's fiction doesn't come easy. It is often steeped in philosophy with an undercurrent of Jewish history and thought. As she said in a 2011 interview in the Guardian: "I'm so grateful for my inner life; it's almost visceral.... I take real pleasure in thinking." A National Book Award finalist and shortlisted for the Orange Prize, Krauss (The History of Love; Great House) sets Forest Dark largely in Tel Aviv, where her two protagonists are unsettled and transformed from their previous lives in New York City. Jules Epstein is an effervescent scholar in his 60s who methodically jettisoned his art collection, Upper West Side trappings and significant wealth to move into a slummy Tel Aviv apartment. From there, he mysteriously disappears, leaving his three children to sort out the details. Sandwiched into the third-person story of Epstein, first-person chapters tell of an unnamed mid-40s woman whose marriage is broken and new novel is stuck in neutral. She holes up in Tel Aviv's hulking seaside Hilton hotel and tries to bring her book back to life. A local scholar tracks her down to involve her in a project, filming a Kafka play and mining a surprising cache of Kafka's unpublished papers.

Neither Epstein nor the novelist meet, but both are on quests to understand their places in the contrasting worlds of New York and Israel, and in their Jewish families and history. The decisive Epstein, always quick to engage in debate, has fallen under the spell of a rabbinical radical such that "the twenty-four hours he'd once filled with everything under the sun was replaced by a scale of thousands of years." He is alone, with grown children and dead parents, and sees that "it was becoming harder to ignore the slow drain of interest in the things that once captivated him, he had become aware of a sense of waiting." Similarly, the novelist walks the streets of Tel Aviv in search of some order to her thoughts and life. She knows that this is at the heart of fiction--that "Chaos is the one truth that narrative must always betray... the portion of truth that has to do with incoherence and disorder must be obscured." Having left her husband and two young sons in New York, she has only her sister living in Tel Aviv and her writing to bring some comfort. The Kafka proposal is flattering, but she tells the scholar: "I have a hard enough time with my own books. My life is already complicated. I'm not looking to contribute to Jewish history."

Less interested in the dramatic, Krauss focuses on how her two protagonists intellectually and emotionally handle their respective pilgrimages. Along the way, Forest Dark dips into Freud, Descartes, Kafka and the Torah. There is little that is didactic or discursive in her prose. If, as the Dante source of her title suggests, her protagonists have found themselves "in a forest dark,/ For the straightforward pathway had been lost," they acknowledge their fates and seek a rewarding alternative path. Krauss grapples with the questions more than the answers, and it is in this struggle that Forest Dark shines. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: Nicole Krauss explores the lives of two New York City intellectuals adrift independently in Tel Aviv in search of meaning in the context of Jewish and family history.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Dominion Rising by Various
2. What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada
3. Beneath the Truth by Meghan March
4. The Soul Mate by Kendall Ryan
5. Beautiful Mistake by Vi Keeland
6. Shattered Worlds by Various
7. Badd Motherf*cker: Badd Brothers by Jasinda Wilder
8. The Wright Mistake by K.A. Linde
9. Aveoth by Laurann Dohner
10. More Than Love (The Barrington Billionaires Book 5) by Ruth Cardello

[Many thanks to!]

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