Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Dutton Books: The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis

Berkley Books: Enter giveaway to meet the new members of your book family!

Thomas Nelson: Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth by Alice Faye Duncan, illustrated by Keturah A Bobo

Ballantine Books: The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E Smith

Europa Editions: Trust by Domenico Starnone, translated by Jhumpa Lahiri

St. Martin's Press: The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Quotation of the Day

'Probably the Most Fun Ever in the Bookstore Business'

"This is probably the most fun I've had in my 45 years in the bookstore business."

--"Bookstore Bob" Somers, director of the UMBC Bookstore, Baltimore, Md., talking with WBAL-TV about the huge jump in sales of school merchandise following the basketball team's victory over the University of Virginia on Friday, the first time an NCAA Tournament No. 16 seed defeated the No. 1 seed.

Broadleaf Books: The Lightmaker's Manifesto: How to Work for Change without Losing Your Joy by Karen Walrond


12 Win Bookselling Without Borders Scholarships to Attend International Book Fairs

Congratulations! Twelve U.S. booksellers are receiving Bookselling Without Borders scholarships to visit three international book fairs this year. Each scholarship recipient will participate in a customized program of panel discussions, meetings with their international counterparts, authors, and publishers, and specially arranged tours and receptions. The recipients are:

Turin Book Fair (May 10-14):
Nick Buzanski: Book Culture, New York, N.Y.
Rachel Kaplan: Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga.
Anna Thorn: Busboys and Poets, Washington, D.C.
Hans Weyandt: Milkweed Books, Minneapolis, Minn.

Frankfurt Book Fair (October 10-14):
Elliott batTzedek: Big Blue Marble Bookstore, Philadelphia, Pa.
Dylan Brown: Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif. (winner of the Frankfurter Buchmesse Bookseller Prize, supported by the German Federal Foreign Office)
Lyn Roberts: Square Books, Oxford, Miss.
Adam Sonderberg: Seminary Co-op, Chicago, Ill.

Guadalajara International Book Fair (November 24-December 2):
Stefani Beddingfield: Inkwood Books, Tampa, Fla.
Jeremy Garber: Powell's Books, Portland, Ore.
Keaton Patterson: Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Tex.
Elisa Thomas: Cellar Door Books, Riverside, Calif.

The winners were understandably delighted. Anna Thorn of Busboys and Poets, who will attend the Turin Book Fair, called the scholarship "an amazing opportunity! Personally and professionally I could not be more excited. There is so much for me to learn from this amazing gathering of book industry professionals."

Nick Buzanski of Book Culture, who will also go to Turin, said, "Seeing another perspective on bookselling is so important as independent bookstores strive to keep up with the ever-changing world and all its perspectives."

And Elliott batTzedek of Big Blue Marble Bookstore, who will attend the Frankfurt Book Fair, added, "With Big Blue Marble, we intended from the beginning to connect our neighborhood to global issues and global writers. Being able to go to Frankfurt with other indie booksellers and connect to the international market means our little store can stretch across the globe."

Some 465 booksellers applied for the 2018 Bookselling Without Borders scholarships, representing 261 bookstores in 44 states and the District of Columbia. The scholarships enable U.S. booksellers, as Bookselling Without Borders put it, "to engage in the global conversation about diverse and international literatures."

Bookselling Without Borders 2018 is supported by more than 250 individual donors through a Kickstarter campaign and by Catapult, Europa Editions, Graywolf Press, the New Press, Other Press, Princeton University Press, Rutgers University Press, the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Guadalajara International Book Fair, the Turin Book Fair and Ingram.

The international book fair scholarship program was founded by Europa Editions in 2016. That year it sent a bookseller to the Frankfurt Book Fair. Last year, as the sponsorship group grew, Bookselling Without Borders sent three booksellers to the Turin Book Fair.

GLOW: Gibbs Smith: Ordinary Equality: The Fearless Women and Queer People Who Shaped the U.S. Constitution and the Equal Rights Amendment by Kate Kelly, illus. by Nicole LaRue

James Patterson to Donate $2 Million to Teachers

James Patterson

James Patterson will donate $2 million to help teachers build classroom libraries this year, in the fourth installment of his School Library Campaign. Continuing his work with Scholastic Book Clubs, Patterson plans to give 4,000 teachers around the country $500, along with 500 Scholastic Book Club Bonus Points. Last year, Patterson gave $1.75 million to school libraries; this year he has increased the pledge to $2 million to "address the dire need for funding exemplified by last year's campaign," which received nearly 83,000 applications.

The Patterson Pledge launched in 2015 as an ongoing campaign to keep books and reading a priority for children in the U.S. Scholastic's own Teacher & Principal School Report: Equity in Education found that 31% of teachers reported having fewer than 50 books in their classroom libraries, and 56% of teachers purchase classroom books out of pocket.

Any teacher in the U.S., from pre-K through 12th grade, is eligible, and can apply online until July 31. The grants will be awarded on September 6, 2018. This year's Patterson Pledge grants will bring the total amount of money Patterson has given to school libraries to $7.25 million.

"I was humbled to see the overwhelming response to last year's grant campaign, and I'm happy to reach even more teachers this time around," said Patterson. "I can't underscore enough how important books and reading are to a child's development--better readers make better people, and ultimately better citizens. I'm so grateful for the teachers who are doing imperative work with students every day, in every school in the country. These grants are my way of acknowledging their extraordinary efforts."

Judy Newman, president of Scholastic Book Clubs, commented on the key role classroom libraries play in how students discover books, "which they need to develop vocabulary, skills, and a love of books and reading. Unfortunately, teachers often have to find their own funds and use their personal money to buy books and build fresh classroom libraries. This is why we at Scholastic Book Clubs are truly inspired by James Patterson's commitment to offer real help to teachers in this work."

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Mina by Matthew Forsythe

BookExpo: Viola Davis Joins Children's Book & Author Breakfast Lineup

Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis, known for her roles in Fences, The Help, How to Get Away with Murder and more, will be the final speaker at BookExpo's Children's Book & Author Breakfast on Friday, June 1. Davis will talk about her upcoming picture book, Corduroy Takes a Bow, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Corduroy series and will be published on September 4 by Viking Books for Young Readers. She rounds out a lineup of speakers that includes Dave Eggers (What Can a Citizen Do?), Meg Medina (Merci Suarez Changes Gears) and Yuyi Morales (Dreamers), with Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming) slated to host.

Obituary Note: Emily Nasrallah

Award-winning Lebanese author Emily Nasrallah, "whose novels struggled with bigotry against women, the horrors of civil war and the vacuum left by fleeing refugees," died March 14, the New York Times reported. She was 86. "Lebanon and the Arab world lost an icon of literature and Lebanese creativity, and a women's rights activist," said Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Although best known in Lebanon, some of her books were translated and published abroad, the Times noted, adding that "wherever they were read, they struck a responsive chord."

"You really travel through the pages," said Sirene Harb, an associate professor of comparative literature at the American University of Beirut. "It's not anymore a book that you have in front of you, it's something you have inside of you."

Nasrallah published her first novel, Birds of September, in 1962. Even in her children's books, Nasrallah would "hardly sugarcoat the horrors of military conflict. In A Cat's Diary (1998), she chronicled war through the journal of a cat left to fend for itself by a family who had fled the fighting," the Times wrote.

Last year, the Goethe Institute awarded her the Goethe Medal, and last month President Michel Aoun of Lebanon honored her as a commander of the National Order of the Cedar.


Image of the Day: Bookseller/Author Parker Peeveyhouse

At the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association's Spring Workshop/ABA Forum on Sunday, author Parker Peeveyhouse--who's also a bookseller at Hicklebee's in San Jose--signed copies of her debut novel, The Echo Room (Tor Teen, September).

Albuquerque Library Renamed to Honor Rudolfo Anaya

Rudolfo Anaya

The North Valley Library in Albuquerque has been renamed to honor iconic New Mexico author Rudolfo Anaya, the Journal reported. During the renaming ceremony last week, Anaya said, "I've always been connected to libraries. It's fantastic and it's an honor. The library is probably one of the most important things in my life. It's a center for democracy and of a community."

Former Bernalillo County manager Juan Vigil proposed the idea last September, writing to Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O'Malley, in whose district the library is located, and suggesting the name change. O'Malley said she immediately offered her support, and "the renaming item quickly moved through the formal process and was unanimously approved by the full commission," the Journal wrote.

Dean Smith, director of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Public Library System, said naming the library for Anaya is part of a tradition "where we honor authors who have made major contributions to the literary canon of New Mexico--hence, we have the Ernie Pyle Library, the Erna Fergusson Library and the Tony Hillerman Library."

Grolier Poetry Book Shop: 'Confluence of Ideas New & Old'

"Tucked along a lightly-traveled side street away from the nearby bustle of Harvard Square in Cambridge," the Grolier Poetry Book Shop's "high shelves hold more than 15,000 works in a room no bigger than a small studio apartment. They house an eclectic collection that crosses cultures and centuries; a confluence of ideas new and old," BU News Service reported.

"It's a very small space [with a lot of] history surrounding it," said owner Ifeanyi Menkiti. "People like the closeness, the intimacy.... I [just] wanted to keep this wonderful institution going."

Over its more than 90-year history, the bookshop "has maintained a loyal--albeit niche--following of patrons young and old," BU New Service wrote.

"There are people that still love poetry," said Cassandra Taylor, the shop's intern. "There's no better place to find something you love than something that specializes specifically in that.... The shop is so old and it has so much ambiance. What's not to love about it?"

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Bart Ehrman on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Bart Ehrman, author of The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781501136702).

Today Show: Sonja and Alex Overhiser, authors of A Couple Cooks: Pretty Simple Cooking: 100 Delicious Vegetarian Recipes to Make You Fall in Love with Real Food (Da Capo Lifelong Books, $27, 9780738219691).

Fox News's Daily Briefing with Dana Perino: Mark Penn, co-author of Microtrends Squared: The New Small Forces Driving the Big Disruptions Today (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781501179914). He will also appear on Fox Business's Cavuto and the Story with Martha MacCallum.

Dr. Oz: Max Lugavere, co-author of Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life (Harper Wave, $27.99, 9780062562852).

NBC's Talk Stoop: Erika Jayne, author of Pretty Mess (Gallery, $27, 9781501181894).

The View: Amy Chua, author of Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations (Penguin Press, $28, 9780399562853).

Movies: A Disappearance in Damascus

Terry George (Hotel Rwanda, In the Name of the Father) has optioned Deborah Campbell's A Disappearance in Damascus: Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War, and will create either a feature film or limited series through his Seamus Productions, Deadline reported. He plans to adapt and direct the project.

George said he "hopes to find a production partner for the story which is about real heroism.... As I read Campbell's account, it reminded of Julia and The Killing Fields. Just like these great films, it's a powerful political story made universal by the humanity of Ahlam and Campbell. It brings to life the terrible devastation wrought on the Iraqi people through the deeply personal story of the friendship between these women and the courage both of them showed in the face of the cruelty of the Assad regime."

Books & Authors

Awards: Sunday Times EFG Short Story

An "all-American" shortlist, featuring five women and one man, has been announced for the £30,000 (about $42,135) Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, the richest in the world for a single short story. The winner will be named April 26 in London. This year's finalists are:

"Do-Over" by Curtis Sittenfeld
"F.A.Q.S" by Allegra Goodman
"Herman Melville, Volume 1" by Victor Lodato
"Life on Earth" by Molly McCloskey
"Peanuts Aren't Nuts" by Courtney Zoffness
"The Metal Bowl" by Miranda July

Book Review

Review: Circe

Circe by Madeline Miller (Little, Brown, $27 hardcover, 400p., 9780316556347, April 10, 2018)

Six years after her Orange Prize-winning novel The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller returns to ancient Greece to sing of Circe, witch, goddess and nymph, daughter of a god, lover to great men and a fearsome power in her own right.

Born to Helios the sun god and his preening wife, Perse, nymph and daughter of the river god Oceanos, Circe has neither the power nor the beauty expected of a daughter of titans. She is bullied by her brother and sister, Perses and Pasiphae, scorned by her mother as unglamorous for her yellow eyes and streaked hair, and overlooked by her father as useless for marrying off. Circe's early years in the obsidian palace of the sun bring only loneliness, until the birth of Aeetes, her youngest brother and first friend.

Before he deserts her for his own kingdom, he mentions the magical pharmaka herbs that grow in places where titans have shed their blood. Desolate, Circe falls in love with a mortal fisherman, but when she uses pharmaka to make him immortal, her nature and that of her siblings is revealed--all have some facility with witchcraft, enabling them to flout the will of the Olympian gods. Ordered by an uneasy Zeus to punish his overreaching offspring, Helios exiles unloved Circe to the island of Aiaia. Her penance turns to pleasure when Circe realizes that a bounty of herbs useful for spells grow there, and that while alone, she has the freedom to do as she wishes. Increasing her knowledge of sorcery through trial and error, Circe plans to spend the rest of her existence in happy solitude, but the Fates have other plans.

Because of her leading lady's immortality, Miller plausibly covers large swaths of mythological material in one narrative. Circe performs the duties of midwife at the birth of the Minotaur, faces down a monster of her own making, clashes with the all-powerful gods, and has run-ins and relationships with Daedalus, Athena, Prometheus, Jason, Medea and, of course, the wily and obligatory Odysseus. However, while readers will expectantly await the King of Ithaca, here he represents only one brief episode in a life rich with striving, triumph and disappointment--a welcome change for a female character most famous for sharing his bed.

Circe's world treats females, particularly nymphs, as currency at best and objects at worst. She must fight to walk a different path. Ambitious in scope, Circe is above all the chronicle of an outsider woman who uses her power and wits to protect herself and the people she loves, ultimately looking within to define herself. Readers will savor the message of standing against a hostile world and forging a new way. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: Miller's long-awaited sophomore novel returns readers to ancient Greece for a feminist retelling of the myth of Circe, the sorceress famous for beguiling Odysseus.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Marriage of Inconvenience (Knitting in the City Book 7) by Penny Reid
2. Until Harmony (Until Her/Him Book 6) by Aurora Rose Reynolds
3. Law and Beard (The Dixie Warden Rejects MC Book 8) by Penny Reid
4. One Last Time by Corinne Michaels
5. Ruin by Samantha Towle
6. The Convent's Secret (Glass and Steele Book 5) by C.J. Archer
7. Texas Trouble Series: Books 1-3 by Becky McGraw
8. Lucky Charm by Eva Luxe
9. Craft by Adriana Locke
10. Charmed by Alexa Riley
[Many thanks to!]

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