Also published on this date: Wednesday, April 25, 2018: Maximum Shelf: On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity & Getting Old

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Atheneum Books: Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Danica Novgorodoff

Tor Books: Winter's Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Penguin Random House Congratulates Jacqueline Woodson, Winner of a 2020 MacArthur Genius Grant

Amulet Books: Heiress Apparently (Daughters of the Dynasty) by Diana Ma

Minotaur Books: The Lost Village by Camilla Sten, translated by Alexandra Fleming

Haymarket Books: We Still Here: Pandemic, Policing, Protest and Possibility by Marc Lamont Hill, edited by Frank Barat

DK Publishing: Oceanology: The Secrets of the Sea Revealed by DK

Quotation of the Day

Opening Indie Bookshop Was a Winning Bet

"When I opened an independent bookshop in Kilcullen, Co. Kildare on September 28th, 2016, a lot of people told me that I was foolish. Some were blunt, coming into the bookshop to tell me in person that people didn't buy books and that Kindles were the future. Some were more diplomatic, waiting until it was obvious that the bookshop was flourishing to tell me about their initial fears. My favorite was the man who came in and told me that he and his friend had made a €5 bet that the shop wouldn't be open in six months. Thankfully, he had put his money on us being open and he told me that having seen the shop, he was going to raise the stakes to €10. He also bought a book so on balance, it was a welcome visit."

--Dawn Behan, owner of Woodbine Books in Kilcullen, which was named Ireland's Independent Bookshop of the Year [the overall winner will be announced May 14 at the British Book Awards ceremony], in the Irish Times

Berkley Books: The Last Night in London by Karen White


Comey's A Higher Loyalty: 600,000 Copies Sold in First Week

James Comey's A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership sold more than 600,000 copies in its first week, becoming the #1 bestseller in all formats and accounts, as well as the bestselling English-language book in the world, according to Flatiron Books president Bob Miller and publisher Amy Einhorn, who also noted that the book has already gone to press several times. There are now more than a million copies of the book in print. The impressive sales numbers run counter to some early negative press from right-wing sources that had contended the book was not performing up to expectations.

"In a sign of how fraught and politicized the conversation surrounding the book has become," the New York Times wrote, "Amazon limited reviews of A Higher Loyalty to Amazon customers who have purchased the book through the site, presumably to prevent trolls and cheerleaders who haven't read the book from skewing the ratings."

Comey is currently on a sold-out, 10-city tour in support of the book and has had numerous media appearances. This week he will do a CNN Town Hall and will appear on Fox News, where he will be interviewed by anchor Bret Baier.

The controversy "piques people's interest," Anne Holman, manager of the King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, told the Wall Street Journal. "They want to see what it's all about. And in this case, the gloves have come off." Noting that the store quickly sold out of the title and has since reordered it seven times, Holman added: "People are looking for answers, or ways to understand what's happening in our country."

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 10.19.20

Booksellers on the Benefits of Batch

"It was built to help booksellers and the book trade to create efficiencies, and this is what it does," said Fraser Tanner, managing director of Batch. Owned by the Booksellers Association of the U.K. and Ireland, Batch is a free electronic payment and invoice system for booksellers that was created in 2000. It allows bookstores to view publisher invoices and schedule payments, and manage credits and returns, all in one place.

Batch now operates in 65 countries around the world, in markets as different and diverse as the European Union, Japan and Brazil, and while conversations about bringing Batch to the U.S. have been going on for years, both Tanner and American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher are optimistic that U.S. booksellers would finally have access to the system in the not-too-distant future.

A pilot version of Batch has been in testing with a group of ABA-member stores and U.S. publishers for several months. Although no money can actually change hands during this test, the aim is to give all parties involved a chance to see how the system works and what exactly it would take to adapt Batch to the U.S. way of doing things.

"I believe there is a viable American version of Batch," said Teicher. He could not give any specifics about when an U.S. version might finally be rolled out, but he did say that given the feedback from both booksellers and publishers, he remained optimistic that "we're going to be able to pull this off." The hope, he continued, is to be able to put something together "that will save booksellers money and publishers money" and "make the book trade a whole lot more efficient."

Robert Sindelar, president of the ABA and managing partner of Third Place Books in Seattle, Wash., has been in the testing program since 2017. Though he has not had the chance to use it actually to pay bills, he said the system's potential to save time is readily apparent.

He described the interface as "incredibly simple" and liked the possibility of being able to pay all major accounts without "shifting gears" between different publishers' ways of doing things. There would be no more remembering that for one publisher you have to go to their website, for another you can pay only by check, and for a third you can pay electronically. He added that being able to see everything clearly in one place, presented in a standardized format, made it easy "to imagine the amount of time you would save."

Another benefit would be the ability for staff members to communicate with each other through Batch. Sindelar explained that the system allows for "anybody touching the order on our end" to communicate "very seamlessly with the person who's going to pay the bill." As an example, Sindelar mentioned that booksellers can log information like credits for damaged books being approved and have it all readily available.

Prior to buying The Bookshop in Bridport, England, in 2015, Antonia Squire spent 10 years as a bookseller in the U.S., working at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park and The Reading Bug in San Carlos, Calif. While Squire was not responsible for accounts payable at either store, she did watch it being done and remembers how much time it would take. What is necessary in the U.S. and Batch, she said, "simply don't compare. [Batch] is so much simpler for both publishers and booksellers."

When asked what it was like paying bills and receiving through Batch, Squire replied that the quick answer was "easy." With Batch, she continued, the store has "complete control over what gets paid and when, basically all you have to do is authorize the invoices and Batch takes care of the rest." She doesn't need to spend time writing checks and putting them in the mail or making sure that credits are applied to the appropriate invoices. Noted Squire: "It's all automatic."

"When you convert to Batch you will have so much more time to sell books," Squire continued. She added that in her opinion Batch was "as great a game-changer for booksellers as Edelweiss was in terms of meaningful efficiencies."

Tanner reported that feedback from U.S. booksellers who have had a chance to see a demo of Batch has been "hugely enthusiastic," and "the word 'awesome' has been used." Like Teicher, Tanner could not give an estimate of when Batch would finally be rolled out in this country, but he was equally optimistic "that this is going go through."

The final hurdle, he explained, is getting the commitment of publishers and wholesalers, who pay for the service. But Tanner noted that as publishers have found in the U.K. and elsewhere, "there are tremendous benefits for everyone to deal electronically. Batch really does save everyone time and money." --Alex Mutter

Broadleaf Books: Inspiring New Nonfiction from Broadleaf Books!

Lambda Literary to Honor Roxanne Gay, Edmund White

Lambda Literary has announced that Edmund White will receive this year's Visionary Award, and Roxane Gay the Trustee Award during the 30th annual Lambda Literary Awards ("Lammys"), hosted by Kate Clinton and taking place June 4 in New York City. Winning authors in 23 LGBTQ literary categories will be honored. White will be introduced by actor Alan Cumming, while author Rebecca Solnit introduces Gay.

"The contributions of this year's special honorees, Edmund White and Roxane Gay, have inspired readers and writers around the world," said Tony Valenzuela, Lambda Literary executive director. "We are privileged to celebrate their tremendous contributions at this year's Lammy Awards."

HMH, Jumpstart Partner on Read for the Record Campaign

Jumpstart, a national early education organization, is partnering with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Books for Young Readers division on Jumpstart's annual Read for the Record campaign, which raises awareness about "the need for high-quality early learning for all children and the transformative power of books and reading to impact student learning and engagement."

This year's book selection is Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy and‎ Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael López.

Illustrator Rafael López introducing Read for the Record.

A limited number of special-edition paperback copies of the book will be sold exclusively by Jumpstart in both English and Spanish. They will feature reading tips, vocabulary words, reading comprehension questions, and activity guides developed by Jumpstart's team of early education experts. All proceeds help bring the organization's program to preschool children in under-resourced communities across the country.

The campaign culminates October 25, when adults will celebrate Read for the Record Day by reading Maybe Something Beautiful to young children in their communities. The initiative will also be part of an attempt to beat the world record for most people reading the same book at the same time.

"Read for the Record shines a bright spotlight on the invaluable role adults can play to support children's learning and relationships by reading aloud with them--helping children to make sense of the world around them, develop empathy, and ignite their imaginations," said Naila Bolus, Jumpstart president and CEO. "This year's book selection celebrates that imagination and creativity in such an inspiring way, and I can't wait to see this story come alive during the campaign this fall."

Catherine Onder, senior v-p and publisher of HMH Books for Young Readers, commented: "We are thrilled to be working with Jumpstart on this year's Read for the Record campaign, and to play a role in its crucial mission to build children's literacy skills. The ideas expressed in Maybe Something Beautiful, about the transformative power of art and how small actions can bring people together, couldn't be more timely or important. With its real-life inspirations, this is a story that lets children know that they have the ability to make a difference."

Obituary Note: Beatrix Hamburg

Beatrix Hamburg, "who after breaking racial barriers at two major colleges became an important researcher in child development and psychology, working on subjects like school violence and peer counseling for students," died on April 15, the New York Times reported. She was 94. Dr. Hamburg "was the first self-identifying black woman to graduate from Vassar College, in 1944, and in 1948 she became the first black woman to graduate from the Yale Medical School," the Times noted.

Dr. Hamburg's research focused on young people and the importance of examining their needs and psychological development in the modern age. Her books include Learning to Live Together: Preventing Hatred and Violence in Child and Adolescent Development (co-authored with David Hamburg, 2004); as well as Violence in American Schools: A New Perspective, which she co-edited with Delbert S. Elliott and Kirk R. Williams (1998), and School-Age Pregnancy and Parenthood: Biosocial Dimensions, co-edited with Jane B. Lancaster.


Image of the Day: IPG's Bookstore Trolley Tour

As part of the IPG Publisher Summit last weekend in Chicago, attendees visited area bookstores: the trolley took publishers to Quimby's Books in Wicker Park, Barnes & Noble at Clybourn & Webster, and then to Women & Children First, where co-owner Sarah Hollenbeck shared the store's history and what they look for in books to feature. The final stop was Suzy Takac's The Book Cellar, where everyone enjoyed wine, a delicious cheese spread and great conversation.

Bookshop Chalkboard of the Day: I Am Books

I Am Books, the Boston bookshop that was forced to close briefly last week for repairs after suffering water damage, reopened for the weekend and showcased its resiliency with a message on the store's sidewalk sandwich board: "Tiny but mighty... that's us!"

On Facebook, I Am Books posted Saturday: "What a day! We reopened after the flooding, had a children's reading in the morning and the inimitable IAWA literary reading and open mic in the evening. So much love, so much passion. Our rebel girl bookstore is back!"

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kathleen Belew on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Kathleen Belew, author of Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America (Harvard University Press, $29.95, 9780674286078).

CBS This Morning: Jake Tapper, author of The Hellfire Club (Little, Brown, $27, 9780316472319).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Barbara Hannah Grufferman, author of Love Your Age: The Small-Step Solution to a Better, Longer, Happier Life (National Geographic, $19.99, 9781426218323).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: H. Jon Benjamin, author of Failure Is an Option: An Attempted Memoir (Dutton, $26, 9781524742164).

TV: Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City

Netflix has ordered a 10-episode limited series revival of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City, with production expected to start later this year for premiere in 2019. Deadline reported that Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis "will reprise their roles as Mary Ann Singleton and Anna Madrigal. Barbara Garrick, who played DeDe Halcyon Day in the original miniseries, also is set to return. Ellen Page joins the cast as Shawna, the daughter of Linney's character."

Based on Maupin's books, the new series "follows Mary Ann (Linney), who returns home to San Francisco and is reunited with her daughter Shawna (Page) and ex-husband Brian, 20 years after leaving them behind to pursue her career. Fleeing the midlife crisis that her picture-perfect Connecticut life created, Mary Ann returns home to her chosen family and will quickly be drawn back into the orbit of Anna Madrigal (Dukakis) and the residents of 28 Barbary Lane," Deadline wrote.

Lauren Morelli (Orange Is the New Black) is the project's showrunner/executive producer and writer. Maupin will executive produce; Alan Poul returns to direct and executive produce. Linney also executive produces.

Books & Authors

Awards: Intl. Arabic Fiction Winner; Albertine Finalists

The Second War of the Dog by Ibrahim Nasrallah won the 2018 International Prize for Arabic Fiction. In addition to the $50,000 cash prize, funding will be provided for the book's English translation.

Chair of Judges Ibrahim Al Saafin praised the winning title as "a masterful vision of a dystopian future in a nameless country, using fantasy and science fiction techniques. With humor and insight, it exposes the tendency towards brutality inherent in society, imagining a time where human and moral values have been discarded and anything is permissible, even the buying and selling of human souls."


Finalists have been named for the $10,000 Albertine Prize, which is co-presented by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and Van Cleef & Arpels to recognize "American readers' favorite French-language fiction title that has been translated into English and distributed in the US within the preceding calendar year." The winning author and translator will be honored at a ceremony on June 6. The finalists, voted on by readers, are:

Incest by Christine Angot, translated by Tess Lewis
Compass by Mathias Énard,translated by Charlotte Mandell
Not One Day by Anne Garreta, translated by Emma Ramadan
The End of Eddy by Edouard Louis, translated by Michael Lucey
Black Moses by Alain Mabanckou, translated by Helen Stevenson

Reading with... Michelle Dean

photo: John Midgely

Michelle Dean is a journalist, critic and the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle's 2016 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing. A contributing editor at the New Republic, she has written for the New Yorker, the Nation, the New York Times MagazineSlateNew York magazine, ElleHarper's and BuzzFeed. She lives in Los Angeles. Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion (Grove Press, April 10, 2018) is her first book.

On your nightstand now:

I've been trading off between Helen Garner's This House of Grief, Vivian Gornick's Approaching Eye Level and Lisa Halliday's Asymmetry. I tend to read a few books at once right now, because I have finally reached a point where not every book I read is something I have to review, and I get to dally and actually enjoy them and think, well, today I need a little more Gornick but tomorrow I'd like some Halliday.

Favorite book when you were a child:

This is a difficult one, because I read so much. But probably Emily of New Moon, tied with Anne of Green Gables. I had a stereotypically white Canadian upbringing, and these two girls were presented as models of what I could and should be. I fancied myself weirder than the average child (which was probably true in a less self-aggrandizing way) so of course lightly preferred Emily to Anne.

Your top five authors:

You know, it changes all the time. I've noticed I seem to prefer Commonwealth writers to American ones, a leftover from a Canadian literary education. At the more established end of my preferences, I love Alice Munro and Michael Ondaatje and pretty much everything Ian McEwan wrote up to Saturday. But I've also in recent years become addicted to Sarah Waters and Tana French, who are producing the kind of fiction that you can read 20 times over and discover new things hidden in the folds.

Book you've faked reading:

I've not exactly faked it, but I've tried to read Infinite Jest and have never been able to quite get through it. I know a lot of people must pick that one, but I think I have an unusual reason for my aversion. It's not that I find Wallace long-winded or even bro-ish. It's actually because it touches on a very real conflict where I'm from--the Québecois defense of the French language--and treats it so trivially I can't bear to read those sections of the book. For me it's not a fun issue. But explaining this to Americans can get pretty grim, so usually I just talk about the parts I have read and liked, i.e., the Don Gately bits.

Book you're an evangelist for:

It's more of an author, for me. I often encourage people to pick up the work of a British writer named Elizabeth Taylor. That name kind of doomed her to semi-obscurity, but she wrote these wonderfully philosophical little novels about the countryside.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I get so many books free now that this doesn't really apply. Also, maybe unusually for someone of my interests, when I do buy contemporary I tend to buy e-books now. But when I was researching Sharp, I did go back and get myself some original editions of the books I liked because I wanted the original covers. I wanted a copy of The Group with the flowers on the cover, for example.

Book you hid from your parents:

My parents were so surprised by my voraciousness they didn't monitor what I read at all. But I definitely read a few sex novels that hid in plain sight, the Jean Auel books about cave people that were full of sex and then of course V.C. Andrews. But not once did anybody censor my choices, and I'm kind of in favor of that as a parenting style.

Book that changed your life:

The Journalist and the Murderer taught me that journalism could actually be intellectually complex, something I think I did not know before I read it around age 30. (I was a late bloomer.)

Favorite line from a book:

I love something George Eliot wrote in sympathy with horrible Casaubon in Middlemarch, and which I've thought about a lot when reporting out some stories: "for we all of us, grave or light, get our thoughts entangled in metaphors, and act fatally on the strength of them."

Five books you'll never part with:

My battered copy of Emily of New Moon, Janet Malcolm's The Silent Woman, Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth, Alice Munro's Dear Life and this really old book of fairytales my parents bought me in the early 1980s illustrated by a Czech artist named Jirí Trnka.

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

Honestly, Tana French's Broken Harbour, which astonished me the first time I read it. You sort of should read her three prior books before you get to it, but it was the first contemporary book in a long time that made me wonder: Hey, how'd she do that?

Book Review

Children's Review: The Boy, the Bird, and the Coffin Maker

The Boy, the Bird, and the Coffin Maker by Matilda Woods, illus. by Anuska Allepuz (Philomel, $16.99 hardcover, 208p., ages 8-12, 9780525515210, May 15, 2018)

Allora is a town where "fish jump out of the sea and straight into your mouth." A town where "you never get cold because even in winter the sun keeps the snow away." And, best of all, Allora is a town "so far away from everything else," he will never find them again.

Sadly for the boy and "his little bird and only friend," his mum's stories about Allora are exaggerations. One year after their arrival, his mother has died, and young Tito Bonito is cold, hungry and stealing food from kindly coffin maker Alberto. Some 30 years ago, a plague struck Allora, and Alberto lost his entire family to "the sickness." Now the old man lives alone in his quiet house, building coffins during the day so the dead may rest comfortably, and working on his own coffin at night. When Tito and his bird find their way to him, Alberto's somber routine begins to change.

After setting a trap to catch the thief, Alberto is surprised to discover that the culprit is a child whose face has the likeness "of a woman he had buried five weeks before." Even though Tito flees, the old man vows to solve the mystery of who is caring for this frightened boy, and to help "as best [he] can." Alberto begins leaving food out, and Tito grows comfortable enough to come back every day. He joins the coffin maker in his workshop, learning, talking, working, "and for the first time in thirty years, the room [echoes] with two voices instead of one." But Tito is still "absolutely terrified" about something, and it takes nearly dying in a bitter storm before he fully accepts the new home Alberto so freely offers.

Just as Allora is a town of "impossibilities," where you "tilt your head toward the sky to see magic every day and deep into every night," so is the legendary Isola Mountain, in a story Alberto reads to Tito each evening. Isola is a place of enchantment, home to trees made of silver, flowers made of rubies and blades of grass made of emeralds. But perhaps most fantastical of all things in Matilda Woods's delightful novel is Tito's "bright little bird," Fia, whose eyes flicker gold when she spies gentle Alberto for the first time. When the reason for Tito's fears materializes, Fia brings all of the magic of Isola to bear in forging a solution.

Woods has penned a gentle fable, one rich in hope that promotes the strength of kindness. Her magical realism nods to the likes of Isabel Allende and Gabriel García Márquez, perfectly tailoring the genre for a middle-grade audience. Anuska Allepuz's whimsical illustrations add to the magical feel. Sweet, earnest and not to be missed. --Lynn Becker, blogger and host of Book Talk, a monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI

Shelf Talker: Lonely Alberto's days are transformed when a young, scared boy and his magical bird become part of his life.

AuthorBuzz: Harper: You Can Go Home Now by Michael Elias
AuthorBuzz: BookLocker: Regaining Paradise: Forming a New Worldview, Knowing God, and Journeying into Eternity by Paul Corson
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