Shelf Awareness for Monday, May 14, 2018

Dutton Books: Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown

DC Zoom: Green Lantern: Legacy by Minh Le, illustrated by Andie Tong

Workman Publishing: Halloween Titles by Various - Click here for more information!

Jackson University Press: The Papaya King by Adam Pelzman

Carolrhoda Books: Ella McKeen, Kickball Queen by Beth Mills

Little Brown Books For Young Readers: Ping by Ani Castillo

Quotation of the Day

Bookselling: 'Fun, Moving, Challenging, Complex, Deeply Rewarding'

"A bookstore is part school, part party, part counseling center, and part creative workshop. It's street theater at its best. It is fun, moving, challenging, complex, and deeply rewarding work.

"Authors, publishers, customers/readers, and booksellers collaborating every second to make life more fascinating, more engaging, richer, wilder, and fairer. It's a pleasure and an odd kind of privilege. It gets in your blood."

--John Evans, co-owner, DIESEL: A Bookstore, Larkspur and Brentwood, Calif., in an interview in VoyageLA.

H1: The Big Country by Quinton Peeples, illustrated by Dennis Calero


Independent Bookstore Day, New Orleans Style

New Orleans booksellers celebrated Independent Bookstore Day 2018 this past Saturday, two weeks after their colleagues nationwide, to avoid conflicting with New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. A range of activities were held at indies across the city.

Octavia Books, Garden District Book Shop, Tubby & Coo's Mid-City Book Shop, and Blue Cypress Books partnered to offer a chance to win $100 in gift certificates to booklovers who visited all four stores as part of a scavenger hunt. Exclusive IBD literary-themed books, art, and gift items were also available.

"It's finally here!" Blue Cypress posted on Facebook Saturday, sharing a pic of its sidewalk chalkboard as well as IBD goodies. "Come celebrate Indie Bookstore Day with us and our friends at @octaviabooks, @gardendistrictbooks, and @tubbyandcoos! We have fun freebies and exclusive IBD 2018 merch! Get over here!!"

In addition, the four indies joined together to give away a limited number of Blackbird Letter Press New Orleans City Notebooks (printed in Louisiana) to customers who purchased a limited edition IBD book or item or who spent $25 or more on Saturday.

IBD display at Octavia Books.

"We had a super wonderful New Orleans Independent Bookstore Day," said Tom Lowenburg, co-owner of Octavia Books (see photos here). "The store was filled with customers, authors and activities all day. Sales were at least two-and-a-half times a typical Saturday. Most important, everyone seemed to have a fun and memorable bookstore experience.... We also enjoyed working with other local indie bookstores to put on a four-store literary scavenger hunt."

Lowenburg added that some non-traditional author moments were among Octavia's highlights: "Michael Tisserand (Eisner Award-winning author of Crazy) set up a chess board and we offered prizes for beating him. Then author Tom Piazza (A Free State) showed up with a Scrabble board and challenged Tisserand to that. They ended up playing both.... James Beard Award-winning chef Alon Shaya, who just opened his new restaurant, Saba, a few short blocks away, took time away to sign his new book, Shaya; and he brought his mother along to sit with him and meet customers.... The Book of Cheese author Liz Thorpe gave mini cheese tasting tours, while artist/author Emma Fick (Snippets of New Orleans) gave lessons on how to draw a New Orleans shotgun house."

On Facebook, Tubby & Coo's posted: "We'd like to give a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who came out for Indie Bookstore Day yesterday! You helped us have one of our most successful ones yet. And a special thanks goes out to all the creators who participated in our panel discussions: Bryan Camp, Eva Vanrell, Jose Cotto, Michael Quess Moore, Maurice Ruffin, and Christopher Romaguera. These are important conversations to have, and we are so grateful to have folks like you in our community!"

As NOLA IBD came to an end, customer @joyerancatore shared pics of her indie bookstore pilgrimage, tweeting: "What a wonderful day in #NOLA for #IBD18!! Thank you for a fun scavenger hunt, @GDBookShop, @octaviabooks, @BlueCypressBook and @tubbyandcoos!"

Abrams Books for Young Readers: Sofia Valdez, Future Prez (Questioneers) by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts

Díaz Steps Down as Pulitzer Chair; Allegations Probed

Junot Díaz earlier this year.

Junot Díaz, who has been accused of sexual misconduct and verbal abuse, has stepped down as chair of the Pulitzer Prize board and will cooperate with an independent review of the allegations commissioned by the board, the New York Times reported.

Díaz joined the board in 2010 and was made chair in April. His predecessor as chair, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, has resumed the role on a temporary basis.

At the same time, MIT, where Díaz is a professor of creative writing, is also reviewing the allegations, according to the AP, which said, too, that the Cambridge Public Library has canceled its annual Summer Reading Kick-Off featuring Díaz, an event that had been scheduled for this Wednesday, May 16.

Earlier this month, at the Sydney Writers Festival in Australia, Zinzi Clemmons, author of What We Lose, publicly questioned Díaz about his cornering her and forcibly kissing her when she invited him to speak at a workshop when she was a graduate student at Columbia. After the Festival session, she tweeted about the incident, and several others said that Díaz had engaged in bullying behavior with them.

Díaz won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2008 for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and in March published his first children's book, Islandborn. He is also the recipient of a $100,000 MacArthur "genius" grant.

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Obituary Note: Peter Mayer

Peter Mayer

Peter Mayer, the legendary publisher, head of Penguin for nearly 20 years and president of the Overlook Press and Duckworth Publishers, died on Friday at age 82 from complications relating to amyloidosis.

As Overlook Press wrote, he was "a larger-than-life character, an editor of great passion and insight, as well as a deeply loving father, grandfather and friend. Over his legendary, six-decade career in book publishing--which included nineteen years spent as the CEO of Penguin Books--Peter had a profound influence on several generations of authors and publishers.... Though he had the tough business acumen to helm multinational companies, Peter was a deeply curious and profoundly cultured man, who always had a story to share and a lesson to impart."

A Penguin Random House spokesperson said: "We are deeply saddened by the passing of our forever colleague Peter Mayer, one of the giants of trade publishing, whose long and brilliant leadership of Penguin will always be part of the DNA of Penguin Random House."

Mayer was best known for his time from 1978 to 1996 as CEO of Penguin Books, whose turnaround and expansion he led. During that period, Viking published The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, leading to a fatwah by the Ayatollah Khomeini on Rushdie and his publishers. Mayer never wavered in supporting the book, the author and the booksellers who sold the title. (And he did so openly, without going into hiding, like Rushdie.) While heading Penguin, Mayer expanded the Penguin Classics program, made it a global publishing (including the founding of Penguin India) and acquired other publishers, including Frederick Warne, publisher of Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit stories.

After beginning his publishing career at Orion Books, Mayer joined Avon Books in 1962, where during 14 years, he became editor-in-chief and publisher. At Avon, he reprinted Call It Sleep by Henry Roth, originally published in 1934, which became a bestseller. For two years, he was publisher of Pocket Books, then took over at Penguin.

In 1971, Mayer and his father, Alfred Mayer, founded Overlook Press, which specialized in out-of-print titles. Peter Mayer continued running it, as well Duckworth Publishers, whose assets he acquired in 2003. Among many other titles, Overlook has published the Collector's P.G. Wodehouse, the Freddy the Pig series and Charles Portis's work.

Peter Mayer was known by many in the business for his friendliness, his humor, his occasional sharpness, his charisma and energy, and a certain creative disorder. He's also remembered for his penchant for smoking, which he delighted in doing even--or maybe especially--when it was prohibited.

Amulet Books: In the Hall with the Knife: A Clue Mystery, Book One by Diana Peterfreund

Obituary Note: Adam Parfrey

Adam Parfrey

Adam Parfrey, the founder and publisher of Feral House press, died May 10, "but what he left behind in the alternative publishing world won't be forgotten; it will continue to provoke and inspire," Tosh Berman wrote in L.A. Weekly. Parfrey was 61. "To enter Parfrey's world was like being part of a secret society headquartered in a house with hidden passageways behind the bookcase. There is the world that is 'here,' and then there's the 'other' world. Parfrey was an expert on the 'other,' and most of us readers were pleased to have him as our guide."

On Facebook, Feral House posted: "We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love you've shown for Adam. We want you to know a few things: 1) Adam was working on a number of projects when he passed. We will shepherd them to print in the coming 12-18 months. 2) The Feral House Podcast will be speaking with Adam's friends and collaborators in the coming months. We'll be sharing those conversations with you." Feral House also asked people to share their pictures and stories about Parfrey in the Facebook post's comments section, and many did.

Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder described Parfrey as "one of the most interesting people I've ever met, with an encyclopedic knowledge of the arcane, the esoteric, and the unusual.... Adams' publishing house, Feral House, published a wide variety of books about subcultures, cults and mass movements, crime, sexuality, political theory, and history."

Frauenfelder also noted that Parfrey "wrote or edited excellent books about old, weird America," including It's a Man's World: Men's Adventure Magazines, The Postwar Pulps; Citizen Keane: The Big Lies Behind the Big Eyes; and Ritual America: Secret Brotherhoods and Their Influence on American Society.


Image of the Day: Rep Night at {pages}

{pages} a bookstore in Manhattan Beach, Calif., hosted a Publishers' Rep Pick Night celebrating summer reads and book club picks. Reps from Random House, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster and Norton discussed their favorite titles and raffled off books. More than 40 people were in attendance. Pictured: (l.-r.) Lisa Ibrahim and Casey Poma from {pages}, Kelly Stidham, Simon & Schuster; Steve Atinsky, Random House; Linda McLoughlin Figel, {pages}; Wade Lucas, Random House; Kristin Rasmussen {pages}; Mike Slack, Macmillan; and Joe Murphy, Norton.

Happy 90th Birthday, Grolier Poetry Book Shop!

Congratulations to the Grolier Poetry Book Shop in Cambridge, Mass., which celebrates its 90th anniversary this coming Saturday, May 19. The Grolier is the oldest continuously operated bookstore dedicated solely to poetry. It was founded by Adrian Gambet and Gordon Cairnie in 1927, had several owners, and in 2006, was bought by Nigerian poet and Wellesley College professor Ifeanyi Menkiti. The 404 square feet store with towering bookshelves has hosted many major poets over the years, including e e cummings, T.S. Eliot and Allen Ginsberg.

The Grolier is marking its 90th anniversary with a street fair and poetry festival on May 19 from noon to 8 p.m. on Plympton Street near Harvard Square. The event opens with the Boston Shakespeare Project's spoken word adaptation of "Twelfth Night," part of a children's program that also includes a reading by X.J. Kennedy. The afternoon continues with readings from Fred Marchant, David Ferry, Harris Gardner, Martha Collins, Kathleen Spivack, Gloria Mindock, Keith O'Shaughnessy and Partridge Boswell. Music, dance, workshops and more round out the festivities, with food available from Grafton Street Pub & Grill. A rain date is set for June 2.

NYT's 'Sunday Routine': Akashic's Johnny Temple

Johnny Temple

Johnny Temple, publisher and editor in chief of Akashic Books, was the subject of the New York Times "Sunday Routine" feature, which followed his weekend routine in Brooklyn with family and friends.

"One of my goals in life is to leave Fort Greene as little as possible," said Temple, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1990.

He also observed: "It’s ironic that I, the publisher of Go the F**k to Sleep, would have to wrestle his kids to bed, but even at this age, it can take a while for them to go down, though it's not quite like it was when they were younger. After that, I'll have about an hour or so to myself, so I'll definitely sit down for some dedicated pre-Monday work."

Casemate to Distribute Birlinn

Effective October 1, Casemate Group will provide sales, marketing, accounting, warehousing and distribution facilities for Birlinn Limited and be the exclusive distributor of Birlinn in the U.S. for print and North America for e-books. Casemate has sold Birlinn's military titles here since 2001.

Birlinn, Edinburgh, Scotland, publishes some 160 titles annually and its imprints include Origin, Polygon, BC Books, Arena Sport and John Donald. In addition to military history, Birlinn publishes biography, literary fiction, sports, poetry, children's books, academic works and Scottish interest.

Personnel Changes at Berkley; S&S Children's

Lauren Burnstein has been promoted to publicity manager at Berkley.


Diego Molano Rodriguez has joined Simon & Schuster Children's marketing department as marketing coordinator. He was most recently sales assistant at Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dave Itzkoff on Fresh Air

CBS This Morning: Sharlee Jeter and Sampson Davis, authors of The Stuff: Unlock Your Power to Overcome Challenges, Soar, and Succeed (Gallery/Jeter Publishing, $27, 9781501175152).

Fresh Air: Dave Itzkoff, author of Robin (Holt, $30, 9781627794244). He will also appear tomorrow on the Tonight Show.

Sirius XM's David Webb Show: Dr. Sam Sugar, author of Guardianships and the Elderly: The Perfect Crime (Square One, $19.95, 9780757004339).

Harry: Holly Clegg, co-author of Holly Clegg's Guy's Guide to Eating Well: A Man's Cookbook for Health and Wellness (Southwestern, $24.95, 9780999626504).

Access Hollywood Live: Mackenzie Ziegler, author of Kenzie's Rules for Life: How to Be Happy, Healthy, and Dance to Your Own Beat (Gallery, $17.99, 9781501183577).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Michael Pollan, author of How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence (Penguin Press, $28, 9781594204227).

CBS This Morning: Bret Baier, co-author of Three Days in Moscow: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Soviet Empire (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062748362).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Mark Bittman, author of How to Grill Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Flame-Cooked Food (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780544790308).

Harry: Sebastian Maniscalco, author of Stay Hungry (Gallery, $25, 9781501115974).

The View: Martha Stewart, co-author of Martha's Flowers: A Practical Guide to Growing, Gathering, and Enjoying (Clarkson Potter, $45, 9780307954770).

Daily Show: Gayle King, author of Note to Self: Inspiring Words from Inspiring People (Simon & Schuster, $20, 9781982102081).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Ronan Farrow, author of War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence (Norton, $27.95, 9780393652109).

Books & Authors

Awards: International Dylan Thomas; Pol Roger Duff Cooper

Kumukanda by Kayo Chingonyi has won the £30,000 (about $40,635) International Dylan Thomas Prize, which is sponsored by Swansea University and recognizes the "best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under."

The Prize called Kumukanda a "bold collection [that] explores black masculinity and rites of passage for young black men in Britain." Judges chair Dai Smith added: "Kayo Chingonyi has an original and distinctive voice and this collection, mature and moving, shows a young poet mastering form in various ways to reveal content which is both personal and immensely relevant to the social dilemmas of Britain today."


Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine by Anne Applebaum (Doubleday) has won the £5,000 (about $6,775) 2017 Pol Roger Duff Cooper Prize, which "celebrates the best in non-fiction writing" and is administered by the New College at Oxford University.

Chair of judges Artemis Cooper commented: "In this beautifully-written book, Applebaum takes the reader through one of the most appalling episodes of the Soviet past. Not every historian can look with such an unflinching gaze into the depths of evil and human misery, and write about it with such clarity and compassion."

Applebaum is the only author to win this prize twice: she also won in 2003 for Gulag: A History.

Book Review

Review: Tinderbox

Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation by Robert W. Fieseler (Liveright, $26.95 hardcover, 384p., 9781631491641, June 5, 2018)

Until the 2016 gun slaughter of 49 people at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, a little-discussed arson case in New Orleans was considered the deadliest attack on a gay bar. On Sunday, June 24, 1973, a fire set on the outside steps of the Up Stairs Lounge caused a harrowing inferno, taking 32 lives. Journalist Robert W. Fieseler salvages this unsettling moment in American history from the edge of forgetfulness in a remarkable, potent remembrance.

From its outset, Tinderbox distinguishes the Up Stairs fire from other galvanizing incidents in the fight for gay rights. For starters, there is no evidence that this was a hate crime, but rather "most likely... a disgruntled bar patron exacting revenge upon a rival gay clique." Moreover, the Gay Liberation uprising that followed was led largely by outsiders like Troy Perry, founding pastor of the gay-friendly Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in Los Angeles. The Big Easy fostered a laissez-faire closet for the gay community that many natives feared upsetting; while open homosexuality was despised, the rowdy French Quarter often turned a blind eye to the private liaisons of neighbors.

And it's that very don't-ask-don't-tell atmosphere that makes Fieseler's depiction of a community in crisis so memorable, so stirring. He first crafts an evocative, even romantic, portrait of gay life in New Orleans. Against a sultry summer backdrop, he details the lives of men in their element and men in love: Buddy the Up Stairs bartender ("tall and winsome") and his lover Adam ("a genteel Southern dandy") preparing for the weekly beer bust that evening; Pastor Bill Larson "standing with grace behind the altar" at the MCC chapter that used to gather in the bar; Air Force serviceman Steven Duplantis on weekend leave with his lovers Stewart Butler and Alfred Doolittle. Their lives were irrevocably altered in less than 10 excruciating minutes.

The blind eye of neighbors became maddeningly willful in the aftermath. Newspapers addressed the tragedy obliquely if at all. Neighboring churches turned away MCC's pleas. Civil rights organizations ghosted. Investigators dragged their feet and fumbled evidence. Live and let live turned on a dime to "Did you hear the one about the flaming queens?"

The Up Stairs Lounge fire marks a complicated moment in LGBT history, between 1969's Stonewall riots and 1983--when "about five new AIDS cases were being reported every day in the United States" and the FDA banned blood donations from men who have sex with men, still in effect today. Fieseler handles his subject with deep consideration to historical context. He notes the negative influence the film Deliverance bore on public opinion of homosexuality, and spotlights the inspiring turnout of gay men at blood-drives for burn victims.

It's indescribably moving to learn in a final author's note that survivors hesitant to speak on the record for Tinderbox came forward with urgency after the Pulse massacre. Their testimonies, Fieseler's rigorous research and his amiable prose make this a vital, inspiring volume in the annals of gay history. --Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: Journalist Robert Fieseler sifts through the ashes of a nearly forgotten tragedy that took 32 lives in a New Orleans gay bar.

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