Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Amistad Press: Juba! by Walter Dean Myers

Lerner: Christmas Book Giveaway

DK: Star Wars Absolutely Everything You Need to Know by Adam Bray, Kerrie Dougherty, Cole Horton & Michael Kogge

Atria: Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie

Charlesbridge: Currents by Jane Petrlik Smolik

Vertigo: Get Jiro! by Anthony Bourdain

Shadow Mountain: Sweets and Treats by Six Sisters' Stuff

Shadow Mountain: Janitors: Heroes of the Dustbin by Tyler Whitesides

News

BAM Converting a Gainesville, Fla., Store to 2nd & Charles

Books-A-Million is converting one of its two stores in Gainesville, Fla., into a 2nd & Charles store, the Gainesville Sun reported. 2nd & Charles stores buy and sell used books and other media, including CDs, DVDs and video games.

The BAM store closed on August 22 and is currently being remodeled. Some 23 of Books-A-Million's 255 stores are 2nd & Charles outlets.


Poisoned Pen Press: The Traitor by Sydney Horler & Silent Nights edited by Martin Edwards


Chard deNiord New Vermont Poet Laureate

Chard deNiord

Chard deNiord has been appointed Vermont poet laureate, succeeding Sydney Lea, who was named to the post in 2011. Seven Days reported that one of his goals "is to break down the walls of fear and intimidation many people feel toward poetry. Instead, he wants to help Vermonters, especially young people, to hear and appreciate poetry as 'essential language' that need not be reserved for weddings, funerals and other special occasions." His installation as state poet takes place November 2 in a ceremony at the Vermont Statehouse.

"I was stunned and humbled by this. I didn't expect it at all," said deNiord, a co-founder of the New England College MFA program in poetry. His books include poetry collections Interstate, Asleep in the Fire, Sharp Golden Thorn, Night Mowing and The Double Truth, as well as a collection of interviews with various American poets titled Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Songs.

DeNiord "joins an exclusive club," Seven Days noted. Vermont's first poet laureate, Robert Frost, was appointed in 1961 and served until 1963, after which there was a long gap until Galway Kinnell was named poet laureate in 1989. Since then, Louise Glück, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Grace Paley, Ruth Stone and Lea have held the position.


Charlesbridge: Currents by Jane Petrlik Smolik


Survey: Millennials H8 Bad Grammar & Spelling

While older generations may consider themselves the last guardians of the grammar gates, a new survey commissioned by Dictionary.com revealed that Millennials have high standards as well. According to a recent online Harris Poll, 80% of American adults 18 and older consider themselves good spellers, while 71% "responded that they often find spelling mistakes in correspondence from others," the Associated Press reported. Among respondents 18 to 34, 74% "said they were irked by such slips on social media--more than any other age group."

"While we'd assume they'd be accustomed to seeing and using abbreviated speech and lingo because they are a tech-savvy generation, we actually found that they have much higher standards," said Dictionary.com CEO Liz McMillan. "The poll was a great way to get a sense for how people really feel about the way we communicate, whether through our speech, social media posts or even signs and restaurant menus."

The survey also found that women (75%) notice grammar and spelling mistakes more than men (66%), and "across all age groups, 59% said improper grammar is their biggest beef when it comes to the English language," the AP wrote.


Hampton Roads Publishing: Pope Francis' Little Book of Wisdom compiled by Andrea Kirk Assaf


Obituary Note: Paul Kropp

Canadian author and publisher Paul Kropp, who wrote more than 70 books, co-founded High Interest Publishing and "will be remembered by the generations of reluctant readers whose lives he touched with his books," died August 22, the Toronto Globe & Mail reported. He was 67.

In a tribute on her blog, author Sandra Gulland wrote: "He was/is--oh, these painful past tenses!--so very dear to my heart, someone I worked closely with for decades. He was the creator and primary author of Series Canada and Series 2000, more popularly known then as 'the Paul Kropp' books.

"The books were 'High/Low'--High Interest, Low Vocabulary--aimed to lure reluctant teen readers into the magical realm of fiction. (And succeeded.) I was the free-lance editor hired by the publisher to make it happen. This was 1978... I learned so much from him."


Random House: Slade House by David Mitchell


Notes

Image of the Day: Left Field Books

Left Bank Books was at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo., Saturday evening selling copies of Senator Claire McCaskill's new memoir, Plenty Ladylike (Simon & Schuster). The event was the 2015 Missouri Democratic Party dinner, attended by about 500 constituents and elected officials. Pictured: Jarek Steele and Kris Kleindienst, flanking Senator McCaskill.

Kleindienst added, "Back when Hillary Clinton came through on her first book tour, she met with McCaskill at my desk at the Left Bank offices to discuss McCaskill's desire to run for U.S. Senate. And when McCaskill met Jarek at the ballpark, she said, 'Didn't you write that article about Black Lives Matter? It was very good. Thank you.' "


'Avid Readers Support' Avid Bookshop

Since opening Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga., in 2011, "Our sales numbers have increased significantly year by year, and each year we have exceeded my already-high sales goals," owner Janet Geddis told the Banner-Herald. "The Athens community really supports us and shows their support in many ways, including by voting with their dollars and spending money at Avid. We're very grateful."

Events and public relations manager Rachel Watkins said the enthusiasm of Avid's bookselling team of "literary geeks" has fueled the store's growth: "Every time we read a book, we review it and we tweet about it to the author and publisher. It's personal relationships with social media that build our business."

"I wanted Avid to be a community gathering spot and a place for people to discover new books and new friends," Geddis observed, adding: "We want to find just that perfect book that will change your life for the better. We want to serve as a hub for open conversation between people of all backgrounds and a spot where people of all ages and reading habits can feel welcome and comfortable.


Bloggers Who 'Encourage Their Readers to Shop Indie'

In a post headlined "Book Blogging, Indie Style," on its Musing blog, Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn., offered some love and a shoutout to book bloggers who celebrate independent bookstores.

Nicole Brinkley

Special attention was paid to the #AtMyBookstore hashtag online recently, which was "a campaign dreamed up by Nicole Brinkley of YA Interrobang, a site where YA bloggers gather to discuss the books they love. The idea? To get book bloggers out from behind the screen for a moment and into local bookstores to browse books in real life," Musing noted.  

Brinkley--who is also a bookseller at Oblong Books & Music, Rhinebeck, N.Y.--wrote: "There are few places that bibliophiles love more than a bookstore.... But we're told bookstores are failing, or that nobody visits them. We sometimes forget to mention them amidst the online sales and quick Internet purchases, or choose to pre-order books through easy online forms instead of visiting a local store and ordering through them. Let's show our bookstores some love."

Musing "decided we'd show the love right back" by highlighting several indie-loving bloggers, adding that the "list goes on and on and on, and we're barely scratching the surface."



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Salman Rushdie on Tonight

Tomorrow morning on Morning Joe: Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney, authors of Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America (Threshold Editions, $28, 9781501115417).

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Tomorrow night on the Tonight Show: Salman Rushdie, author of Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights: A Novel (Random House, $28, 9780812998917).

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Tomorrow night on a repeat of the Late Late Show with James Corden: Judd Apatow, author of Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy (Random House, $27, 9780812997576).


Movies: He Named Me Malala Trailer

A new trailer has been released for Davis Guggenheim's (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for "Superman") documentary film He Named Me Malala, which chronicles the life and work of activist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, author of I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, Indiewire reported. The film opens October 2.


Books & Authors

Awards: Kelpies; HWA Debut Crown; Rona Jaffe

Mark Smith has won this year's £2,000 (about $3,080) Kelpies Prize for Scottish Children's Writing for Slug Boy Saves the World. The award "was set up by Edinburgh-based publisher Floris Books and is given annually to the best children's book set in Scotland by a first-time author." As winner, Smith also receives a publishing contract and his book will be released next year. Senior commissioning editor Eleanor Collins said Slug Boy Saves the World "stood out with its fresh voice and hilarious characterization of the world's least likely superhero."

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A shortlist has been unveiled for the £2,000 (about $3,080) Historical Writers' Association's Debut Crown Award for historical fiction, the Bookseller reported. The winner will be named in October at the Harrogate History Festival. This year's shortlisted titles are:

The Spring of Kasper Meier by Ben Fergusson
Wake by Anna Hope
The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson
The Winter Pilgrims by Toby Clements
The Good Italian by Stephen Burke
The Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter

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The Rona Jaffe Foundation is giving its 21st annual Writers' Awards to six emerging women writers of exceptional talent, who will receive $30,000 each: Meehan Crist, Vanessa Hua, Ashley M. Jones, Britteney Black Rose Kapri, Amanda Rea and Natalie Haney Tilghman.


Book Review

Review: Under the Udala Trees

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta (Houghton Mifflin, $26 hardcover, 9780544003446, September 22, 2015)

Marriage equality has created so much conversation in the United States recently that it is perhaps easy to forget that gay rights are a global battleground. This first novel from Chinelo Okparanta (after the story collection Happiness, Like Water) throws into sharp relief the historical and continuing struggles of the LGBTQ population of Nigeria.

After Ijeoma's father dies in a bombing raid during the Nigerian civil war in 1968, she is sent to live with a grammar school teacher and his wife while Ijeoma's mother returns to her parents' village, promising to send for her. Weeks and then months pass without any summons. While she waits, Ijeoma becomes a de facto servant to her hosts, but her lot is lightened when she rescues an orphaned girl her age, Amina. Although Amina belongs to the Hausa, which means her people were on the opposite side of the war from Ijeoma's, the teacher and his wife grudgingly agree to let her stay. The girls play together, work side by side and share a bed. Soon their friendship blossoms into first love, but when their feelings are discovered, they face severe consequences. So begins Ijeoma's life as a lesbian in deeply religious Nigeria, where homosexual relationships are not accepted. To Ijeoma, though, none of the religious reeducation her mother forces on her is dissuades her from her feelings. The examples her mother takes from the Bible to prove that homosexuality is an abomination only convince Ijeoma that society treats women cruelly. As she grows to womanhood, Ijeoma constantly faces the complications of hiding her true self, the impossibility of fitting into the single mold offered to women in her culture.

Though understandably filled with sorrow, Ijeoma's life also reflects a spirit so strong even its owner cannot break it. Tragedy and oppression shape her path, but her inarguable sense of self and her longing to experience great love make turning away from Okparanta's heroine impossible. While Ijeoma is a multi-faceted character who thinks and feels deeply, at her core she echoes the simple human desire to find acceptance for her true self. Okparanta dexterously layers her story with historical events and Nigerian folktales to give a fuller picture of both the beauty and conflict of the country and its cultures. Despite an endnote that emphasizes the continuing lack of acceptance for anything other than heterosexuality in Nigeria, Okparanta still manages to leave readers hopeful for a better future through love and courage. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: A young girl falls in love with another girl and faces persecution in a story that gives voice to the struggles of Nigeria's LGBTQ population.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. Four Week Fiancé by JS Cooper and Helen Cooper
2. Love After Dark (McCarthys of Gansett Island Book 13) by Marie Force
3. Something Beautiful: A Novella by Jamie McGuire
4. Cocky Bastard by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland
5. The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep by Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin
6. Tempt Me Like This (The Morrisons Volume 2) by Bella Andre
7. First 100 Words by Roger Priddy
8. Killer Tails by Various
9. Two Minutes (Paranormal Romance Book 6) by Dannika Dark
10. Hate F*@k: The Complete Story by Ainsley Booth

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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