Also published on this date: Wednesday, June 26, 2013: Maximum Shelf: Mother, Mother

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, June 26, 2013


HarperCollins: Dear Girl, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal, illustrated by Holly Hatam

Little Brown and Company: The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison

Houghton Mifflin: Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein: Based on a True Story by Jennifer Roy with Ali Fadhil

Tarcherperigee: F You Very Much: Understanding the Culture of Rudeness--And What We Can Do about It by Danny Wallace

News

Happy Jerry Pinkney Day!

The city of Philadelphia, Jerry Pinkney's birthplace, has declared June 26th "Jerry Pinkney Day" throughout Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The 2010 winner of the Caldecott Medal for his book The Lion and the Mouse will be the subject of an exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art called "Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney." The show opens on June 28 in the Special Exhibitions Gallery of the Perelman Building and runs through September 22, 2013.

The show displays nearly five decades of work by the celebrated Philadelphia-born illustrator and comprises more than 100 images, including designs for record album covers, commissions for African-American historic sites, and illustrations from his award-winning children’s books, including The Lion and the Mouse, The Patchwork Quilt (1985), John Henry (1994), Minty, A Story of Young Harriet Tubman (1996) and Black Cowboy, Wild Horses: A True Story (1998).


William Morrow & Company: My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie


Legato Publishers Group Signs First 20 Publishers

Legato Publishers Group, the affiliate of Perseus's Publishers Group West that was formed earlier this year and is headed by Mark Suchomel, former president of Independent Publishers Group, has signed 20 publishers as clients. Excluding Buffalo Media Works, which Legato will begin distributing immediately, the "founding publishers" are current IPG clients and will be distributed by Legato beginning January 1.

Legato Publishers Group aims to build a client list of 30 to 40 publishers over the next two to three years. Its headquarters are in Chicago, and its distribution center is in Jackson, Tenn.

The publishers are:

  • Amherst Media
  • Aviation Supplies & Academics
  • Bailiwick Press
  • BlueBridge Books
  • Bright Ring Publishing
  • Buffalo Media Works
  • Clavis Books
  • Duo Press
  • ECW Press
  • Findhorn Press
  • Medallion Media Group
  • Nomad Press
  • Our World of Books
  • Roaring Forties Press
  • Santa Monica Press
  • Search Press
  • Tachyon Publications
  • Trafalgar Square Books
  • Visible Ink Press
  • Waterford Press

Binc Foundation: Helping Booksellers #MoreThanEver Donation Campaign


New Indie Bookstore Opening in Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, Mich., is getting a new independent bookstore next month. Peter and Megan Blackshear have tentatively planned an August soft opening for Bookbound, which will be located in a 2,400-square-foot space at the Courtyard Shops on Plymouth Rd., Concentrate reported. Peter worked as a bargain book buyer at Borders for 12 years before the chain went out of business.

The Blackshears chose Courtyard Shops, a small retail and dining development, because it felt more like a community than most other non-downtown commercial areas. "Courtyard is a really nice alternative to downtown," said Megan. "A lot of the businesses are owner-operated. It's not a typical strip mall; it's a neighborhood."
 
In addition to new books, a "generous children's section" and a limited number of used books, the bargain book area will be a key category because of Peter's experience. "One of the big things that is causing the brick and mortar bookstores to suffer is the competition from Amazon and other low-cost retailers," he said. "By throwing the bargain books in the mix, we'll be able compete with Amazon."
 
A grand opening is being planned for September. Bookbound is the latest addition to an indie revival in Ann Arbor. In April, Literati Bookstore opened downtown.


Page Street Kids: Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Meyer


ABA Debut Authors Program Ready to Make Debut

Following last fall's Thanks for Shopping Indie program and this past spring's Celebrate Debut Authors with Indies promotion, the American Booksellers Association is gearing up for its next initiative: Indies Introduce Debut Authors.

"After the success of the Small Business Saturday promotion, we [the ABA] talked a lot about how we could continue to work with publishers," explained Joy Dallanegra-Sanger, the ABA's senior program officer. "Debut authors kept coming up, because the indies are so instrumental in bringing debut authors to new readers."

The Debut Authors promotion, which begins in August and will last until the end of the year, features a range of promo materials and incentives but differs from this spring's campaign in one major way: the featured titles were chosen by booksellers. Thirteen booksellers, divided between an adult committee and a children's book committee, read manuscript after manuscript and deliberated for nearly two months. The results were the 22 titles (12 adult books, both fiction and nonfiction, and 10 children's books) announced at the beginning of May. Betsy Burton of the King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, chaired the adult committee, while Becky Quiroga Curtis of Books & Books, with stores in south Florida, New York and the Cayman Islands, chaired the children's committee. Both panels included booksellers from across the country.

"I think what's so great about this program is that it feels organic," said Wendy Sheanin, director of marketing for Simon & Schuster's adult publishing group. "To have these booksellers endorse these titles is hands-down the strength of the program. It's not a bunch of publishers telling you what you should be excited about. These booksellers are tastemakers."

The adult committee read more than 35 manuscripts during the selection process. Members ranked and rated each submission in a shared spreadsheet maintained by Dallanegra-Sanger, and held frequent conference calls to discuss the books. According to Burton, there weren't many narrow cuts--stand-out books rose to the top fairly quickly. The children's committee followed a similar method, reading about 20 titles for younger readers.

"For the most part, the people on the panel were buyers at their stores," Burton said. "They were all very thoughtful readers. I found it such an exhilarating thing to do, to be on the panel and talk time after time about books. It just emphasized for me how great this profession is."

As the same books began to appear at the top of most lists, the idea of distinguishing those books came up in conversation. Eventually, the panelists agreed to select one fiction, one nonfiction and one children's title as Indies Introduce Jury Picks. The winners--The Lion Seeker by Kenneth Bonnert (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) for fiction, Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death by Katy Butler (Scribner) for nonfiction and Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell (Simon & Schuster) for children's--were announced at the Celebration of Bookselling & Author Awards Lunch at BookExpo America in May.

"The sense of excitement [at the awards lunch] was palpable," said Becky Anderson, of Anderson's Book Shop in Naperville, Ill. "This one excites me most out of any of the other promotions. It's what we indies do best: we create the buzz. Let's be loud about it."

Indies now have until next Monday, July 1, to sign up for the promotion. Participating stores are required to promote at least six of the 22 titles with in-store displays and on any applicable social media or web presence. Among the promotional incentives available are exclusive, signed, first-edition copies of the books and author videos. Dallanegra-Sanger explained: "That's something I've learned from being at the ABA--we need to provide some amount of selection. Booksellers know their audiences and community. What might be right for one store may not be perfect for another."

"This underlines our highest and best use as independent booksellers," said Burton, who will do several reviews for NPR and plans to feature the books as debut books of the month. "Anyone can sell something that has already gotten to the top of the pile. It's easy for Amazon or whoever to get on board books that have already been discovered. But I think the discovery process is something that indies do better than everyone else."

Anderson plans to stock and make a display of every title on the list, and has ideas for more promotions, including bringing in some of the debut authors for events, giving customers chances to win free T-shirts or Kobo Minis, and offering the debut selections at a discounted rate. But whatever the promotion, "the important part is getting these new authors out there, getting their books in customers' hands," she said.

Quiroga-Curtis agreed. "In the end, it's a matter of selling these books, and we plan on doing just that."

More information about the promotion, including blurbs, registration details and the full list of committee members, can be found here. A list of the 22 selected titles is here. --Alex Mutter


Books Inc. Holds the First Drag Queen Storytime for Kid Pride

This weekend, when San Francisco's Castro neighborhood is all decked out in its gay pride rainbow glory, it might not be the most kid-friendly place in the city. But staff at the local Books Inc. have noticed that the store has become increasingly kid friendly as more same-sex couples have families, and so they decided to host the first "Kid Pride" storytime event, featuring a local drag queen.

Celebrating Kid Pride: Books Inc. manager Ken White, Mutha Chucka and Maggie Tokuda-Hall, children's department director.

The trick, explained store manager Ken White, was finding a drag queen willing to show up at 11 a.m. on a Saturday. Mutha Chucka (real name: Chuck Gutro) was actually an hour early for the event, held last Saturday, and showed up in full makeup and a rainbow dress--and fairy wings.

Before she started reading to the children, she answered a curious boy's question about her attire by explaining, "Next week a bunch of people like me are going to have a party and celebrate that we get to do whatever we want, and there is a flag that goes along with that that is all the colors of the rainbow."

And then Mutha started the reading with Mo Willems's That Is NOT a Good Idea! and A Big Guy Took My Ball! and wrapping it up with And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell.

"That's one of the most banned books in the country right now," said Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Books Inc.'s children's department director, who came up with the idea for the Kid Pride event while talking with a co-worker. And Tango Makes Three is about two boy penguins who want a child so much that they try to hatch a rock, until the zookeeper replaces it with an egg that needs loving. Tukoda-Hll said that she purposely requested that Mutha not read only books designed to drive the gay pride message home to the children. What kids really want is a good story, she explained.

Earlier in the month, Books Inc. hosted a dramatic reading of And Tango Makes Three (which based on a true story) with the New Conservatory Theater to help the arts organization raise money and awareness together.

Last Saturday the kids simply came out for storytime to have a good time, and Mutha--who said she would be happy to return for "Mutha's Day" any time Books Inc. asked--happily entertained them. Tukoda-Hall called the event a complete success and said she has already heard from other booksellers across the country who want to borrow the drag queen Kid Pride storytime idea. --Bridget Kinsella


Obituary Note: Judy Noyes

Judy Noyes, co-owner for 45 years of the iconic Chinook Bookshop--which closed in 2004--and a woman who "embodied the spirit of making Colorado Springs a better place to live," died last Friday, the Gazette reported. She was 81. In addition to being a city councilwoman, Noyes was "a staunch downtown advocate and a proponent of the arts, culture, open space and the environment," the Gazette wrote.

In a farewell tribute to Noyes, John Hazlehurst of the Colorado Springs Independent wrote: "At 5 feet, Judy wasn't outsized--but her life was. Her light shone on the city for more than a half-century; her depth, passion and quality should inspire us all.

"Judy and Dick Noyes moved to Colorado Springs in 1959 with a modest goal: to open a bookstore.... The Chinook wasn't just a bookstore. It was a community treasure, a place of refuge and friendship, always renewed, always the same."


Notes

Image of the Day: Ahoy!

Both sailors and armchair sailors turned out at The Book Stall in Winnetka, Ill., for the rare chance to glimpse the oldest active trophy in all of international sports, the America's Cup. It has been traveling the country with Julian Guthrie, author of The Billionaire and the Mechanic: How Larry Ellison and a Car Mechanic Teamed Up to Win Sailing's Greatest Race, the America's Cup (Grove Press), seated to the right of the trophy. Ellison and the Oracle Racing team brought the Cup back to the United States after a 15-year absence in 2010, and will defend it in San Francisco Bay this summer and fall. 

photo: Sarah Collins


Reading for a Cause: The Taksim Square Book Club

photo: George Henton/Al Jazeera

The "Standing Man" form of resistance in Turkey is currently making headlines internationally after weeks of violent confrontations between protesters and police, but another alternative version of resistance has been occurring in Istanbul since the beginning of the protest.

"Public reading and informal education has been notable since the earliest days of the protest, but has since merged with the Standing Man to form 'The Taksim Square Book Club,' " Al Jazeera reported. These protesters stand silently and read books, and the "chosen reading material of many of those who take their stand is reflective, in part, of the thoughtfulness of those who have chosen this motionless protest to express their discontent."


Indie Bookstore Newsletters 'Maintain Relationships'

Despite the phenomenal growth of social media options, bookstore newsletters "remain a vital link to consumers. Stores use newsletters--in print and online--to maintain relationships with customers and to boost sales," Bookselling This Week reported in its feature about the types of newsletters booksellers create, who receives them and what's inside.

"I'm constantly nervous we're sending too much," said Brandon Stout, marketing director at Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Ariz., which sends customers both print and e-newsletters. "But what I've found--and this might differ from region to region--is that people are willing to get a lot of e-mails from us."  

Crafting a "non-annoying" e-mail newsletter is the goal for Lacy Simons, owner if hello hello books, Rockland, Maine: "Philosophically speaking, I try to make it as similar as possible to the interaction in the store. I want it to emotionally mimic the feel of actually coming in the store."

In addition to its other outreach efforts, Bookshop Santa Cruz continues to send out a 40-page print newsletter through "old-fashioned mail" biannually. "We haven't thought about going paperless for the newsletter we do twice a year,” said owner Casey Coonerty Protti. "It is a magazine-style newsletter, and we feel it is important to come out with something that is quality and that will survive for a long period of time, something that reflects our full brand."

Julie Wernersbach, publicist for BookPeople, Austin, Tex., noted that although "the voices differ somewhat" for the store's specialty newsletters, BookPeople aims to present a consistent voice in its general weekly and monthly letters. "Whenever possible, we quote our booksellers directly when we're recommending books," she added. "We like to remind people that we're people, too, and that what they're reading isn't just generic marketing content. Actual booksellers with names and voices endorse these books!"


Personnel Changes at HarperCollins

At HarperCollins, Jane Beirn and Sharyn Rosenblum have been named vice presidents.

Beirn is senior director of publicity and has been with HarperCollins nearly 25 years. Rosenblum is senior director of media relations at Morrow and just celebrated 20 years at HarperCollins.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: David Sedaris on KCRW's Bookworm

Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: David Sedaris, author of Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls (Little, Brown, $27, 9780316154697). As the show put it: "Reading David Sedaris is like watching an aerialist. His famed humor pieces take escalating risks while never failing to bring off smooth, astonishing landings. Sedaris reads the final piece from his new collection, Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, and discusses the careful process by which he constructs his apparently effortless stories."

---

Tomorrow on Connie Martinson Talks Books: Karen Mack, co-author of Freud's Mistress (Amy Einhorn/Putnam, $25.95, 9780399163074).


On Stage: A Time to Kill

A stage version of John Grisham's A Time to Kill will open on Broadway this fall, with previews starting September 28 at the Golden Theater and the opening scheduled for October 20, the New York Times reported. The director will be Ethan McSweeny (Gore Vidal's The Best Man) and Rupert Holmes (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) is writing the adaptation. Casting will be announced soon. When the play premiered in 2011 at Arena Stage in Washington, Sebastian Arcelus played the lawyer.



Books & Authors

Awards: Pritzker Military Writing Winner

Tim O'Brien has won the 2013 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. Sponsored by the Tawani Foundation, the $100,000 literature award will be presented at the Library's annual gala on November 16.

This marks the first time that the award has been given to a fiction writer. Rick Atkinson, the 2011 prize winner, commented: "Tim O'Brien's fiction about Vietnam, which derives from his own experience as a soldier, is haunting, evocative, and wonderfully inventive. Yet his writing transcends that particular war in that particular era to illuminate our sense of war universally."

O'Brien's works include If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home, The Things They Carried and Going After Cacciato. His short stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories of the Century and in publications such as the New Yorker, the Atlantic and Esquire.


Book Brahmin: Andrew Hudgins

photo: Jo McCulty

Poet Andrew Hudgins has two new books: The Joker: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster) and A Clown at Midnight, a book of poems (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Hudgins teaches at Ohio State and divides his time between Columbus, Ohio, and Sewanee, Tenn. His wife is the novelist Erin McGraw and they are both crazy about their two dogs--Max, a 90-pound labradoodle who is constantly on a diet, and Sister, a coonhound mix adopted from the local shelter.

On your nightstand now:

I'll ignore the two piles of 20 books each stacked by my dresser and mention only what's actually on my nightstand. Waiting to be returned to the library is Ian Rankin's latest very good Rebus mystery, Standing in Another Man's Grave. Right now I'm going back and forth between Raymond Williams's The Country and the City, a study of the conflicts between rural and urban life in English literature, and Sing Not War by James Marten, a very interesting study of how Civil War veterans were viewed in the years after the war. And on deck, waiting to be read, is Michael Robotham's The Night Ferry. A couple of weeks ago I raced through his book Suspect, an engrossing thriller, and I'm eager to get to the new book.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Because I grew up in a military family, moving at least every three years, we didn't have dogs. "What are we going to do with a durn dog every time Uncle Sam tells us to move to the ends of the earth?" my mother asked, reasonably enough. So I was an absolute sucker for books about heroic dogs: Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard, Old Yeller by Fred Gipson and everything written by Alfred Payson Terhune, who I was convinced was the greatest writer who had ever lived. I was especially crazy about Lad: A Dog. Lad regularly attained heights of virtue and nobility that I knew I never could even on my best days.

Your top five authors:

Can I say God? I've been buying and reading all of Robert Alter's translations of the Old Testament as they come out because they are, with Alter's nuanced explications of the Hebrew and his rich explanations of Israelite culture, thrilling clarifications of the book I grew up thinking I understood. The David Story and The Five Books of Moses are just terrific, and I'm excited to see Alter has just published a new translation of the prophets. The prophets have always seemed more than a little crazy in their purity and certitude, which was a terrifying attraction to me when I was young. T.S. Eliot and William Butler Yeats are poets I return to over and over again, and I try a bit to keep up studies of them. F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom are sheer genius, if very different sorts of genius.

Book you've faked reading:

Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust. Yeah, yeah, if you push me, I'll admit I haven't read it. I've always meant to. I'm a weak and evil person. I'll get to it. I swear.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I'm a big promoter of tons of books: Henry Fielding's Tom Jones (one of the few great books that remains laugh-out-loud funny), Charles Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer (a sweeping and peculiar gothic novel), James Ellroy's L.A. Confidential (a transporting venture into a grimy and disturbing world), and David Reynolds's Beneath the American Renaissance (an eye-opening re-reading of formative American literature in its popular context) to name a few. But the only book I've actually bought a dozen copies of and then distributed to friends is J.R. Ackerley's My Dog Tulip. The book is screamingly funny, touching and strange. You will go a long time before you read another book that begins with such a loving description of a dog's vulva.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I'm not sure I've ever done that. But if I did, the book would be one of those lurid Mickey Spillane paperbacks with a more-than-half-naked babe aiming an enormous automatic pistol at me as I stood dumbstruck at the bookstand when I was 14.

Book that changed your life:

So many books have tilted my life in one direction or the other that it is hard to single out one, but a crucial novel for me would be Joseph Heller's Catch-22. When I was in ninth grade, I read it in a blue paperback, and the moment I finished, I turned to the first page and began again. My father was a career office in the U.S. Air Force, so I was astounded to read of war as comic and horrible--not entirely the honorable ultimate sacrifice I'd grown up believing. But an even bigger thrill was experiencing the intimate connection between horror and hilarity, the way fear can give rise to humor, which then both ameliorates and heightens the fear. I repeatedly laughed and flinched at the same time as I read the book.

Favorite line from a book:

Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" ends with the murderer, the Misfit, uttering this pronouncement on the old lady he has just killed:

"She would have been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

The line is awful, funny, and serious advice on how to live life as best you possibly can; it also catches the fear that it takes to live that intensely.

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

I've often wondered what it would be like to read Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn the way I read it when I was in elementary school--as pure adolescent escapism, a boy on a raft running from his violent father and his strict aunt and having comic adventures along the way.


Book Review

Children's Review: The Year of Billy Miller

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow Books, $16.99 hardcover, 240p., ages 8-12, 9780062268129, September 17, 2013)

With both words and pictures, Kevin Henkes authentically reflects the emotional life of a child at a range of ages. Take the emotion of "worry," for instance. His Wemberley Worried resonates with a board book audience. In Penny and Her Marble, Penny worries that the marble she discovered on her neighbor's lawn does not belong to her; the story strikes a chord with children just beginning to read and to grapple with ethical dilemmas.

In The Year of Billy Miller, Billy begins second grade "worried that he wouldn't be smart enough for school this year." First, Henkes describes Billy's all-too-plausible rationale: when his new baseball cap flew off during a visit to the Jolly Green Giant statue, Billy instinctively leaned over the guardrail to catch it and wound up in the hospital when he fell and hit his head. Later at home, Billy overhears his mother confide to his father that she's worried that "down the line something will show up. He'll start forgetting things." Although Billy's father dismisses her fear, his mother's concern is contagious; Billy worries.

Henkes respects young people, and his characters always solve their own problems. Billy confides his worry to his teacher, and she tells him he's smart: "That one word said in Ms. Silver's voice made him feel as if he were filled with helium like a balloon and might rise off the floor." In each of four sections, Billy has a conflict or situation to resolve with the most important people in his everyday life: Ms. Silver, his teacher; his father; his three-year-old sister, Sal; and his mother.

Occasional drawings dot the pages, but the real emphasis here is on Henkes's incisive writing, which gets to the heart of a second-grader's thoughts, hopes, worries and dreams. Billy is a thriving member of his family, his classroom and his community. He goes from someone who reacts before he thinks--for instance, to Emma Sparks (a goody two-shoes whose jibes about Billy still calling his father "Papa" motivates the boy to call him "Dad")--to someone who can sit quietly with his emotions. While he works on his diorama for a school project, Billy is "wrapped in a cocoon of concentration," but he also moves outward and observes his father's talent in this area--which leads to a "breakthrough" for his artistic dad.

Henkes's spare language leaves room for children to read between the lines of what Billy says and does (or, as with the case of Emma Sparks, learns not to say or do). They will close this book with renewed confidence that if Billy can steer his way through his life at home and school, so can they. Here's hoping that we will follow Billy through many more adventures. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: Kevin Henkes gets to the heart of second-grader Billy Miller's thoughts, hopes, worries and dreams.


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