Also published on this date: Wednesday, September 11, 2013: Kids' Maximum Shelf: Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Penguin Press: Winter by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Ecco Press: Varina by Charles Frazier

House of Anansi Press: The Break by Katherena Vermette

Algonquin Books: Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Small Walt by Elizabeth Verdick and Marc Rosenthal

News

Amazon Withdraws Connecticut Tax Abatement Request

In a move that "has brought confusion to the prospect of the company bringing 300 jobs to town," Amazon officials have withdrawn their request for tax abatements and reduced building permit fees in Windsor, Conn., where the online retailer had "proposed building a 1.5 million-square-foot distribution center on Day Hill Road," the Hartford Courant reported.

"It's hard to read because the developer is continuing with the land use process, but it certainly gives me pause," said town manager Peter Souza.

A purchase agreement "is still in place for the 90-acre plot where the distribution center is planned," the Courant noted, adding that Amazon's withdrawal "comes after suggestions made by Deputy Mayor Alan Simon last week that the town drive harder bargains concerning abatement approvals, including commitments to higher wages, local hiring and accountability clauses."


Quirk Books: My Lady's Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris


For Sale: E. Shaver, Bookseller in Savannah

After 38 years in business, Esther Shaver is selling E. Shaver, Bookseller, "a downtown fixture on Madison Square since 1975," the Savannah Morning News reported. Planning to retire with her husband to Beaufort, she noted on Facebook: "My house and the bookstore are officially on the market. The store is available under excellent terms with my sincere hopes that E. Shaver, Bookseller will be purchased by someone who will continue the tradition."

"I just one day said it's time to go," Shaver told the Morning News. "It has been different ever since. I feel lifted; I feel like a whole new world is opening up."

She is prepared to keep the bookstore open a year or two until she finds a good match. "When the right person comes along that wants it then they're going to get it," she said. "I feel like when your child gets married and goes off you want them to be happy. I feel the same way about the bookstore; I want it to go on."

"What I'm trying to say that I don't want to say is that I'd pretty much sell it for the price of the inventory because I want somebody wonderful to have it and keep it going," she added. "The building will have to sell first. Somebody might want to have something other than a bookstore here. That won't break my heart. There are other places to move it."

While there have already been inquiries, she joked: "Everybody wants to have a bookstore until they find out how much work it is." Despite the challenges, however, Shaver observed: "Hanging with book lovers is the best thing about having a bookstore. The store makes people happy. They're book lovers."


Trinity University Press: Arte Kids - Bilingual Board Books


Kobo Launching in the Philippines

Kobo is partnering with the National Book Store to introduce the company's e-readers and digital bookstore to the Philippines. Beginning September 20, the Kobo Touch, Kobo Glo and Kobo Arc will be exclusively available at select National Book Store locations, Powerbooks and online. Customers will have access to Kobo's eBookstore.

"Digital reading is only just emerging in the Philippines," said Todd Humphrey, executive v-p of business development, Kobo. "We are committed to delivering a world-class e-reading experience to the Filipino market, and look forward to working with National Book Store as we help people read more--any time, any place and on any device."

Xandra Ramos-Padilla, purchasing director, National Book Store, noted that the retailer "takes pride in being the first to bring Kobo's world class digital reading experience to the Philippines."


National Book Awards Will Reveal Longlists

Next week, for the first time, National Book Awards longlists will be revealed by the National Book Foundation. On Monday at 9 a.m., a 10-book longlist for young people's literature will be revealed at the Daily Beast, followed by the poetry longlist Tuesday, nonfiction longlist Wedneday and fiction longlist Thursday.

Foundation chairman David Steinberger, CEO of Perseus Books Group, said the "goal is to expand the audience for these great books." National Book Award finalists will be announced on October 16, and the winners named in New York November 20.


Notes

Image of the Day: Crystal Clear

 

Stephen Rubin, president and publisher of Henry Holt & Company, hosted the publication day party at his home in New York City on Monday evening for Billy Crystal and his book, Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys?


river's end bookstore: 'Prime Destination for Readers, Writers'

"Not many Oswego students know that just a short bus ride away from campus there is a wonderful spot where readers and writers can come together," the Oswegonian--SUNY Oswego's student-run newspaper--noted in its recommendation of the river's end bookstore, which has been operated by Bill Reilly and Mindy Ostrow for 15 years.

"We are in a great location in the heart of historic downtown," Reilly said. In addition to hosting events for the general public, the store "also caters specifically to Oswego State students," the Oswegonian wrote, noting that there are "campus literary groups that use the bookstore's facilities, as well as music and theater groups, which also host small events at the store."

"We sell books that the professors use, although we don't compete with the college bookstore," Reilly said, adding: "We want customers to know they can come to us and we'll help them."


New Leadership for Yaddo

Author A.M. Homes and photographer Susan Unterberg have been named co-chairs of the legendary Yaddo artists' community in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. They succeed Peter C. Gould, who is stepping down after 10 years as board chairman.

The transition marks a pair of firsts. The new co-chairs, who assumed their new positions September 7 during the annual meeting of the Corporation of Yaddo, are the first in Yaddo's history to share the chairmanship, and the first former guest artists to take the helm.

"Without Yaddo I wouldn't exist as a writer," said Homes, who worked on her short story collection The Safety of Objects when she was first invited to the retreat in 1989. "Yaddo gives artists the increasingly rare gift of a time and place to do one's work, suspended from the intrusive buzz of the every day. I am forever indebted."


Taschen Library at Joule Hotel: 'Super-Luxurious Tomes'

"Did you hear the happy squeals coming from the Joule Hotel last week?" asked Joy Tipping of the Dallas Morning News, referring to her first glimpse of "the literary wonder that is the Taschen Library, the Joule's jewel box of a bookshop. To devoted book lovers--well, at least to this one--hearing the word Taschen sets off a Pavlovian response that involves drooling and checking one's bank account."

Tipping also noted that Taschen Library at the Joule Hotel features "staffers who share your love of books and the luxurious delight of simply paging through them. They take the Library in the store's name seriously, and there are sample versions of every book. Grab a few and sit at the gorgeous table, or relax on the softest down-filled couch on which you'll ever perch. One assumes they'll gently wake you up if you doze off. Believe me, you'll want to buy something, but you won't feel pressured to do so."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Mark Slouka on KCRW's Bookworm

Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Amanda Lindhout and Sarah Corbett, authors of A House in the Sky: A Memoir (Scribner, $27, 9781451645606).

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Tomorrow on Chelsea Lately: Tim Gunn, co-author of Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible: The Fascinating History of Everything in Your Closet (Gallery, $16, 9781451643862).

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Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Mark Slouka, author of Brewster (Norton, $25.95, 9780393239751). As the show put it: "Mark Slouka's Brewster is about the bond between two teenage boys raised in Brewster, a bleak Upstate New York town. The intensity of the novel is the result of psychological wounds administered by small-town families confused by the volatile politics of the 1960s. We explore passion as an alternative to irony in the creation of dramatic, lyrical prose."

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Tomorrow on CBS's the Doctors: Lori Duron, author of Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son (Broadway, $15, 9780770437725).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Barry Meier, author of Pain Killer: A "Wonder" Drug's Trail of Addiction and Death (Rodale, 9781579546380).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Billy Crystal, author of Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? (Holt, $28, 9780805098204).

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Philip Mudd, author of Takedown: Inside the Hunt for Al Qaeda (University of Pennsylvania Press, $28.95, 9780812244960).


TV: 'Next-Generation' American Psycho

FX has put in development an American Psycho series "that takes place decades after the events" in the novel by Bret Easton Ellis and 2000 movie starring Christian Bale, Deadline.com reported. Lionsgate TV and FX Prods. are producing the series, which is described as an update that "fast-forwards from the late 1980s, when the movie was set, to present day. It will feature serial killer Patrick Bateman, now in his mid-50s but as outrageous and lethal as ever, taking on a protégé in a sadistic social experiment who will become every bit his equal--a next-generation American Psycho."


Movies: London Fields; The Railway Man; Abuse of Weakness

Production has begun on an adaptation of London Fields by Martin Amis, Deadline.com reported. The project is directed by Mathew Cullen and stars Amber Heard, Billy Bob Thornton, Jim Sturgess and Theo James. It will be released next year.

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A trailer is out for the film adaptation of Eric Lomax's memoir Railway Man: A POW's Searing Account of War, Brutality and Forgiveness. Indiewire reported that the trailer for the project, which stars Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman and Stellan Skarsgard, is "full of gorgeous cinematography, emotionally manipulative music cues, and Firth writhing around on the floor. Can you say 'blockbuster?' " The movie debuts in Australia in December, but a U.S. release date has yet to be solidified.

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The first clip has been released for Abuse of Weakness, directed by Catherine Breillat and based on her book Abus de faiblesse. Indiewire noted that Isabelle Huppert stars "as a thinly veined on-screen equivalent for the director." The movie screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and is headed to the New York Film Festival. No release date has been scheduled thus far.



Books & Authors

Awards: FIL Literary

French poet, narrator, essayist, critic and translator Yves Bonnefoy won the $150,000 FIL Award in Romance Languages. The jury praised the first writer in the French language to receive the award as a "witness of the human experiences of the 20th century, which he confronts with all the generosity and acuteness of his poetic and critique production where he is able to bring together tradition with the present." Bonnefoy will be honored November 30 during the Guadalajara International Book Fair.


Chip Kidd: 'Failing Better'

photo: John Madere

For 26 years, Chip Kidd has been designing book covers for Knopf--books such as Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park, one of the most recognizable covers in the world. Now he's created a visual guide to graphic design, for kids from 10 to 100, introducing "ideas that I didn't start considering until I was in college," he says. Here he discusses his thoughts about Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design (Workman, October 8, 2013, reviewed below). Kidd lives and works in New York City.

When did you know you wanted to be a graphic designer?

I was first drawn to comics, and becoming a cartoonist. After a while I came to understand I wasn't talented enough to do that well. By that time I was a freshman at Penn State. I had a really great guidance counselor who said, "There's this thing called graphic design."

What were the seeds of this project?

This project came about thanks to Raquel Jaramillo [aka R.J. Palacio, the author of Wonder]. I'd known her professionally for years; she did what I did. She asked me to lunch one day, and she laid this idea on me: "I think someone should do a book on graphic design for kids, and I think it should be you." Then I had to figure out what it was going to be.

Do you see its audience as children? Adults? Both?

It had to be something that a 10-year-old could at least understand, but these are all ideas that I didn't start considering until I was in college. Even though it's for "children," it would still introduce concepts that, frankly, in and of themselves are sophisticated. The question for me was how far to go, and what's too much to take in as an introduction.

One of our favorite lines in the book is the statement, "Everything that is not made by nature is designed by someone." You print it in all capital letters, which you state later in the book is equivalent to "shouting."

Until you have to try and make some of this stuff, there's a tendency to think that it just sort of happens, or that you don't take into account you have to think of it or do it. This is sort of a side tangent, but after I wrote a book, I started thinking in terms of writing and critiquing: I don't think a critic is qualified to do something until they've tried it themselves.

We especially enjoyed, on that same page, your point that the milk carton's design was inspired by nature.

That's kind of hilarious. Let's make a milk carton that looks like a cow. It's considering the source of the material and following from there logically.

Did you create the 10 projects at the back as a way for kids to put into practice the concepts you introduce in the book?

Raquel had a lot of input on that. That's part of what made her a terrific editor. Even though I'm into a lot of stuff that they're into, I don't have kids. I don't especially like kids; I don't understand them. She helped me develop a voice to talk to them. We were originally going to do five projects, and it kept growing and growing. We wanted to finish the book with, "Okay, now take this information and contribute to society with it." The best single example of that is the iconic "I heart New York" image from Milton Glaser.

Did you have certain graphic design milestones you knew you wanted to cover in Go?

I had thought about a lot of this stuff already with my first novel, The Cheese Monkeys. The intended audience [for that book] is adults, but how do you turn the graphic design process into a narrative? How do you make people who aren't in the field understand these things? That's prose. Now we're going to make it into something visual, because that's what Go is about--visual ideas. I didn't think about "What did I want to know when I was 10 that I didn't know?" It was more about, "Let's introduce someone to this, no matter how old they are or no matter how much they think they already know about it."

You take into account context in your design, too, as when you describe wanting to make Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller stand out in a comic book store.

Now more than ever people are seeing books for the first time the size of postage stamps on an illuminated screen. When I first started--and I'm the last generation of designers to learn before the computer came along--one of the lessons I was taught, was that you first design something very small. If you design something much smaller than it's supposed to be, and it works at that size, then when you blow it up, it will also work.

The Book-of-the-Month Club, for years, took the back page of the New York Times Book Review. That was how a lot of people bought books. All the covers were reduced to the size of a postage stamp. Sometimes, whoever was designing that ad would take liberties, because you couldn't read the covers, plus they had to be black and white, and they had to be pixilated. If no one ever sat me down and said, "This has to look good in the BOMC ad," I might not have learned that lesson.

We liked that you admit your mistakes, such as the cover for The Shock of the New by Robert Hughes, the art critic.

My standing lecture for the last year has been called "Failing Better," one thing I didn't get into in my TED talk. That would be a completely different lecture to give, the importance of failure, and the importance of bouncing back from it. You have to look at it as an opportunity to do something better. That's very important in design. --Jennifer M. Brown


Book Brahmin: Joel Derfner

photo: Chia Messina

Joel Derfner is a composer and writer living in New York City. He is or has been a knitter, cheerleader, step aerobics instructor, go-go boy and math teacher. His new book, Lawfully Wedded Husband: How My Gay Marriage Will Save the American Family, is from the University of Wisconsin Press (September 19, 2013).

On your nightstand now:

Ellen Kushner's Swordspoint.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Alexandre Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo. It taught me the value of revenge.

Your top five authors:

Of course my very favorite author is me. After that come, in alphabetical order, Jane Austen, Shirley Jackson, Flannery O'Connor and Oscar Wilde.

Book you've faked reading:

Everything in my sophomore year of high school, because I hated my English teacher. This included Henry Fielding's Tom Jones, Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge, and D.H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers. Some of them I've read since, but talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Somebody once wrote me a fan e-mail, and at some point in our exchange he mentioned that he'd never read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I sent him a one-line e-mail saying I wasn't writing him back until he'd finished it. (He did, and although he didn't love it as much as he ought to have, we still had a fruitful correspondence.)

Book you've bought for the cover:

Mel Keegan's Fortunes of War, a gay romance novel set in 16th-century England. The cover showed a pirate ship with this unbelievably hot, bare-chested Spaniard and his lover, who looked exactly like me. My husband has yet to transform himself into an unbelievably hot, bare-chested Spaniard, but I live in hope.

Book that changed your life:

Brian McNaught's On Being Gay. I read it in ninth or 10th grade and felt for the first time that that I wasn't alone. I wrote him a fan letter--an actual letter, mind you; the Internet hadn't been invented yet--and he wrote back telling me to "continue to grow, to reach, to roar!" I still have that letter.

Favorite line from a book:

It's a tie between "Come, therefore, and let us fling mud at them!" from Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and Pride and Prejudice's "I have not the pleasure of understanding you. Of what are you talking?" I hate to use the same book twice, but if Jane Austen was more brilliant at 18 than I will be in innumerable lifetimes put together, then I guess I can at least give her credit for it.

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

Thornton Wilder's The Bridge of San Luis Rey, because in a sense I never even read it the first time. In looking for ideas for a theater project I came across a Masterplots version of it and was like, ooh, that sounds fabulous. Then I read it, and when I got to the end, instead of the extraordinary sense of awe and elevation and wonder I would have felt if I had been surprised by it, what I thought was, oh, right, just like Masterplots said. One of the saddest moments of my life, and high up on my list of things to go back and prevent once time travel is invented.

Is it true that your great-grandmother had an affair with George Gershwin?

Yes. "I hated him," my grandmother told me once. "He would come over and pound on the piano at all hours of the night, and I was eight and I just wanted to go to sleep."


Book Review

Children's Review: Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design

Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd (Workman, $17.95 paper-over-board, 160p., ages 10-up, 9780761172192, October 8, 2013)

Chip Kidd, the 26-year veteran Knopf designer of such iconic book jackets as Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park, treats readers as peers with this indispensable volume about critical thinking by way of a guide to graphic design.

"Everything that is not made by nature is designed by someone." Kidd's statement introduces a spread of examples of a range of design decisions, from the shape and look of a container, to type sizes, to color coordination. He pictures a milk carton with a pattern resembling a Holstein cow ("drawing inspiration from nature"), then points out the tiny type that states its volume--also a design decision.

An eight-page "brief tour through the history of graphic design," connects images in a kind of flow chart of milestone events, beginning with the first visual forms of communication--the cave paintings at Lascaux, France (15,000-10,000 B.C.), and Egyptian hieroglyphics (3300 B.C.). Kidd also focuses on such inventions as the Gutenberg movable-type printing press in the 1450s and the resulting innovations with type (the Garamond font in 1530, the Helvetica font in 1957), the first photograph (by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826), the Coca-Cola logo (1886), the first Apple computer (1984)--which "started a revolution in how ordinary people interface with machines"--and many more. Kidd ends with "What will come next? Maybe your design?" and a box that reads, "Your work here."

He consistently makes readers a part of that continuum. He's congratulated them for opening the book (even though "the cover is weird and seemingly at cross-purposes with the message and possibly even a bit pretentious"). He constantly brings the narrative back to readers and gives them the tools to analyze their own experiences with design. Readers learn type terminology ("font," "kerning," "leading"), tricks of the trade (how to juxtapose big and small, things seen and unseen), plus color combinations and their effects (orange and blue tend to "vibrate" against each other; whereas red against black says, "Pay Attention," the goal of an EXIT sign), among many other crucial design ideas.

Although Kidd believes in the adage "Form follows function," he teaches about form first, then follows with how to express content through graphic elements. He proves through examples that design does not rely only on aesthetics but rather on a thoughtful approach to the ideas to be conveyed and how best to express them visually.

Like a great ballerina, Chip Kidd marries form and function in a way that looks deceptively easy to achieve. Yet he's also an excellent teacher: he wants kids to understand the fundamentals so that, with practice, they, too, can become graphic designers. This book may well inspire a generation to follow in his footsteps. Kidd introduces readers to his vocation as a hidden world, then helps them unlock it. He hooks them with his enthusiasm and inspires them to test for themselves what they've learned with 10 possible projects at the end. At the very least, Kidd will get kids thinking--and that's the greatest gift a book can give. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: Chip Kidd delivers a graphic design guide that lifts the veil on a hidden world and gives kids the tools to navigate it for themselves.


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