Shelf Awareness for Thursday, August 14, 2014


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

Tampa's Oxford Exchange Adopting Rizzoli Studio

As part of a new partnership with Rizzoli International Publications, the Oxford Exchange bookstore in Tampa, Fla., is "clearing out half the store's inventory and will soon devote fully half its floor space to books that cost upwards of $200," the Tampa Tribune reported, creating a dedicated Rizzoli Studio section.

The 1,500-square-foot store is part of the upscale Oxford Exchange complex, which includes an atrium, restaurant, tea shop, coffee shop and furniture boutique. The bookstore opened in September 2012. The store has stocked about 3,500 books.

Rizzoli launched Rizzoli Studio several years ago with dedicated sections of Rizzoli titles in a range of upscale retailers and bookstores, including Books & Books in southern Florida and the Cayman Islands.

"These are beautiful books not just to keep in your library, but to put on your coffee table, almost as a statement of who you are," Jess English, director of retail for the Oxford Exchange, told the paper. "The retail world has become a place where everyone is experimenting, and you just have to play off that, or you'll go the way of so many bookstores that closed down."

Jessica Knapp, a Rizzoli spokeswoman, said, "The thing about these coffee-table style books is you want to physically have them in your hand to appreciate what they are. That's not quite possible online.... The Oxford Exchange has a strong appeal for the Rizzoli customer base. It's a true lifestyle store--café, shop, restaurant--and the shopper coming in is of a certain sophistication level, looking for a certain esthetic."

Allison Casper Adams, who co-owns the Oxford Exchange with her brother Blake, called the arrangement an experiment and noted that other expensive titles "sell quite well."

According to the Tribune, the idea began in May, when Rizzoli executive Ausbert de Arce visited the Oxford Exchange. "After a lunch at the adjacent restaurant, he suggested a partnership." As part of the program, Rizzoli will make "a broad range of their titles available and put the Oxford high on the list for visits by prominent authors for book signings and cocktail receptions."


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


Bookstore Sales Down 7.5% in June

June bookstore sales fell 7.5%, to $703 million, compared to June 2013, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. For the year to date, bookstore sales have fallen 7.9%, to $5.1 billion. Total retail sales in June rose 4.3%, to $438.7 billion, compared to the same period a year ago. For the year to date, total retail sales have risen 3.6%, to $2,552 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing a general line of new books. These establishments may also sell stationery and related items, second-hand books, and magazines."


Binc Foundation: Helping Booksellers #MoreThanEver Donation Campaign


St. Paul's Highland Park B&N Targeted

Target announced yesterday that it has chosen Barnes & Noble's Highland Park location in St. Paul, Minn., for its second TargetExpress store, the Pioneer Press reported, noting that the new store "is scheduled to open in July 2015, but it was unclear Wednesday when Target will take possession of the space now occupied by Barnes & Noble."

"It's a vibrant neighborhood; it's a dense neighborhood, where we saw an opportunity to come in and serve guests," said Target spokeswoman Erika Winkels.

Pioneer Press columnist Joe Soucheray wrote: "Oh, woe is me--and, I would imagine, many others, for I have rarely been in the Highland Park Barnes & Noble when it hasn't been bustling with happy customers.... I talked to the manager of the Highland store Tuesday morning, but the managers are not allowed to speak publicly for print. I did get the idea, although not officially, that it is a done deal, just a matter of time. I also called the corporate office in New York but didn't get a return call. All I wanted to know was, can we do something, those of us who have been loyal to the trade?"


Page Street Kids: Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Meyer


Obituary Notes: Lauren Bacall; Peter Chippindale

Legendary actress Lauren Bacall, who, as Jacket Copy put it, "decided to tell her own story in not one but three memoirs"--By Myself in 1978, Now in 1994 and By Myself and Then Some in 2005--died Tuesday. She was 89.

"Writing a book is the most complete experience I've ever had," she told the Los Angeles Times regarding By Myself. During a book signing at Pickwick Books, "Bacall put aside people who wanted her to sign memorabilia so that she could get to everyone who had a book. After signing close to 500, she had to move on to her next event, but some readers were still waiting--so she arranged to have books brought to her hotel where she could sign them later," Jacket Copy noted.

Tom Campbell, owner of the Regulator Bookshop, Durham, N.C., remembered a brief brush with Bacall, writing, "It was a slow Saturday afternoon, back in the late 1980s or early 1990s. Only one customer in the store. A woman, browsing the biography section. Susan, who was working the counter with me, put her hand over her mouth and whispered, 'I think that's Lauren Bacall!'

" 'Really?' I answered skeptically. But glancing at the profile of the woman's face, I had to admit that she could indeed be Lauren Bacall. But how were we going to know for sure? I mean, you just don't walk up to someone and ask them if they are Lauren Bacall. And bookstore policy has always been that we leave people alone so they can browse without being bothered.

"Luckily, Ms Bacall helped us out. She turned toward Susan and me and asked a question. And as soon as we heard that deep, smoky voice, there was no question. This was Lauren Bacall, browsing in the Regulator.

"As I recall, we had the book she was looking for, and she bought it. Susan and I stayed cool, no screaming, no asking for an autograph. But of course we were excited. So much so that I have no memory of what the book was that Lauren Bacall bought. But I think she had a pleasant, quiet time, browsing in our bookstore that day.

"Thanks for the memories, Ms. Bacall."

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British journalist and author Peter Chippindale, who "assured his reputation with one savagely funny book," died August 10, the Guardian reported. He was 69. His 1990 book, Stick It Up Your Punter! (co-authored with Chris Horrie), was a history of Rupert Murdoch's Sun, "a classic exposure of the paper's prurience and noisy cynicism," the Guardian wrote.


Massachusetts Bookstore Field Trip, Part 4

Earlier this summer, Shelf Awareness editor-in-chief John Mutter went on a whirlwind bookstore tour in Massachusetts with New England Independent Booksellers Association executive director Steve Fischer. (See part one, part two and part three.)

Our next stop was Buttonwood Books & Toys in Cohasset, which is on the South Shore about 20 miles southeast of Boston. The trip down was educational in a variety of ways. For one, Steve taught me the proper pronunciation of Quincy, as in John Quincy Adams and the South Shore town named for his grandfather, John Quincy--the "c" is pronounced like a "z" because that's how the Quincy family has always pronounced it. This is somewhat embarrassing for someone who was born just north of Boston and has plenty of relatives in the area. At least I have a lot of company in my ignorance: none of the other towns in the U.S. named Quincy use the "z" sound even though they're named after John Quincy Adams--and most Americans mispronounce the name of the sixth president. Very disconzerting. Also, in a different cultural historical vein, I saw the original Dunkin' Donuts, which was founded in Quincy (or Quinzy) in 1950. As for the other bit of education, don't ask. It had to do with poor directions given by Google Mapz.

Buttonwood Books owners Katherine Detwiler and Arna Lewis

Buttonwood is yet another example of a longtime store that has had a change of ownership. In this case, the sale occurred last year, when Betsey Detwiler, who founded Buttonwood in 1989, sold the store to her daughter-in-law, Katherine Detwiler, and to Arna Lewis, a schoolteacher. Energetic and full of great ideas, the new owners showed Steve and me all around the store, which has already undergone some big changes, so much so that, as Detwiler put it, "We moved every item in the store--and without buying new shelves."

buttonwood books interiorThe changes included moving the children's section to the back, creating a "hot-selling zone," expanding the gift selection to include more "women's gifts." (Detwiler commented with some amazement: "Who would think we'd be selling hats?"). The pair have also emphasized indie presses, local authors and local topics. (Nautical titles are popular in this seaside town.) They also painted the store, which sports a comfortable sitting area toward the front.

Located in a shopping center set back from a major road, Buttonwood is a destination store and has sought to do more that will draw customers. The store has regular programs and events for children and teens, including a summer reading club, middle school book groups and story and craft time for ages 4-6. The huge toy section "brings in the kids whom we steer then to the books," Lewis said. (One way she steers kids toward books, she said, is by asking matter of factly, "What are you reading?") During our visit, staff was preparing another of the Detwiler and Lewis's new ideas: an evening author appearance that featured a picnic lunch with food from a local caterer. The store also regularly has traditional author events, and twice a year holds a coffee with authors at the Atlantica Restaurant on the water, which draws between 50 and 80 people.

buttonwood books interiorThe changes have had a good effect: sales are up 20% and the customer base has expanded, Lewis said. The sidelines and book sections "really support each other," Lewis said. "Sometimes when one is off, the other picks up."

Lewis said having kids and teens do reviews builds them into lifelong readers and helps her to know what's good and what isn't. The store has found candy racks holding faceout titles for young readers has resulted in the books "flying out of the store," Lewis said. The displays also made nonfiction as accessible as story books, which Lewis called "very important for middle readers." A big game is the Settlers of Catan; Legos sets are also very popular.

Detwiler and Lewis aren't just creative and great booksellers. They're also very thoughtful: when we left, they gave us excellent lunches to go, which we devoured en route to Cape Cod. Our motto for the trip: go where the job takes you!


Notes

Image of the Day: Remembering Robin Williams

Robin Williams book display The Books, Inc. in Alameda, Calif., set up this display in honor of the late Robin Williams, who lived in Tiburon. Buyer Rachel Walther wrote, "For many of us on staff who have worked in the Bay Area for some time we've had occasion to meet him in our shops or around town. I was struck by how shy and polite he was in person. We consider his passing a deep loss to our neighborhood, and it was with a heavy heart that we collected these books."


Cool Idea of the Day: Val McDermid's Soccer Sponsorship

Val McDermid and Raith Rovers jersey
Val McDermid and Raith Rovers jersey

Suspense author Val McDermid's website address will be displayed this season on the home jerseys of Kirkcaldy's Raith Rovers, "a modest team in the second division of the Scottish Professional Football League," the New York Times reported. McDermid, who grew up in Kirkcaldy, is a lifelong supporter of the club, daughter of one of Raith Rovers' revered scouts, and "a board member who can watch matches from a grandstand named for her family."

Tom Morgan, the team's commercial director said, "Our shirt sponsor fell out and we approached Val, and she was up for it."


Road Trip: '7 Must-visit Book Cafes Outside Delhi'

In showcasing "'7 must-visit book cafes outside Delhi," the Times of India noted: "Reading cafes is an evolving concept in India. The steady rise in the number of such cafes in various cities confirms a renewed passion for books among people today. Here's a list of what we think are the seven must-visit book cafes outside Delhi. Read on!"


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dr. Burns Calls on Fresh Air

Today on Fresh Air: the Knick medical advisor Dr. Stanley B. Burns, author of Stiffs, Skulls & Skeletons: Medical Photography and Symbolism (Schiffer Publishing, $75, 9780764347467).

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Tomorrow on a repeat of the View: Tori Spelling, author of Spelling It Like It Is (Gallery, $16, 9781451628616).


This Weekend on Book TV: The Roosevelt Reading Festival

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, August 16
12 p.m. Book TV interviews authors and visits literary sites in Casper, Wyo. (Re-airs Sunday at 10:30 a.m.)

1:30 p.m. Coverage from the 2014 Roosevelt Reading Festival at the FDR Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, N.Y. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

7:30 p.m. A tour of the New York Public Library's Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.

7:45 p.m. Wayne Allyn Root, author of The Murder of the Middle Class: How to Save Yourself and Your Family from the Criminal Conspiracy of the Century (Regnery, $27.99, 9781621572213). (Re-airs Monday at 6:30 a.m.)

9:15 p.m. Joyce Appleby, author of Shores of Knowledge: New World Discoveries and the Scientific Imagination (Norton, $26.95, 9780393239515). (Re-airs Sunday at 1:25 p.m. and Monday at 1:25 a.m.)

10 p.m. Daniel Halper, author of Clinton, Inc.: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine (Broadside Books, $27.99, 9780062311238). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Michael Malone, author of The Intel Trinity: How Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, and Andy Grove Built the World's Most Important Company (HarperBusiness, $34.99, 9780062226761).


Sunday, August 17
1 p.m. Brenda Stevenson, author of The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins: Justice, Gender, and the Origins of the L.A. Riots (Oxford University Press, $29.95, 9780199944576). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

5 p.m. Stephen Halbrook, author of Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and "Enemies of the State" (Independent Institute, $22.95, 9781598131628).

6:30 p.m. Jack Devine, author of Good Hunting: An American Spymaster's Story (Sarah Crichton Books, $27, 9780374130329).

7:45 p.m. Jon Gnarr, author of Gnarr: How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World (Melville House, $23.95, 9781612194134).

10 p.m. Beth Macy, author of Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local--and Helped Save an American Town (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316231435).

11:30 p.m. Paul Kengor, author of 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative (Beaufort Books, $16.95, 9780825306990).



Books & Authors

World Literature: Bohumil Hrabal

The Best Translated Book Awards recently finalized its jury for 2015, which includes booksellers Jeremy Garber of Powell's Books, Portland, Ore., and James Crossley of Island Books, Mercer Island, Wash.

Harlequin's Millions Notable contenders for the award will likely be two posthumously released titles by Bohumil Hrabal, considered by many Czechs to be the country's greatest writer of the 20th century. Harlequin's Millions, one of the author's last completed novels, is a fine book for Archipelago Books to release during its 10th anniversary, in the year of its 100th book and on the 100th anniversary of Hrabal's birth.

The narrator of the book is an elderly woman who lives in a medieval castle that is now a retirement home. Through her meditative reflections and the anecdotes of three ghostlike pensioners, she comes to terms with the passage of time. As the book progresses and the narrator ages, her memories and observations lose their reliability.

Bohumil HrabalHrabal is revisiting characters from his early works, including the unnamed narrator, based on his mother. The famous citizens of the "little town that time forgot" are referred to by nicknames like Cervinka the Parasol, Lousehead, Dlabac the Rib Roast, Sweatbuckets and Votava the Useless.

Early English translations of Hrabal chopped his long, loping sentences into abrupt ugly fragments. Translator Stacey Knecht's first foray into Czech (she's an accomplished translator from Dutch) preserves those paragraph-length sentences and streams of consciousness. Knecht has guided this quiet book into an engaging, heartfelt experience without letting it drop into mawkish emofiction. (That's a word, right?)

Karolinum Press, Charles University, Prague, has published a collection of Hrabal's short works that the Times Literary Supplement calls "a painstakingly accurate translation" by David Short. For a while under Communist rule, Hrabal was not allowed to publish any new works. An illustrated, ribboned, unjacketed cloth edition, Ramblin' On, collects many of the censored stories with other offerings.

Hrabal was a serious football fan. In Pirouettes on a Postage Stamp, he calls Real Madrid "Pussies." I couldn't agree more, but I'm thinking his reference was in a different context. --George Carroll


Awards: Thurber Prize; Gordon Burn; N.S.W. Premier's History

The finalists for the 2014 Thurber Prize for American Humor, given to the author and publisher of "the outstanding book of humor writing published in the U.S." in the last year, are:

Liza Donnelly for Women on Men (Narrative Library)
John Kenney for Truth in Advertising (Touchstone)
Bruce McCall and David Letterman for This Land Was Made for You and Me (But Mostly Me) (Blue Rider Press)

The $5,000 annual award will be presented at a ceremony at Carolines on Broadway in New York City on September 30.

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Finalists have been named for the £5,000 (about US$8,345) Gordon Burn Prize, which honors "books that capture the spirit of Burns's electic works and style," the Telegraph reported. The winner will be announced October 10. The shortlisted titles are:

The Valley by Richard Benson
The Kills by Richard House
The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth
The Trip to Echo Spring by Olivia Laing
American Interior by Gruff Rhys
The Free by Willy Vlautin

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Shortlists New South Wales Premier's History Awards have been released, Books+Publishing reported. The category winners will be announced at the State Library of N.S.W. September 5. View the complete NSW Premier's History Awards shortlists here.


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcovers
Herbie's Game: A Junior Bender Mystery by Timothy Hallinan (Soho Crime, $25, 9781616954291). "Amiable burglar Junior Bender is forced to chase down a stolen list of names before everyone on it ends up dead. First to fall is Junior's mentor and surrogate father, Herbie, who stole the list in the first place. This delightful mystery poses the question: Do we ever really know the people we love, and do we need to know everything in order to love them?" --Lisa Wright, Oblong Books & Music, Millerton, N.Y.

A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman (Atria, $25, 9781476738017). "A Man Called Ove by Swedish blogger and columnist Backman is one of those books you read and then want everyone else to read, too. It is also one of those books where you don't dare go into detail about the main character, the setting, or the plot because that would ruin the experience for others. Suffice it to say that the man whose name is Ove is a curmudgeon. He's grumpy. He's cantankerous. And he is a delight! Long may he harrumph!" --Rene Kirkpatrick, Eagle Harbor Book Company, Bainbridge Island, Wash.

Paperback
This Is the Water: A Novel by Yannick Murphy (Harper Perennial, $14.99, 9780062294906). "The first thing you notice about Murphy's new novel is the hypnotic cadence of her prose. It flows like the water, like the young swimmers and their families around whom the story turns. This book is at once a suspenseful murder mystery as well as a meditation on what it means to love fiercely as a parent and what it is like to be female in a body starting to show its age, longing for passion and desire that seems long gone. Murphy has the knack of finding the essence of the thousands of tiny moments and inner thoughts that fill our days, and writes about them with a clarity that makes the reader say 'Yes, yes, yes!'" --Susan Petrone, Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, Ohio

For Ages 9 to 12
The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell (Katherine Tegen Books, $16.99, 9780062008190). "The castle has always been there, but it is hidden behind a hedge of impenetrable raspberry thorns. No one can even get close because the thorns destroy everything within reach, so you can imagine Sand's amazement when he wakes up inside it. Everything has been destroyed, but Sand is nothing if not resourceful and he slowly starts mending what he can in the broken castle. He finds the body of Perrotte on the floor of the crypt and carefully puts her back in her tomb. Perrotte suddenly comes back to life, and together they work to repair the castle and figure a way out of it. The story is cloaked in fantasy and magic that add to its appeal, but the lessons it teaches about relationships, forgiveness, and sometimes just doing what needs to be done are universal." --Janice Hunsche, Kaleidosaurus Books, Fishers, Ind.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, August 19:

I'll Be Back Right After This: My Memoir by Pat O'Brien (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9780312564377) is the memoir of a radio and TV broadcaster.

Dear Committee Members: A Novel by Julie Schumacher (Doubleday, $22.95, 9780385538138) follows a frustrated creative writing professor through his letters of recommendation.

You: A Novel by Zoran Drvenkar (Knopf, $27.95, 9780307958068) is a thriller revolving around a cache of missing drugs.

Payoff by Douglas Corleone (Minotaur, $25.99, 9781250040732) continues the Simon Fisk thriller series.

We Are Not Ourselves: A Novel by Matthew Thomas (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781476756660) follows several generations of an Irish-American family.

XL Love: How the Obesity Crisis Is Complicating America's Love Life by Sarah Varney (Rodale Books, $25.99, 9781609614836) explores one sociological aspect of widespread obesity.

Don't Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change by George Marshall (Bloomsbury, $27, 9781620401330) looks at the psychology behind climate change denial.

The Invisible Soldiers: How America Outsourced Our Security by Ann Hagedorn (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781416598800) explores the use of private military and security companies.


Now in paperback:
LEGO Legends of Chima #2: The Right Decision by Yannick Grotholt and Comicon (Papercutz, $7.99, 9781629910741).

Sweet: Our Best Cupcakes, Cookies, Candy, and More by the Editors of Food Network Magazine (Clarkson Potter, $25, 9780804137683).


Book Review

Review: Neverhome

Neverhome by Laird Hunt (Little, Brown, $26 hardcover, 9780316370134, September 9, 2014)

Laird Hunt (Kind One) brings to life an unforgettable heroine and sets her loose in the killing fields of the American Civil War in this spare but soulful look into the heart of a woman and her divided country.

Union soldier Ash Thompson's comrades in arms know him as a slight man, handy with a rifle, respectful toward women. If they looked more closely, perhaps they would also see that Ash is really a young woman, Constance Thompson, who left her husband to mind their farm while she marched off to the Civil War. Someone had to represent their family, she reasoned, and her soft-natured husband, Bartholomew, seemed to have a lower chance of survival than she might, with her "We do not ever turn our cheek" family motto.

As the war sweeps Ash across the countryside through the blood and stink of battle, over mass graves so shallow the faces of the dead show through the dirt, and even into the open arms of dangerous criminals, her grit, good sense and bravery save her again and again. However, while most of her story feels true, Ash occasionally glosses over a conversation or seems to omit a small detail in the telling, giving rise to questions about who and what she is or is not: devoted wife, patriot, adventurer or madwoman. Is she defending the honor of a beloved who would not make a fine soldier or escaping some manner of marital unrest?

Hunt uses Ash's powerful voice--a mixture of insight, eloquence and rural dialect--to make the brother-against-brother nightmare of the Civil War an intimate experience for the reader: "You couldn't see the colors, you would have thought it was a mirror. Like the central job of it was we were fixing to fire at ourselves." During Ash's travels, we see the horrors of war, but also the treatment of women, people of color and the mentally ill in an era scarcely more progressive than the Dark Ages. Ash meets several people along the way, including fellow recruits with less mettle than she has, a kindly but suspicious colonel and a fellow female soldier, who help her confront her past and find the way home. Once there, she must decide if she can reconcile Constance and Ash, or if she will forever be split between two lives. Tragedy dogs the steps of a remarkable narrator whom readers will carry in their hearts long after her final battle. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: Laird Hunt's unforgettable protagonist fights in the Civil War while her husband remains at home, but her bravery may disguise darker truths.


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