Shelf Awareness for Monday, March 9, 2015


Penguin Press: Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith

Graphix: Dog Man and Cat Kid (Dog Man #4) by Dav Pilkey

Ecco Press: Varina by Charles Frazier

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

News

Patterson Donating $1.25 Million to School Libraries

In an effort that mirrors his $1 million in donations to independent bookstores last year, author James Patterson, a major supporter of reading, books and literacy, is giving $1.25 million to school libraries this year. Donations will range from $1,000 to $10,000 per school and can be used for all types of purposes, including, for example, repairs to a computer system or a school project focused on books and reading. (Anyone can nominate a school library; applications are here.) The grants will be awarded on a rolling basis throughout the year, beginning with $250,000. While schools don't need to report on how the money is used or their results, Patterson hopes teachers and students will share their experiences in their communities.

Scholastic Reading Club will administer funding applications to its network of 62,000 schools and 800,000 teachers. Scholastic will match each dollar contributed by Patterson with "bonus points," which teachers at schools that receive awards can use to acquire books and other materials for classroom use.

In announcing the program, Patterson and Scholastic said he is donating the money "because he believes that fewer children are growing up in a household full of books--and that the effects of this absence could have a profound impact on a child's future, and on the future of our country. Every child in America should have access to books and a functioning school library, and he believes that improvements in school libraries will foster children's love of reading and boost their academic achievement overall."

Judy Newman, president of Scholastic Reading Club, commented: "James Patterson is such a champion of books and reading for all children. We are thrilled to work with him to support school libraries, which are essential for thriving school communities. James's incredible generosity is moving and inspiring. With our tremendous ties to teachers and school librarians across the country, Scholastic is the perfect partner to help James impact children's and educators' lives in a lasting and meaningful way."

Patterson added: "Scholastic's conviction that learning to read is the gateway to success in school and life is something I couldn't feel more passionately about, and I'm honored to work alongside them on this donation. Together, I hope we're able to increase awareness about the vital role that school libraries and librarians play in transforming lives and fostering a love for learning."


Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: The Land Beyond by Leon McCarron


Tattered Cover Moving Its Highlands Ranch Store

The Tattered Cover Book Store plans to move its Highlands Ranch, Colo., store to the Aspen Grove Shopping Center in nearby Littleton, Colo., the first week of April. Work on the new store is underway; the exact moving date hasn't been determined.

The new store will have 8,000 square feet of space, a newsstand, coffee shop, author event space and ample parking. While it is significantly smaller than the current store, which has 22,000 square feet, the new store will carry the same number of books. The Aspen Grove Shopping Center is a "lifestyle shopping center" and includes several restaurants, a movie theater and an Apple store.

"While we are grateful to have served the Highlands Ranch community in a wonderful location with a great landlord/tenant relationship, we are at the end of a 10-year lease and our need for a store of that size has changed with market conditions," Tattered Cover owner Joyce Meskis said. "Fortunately, a marvelous opportunity arose in the form of the Aspen Grove shopping center. Located just minutes from Highlands Ranch with a synergistic mix of tenants, it came along at just the right time for us."

The Tattered Cover also has stores on Colfax Avenue in Denver and in LoDo (historic lower downtown Denver), as well as satellite stores in Union Station and at Denver International Airport. The Highlands Ranch store opened in 2004.


Trinity University Press: Arte Kids - Bilingual Board Books


New Owners for Main Street Books, Davidson, N.C.

Last Friday, Mary Barone and Ada Fitzgerald became the new owners of Main Street Books, Davidson, N.C., which had been put on the market by Barbara Freund and Betty Reinke earlier this winter.

Fitzgerald told Davidson News that when she saw a notice that the business was for sale, "I sent it to my mother. My mother and stepfather and I have always imagined that we would like to collaborate on a small town business of some kind... and definitely one with an element of community building. We hadn't ever really gotten beyond talking about it. We imagined it would be something we started ourselves. Then this just popped up."

In a statement, Fitzgerald and new assistant manager Catherine Hamilton-Genson said they "are delighted to be able to continue to shape the future of Main Street Books, a time-honored institution committed to perpetuating a culture of independent, local, and thoughtfully curated literature."

Fitzgerald also cited a Paz & Associates introductory workshop she attended at the ABA Winter Institute for being "incredibly helpful to us as we prepare to take ownership of a bookstore. It was a veritable bookstore boot camp, preparing us for the realities of retail while fueling our inspiration to become a part of this passionate, creative community of booksellers, writers, publishers, and readers. We feel much better equipped to take on ownership of this bookstore that has longstanding ties to the community."


Thomas Nelson: Perennials by Julie Cantrell


ABA to Host 'Publicists Speed Dating' Event at BEA

In addition to its popular "Meet the Editor" program, the American Booksellers Association has added a second event to provide booksellers with an opportunity to network with publishers, Bookselling This Week reported: new this year is "Publicists Speed Dating," which is modeled after the popular "Reps Picks" format.

Participating booksellers will be able to "meet with publicists from a number of publishers for approximately 12 minutes each. These conversations are a chance for booksellers to promote their stores, as well as to discover what publicists look for when they plan author tours," BTW wrote. The event is open to owners, general managers and event managers from ABA member bookstores, with a limit of three booksellers per store location. Space is limited and will be capped at 50 store locations.

Registration for each program will open this week and close May 11.


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


Obituary Note: Margery Facklam

Margery Facklam, an award-winning author of natural science books for children, died February 21. She was 87. The Buffalo News reported that two of her books, Do Not Disturb: The Mysteries of Animal Hibernation and Sleep and Partners for Life: The Mysteries of Animal Symbiosis, were named Outstanding Science Trade Books by the Children's Book Council and the National Science Teachers Association. And Then There Was One: The Mysteries of Extinction was chosen best book of 1990 by the School Library Journal. In 2005, the New York State Library Association honored Facklam with the Knickerbocker Award for her body of work.


Notes

'Inside Bookstore & Boutique Owner's Closet'

"I made a section of the bookstore a very cute and hip boutique," Hollie Smith-Schmid, owner of the Sanibel Island Bookshop told the News-Press in explaining what led to her decision a year ago to open Hollie's Boutique in Fort Myers. "The response was overwhelming and many of my customers wanted me to expand. So, I decided to expand to Fort Myers, where I live with my husband, Peter Schmid, our daughter, Addison, who we adopted from Ethiopia almost four years ago, and our two dogs."

The News-Press described the boutique as "her runway for philanthropic outreach." Smith-Schmid observed: "We have done a few fashion shows and look forward to doing more. The last one we did was at Christmas, and we did a toy drive for the children at ACT women's shelter. We also donate to many organizations like the PACE Center for Girls and fundraisers benefiting Alzheimer's research."

She described her personal closet as "packed! It is probably not a good idea for a shopping addict to own a boutique. I hand pick every item at Hollie's Boutique so of course every time a new shipment arrives I come home with something new."


'Night of Too Many Stars' Features Authors and a Bookseller

[words] Bookstore in Maplewood, N.J., was one of the sponsors of Comedy Central's A Night of Too Many Stars, a comedy benefit for autism programs that has raised over $18 million. The show aired last evening on Comedy Central, and featured several author/comedians, including Jon Stewart, Chris Rock, Jim Gaffigan, Sarah Silverman, Louis C.K. and Andy Cohen. In this clip, around the 3.57 mark, you can see Maya Rudolph, singing "It Feels So Good to Give," sitting on store owner Jonah Zimiles's lap.


Independent Bookstore Day Update

More about the first Independent Bookstore Day, which takes place May 2 concurrently with the second California Bookstore Day:

In a release, Independent Bookstore Day organizers note that bookstores across the country will hold a range of events to celebrate, including "readings, raffles, scavenger hunts, story times, music, parties, food trucks, and literary trivia," and will offer 16 limited-edition, exclusive books and works of art.

Rebecca Fitting, co-owner of Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y., summed up the appeal of the day for booksellers: "We're excited to offer exclusive merchandise on Independent Bookstore Day. Not virtual, but physical, real, bona fide book swag."

Independent Bookstore Day program director Samantha Schoech added, "The entire purpose of Bookstore Day is to celebrate our collective success and thank our customers and the community of readers. For so long, the message about indie bookstores was all doom and gloom, but the truth is, there are more indie bookstores this year than last, and more last year than the year before that. Independent bookstores are actually opening around the country. We want people to know that."

Jaci Updike, president, sales of Penguin Random House U.S. (along with the American Booksellers Association, PRH is one of the main sponsors of Independent Bookstore Day), commented: "It's a privilege for Penguin Random House to be the first publisher sponsor of Independent Bookstore Day, and we are excited about supporting it in a variety of ways, including author appearances and specially created merchandise that celebrates the event. California Bookstore Day was a tremendous success for our booksellers, their customers, and for us last year, and we're looking forward to working with booksellers all across the country to grow this terrific event in their communities--it's a fantastic and festive way to bring new readers into bookstores, and to strengthen relationships with existing customers."


Cool Idea of the Day: Pizza Beats Snow in D.C.

"How to turn out a crowd on an icy night?" Dave Barry came up with a clever lure for his event at Politics and Prose last Thursday as "many Washingtonians hunkered down at home... amid snowy sidewalks and iced-in cars," the Washington Post reported.

Barry contacted the bookstore and offered free pizza and wine from nearby Comet Ping Pong to anyone who braved the snow. P&P shared the offer on social media, and a "surprisingly robust crowd of about 100 souls turned up; Barry, who read from his new book, Live Right and Find Happiness (Though Beer Is Better), made good with a delivery."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: John Lewis on the Daily Show

This morning on Fox & Friends: Eric Greitens, author of Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780544323988). He will also appear today on Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends and tomorrow on MSNBC's Morning Joe and Hardball with Chris Matthews.

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Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Helen Macdonald, author of H Is for Hawk (Grove Press, $26, 9780802123411).

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Today on the Meredith Vieira Show: Mike Greenberg, author of My Father's Wives: A Novel (Morrow, $25.99, 9780062325860).

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Tonight on the Daily Show: Rep. John Lewis, author of March: Book Two (Top Shelf Productions, $19.95, 9781603094009).

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Tonight on the Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore: Maz Jobrani, author of I'm Not a Terrorist, but I've Played One on TV: Memoirs of a Middle Eastern Funny Man (Simon & Schuster, $24, 9781476749983). He will also appear on MSNBC's the Cycle.

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Curtis Stone, author of Good Food, Good Life: 130 Simple Recipes You'll Love to Make and Eat (Ballantine, $35, 9780345542557).

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Tomorrow on Diane Rehm: Andrew Cockburn, author of Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins (Holt, $28, 9780805099263).

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Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Ai-jen Poo, author of The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America (New Press, $25.95, 9781620970386).


Movies: Mr. Holmes; Dragonriders of Pern

The first trailer has been released for Mr. Holmes, starring Ian McKellen as the legendary fictional detective at 93 years old. Indiewire noted that Bill Condon's movie, "freely adapted" from Mitch Cullin's novel A Slight Trick of the Mind, "reflects upon the interplay between truth and legend, age and memory, unresolved guilt and the chance to finally make peace with oneself." The cast includes Laura Linney, Milo Parker, Hiroyuki Sanada and Hattie Morahan. Mr. Holmes has no release date yet, but will be released in the U.S. later this year, Indiewire wrote.

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Warner Bros. has hired author and screenwriter Sarah Cornwell to adapt the first installment of Dragonriders of Pern, based on Anne McCaffrey's novels. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Cornwell's debut novel, What I Had Before You, "was published in January 2014 and was a multi-generational coming-of-age drama. Her screenwriting work has won her a Humanitas Student Drama Fellowship. She is now adapting Demon Camp for Montecito Pictures, and she did a page one rewrite of The Forest for David Goyer and Lava Bear."



Books & Authors

Awards: David Cohen Prize for Literature

British poet and playwright Tony Harrison won the £40,000 (about $60,150) David Cohen Prize for Literature, which recognizes a lifetime's achievement by writers who use the English language and are citizens of the U.K. or Ireland.

Chair of judges Mark Lawson said Harrison "is a great poet of the private--in his early work about his upbringing and education in working-class Leeds--but also of the public: addressing social incohesion (in v and the recent British wars abroad (in A Cold Coming)). As a stage dramatist, he has made classical texts speakable and spoken-about in plays such as his muscular translation of The Oresteia and The Trackers of Oxyrynchus, an original--in every sense--drama spun from a fragment of Sophocles."


Book Review

Review: Hausfrau

Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum (Random House, $26 hardcover, 9780812997538, March 17, 2015)

If, as attributed to Socrates, "the unexamined life is not worth living," then the life of Anna Benz should be rich and fulfilling. The introspective protagonist of Jill Alexander Essbaum's first novel, Hausfrau, Anna spends nearly all her days and nights reflecting on her life--her often distant banker husband, Bruno, and his family, her three children, her expatriate Zürich surroundings, her German-language classes, her Jungian psychoanalysis and her lovers. Consumed by a listless sadness, she fills sleepless nights wandering the hills behind her suburban house and empty days riding the trains and walking the streets of the city. With Bruno's encouragement, she had enrolled at a local language school and begun psychotherapy in an effort to become more engaged in her Swiss life and meet new people. And so she does. After a brief, passionate love affair with a visiting Boston scientist, she indulges in more sexually intense and transitory liaisons. She finds adultery "alarmingly easy" and tells herself that it satisfies and suits her: "Surrender is your strong suit. Assent, your forte." From a "good wife, mostly," Anna becomes an active adulterer: "Some women collected spoons. Anna collected lovers."

A poet (Necropolis; Harlot) and creative writing teacher at UC-Riverside, Essbaum jigsaws the jagged pieces of Anna's life into a gradually unfolding drama of secrets and surprises. Spanning just three months, Hausfrau tells the story of a smart woman's passions, sorrows and mistakes with the utilitarian precision of the Swiss whose "clocks are categorical... knives are well whetted... chocolate so toothsome... banks so efficient." Each scene of Anna's trysts displays a step toward her undoing. Her German classes echo her own uncertainties, like the lesson about the passive voice where she learns that "Whatever it is, you do not do it. It is done to you." Periodic analysis sessions leave Anna with more questions than answers. At one of many parties with Bruno's family, the games meant to entertain are full of meaning: "Life. Risk. Trivial Pursuit. Sorry. Even the board games pointed a finger at Anna." Throughout her narrative, Essbaum carefully describes the streets, shops, cafes and train stations of Zurich as if mapping the circuitous path of Anna's unwinding. Like a good poem, everything fits and nothing is wasted.

In Anna Benz, Essbaum has created a genuine, complex woman whose journey--no matter how dark it may be--reveals truths as only great literature can. She may have her roots in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina or Flaubert's Emma Bovary or Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, but she is a thoroughly modern and distinct character. Hausfrau is not just an exceptional first novel, it is an extraordinary novel--period. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: Poet Jill Essbaum's terrific first novel is a marvel of precise construction, complex character and dramatic intensity.


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