Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Penguin Press: Win a collection of some of this fall's best nonfiction

Scholastic Focus: Scholastic is proud to introduce a new imprint of beautifully written and carefully researched MG and YA nonfiction—coming Fall 2018

Other Press: Something Great and Beautiful: A Novel of Love, Wall Street, and Focaccia by Enrico Pellegrini

Canongate Books: The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry

Katherine Tegen Books: Time Castaways #1: The Mona Lisa Key by Liesl Shurtliff

News

Amazon: Prime Now for London; Expansion in Mexico

Amazon.co.uk's Prime Now service, which offers one-hour delivery on certain items for Prime members, is now available in selected London postcodes and should reach all of London and additional U.K. cities by the end of the year, the company announced.

Christopher North, managing director of Amazon U.K., said, "This is just the beginning. London is our first Prime Now city in the U.K. and we are already working on making Prime Now available in more postcodes in London and beyond."

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Two years after introducing a Kindle Store to the country, Amazon launched its physical goods store in Mexico yesterday on Amazon.com.mx. In addition, the online retailer announced that the Selling on Amazon and Fulfillment by Amazon offerings in Mexico are available for businesses to list and sell their products at Amazon.com.mx.


World Editions: You Have Me to Love by Jaap Robben, translated by David Doherty


Apple Loses Federal E-Book Pricing Appeal

In a 2-1 ruling yesterday, the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upheld a 2013 decision finding Apple Inc. liable for conspiring with publishers to raise the price of e-books. The Wall Street Journal reported that the decision "follows three years of litigation, millions of dollars in legal fees and a bold decision by Apple to challenge the U.S. Department of Justice to a trial, even after all the publishers with which it was accused of colluding had settled their cases."

Apple will pay $450 million, "most of it to e-book consumers, as part of an agreement last November with private plaintiffs and 33 states that joined the Justice Department's 2012 lawsuit accusing Apple of violating civil antitrust law," the Journal wrote.


Disney-Hyperion: I Lost My Tooth! (Unlimited Squirrels) by Mo Willems


'Hunger Games: The Exhibition' Opens in Times Square

"Here's your chance to go to Panem without being killed by teenagers," USA Today noted in showcasing The Hunger Games: The Exhibition, which opens today in New York City at the Discovery Times Square on 44th Street, "kicking off a six-month showcase of costumes, props, set recreations and interactives tied to the blockbuster book and movie franchise." The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 opens November 20.


Mandevilla Press: Assassins by Mike Bond


Obituary Note: Ben Wattenberg

Ben Wattenberg, an author, PBS television commentator and "professed neoconservative who vainly urged his fellow Democrats to court the nation's centrist voters at a time when the party was moving to the left," died Sunday, the New York Times reported. He was 81. Wattenberg's books included The Real Majority (co-authored with Richard M. Scammon), The Real America and Values Matter Most.


Notes

Image of the Day: It All Begins with 'I'

Stuart K Robinson (center) kicked off his seven-city tour for It All Begins with 'I' (Tallfellow Press) with two SRO events. Following a stop at Barnes & Noble in Santa Monica, Calif., where he was in conversation with Tony-nominated actress and playwright Charlayne Woodard, Robinson appeared at the Writers Guild Foundation for a conversation with Christopher Neiman (American Horror Story) and Kirstin Vangsness (Criminal Minds).


Happy 35th, Lake Country Booksellers

Congratulations to Lake Country Booksellers, White Bear Lake, Minn., which is celebrating 35 years in business today, the Pioneer Press reported, adding: "Thanks to the devotion of female owners past and present, the 900-square-foot store has persevered through challenges from big-box stores like Barnes & Noble, economic downturns and changes in the ways publishers relate to booksellers."

Co-owners Susie Fruncillo, Faith Basten, Nancy Thysell and Roberta (Bert) Kiemele "are the second generation to own the store that was opened on April Fools' Day in 1980 by North Oaks friends Alta Johnson, Mary Haxby, Persis Fitzpatrick, Ginny McClanahan and Judy Colton," the Pioneer Press wrote.

Fruncillo noted that three of the original owners were still there when she began her career 17 years ago: "They taught me the business. I was in here all the time anyway, and I love to read. So do Bert and Faith, who have been here 15 years, and Nancy, who bought in 10 years ago."

"Our customers are educated people who take literature seriously," Fruncillo said. "A few customers on Manitou Island who live here part of the year think they are single-handedly supporting the store. One man buys hardcovers and gives them back for resale. He says, 'I want you to be here when I come home.' "

She added: "We are important to the community. People would be upset if we weren't here anymore."


Chelsea Green's Margo Baldwin: 'A Force'

"Publishing is a creative endeavor, not a formula," Margo Baldwin, president and publisher of Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, Vt., told the Valley News, which profiled the book industry veteran who "certainly is a force, leading the 31-year-old company to publish and promote important books in the 21st century and is recognized as one of the top 50 women in publishing in the United States by Book Business magazine."

Noting that "the company is financially sound," Valley News wrote that Chelsea Green has 22 employees, who "have leave time, flex time and the opportunity to work part time. More important, these employees own approximately 80% of Chelsea Green--and therefore have a say in company policies--under the company's employee stock ownership plan."

"All employees are invested in our mission, and customers can buy a product from a company that shares their values," Baldwin said. "We don't want to be a big New York City publisher." Although the company recently established an office in Burlington, Baldwin noted that Chelsea Green remains invested in Vermont's Upper Valley: "The business will continue to add to the creative economy in White River Junction, a town I love."


Personnel Changes at Arcadia Publishing/History Press

Kelly Bowen has joined Arcadia Publishing and the History Press as director of marketing and corporate communications. She was previously the publicity director at Algonquin Books for five years, and prior to that, was a publicist at Touchstone Books.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kathleen DuVal on Diane Rehm

Tomorrow on Diane Rehm: Kathleen DuVal, author of Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution (Random House, $28, 9781400068951).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Sarah Vowell, author of Lafayette in the Somewhat United States (Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594631740).


Movies: Ten Thousand Saints; Swallows & Amazons

The first trailer has been released for Ten Thousand Saints, based on the novel by Eleanor Henderson, Indiewire reported. The film, directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (American Splendor, Cinema Verité), stars Ethan Hawke, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Emile Hirsch and Emily Mortimer. It opens August 14.

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Andrew Scott (Sherlock, Spectre) has joined the cast of Swallows and Amazons, directed by Philippa Lowthorpe and adapted from Arthur Ransome's adventure story, Variety reported. Also starring are Rafe Spall (BFG, I Give It a Year), Kelly Macdonald (No Country for Old Men, Boardwalk Empire), Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones), Jessica Hynes (Up the Women, Shaun of the Dead) and Harry Enfield. Principal photography began June 21 in England, in the Lake District.



Books & Authors

Awards: Pritzker Military Writing; PEN/Ackerley; Molson

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Hackett Fischer won the 2015 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. Sponsored by the Tawani Foundation, the $100,000 award will be presented at the Museum & Library's annual gala on November 7.  

"Dr. Fischer has made extraordinary contributions to the field of military history," said award screening committee chairman John W. Rowe, who added that the recipient is "a master story teller and a brilliant teacher. The committee members take great pride in recommending a deserving candidate for selection each year, and Dr. Fischer is an undeniably worthy choice."

Fischer's books include Washington's Crossing, Paul Revere's Ride, Champlain's Dream and Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America.

"The Pritzker Literature Award is deeply meaningful to me--it comes as the judgment of colleagues who have set the highest standards in my field by the excellence of their research and writing," said Fischer. "It inspires a sense of obligation in work to come."

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Henry Marsh won the £3,000 (about $4,730) PEN/Ackerley Prize, English PEN's award dedicated to memoir and autobiography, for Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery (Thomas Dunne), a candid reflection on his career as a leading neurosurgeon, describing how surgeons work, the lives they save and the mistakes they make.

Chair of judges Peter Parker said that Do No Harm demonstrated "all the qualities that can be found in J.R. Ackerley's own books: beautifully written, recklessly honest and morally complex.... Marsh writes superbly about the intricacies of the human body, about the sometimes conflicting impulses of professional ambition and human need, and about the difficulty of talking honestly to patients and their families in times of medical crisis. These 'Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery' present a compelling argument about the moral dimension of surgical intervention and build to a touching and rueful self-portrait."

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The Canadian Council for the Arts announced that two-time Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning author M.G. Vassanji has been awarded the $50,000 (about $40,340) Molson Prize, which "recognizes two distinguished members of the arts and social-science communities in Canada for long-term contributions to their field," Quillblog reported. Legal scholar Constance Backhouse was the second honoree.


Book Brahmin: Dikkon Eberhart

Son of Richard Eberhart, U.S. Poet Laureate and winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, young Dikkon Eberhart assumed writing would be his business, too. He wrote two novels: On the Verge (Stemmer House, 1979) and Paradise (Stemmer House, 1983), which were respected by the literary and the general press. The Time Mom Met Hitler, Frost Came to Dinner, and I Heard the Greatest Story Ever Told (Tyndale House, trade paper, June 23, 2015) lightheartedly recounts his family memories. The Eberharts have four grown children and two grandchildren, and live in a small town on the Maine coast.

On your nightstand now:

John Sandford's newest, Field of Prey, is off the nightstand now because I finished it last week. Here is what's next: Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More--Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist by Karen Swallow Prior; Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul by John M. Barry; The Eleventh Draft, edited by Frank Conroy.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Single favorite? Impossible question. For being read to--perhaps anything by A.A. Milne, with the Pooh books at the top and then mom's favorites among his poems, for dessert. Alternate: anything by Beatrix Potter, with The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin my favorite. When I began to read for myself--Beowulf, which I had in a slightly condensed and gruesomely illustrated edition, and which I read annually for years as an attempt to get back to the very beginning of our human tale, our tale of heroes and demons. Also, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, because one of its principal characters is a pleasingly wild and exciting boy--named Dickon!

Your top five authors:

I've been so many different receivers of the written word during my almost 70 years that the answer to this question should be sorted by age range--for brevity, I'll cite one author per range. Teens--Arthur C. Clark; 20s--J.R.R. Tolkien; 30s--Bernard DeVoto; 40s--Samuel Eliot Morison; 50s--Tom Clancy; 60s--I'm not done with them yet, so I can't tell for certain--call me back later!

Book you've faked reading:

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, when I was young. But then I did read it, finally, in my 20s, and since then I have read it twice more. By the way, some great books, which in my time were routinely assigned as readings for high school, ought to be read by adults--or at least rediscovered as adults and given a second chance. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is an example. Or the novels of Charles Dickens. It's splendid to expose high school students to literature, to keep them from being dumbed down and to whet their appetites. However, at graduation, their English department ought to give them a time capsule, to be opened when they are 30, listing the names of the books they read (or faked reading) for them to start again.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Did you say "books?" I'm sure you said "books." So... books--three of them.

Come Spring by Ben Ames Williams. It's hard to imagine that an 866-page Maine coast, frontier adventure and love story could be a page-turner, but this is one. Once you've read the book and fallen in love with the characters, go to Union, Maine, and take the tour. See their gravestones. This is an extraordinary work of historical re-creation that allows us to experience the hard life of our forebearers, until--come spring--it got better.

Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me by Karen Swallow Prior. Not only is this memoir exquisitely written and personally delightful, it is structured admirably. For each of Prior's age ranges, she has selected a single novel, poem or play that she encountered at that age, and she allows us to participate in her maturation as she discusses her reaction to each of them, stage by stage. Bravo!

The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers. In my opinion, the greatest mystery story ever published.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Many, many when I was younger, particularly if the cover displayed a female nude. Today, I am not as easily seduced. I need assurance that the content will be helpful. Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane by Andrew Graham-Dixon is an example. I might not have bought this book when I saw it last year--485 pages, heavy in the hand, how much more do I really need to know about Caravaggio?--had it not been for its cover. I could not take my eyes off the artist's self-portrait on the book's cover. The deal was done when I saw the cover across the bookstore. I hadn't even walked over to the book yet, and already I had bought it in my heart. And--had I not bought it, how sad I should be today. Simply, the book is wonderful.

Book that changed your life:

Ernest Hemingway's Complete Short Stories. Here's what I thought in my early 20s, after about my 10th read-through. I was seeking a writing career--but not in poetry! What I thought was this: if I could do what Hemingway had done in "Big Two-Hearted River," that is, to cause the reader to feel the power of the big fish down below, while keeping the reader's attention only on the bright, rippling surface above, then, when I came to die, I should not just have been hanging around and breathing up the air.

Favorite line from a book:

"Call me Ishmael." --Moby-Dick, Herman Melville. Not because the line itself is so great, but because of what experience, in retrospect, it promises for the reader. Yet it is a good line; I cannot image someone reading this first sentence at the beginning of a novel and not reading the second sentence.

Which character you most relate to:

Impossible question given the thousands and thousands I have encountered. But here's a way to put it that makes some sense. Let's confine it to Tolkien. First, it was Frodo. I desired to be the hero, reluctant as Frodo was to be one. I was young then. But as I grew older, I related more to Sam. I was a worker, a father, a man who would do anything to get the job done for the support of those who depended on me. Now, older still, it's Bilbo. It's Bilbo at the end of the trilogy--he who had his adventures in the past, he who came to understand how perpetual the struggle is and he who, now contemplative, had worked hard to finish his book about it.

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

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Here's my fantasy: I'll read it to my grandchildren when they are old enough to have lived past The Hobbit and are hungry for redder meat. But, in reality, by then my son-in-law will probably have captured their attention with his love of the book. What I want is that I should be their first reading voice. Then I could enjoy the intensity of their first experience so delightfully that it would be, for me, like reading that masterpiece again for the first time.

Five books you'll make certain never to lose, whether you'll read them again or not:

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers. The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell. Living the Good Life by Scott and Helen Nearing. The Long Way by Bernard Moitessier.

Finally--a sixth: Collected Poems: 1930--1986 by Richard Eberhart.


Book Review

Children's Review: The Marvels

The Marvels by Brian Selznick (Scholastic, $32.99 hardcover, 672p., ages 10-up, 9780545448680, September 15, 2015)

Brian Selznick (The Invention of Hugo Cabret; Wonderstruck) once again merges a visual and textual story line, with themes of family and a search for home, to deliver an emotional wallop at the finish.

The first nearly 400 pages of images lead readers through five generations of a theatrical family, the Marvels. In 1766, aboard the Kraken, an American whaling ship, a performance takes place on deck under a crescent moon. Selznick uses the skills he's developed in toy theater and puppetry to zoom in for detailed graphite drawings of the face of a girl tied to the mast being attacked by a dragon, and an angel who comes to save her. He then pulls back to give the audience a landscape view of an approaching storm. His cinematic pacing is as compelling as a great actor's timing.

The storm causes the fall of the angel from a great height, as well as the wreck of the ship. The only survivors are the actors who played the angel and the girl, and a small white dog, who wash up on shore.

Through the next nearly wordless pages, readers discover that the girl character was played by a boy actor, and his older brother dies of complications from the fall. ("Here lies my brother Marcus, an angel," reads the makeshift tombstone.) A British ship rescues the boy and his dog, and they wind up in London at the Royal Theatre. Billy Marvel (his name is revealed in a newspaper account) is soon adopted by the stagehands. Selznick's images elegantly reflect the passage of time, as Billy matures and raises a foundling (whom he names for his brother) who grows up to be an actor, marries and fathers a son named Alexander, a troubled actor. Alexander's son, Oberon, becomes an actor and has a son, Leontes, whose story ends abruptly when he attempts to rescue his grandfather from the burning Royal Theatre.

Flash forward to 1990 London, where 13-year-old Joseph Jervis has fled boarding school. Joseph's journey to connect with his uncle, Albert Nightingale, comes with mystery, surprises and another kind of theater altogether. Albert is obsessed with keeping his home in London's East End, a house that feels "like a puzzle," preserved as an exact moment in time. Joseph feels driven to solve the riddle that is his uncle, and enlists the help of Frankie, a neighbor girl whose own story connects to Uncle Albert's. A cache of audiotapes recaps the stories readers learned in the first 400 pages (which seems unnecessary but does not detract from the overall emotional impact of the book). When Joseph and Frankie learn from the Royal Theatre's "unofficial historian" that his version doesn't synch with the stories they've heard, it leads to a catharsis. Joseph realizes that life is "miracles and sadness, side by side."

Selznick asks readers to examine what we know versus what we want to believe, and what defines a family and makes a home. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: Caldecott Medalist Brian Selznick explores what it means to find safety and family in unexpected places.


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