Also published on this date: Wednesday, July 8, 2015: Maximum Shelf: Villa America

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Houghton Mifflin: The RBG Workout: How She Stays Strong . . . and You Can Too! by Bryant Johnson

Timber Press: Saving Tarboo Creek: One Family's Quest to Heal the Land by Scott Freeman

HarperCollins: Laura's Album: A Remembrance Scrapbook of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson

Other Press: What You Did Not Tell: A Russian Past and the Journey Home by Mark Mazower

Chronicle Books: This Book Is a Planetarium: And Other Extraordinary Pop-Up Contraptions by Kelli Anderson

Quotation of the Day

'Books Are a Wonderful Piece of Technology'

Shirley Hughes

"[I]n my professional life I think it's getting children, including very little children, to read. Reading isn't a competition. It isn't how many words you can read. What even tiny children can do with a book is make their own personal exploration of a story. I think books are a wonderful piece of technology, I hope they survive. There's never been a time for an ideal childhood, mine certainly wasn't, but I do think that if there's anything wrong with childhood today is that there's too much on offer and everything moves at great speed. What I want children to do is linger, turn the page, see themselves as readers long before they can read."

--Shirley Hughes, in an interview with the Guardian. Hughes was recently honored with the inaugural Booktrust Lifetime Achievement Award (see below).

She Writes Press: Things Unsaid by Diana Y. Paul


News

Asheville's Firestorm Books & Coffee Reopens

Firestorm Books & Coffee has reopened in West Ashville, N.C., and will host a grand opening celebration this Sunday, July 12. Mountain Xpress reported that Firestorm closed its Commerce Street store in April 2014 "to carry out a new vision for the alternative, cooperative bookstore," and in January the worker-owners announced the purchase of a location at 610 Haywood Road.

A subsequent crowdfunding campaign raised $13,520 of the $13,000 goal to transform the space. "Curious readers will find not only the rich assortment of titles on gardening, green living and political radicalism... but also an expanded inventory of children's books, classics and speculative fiction," Firestorm noted, adding: "The cooperative has plans to host regular author events, book groups and a bilingual story hour for kids."


DK Publishing: Star Wars Coding Projects by Jon Woodcock


Bell, Book & Candle in Dover, Del., Closing

Bell, Book & Candle, Dover, Del., is closing and its final day in business will be July 24, the News Journal reported.

Co-owners Ivo Dominguez and James Welch bought the metaphysical store "just before the Great Recession began in 2008," the newspaper said. The store never recovered, said Dominguez, who added, "Last year, we lost money every single month and that trend has continued this year. Short of winning the lottery, we just can no longer afford to stay open."

The 1,800-square-foot store was founded in 2001. Dominguez and Welch also own the building in which Bell, Book & Candle operates and have put it up for sale.

Besides books, the store sells herbs, essential oils, incense, clothing, statuary, ritual tools, jewelry and curios. The store has been a hub for local practitioners of pagan religions, including Wiccans, hosting Tarot, rune and astrology readings, as well as consultations and mentoring sessions for spiritual and magic work, the paper said.

"On an average day, we provide lots of services to customers interested in essential herbs and crystals, but they don't buy anything. Customers say they feel welcome at our store and enjoy the good energy, but good energy doesn't keep the bills paid." He added that the store can't compete with "the brute force of organizations like Amazon, which can sell items for less than we buy them wholesale."


KidsBuzz for the Week of 09.18.17


NYPL's Rose Main Reading Room Will Reopen in 2017

photo: Jiahui Huang

Long a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, New York Public Library's Rose Main Reading Room will remain closed until 2017. In May 2014, a piece of plaster fell from the ceiling, prompting the library to close the Rose Main Reading Room and Bill Blass Public Catalog Room immediately for a thorough inspection.

In an update this week, NYPL noted that it had "recently received a preliminary analysis from this inspection, which is positive overall. The ceilings of these two iconic rooms are in strong shape and there are no fundamental structural problems to address. There is, however, some necessary work to be done to address some cracking in the ceiling façades, and to further secure the ceiling rosettes--which are issues common to buildings of this age and design."

Noting that the repair work is "highly complicated and takes great care," NYPL said it expects to open the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room by fall 2016, followed by the Rose Main Reading Room in early 2017.


Berkley Books: The French Girl by Lexie Elliott


Founder Steps Down at Peter Owen Publishers

Peter Owen

Peter Owen has stepped down as managing director of British press Peter Owen Publishers, which he founded in 1951, the Bookseller reported. He will remain chairman of the company. Nick Kent, who was sales and marketing director, succeeds him. Owen's daughter Antonia, who was editorial director, takes over the position of publishing director.  

In a letter announcing the change, Owen commented: "I find myself in my 89th year, and recently I have started to feel that the business of running a publishing house on a day-to-day basis is becoming a burden I can no longer shoulder with the energy and commitment of yore." He is currently working on his memoir, which is due for publication next year.


Soho Teen: No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear


Malala Yousafzai Launches #BooksNotBullets Campaign

Malala Yousafzai

To celebrate her upcoming 18th birthday, Nobel laureate and activist Malala Yousafzai, whose book I Am Malala became an international bestseller, has launched a #BooksNotBullets hashtag on social media to "show world leaders that you believe education--not the military--is a better investment in our future."

On her Malala Fund blog, Yousafzai wrote: "This is a special moment because, for the first time in my life, I can call myself an adult. And this year, I am not asking for birthday wishes or presents. I am asking for action.... Stand with me now and show world leaders that you choose books, not bullets. Post a photo of yourself holding up your favorite book now and share why YOU choose #booksnotbullets--and why world leaders should, too."


Owlkids: Letters to a Prisoner by Jacques Goldstyn



Notes

Image of the Day: Kinney Rates Students' Book a +1000

photo: Daniel Johnson

New bookseller Jeff Kinney, owner of An Unlikely Story in Plainville, Mass., attended a release party for 826 Boston's newest collection of student writing, I Rate Today a -1000: Diary Entries About Days Good & Bad from Across Time & Space. The book, which was inspired by Kinney's bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, was written and illustrated by students in the organization's after-school program. Pictured (l.-r.): Joel Torres, age 10; Jeff Kinney; Thierry Jacques, age 10. 


Shark Week: Bookstores Are Safer than Beaches

Display at Quail Ridge Books

Every year since 1988, the Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" has chased fans out of the water with an ocean's worth of shark-based programming, real and fictional. Indie booksellers join in the fun as well, offering a land-based alternative:

"Are you ready for shark week? We are!" noted the Brewster Book Store, Brewster, Mass., on Facebook, showcasing its themed display.

As did Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, N.C. with "Our version of #SharkWeek"

And from Boswell Books, Milwaukee, Wis., a Boswellians blog post headlined "All Hail the King of the Seas!": "[O]ur shark-obsessed Boswellian Phoebe pushed for a Shark Week table to showcase all of the shark-related literature we have in the store. Due to her enthusiasm, Boswell has officially become part of one of the summer's biggest pop culture phenomena with the inaugural Shark Week table! As someone who is both terrified and fascinated by sharks, and who has been watching Shark Week for most of her 23 years, Phoebe is uniquely equipped to recommend books about sharks."


Providence Indies: 'Good Stories to Tell'

Noting that entrepreneurs "are slowly reversing the trend of decreasing independent bookstore locations that was caused by the triple whammy of e-reader sales, Amazon and the Great Recession, which started in 2007," the Providence Journal's Jim Raftus wrote that "the national trend is up and there are good stories to tell in our local area as well."

In addition to Jeff Kinney's newly opened An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Cafe in Plainville, Mass., Raftus highlighted several indies in the region, including Barrington Books in Barrington, R.I. ("long a staple in its hometown with a wonderful mix of books and gifts"), Island Books in Middletown and Newport ("a quiet oasis where you can find those vacation reads"), Bank Square Bookstore in Mystic, Conn. (which "heralded the independents' rebound") and Wakefield Books in Wakefield, R.I. ("succeeded by providing the personal touches not seen at big box stores ").


Personnel Changes at Nielsen, Other Press

Kristen McLean has joined Nielsen as director of new business development in the book/entertainment division. She has been CEO of Bookigee and earlier was executive director of the Association of Booksellers for Children, which merged with the ABA in 2011.

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At Other Press, Christie Michel has been promoted to marketing associate. She joined the company last year.


Media and Movies

TV: Conan at Comic-Con San Diego

Conan O'Brien "is going to goof around with the geeks--as well as the casts of Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games and The Walking Dead--when he hosts his TBS late-night talk show, Conan, from Comic-Con in San Diego this week," Entertainment Weekly noted in the introduction to a q&a with O'Brien. Among the highlights:

How did the idea to host Comic-Con come about?
The good idea is the minute someone says it, you just go, "Oh. Right!" Someone had the idea a year ago. We approached Comic-Con, and they couldn't have been nicer about it. They said, 'We want to do it with you,' and they've been incredible. It was one of those ideas that was almost suspiciously obvious and easy. Stuff started falling together immediately. There's such a wealth of not just talent there, which is one reason to go. But it's also such an incredible--I don't even want to say subculture anymore because it's become huge and there's so much there comedically. And I don't even mean to make fun of it, because it's just rich if you do it properly and you go to this environment and give yourself over to it.... I am one of these people in some ways. I want to go and lose myself in the Comic-Con experience and have the show altered by it, so some of the things that we're shooting are really fun and you'll see it's an opportunity for me to stretch. There are some great comedic tropes we can try.

How are you preparing to the enter the nexus of nerdom?
I'm channeling my adolescence. I think I'm a good match for Comic-Con San Diego. I really believe that of all the hosts that could possibly go there, I might be the best fit, because a lot of these people are cool compared to me. I'm one of the hosts where this is actually a step up, right? Me going to Comic-Con is like another host getting to go to the ESPYs. This is aspirational.


Movies: Infidelity

Sundance winner Geneviève Dulude-Decelles will direct and write the script for a film based on the novel Infidelity by Stacey May Fowles, Variety reported. Allison Black of Euclid 431 Pictures and Karen Shaw of Quarterlife Crisis Productions are producing with Canada's Bell Media Harold Greenberg Fund.

"The story was especially appealing and refreshing to us because of the woman's point of view at the center," Shaw said.


Books & Authors

Awards: Book Trust Lifetime Achievement; Motorsports Book

Shirley Hughes, author and illustrator of more than 200 children's books, won the inaugural Book Trust Lifetime Achievement Award, which celebrates "the body of work of an author or illustrator who has made an outstanding contribution to children's literature." Among Hughes's most celebrated works are the "Alfie stories" and Dogger, which was voted the public's favorite Kate Greenaway Medal winner of all time.

"Book Trust is thrilled that our first ever Lifetime Achievement Award goes to someone whose remarkable, multi-talented contribution to children's fiction spans several generations and continues to this day," said CEO Diana Gerald. "Her characters are imprinted on the memories of two or three generations, a recognition of their enduring charm. This evergreen storytelling is something we particularly want to celebrate with this award."

Hughes said the award "is a tremendous honor which I appreciate more than I can say. I have derived so much fulfillment from my long career, first as an illustrator of other artists' stories and then creating my own. Best of all has been perennially encountering very young children who are learning to look with such rapt pleasure and follow a story visually long before they are able to read."

Michael Morpurgo, award judge and Book Trust president, commented: "Many millions of our children have come to love reading through the wonderful books of Shirley Hughes. She is also a national treasure to parents, because many millions of them too have grown up with Shirley Hughes, and are now passing on their affection for her stories, her characters and her illustration, to their own children. Book Trust's first Lifetime Achievement Award could not be more richly deserved."

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Avoidable Contact by Tammy Kaehler (Poisoned Pen Press) has won the Motorsports Book of the Year by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association.

Avoidable Contact is the third mystery featuring professional race car driver Kate Reilly. Braking Points, the second in the series, won the 2013 Motorsports Book of the Year Award. The fourth Kate Reilly book, Red Flags, will leave the starting gate April 2016.


Book Brahmin: Rebecca Dinerstein

photo: Nina Subin

Rebecca Dinerstein is the author of Lofoten (Aschehoug, 2012), a bilingual English-Norwegian collection of poems, and The Sunlit Night (Bloomsbury, June 2, 2015), her debut novel. She received her B.A. from Yale and her M.F.A. in Fiction from New York University, where she was a Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

On your nightstand now:

Mating by Norman Rush. One of the most encyclopedic, hilarious and illuminating works I've encountered. It's become the center of my emotional life for the past several weeks!

Favorite book when you were a child:

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I have always loved Anne's red hair, her button nose and how deeply she feels delight. It was one of the first books that taught me how magical the real world can be, and that communicated a sense of wonder.

Your top five authors:

Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Mark Strand. A mix of uprightness, transgression, lyricism, sarcasm, tenderness, resolve, weight and levity.

Book you've faked reading:

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, and I'm not proud of it. Many of the writers I most admire count it as their favorite book. I'd like to read it properly, now that it's no longer homework!

Book you're an evangelist for:

Independent People by Halldór Laxness. It's a hard sell, in some ways, because it's super long and mostly about sheep. But trust me: you're going to love these sheep. And the warm, imaginative Icelanders who shepherd them.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I Am a Bunny by Ole Risom, illustrated by Richard Scarry. The cover is a picture of a bunny standing under a mushroom in a rainstorm. I read this perfect little story, cover to cover, shall we say extremely often.

Book that changed your life:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. Jane loves all that is "bright and energetic and high," and in Mr. Rochester, she finds "an original, a vigorous, an expanded mind." This is "what I reverence," she says, "what I delight in." I could not admire her more. I read Jane Eyre for the first time when I was 25 (late bloomer!), in the midst of some significant personal and professional changes, and took the book as an instruction manual for how to center myself.

Favorite line from a book:

"When a man looks at a flowering plant growing slender and helpless up in the wilderness among a hundred thousand stones, and he has found this plant only by chance, then he asks: Why is it that life is always trying to burst forth? Should one pull up this plant and use it to clean one's pipe? No, for this plant also broods over the limitation and the unlimitation of all life, and lives in the love of the good beyond these hundred thousand stones, like you and me; water it with care, but do not uproot it, maybe it is little Ásta Sóllilja." --Independent People by Halldór Laxness

And

"There is no happiness like that of being loved by your fellow-creatures, and feeling that your presence is an addition to their comfort." --Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Which character you most relate to:

Buddy in Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters by J.D. Salinger. He's many of the things I hope I am: quiet, patient and ecstatic toward the world around him. I love how much Buddy loves the little man who wears a top hat, and how he comes to think of that beguiling stranger as his "great friend."

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

All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren. I read it for the first time my senior year of high school, and it made the world feel insanely rich and substantial.


Book Review

Children's Review: Gryphons Aren't So Great

Gryphons Aren't So Great by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, Alexis Frederick-Frost (First Second, $14.99 hardcover, 40p., ages 4-8, 9781596436527, September 8, 2015)

The team behind Adventures in Cartooning returns for a funny and poignant comics-style tale of chivalry and friendship.

In the opening pair of horizontal panels, a knight in full armor rides a horse named Edward: "Faster, Edward! Faster!" cries the knight. Blue skies turn to a surreal yellow background as the knight shouts, "We're flying! Yee-haw!" The hero drops his sword and gets separated from his horse as the two sail off a cliff. The author-artists switch to vertical panels to indicate their downward plunge ("Weeee!") into a body of water ("Splash!"). Knight and horse embrace and prepare to "do it again" when a gryphon approaches. "Gryphons live high up in the mountains!" observes the knight. "They never come down this far!!!" Edward tries to protect his rider from the gryphon, but soon the mythical creature (with the body and tail of a lion, and the head, talons and wings of an eagle) has tossed Edward aside and scooped up the knight on its back. "I'm flying for real!" says he. "This is amazing!!!" Though the rider promises his steed, "I'll be right back.... Weeeeee," a windowpane quartet of images show day turning to night, as Edward waits patiently for the return of his friend.

Sturm, Arnold and Frederick-Frost's disarming tale probes the unsettling dynamics of a third person's intrusion into a close friendship. The sequences begin humorously but quickly tap into authentic feelings of abandonment, as Edward feels cast aside by the new and exotic friend, Gryphon. Even after a kind bat teaches Edward to fly, and the horse, decked out in superhero mask and cape, tracks down his knight, he's met with a castoff, "Sorry, Edward. No time to play dress up!" from his one-time rider. Then when Griffy gets a better offer, the knight says what poor Edward likely felt at the gryphon's arrival, "Hey! I thought you were playing with me!"

Young readers will immediately see themselves in this odd-man-out scenario. Unlike the knight, Edward stoically stands by and waits for his friend to return to his senses. Sturm, Arnold and Frederick-Frost's exquisitely paced full-page images and panels that toggle between horizontal and vertical sequences maintain the right balance between empathy and humor, outward action and internal growth. For budding cartoonists, the endpapers provide step-by-step instructions on how to draw the main characters.  --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: A disarming tale of chivalry and friendship told in comics-style panels and starring an armored knight and his trusty steed toggles between humor and poignancy.


Feiwel & Friends: The Principal's Underwear Is Missing by Holly Kowitt
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