Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 8, 2015


St. Martin's Press: In the Blink of an Eye by Jesse Blackadder

Shadow Mountain: Squint by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

Nosy Crow: Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon, selected by Fiona Waters

Quirk Books: The Princess and the Fangirl (Once Upon a Con #2) by Ashley Poston

Greystone Books: The Hidden Life of Trees: The Illustrated Edition by Peter Wohlleben, translated by Jane Billinghurst

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Pearl by Molly Idle

News

Update: Book World's Fundraising Efforts for Refugees

Patrick Ness

On Thursday, author Patrick Ness launched a fundraising page for Save the Children, with the money going "to help with the Syrian refugee crisis because I can no longer stand to just tweet about it." As of this morning, the effort had raised more than £500,000 (about $769,000) and continues to climb, with thousands of contributions coming in from individuals, authors, publishers and book-related organizations.

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Yesterday, the German Publishers & Booksellers Association, the Frankfurt Book Fair and LitCam--the Frankfurt Book Fair Literacy Campaign--announced a series of new initiatives to help refugees. The Bookseller reported that to coincide with International Literacy Day today, "the groups have launched Books Say Welcome, which aims to give refugees quick and easy access to educational and reading material. Reading and Learning Corners will be established in the vicinity of refugee housing and the German Publishers & Booksellers Association is supporting the action with a call for donations, while the Frankfurt Book Fair is offering free tickets and events for refugees at the fair."

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The Big Green Bookshop's appeal for book donations for refugees in Calais has gone "through the roof" since it began Friday. The Bookseller reported that "the independent in London's Wood Green is sending book donations to the so-called Jungle Books library set up by teacher Mary Jones at the refugee camp in Calais, nicknamed The Jungle."

Since the bookshop pledged to send books to the library and asked customers to contribute as well, it has been overwhelmed with donations and has also added a "donate" button to its blog. "Author Caitlin Moran tweeted about it and since then we have been inundated with support," said co-owner Simon Key. "It has turned into something we never realized it would be. We need help with getting the books to the Jungle Book Library in Calais, if anyone is willing to help. We are also trying to find a venue we can store the donated books in until they are taken there."


Enlighten Up: Divine Dog Wisdom Cards: A 62 Card Deck and Guidebook by Barb Horn and Randy Crutcher, illustrated by Teresa Shishim


Patterson's Third Round of Grants to U.K., Ireland Shops

Today James Patterson awarded £110,000 (about $169,135) in grants to 69 independent bookshops in the U.K. and Ireland, in his latest round of grants, the Bookseller reported. Last year, he donated more than £130,000 to 73 independent bookshops in the U.K. and Ireland. He then made an additional donation of £250,000 to bring his total donation in the U.K. and Ireland to £500,000.

James Patterson

Patterson has offered grants of between £250 and £5,000 to bookstores with a dedicated children's section. As with his previous grants, the funds will be used in a variety of ways, including "author events, a children’s reading challenge and a Book Bus for school visits," the Bookseller wrote.

"I have been completely overwhelmed by just how many independent bookshops have applied for this third round of grants, and yet again have been impressed and enthused by the caliber of the applications," Patterson said. "It's been very exciting to see the ideas from previous grant applications in action, with everything from a bedtime reading project to a refurbishment of children's sections now underway."

Booksellers Association president Tim Walker commented: "We are thrilled that so many U.K. and Irish indies have shown such creativity and passion in their applications, with everything from a junior book club and writing competition, to the creation of a children's literary festival been proposed. For the successful shops, the James Patterson money will make a real difference to how they reach children and encourage them to read."


University of Minnesota Press: Laurentian Divide by Sarah Stonich


King, Wolff Among National Medal of Arts Honorees

Authors Stephen King and Tobias Wolff are among the 11 National Medal of Arts recipients who will be honored on Thursday by President Obama. The award recognizes "individuals or groups who are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States." The National Humanities Medals will be presented at the same ceremony.   

National Endowment for the Arts chairman Jane Chu commented: "Ranging from literature, theater, and visual arts to arts presentation and philanthropy, these artists and organizations have broadened our horizons and enriched our lives. I join the president in congratulating them and celebrating what the arts do for America."

This National Medal of Arts citations for the two writers are as follows:

Stephen King for his contributions as an author: "One of the most popular and prolific writers of our time, Mr. King combines his remarkable storytelling with his sharp analysis of human nature. For decades, his works of horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy have terrified and delighted audiences around the world."

Tobias Wolff for his contributions as an author and educator: "His raw works of fiction examine themes of American identity and individual morality. With wit and compassion, Mr. Wolff’s work reflects the truths of our human experience."


GLOW: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra


Frankfurt CEO Talk Features Hachette Livre CEO Nourry

Arnaud Nourry

Arnaud Nourry, chairman and CEO of Hachette Livre, will be the sole speaker at the Frankfurt Book Fair's CEO talk on Wednesday, October 14, the day the fair opens. Last year, HarperCollins president and CEO Brian Murray spoke at the event, and two years ago, Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, spoke. In previous years, a panel of CEOs spoke.

During the talk, Nourry will be questioned for an hour by various trade reporters. The event will be moderated by Ruediger Wischenbart. The fair said that topics for discussion will include "Hachette's evolution in recent years as one of the leading general trade and educational publishers worldwide, global and European market developments, the digital transformation of the book business, the opportunities and challenges of emerging markets, as well as a strategic outlook on global publishing."


Greystone Books: The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate--Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben, translated by Jane Billinghurst


Obituary Note: Cynthia D'Angelo

Cynthia D'Angelo, who worked at the National Association of College Stores for almost 30 years, died on August 28 from complications of pancreatic cancer, NACS's Campus Marketplace newsletter reported.

D'Angelo retired two years ago as v-p, professional services, and had been publisher of the College Store magazine and Campus Marketplace. She began her career at NACS in the education department and also worked with the College Stores Research and Educational Foundation. In 2004, she won the NACS Foundation Distinguished Service Award.

We remember her as a remarkably sweet, smart, funny and helpful. For years, the association's CAMEX show seemed to start only when she enveloped us in a big hug. She was an intensely private person but loved sailing, reading and talking about books and the industry. We'll miss her. --John Mutter, editor-in-chief, Shelf Awareness


Dutton Books: The Woman Inside by E.G. Scott


Notes

Image of the Day: National Book Festival

At the National Book Festival on Saturday, Politics & Prose again operated the sales area, which was stocked with some 35,000 books, requiring more than 90 P&P staff members, helped by Ingram, the American Booksellers Association and publisher sales reps. The turnout was "huge, well exceeding last year's," said P&P co-owner Bradley Graham (l.). "It was just so heartening to see so many people--young and old, singles and families, residents and visitors--expressing such enthusiasm for books and writers."

ABA CEO Oren Teicher (r.), who, with the ABA's Greg Galloway and Nathan Halter, installed the panels listing all indie bookstores in the U.S. on Friday and sold books on Saturday, said that P&P operated the 20 or so checkout lines so well that "someone commented that P&P ought to consult to TSA, given how fast they kept the lines moving."


Author Meets Bookseller!

In a q&a with Bookselling This Week, Bill Clegg, author of Indie Next pick Did You Ever Have a Family, was asked how indie booksellers have played a role in his life.

Bill Clegg

"Oblong Books in Millerton, New York, was my North Star in high school and college," he replied. "I was shy and never introduced myself but I scoured their tables and shelves and found nearly every book I read then there. Also, it's where all my music came from--Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan, Neil Young. They played these guys, and so that's what I listened to. Oblong is still my bookstore--just not the one in Millerton. They have a store in Rhinebeck, which is where I spend many weekends and part of the summer, and since I rarely have time to go shopping in the city, Oblong remains the place I buy books. In fact, I introduced myself to Suzanna [Hermans, the store's co-owner] this past weekend for the first time. I was nervous!"


Personnel Changes at MIBA

Robert Martin has been promoted to director of operations of the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association. He was hired originally as a part-time executive assistant in early 2013, then was hired full-time last year.

Executive director Carrie Obry commented: "Bob continually impresses me with his ability to manage complex workloads with grace and professionalism. He's a dedicated reader with especially competent nonprofit management skills, so I consider him the ideal employee for the job."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Margo Jefferson on Fresh Air

Today on Fresh Air: Margo Jefferson, author of Negroland: A Memoir (Pantheon, $25, 9780307378453).

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Today on Diane Rehm: Joyce Carol Oates, author of The Lost Landscape: A Writer's Coming of Age (Ecco, $27.99, 9780062408679).

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Today on the Meredith Vieira Show: Steve Harvey, author of Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success: Discovering Your Gift and the Way to Life's Riches (Amistad, $15.99, 9780062220332).

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Today on Tavis Smiley: Salman Rushdie, author of Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights: A Novel (Random House, $28, 9780812998917).

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Today on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews: H.G. "Buzz" Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream, 25th Anniversary Edition (Da Capo, $15.99, 9780306824203). He will also appear today on Showtime's 60 Minutes Sports and tomorrow on Morning Joe.

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Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Beverly Johnson, co-author of The Face That Changed It All: A Memoir (Atria, $28, 9781476774411). She will also appear on Inside Edition with Deborah Norville.

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Tomorrow on a repeat of the Talk: Chris Colfer, author of The Land of Stories: Beyond the Kingdoms (Little, Brown, $18, 9780316406895).

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Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Ann Coulter, author of Adios, America (Regnery, $27.99, 9781621572671).


TV: The City & the City; Love, Nina

BBC Two has optioned China Miéville's The City & the City and will develop the novel into a four-part series based on the Inspector Tyador Borlú character, GalleyCat reported. British screenwriter Tony Grisoni is writing the adaptation.

"We are thrilled to be bringing China's dazzlingly inventive novel to BBC Two," said Damien Timmer, managing director at Mammoth Screen, which will produce the project. "It's a 21st Century classic--a truly thrilling and imaginative work which asks big questions about how we perceive the world and how we interact with each other."

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Helena Bonham-Carter will star in the BBC's Love, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home, a fictionalized adaptation of Nina Stibbe's book. The Bookseller reported that Nick Hornby is adapting the book for a five-part series, with Bonham-Carter as Georgia, the fictionalized version of Mary-Kay Wilmers; Faye Marsay as Nina, Jason Watkins as local author Malcolm Tanner and Josh McGuire as Nunny, Nina's on-off boyfriend.

Hornby said Stibbe's book "has already established itself as a much-loved piece of comic writing and I love it. Her observations and worldview were the inspiration for a show that we think captures the same spirit. It's been a joy to write and we're thrilled with the quality of our cast."



Books & Authors

Awards: Janet Frame Poetry Winner

David Eggleton won the $5,000 (about $3,125) Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Poetry, Booksellers NZ reported. Frame founded her charitable trust in 1999 and "bequeathed an endowment fund to benefit New Zealand writers." Since her death in 2004, Frame's estate has distributed $110,000 in grants to writers, as well as donations to literary causes.

A poet, critic, editor and freelance journalist who has published seven poetry books, a short fiction collection and several nonfiction works, Eggleton commented: "I am thrilled to receive this special award, both because of what it means in terms of recognition and support for my own writing, and because Janet Frame is one of my favorite authors, a writer whose work speaks volumes about being a New Zealander, while challenging the orthodoxies. She is undoubtedly a major figure in world literature. To be associated with her legacy in this way is a great honor."


Valerie Miles and Spanish Literary Treasure

Valerie Miles is an American writer and editor who lives and works between Barcelona and Madrid, Spain. She is the co-founding editor of Granta's Spanish language magazine, whose Best of Young Spanish Language Novelists issue appeared in 2010, and author of the anthology A Thousand Forests in One Acorn (Open Letter, $19.95). She writes for the New York Times, the Paris Review, Granta, El País, La Vanguardia and La Nación. She was a curator of the Roberto Bolaño archive at the Center for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona.

A Thousand Forests from One Acorn is, at 700+ pages, the most pleasurable "brick" I've read. How challenging was it to corral all of those authors? And how difficult was it to get them to choose the best of their own writing?

It was a big challenge for many reasons, both on practical and literary levels. These are some of the most accomplished writers in the language with very large bodies of work. They have plenty of engagements, ceremonies, commitments, and they are of course jealous of their writing time. And here I come along asking this tricky little question about what they consider their best pages.

But I have to say, some found it a fascinating exercise, like Javier Marías, who really stepped up to the experiment, or Juan Marsé, who at first was very reticent but in the end we had a very lively conversation about his time in Paris and the original Teresa from Last Evenings with Teresa. A few mentioned it was like spending time on the couch in a therapy session!

I had worked with a few of the writers quite a bit when I was in Alfaguara, such as Mario Vargas Llosa, Carlos Fuentes, Juan Goytisolo and Antonio Muñoz Molina. And others were already friends or acquaintances from my years as a journalist or editor, like Enrique Vila-Matas, Cristina Fernández Cubas, Edgardo Cozarinsky, Horacio Castellanos Moya and Alberto Ruy Sánchez. So I started with them, and once they were on board it wasn't so difficult to persuade other writers to engage. It was a fascinating experience, with very privileged conversations, and I'm deeply grateful to them for being game and allowing me to impinge on their time and creative process.

The interview process was also difficult because of geography. The territory in which Spanish is spoken is huge. I wanted to have personal conversations to the extent it was possible, so it took many years to sort that out, to catch authors in Barcelona or Madrid or when I was traveling to festivals. I wasn't able to meet personally with all of them, but I did with most, and I think that critical mass is important.

Some writers are averse to speaking about their own work and the miracle of the creative process, almost as if talking about it too much might jinx the whole thing. This was true of a few of them, like Eduardo Mendoza for instance, and Ramiro Pinilla or Hebe Uhart. That's why I call the section where we talk about "why" they selected these pages as their peak performance "The Torture of Doctor Johnson." He was, according to Harold Bloom, the greatest of all literary critics and to ask a writer to criticize their own work from the distance of an objective observer is nothing less than torture. I was looking for that intimate connection to writing that only the creator can offer.

Do you think it would have been easier for the writers to pick the best of each other's writing?

I definitely think so in many cases. It's not easy to turn the spotlight inwards and then explain something that is very private, like intentions and inspirations. But that's precisely what I think sets this book apart. It's not a book of criticism, it's like putting writers on the divan and asking them personal questions that relate to the mystery of the creative impulse. They give us some personal insight that only they know and that might help us see things in a different way when we confront their texts.

Can you give us a shortlist of recently released or forthcoming must-read authors who you are excited to see translated into English for the first time?

¡¡¡ALVARO ENRIGUE!!! His novel Sudden Death is one of the best pieces of writing I've experienced in a long time and it's out from Riverhead in February 2016. Don't miss it. I also absolutely adore the great Argentine writer Silvina Ocampo's haunting short story collection from New York Review Books, Thus Were Their Faces, and Horacio Castellanos Moya's story of alcohol-infused neurosis, The Dream of My Return. He's a splendid writer, always unpredictable and his prose is absolutely incantatory. Also there's Andrés Neuman, who has a glorious short story collection coming out from Open Letter in September, The Things We Don't Do.

The Pakistani novelist Kamila Shamsie suggested we have a year of publishing only women. If you were a publisher, which women would you publish?

I would publish Samanta Schweblin, the very powerful Argentine writer, and the reportage of another Argentine, Leila Guerriero who reminds me a little bit of Alma Guillermoprieto or, while we're still on Argentina, I could also suggest Mariana Enríquez's profile on Silvina Ocampo--she really makes the legendary grand dame come to life. There's the work of Peruvian writers Claudia Salazar and Patricia de Souza, Colombian Carolina Sanin and the Spanish writers Sonia Hernández and Elvira Navarro. I just translated Milena Busquet's novel This Too Shall Pass, which was a lot of fun, it will be coming out in May 2016 from Hogarth in the U.S. and Penguin Random House in the U.K. The works of the Venezuelan essayist Ana Nuño, Mexican poet Tedi Lopez Mills and art historian Victoria Cirlot are all brilliant. There's still a lot to do in discovering the female imagination in literature and bringing Spanish-language academics into the international conversation.

Hispabooks is committed to publishing Spanish authors in translation and University of Chicago Press just began a Latin American translation program. Is there a geographic area that's under-published?

As a matter of fact, I'm working with University of Chicago Press on Edmundo Paz Soldan's novel Norte right now. Hispabooks finally came out with the work of Andrés Barba, Javier Montes and Nico Casariego. I was with Andrés and Nico in Toronto and it was fantastic to see how the audience responded to their readings.

There's a lot going on in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, the Andes area, that is still untapped. I was invited to guest edit a Words Without Borders issue on Peru that will be out in September--it's burgeoning with original writing, especially reportage and narrative nonfiction. And Bolivia? Rodrigo Hasbun is a Carverian writing in Spanish--clean, tight prose, no fat. His novel has been sold in 15 different languages so you don't have to take my word for it. But I worked with him closely on a story collection I published a few years ago and it was exciting to see the spectacular reviews, he's a serious talent. And Liliana Colanzi is an emerging voice whose stories are being translated into English.

In Granta, we've dedicated special issues to Colombia and to Mexico, searching out voices and trends in literature. I think there's also a lot going on in Spain. Writers like Javier Calvo, Kiko Amat and Sebastià Jovani, whose very original short story 'The Archive' we published in Granta en español in October of last year, and it just came out in the English Granta magazine.

Deep Vellum is publishing Eduardo Berti (Argentina) and Pablo Martín Sánchez (Spain), the first two Spanish-language Oulipo authors. Have you read them? Are we in for a ride?

I have; in fact, I published a book of stories by Eduardo Berti all the way back when I was overseeing Emecé, the Argentine imprint, in 2002. He's very clever and original, infused by the French tradition. He's always been close to the inimitable Edgardo Cozarinsky, who is a writer that should be more widely translated.

I've perused Pablo Martín Sánchez without plunging in yet, but he's definitely on my list and any book published by Acantilado passes muster for me.  

Is it more pleasurable for you to read in Spanish or English?

I've reached a point where reading an English translation of a Spanish original is disconcerting to me, it's like hearing two different voices and I can't help but feel confused because I can sort of re-create the original text even if I don't see it and have this sort of linguistic dissociation where I'm not paying attention to what is actually happening. Having said that, I always read any translation of Edith Grossman's with a level of devotion bordering on the lovesick.

Editor's note: After we wrapped up this interview, the Spanish novelist Rafael Chirbes died. Ms. Miles e-mailed: "He was an amazing writer and he's one of the authors in my book. He was not just talented, he was urgent and important and writing about things that nobody else dared to touch. Two of his novels will be released by New Directions." --George Carroll


Book Review

Review: How to Cook a Moose

How to Cook a Moose: A Culinary Memoir by Kate Christensen (Islandport Press, $24.95 hardcover, 9781939017734, September 22, 2015)

Kate Christensen (Blue Plate Special) continues her ventures into the slow-food movement in How to Cook a Moose, splitting her time between the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the hip culinary city of Portland, Maine. Divorced and unhappy living in New York City, she longed "for a new life, somewhere else, somewhere clean and quiet." It was with great fortune that she met a man whose family has a farmhouse in the mountains of New Hampshire, which is where Christensen fell in love again, with life and with food.

From these happy moments of rediscovery, Christensen and her new life partner, Brendan, embark on a culinary odyssey. Christensen's conversational tone leads readers through the happy couple's cooking partnerships in the old farmhouse kitchen, where they whip up chicken stews and meals using the mushrooms they've foraged in the woods behind the house, to the streets of Portland, where they buy an older home together. While their Portland kitchen is being renovated, the couple partakes of Maine's bounty in the many restaurants that have given Portland a culinary reputation on par with any large city in the United States.

Christensen does a lovely job of weaving commentary on the variety of dishes they eat with sketches and discussions of the people who grow, pick and cook that food. Readers gain a sense of the individualism that is as integral a part of life on the rocky coastline and forested woodlands of Maine as the blueberries, lobsters, oysters and potatoes the state is famous for serving. The author also includes ample bites of history on a variety of Maine topics, including lobstering, potato harvesting and making a pot of baked beans. The quick synopsis of Portland's history aptly explains why the city's motto, Resurgam ("I will rise again"), could easily be the same saying for the many people Christensen interviews, who have often been dealt a hard hand but have managed to persevere and thrive.

Throughout the narrative, Christensen expresses the joy she experiences in eating really local, really fresh foods, made with love and care by people who are sincerely happy. As an added bonus, she includes many recipes--ones she and Brendan have cooked together and ones she has been given by other chefs--which allow readers to capture a bit of the happiness that slowly wafts from these pages like a tantalizing scent. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

Shelf Talker: Walk arm-in-arm with a gourmand on the streets of Portland, throughout Maine and parts of New Hampshire, savoring the lush local cuisine.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. Cocky Bastard by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland
2. Find Me by Laurelin Paige
3. The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep by Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin
4. Fallen Crest University (Fallen Crest Series, Volume 5) by Tijan
5. First 100 Words by Roger Priddy
6. Getting Over It (Sapphire Falls Book Six) by Erin Nicholas
7. Clover Park Series Boxed Set by Kylie Gilmore
8. If I Didn't Know Better (The Callaways Book 9) by Barbara Freethy
9. Four Week Fiancé by JS Cooper and Helen Cooper
10. Rise Part Two (The RISE Series Book 2) by Deborah Bladon

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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