Shelf Awareness for Friday, February 5, 2016


Del Rey Books: Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

Beach Lane Books: The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater, illustrated by The Fan Brothers

Disney-Hyperion: It's Shoe Time! (Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!) by Bryan Collier and Mo Willems

Tarcherperigee: Total Cat Mojo: The Ultimate Guide to Life with Your Cat by Jackson Galaxy

Soho Press: Solar Bones by Mike McCormack

Workman Publishing: Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton

Quotation of the Day

Clinton's 'Anonymous' Day Includes 'Stopping in a Bookstore'

"There's nothing I like better than to be anonymous, as hard as that is to achieve. So I would spend the day, you know, out in nature, talking a long walk, walking through one of the beautiful towns here in New Hampshire, stopping in a cafe, stopping in a bookstore. You know, maybe calling some of my friends, some of whom are here tonight, and say, don't tell anybody but meet me, you know, there. That's what I, that's what I want to do, and it's what I get the great joy out of."

--Hillary Clinton, asked by Anderson Cooper during the CNN debate on Wednesday night what she would do if she could be anonymous for a day.

Columbia Global Reports: Another Fine Mess by Helen C. Epstein / Nollywood by Emily Witt / Pipe Dreams by Erin Banco


News

Amazon Bookstore Furor: Day Three

There must have been a huge collective sigh of relief at Barnes & Noble yesterday as some of the media and many investors took a realistic view of the possible opening of more Amazon Books stores, first reported on Tuesday. Yesterday, when the Dow was up 0.5%, B&N shares jumped 13.9%, to $8.35 a share, regaining the value they had lost Tuesday and Wednesday, when investors feared new Amazon stores would severely damage the bookseller.

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In all the commentary over the past three days on the possible opening of more Amazon Books stores, Miriam Sontz, CEO of Powell's Books, Portland, Ore., was perhaps the most articulate champion of indie stores. Hear her in a segment that aired yesterday on KCRW's To the Point.


KidsBuzz for the Week of 07.24.17


Indigo Third Quarter: Sales, Profits Boom

In the third quarter ended December 26, revenue at Indigo Books & Music rose 12.9%, to C$383.2 million (about US$279.1 million), and net earnings rose 60%, to C$52.8 million (US$38.5 million). The company operated one less superstore and four fewer small format stores than in the same period in 2014.

Sales at Indigo and Chapters superstores open at least a year grew 15.5%, and sales at Coles and Indigospirit small format stores open at least a year grew 13.4%. Sales at indigo.ca, the company's e-commerce site, were up 17.9%.

CEO Heather Reisman commented: "As with every retailer, our third quarter is critical to the business and Indigo performed strongly across all categories and in all channels. We're incredibly proud of the Indigo team for delivering an outstanding assortment of books, gifts and toys, coupled with amazing service to our customers for the holidays."


Running Press Book Publishers: 36 Questions That Changed My Mind about You by Vicki Grant


Davidson's Main Street Books Renovating

Main Street Books, Davidson, N.C., "is undergoing renovations both inside and out and is temporarily closed through the week of February 8, though exterior upgrades will continue until later in the year," the Herald Weekly reported. Co-owners Adah Fitzgerald and Mary Barone, who purchased the business last March, "have no intention of taking away its historic charm, but simply enhancing it." The interior upgrade was planned to coincide with repairs to the facade by the building's owner.

"We are painting, and that involved packing everything up. We painted everything--walls, the ceiling, the antique bookcases," Fitzgerald said. "We are considering it a refresh and not changing a whole lot about it. The changes will make it more comfortable to host events with authors, story time or parties. It opens up the back and has new seating."

She noted that the "goal from the beginning is to make it a dynamic place to come talk to and meet authors, fellow writers and have them come face to face with the community."

A grand reopening will occur once the exterior scaffolding is removed, but "events will continue to take place at the bookstore throughout the renovations, plus other enhancements are slated for the coming months as staff evaluate each section and update the inventory," the Herald Weekly wrote.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones


ALA Reissues Iconic David Bowie READ Poster

"By popular demand," the American Library Association is reissuing an iconic poster of David Bowie reading Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Idiot. The special limited-run reprint of the iconic 1987 READ poster honors the late singer-songwriter, actor, producer, artist and... avid reader. ALA noted that Bowie was one of the first celebrities to pose for the READ campaign.


Albert Whitman & Company: Pepe & Millie Series by Yayo Kawamura


Executive Switches at Ingram's VitalSource

At Ingram Content Group, Pep Carrera, currently chief information officer of Ingram, has been named chief operating officer of VitalSource Technologies, Ingram's educational platform company.

At the same time, Kent Freeman, currently COO of VitalSource, has been named chief strategy and development officer for Ingram.

Ingram Content Group president and COO Shawn Morin commented: "With VitalSource unquestionably one of the largest learning platforms, we feel it's the right time to deepen our focus on accelerating learning outcomes and lowering costs in education. With that expansion, Pep's backgrounds in product management and engineering combined with his leadership style and innate curiosity are the right mix to lead this fast growing part of Ingram as it revolutionizes how learning outcomes are achieved around the globe."

He added, "Kent has done a tremendous job in leading VitalSource to become one of the most relevant and meaningful education technology companies to date, and we are excited to have him move to this new role for Ingram Content Group."

Carrera joined Ingram Content Group as CIO in 2012 and will relocate to Raleigh, N.C., where he will lead the teams in VitalSource's offices in Raleigh, Boston and the U.K.

Freeman has been with Ingram Content Group for 33 years in a variety of excutive positions and has led VitalSource since 2009.


BEA Offers Travel Stipends to Some ABA Members

BookExpo America is again offering the American Booksellers Association's member booksellers who have not attended the trade show in the last two years the opportunity to win one of 60 BEA scholarships of $435 each to help defray their hotel and travel costs, Bookselling This Week reported. To qualify, booksellers must stay at least one night at Hotel ABA for BookExpo America 2016, the Drake Hotel, during the show and participate in the BEA VIP Rewards Program. More details available here.


NBF Launching BookUp LGBTQ

The National Book Foundation has launched BookUp LGBTQ, a new BookUp site for LGBTQ teens at the Hetrick-Martin Institute. Taught by Cave Canem fellow and poet t'ai freedom ford, the site will provide books and activities tailored to young LGBTQ readers, who will choose from a booklist curated by influential LGBTQ authors, including Naomi Jackson, Garth Greenwell and Megan Kruse. Students will also go on field trips to the New York Public Library's Gay and Lesbian Collections, queer bookstores and historic and literary sites throughout the five boroughs. BookUp LGBTQ will be run in partnership with Lambda Literary.

"I am very excited about the partnership between HMI and the National Book Foundation," said Juan Williams, HMI's director of academic enrichment. "I believe that this opportunity will empower our readers and budding writers to build on their strengths and flourish in their communities."

NBF's program manager Amy Gall added: "Books give us our humanity and tell us we are not alone. BookUp LGBTQ creates a space where LGBTQ youth can see themselves as part of a dynamic community with a rich past and limitless future. We want to empower them to become the new generation of world changing readers and writers."



Notes

Image of the Day: Toni Morrison in Brooklyn

Community Bookstore, along with partners Brooklyn Public Library and Congregation Beth Elohim, hosted Toni Morrison for a sold-out program in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Tuesday night. More than 1,400 people listened to Morrison in conversation with Princeton professor Claudia Brodsky, during which she mentioned that she's at work on a new novel, tentatively titled Justice.

Pictured: (front row) Joel Whitney of the Brooklyn Public Library, Toni Morrison, Lauren Shenkman of Community Bookstore; (back row) Community Bookstore's Amanda Bruns, Ezra Goldstein, Nick Raschella, Stephanie Valdez and Hal Hlavinka.


WNBA Pannell Award Nominations Open

Nominations are now open for the WNBA Pannell Award, sponsored by the Women's National Book Association and Penguin Young Readers Group and recognizing "bookstores that enhance their communities by bringing exceptional creativity to foster a love of reading in their patrons." One Pannell Award is given to a general bookstore and one to a children's bookstore.

Nominations can be made by customers, sales reps, store personnel or anyone else who has been impressed with the work of a particular independent bookstore. Nominations can be made in one of two ways. First, by sending an e-mail to PannellAward@gmail.com that includes the name, e-mail address and phone number of the person making the nomination; that person's connection to the nominated store (such as customer, owner, employee, publisher); a brief statement outlining the reasons that store is being nominated; and contact info for the owner/manager of the nominated store. Second, by filling out this form, which requires the same information.

Nominations must be made by February 16. Each winner receives a $1,000 check and a framed signed original piece of art by a children's illustrator during a presentation at the BEA/ABA Children's Book and Author Breakfast this May in Chicago.


SCB to Represent Terra Nova Books

Terra Nova Books, Santa Fe, N.Mex., is now being represented to the trade by SCB Distributors. Founded in 2012, Terra Nova has published more than 25 books in a range of genres, including fiction, nonfiction, memoir and poetry. It plans to expand its list, particularly in creative nonfiction, specialized cookbooks, Southwestern culture, spirituality and general trade books.

New spring titles include Eat to Beat Alzheimer's: Delicious Recipes and New Research to Prevent and Slow Dementia by Francie Healey; Jewish Rites of Death: Stories of Beauty and Transformation by Richard A. Light; and two novels, Once Upon a Lie by Michael French and Incarnation by Laura Davis Hays.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Chris Offutt on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Chris Offutt, author of My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir (Atria, $26, 9781501112461).

Bloomberg Go and Bloomberg Advantage: Alec Ross, author of The Industries of the Future (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781476753652).

Sunday:
CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS: David B. Agus, author of The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781476712109).


Movies: Me Before You; Magic Tree House

The first trailer is out for Me Before You, based on the novel by Jojo Moyes, Variety reported. Directed by Thea Sharrock from a screenplay by Moyes and Scott Neustadter/Michael H. Weber (The Fault in Our Stars), the film stars Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Sam Clafin (Hunger Games). The cast also includes Charles Dance, Jenna Coleman, Matthew Lewis, Vanessa Kirby, Stephen Peacocke, Brendan Coyle and Janet McTeer. Me Before You opens June 3.

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Lionsgate plans to develop multiple live-action films based on the adventures chronicled in the 54-volume Magic Tree House collection by Mary Pope Osborne. She will executive produce along with her husband, Will, who has written the script for the first installment, based primarily on Book 29, Christmas in Camelot, with Jenny Laird. The franchise has sold more than 130 million books, translated into more than 35 languages.

Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-president Erik Feig called the books "an iconic property that is beloved and recognizable around the world."

Osborne noted that Lionsgate "has an impressive reputation for working closely with content creators, respecting and protecting their vision, and making them part of the creative process."

Barbara Marcus, president and publisher of Random House's children's division, said Osborne's series "has impacted the way children learn to read in an extraordinary way, and she has sparked a lifelong love of reading in millions of children over the course of nearly 25 years. We are so pleased to see that Mary's magical storytelling will continue on in a new form, opening up worlds of adventure to new generations of readers."


TV: The Baxter Family Series

Karen Kingsbury's 22-title Baxter Family novel series will be developed for television by Roma Downey and LightWorkers Media, the faith and family division of MGM, Deadline reported.

"My 25 million readers have been begging to see the Baxter Family on TV, and now their dreams will come true," said Kingsbury.

Downey added that at LightWorkers, "We are always looking for uplifting projects and because I am such a fan of the series, it makes so much sense to bring our two brands together."


Books & Authors

Awards: SCBWI On-the-Verge Emerging Voices; Ezra Jack Keats

The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators announced the winners of this year's On-the-Verge Emerging Voices Award, which is given to two writers or illustrators "who are from ethnic and/or cultural backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in children's literature in America and who have a ready-to-submit completed work for children."

The 2015 recipients are Jackie Dorothy for her manuscript Wind Rider, "the story of one Arapaho boy's struggle to protect his family from an evil shaman while the battle between modernization and tradition plague his tribe's reservation"; and Judy Allen Dodson for Fast Friends, "the story of Jesse Owens and Marty Glickman's inspiring relationship during the race for the gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics."

Each winner receives a paid trip to the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles to meet editors, agents and other industry professionals. The winning manuscripts will also be available to select agents and editors via a secure website.

SCBWI executive director Lin Oliver said, "Every child should have the opportunity to see themselves reflected in the pages of a book. And all authors should have the opportunity to write their truth. SCBWI is proud to contribute to this important effort to bring forth new voices."

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The Ezra Jack Keats Book Awards, which aim to "recognize and encourage emerging talent in the field of children’s books," have gone to:

New Writer: Don Tate for Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton (Peachtree Publishers)
New Illustrator: Phoebe Wahl for Sonya’s Chickens (Tundra Books)

The winners receive a gold medallion and an honorarium of $1,000. The awards are presented by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, in partnership with the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.


Book Brahmin: Alison Case

Alison Case received her B.A. from Oberlin College and her Ph.D. in English Literature from Cornell University. A professor of English at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., she has published two critical books and many articles on 19th-century British fiction and poetry. Her first novel is Nelly Dean: A Return to Wuthering Heights (Pegasus Books, February 8, 2016).

On your nightstand now:

Val McDermid's Blue Genes. I read mysteries for recreation during the semester, and right now I'm working through McDermid's Kate Brannigan mysteries.

Favorite book when you were a child:

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I loved the way she could use her imagination to transform even the most distressing circumstances, and the way she struggled to be generous and kind even when she had little to give.

Your top five authors:

Virginia Woolf, George Eliot, Jane Austen. Among the living: Margaret Atwood, Kim Stanley Robinson. I'm a big fan of science fiction and fantasy, particularly when it has a strong element of social and political reflection.

Book you've faked reading:

Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. Don't tell my colleagues!

Book you're an evangelist for:

Well, I always joke that I belong to the United Church of Middlemarch. It is practically a liberal education in itself.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Really? People do that?

Book you hid from your parents:

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) by David Reuben, M.D. I suspect it was on the shelf for my benefit anyway, but I was darned if I would admit to consulting it!

Book that changed your life:

My life has been profoundly shaped by books ever since I learned to read. But if I had to pick just one: W.B. Yeats's Collected Poems took over a whole year of my life in college. His relentless self-questioning honesty and his ability to transform pain, shame and doubt into breathtaking beauty were a revelation to me.

Favorite line from a book:

"Was there no safety? No learning by heart the ways of the world? No guide, no shelter, but all was miracle, and leaping from the pinnacle of a tower into the air? Could it be, even for elderly people, that this was life?--startling, unexpected, unknown?" --To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Five books you'll never part with:

For my favorite novels, especially the ones I teach regularly, editions wear out and get replaced without much sentiment. It's the contents that matter to me. That first copy of Yeats's poems will stay with me forever, as will the inscribed first edition of one of his plays that my late father gave me. (It was not a very good play, but the inscription is great.) There's also the copy of the Shakespeare Head edition of James Joyce's Ulysses that my grandfather smuggled into the country while it was still illegal and then had bound in green leather. And then there's the complete edition of Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes, because who could ever do without that? And James Marshall's George and Martha: Complete Stories of Two Best Friends, which I keep in the house for visiting children but will sometimes spend a refreshing half hour with myself.

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

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. By now I know it so well that reading it is like reciting the Lord's Prayer. It would be lovely to experience it for the first time again.

Strangest book you recommend:

Unquenchable Fire by Rachel Pollack, a fantasy novel that takes place in an America (Poughkeepsie, N.Y., to be precise) in which the laws of physics have been replaced by shamanistic magic. It's deeply strange, very funny and profound all at once. I find myself drawn to reread it every five years or so.


Book Review

Review: Cities I've Never Lived In

Cities I've Never Lived in: Stories by Sara Majka (Graywolf Press, $16 paperback, 9781555977313, February 16, 2016)

In an arresting first collection, Sara Majka assembles a host of familiar strangers, outsiders drifting around society's edges who remind us that all people have the same basic needs and desires.

Many of the stories here share a common narrator, a young woman rebuilding her life after a recent divorce. While some selections focus on her life, more frequently she relates the anecdotes of acquaintances and past friends than her own direct experiences. In "Reverón's Dolls," she reminisces about the immediate aftermath of her divorce, recalling several moves and observing, "It's hard to talk about love. It's as if it closes when we're not experiencing it and becomes impossible to recall." She probes gently at thoughts of family in "Miniatures," the absence of her parents and the subsequent alcoholism and mental illness of her only brother. More often, though, these musings quickly segue into someone else's experiences, as in "White Heart Bar," which details the last witnessed moments in the life of a girl her husband knew slightly who went missing. One notable deviation from the pattern is "St. Andrew's Hotel," a small piece of magical realism involving a young man from an island who is institutionalized on the mainland. During his absence, the island and the mainland mysteriously lose communication and transit from one to the other. After his release, the young man begins to run into one islander at a time, none of whom have aged or remember him, but the strange ferry they board will not afford him passage home.

Looking for love, home, purpose or escape, Majka's protagonists speak directly to the heart through her wise yet unadorned voice. Her economy with words encourages the reader to relax into the belief that her stories are uncomplicated. Moments later, though, she drops an observation that lands like a stone on the soul, such as this one from a soup kitchen: "I thought that those few people passing out food--with their hands in little plastic gloves, and their cross behind them--should not be our major defense against this kind of poverty; as a defense it felt hopeful, frail, and largely hidden." Abruptly, one realizes Majka has the rare ability to be simultaneously straightforward and complicated, simple and subtle. Whether her characters stay for a few pages or flit across the narrator's thoughts as quickly as a bead of mercury, the fractures in their lives remind us inescapably of the physical and emotional drift endemic to many people now. Finishing the collection produces a feeling akin to leaving a dream state; half-remembered impressions will make you long to slip back into its fragile beauty. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: Precision, beauty, and reality meld in Majka's captivating stories, which feature characters who live in obscurity on society's fringes.


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Super Bowl, Groundhog Day & the 'Library Scene'

This week is bookended, more or less, by Groundhog Day CXXIX in Punxsutawney, Pa., and Super Bowl L in the San Francisco Bay Area. Oops, I mean Super Bowl 50. After more than four over-hyped Roman Numeral decades, the National Football League was understandably intimidated by the "L" (as in loser). To celebrate the aligning of these two quintessentially American celebrations, I set for myself the challenge of finding ways in which they bordered my world of books. Impossible, you say?

I could submit for your approval the classic holiday movie Groundhog Day, in which Phil (Bill Murray) cites Anton Chekhov and reads from Poems for Every Mood to Rita (Andie MacDowell), who studied 19th century French poetry in college and at one point conjures up lines from Sir Walter Scott's "Lay of the Last Minstrel." Among Phil's books on the coffee shop's counter are Treasury of the Theatre: From Agamemnon to A Month in the Country by John Gassner and Johann Strauss: Father and Son, a Century of Light Music by H.E. Jacob.

Or I could screen a pair of Super Bowl 50 commercials for movie adaptations of classic novels by Lewis Carroll and Rudyard Kipling.

But wait, there's more!

Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Va., is offering its annual Groundhog Week Sale, during which "books and merchandise featuring rodents and things we think are rodents but really aren't are 20% off. Books by or about politicians are not eligible for this offer."

Former New York Giants and Oakland Raiders defensive end Justin Tuck, who announced his retirement Monday, made a Groundhog Day appearance on the Dan Patrick Show (9:38 mark) and talked about R.U.S.H for Literacy. He and his wife, Lauran, founded the initiative in 2008 with the mission of "encouraging children to read, understand, succeed and hope." The Tucks also donated $250,000 to The Re(a)d Zone, "a signature initiative focused on investing in, strengthening and building the capacity of high-quality, literacy-enhancing programs that increase third grade reading proficiency throughout the Bay Area."

Changing Hands Bookstore, Phoenix, Ariz., invites you to "join us for Super Bowl 50!... We'll have Happy Hour prices at First Draft Book Bar ($1 off all tap and house wine and beer, plus nuts and pretzels), plus a screening of the Super Bowl on the big-screens in the Commons."

Watermark Books, Wichita, Kans., hosts its fourth annual Book Club Sunday.

The 16th annual Alternative Souper Bowl--a free, celebratory afternoon of live music takes place at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Oakland: "Guests are invited to bring non-perishable food items and household items (listed below) for donation to HEARTH, which provides shelter to families that are experiencing homelessness and fleeing domestic violence."

The city of Mountain View recommends that visitors enjoy the well known bookstores downtown: East West, BookBuyers & Books Inc."; the Sacramento Bee suggests stops at City Lights Books ("a must-see for travelers from Bodø to Beijing") and Green Apple Books ("the vibe is warm and inviting"), while Denver's Fox31 offers a tragically unhip travel tip: "For you bookworms, check out the 'beatniks' at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, one of America's only truly independent bookstores."

Michael Oher, the subject of Michael Lewis's 2006 bestselling book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, will be playing in the Super Bowl as an offensive lineman for the Carolina Panthers.

For me, however, the clincher is an imaginary library that could have been a key moment in Groundhog Day. The movie's co-writer Danny Rubin recalled that his original concept called for a "library scene" at the bed & breakfast that would emphasize just how long Phil had been trapped in his time loop.

"I decided if he read a page of a book every day, he could remember where he was," he said. "So there's this big bookcase in the bed and breakfast, and every morning he goes down and he reads one page of one book. So you know that by the time he's gotten to the last page of the book, it's probably been about a year. And then he gets to the end of the row; and then he gets to the bottom of of the shelf. And then there's a very momentous day where he reads the last page of the last book of the last shelf, and you see him put it down and then, in a very depressed way, walk all the way back down to the beginning and start over again."

Sometimes the Super Bowl feels like that, especially during the halftime show. But there's always an element of surprise, even the literary kind, in the commercials. Remember when Apple channeled George Orwell's 1984 in the company's ad, directed by Ridley Scott, for Super Bowl XVIII? Now that was a game changer. --Robert Gray, contributing editor (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)


Aladdin Paperbacks: Halfway Normal by Barbara Dee
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