Shelf Awareness for Friday, March 18, 2016


Chooseco: Chimera (Weregirl #2) by C.D. Bell

Riverhead Books: My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

Barron's Educational Series: Dear Dinosaur: With Real Letters to Read! by Chae Strathie, illustrated by Nicola O'Byrne

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

News

Phaidon-Met Store Opens in Met Breuer

Today, with the official opening of the Met Breuer in New York City, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's third location, Phaidon Press and the Met Store are launching a pop-up store, Phaidon x the Met Bookstore. The collaboration, a first by the Museum, offers nearly 300 titles, including Phaidon titles and Met publications. Phaidon x the Met Bookstore will run through the summer.

Phaidon will rotate selections of titles covering art, architecture, design, photography, fashion, travel and food, as well as children's books. Limited and autographed editions will include books by Edmund de Waal, Stephen Shore and chef Enrique Olvera. The store will offer signed copies of new monographs from Peter Marino, Sarah Sze and Anabelle Selldorf, as well as an exclusive Met/Phaidon edition of Phaidon's monograph Breuer.

The new Met Breuer.

Located on the fifth floor of the Met Breuer, which is on Madison Avenue at 75th St., the Phaidon x the Met Bookstore features James Irvine-designed fixtures and a reading and browsing lounge with seating provided by Herman Miller.

Keith Fox, CEO at Phaidon, commented: "We are proud to be part of the historic milestone of the opening of the Met Breuer. The building's legacy is inspiring, and Phaidon's mission is closely aligned with this branch's cultural, aesthetic and artistic identity. To see our beautiful books housed in the Phaidon x the Met Bookstore, with its iconic window and design, is truly a dream come true."

Jo Prosser, v-p of merchandising and retail at the Met Store, said, "We are delighted to be partnering with Phaidon during our opening season at the Met Breuer. The opportunity to focus on modern and contemporary titles, reflecting the curatorial spirit that is enlivening the Met Breuer, made Phaidon the perfect partner for a pop-up bookstore. Our aim is to engage new and existing shoppers by creating an offering and experience that is of the moment."


Avery Publishing Group: The End of Alzheimer's: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline by Dale Bredesen


Dog Eared Books Adding Location in S.F.'s Castro

Dog Eared Books, San Francisco, Calif., plans to open a satellite store in May at 489 Castro Street, in the space occupied by A Different Light Books, which closed in 2011. Owner Kate Rosenberger made the announcement on Facebook Wednesday, just a day after news broke that Books Inc. Castro would be closing. Dog Eared is anticipating a gala opening event on June 20.

"The Castro is one of the few neighborhoods in America you can honestly call both trend-setting and uniquely historical," said Rosenberger. "As such it deserves not just a good book shop, but a great book shop. We plan to work very hard to see the Castro gets what it deserves."

Like its 20th and Valencia location, the Castro store will sell new, used and discounted books, along with stationery, posters, cards and maps. On Facebook, the bookseller noted: "As a neighborhood-oriented business, we intend to stock both a wide selection of locally-based writers and LGBTQIA titles, along with classics, best sellers and off-beat books we wish were best sellers. The store will also maintain a full calendar of readings, book groups, release parties, and other adventurous literary events."

Rosenberger told SF Weekly that Dog Eared has no further expansion plans and that rent is "comparable" to what they are paying at the Valencia Street location. "We've been looking for a couple of months--at a couple of different spaces--and then we were lucky enough to get the old Different Light space. Phew! In this day and age!"


Soho Teen: No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear


BEA 2016: BEA Network, Pubmatch

BookExpo America unveiled a pair of digital platforms designed to "provide onsite networking capabilities and free access to the world's premium global rights trading platform--PubMatch."

The BEA Network, located within the "My Show" planning tool, will allow attendees to create profiles similar to those on social networks and then search and message anyone else signed in to the platform. In addition to allowing people to communicate and connect prior to the show, it will provide personalized exhibitor and product recommendations, along with recommendations on whom people should meet at the show based on mutual interests.

Through a partnership between BEA and PubMatch, the online service for those involved in the buying, selling and marketing of copyrights and intellectual property will be available to BEA participants on an initial trial basis; a preferential rate will be available upon signup.
 
"As good as BEA is in making on-the-ground personal connections, we have so much more opportunity by accessing those digital and social platforms that connect us all every day," said Brien McDonald, director of publisher relations for BEA. "The debut of the BEA Network and offering of PubMatch takes the core benefits of BEA--networking--and makes it even stronger."


She Writes Press: Things Unsaid by Diana Y. Paul


Executive Changes at Faber & Faber

Faber & Faber has "closed" the positions of publisher for fiction & paperbacks and publisher for nonfiction & the arts, the Bookseller reported. Hannah Griffiths, publisher for fiction & paperbacks, will leave the company after 12 years. Julian Loose, publisher for nonfiction and a 25-year veteran with the company, will stay until summer when he will become a consultant to Faber.

Mitzi Angel "made the decision to restructure the editorial department following her appointment as publisher at Faber last year. Under the new structure, a group of editors--acquiring fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama--will report directly to her," the Bookseller wrote.


DK Publishing: Star Wars Coding Projects by Jon Woodcock


Obituary Note: Asa Briggs

British social historian and educationist Asa Briggs, who "was one of the last survivors of a wartime generation who not only wrote groundbreaking works but helped to make history themselves," died March 15, the Guardian reported. He was 94. In two late autobiographical works--Secret Days and Special Relationships--Briggs chronicled his experiences after being recruited in secrecy to work at Bletchley Park cracking German wartime codes. Perhaps best known for a trilogy on 19th-century social history (Victorian People, Victorian Cities and Victorian Things), Briggs was also "commissioned by the BBC to write a mammoth five-volume history of British broadcasting, which he started in 1961 and completed in 1995."


Berkley Books: The French Girl by Lexie Elliott


Notes

Image of the Day: The Remnants

In Portland, Ore., Powell's booksellers Dianah Hughley and Kevin Sampsell celebrated the launch of Robert Hill's new novel, The Remnants, along with Forest Avenue Press publisher Laura Stanfill and Powell's marketing coordinator Gigi Little, who also designed the book's cover. Clockwise from top: Sampsell, Stanfill, Hill, Little, Hughley.

Cool Idea of the Day: The Merlin Camp

The Boulder Book Store, the Boulder Public Library and T.A. Barron, author of the Merlin Saga, have created Merlin Camp, a summer camp based on the Merlin Saga series that will offer two week-long sessions for children ages 9-12 this June.

T.A. Barron

Merlin Camp will be held at the Boulder Public Library, on Boulder Creek outside the library and in a nearby park. The bookstore's Demetri Bolduc, who is putting together Merlin Camp, explained, "Each day, the campers will create something new, whether it's a potion or a wizard staff. We want to inspire in them an awe of nature, the magic that exists in nature, and the magic people bring to the world. Basing the camp on the Merlin books was just a natural fit with T.A. Barron being a local author of a series that has inspired so many people."

Barron commented: "Merlin is a character who is so dear to my heart and I'm thrilled that young people will be able to have a magical experience that makes the most of the outdoors and their imaginations." He called the bookstore and library "two incomparable institutions for those who love literacy, books and so much more."

The 12-volume Merlin Saga recounts Merlin's youth before he became a famous wizard. The first book in the series was published in 1996. The series has sold millions of copies worldwide and was recently optioned by Disney, with screenplay by Philippa Boyens, one of the screenwriters for the Lord of the Rings films.


Rizzoli Bookstore's Cameo in Ann Beattie Story

Posted by Manhattan's Rizzoli Bookstore on Facebook:

"Rizzoli Bookstore loves the New Yorker and it's good to know the love is reciprocated... Thank you, Ann Beattie for the shout out!"

The post referred to this passage in Beattie's story "For the Best":

"He took a cab down to Kiehl’s, then worked his way back uptown, stopping at various stores, including the newly relocated Rizzoli. At each place, he picked out presents to be wrapped and mailed directly to his list of nineteen friends."


Personnel Changes at Chronicle, Abrams

Lisa Bach has been promoted to director of independent special sales at Chronicle Books. She was formerly associate director of special sales and has been with the company for 15 years.

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Rio Cortez has joined the Abrams sales department as trade sales manager. She was formerly field sales manager in the children's division at Simon & Schuster.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: E.J. Dionne Jr. on Why the Right Went Wrong

Today:
Fox & Friends: DeVon Franklin and Meagan Good, authors of The Wait: A Powerful Practice for Finding the Love of Your Life and the Life You Love (Howard Books, $24, 9781501105296).

Sunday:
ABC's This WeekE.J. Dionne Jr., author of Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism From Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781476763798).


TV: Red Mars; The Son

Emmy-winning director Greg Yaitanes will direct and executive produce Spike's 10-episode series Red Mars, based on Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy, Deadline reported. The series goes into production this summer for a 2017 debut.

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Sam Neill (Peaky Blinders) will play the lead in AMC's upcoming drama series The Son, based on the book by Philipp Meyer and written by Meyer, Lee Shipman and Brian McGreevy, Deadline reported. The cast also includes Henry Garrett (Poldark), Zahn McClarnon (Fargo), Paola Nunez (Reina de corazones) and Sydney Lucas (Fun Home). Production will begin in Austin, Tex., in June for a 2017 premiere.


Movies: Genius Trailer

The first trailer is out for Genius, starring Jude Law "as literary giant Thomas Wolfe and Colin Firth as book editor Maxwell Perkins," Deadline reported, adding that the movie "follows the friendship and working relationship between the two men." Directed by Michael Grandage, the project is based on Max Perkins: Editor of Genius by A. Scott Berg. The cast also includes Nicole Kidman, Laura Linney, Guy Pearce and Dominic West. Genius hits theaters June 10.


Books & Authors

Awards: NBCC; Chicago Trib YA; New England; Jane Grigson

Winners of the National Book Critics Circle Awards, which were announced last night in New York City, are:

Poetry: Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay (University of Pittsburgh Press)
Criticism: The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson (Graywolf)
Autobiography: Negroland by Margo Jefferson (Pantheon)
Biography: Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley by Charlotte Gordon (Random House)
Nonfiction: Dreamland: The True Story of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones (Bloomsbury)
Fiction: The Sellout by Paul Beatty (FSG)

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Goosebumps author R.L. Stine won the 2016 Chicago Tribune Young Adult Literary Award, which was created to "honor an author's achievements in children's literature and celebrate the power of well-written prose." Stine will be presented with the award during Printers Row Lit Fest, held June 11-12 in the Printers Row neighborhood. "In making this award, the Tribune affirms its commitment to the vital importance of reading," said Bruce Dold, publisher and editor-in-chief of the newspaper. "Goosebumps has inspired young readers around the world."

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Finalists for the 2016 New England Society Book Awards, sponsored by the New England Society in the City of New York and honoring "books of merit that celebrate New England and its culture," are:

Fiction:
The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson (Morrow)
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay (Morrow)

Contemporary Nonfiction:
The Pawnbroker's Daughter: A Memoir by Maxine Kumin (Norton)
Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter by Nina MacLaughlin (Norton)

Nonfiction: History & Biography:
Yankee Colonies Across America: Cities Upon the Hills by Chaim Rosenberg (Lexington Books)
The Saltwater Frontier: Indians and the Contest for the American Coast by Andrew Lipman (Yale University Press)

Specialty Titles:
The Selected Poems of Donald Hall by Donald Hall (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

One winner in each category will be announced on May 5 and honored at an awards luncheon on June 8 at the Grolier Club in New York City.

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Alex Andreou won the inaugural £2,000 (about $2,890) Jane Grigson Trust Award, which recognizes "a first-time writer of a book on food which has been commissioned but has not yet been published," for The Magic Bayleaf, the Bookseller reported. The book, acquired by editor Parisa Ebrahimi last year, will be published by Chatto & Windus in autumn 2017. The prize was launched in memory of British food writer Jane Grigson to "support food writing in the widest sense."


Book Brahmin: Katie Roiphe

photo: Jason Andrew

Katie Roiphe is the author of The Morning After: Sex, Fear and Feminism, Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Marriages, In Praise of Messy Lives: Essays and a novel, Still She Haunts Me. Her articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, the Paris Review, Vogue, Esquire, Slate, Tin House and elsewhere. She has a Ph.D. in literature from Princeton University and teaches at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. Her new book, The Violet Hour: Great Writers at the End, was published by Dial Press (March 8, 2016).

On your nightstand now:

Mary Wollstonecraft's The Vindication of Rights; Simone de Beauvoir's The Woman Destroyed; Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh.

Your top five authors:

Edith Wharton, Leo Tolstoy, Virginia Woolf, Janet Malcolm and James Salter.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Siri Hustvedt's The Blazing World and Alfred Hayes's In Love.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Alain de Botton, How Proust Can Change Your Life (well, not really...).

Book you hid from your parents:

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews.

Book that changed your life:

Hmmm... too many to say.

Favorite line from a book:

"So quick bright things come to confusion." --A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

Five books you'll never part with:

John Berryman's The Dream Songs, Mary McCarthy's The Company She Keeps, Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, James Salter's Light Years, Anthony Trollope's Can You Forgive Her?

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

Any Proust book.


Book Review

Review: Alice & Oliver

Alice & Oliver by Charles Bock (Random House, $28 hardcover, 9781400068388, April 5, 2016)

In Alice & Oliver, Charles Bock (Beautiful Children) draws on the experience of his late wife's battle with leukemia to create an intensely realistic and harrowing portrayal of a young woman's desperate fight for life against a relentless disease.

On the way from her New York City home to an idyllic family Thanksgiving in Vermont in 1993, with her husband, Oliver, and infant daughter, Doe, fashion designer Alice Culvert nearly succumbs to a pneumonia-like illness. After serious but less dire conditions are ruled out, a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia follows and the family embarks on what one of Alice's doctors calls the "marathon of sprints" that will be their reality for the next year.

From multiple inductions and consolidations of chemotherapy all the way through an allogeneic bone marrow transplant, Alice & Oliver is infused with the quality of realism that could only be gained through Bock's tragic personal experience. He spares no detail of either Alice's illness or her course of treatment, which is so terrifying in the punishment it inflicts on the body and mind that choosing death over it seems eminently reasonable. Whether it is the icy irrationality of the health insurance system or the need, as one physician describes it, to "live with not knowing the answers," Bock offers a multidimensional portrait of the challenges that face anyone dealing with a potentially fatal illness. Woven into this account are brief case studies of other cancer patients whose lives intersect with Alice's, most notably a musician, Mervyn, whose melodies become a weapon in her struggle.

But Bock's novel is more than a chronicle of cancer's ravages and the battle against it. Oliver is a software developer who is racing to finish a word-processing program he hopes will save his fledgling company. A rationalist who's skeptical of Alice's exploration of Eastern religion and her resort to alternative therapies as an adjunct to conventional treatment, he makes a foolhardy choice that threatens to undermine his marriage. This depiction of a relationship in crisis is every bit as taut and unpredictable as the medical drama in the novel's foreground.

"This is what people go through. Now it is my turn," Alice reflects, as she is about to receive the stem cell transplant that offers the only hope of saving her life. In this vivid novel, Charles Bock takes readers on a journey that never moves far beyond the confines of an Upper East Side hospital and a loft in the Meatpacking District, and yet it encompasses a world. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Charles Bock's second novel is a devastating portrait of a young wife and mother's fight against cancer.


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: 'Pay with a Poem' at World Poetry Day Cafe

It was afternoon tea, with tea foods spread out
Like in the books, except that it was coffee.

                       --from "Coffee in the Afternoon" by Alberto Ríos


Monday is UNESCO World Poetry Day. "The voices that carry poetry help to promote linguistic diversity and freedom of expression. They participate in the global effort towards artistic education and the dissemination of culture," said UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova. "The first word of a poem sometimes suffices to regain confidence in the face of adversity, to find the path of hope in the face of barbarity. In the age of automation and the immediacy of modern life, poetry also opens a space for the freedom and adventure inherent in human dignity.... I applaud the practitioners, actors, storytellers and all those anonymous voices committed to and through poetry, giving readings in the shadows or in the spotlights, in gardens or streets."

But let's talk about coffee, and what we might call a Cool Idea of the World Poetry Day.

Pay with a Poem is sponsored by Julius Meinl coffees and teas, which notes on its website: "Poetry can make a better world. On March 21st, World Poetry Day, we let our imagination wonder. We dream of a place where money is replaced by emotions. A better world. For one day, we're changing the currency in coffeehouses around the globe. And Julius Meinl coffees or teas will be paid with your poems. Pay with a Poem is a global initiative from Julius Meinl happening every year, wider and wider with every edition. An initiative getting famous poets and everyday poets together.... Sharpen your pencils and join us... in more than 30 countries and more than 1,000 participating locations serving Julius Meinl. #PoetryForChange #PayWithAPoem."

For 2016, artist and poet Robert Montgomery is Meinl's global ambassador. "Just like us, he's making poetry relevant to everyday life. Using new media, his work appears as unexpected large-scale billboards, light sculptures and fire poems," the company noted.

"I did a piece this year that ends with the statement: Money is a superstition," Montgomery recalled. "The longer poem says: Eagles live on the rooftops/ Not as symbols/ Just as eagles/ They remember the sky/ Money is a superstition.... So I love the idea that we can make our own currency of diverse statements. And people can bring a piece of paper, the same as a piece of money, but they can write their own message, their own fantasy, their own poem, and they can pay with that. I think every person is a poet. It's not like inside every person is a secret poet. I think every person has the ability to be a poet."

The Guardian noted that Montgomery "will mark the occasion by collecting up all the public contributions and turning them into an art installation in a secret London location."

Last year, the Guardian cautioned "it's not clear if cashiers will be exercising their critical judgment ('This comparison between your girlfriend and a red, red rose is a little overfamiliar--I'll have to insist on a rewrite'), whether they'll be focusing on quality or quantity ('This haiku is very nicely turned, but I don't think it'll stretch to a skinny frappucino extra-grande with the extra slice of melon'), or what kind of rights your barista will acquire over your work."

In any case, on Monday people can "Pay with a Poem" in Croatia, Austria, Portugal, Australia and many more countries, but what if you don't live near a participating location (the U.S., except for Chicago)? Well, you could be like Devdan Chaudhuri and just create your own "Pay with a Poem" option.

In a piece headlined "Let poetry pay for your cuppa," the Times of India reported that thanks to the efforts of Chaudhuri (author of Anatomy of Life and executive member of Poetry Paradigm), tomorrow "three coffee joints in [Kolkata] will be accepting a poem as a mode of payment for a cuppa" to encourage the habit of reading and writing poetry. Since "some Kolkata cafes are shut on Monday, we decided to host the event on Saturday," he said.

Malavika Banerjee, who owns the Byloom Cafe, plans to display the poems on her bulletin board: "I run a literature festival in the city. There is a connection between poetry, cafe and literature. So, I decided to be a part of this initiative." Partha Sarathi Bose, owner of Delices, said: "I liked this initiative. If a person comes up to me and offers an original poem, I will be happy to serve a black coffee or cup of Darjeeling tea." And Cafe Sienna's Shuili Ghosh noted that poetry criticism will be muted: "One can't be harsh with people if they don't submit something that's good enough."

My World Poetry Day Café plan this year involves a chair on the sunny deck of our house, a steaming mug of java and three recently purchased poetry collections: Voyage of the Sable Venus by Robin Coste Lewis, The Late Poems of Wang An-shih (trans. by David Hinton) and Sor Juana Juana Inés de la Cruz: Selected Works (trans. by Edith Grossman).

For many, many years, I have "measured out my life with coffee spoons," and poems. Monday I'll celebrate both with the world. --Robert Gray, contributing editor (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)


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