Garth Greenwell: 'Indies Save Lives'
"Independent bookstores are doing vital work, and they save lives."
"Independent bookstores are doing vital work, and they save lives."
"After years spent battling a declining book market and defying prophecies of doom," Indigo Books & Music "is back in growth mode," according to founder and CEO Heather Reisman, who unveiled the Canadian chain's new store at Sherway Gardens in Toronto this week, the Star reported. This marks the first major store Indigo has opened in more than five years.
"So many people were writing Indigo off," said Reisman. "The key is to reinvent, to create a new vision and to go to that vision with real conviction."
Noting that the company "has spent the last five years transforming from a bookstore to cultural department store for book lovers," the Star wrote that the Sherway Gardens location is "the first to fully encompass that new vision. The store is similar in size to the stores at Toronto Eaton Centre and the location at Bay and Bloor, but because of the layout, it carries 80,000 titles, the most books of any location. The new store features curated shops-within-a-shop, with books on common topics mooring a selection of related merchandise in open-concept rooms.... There are elegant chairs and a giant ottoman where guests can sit while they decide what to buy. A digital screen features an art installation of peonies by artist Diana Thater."
The location also has an American Girl boutique; a Best of Gifting Wall, which will be updated monthly with suggested books and gifts; and three digital inspiration walls, which are called Joy of the Table, A Room of Her Own and Home, showcasing Indigo's "key products and stories of the moment."
"We lived and breathed this store for over 18 months. There is not one single element that was not deliberate. That color--that particular shade of ballet pink, for example," said Reisman, pointing to the bookshelves. "I have been involved in every inch of this store--joyfully involved.... All of our stores are moving in this direction and we will, over the next couple of years, transform the entire collection of stores to be like this.... There will be other challenges. But now we have that muscle-building--the organization has built muscle in understanding challenges and how to think through them."
Quarto Publishing Group USA has bought the assets of Burgess Lea Press, New Hope, Pa., the publisher of fine cookbooks and food-related books.
Burgess Lea will become an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group USA, with editorial and production operations in Quarto's Minneapolis, Minn., office. Burgess Lea CEO Buz Teacher, who was co-founder of Running Press Book Publishers, and Burgess Lea publisher Janet Bukovinsky Teacher will continue to work with the imprint.
Quarto will continue the Burgess Lea model under which the house donates all after-tax publishing profits on every book to 501(c)(3) organizations that aid in hunger relief, farmland preservation and culinary education. Those organizations have included the Edible Schoolyard Project in Berkeley, Calif.; Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, Tarrytown, N.Y.; Adelante Mujeres, Forest Grove, Ore.; Urban Roots, St. Paul, Minn.; and Vetri Community Partnership and Drexel University Culinary Arts and Hospitality, both in Philadelphia, Pa.
Ken Fund, president and CEO of Quarto Publishing Group USA, said, "Burgess Lea's extraordinary authors and cookbooks and the uniqueness of their mission will be a powerful addition to Quarto's family of imprints."
The Teachers commented: "We are so pleased and excited that our unique not-for-profit model will become part of the Quarto publishing family. Our roots with Quarto go back more than two decades, and we've always been great admirers of the company and the fine books they publish. It's a tribute to the Quarto culture that they have created a permanent home for Burgess Lea Press and its mission."
Burgess Lea was founded a year ago as a joint venture with Running Press, which was an imprint of the Perseus Books Group and is now part of Hachette Book Group. At the time, Buz Teacher said that Burgess Lea had "a blended objective: to publish fine books while contributing to good works."
Half Price Books is opening its first Georgia location, in Marietta, today, bringing the company's total store count to 127 locations in 17 states. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the 9,000-square-foot store is in East Cobb at 1205 Johnson Ferry Road. Half Price Books is also planning to launch a store in Decatur later this year.
"We're excited to introduce Half Price Books to the greater Atlanta area," said Kathy Doyle Thomas, executive v-p and chief strategy officer for the chain.
Collett and Associates, developer of the Lewis Crossing Shopping Center in Conway, Ark., has "added Books-A-Million to the project's site plan," the Log Cabin Democrat reported, noting that while messages to Collett representatives had not yet been answered, "judging from the site plan, Books-A-Million will occupy a 10,000-square-foot space next to Dollar Tree." The shopping center is scheduled to open by the fall.
Amazon is opening two more warehouses in California--in Tracy, just east of the Bay Area, and Eastvale, in Riverside County, just east of Los Angeles--the company announced. When the facilities open, Amazon will have seven warehouses in the state, with a total of nine million square feet of space. The company also has two sortation centers in California, in Newark and San Bernardino.
Amazon opened its first warehouse in California in 2012.
Unabridged Bookstore in Chicago, in conjunction with the Chicago Humanities Festival, hosted Louise Erdrich at an event at the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple. Erdrich spoke with local author Rebecca Makkai about her new novel, LaRose; her favorite new books by women authors; and the return of the physical book: "The best technology is a physical book," Erdrich said. Pictured: (l.-r.) Erdrich's daughter Aza Erdrich Dorris; Mandy Medley, event coordinator, Unabridged Books; Erdrich.
At the Regulator Bookshop, Durham, N.C., the following note was attached to a recent special order:
"[Name withheld to protect a marriage] ordered a civil war book. When it arrives, do not call him. His wife thinks he's downsizing his library."
Owner Tom Campbell noted that the store's Facebook post about the note, which has reached more than 2,700 people, included this comment:
"I've mastered the 'No, I've had that one for years' ploy."
Twenty Green Mountain indie booksellers are teaming up for the "Visit Vermont's Independent Bookstores" initiative, which invites people to pick up a free passport at any of the participating bookstores (or download and print their own passport). Booksellers will stamp or initial boxes at the locations, enabling bookish pilgrims to win prizes, including:
Philipp Bartscher is joining the Crown Publishing Group as v-p, director, business strategy. He was formerly v-p, corporate development, Penguin Random House, Crown's parent company.
Brenda Carter has joined the American Psychological Association as publisher, APA Books. She was formerly acting editorial director for Rowman and Littlefield and earlier was executive director for SAGE College Editorial and director for Congressional Quarterly's College Publishing Division.
APA Books has more than 900 titles in print and includes the Magination Press imprint, featuring books to help children deal with a variety of psychological concerns and challenges; and APA Videos, which produces videos for professional clinical training and continuing education.
When Dietland was published last year, our reviewer wrote "In a confident, daring first novel, Sarai Walker mixes satire and mystery as she holds a magnifying glass over Western culture's objectification of the female gender. The result is combustion of enormously entertaining and thought-provoking proportion." Now out in paperback from Mariner Books, Dietland has a special relevance in this election cycle where issues about women and misogyny abound. The publisher has created Post-it notes, an Instagram page and a very funny book trailer to get the word out and use them all for change.
A trailer is out for The Safe House. "Poet and filmmaker Greta Bellamacina teamed up with journalist Davina Catt to document the history of British public libraries and their current decline," the Guardian reported. The film includes interviews with public figures like Stephen Fry, Irvine Welsh, Amma Asante and John Cooper Clarke, who plead for libraries to be saved from relentless cuts. The Safe House premiered in London this week.
Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Tuesday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.
Saturday, May 28
10 p.m. Tamara Draut, author of Sleeping Giant: How the New Working Class Will Transform America (Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385539777) and vice president of policy and research at Demos, is interviewed by Amy Goodman of "Democracy Now!" (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)
11 p.m. An interview with Chris Jackson, publisher and editor-in-chief of One World, from BEA in Chicago. (Re-airs Sunday at 10:15 a.m.)
Sunday, May 29
3:15 p.m. Coverage from the book party for More Human: Designing a World Where People Come First with co-author Steve Hilton (PublicAffairs, $28.99, 9781610396523). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)
Hannah Rothschild's Improbability of Love and Paul Murray's The Mark and the Void were named co-winners of this year's Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize, given to a book (or books, this year) that best "captures the comic spirit" of the legendary author. The Guardian reported that, for the first time, the prize will be split, with two Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs, as well as Bollinger champagne and the complete Everyman Wodehouse Collection, presented June 4 to the winners during the Hay Festival.
Judge James Naughtie commented: "It was impossible to separate these two books, because they made us laugh so much. And between them they produce a surfeit of wild satire and piercing humour about the subject that can always make us laugh and cry. Money."
The judges called Murray's book "an achingly topical, clever, delightful tale of folly and delusion," and Rothschild's debut novel "a wonderful satire on the art trade, preposterous billionaires, Russian oligarchs and much else, a brilliant conceit faultlessly carried off."
Sylvia Torti has won the third annual Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature, and her novel Cages will be published by Schaffner Press in 2017.
"Cages reminds me of the novels of Richard Powers in its mix of real science and real people grappling with issues like the ethics of experimentation," said publisher Timothy Schaffner. "The novel brings up fascinating and important questions about the source of memory, and whether it can be located in the human brain."
The award celebrates the life of Schaffner's brother, Nicholas Schaffner, a poet, musician, biographer and music critic.
Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, May 31:
Modern Lovers by Emma Straub (Riverhead, $26, 9781594634673) follows a group of aging college friends living in Brooklyn.
A Hero of France: A Novel by Alan Furst (Random House, $27, 9780812996494) is a spy thriller about the French Resistance.
The Emperor's Revenge by Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison (Putnam, $29, 9780399175961) is book 11 in the Oregon Files series.
She Poured Out Her Heart by Jean Thompson (Blue Rider, $27, 9780399573811) follows the diverging lives of two college friends.
Self Made: Becoming Empowered, Self-Reliant, and Rich in Every Way by Nely Galán (Spiegel & Grau, $25, 9780812989755) gives entrepreneurial advice.
Caspar Lee by Caspar Lee and Emily Riordan Lee (Grand Central, $22, 9781455570034) is the biography of a YouTube star.
Food and the City: New York's Professional Chefs, Restaurateurs, Line Cooks, Street Vendors, and Purveyors Talk About What They Do and Why They Do It by Ina Yalof (Putnam, $28, 9780399168925) is a behind-the-scenes look at New York City's food industry.
Villa Triste by Patrick Modiano, translated by John Cullen (Other Press, $13.95, 9781590517673), from the recipient of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature, about a young man in a 1960s French lakeside town.
Lacombe Lucien: The Screenplay by Louis Malle and Patrick Modiano, translated by Sabine Destrèe (Other Press, $14.95, 9781590517659) is the screenplay of the Oscar-nominated film set in France at the end of Word War II.
The Rocks: A Novel by Peter Nichols (Riverhead, $16, 9781101983393).
Nacho Figueras Presents: High Season by Jessica Whitman (Forever, $6.99, 9781455563647).
Broth and Stock from the Nourished Kitchen: Wholesome Master Recipes for Bone, Vegetable, and Seafood Broths and Meals to Make with Them by Jennifer McGruther (Ten Speed, $18, 9781607749318).
Me Before You, based on the novel by Jojo Moyes, opens June 3. Emilia Clarke stars as a woman caring for a paralyzed millionaire (Sam Claflin). A movie tie-in (Penguin Books, $9.99, 9780143130154) is available.
From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
Mothering Sunday: A Romance by Graham Swift (Knopf, $22.95, 9781101947524). "A beautiful afternoon on Mothering Sunday--now known as Mother's Day--in 1924 provides the backdrop for this exquisite tale of love, longing, and memory. Jane Fairchild, a house maid, has been the long-time lover to the heir-apparent at the estate next door. Their final cataclysmic afternoon together will alter the course of her destiny in ways that she never contemplated. Told in flashbacks by the nonagenarian Jane, this rare gem of a novella will haunt readers long after they turn the final pages. Superb!" --Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, Minn.
The Sport of Kings: A Novel by C.E. Morgan (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27, 9780374281083). "Horse racing and breeding, evolution, race, love, family dynamics and America's historical past are a few of the subjects and issues that Morgan bravely, confidently, and intelligently explores with a poetic and lyrical sensibility. The result is a gorgeous and engaging novel that is sobering, important, and unforgettable. In addition to her singular vision and style, Morgan combines some of the intense power of the landscape as mindscape of Thomas Wolfe, the dramaturgy and myth-mining of Eugene O'Neill, the deep focus and rigor of Richard Powers, the transcendent beauty of Vollmann's best prose, and the strong spiritual commitment of Marilynne Robinson. The Sport of Kings unfolds dramatically into an exquisite work of classic American literature." --Ed Conklin, Chaucer's Books, Santa Barbara, Calif.
Paperback: Revisit & Rediscover
The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard (Penguin Books, $16, 9780140107470). Originally published in hardcover in 1980. "WWII has just ended when two Australian sisters, Grace, whose nature is described by her name, and Caro, more angular in terms of beauty and character, encounter the Englishmen who will subsume their lives. The result is not only a rapturous love story, but a novel of ideas as adept at skewering society as people, as astute about global conflict as about love. The writing, at once luminous and precise, is heart-stopping and hair-raising, the sweep of story hugely engrossing, the result brilliant." --Betsy Burton, the King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah
For Ages 4 to 8: Revisit & Rediscover
Ant and Bee by Angela Banner (Trafalgar Square/IPG, $7.99, 9781405266710). Originally published in 1950. "Ant and Bee is an Amazing picture Book that Comes to mind whenever I Decant my Everlasting memories of Favorite childhood books. Gazing at the pages in my Hand, I Journey back through this beloved source of Knowledge and Laugh Merrily at their charmingly Nuanced and Original world. Perfidious is anyone who Questions the Richness and Sublimity of These alphabet story books. Underneath the stories is a Veritable fountain of Wonder, each page a magical Xylophone chord of Youth and what the Greeks call Zoi--life." --Kenny Brechner, Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers, Farmington, Me.
For Ages 9 to 12
The Most Important Thing: Stories About Sons, Fathers, and Grandfathers by Avi (Candlewick, $16.99, 9780763681111). "Seven boys, each in different circumstances and with different perspectives, deal with their fathers, present or absent, in this collection of short stories--some humorous, some heartbreaking, and all so honestly told that you will wish you could meet these kids after each story has ended. What is the most important thing a dad can do for his son? These boys will tell you!" --Susan Posch, the Book Shoppe, Boone, Iowa
For Teen Readers
When We Collided by Emery Lord (Bloomsbury, $17.99, 9781619638457). "When We Collided is a beautiful novel detailing the relationship between two young adults as they struggle with loss, love, and mental illness. Vivi is wild and free, while Jonah is struggling to take care of his family following the death of his father. Full of vivid language and with a wonderful plot, this book is definitely a must-read!" --Ashley Musick, Linden Tree Children's Books, Los Altos, Calif.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]
The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 by Lionel Shriver (Harper, $27.99 hardcover, 9780062328243, June 21, 2016)
"Plots set in the future are about what people fear in the present. They're not about the future at all." Lionel Shriver's self-aware observation aptly sums up what makes her novel The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047--an intensely realistic portrayal of one large family's struggle to survive amid the economic collapse of the United States--such a chill-inducing satire.
In 2029, the world abandons the dollar as the global reserve currency, and America's first "Lat" president, Dante Alvarado, responds by renouncing the country's towering national debt and making owning gold in any form a crime, sparking a catastrophic chain reaction. Inflation quickly balloons to an annual rate of 80%, and the ensuing stock market crash wipes out any vestige of investment wealth. Four generations of the Mandible family, heirs to a diesel engine fortune that eventually dwindles to a few pieces of silver service, are left to cope with their ever more straitened circumstances.
Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin) keeps a tight focus on the tribulations of the Mandibles. The patriarch, Douglas, a former literary agent in his late 90s, is now unable to live out his final years in expected comfort. Meanwhile, Willing Darkly, his great-grandson, is a teenager whose preternatural knowledge of economics allows him, above all other members of the family, to comprehend what lies ahead for the large, fractious clan. Their experience of society's descent into a Hobbesian nightmare, where apartments are "house-jacked" at gunpoint and settled economic relations evaporate overnight, seems, in Shriver's portrayal, frighteningly plausible.
The novel's grim mood does lighten some with allusions to events like the 2032 presidential candidacy of "leftwing grandee Jon Stewart" or Carter Mandible's pleasure at watching Amazon "go down in flames" after a 2024 cyberattack that comes to be known as the Stonage. Amid the 2016 presidential campaign, with its debate about building a wall to keep out Mexicans, there's a delicious irony in Shriver's vision of a fence that's "electrified, and computerized, and 100 percent surveilled, from the Pacific to the Gulf," but intended instead to thwart impoverished Americans fleeing in the opposite direction.
The Mandibles is a smart cautionary tale about how quickly the veneer of civilization can crumble when our leaders blunder and a financial doomsday, like the one we narrowly escaped in 2008, follows. But more than that, this shrewd novel reveals how intimately our very identities are bound up with our relationship to money: how we save it, how we spend it and how our hopes for the future are built on assumptions about it that may turn out to be far more tenuous than we'd ever dare admit. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer
Shelf Talker: Lionel Shriver's canny novel portrays how one family grapples with the collapse of the United States economy in the uncomfortably near future.