Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 6, 2016

Penguin Press: Win a collection of some of this fall's best nonfiction

Scholastic Focus: Scholastic is proud to introduce a new imprint of beautifully written and carefully researched MG and YA nonfiction—coming Fall 2018

Other Press: Something Great and Beautiful: A Novel of Love, Wall Street, and Focaccia by Enrico Pellegrini

Canongate Books: The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry

Katherine Tegen Books: Time Castaways #1: The Mona Lisa Key by Liesl Shurtliff


For Sale: A Room of One's Own, Madison, Wis.

A Room of One's Own, Madison, Wis., which was founded in 1975 as a feminist bookstore, has been put on the market by majority shareholders Sandi Torkildson and longtime business partner Nancy Geary. "But buyer beware," the State Journal cautioned. "Torkildson and Geary aren't interested in selling to the highest bidder or to those with romantic notions of owning a bookstore as a quaint side job. Instead, potential purchasers will be fully vetted and a deal made after they are convinced the future of the 6,000-square-foot store, where 'Eat, Sleep, Read' is the motto, is in good hands."

"You really only exist because of the support of your customers, and so since they have been there and have supported us, we have a responsibility to make sure we sell the store to somebody that understands that," Torkildson said. "For any small-business owner that has done this, you feel like it is such a part of you that you want to make sure that it goes on to somebody that will continue it. We may not get as much as we want, but that's not the most critical issue to us."

Geary added: "I'm optimistic that someone will come along that has the energy and the finances to take it to the next level. It would break my heart if this place didn't survive."

Citing retirement as a primary reason for the decision, Torkildson expressed optimism about finding the right buyer, and noted that in retirement she plans to continue to advocate for small businesses and join the board of directors of Dane Buy Local: "It's a very hard decision (to sell the store) because I'm very passionate about small businesses. I'm hoping the new owners will let me come in and shelve books. That way I can still see what's going on and be involved."

For more information, contact Paz & Associates, which has been hired to find and screen potential buyers, at 904-277-2664 or by e-mail at

World Editions: You Have Me to Love by Jaap Robben, translated by David Doherty

Spoonbill & Sugartown Opens Second Location

Spoonbill & Sugartown, Booksellers, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, N.Y., has opened a second store, less than a mile away, also in Williamsburg, at 99 Montrose Avenue. The location was previously the store's "secret office/warehouse," and will be open Friday-Sunday, 12-6 p.m.

The store inaugurated the new location last night with An Evening of Transgender Poetry, featuring readings by Cat Fitzpatrick, Merritt Kopas, Allison Parrish, Thel Seraphim, Charles Theonia and Paco Salas Pérez and coinciding the 28th annual Lambda Literary Awards tonight.

Disney-Hyperion: I Lost My Tooth! (Unlimited Squirrels) by Mo Willems

B&N in NYC Closing for Building Renovation

Because of a major renovation of the lower part of the building, at the end of June, Barnes & Noble is closing its store in the Citigroup Center in Midtown Manhattan, according to Crain's New York Business.

The lease has not been renewed yet, but B&N said it was in discussion with the landlord, Boston Properties, about returning to the building after renovations are completed.

Over the past decade, B&N closed several high-profile New York City stores, including the flagship store on lower Fifth Avenue and stores in Lincoln Triangle and Chelsea. But it continues to operate stores on Union Square, the Upper West Side, Fifth Avenue in Midtown, Yorkville and Tribeca.

Mandevilla Press: Assassins by Mike Bond

Book Machines Rise in Singapore

BooksActually, the Singapore bookstore, has begun selling books in vending machines, two of which went live last Friday. As owner Kenny Leck wrote on Facebook, "The machines have risen!"

The first two machines are at the National Museum of Singapore and the Singapore Visitors Centre. A third machine will be placed at the Goodman Arts Centre later this month. According to the Straits Times, the machines will stay at the current locations for about three months, after which they will move to other locations in Singapore.

Supported by a grant from Spring Singapore, the machines hold 120-150 books each (the visitors center machine also sells some DVDs and CDs). Titles include "the works of Singaporean writers and creators and range from poetry and short stories to graphic novels."

BooksActually manager Renee Ting told the Straits Times that the inspiration for the machines was the Penguincubator, created by Penguin Books founder Allen Lane in 1937. "The machine is our way of bringing Singapore literature out of our bookstore and closer to the public," she added.

BooksActually noted that it's "still working out some of the teething glitches. So sometimes books might get stuck, we will personally bank transfer refund the amount paid when that happens (FB message us). And sometimes, it will dispense 2 books. Which in this case, this is your lucky day, a present from the cats at BooksActually."

Obituary Note: Hugh Honour

Hugh Honour, a "self-taught art historian who produced indispensable works on Neo-Classicism and romanticism and who, with John Fleming, wrote the monumental survey The Visual Arts: A History," died May 19, the New York Times reported. He was 88. Honour moved to Italy in the mid-1950s to be with Fleming, "and the two men, who were partners until Mr. Fleming's death in 2001, entered into a highly productive writing and editing relationship."

This began when Penguin Books founder Allen Lane's requested they oversee a series, "Style and Civilization," that would "explore significant periods in art history, each with its own brief volume," the Times noted. They went on to edit two more series for Penguin in the same format: "Architect and Society" and "Art in Context."

Honour's other books include Romanticism; Neo-Classicism; Chinoiserie: A Vision of Cathay; The New Golden Land: European Images of America From the Discoveries to the Present Time; The Companion Guide to Venice; and, with Fleming, The Venetian Hours of Henry James, Whistler and Sargent.


Image of the Day: NYC Bookstore Crawls

Brooklyn Bookstore Crawlers: (from l.), back row: Collen Callery (Strand), Sophie Stewart (BookCourt), Andrew Unger (BookCourt), Doug Singleton (McNally Jackson), Michelle Chen (WORD), Tabitha Sanchez (Posman Books), Troy Chatterton (Three Lives & Co.), Cody Madsen (Book Culture); front row: Craig Mathis (powerHouse), Justin Goodfellow (Penguin), Andrew Owen (Posman Books), Geo Ong (Greenlight)

Last month, Penguin sales manager Justin Goodfellow took groups of booksellers from New York City indie bookstores on two "bookstore crawls," one to indies in Brooklyn and the other to indies in Manhattan. The store visits included many of the best stores in the city: in Brooklyn, WORD, Spoonbill & Sugartown, Greenlight, Community Bookstore, BookCourt and powerHouse Arena, and in Manhattan, Posman, Three Lives & Co., McNally Jackson, the Strand, Rizzoli and Book Culture.

As Goodfellow wrote: "Discussion topics ranged all across the board--merchandising, events, handselling, favorite titles, galley management, signage, theft prevention, staff favorites, and so much more. Beyond the general topics of discussion, though, we also got to see the backrooms, the basements, and the less well known parts of a store that help keep the wheels turning."

Becky Anderson: Naperville's 'Fair Lady'

Becky Anderson

Congratulations to Becky Anderson, co-owner of Anderson's Bookshops, Naperville, Downers Grove and La Grange, Ill., who was given the My Fair Lady Award in Naperville for her "significant contributions to the community," nctv17 reported.

During a ceremony, Anderson said, "I just want to thank each and every one of you in this room because I have learned something from all of you. And I continue to learn from you every single day. You've inspired me, you've mentored me, you've encouraged me and you educate me each and every day."

Besides co-owning the stores, Anderson is a city council member and promoter of IndieBound Naperville.

Happy 125th Birthday, Horton's Books & Gifts!

Congratulations to Horton's Books & Gifts, Carrollton, Ga., which celebrates its 125th anniversary this month and through the summer, the Times-Georgian wrote. Anniversary events include the second annual Where's Waldo 5K and Fun Run on June 25; a buy local event on July 1; and a birthday party for store cat Poe on July 16.

Horton's, Georgia's oldest bookstore--which has had just five owners--was founded in 1891 by N.A. Horton, a schoolteacher who also worked at a furniture-making company that built caskets, leading him to start a side business as a funeral director. He then also became a bookseller, supplying school books to local students. Over the years, the store expanded its book offerings, and has carried a variety of sidelines, including "cameras, office supplies, jewelry, men's wear at one point," owner Dorothy Pittman told the newspaper. "You had to sell anything that would sell. The whole idea is you sold what sold."

Pittman, a former librarian, bought Horton's in 1997. The Times-Georgian called her "as much a Carrollton institution as was her predecessor, N.A. Horton. As one of the go-to people on local history, she has turned her librarian's mind to also researching the history of her store. Her office in the back of the shop is stacked with boxes full of files and clippings that she has collected over the years."

That history includes a lot of bookstore cats--and a ghost. The ghost is Mary Malinda, the first wife of founder N.A. Horton, who died in childbirth years before the store opened. A reader, book lover and the first female graduate of Bowdoin College, she apparently gravitated toward the store, where, among other things, she tried to help children learn, in part by "whispering the correct words in his/her ear," as she writes on the store's website.

Pennie Picks Alexander Hamilton

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (Penguin Books, $20, 9780143034759) as her pick of the month for June. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"Lately I cannot escape references to the Broadway musical Hamilton. From mentions on podcasts to small talk at the salon, that name is on many people's lips. So, I thought I'd go back to the book responsible for all of the hubbub and name Ron Chernow's biography Alexander Hamilton this month's book buyer's pick.

"Hamilton's fascinating life is deftly made real by Chernow's superior writing skills. The resulting 832 pages offer an even-handed look at how important Hamilton was in the formation of our country. What I love most about the rekindled popularity of this book is that its brains and newly found street cred make it a book the whole family can enjoy."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Stephen King on CBS This Morning

CBS This Morning: Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (Scribner, $28, 9781501111105).

Live with Kelly: D.L. Hughley, author of Black Man, White House: An Oral History of the Obama Years (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062399793).

CNBC's Squawk Box: Virginia Heffernan, author of Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781439191705). She will also appear on the Takeaway.

Diane Rehm: Philippe Sands, author of East West Street: On the Origins of 'Genocide' and 'Crimes Against Humanity' (Knopf, $32.50, 9780385350716).

Meredith Vieira repeat: 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).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Chuck Klosterman, author of But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past (Blue Rider Press, $26, 9780399184123).

CBS This Morning: Stephen King, author of End of Watch (Scribner, $30, 9781501129742).

Today Show: Michele Borba, author of UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World (Touchstone, $25, 9781501110030).

The View: Terry McMillan, author of I Almost Forgot About You: A Novel (Crown, $27, 9781101902578).

Diane Rehm: Senator Barbara Boxer, author of The Art of Tough: Fearlessly Facing Politics and Life (Hachette Books, $27, 9780316311465).

Wendy Williams: A.R. Bernard, author of Four Things Women Want from a Man (Howard Books, $19.99, 9781501144653).

Movies: Drunken Fireworks; Ready Player One

James Franco will star in and may direct Drunken Fireworks, based on a short story by Stephen King. Deadline reported that Rabbit Bandini Productions and Rubicon Entertainment have teamed up for the project, which is being written by Matt Rager, "a frequent Franco collaborator whose credits include As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury and the upcoming John Steinbeck novel adaptation In Dubious Battle, all of which Franco directed."


T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley) has joined the cast of Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One, which is based on Ernest Cline's novel and co-stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Simon Pegg, Ben Mendelsohn and Mark Rylance. Miller "will play an annoying troller in the online forums." Directed by Spielberg, Ready Player One is expected to begin shooting later this month.

Books & Authors

Awards: Commonwealth Short Story; YA Book Prize

"Cow and Company" by Parashar Kulkarni (India) has won the £5,000 (about $7,215) Commonwealth Short Story Prize.


Sarah Crossan won the £2,000 (about $2,875) YA Book Prize for her free verse novel One, which "is about conjoined twins Grace and Tippi, who, after years of being educated at home, go to public school for the first time," the Bookseller reported. Judge Bim Adewunmi said, "Tippi and Grace are a great addition to the pantheon of great literary sisters, and the way Crossan explores their rare (physical) bond only makes them more so. I cried on the train at the end and I will not soon forget either of these girls."

Crossman added: "Teenagers are reluctant about the poetry element initially but I think they're braver than adults. I think it's a hard commercial sell, you have to convince booksellers that teens will read them, but it doesn't daunt them as much as adults expect. That's what I love about young adults--they are risk-tasking in what they read."

Book Review

Review: Angels of Detroit

Angels of Detroit by Christopher Hebert (Bloomsbury USA, $27 hardcover, 9781632863638, July 5, 2016)

Christopher Hebert's epic saga begins tellingly with young college dropout Dobbs hitchhiking to Detroit from a Kansas truck stop where "no one would admit to being headed in his direction." This is 21st-century Detroit--hollowed out, burned down, boarded up--a city that "emptied faster than it could be filled." Angels of Detroit is the story of a ragtag group of young activists ("white kids from the suburbs with rings in their faces") trying to save the city with half-hearted street demonstrations, while living peacefully among those who stubbornly stayed in their emptied neighborhoods, trying to rebuild them one step at a time.

Hebert meticulously juggles a broad swath of urban characters in addition to the idealistic protestors, including Dobbs, reluctantly caught up in human trafficking through debt, and African American security guard Darius at HSI (the last multi-national manufacturer with a factory in the city). HSI top executive Ruth Hamilton is fighting her board to keep the local plant open. Hispanic woodworking craftsman Boni lives in his grandmother's old house, plotting to blow up abandoned buildings to call attention to urban blight. Cranky Constance, in her 70s, is trying to hold her family together and turn the empty lots around her into a cornucopia of vegetables. And Constance's precocious, wild great-granddaughter, Clementine, fearlessly navigates the city streets and alleys, picking up "treasures" and helping whoever needs it. Like a Mad Max movie set or the landscape in Cormac McCarthy's The Road, Hebert's Detroit is a desolate place. Although rich and white Ruth Hamilton moved to the suburbs like her peers, the rest of the novel's cast are inner-city squatters and scavengers, cobbling together something out of nothing as best they can.

An editor of the University of Michigan Press and professor of English at the University of Tennessee, Hebert mined similar themes of poverty, politics and class in his first novel, The Boiling Season, set in Haiti. Angels of Detroit, however, is only tangentially about the politics of Detroit's descent. Rather, it is a Dickensian collection of Motor City characters bent on personal survival and rebuilding what they can. Despite a heavy atmosphere of decay, this is still a car town, and Hebert scatters his narrative with auto industry references, such as describing a Corvette as "zero to pussy in three point one seconds," or a tricked-out van as a "playhouse on wheels... a vehicle that could have been built only by people unaware of the existence of human suffering." The graveyard of Detroit is Hebert's stage, and fully formed characters Constance and Clementine are the "angels" who just might bring it back to life. Ambitious, well-paced, observant--Angels of Detroit is a first-rate novel of flawed but admirable characters who want a brighter future in what one of them calls "the new Old West." --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: Christopher Hebert's saga of a desolate Detroit is rich in character, plot and the ambience of a city down but not yet out.

Powered by: Xtenit