Shelf Awareness for Friday, September 16, 2016


Bantam: The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz

DK Publishing: Stock Your Shelves for Easter!

Soho Press: D'Arc (War with No Name #2) by Robert Repino

Workman Publishing: Flow

Center Street: Death Need Not Be Fatal by Malachy McCourt and Brian McDonald

RosettaBooks: Gratitude in Low Voices: A Memoir by Dawit Gebremichael Habte

Quotation of the Day

Carla Hayden: 'Positioning the Library to Look Outward'

"To be the head of an institution that's associated with knowledge and reading and scholarship when slaves were forbidden to learn how to read on punishment of losing limbs, that's kind of something....

"At this point in its history, the value of the library as a place for scholars will not diminish. In fact, we want it to grow. But more people will appreciate that they can be scholars, too, by positioning the library to look outward."

--Dr. Carla D. Hayden, who was sworn in Wednesday as the 14th librarian of Congress, becoming the first African-American and the first woman to lead the 216-year-old institution

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo


News

National Humanities Medal Honorees

The White House announced this year's recipients of the National Humanities Medal. William Adams, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, said, "Our understanding of ourselves, our history and our culture have been deepened and transformed by these extraordinary humanities medalists. I am proud to join President Obama in celebrating the achievements of these distinguished individuals." On September 22, President Obama will present the award to these honorees:

Rudolfo Anaya, author, for his pioneering stories of the American southwest.  
Ron Chernow, author, for bringing our Nation's story to life.  
Louise Glück, poet, for giving lyrical expression to our inner conflicts.  
James McBride, author, for humanizing the complexities of discussing race in America.
Louis Menand, author, for prose and essays that invite us to think in new ways about the forces shaping our society.  
Elaine Pagels, historian & author, for her exploration of faith and its traditions.
Abraham Verghese, physician, professor & author, for reminding us that the patient is the center of the medical enterprise.  
Isabel Wilkerson, journalist & author, for championing the stories of an unsung history.  
Terry Gross, radio host & producer, for her artful probing of the human experience.  
Wynton Marsalis, composer & musician, for celebrating the traditions of jazz music from New Orleans to Lincoln Center and beyond.  
José Andrés, chef & entrepreneur, for cultivating our palates and shaping our culture.
Prison University Project, higher education program, for transforming the lives of incarcerated people through higher education. 


Disney-Hyperion: Welcome by Mo Willems


Bookstore Sales Down 0.9% in July, First Drop in 10 Months

July bookstore sales fell 0.9%, to $745 million, compared to July 2015, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. This was the first drop in bookstore sales after 10 straight months of gains, a remarkable stretch in recent years. Despite the July slip, for the year to date, bookstore sales have risen 5.2%, to $6.185 billion.

Total retail sales in July rose 0.9%, to $461.8 billion. For the year to date, total retail sales have risen 2.8%, to $3,120 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing a general line of new books. These establishments may also sell stationery and related items, second-hand books, and magazines."


Counterpoint: Grace by Natashia Deon


Parnassus Recruits 100-Plus Creators for Cancer Fundraiser

Stephanie Appell

Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tenn., has recruited more than 100 authors and artists to contribute hand-painted piggy banks for a fundraising auction on September 25 to benefit Parnassus bookseller Stephanie Appell, who was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer this spring. The store has also pledged to donate a portion of the proceeds to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, for which store owner and author Ann Patchett is an inaugural ambassador.

"I actually had the 'it's cancer' conversation phone call with my doctor in the bookstore bathroom," said Appell in a post on Musing, the store's online lit journal. "My first work-related thought was, 'How are we going to get done all that needs doing if I'm out sick?' But when I told everyone, they just said, 'We got this. What do you need?' "

Among the creators contributing piggy banks for the auction are cellist Yo-Yo Ma, punk band NOFX, actor and musician pair Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, and a plethora of authors, including John Green, Barbara Kingsolver and Paula Hawkins. The bidding will begin in-store on Sunday, September 25, during the Bank on Booksellers Party, and later that evening people from around the world will be able to bid on the piggy banks online via the website BiddingOwl.

Said Ann Patchett: "We cast our piggy banks upon the water and what came back to us was more fabulous than anything we could have ever imagined."


ECW Press: The Dhow House by Jean McNeil


Athens Is World Book Capital 2018

Athens, Greece has been named World Book Capital 2018 "for the quality of its activities, supported by the entire book industry" by UNESCO director general Irina Bokova on the recommendation of an advisory committee, which includes representatives of the International Publishers Associations, the International Federation of Library Associations & Institutions and UNESCO. The city was also lauded for its "cultural infrastructure and its expertise in organizing international events."

Cities designated as UNESCO World Book Capital promote books and reading, as well as organize activities over the year starting April 23 with the celebration of World Book and Copyright Day. The purpose of 2018's initiative is "to make books and reading accessible to the whole population, including to migrants and refugees."

This year's World Book Capital is Wroclaw, Poland, and next year's will be Conakry, Guinea.


DK Publishing: Out of the Box by Jemma Westing


Beth Buehler Named Rodale COO

Beth Buehler

Rodale Inc. has appointed Beth Buehler as chief operating officer, a newly created position. She will oversee the business operations for a range of areas, including e-commerce, marketing, direct products, business operations, digital revenue operations, editorial production, business developments/digital partnerships, digital products and software development. Buehler most recently served as senior v-p, digital.

"Beth will work across our teams to ensure Rodale has the most nimble, scalable infrastructure to create and capitalize on revenue-generating opportunities," said chairman and CEO Maria Rodale. "A strategic thinker, astute problem solver and collaborative partner, I am confident that her strong digital background and varied skill set will enable her to further align and integrate our systems and unlock greater growth opportunities for the company."

The company also announced that Laura Frerer-Schmidt has been promoted to senior v-p/managing director of women's health and corporate sales. "Since Laura has been at the helm, women's health has consistently delivered impressive results with smart, multi-tiered programs that attract advertisers, emotionally engage readers and generate significant revenue," said Maria Rodale. "I know she will bring that same passion and creativity to her new role as she leads both the women's health and corporate sales teams to even greater heights."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Touch by Courtney Maum



Notes

Image of the Day: SIBA Kicks Off in Savannah

The SIBA Discovery Show gets underway in Savannah, Ga., this morning, and last evening, board members and Hachette Book Group staff enjoyed dinner at Lady and Sons restaurant with Paula Deen (center). The show continues through the weekend with a packed schedule of meetings, seminars and social activities.


Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss


Dave Barry's Gig with the Watermark House Band

Dave Barry was in Wichita, Kan., on Tuesday celebrating his home state of Florida and promoting his latest book, Best. State. Ever (Putnam). After his stand up routine at an event hosted by Watermark Books & Cafe, Dave played a cherry red Stratocaster and performed the "Tupperware Blues," "Gloria," and "Suzie Q" with the Watermark House Band (the Rock Bottom Remainders had a scheduling conflict). From left: Dave Clothier (guitar), Ron Starkel (guitar and gear), Watermark owner Sarah Bagby, Barry, Eric Cale (bass) and Wayland Tracy (drums).


Powell's Books 'Is Its Own Travel Destination'

"I just got back from a week's vacation up north. Where? The City of Books," wrote David Allen in an Inland Valley Daily Bulletin piece headlined "Word up! Powell's Books in Portland is its own travel destination."

Allen observed that "if you like to read, this is a place to which a pilgrimage is required at least once in a lifetime, a book lover's Camino de Santiago. It's a travel destination with a Travel section.... Like a golfer who longs to play just once at St. Andrews, a reader can't help but want to roam the aisles at Powell's.... How was my vacation at Powell's? It's lovely there any time of year."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Bruce Springsteen Plays CBS Sunday Morning

Today:
Fresh Air repeat: Mat Johnson, author of Loving Day: A Novel (Spiegel & Grau, $16, 9780812983661).

Sunday:
CBS Sunday Morning: Bruce Springsteen, author of Born to Run (Simon & Schuster, $32.50, 9781501141515).


Movies: Personal History of Rachel Dupree; A Wrinkle In Time

Emmy Award winner and Oscar nominee Viola Davis will star in the film adaptation of Ann Weisgarber's novel The Personal History of Rachel Dupree. Deadline reported that Davis's production company, JuVee Productions, optioned the film rights in 2011, and she will produce in association with SixtyFourSixty. Cast members also include Mahershala Ali and Quvenzhané Wallis. Filming will begin in 2017.

---

Storm Reid, "a 13 year-old actress who appeared in the Academy Award-winning Best Picture 12 Years A Slave," will play the lead role in the adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time, Deadline reported. The film is being directed by Ava DuVernay (Selma) from a script by Oscar-winning Frozen writer and co-director Jennifer Lee. Production is scheduled to start later this year with other cast members Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling.


Books & Authors

Awards: NBA Fiction Longlist

The National Book Foundation is unveiling longlists for the 2016 National Book Awards this week, with a category released each day. Finalists will be announced on October 13, and winners named November 16. This year's longlisted titles in the fiction category are:

The Throwback Special by Chris Bachelder (Norton)
What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell (FSG)
Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett (Little, Brown)
News of the World by Paulette Jiles (Morrow)
The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan (Viking)
The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie (Penguin)
Sweet Lamb of Heaven by Lydia Millet (Norton)
Miss Jane by Brad Watson (Norton)
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (Amistad)


Reading with... Anuk Arudpragasam

photo: Halik Azeez

From Colombo, Sri Lanka, Anuk Arudpragasam is living in Brooklyn, N.Y., while completing a dissertation in philosophy at Columbia University. He writes in Tamil and English. The Story of a Brief Marriage (Flatiron Books, September 6, 2016) is his first novel.

On your nightstand now:

I don't have a nightstand, but I am reading a couple of books at the moment, and I do occasionally read them before I go to sleep, and I do occasionally place them on the floor by my bed before turning off the lights. I'm reading A Million Windows by Gerald Murnane, which I feel is inferior to his excellent Barley Patch, and Richard Lattimore's translation of The Iliad, which I'm reading for a class that I will be teaching in the autumn.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine.

Your top five authors:

Robert Musil: The first novel of his I read was The Man Without Qualities, but I prefer his earlier works, especially the novel The Confusions of Young Törless and the novella The Perfecting of a Love. Both can be a little hard to read at times, because of how much they abandon the outer world in favor of the inner life of their protagonists, but the precision and devotion with which he captures certain aspects of this inner life really feels unparalleled. He's also very interested in abnormal states of consciousness--intoxication, mental illness, sexual/romantic excitement, athletic exertion/exhaustion, etc.--and I guess I'm attracted to his work by its suggestion that these states are indicative of the existence of something outside the compass of ordinary life.

Péter Nádas: I read his novel A Book of Memories for the first time two years ago, and have gone back to it several times since then. He pays meticulous attention to the psychology of the body--to the minutiae of gaze, posture, gait, movement, hesitation, gesture, mannerism--and its relationship to what is more conventionally thought of as psychology--to moods, feelings, urges, desires. These are studies of the body in the moving world, but his way of going into these studies in the midst of action has the effect of slowing down time, so that events that occupy moments or minutes are expanded out and one has the sense, in reading, of being in an eternal present.

Clarice Lispector: She is probably the writer on this list who has least influenced my writing style, but only because her own is so sui generis. One senses she abandons the conventions of plot, characterization, etc., not out of a desire to experiment but out of a real impatience with anything but getting to the bottom of herself. She registers the atomic movements of her subterranean life with a strangely distorted or deformed language that feels like it has been peeled away somehow from the objects of the external world, and she does it with a conviction that makes those movements seem more real than the visible world around her.

Andrei Platonov: Most of what I've read of his has been in various translations put out by NYRB in recent years, my favorite of which consists of a novella and short stories collected under the title Soul and translated by Robert Chandler. The title piece is an exploration of human life under circumstances of extreme degradation, of people without home, land, family, mind or dignity, and focuses especially on human relationships and the conditions under which they function and cease to function. He is a very sad writer, but also extremely earnest and extremely tender. I think he's the only writer on this list that I actually have love for.

Marcel Proust: I won't explain this choice, since the author is already a well-established part of the Western canon.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I try not to be an evangelist for any book, though I suppose I often fail. Sometimes people are too busy to read a particular book, or not in the right frame of mind to read a particular book, or are simply not in need of the specific kind of enrichment or consolation offered by a particular book. Many people I'm close to look for enrichment or consolation in activities very different from reading, and that fact is always at the back of my mind not only when I recommend a book but also when I write.

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

The only time I remember feeling this way was as a child, first on reading The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham, and then on reading a few of the books in the Harry Potter series.


Book Review

Review: Love for Sale: Pop Music in America

Love for Sale: Pop Music in America by David Hajdu (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27 hardcover, 320p., 9780374170530, October 18, 2016)

"If music be the food of love, play on," Duke Orsino famously declared in the opening scene of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Then and now, popular music has been primarily and perennially concerned with love: yearning for it, falling in and out of it, enjoying its blissful heights and mourning its loss. Music critic and Columbia journalism professor David Hajdu, a longtime pop-music geek, takes readers on a tour of the 20th-century landscape of American popular music in his fifth book, Love for Sale.

Hajdu (Positively 4th Street) begins his account with his adolescent collection of 45s, mostly the scratched ones his mother would bring home from her job as a waitress at the local diner. But he reaches back to the Tin Pan Alley songwriters of the early 20th century, who produced music on a breathtaking (and extremely catchy) scale. From there, Hajdu roams the pop music landscape (and the Billboard charts, a more recent invention), covering a dizzying array of musical trends, artists and technologies: wax cylinders, commercially produced sheet music, transistor radios, the Walkman, the MP3 file. He explores the ways in which pop music has always pushed the racial, sexual and societal envelope: the explosive popularity of the Cotton Club in Harlem and "black" music among white listeners in the 1920s; the lyrical freedom of the early blues queens, most of whom were black women; the widespread but always slightly illicit appeal of performers such as Elvis, Michael Jackson and Little Richard, who flirted with sexual boundaries. The Beatles appear, of course, as do Bob Dylan, David Bowie and other artists whose music (and the way they promoted it) changed the course of pop. Hajdu draws on his own interviews with many of these artists, weaving in anecdotes of his years living in the Greenwich Village as a young music critic with a secret passion for disco.

Popular music, as Hajdu notes in his introduction, is "a phenomenon of vast scale and intimate effect." It is "a social art that works with every member of its enormous following in small, unique ways." Love for Sale mirrors the pop music industry in that vital aspect: it is a work of wide-ranging historical observation that also feels personal, vivid and particular. Hajdu's narrative will have music fans of all tastes and ages humming the nostalgic tunes of their youth, or scrolling through the latest digital music delivery service in search of the songs they once treasured. Pop music may be a crass commercial endeavor, but as Hajdu shows, it is also the food--and the lyrical expression--of love. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Music critic David Hajdu takes readers on a smart, entertaining tour of the American pop music landscape.


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: BA16 & '#livingthedream'

As regional bookseller trade show season begins to heat up in the U.S., the annual Booksellers Association of the U.K. & Ireland Conference and Gardners Tradeshow was held earlier this week at Warwick University. The 2016 program, "celebrating the current confidence in bookselling," explored "how high street bookshops are breaking the mold of the typical bricks and mortar bookshop and exploring new ways of shoring up their place on the high street." I followed some of the biblioaction across the pond through the Bookseller's coverage as well as social media (#BA16). Here are a few highlights:

@kibworthbooks: "@BAbooksellers Can't wait! Lovely day for it #BA16"

Bookshop Day: The BA will hold its first Bookshop Day on Saturday, October 8, close on the heels of a very big date on the U.K. publishing calendar (October 6), when several major autumn titles are released. Alan Staton, the BA's head of marketing, said Bookshop Day "is a key part of Books Are My Bag's 2016 autumn campaign, and is all about getting shoppers to visit their local bookshop, whether it be to discover a new book or enjoy an in-store experience. We're very much looking forward to seeing the creative and fun ways bookshops up and down the country will celebrate Bookshop Day come October."

@mrbsemporium: "At #ba16 listening to fascinating study on reading to kids, print vs digital, from @egmontuk. Go to their website and read 'print matters.' "

@DubrayBooks: "Most children's books are bought in physical bookshops--being able to look, browse, enjoy the treat of visiting is important." And: "Few things more rewarding than reading with your children--scream it from the rooftops, says @callypoplak! @EgmontUK." And: "Great growth in children's books... now 24% of book market. Kids reading print despite lure of devices. #BA16."

The Booksellers Network: Frontline booksellers are being invited to join the Booksellers Network (@Booksellers_Nwk), which "aims to provide a vibrant ideas-sharing platform for grassroots retailers who are either young or new to the role.... The group has been founded after calls from some young booksellers: Jasmine Denholm of Wenlock Books, Robyn Law from Blackwell's, Marion Rankine from Foyles, Charlotte Colwill from Dulwich Books and Katie Clapham from Storytellers, Inc. are on board for the launch."

Meryl Halls, head of membership services at the BA, commented: "We all saw the merit in creating an informal space for young and new booksellers beyond that traditionally encompassed by the BA. We wanted to create a positive, mutually supportive and fun group, to attract shop-floor staff who work across the country in independent and chain bookshops. They have a lot of experience and enthusiasm to share, and we want to facilitate them coming together."

@BAbooksellers: "Helen @ForumBooks links up with local businesses including biscuit company--'booky cookies'. #BA16"

Bad day, good advice: Entrepreneur Jo Malone was interviewed about business strategies and her upcoming memoir, My Story. @IndieBound_UK tweeted: "Advice from @JoMaloneMBE for booksellers starting--never quit on a bad day #BA16."

Adopt a CEO: BA president Ros de la Hey, owner of the Main Street Trading Company in St. Boswells, wants to launch Adopt a CEO, a new initiative encouraging "those who lead the publishing world to step outside of London and their local neighborhood and spend some time inside a bookshop."

A former publisher at Bloomsbury, she "spent years taking authors on tour so I should have been fairly well informed about the life of a bookseller. In reality, I had never stood behind a till, never dealt with a tricky customer and never unpacked 12 boxes of books before 11 a.m. I tended to see each shop through the prism of the event I was attending.... I'd like to encourage publishers to rediscover the joy and beauty of the shop floor, coaxing them to join us in the fun of day's bookselling, speaking to actual customers." Faber CEO Stephen Page and Canongate CEO Jamie Byng have already agreed to visit the Main Street Trading Company.

Clare Christian, founder and publisher of RedDoor Publishing, agreed: "Specifically, we are three steps removed. We sell our books to our sales teams, our sales teams sell them to the bookseller, and the bookseller sells them to the customer. Publishers are effectively commissioning books based on trends and probably witchcraft. Unsurprisingly, the results are mixed." In July, Christian spent a day at Barton's Bookshop in Leatherhead.

@westbournebooks: "Martin Brown gave us and @gulliversbks a mention last night, but then his ferret went missing! #BA16 #wheresmyferret."

BAMB Readers Awards: The BA is launching the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards, which will ask the public to vote for the best books in fiction, nonfiction, biography, autobiography and children's categories, as well as a "breakthrough author." The shortlist will be unveiled October 6, and winners announced November 24.

Home again, home again

@drakebookshop: "Weighed down like a book pack horse. Can only mean the end of the #BA16 conference with @gardners. Alas poor Warwick @CathyReadsBooks !!"

@BookaBookshop: "Tired, happy booksellers heading home. Thanks @BAbooksellers for a great conference #BA16 #Warwick #livingthedream."

--Robert Gray, contributing editor (Column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)

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