Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, December 14, 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

Jaime Carey Leaving Barnes & Noble

Jaime Carey

Jaime Carey, president of development & restaurant group at Barnes & Noble, is resigning because the company decided last week that he "will no longer have the duties and responsibilities" of his position, according to an SEC filing. As a result, Carey made a decision to leave but will stay on through February 10 to help the transition. In the filing, B&N said it "appreciates Mr. Carey's many positive contributions over his long tenure at the company."

Carey was promoted to his current position in June after having served as chief operating officer since 2015. He originally joined B&N in 2003 as director of newsstand, and in 2008 was promoted to chief merchandising officer.

One of the key elements of Carey's current job was overseeing the development of B&N's full-service restaurants, a major part of its new concept stores that have begun opening in the past month. The first was in Eastchester, N.Y. Others have opened in Edina, Minn., and Folsom, Calif. Two more will be opening soon, in Loudoun, Va., and Plano, Tex.

Carey is the second top executive at Barnes & Noble to be dismissed this year. In August, CEO Ron Boire left after only 11 months at the company. B&N said that he "was not a good fit for the organization and that it was in the best interests of all parties for him to leave the company."


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


NYPL, Macmillan Partner for Publishing Venture

The New York Public Library and Macmillan Publishers will partner to create and publish a variety of print and e-books for adults and children, drawing from and inspired by the library's collections of rare books, manuscripts, photographs, maps, artifacts and more. The bulk of these collections is housed in the library's Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, and the Science, Industry & Business Library. The deal was negotiated by NYPL chief external relations officer Carrie Welch and Macmillan executive v-p Will Schwalbe.

Among the first adult titles will be a book by author and illustrator Maira Kalman celebrating libraries; a book on New York restaurant life, featuring menus from the library's collection of 45,000 eatery menus; and Book Face, which brings together the best posts from the #bookface Instagram sensation. St. Martin's Press executive editor Michael Flamini is overseeing the adult program.

The initial children's titles will include Coloring in the Lions, a coloring book featuring vintage art from the NYPL archive; a yet-to-be-titled picture book starring Patience and Fortitude, the lions who stand in front of the Library's main building on Fifth Avenue; and a middle grade novel based on a family who once lived in the library. Publisher Jean Feiwel and Henry Holt Books for Young Readers editorial director Christian Trimmer are overseeing the children's book program.

NYPL president Tony Marx described the partnership with Macmillan as "a new, wonderful way to share our collections and celebrate the role of libraries with the public. We thank our partners at Macmillan, and look forward to filling our shelves with these new titles."

Macmillan CEO John Sargent commented: "What a great pleasure it is to be the publishing partner of the NYPL. Their building and the incredible collections it holds has been an inspiration for generations of Americans. It is an honor both personally and professionally to work with them to disseminate this great wealth of content."


Soho Teen: No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear


Blizzard Entertainment Adds Book Publishing Division

Blizzard Entertainment, the developer and publisher of entertainment software best known for games like World of Warcraft, has launched Blizzard Publishing. The book division will focus on developing and releasing new Blizzard publications and reissuing out-of-print titles in the company's Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo settings, both directly and through ongoing global partnerships. Publishers Group West will distribute Blizzard Publishing titles.

The new venture "will help maintain the lore and legacy of the company's earliest novels and manga while also providing a variety of new ways for people to engage with Blizzard's rich worlds and characters," according to the company. Several upcoming releases will be available in multiple formats, including print, audiobook and e-book.

Lydia Bottegoni, senior v-p of story and franchise development at Blizzard Entertainment, said the "creation of Blizzard Publishing gives us new opportunities to celebrate the art and stories of our games with Blizzard gamers as well as fantasy and sci-fi fans around the world."

The first titles published under the Blizzard Publishing imprint include two sets of previously released novels and manga: Blizzard Legends (Warcraft: The Last Guardian by Jeff Grubb, Warcraft: Lord of the Clans by Christie Golden and World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde by Christie Golden); and Blizzard Manga (Warcraft Legends: Volume One and Warcraft Legends: Volume Two). Future releases in the Blizzard Legends and Blizzard Manga series will include titles across multiple Blizzard franchises.

Blizzard Publishing has also developed a new title, the World of Warcraft Adult Coloring Book, and is planning to release a series of full-color coffee-table art books, starting with Art of Hearthstone and Cinematic Art of StarCraft in 2017.


She Writes Press: Things Unsaid by Diana Y. Paul


Foyles Unveils Branded Stationery Line

U.K. bookseller Foyles is selling its first branded stationery line, which includes four types of notebook, the Bookseller reported. The line is branded with the Foyles logo and made in the U.K. from sustainable materials. The stationery will be sold in the chain's seven shops in London, Bristol, Birmingham and Chelmsford.

DK Publishing: Star Wars Coding Projects by Jon Woodcock


Obituary Note: Shirley Hazzard

Shirley Hazzard, the "Australian-born author of an acclaimed if small portfolio of fiction peopled with characters whose lives, much like her own, toss them up far from home," died December 12, the New York Times reported. She was 85. Her novel The Transit of Venus won the 1980 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction, but more than 20 years elapsed before she published The Great Fire, which won the 2003 National Book Award for fiction. Author Thomas Mallon observed that her devoted fans had begrudged her "even the time she spent on a brief memoir of her friendship with Graham Greene--Greene on Capri--published in 2000."

Noting that literary success came to her "without the usual blizzard of rejection slips," the Times wrote that Hazzard's "long association with the New Yorker began with the first story she submitted, 'Woollahra Road,' which had been fished from the slush pile by the fiction editor William Maxwell and published in 1961."

Her other books include People in Glass Houses (1967), Countenance of Truth: The United Nations and the Waldheim Case (1990), Cliffs of Fall (1963) and The Evening of the Holiday (1966).

She also collaborated with her husband, Francis Steegmuller, on The Ancient Shore: Dispatches From Naples (2000). In an interview, Hazzard said that Italy was her magic place where "the mysteries remain important: the accidental quality of existence, the poetry of memory, the impassioned life that is animated by awareness of eventual death."


Berkley Books: The French Girl by Lexie Elliott


Notes

Image of the Day: Inspired by Hopper

Last Monday, to a sold-out crowd at the Whitney Museum in New York City, Pegasus Books launched In Sunlight or in Shadow, an anthology of stories inspired by Edward Hopper paintings, edited by Lawrence Block, with contributions from Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Olen Butler, Michael Connelly, Megan Abbott and more.
 
Pictured are (l.-r.) contributors Warren Moore, Nicholas Christopher, Jill D. Block, Gail Levin, Megan Abbott, Jonathan Santlofer, Lee Child and Lawrence Block, along with Pegasus Books deputy publisher Jessica Case.

Diane's Books: 'Sparking the Imagination, the Ultimate Gift'

In a holiday season profile of Diane's Books, Greenwich, Conn., headlined "Sparking the Imagination, the Ultimate Gift," owner Diane Garrett told the Sentinel that after almost three decades in business, her greatest success has been witnessing the immense effect that books have had on generations of readers: "We truly care about raising readers, and we want everyone to fall into reading. Today more than ever, it's so important for us all to escape into a great story and embrace the journey that a book provides."

Asked what the key element is in fostering a true love for reading in a child, she replied: "Read out loud every single day to your children, no matter what their age, even up until college. Cuddle up together, read to them and let them get lost in their imagination."

Garrett "attributes the store's long-standing success to her underlying business principles, which she refers to as 'the 4 C's': compassion, community service, curiosity and communication," the Sentinel wrote, adding that she also "praised her hard-working team, comprised of 15 part-time staff members, whom she refers to as her 'Dazzling Divas.' "

"Everyone works part-time so that staff members can put family first, and then, when they come to work they are fresh and ready to focus, focus, focus," she said.

The Sentinel stated that "one of the shop's most notable offerings is its popular Red Flyer Gift Wagons, a long-standing tradition that includes gifting little wagons filled to the brim with hand-selected books for babies, children and adults--perfect for the holidays, but also popular for birthdays or any special occasion. These wagons are purchased and distributed across the globe and can be theme-based or tailored to a particular interest."


'Best of Bay Area Books'

Noting that "2016 has been a volatile year for many" the San Francisco Chronicle offered to "help make the countdown to the end of the year as enjoyable as possible with these Bay Area events and activities," including a feature headlined the "Best of Bay Area Books."

Topping the list was the legendary City Lights. Athough the bookshop is "one of the most beloved literary destinations in the world," the Chronicle wrote that it "is far from a relic, a shrine to its countercultural legacy. Under the guidance of its perspicacious staffers--among them publisher and executive director Elaine Katzenberger, chief book buyer Paul Yamazaki and events director Peter Maravelis--City Lights remains vital and vibrant.... Long may City Lights shine."

Runners-up included the Mechanics' Institute, which "stands as a beacon of what a cultural institution can be for all citizens," and Heyday Books, which "is devoted to producing books that celebrate the state's natural environment and its people, exploring cultures and traditions."

Honorable mentions went to Bird & Beckett Books & Records, as well as literary festivals Litquake, Oakland Book Festival and Bay Area Book Festival.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Mike Massimino on Tavis Smiley

Tomorrow:
Dr. Oz: Rocco DiSpirito, author of The Negative Calorie Diet: Lose Up to 10 Pounds in 10 Days with 10 All You Can Eat Foods (Harper Wave, $27.99, 9780062378132).

Tavis Smiley: Mike Massimino, author of Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe (Crown Archetype, $28, 9781101903544).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Megyn Kelly, author of Settle for More (Harper, $29.99, 9780062494603).


Films: Sense of an Ending; Secret Life of Dr. James Miranda Barry

A new trailer has been released for The Sense of an Ending, based on the Man Booker-winning novel by Julian Barnes. Directed by Ritesh Batra (The Lunchbox), the film stars Jim Broadbent, Harriet Walter, Michelle Dockery, Emily Mortimer, Billy Howle, Joe Alwyn, Freya Mavor, Matthew Goode and Charlotte Rampling. It opens in select theaters March 10, 2017.

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The Secret Life of Dr. James Miranda Barry: Victorian England's Most Eminent Surgeon by Rachel Holmes has been optioned by Maven Pictures, which hired Nick Yarborough to adapt the biography for the big screen, Deadline reported. Rachel Weisz (The Whistleblower) is starring in the project and will produce with Maven co-founders Trudie Styler (Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, American Honey) and Celine Rattray (The Kids Are All Right, American Honey).


Books & Authors

Awards: Sunday Times/Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer

Max Porter won the £5,000 (about $6,360) Sunday Times/Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award for Grief Is the Thing with Feathers, presented annually "to the best work of fiction, nonfiction or poetry by a British or Irish author aged between 18 and 35, either published or self-published," the Bookseller reported.

Andrew Holgate, one of the judges and the Sunday Times literary editor, said that "what stood out about Max Porter's book was its extraordinary inventiveness, combined with its remarkable emotional honesty. For a book to be as formally bold as Grief Is the Thing with Feathers is rare; for one to be as adventurous and ambitious in its literary references even rarer. But to produce something from these constituent parts that is still so poignant, direct and emotionally resonant is truly remarkable."

Beginning in 2017, the prize is partnering with the University of Warwick, which will offer a 10-week residency for the award's winner, run a day festival of events, and provide a year-round program of on-campus and digital support for award alumni and the year's shortlist.

Stuart Croft, vice chancellor of the University of Warwick said, "Our support for the award is an extension of Warwick's broader commitment to the nurture and support of literary work, particularly in emerging writing talent such as in our own student body."


Reading with... Laurie Sheck

photo: Nina Subin

Laurie Sheck is the author of Island of the Mad (Counterpoint, December 13, 2016) and A Monster's Notes, a re-imagining of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, which was selected by Entertainment Weekly as one of the 10 Best Fiction of the Year (2009), and long-listed for the Dublin Impac International Fiction Prize. A Pulitzer Prize finalist in poetry for The Willow Grove, Sheck has been a Guggenheim Fellow, as well as a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Paris Review and the Nation. She has taught at Princeton, CUNY and Rutgers, and is a member of the MFA faculty at the New School. She lives in New York City.

On your nightstand now:

The "bookstand" is books piled on the floor, but also my laptop, as some of what I read is solely digital. There are two books on astrophysics written in wonderfully accessible prose: Antimatter by the Oxford physicist Frank Close and Spooky Action at a Distance by George Musser. Also Sophie Calle's Suite Vénitienne, a small art book that documents Calle's following of a stranger down a Parisian street and ultimately to Venice. The digital work I'm reading, Sea and Spar Between by Nick Montfort and Stephanie Strickland, is a radiant computer-generated text that combines Melville's Moby-Dick and Emily Dickinson's poems in deeply patterned and near-endless variations.

Among the many piled books are also Cabinet and Bomb, my two favorite magazines, the timely Metadata by Jeffrey Pomerantz, In the Dark Room by Brian Dillon, Michelle Tea's new book, Black Wave, Eliot Weinberger's The Ghosts of Birds, Ethical Loneliness by Jill Stauffer and Geoff Dyer's But Beautiful, which I missed when it first came out; also The Anarchy of the Imagination, on and by R.W. Fassbinder, as well as Fassbinder's script for In a Year of 13 Moons. There is a space in the pile for a book I just ordered and am excited to get: Experience, edited by Carolyn A. Jones; its heat-sensitive cover by Olaf Eliasson changes in response to human touch. Last but not least, there's the 1956 pulp novel Linda Vale, Fashion Designer by the wonderfully pseudonymous Frances Dean Hancock.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I had a fierce attachment to Maurice Sendak's Nutshell Library, which consisted of four hardcover books in a decorative slipcase scaled to fit a child's hand. It struck me as an almost magical creation and incredibly benevolent and understanding of a child's-eye view of things. Also Dr. Seuss's Horton Hatches the Egg, in which Horton the elephant faithfully sits on a bird's nest warming an unhatched egg through all sorts of adverse conditions. "I said what I meant and I meant what I said, an elephant's faithful 100%." When the egg hatches it's a tiny elephant with wings. At the same time, I loved the ferocious justice and severe reckonings of Grimm's fairytales, as when Cinderella's stepsisters get their eyes plucked out by birds.

Your top five authors:

Ranking isn't really part of how I think, and preferences and needs often change. That said, there are certain writers whose work I feel deeply companioned by. Foremost is Dickinson, whose thought and radical re-seeing of practically everything she encountered is palpable in the astonishing dynamism of her language. Dostoevsky. Cáo Xuěqín, author of the great Chinese classic Dream of the Red Chamber. Gertrude Stein. Proust.

Book you've faked reading:

I haven't. There are plenty of books I've failed as a reader, having abandoned them for one reason or another. But I'm grateful for any part of a book I've responded to, even if I've been kind of crummy and haven't finished the whole thing.

Book you're an evangelist for:

There are certain books I like a lot that I might bring to someone's attention, but everyone has their own particular taste, which is a good thing. Recently I've mentioned The Gorgeous Nothings, which exquisitely reproduces Emily Dickinson's late envelope writings; David Markson's This Is Not a Novel; and the digital piece I mentioned, Sea and Spar Between. All of those, amazements in themselves, also help stretch the notion of what a book or genre is or isn't, in ways I find very exciting. I also do love Dostoevsky's The Idiot very, very much and would like it to be thought of more often than it is.

Book you've bought for the cover:

If I close my eyes and imagine buying a book for its cover, it would most likely be designed by Peter Mendelsund. As it is, I visit his website off and on, for pleasure and also to learn by example as I scroll through his covers and read his very lively thoughts on design.

Book you hid from your parents:

As Bartleby said, "I prefer not to."

Book that changed your life:

Frankenstein led the way to my first hybrid work, A Monster's Notes, which was a life-changing experience for me. When I first read it, my husband had fallen ill and his awkward, hobbled gait somehow reminded me of the "monster" from the movie. I'd never read the book! When I went out and got it, I found it beautiful beyond anything I'd imagined, and the character of the monster indelible, deeply moving; the book moved me in ways that changed and released me as a person and writer. I feel enormous love for it and enormous gratitude. I could say the same of Dostoevsky's The Idiot, which I read some years later, and had a similar, very powerful effect.

Favorite line from a book:

Samuel Beckett's "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better," from Worstward Ho. But it is hard to stop here, as there are hundreds of lines by Dickinson, many of them so long with me they are part of my daily thoughts: "Pain--has an element of Blank--"; "We buy with contrast--Pang is good"; "Glass was the Street--in Tinsel Peril"; "My Barefoot-Rank is better--"; "I always ran Home to Awe when a child, if anything befell me. He was an awful Mother, but I liked him better than none." It's hard to stop! There are billions more.

Five books you'll never part with:

Who knows? So many things change that once seemed unchangeable. Still, I would be surest of my Dickinson poems and letters. And Dostoevsky's The Idiot. Probably the O.E.D., which contains numerous DNA-like fragments of other books. Susan Howe's body of work when one day it's brought together in its entirety between covers. Frankenstein.

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

More than any book in its entirety, I wish I could encounter certain characters for the first time or meet up with them again in new situations: the "monster" in Frankenstein, especially in the passages where he gives voice to his pained bafflement at being abhorred, feared and rejected from the very beginning; and Prince Myshkin from The Idiot, who in his deepening isolation along with the profound experience of his epileptic seizures, has much in common, I have come to feel, with Mary Shelley's mournful, isolate and in certain ways very beautiful "monster."


Book Review

YA Review: Undefeated

Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin (Roaring Brook, $19.99 hardcover, 288p., ages 10-18, 9781596439542, January 17, 2017)

When 19-year-old Jim Thorpe (1888-1955) joined Pennsylvania's Carlisle Indian Industrial School's football team in 1907, it was the fastest team in the country, "the most creative, the most fun to watch." Already the school's track star, Thorpe was, self-admittedly, "a scarecrow dressed for football" when he initially approached Coach "Pop" Warner, who promptly told him to "take a hike." Thorpe persisted, demonstrating "a combination of power, agility and speed Pop Warner had never seen in one player--and never would again." History proved Warner to be football's "most innovative coach"; Thorpe would become "the greatest star the sport had ever seen."

Thorpe survived "a childhood that would have broken most boys": he lost his beloved twin brother; his Oklahoma family was victimized by ruthless anti-Native American laws; and he was removed--like most Native American children at the time--from his family and sent to Indian schools created to strip children of their Native identities. Somehow Thorpe still lived up to his original name, Wathohuck, Potawatomi for "Bright Path."

When 15-year-old Thorpe arrived at Carlisle in 1904, it was more military academy than educational haven. Founder Richard Henry Pratt's "kill the Indian in them" philosophy was no hyperbole--the campus had an on-site cemetery with nearly 200 graves. During Carlisle's almost 40-year history, from 1879 to 1918, 8,500 students enrolled, only 741 graduated and twice as many fled.

From this maelstrom emerged Warner's powerhouse team. Early football was a barbaric sport, so savage that many players died. The Big Four dominated: Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Penn. Carlisle's team, denigrated for its Native American players, was--ironically--praised for "sportsmanly conduct and clean play." Carlisle's innovations under Warner's tutelage--intricately orchestrated plays, the forward pass--pushed football to mature beyond boorish brutality.

Three-time National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin (Bomb; The Port Chicago 50; Most Dangerous) deftly balances the exhilarating glory of Thorpe's story and early American football history with the inequity and inhumanity of the Native American experience. His outrage at these atrocities is most palpable when he discusses Thorpe's double gold victory at the 1912 Olympics, for the pentathlon and decathlon. While Thorpe won under the U.S. flag, he was actually not an American citizen, despite his indigenous heritage: another dozen years lapsed "before Congress would pass a law extending citizenship to all American Indians."

With contagious excitement, Sheinkin enthralls readers with the Carlisle team's--and Thorpe's--stupendous feats. Abundant historical photographs enhance the story. If Undefeated seems overloaded with superlatives, Sheinkin meticulously supports his proclamations of "firsts, mosts, bests" with 30-plus pages of citations. In his acknowledgments, he recognizes that Thorpe's was "one of the most inspiring stories [he's] ever written about--and one of the most heartbreaking."

Despite the bad and ugly, good triumphs here. Never excusing the adversity Thorpe and his community suffered, Sheinkin highlights the "bright path," compelling readers to learn, admire and bear witness to the "world's greatest athlete." --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: In Undefeated, three-time National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin tackles the unparalleled achievements of Jim Thorpe and the all-Native American team that helped shape modern football.


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