Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Ballantine Books: Ill Will by Dan Chaon

Ingram Spark: Spark-in-a-Box Self-publishing Program

Abrams Comicarts: The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

Titan Books: The Dragon's Legacy by Deborah A. Wolf

Tarcherperigee: Diaper Dude by Chris Pegula / The Unmumsy Mum by Sarah Turner / Being There by Erica Komisar

Penguin Books: If I Could Tell You by Elizabeth Wilhide

Amulet Books: Diary of a Wimpy Kid - 500 Weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List

Tarcherperigee: Broke Millennial by Erin Lowry / Rich20something by Daniel Dipiazza

Quotation of the Day

Gift Shopping Tip: 'Your Local Bookshop Is Your Friend'

photo: James Brickwood

"Your local bookshop is your friend. Arrive early and talk to staff, all of whom are super friendly and terrifyingly keen to help in this era of diminishing retail returns. Tell them about each family member's interests (there'll be something for your camping-mad sister and fashion-mad brother, even if they don't read much), then stare vacantly into space as staff choose the books and wrap them. Hand over your credit card. Bam."

--Benjamin Law in a piece for Australia's The Age headlined "Be armed and know your allies during the Christmas shopping war."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Setting Free the Kites by Alex George


News

Reader's World Opens in Warrensburg, Mo.

Reader's World bookstore has opened in the Midtown Connection Shopping Center at 501 N. Maguire St. in Warrensburg, Mo. The Star-Journal reported that the shop, which is part of the regional group of bookstores owned by Cowley Distributing, is not new to the town.

"Cowley Distributing was here before in Warrensburg, as Warrensburg Books and Toys. That's been a few years back, before Hastings came," said store manager Debbie Riddle, referring to the chain that declared bankruptcy earlier this year. "When Cowley found out that Hastings was going out, they came back."

Reader's World is about six blocks north of Ellis Hall on the University of Central Missouri campus. "The closer we could get to the college, the better," Riddle said. The store had its soft opening December 8 and made a public announcement December 14.


KidsBuzz for the Week of 01.23.17


Amazon Adding Two More Warehouses in Illinois

Amazon will open two fulfillment centers in Aurora, Ill., including a one-million-square-foot facility for smaller items and a 400,000-square-foot warehouse that will specialize in handling larger items. The online retailer currently operates fulfillment centers in Edwardsville, Joliet and Romeoville, with another under construction in Monee.

"In just over two years, Illinois has proven itself to be an ideal location from which Amazon can continue offering customers our vast selection and superfast shipping speeds," said Akash Chauhan, Amazon's v-p of North American operations.

Intersect Illinois CEO Jim Schultz said the organization "has worked closely with Amazon for months to grow and maximize Amazon's footprint in Illinois. Team members like Frank Cho recognized early on that Illinois and Amazon could be tremendous partners and that hard work is paying off. Illinois can offer Amazon exactly what it needs."

Sean McCarthy, director of the state's Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, added: "This has been a team effort, with DCEO and Intersect Illinois working together to make possible Amazon's continued growth in Illinois. We are excited to see Amazon expand and create thousands of good-paying jobs."


Bloomsbury: Winter Institute 2017


Chicago's Women & Children First Organizing Since the Election

Since Donald Trump's electoral victory on November 8, Women & Children First in Chicago, Ill., has aimed to be a "safe and therapeutic gathering space" for the store's community, and is planning events for 2017 with a focus on political activism and organization. The community has responded: Women & Children First had its best ever Small Business Saturday, with sales up 50% over 2015, and the store has seen a renewed commitment on the part of customers to "making sure that our doors stay open and our business thriving," reported co-owner Sarah Hollenbeck.

"The holidays have been very strong," said Hollenbeck. "Yes, retail therapy is definitely a real phenomenon, but also people are educating themselves about why the election fell the way it did."

Among the store's bestsellers are Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance, White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. Hollenbeck added: "Many shoppers want to better understand the systemic divisions between different races and different classes in this country and, thankfully, they're turning to books to find those insights."

On November 29, the store held an open mic night called "Everything Hurts" as part of its monthly feminist Sappho's Salon series. The series is an open mic in which anyone other than cisgender men can participate, and usually is held on the second Tuesday of the month. It was rescheduled in November because of the election, and for this special edition, which Hollenbeck described as a response to the "deep anxiety, anger and sadness" caused by the election, anyone could participate. The event had 41 attendees and about a dozen performers, and the store raised $90 to help a group of high school students attend the march in Washington, D.C., in January. On the following day, Women & Children First held an in-store Meditation and Self-care Workshop, which ended up being twice the size of what Hollenbeck had expected.

Hollenbeck and her colleagues plan to build on this momentum in January with several new programs: a monthly event called Activism, a Feminist Craft Circle series and a literary series called the Conversation. Each month, the Activism series will showcase a specific, local social justice organization, and each organization will explain its mission, hold a question and answer session and present an action plan that people can get involved in. The Feminist Craft Circle will meet for the first time on January 4 to knit hats for the Pussyhat Project, which aims to provide one million pink wool hats for protestors joining the Women's March on Washington, D.C., scheduled for January 21. And the Conversation, meanwhile, will launch on January 26 with a panel discussion about art and resistance.

Throughout the holidays, Women & Children First has been giving customers options for donating to two organizations: the store is a drop-off location for the Black Lives Matter Chicago Toy Drive, and it will host a book drive for Sit Stay Read, a literacy program that provides books to children in some of Chicago's most underserved neighborhoods.

"As a feminist bookstore, we believe that it is our responsibility to help folks harness their anger, sadness, and anxiety into activism," explained Hollenbeck. "Also, our base is more committed than ever to ensuring that we're not going anywhere. They recognize that feminist spaces, spaces for ideas, and progressive thought are more vital than ever and more at risk than ever." --Alex Mutter


PublicAffairs: The Revenge of Analog by David Sax


Laura Donnini to Head HarperCollins Italia

Laura Donnini has been appointed managing director and publishing of HarperCollins Italia, effective February 1. She replaces Paola Ronchi, who recently decided to leave the company after what HarperCollins called "a successful nine-year career with Harlequin/HarperCollins."

Donnini was most recently CEO of Rizzoli Group's RCS Libri, the book division of RCS Media group, where she was responsible for trade, education and international businesses. She began her book industry career in 2001 as managing director of Harlequin Mondadori, where she eventually became CEO of Piemme Edizioni and then managing director and publisher of Mondadori. She is also a former v-p of the Italian Publishers Association. Before working in publishing, she led multinational consumer goods companies for 13 years.

HarperCollins Italia was formed in September 2015 out of the existing operations of Harlequin Mondadori, which published in Italy for 34 years.

Brian Murray, president and CEO of HarperCollins, said that Donnini's "prior experience at Harlequin, Mondadori and Rizzoli makes her uniquely qualified to grow our business into one of the largest trade publishing houses in Italy, while working to provide Italian and international writers additional paths to publishing success."

Donnini added, "HarperCollins is poised for growth in the Italian market and I'm excited to be part of that. I look forward to further building upon the existing business and continuing the development of a strong and exciting publishing business."


Obituary Note: Phebe Hanson

Poet Phebe Hanson, whose "poems were vibrant and often witty, never intimidating or stuffy" and "felt like stories--tales of a Lutheran girl growing up on the Minnesota prairie," died December 17, the Star Tribune reported. She was 88. Garrison Keillor, who first met her in the 1970s, said Hanson "was a Norwegian, Lutheran comedian of the first order--under the guise of being a poet. She was a rare one.... She was a person of much less pretense than the rest of us. Some of us were mostly pretense. She was always a preacher's daughter from a small town, from Sacred Heart, who came to the big city."

Hanson's books include Why Still Dance: 75 Years: 75 Poems; Sacred Hearts; and (with Joan Murphy Pride) Not So Fast: A Grand Tour of Europe at a Mid-Life Pace.

Author Patricia Hampl, who visited Hanson December 10, on Emily Dickinson's birthday, told the Pioneer Press that "Phebe was lying on the bed, completely unable to sit up, reciting by heart poems by Emily Dickinson. She had become weak and frail but her mind was perfect.... Phebe was, of all the poets I can think of, the genuine inheritor of (Walt) Whitman and Dickinson. She was truly the queen of democratic consciousness."

From Hanson's poem "Crone":

a thought I find strangely comforting. "Soon I'll be a crone,"
I say to myself, "an elder with wrinkles and wisdom,
and when even my walking stick can no longer
support my old body, I'll slide down the path, a gleeful
child again, crawl on the rocks like a baby new to the world,
toward the crashing waves and endless sky."


Notes

Image of the Day: Bookman's Holiday

Nathan Halter, the American Booksellers Association's member relationship manager, just spent three days helping out at the two Avid Bookshops in Athens, Ga., during the busy holiday season. (Many ABA staff members have had similar shifts recently at stores around the country.) Halter worked as a bookseller alongside Avid's staff, and, according to events manager Rachel Watkins, "gave us lots of great feedback regarding what is working and how we might improve as booksellers." Pictured: (l.-r.) Avid owner Janet Geddis, Halter and Watkins.


'Southerners of the Year' Include Wild Fig's Wilkinson

Crystal Wilkinson

Crystal Wilkinson, author and co-owner of Wild Fig Books & Coffee in Lexington, Ky., has been named one of Southern Living's Southerners of the Year. The magazine noted that Wilkinson's shop "might just look like any other small, independent bookstore, but inside it's become something of a town hall where just as many discussions are had over a new bestseller as about gentrification, race relations, and city issues. While the salons Wilkinson hosts don't help the shop's bottom line, she is helping her community come together to create understanding and trust in a changing neighborhood. This year, in-between running the shop and acting as its unofficial part-time barista, Wilkinson also won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence for her debut novel, The Birds of Opulence."

Wilkinson, who reopened Wild Fig Books with partner Ronald Davis last fall, told the Herald-Leader the town hall discussions are valuable because they "certainly enrich our hearts." She also said, "It helps to have a good partner in Ron, but I am there a lot, and it's truly a juggle and a struggle. But I manage to fit it all in and get in a few hours of self-care now and then."


Bookstore Video of the Day: 'A Shop Dog's Wish'

In A Shop Dog's Wish, a seasonally appropriate video from Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn., the bookstore's canine booksellers extend an invitation: "Please enjoy our annual holiday greeting. (See above. This year it's a special story about how we all helped Opie.) And if there's any way we can help you in these last days of 2016--snuggles? noseprints on your glasses?--just let us know. We're at your loyal service....

"Meanwhile, we asked the shop-people if they had anything to add, and they said that in addition to expressing their most heartfelt thanks to everyone in Nashville and beyond who reads and supports indie bookstores, they'd like to suggest a few local and/or literary organizations that could really use a little extra love this season. So if you've already given hugs to your nearest dog and you're still in a giving mood, please check out these causes that are near and dear to our booksellers' hearts...."


Personnel Changes at Scholastic Trade

At Scholastic Trade:

Emily Feliberty has been promoted to associate director of marketing and publicity for Klutz. She was previously marketing manager.

Brooke Shearouse has been promoted to publicist. She was previously associate publicist.

Milena Giunco has been promoted to publicity coordinator. She was previously publicity assistant.

Christine Reedy has been promoted to marketing coordinator. She was previously marketing assistant.

Courtney DeVerges has been promoted to sales coordinator for Klutz. She was previously sales assistant.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Martha Stewart on Ellen

Tomorrow:
Live with Kelly: DJ Khaled, author of The Keys (Crown Archetype, $18, 9780451497574).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Anna Kendrick, author of Scrappy Little Nobody (Touchstone, $26.99, 9781501117206).

Friday:
Ellen repeat: Anna Kendrick, author of Scrappy Little Nobody (Touchstone, $26.99, 9781501117206).

Also on Ellen: Martha Stewart discusses Martha Stewart's Vegetables: Inspired Recipes and Tips for Choosing, Cooking, and Enjoying the Freshest Seasonal Flavors (Clarkson Potter, $29.50, 9780307954442).


Movies: Blade Runner 2049

"Some things look familiar, some things look really different, and few things have changed a lot in this first tease from the sequel to Blade Runner," io9 reported in featuring a trailer for Blade Runner 2049, a followup to the classic adaptation of Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The film will be released October 6, 2017.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve and again starring Harrison Ford, the story takes place 30 years after the events portrayed in the first movie, when "a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years."


Books & Authors

Reading with... Jerry Spinelli

photo: Elmore DeMott

Jerry Spinelli has written more than 35 books for young readers, published in more than 35 languages. He is the award-winning author of Stargirl; Love, Stargirl; Milkweed; Crash; Wringer; Hokey Pokey; Maniac Magee, winner of the Newbery Medal; and Knots in My Yo-Yo String, the autobiography of his childhood. The Warden's Daughter, a middle-grade novel about a girl who lives with her father on the grounds of a 1950s prison, will be published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on January 3, 2017. A graduate of Gettysburg College, Spinelli lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, poet and author Eileen Spinelli.

On your nightstand now:

The Trespasser by Tana French. I read murder mysteries for fun. A couple of years ago I discovered Tana French. Now I read her new books as soon as they come out.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff. My mother read it to me. Every time she read it, I cried. And wanted more the next night. The power of story.

Your top five authors:

Eileen Spinelli, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Loren Eiseley, Jean Giraudoux (Ondine), Dylan Thomas

Book you've faked reading:

Clarissa by Samuel Richardson. It was for an English novel course in college. At semester's end I confessed to the instructor that I hadn't really read it. He looked crestfallen. I've felt guilty ever since.

Book you are an evangelist for:

When You Are Happy by Eileen Spinelli. Yeah, I know, she's my wife. But this 32-page picture book hits my trifecta: language, illustrations, message. Never before has so much humanity been packed into so few pages.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril by Paul Malmont. I'm a fan of the old pulps, a taste of which, with their lurid language and melodrama, I tried to evoke in Hokey Pokey. Malmont's novel is an homage to that dime-novel era.

Book you hid from your parents:

None. I didn't read then--well, not books anyway, except for the Bobbsey Twins. My reading was pretty much confined to the sports pages of the paper and comic books, none of which needed to be hidden.

Book that changed your life:

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. This was after grad school, when I had my first job (menswear editor for a department store magazine). Until then I was still writing, in effect, for Mrs. Taylor's creative writing course at Gettysburg College. I read and wrote in an ivory tower. If you were a bestselling title, I looked down my nose at you. The Exorcist changed that for me. No, it wasn't immortal literature, but in it I found elements of storytelling that I myself had studied and respected and tried to emulate. I discovered it was possible for a book to be both good and popular. From then on, Mrs. Taylor wasn't the only reader I wrote for.

Favorite line from a book:

"Sometimes one meets a woman who is beast turning human. Such a person's every movement will reduce to an image of a forgotten experience, a mirage of an eternal wedding cast upon the racial memory, as insupportable a joy as would be the vision of an eland coming down an aisle of trees, chapleted with orange blossoms and bridal veil, a hoof raised in the economy of fear, stepping in the trepidation of flesh that will become myth, as the unicorn is neither man nor beast deprived, but human hunger pressing its breast to its prey." --Nightwood by Djuna Barnes

Five books you'll never part with:

When You Are Happy by Eileen Spinelli, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Ondine by Jean Giraudoux, Reading Modern Short Stories by Jarvis A. Thurston, and The American Tradition in Literature (Vol. 2, Whitman to the Present), edited by Sculley Bradley

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

The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff. I read it to myself now and it still works.

Book you stuck down the back of your pants before getting paddled by the science teacher in seventh grade:

The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope. That was about the closest I came in those days to reading a real book. I recommend comics, as they're less likely to be discovered and removed than a 300-page hardback.


Book Review

YA Review: Frostblood

Frostblood by Elly Blake (Little, Brown, $17.99 hardcover, 384p., ages 12-up, 9780316273251, January 10, 2017)

Elly Blake's Frostblood Saga series debut is an exciting fantasy of polar opposites in which darkness vies with light, and ice with fire.

Seventeen-year-old Ruby Otrera is a Fireblood from a remote mountain village, born with the ability to conjure "a river of heat"--and even fire--from "the well of flame [she'd] found in [her] deepest self." Her skin is unusually hot, and she has to be careful not to ignite things when her temper gets the best of her. Unfortunately, she lives in a land where the ruling class of Frostbloods wields ice, "a power in complete opposition" to Ruby's. The Frostbloods, under the reign of ruthless, tyrannical King Rasmus--the Frost King--have all but killed off the Firebloods they despise. Ruby's very existence endangers her village.

Ruby desperately wants to learn more about her gift, but with her grandmother gone, there is no one left to teach her properly. Before she can practice enough to gain any measure of control, the Frost King's soldiers discover and capture her. They kill her mother, destroy her village, and lock Ruby in Blackcreek Prison, where the cruel, drunken Frostblood guards throw buckets of freezing water on her, merely to watch her hot skin hiss and steam.

When a pair of Frostbloods breaks into the prison and offers Ruby sanctuary, eventual freedom and the chance to avenge her mother's death by killing the Frost King, she warily accepts. According to Brother Thistle, who runs an abbey dedicated to the god of the north wind Fors, and Arcus, the mysterious, hooded young man who lives there, Ruby may well be "the most powerful Fireblood left in the kingdom." Arcus and Brother Thistle begin training Ruby to master her gift so she can complete her task. In the process, Ruby and Arcus's teasing banter starts to heat up. The sparks that fly between them may not be unexpected, but they are fun to witness, especially as Ruby keeps glimpsing the handsome features of the "conceited icicle" beneath his ever-present hood, and his nicknames for her ("Lady Firebrand, "Thorn in My Backside," "my raging inferno") begin to escalate.

Their plan is abruptly accelerated when Ruby is betrayed by a monk, captured by Rasmus's soldiers and taken to the king's palace, where she begins to learn the true depths of the Frost King's cruelty. Forced to fight in his arena for the court's amusement, Ruby wonders whether she is the peacemaking "child of light" from an old prophecy, or rather a tool of the darkness.

At its core, Frostblood is the story of a young woman's struggle to understand herself, her power and her role in a world that loathes her. Ruby's first-person voice is powerful and passionate, and readers will want to know what's next for her in the Frostblood Saga. --Lynn Becker, blogger and host of Book Talk, a monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI

Shelf Talker: In this riveting YA fantasy series debut, a teenage Fireblood confronts the cruel Frost King responsible for her mother's death.


KidsBuzz for the week of 01.23.17
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