Also published on this date: Wednesday, March 15, 2017: Maximum Shelf: Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, March 15, 2017


HarperCollins: On a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna

Johns Hopkins University Ptess: Playboys and Mayfair Men by Angus McLaren / A Year of Writing Dangerously by Keith Gandal

Atlantic Monthly Press: The Prague Sonata by Bradford Morrow

Balzer & Bray/Harperteen: I Love You Like a Pig by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

News

Brooklyn's WORD Turns 10, Expanding with WORD KIDS

WORD Bookstores, with locations in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Jersey City, N.J., will soon add a new member to the family with the opening of WORD KIDS, near its Greenpoint store. Yesterday, WORD announced: "We're celebrating a big anniversary, and expanding in Brooklyn! So we’ve been in the bookstore business since 2001, but it wasn't until 2007 that we learned to spread (bookselling) love the Brooklyn way. We are so excited and proud to be celebrating 10 YEARS as Greenpoint’s community bookstore. Thanks to those in our community here and IRL who've followed along on this wild ride, and cheers to so many more memories.

"And! Just like an awkward pre-teen, we are growing and need more space. Coming this spring we will take over a storefront two doors down from our existing Brooklyn store and introduce WORD KIDS, a space dedicated solely to kids' books, toys, crafts, clothing, storytimes and other events, and lots of fun for Greenpoint's youth. Stay tuned for more!"


AuthorBuzz: Indie Bookstore Readers


Duende District Bookstore to Debut as Pop-Up Shop

Duende District Bookstore, a multicultural bookstore founded by Angela Maria Spring, will make its debut later this month as a pop-up shop at Artomatic, an arts festival in the Washington, D.C., area. The festival will run from March 24 through May 6 in Crystal City, Va., and the Duende District pop-up shop will be open for the duration of the festival with a soft opening March 26-30 and an official opening on March 31. Through the pop-up shop, Spring plans to create a community presence for and buzz about Duende District, with a full bricks-and-mortar location coming in the months ahead.

"The way I conceive of this pop-up is as a bookstore installation," said Spring, who has worked at both Politics & Prose in D.C. and McNally Jackson Books in New York City. "This is not a profit-driven endeavor--it's a way to make connections with the community and publicize the mission of Duende District, which is to empower and lift people of color into positions within bookstores that we do not usually occupy...and create a delightful, welcoming bookstore experience for all people."

The pop-up shop will have about 180 square feet of selling space, with most of its inventory consisting of art books, CDs, graphic novels, poetry, fiction and children's books by Artomatic participants carried on a consignment basis. A small portion of the stock, meanwhile, will be books unaffiliated with the festival, mostly by people of color. Spring expects to have a core staff of around 5 volunteers, though at the moment Duende District is mostly just her and Josh Levi, who used to be the assistant music buyer at Politics & Prose.

"He's a brilliant book and music buyer and talented graphic artists and musician," said Spring. "I'm beyond excited to have him on board."

Duende District will host events throughout the festival, including a series of podcasts and filmed discussions with local writer and illustrators. Other events are also in the works and will be collaborations between Duende District and Artomatic's literary coordinator. Though the scheduling work is ongoing, Spring said that she has been getting an "excellent response" from publishers and other organizations. --Alex Mutter


Zondervan: To Wager Her Heart (Belle Meade Plantation) by Tamera Alexander


Wesleyan R.J. Julia Bookstore to Feature grown Café

The new Wesleyan R.J. Julia Bookstore in Middletown, Conn., which is scheduled to open this spring, will feature a café run by grown, a USDA organic certified business owned and operated by Shannon Allen and her husband Ray, a former basketball star at the University of Connecticut, in the NBA and on an Olympic gold medal-winning team. The university noted that "grown marries the quality of farm-to-fork cuisine with a level of convenience that makes it possible for busy people on the go to access high-quality foods at affordable prices."

Wesleyan president Michael Roth said that grown's "commitment to wholesome food and sustainable practices are a perfect fit for Wesleyan. We think the addition of this healthy option on Main Street is a great thing for the people of Middletown."

Shannon Allen commented: "As a Middletown native, and Connecticut residents, we are thrilled to partner with Wesleyan University as the new cafe in the Wesleyan R.J. Julia Bookstore. We are collectively committed to sustainability beyond the kitchen, practicing permaculture and allergen awareness in a stunning holistic environment for students, faculty and the greater Middlesex County community."

Larry McHugh, president of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, said the Allens are "great businesspeople and strong corporate citizens. This news adds to the major excitement that R.J. Julia Booksellers and Wesleyan University are bringing to downtown Middletown. It is a terrific development for our city, our county and our state."


Bonnier Publishing USA Adds IglooBooks Imprint

As "part of an ambitious growth plan" led by Bonnier Publishing Group CEO Richard Johnson, Bonnier Publishing USA has launched a U.S. division of IglooBooks, an international mass-market publisher that specializes in "value-driven" adult and children's books, published in 36 languages and sold in 58 countries. Founded in 2003, IglooBooks was acquired by Bonnier in 2014.

Jeremy Nurnberg will head up the launch of the U.S. division of IglooBooks, which joins Bonnier Publishing USA's existing imprints: Little Bee Books, Sizzle Press, Weldon Owen and Blue Streak Books. Prior to his new position, Nurnberg worked as senior director, North American sales, at Parragon and as v-p, sales, at Sterling Publishing.

"We're very proud that Bonnier Publishing USA's growth story will continue in 2017 with the launch of another fantastic imprint, IglooBooks," said Shimul Tolia, CEO of Bonnier Publishing USA. "Including the IglooBooks business, we now have a dynamic U.S. company composed of four imprints, made up of over 50 employees. We're looking forward to another year of publishing creative and unique titles that readers love."

IglooBooks CEO Dan Shepherd commented, "We see a very bright future ahead with the establishment of the new U.S. imprint, IglooBooks, part of Bonnier Publishing USA. As our growth continues globally, it is a natural next step to build a North American team who will focus 100% on the needs of the U.S. consumer. We look forward to working with retail partners to bring the list to market in the coming months and years."


Obituary Notes: Vickie Williams; Richard Wagamese

Vickie Williams, owner of Lem's Life Enrichment Bookstore in Seattle, "the only black-owned bookstore in Washington State, specializing in African-American literature, history and visibility in the Pacific Northwest," died March 3. She was 65. "If you had the opportunity to visit the bookstore you know you had a platform to share empowering stories of your life that might change someone else's," wrote Bridgette Hempstead in a tribute for the South Seattle Emerald. "It was so much more than a bookstore, however. Lem's was the community center that was governed by pure love, strength and a portal to our black ancestral heritage.... Ms. Vickie was a black institution in her own right. She held us together by making sure all of us, young to old, had an unapologetic sense of self, purpose, and belonging. We will never let that legacy dies. Rest in Power Ms. Vickie!"

Hempstead told KOMO News that the bookstore's future is uncertain, but friends have set up an online fundraiser to defray funeral costs and help ensure the future of the shop. "She has charged her community to stand up to the plate. Now it's time for the community to grow up and embrace the wisdom that Vickie has left for us. We as a people just have to keep this bookstore going in her legacy--and I think that will happen.... The store is where you come and commune, where you come and can receive life. There's no other place like it in the state."

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Canadian author Richard Wagamese, one of the leading indigenous writers in North America, died March 10. He was 61. Wagamese began his writing career in 1979, first as a journalist, then as a radio and television broadcaster. In 1991, he became the first indigenous writer to win a National Newspaper Award for column writing. His debut novel, Keeper 'n Me, was released in 1994 and won the Alberta Writers Guild's Best Novel Award. Several of his books are available in the U.S., including novels Medicine Walk and Dream Wheels (both from Milkweed Editions), as well as nonfiction work One Story, One Song. Next month, Embers: One Ojibway's Meditations will be released.

"I know that if I don't look at my whole history and embrace the dark and hard parts, I don't know my own story," he told CBC in 2012. "And if I don't know my own story, I can't heal myself."

On Saturday, CBC News host and Wagamese's friend Shelagh Rogers tweeted: "Heartbroken over the death of my friend and chosen brother Richard Wagamese. He was story. He was love. RIP dear one."

 


Notes

Image of the (Snow) Day

The Bookstore Plus is located in Lake Placid, N.Y., which received a lot of snow from the winter storm that blanketed much of the Northeast yesterday. The store opened nonetheless, and though it wasn't busy, it did have customers; it's spring break in Ontario, and many Canadians come to ski. Owner Sarah Galvin closed the store about an hour early when her husband, co-owner Marc Galvin, and their daughter skied over to pick her up. Bookstore Plus is running a contest on Facebook: guess the final snowfall total, and "win the same amount in height of books! Measurement to be taken on our back deck Wednesday at 5 PM."


'The 10 Best Bookstores in New Hampshire'

"Against all odds, our top New Hampshire booksellers have forged onward, offering personal service and local enrichment one simply cannot find elsewhere. Keep funds in the community by making a trip to your local book monger, an investment not only in yourself but your neighbors and family as well," Best of New Hampshire noted in showcasing its choices for the 10 best bookstores in the state.

Among those highlighted were Sheafe Street Books ("a beloved Portsmouth staple"); Toadstool Bookshop, Keene ("has quite a big presence in our little state"); Gibson's Bookstore ("deep connection to the Concord community"); White Birch Books, North Conway ("deserves its very own storybook"); Portsmouth Book & Bar ("easily cancels out any low-tech stress"); Water Street Bookstore, Exeter ("a distinctly local bent to book buying"); the Country Bookseller, Wolfeboro ("big city stacks with small town service"); and MainStreet BookEnds, Warner ("constantly looking to better their status quo").


March Madness at Decatur's Eagle Eye Book Shop

Eagle Eye Book Shop in Decatur, Ga., is celebrating NCAA college basketball's March Madness tournament with its own literary variation on the theme. On Facebook, the bookstore posted: "It is March, that mad time of year! In celebration, we have decided to create the Eagle Eye Final Four playoff with Classic Literature. You, our wonderful readers, get to vote on the best ones.

"We will start with 16 titles until we get down to the final four through Facebook's live video polls! If you want your vote to count, make sure you vote on our Facebook page by clicking on the video and then selecting which book you think is best. The videos will play for a few hours each day but the voting will be cut off by 10 a.m. the following day. The winner will then progress to the next qualifying round. There will be 15 matchups and one winner! Follow us on Facebook to play! The winning title will be announced at the beginning of April."



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Todd Barry on Howard Stern

Tomorrow:
SiriusXM's Howard Stern Show: Todd Barry, author of Thank You for Coming to Hattiesburg: One Comedian's Tour of Not-Quite-the-Biggest Cities in the World (Gallery, $25.99, 9781501117428).

Wendy Williams: Tia Mowry, author of Whole New You: How Real Food Transforms Your Life, for a Healthier, More Gorgeous You (Ballantine, $20, 9781101967355).


Movies: How to Stop Time; The American War

Benedict Cumberbatch's SunnyMarch and its part-owner, Studiocanal, have acquired film rights to Matt Haig's upcoming novel, How to Stop Time. Deadline reported that Cumberbatch will star in the project and executive produce through SunnyMarch with Jamie Byng of Canongate Books.

Studiocanal U.K. CEO Danny Perkins said: "We are delighted to be continuing our successful relationship with Matt Haig as well as build upon our long-running and dynamic partnership with SunnyMarch, Benedict Cumberbatch and Adam Ackland. This compelling novel will make for a powerful film that falls in line with Studiocanal's ongoing commitment to British talent, storytelling and production."

Haig's most recent children's book, The Girl Who Saved Christmas, is the sequel to A Boy Called Christmas. Studiocanal and Blueprint Pictures own screen rights to the series and are in development on a feature adaptation, Deadline noted.

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The Ink Factory and Rise Films have partnered with Film4 to develop The American War, which is based on Decent Interval, "the bestselling and controversial memoir by CIA operative-turned-whistleblower Frank Snepp, and his autobiography Irreparable Harm," Deadline reported. Tom Morton-Smith is writing the screenplay. Development will be overseen by producers Rhodri Thomas for the Ink Factory, Teddy Leifer for Rise Films and executive Sam Lavender for Film4.

"I feel deeply privileged to be partnered with such innovative filmmakers on a project so close to my heart and so important in illuminating one of the darker moments of a war whose lessons have never been so timely," said Snepp.

Leifer and Thomas added: "Frank Snepp's Decent Interval reminds us of the urgent need to speak truth to power. This story resonates now, more than ever, and we are proud to bring it to a wider audience through the hugely talented Tom Morton-Smith."


Books & Authors

Awards: Lambda Literary; Wellcome; Republic of Consciousness

Finalists for the 29th annual Lambda Literary Awards, which "celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer writing for books published in 2016," have been chosen in 23 categories. The complete list of finalists can be viewed here. Winners will be announced June 12 at the Lambda Literary Awards ceremony in New York City.

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A shortlist of four nonfiction and two fiction titles was released for the £30,000 (about $36,610) Wellcome Book Prize, which celebrates books that "engage with the topics of health and medicine and the many ways they touch our lives." The winner will be announced April 24. This year's shortlisted titles are:

How to Survive a Plague by David France
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal, translated by Jessica Moore
The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss
The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee
I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong

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Fitzcarraldo Editions won the inaugural Republic of Consciousness Prize for small presses for Counternarratives by John Keene, a "once in a generation achievement for short form fiction," the Bookseller reported. The £3,000 (about $3,650) award, which gives two-thirds to the press and one third to the author, is meant to support literary fiction and the publishers who are "willing to take risks."

Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Tramp Press) and Martin John by Anakana Schofield (And Other Stories) were the runners up and will receive £1,000 (about $1,220) each. The £1,000 RofC Special Award for Best First Book went to Galley Beggar Press for Forbidden Line by Paul Stanbridge.


Reading with... Erin Entrada Kelly

photo: Laurence Kesterson

Children's book author Erin Entrada Kelly has a bachelor's degree in women's studies from Louisiana's McNeese State University and an MFA from Rosemont College near Philadelphia. Her debut novel, Blackbird Fly, was a 2015 Junior Library Guild Selection, a 2015 Best Book of the South and a finalist for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize. Blackbird Fly was also named one of the American Library Association's most notable books of the year, earned an Honor Award for Literature from the Asian Pacific Librarians Association and received a Golden Kite Honor Award. Her second novel, The Land of Forgotten Girls, was a finalist for the NAIBA Book of the Year Award, earned a Gold Award for Fiction from the Parents' Choice Foundation, and received the APALA Award for Children's Literature. Her third middle-grade novel, Hello, Universe, was published March 14, 2017. All are from Greenwillow Books.

Kelly, a Filipina American, was raised in Louisiana and now lives in Philadelphia.

On your nightstand now:

There are books on, under and around the nightstand, including--but not limited to--Becoming Queen Victoria: The Tragic Death of Princess Charlotte and the Unexpected Rise of Britain's Greatest Monarch by Kate Williams; The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige; Sumo by Thien Pham; Priestdaddy: A Memoir by Patricia Lockwood; and Cookie Monster and the Cookie Tree by David Korr and Joe Mathieu.

Favorite books when you were a child:

Halfway Down Paddy Lane by Jean Marzollo; Very Worried Walrus by Richard Hefter; all Dr. Seuss; most of Judy Blume; and The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone and Michael Smollin.

Your top five authors:

Can I corral them into groups of five and then name all 500 of them? No? Okay. I'll go with Rebecca Stead, Brit Bennett, Kate Morton, Daphne du Maurier and Fonda Lee.

Book you've faked reading:

I've never finished To Kill a Mockingbird or The Great Gatsby. There, I said it.

Books you're an evangelist for:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr; Bel Canto by Ann Patchett; The Mothers by Brit Bennett; When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead; and The Irreversible Decline of Eddie Socket by John Weir. This list could go on forever, but those are the first that come to mind. Oh, wait! Can I add Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel and Stead's Goodbye Stranger? Also, The Hour of Daydreams by Renee Macalino Rutledge. And of course I love Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems.... Okay, I'll stop now.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe.

Book you hid from your parents:

I never had to hide books from my parents, but I devoured V.C. Andrews when I was a kid, and those are probably hide-worthy. I also secretly bought Lucky by Jackie Collins, because I wanted to read something "grown-up." It was definitely hide-worthy.

Book that changed your life:

All of them.

Favorite line from a book:

"Bookbag, pocketshoe." --When You Reach Me

Five books you'll never part with:

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. I have a Wuthering Heights collection that includes an edition from 1848. It's published under her pen name, Ellis Bell. It's also the same edition that Emily Dickinson had on her nightstand when she died. (Not the same book, mind you. Just the same edition.)

The Life of Elves by Muriel Barbery. There is no book on my shelf that has more underlined passages than this one, except The Irreversible Decline of Eddie Socket.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. A top favorite. (Is there such a thing as a "top favorite?" Or is it just "favorite?")

Very Worried Walrus by Richard Hefter. What can I say? I love that walrus. I was that walrus. Not literally, of course.

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems. Never fails to make me laugh. I've given this book many hugs. (Yes, I hug books. Don't judge me.)

P.S. It was really difficult to leave Rebecca off this list. Sorry, Daphne.

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

I would love to experience Wuthering Heights again for the first time. I avoided reading it until well into adulthood because I was under the false impression that it was a romance. (Romance isn't my bag.) I was in for a surprise once I started my crazed journey over the desolate moors. In my opinion, Wuthering Heights is a story of revenge, not romance. And Heathcliff's capacity for revenge continues to intrigue me.

Second: When You Reach Me. What a fantastic book! A puzzle, a coming-of-age story and historical fiction all wrapped in a tidy, well-written book with a realistic and three-dimensional main character. Not to mention the time travel.... So good.


Book Review

Children's Review: Town Is by the Sea

Town Is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz, illus. by Sydney Smith (Groundwood Books/ House of Anansi Press, $19.95 hardcover, 52p., ages 5-9, 9781554988716, April 11, 2017)

Town Is by the Sea offers some of the most beautiful paintings of sunshine on water ever painted, and that is more than enough reason to track it down. But Toronto children's librarian Joanne Schwartz's (Our Corner Grocery Store; Pinny in Summer) extraordinary picture book, illustrated by Sydney Smith (Sidewalk Flowers), also offers a moving visual portrayal of what it means to send humans deep into the earth, deep under the sea, to dig for coal.

In a 1950s mining town in Nova Scotia (readers learn this in the author's note), a boy and his family live in a house overlooking the water. The chummy boy narrator describes it in conversational style: "It goes like this--house, road, grassy cliff, sea." When he wakes up, "it goes like this": "first I hear the seagulls, then I hear a dog barking, a car goes by on the shore road, someone slams a door and yells good morning." As cheerful days of baloney sandwiches and sunny shoreline ambling are vividly chronicled, Smith intermittently yanks the reader down into the coal miner's subterranean realm. The coal-mining pages are almost entirely black, textured with chalky, kinetic lines. The boy's father, wearing a hard hat, hunched over and encumbered with tools, pushes his way forward through a claustrophobic tunnel, depicted as a lighter horizontal strip along the bottom of the page. The ominous weight of the blackness above him is palpable.

Readers emerge, blinking, back into the light to see the boy knocking on his friend's door, then heading over to the old playground's swing set: "We go so high butterflies rush through my stomach./ We go so high I can see far out to sea." The sea is breathtaking. Smith's brushwork, in "ink, watercolor and a bit of gouache" is brilliant--the "white tips" of the waves, and later, the "sparkling" are overwhelmingly gorgeous.

Alas, there's soon trouble in the mines... an avalanche starts and the father is shown in retreat. Above ground, the boy is now visiting the graveyard where storms have battered his grandfather's--also a miner--gravestone with "salt-soaked spray." As we are again plunged into darkness of the mines, there's no sign of the father... was he buried alive? Relief is sweet when dad comes to the front door, ready for supper, "safe and sound." Echoing a longstanding mining tradition, it seems likely that the boy will eventually follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather: "One day, it will be my turn," he says matter-of-factly.

Coal is frequently in the headlines these days, and this book puts a human face on the centuries-old practice of coal mining. More abstractly, Town Is by the Sea is a powerful and profound work of art that tweaks our perspective and transcends its subject. --Karin Snelson, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: In Canadian author Joanne Schwartz's stunning picture book, illustrated by Sydney Smith of Sidewalk Flowers, a boy lives a sunny life while his father digs in the coal mines deep beneath the sea.


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