Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 3, 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

Editors' Note

News

Raleigh's Brewery Bhavana: 'Flowers, Books, Beer & Dim Sum'

Brewery Bhavana, a restaurant in downtown Raleigh offering craft beer and dim sum, plus a flower shop and bookstore, opened last Wednesday, the News & Observer reported, noting that the bookshop and floral shop inside will initially operate according to restaurant's evening schedule, but "eventually will be open during the day to coincide with the brewery and restaurant's expanded hours."

The bookstore in front has a collection of 400 to 500 books on art, food, travel and literature. On the back wall is an expanding library of books from people in the community. Co-owner Vansana Nolintha estimated there are 2,000-3,000 books, and people who visit the space are encouraged to bring a book that's meaningful to them and include a note in the book to explain why.

"The owners see the space as a collaboration between its 'makers,' or the creative forces that are behind the restaurant coming to fruition, and as a connection with the community who has supported them for years," the News & Observer wrote.

"We have a phenomenal team. We have a lot of challenges to come. Our community is so eager and generous," said Vansana Nolintha, adding that Brewery Bhavana is "true to the heart."


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


B&N to Close Bethesda, Md., Store

Barnes & Noble will close its three-level, 37,500-square-foot location at the corner of Woodmont and Bethesda avenues in Bethesda, Md., when the lease expires at the end of the year. Bethesda Beat reported that the closure "represents the end of an era for the bookstore, which has anchored a key corner of the mixed-use retail center for two decades and has served as a popular community gathering space."

"We had discussions with the property owner in hopes of agreeing to an extension of the lease, but unfortunately, we were unable to come to an agreement," said David Deason, a Barnes & Noble v-p. "It has been our pleasure to have served this community and we hope to continue to serve our valued customers at the nearby Rockville Pike and Clarendon Market Common stores."


Obituary Note: Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Yevgeny Yevtushenko, the acclaimed Russian poet, writer and filmmaker "with the charisma of an actor and the instincts of a politician whose defiant verse inspired a generation of young Russians in their fight against Stalinism during the Cold War," died April 1, the New York Times reported. He was 83. Author of more than 150 books, Yevtushenko wrote poems of protest, "often declaimed with sweeping gestures to thousands of excited admirers in public squares, sports stadiums and lecture halls," and it was "as a tall, athletic young Siberian with a spirit both hauntingly poetic and fiercely political that he established his name in 20th-century literature."

Yevtushenko also drew criticism, however, for working within the Soviet system and "stopping short of the line between defiance and resistance," the Times wrote. He received state awards, his books were published and he was allowed to travel abroad. Exiled poet Joseph Brodsky once said of him: "He throws stones only in directions that are officially sanctioned and approved." But Yevtushenko's defenders pointed out "how much he did to oppose the Stalin legacy, an animus fueled by the knowledge that both of his grandfathers had perished in Stalin's purges of the 1930s."

"I never called myself a dissident. A rebel, yes," he said in an interview with RT (formerly Russia Today) in 2009. "I was never interested in politics professionally, but I think that a writer cannot be indifferent to politics, because if he is indifferent to politics, he is indifferent to the people."

The Guardian noted that Yevtushenko "gained notoriety in the former Soviet Union while in his 20s, with poetry denouncing Joseph Stalin. He gained international acclaim as a young revolutionary with 'Babi Yar,' an unflinching 1961 poem that told of the slaughter of nearly 34,000 Jews by the Nazis and denounced the antisemitism that had spread throughout the Soviet Union."

Natalia Solzhenitsyn, widow of the late Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, said on Russian state television that Yevtushenko "was a legend both in his very early years and in his mature years, he lived basing on his own principle: a poet in Russia is more than a poet. And he was truly more than a poet since he was a citizen with a clearly defined civil position. I think he will be long remembered as he was a lively person responding to injustice and receptive to major events."

"He's more like a rock star than some sort of bespectacled, quiet poet," Robert Donaldson, former president of the University of Tulsa (where Yevtushenko taught for many years), told the New York Times

In 1993, at a public celebration of his 60th birthday in Moscow, Yevtushenko read from his poem "Sixties Generation":

We were a fad for some, some we offended with our fame. But we set you free, you envious insulters. Let them hiss, that we are without talent, Sold out and hypocrites, It makes no difference. We are legendary, Spat upon, but immortal! 

More Book-Related #Resistance

Bookstores have continued to seek ways of addressing political issues since the November election. Here is a roundup of events, programs and more.

Copperfield's Books, with eight stores in Sonoma, Napa and Marin Counties, just north of San Francisco, is putting a new emphasis on public education and debate on current events. A prime example is a panel discussion that will take place at its Sebastopol store on April 23 at 2 p.m., featuring Cathy Barnett and Paul Gullixson, executive editor and editorial director, respectively, of the local newspaper the Press Democrat. The program is titled "What is 'real news?' "; Copperfield's notes, "In an era of 'alternative facts' and 'he didn't mean it literally,' the line between real news and fake news gets blurry."

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Greenlight Bookstore, with two locations in Brooklyn, N.Y., is launching the Civic Engagement series, to be held the last Monday of each month at its Prospect Lefferts Garden location, a series that is "outside of its traditional focus on books and authors."

Under the program, the store will host nonprofit groups working in social justice, community organizing and the arts, with the goal of providing tools for involvement, creativity, and action. The events will be an hour-long interactive session with formats befitting each organization's focus and priorities. Greenlight will donate 20% of all sales online and in stores on the day of the event to the featured organization.

The first event in the series takes place April 24 and features the New York Writers Coalition, which "empowers and enriches the lives of New Yorkers of all backgrounds and experiences through the art of creative writing, with writing workshops particularly targeted toward underserved people, including youth, seniors, women, LGBT communities, people living with disabilities, people who are incarcerated or have been incarcerated, and others from traditionally silenced groups."

The May event features Make the Road New York, which "builds the power of working-class communities to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, policy innovation, transformative education, and survival services. MRNY's advocacy and litigation work affect millions of working-class New Yorkers at the city and statewide levels, and increasingly at the federal level, and their recent work on behalf of immigrants has brought them into the public eye like never before."

"An independent bookstore is a unique kind of community space: welcoming, inspiring, and humanizing," said Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, Greenlight co-founder and events director. "Along with our colleagues in bookstores around the country, we at Greenlight are looking now for new ways to use our space and other resources to address the issues that affect our community. We have always been a place for conversations, stories and ideas; we hope to become a place where neighbors can make connections and find tools to help one another when we need it most."

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Last month, the Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt., hosted Peter Welch, the state's lone U.S. congressman, for a town meeting. Northshire co-founder Barbara Morrow noted that after the November election, she and many friends and fellow residents "came together in community to discuss what we could do to try and find answers to what had turned out to be--in many people's minds--a turning back of our most cherished values.

"The bookstore was the ideal place to further that mission, and we invited Congressman Welch to come and share his ideas for moving forward. In spite of his busy schedule, and having to return to Washington the following day, Congressman Welch agreed to come to the bookstore for a 90-minute presentation and q&a with more than 150 of his constituents. Most of us came away perhaps just a little more sanguine that there are dedicated people working on our behalf and that we shouldn't give up. Welch stressed the importance of local engagement and wanted to convince us that resistance works! The Northshire will continue to look for ways to be a sanctuary for progressive ideas and meaningful dialogue. Bookstores can and should play this role."

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A recent store flier for used bookstore Riverby Books, with locations in Fredericksburg, Va., and Washington, D.C., (check out its Trumpspeak-themed ad), urged customers to write a letter to their elected representatives, which the store will then send for no charge. "I've always believed bookstores to be safe havens for freedom of speech and expression; free postage is just a little nudge towards actually exercising that," owner Paul Cymrot told the Free Lance-Star. "I wrote the message after considering what role the store might play in the current state of the nation--advocate for civil discourse is always useful and is always the high ground."

He added: "I'm happy to chat about current events, about Mark Twain's views on slavery, on the authorship of Shakespeare's plays, and about whether the Captain Underpants books are better or worse than the Dork Diaries. Running a bookstore in a town like Fredericksburg that is willing to support it is a lucky thing indeed."



Notes

April Fool's Redux, Part 2: The Foyles Laboratory

British bookseller Foyles celebrated April Fool's Day with a video introducing the company's "new smart home controller range: the Colon™ and Semicolon™. Developed at our in-house R&D wing, F-LAB, the devices mark our next step into the tech market, following the successful launch of our holographic bookseller on 1st April 2016.

"With their unique, clap-activated control system, and an onboard content database, the new products will revolutionize the world of home entertainment for Foyles customers. The system is fully integrated with the Foyles website, and allows users to order any book in print simply by clapping the ISBN. The devices are also programmed to recite articles from the Foyles blog, with a selection of pre-programmed celebrity voices."

Simon Heafield, head of marketing, commented: "We're hearing a lot about the Internet of things, and as a company that has been selling things (i.e. books) for over a hundred years, we felt we should be at the forefront of that technology, whatever it is."


What's in a Name?: The Frugal Frigate

The latest subject of Bookselling This Week's "What's in a Name?" series is the Frugal Frigate, A Children's Bookstore in Redlands, Calif. Katherine Thomerson, who founded the Frugal Frigate in 1988 in an old carriage house, named it after an Emily Dickinson poem, "There is no Frigate like a Book":

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away,
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears a Human soul.

"I think Frugal Frigate is a perfect name for the store," Gay Kolodzik, who bought the business in 2010, said. "Especially if you know the poem, it says so much; it says exactly what it is. And it's a name that sparks the imagination.... The Frugal Frigate has been here so long that I feel like it's owned more by the Redlands community than by me. They love it here; I just maintain it." BTW noted that Dickinson's poem can be found on posters around the store, a framed cross-stitch made by a customer and the store's free bookmarks.


Personnel Changes at Berkley; Chronicle

Jin Yu has been promoted to associate marketing director at Berkley. She joined Berkley a year ago and previously worked at Atria, Ballantine, and Little, Brown.

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At Chronicle:

Rachel Geiger has been promoted to executive director of domestic sales. Previously, she was director of trade sales.
 
Anna-Lisa Sandstrum has been promoted to senior sales manager.
 
Melissa Grecco has been promoted to national accounts manager.
 
Ian Delaney has been promoted to assistant sales manager.
 
Morgan Amer has been promoted to assistant sales manager.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Rebekah Gregory Talks About Taking My Life Back

Today:
Good Morning America: Sarah Michelle Gellar, co-author of Stirring Up Fun with Food: Over 115 Simple, Delicious Ways to Be Creative in the Kitchen (Grand Central Life & Style, $28, 9781455538744). She will also appear today on Live with Kelly and tomorrow on Watch What Happens Live and the Chew.

CBS This Morning: Lesley Stahl, author of Becoming Grandma: The Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting (Blue Rider Press, $16, 9780399185823).

Today Show: Rebekah Gregory, co-author of Taking My Life Back: My Story of Faith, Determination, and Surviving the Boston Marathon Bombing (Revell, $19.99, 9780800728212). She will also appear today on Inside Edition and tomorrow on Fox & Friends.

All Things Considered: Chris Whipple, author of The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency (Crown, $28, 9780804138246).

Fresh Air: T.R. Reid, author of A Fine Mess: A Global Quest for a Simpler, Fairer, and More Efficient Tax System (Penguin Press, $27, 9781594205514).

Daily Show: Dr. Willie Parker, author of Life's Work: A Moral Argument for Choice (Atria/37 INK, $25, 9781501151125).

Tomorrow:
CBS This Morning: Chelsea Clinton, author of It's Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired, & Get Going! (Puffin Books, $9.99, 9780399545320).

Also on CBS This Morning: Sally Bedell Smith, author of Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life (Random House, $32, 9781400067909).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Ernie Johnson Jr., author of Unscripted: The Unpredictable Moments That Make Life Extraordinary (Baker Books, $24.99, 9780801074103).


Movies: The Man Who Invented Christmas

Fans of Charles Dickens and actor Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) "should have great expectations" for The Man Who Invented Christmas, Entertainment Weekly commented in featuring a first peek at the main character. Directed by Bharat Nalluri (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day) from a script written by Susan Coyne and set in 1843, the film "details how a broke and depressed Dickens wrote one of his most famous tales." The cast includes Jonathan Pryce and Christopher Plummer.

"It was a really spooky, intriguing, funny piece," said Stevens. "I just thought it was a really fresh take on that whole world. Particularly in England, Dickens is placed on a pedestal. But the guy was, at turns, quite playful and childish, and, at turns, quite dark and not a very pleasant man.... Dickens whips himself into such a state that he conjures these characters. Scrooge arrives and haunts him and taunts him. It's quite an interesting dynamic."


Books & Authors

Awards: Christian Book; Reading the West

The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association has announced the finalists in 11 categories for the 2017 Christian Book Awards. The 59 finalists can be seen here. Winners will be named May 2 during the ECPA Leadership Summit in Colorado Springs, Colo.

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The shortlist has been announced for the Reading the West Book Awards, sponsored by the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association. Winners will be named May 30. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Adult Fiction
News of the World by Paulette Jiles (Morrow)
I Will Send Rain by Rae Meadows (Holt)
Breaking Wild by Diane Les Becquets (Berkley)
Champion of the World by Chad Dundas (Putnam)
The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church (Algonquin)

Adult Nonfiction
Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary by Joe Jackson (FSG)
The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks by Terry Tempest Williams (FSG/Sarah Crichton Books)
The Fire Line: The Story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and One of the Deadliest Days in American Firefighting by Fernanda Santos (Flatiron)
North of Crazy: A Memoir by Neltje (St. Martin's)
Wolf Boys: Two American Teenagers and Mexico's Most Dangerous Drug Cartel by Dan Slater (S&S)

Children's
Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar (Candlewick)
Mountain Chief: How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed His Plans and Helped Cook Up the National Park Service by Annette Bay Pimentel, illustrated by Rich Lo (Charlesbridge)
Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel (S&S Books for Young Readers)
Runs with Courage by Joan M. Wolf (Sleeping Bear Press)
Indian Boyhood: The True Story of a Sioux Upbringing by Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa); adapted by Michael Oren Fitzgerald, illustrated by Heidi M. Rasch (World Wisdom/Wisdom Tales)


Book Review

Review: Into the Water

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (Riverhead Books, $28 hardcover, 400p., 9780735211209, May 2, 2017)

Paula Hawkins weaves another dark, spellbinding suspense novel with Into the Water, her eagerly awaited follow-up to The Girl on the Train. This time, the search to unravel a mysterious death focuses on the river that cuts through Beckford, a small, northern British town. Nicknamed the "Drowning Pool," the river is where, over the centuries, local women--outsiders as well as misfits from within the community--have died under tragic, often suspicious, circumstances.

The story starts with news that Danielle "Nel" Abbott--a single mother, successful photographer and lifetime Beckford resident who had been writing a book about the Drowning Pool, its history and its secrets--has become a suicide casualty at the very place of horror she had been researching. 

Jules Abbott gladly fled Beckford years before. An unmarried social worker from London whose bitterness and resentment kept her estranged from her older sister, Nel, for years, Jules comes to town to sort out the "bloody mess" and care for Nel's outspoken and rebellious 15-year-old daughter, Lena. Neither believes that Nel killed herself, and Lena also has doubts about the suicide of her best friend, Katie Whittaker, at the Drowning Pool six months earlier. Katie's inconsolable parents are wracked with guilt. Were they so focused on their anxious, sensitive son that they didn't give proper attention to their confident, over-achieving--yet obviously vulnerable--daughter?

An ensemble cast of small-town residents populates this complex, engrossing thriller. This includes Nickie Sage, an elderly local psychic who communes regularly with the dead and holds her own theories about the tragic history of the river and its latest victims. She believes that Nel, in her work, had become "obsessed with the river and its secrets, and that kind of obsession never ends well." It's the job of Detective Inspector Sean Townsend--whose mother committed suicide at the river when Sean was a boy--and Detective Sergeant Erin Morgan to sift through the elusive facts of Nel's death. During their investigation, they dredge up information about Nel, Katie and questionable associations they each had that raise red flags about others in close-knit Beckford.

Hawkins keeps readers guessing while exploring the overt and subtle ways trauma, grief and long-buried secrets can affect minds, hearts and motivations. A growing undertow of suspense builds as some characters, consciously and subconsciously, cannot face who they are, so they reinvent themselves and their memories. This, along with shifts in points-of-view and haunting interior monologues, binds an intricate story filled with red herrings and surprising reversals that probe the tangled depths of family loyalty. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: A close-knit British community grapples with mysterious deaths--past and present--that occurred at a notorious local riverbank.


The Bestsellers

Top Libro.fm Audiobooks in March

This is the first monthly bestseller list from libro.fm and is based on sales through more than 300 independent bookstore locations during March. Titles marked with an asterisk were part of the Great Books on Sale promotion, which consisted of 30 bestsellers priced at $10.

Fiction

1. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. *Seveneves by Neal Stephenson (Brilliance Audio)
6. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (HarperCollins)
7. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)
8. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (Penguin Random House Audio)
9. *Raven Boys, The: Book 1 of the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic Audio)
10. Edgar and Lucy by Victor Lodato (Macmillan Audio)

Extended List

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (Hachette Audio)
The Girl Before by JP Delaney (Penguin Random House Audio)
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (Simon & Schuster Audio)
American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (HarperCollins)

Nonfiction

1. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. *The Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier (HarperCollins)
3. Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance (HarperCollins)
4. When Breath Becomes Air by Abraham Verghese and Paul Kalanithi (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. *Stiff by Mary Roach (Tantor Media)
6. *The Universe in Your Hand by Christophe Galfard (Blackstone Audio)
7. *Following Atticus by Tom Ryan (HarperCollins)
8. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Penguin Random House Audio)
9. The Book of Joy by Douglas Carlton Abrams, Dalai Lama, and Desmond Tutu (Penguin Random House Audio)
10. Lab Girl by Hope Jahren (Penguin Random House Audio)

Extended List

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (Penguin Random House Audio)
Tears We Cannot Stop by Michael Eric Dyson (Macmillan Audio)
No One Cares About Crazy People by Ron Powers (Hachette Audio)
The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee (Simon & Schuster Audio)
South and West by Joan Didion (Penguin Random House Audio)


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