Shelf Awareness for Monday, May 22, 2017


Orchard Books: Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown by Eric Litwin, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

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

Grove Press: Afterglow (a Dog Memoir) by Eileen Myles

Flatiron Books: The Kings of Big Spring: God, Oil, and One Family's Search for the American Dream by Bryan Mealer

News

East Nashville's Her Bookshop Relocating

Her Bookshop's new location

Her Bookshop, which opened last July in East Nashville, Tenn., will move to a larger space in a better location that will allow the store to expand its inventory and events offerings. Plans call for leaving the current space on Fatherland St. at the end of June and reopening as soon as mid-July, at 1035 West Eastland Ave., #105.

"Basically, we're bursting at the seams in our current location, which is 400 square feet," said owner Joelle Herr. "The new space isn't huge. It's about 550 square feet (which I still think qualifies it as a 'nook'), but it offers two long, windowless walls that we plan on lining with shelves. The offerings will still be curated--just more of the types of books that we carry now, with an emphasis on highly designed, illustrated books. I do, though, plan on greatly expanding the literature section to include both classics and current (and recent) well-reviewed releases."

Herr added that the bookshop plans to offer "more events (storytimes, happy hours, and more that we'll be announcing soon) in the new space, which is located on a thoroughfare that gets more traffic than our current location. (It's only a couple of miles away, though, so we're still in the bustle East Nashville.) Our aim is to become a neighborhood bookstore. I feel like it's a bit of a gamble--we've done well in our current location. I'm hoping customers follow us and continue to appreciate the personalized service and recommendations they get when they pop in." 


AuthorBuzz: Indie Bookstore Readers


IndieGoGo Campaign for DIESEL Oakland Ownership Change

Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson, who hopes to take over ownership of the DIESEL bookstore in Oakland, Calif., has raised $150,000, mostly through a community lending program, and now aims to raise another $50,000 via an IndieGoGo campaign toward his goal of $200,000. Just begun, the "Forty Days & Forty Nights Challenge" has already raised $3,425.

Last November, Johnson and DIESEL owners Alison Reid and John Evans (who also own and will continue to own DIESEL stores in Larkspur and Brentwood) announced that they hoped Johnson, manager of the Oakland DIESEL store, would be able to take ownership of the store and rename it East Bay Booksellers once he had adequate funding for inventory and capitalization. If the transition plan doesn't work, the store will continue to operate as DIESEL.

In an e-mail to friends and customers last week, Johnson said that the community lending drive "was nothing short of a delight" and that he raised the $150,000 in "the matter of two short months." Unexpectedly, he had trouble with things he thought would be "seamless.... As it turns out, lease language and lawyers all take time!" But that's sorted out, he said, and the IndieGoGo campaign is the last piece of the puzzle, allowing people who didn't want to invest officially in the store to donate smaller amounts.


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


Amazon Books to Open in Century City in Los Angeles

Amazon plans to open an Amazon Books store in the Westfield Century City mall in Los Angeles, Calif., the Los Angeles Business Journal reported. This would be the 14th Amazon book and electronics store. Since late 2015, the company has opened six Amazon Books locations and has confirmed plans to open another six. It hasn't confirmed plans to open a store in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

The Century City store will have 5,227 square feet of space. The mall, currently undergoing a $1 billion renovation, is owned by Westfield, which also owns shopping centers where other Amazon Books are or will be located: the UTC mall in San Diego and Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J.

The Business Journal said that Amazon had been "poking around" several area shopping districts for months, including locations on Melrose Avenue and Old Pasadena, in Pasadena.


Trinity University Press: Self-Portrait with Dogwood by Christopher Merrill


Obituary Note: Anne R. Dick

"Memoirist and writer's muse" Anne R. Dick, who was married to legendary author Philip K. Dick, died April 28. She was 90. The New York Times reported that her late husband was "a writer of modest accomplishment when he met Anne Rubenstein in late 1958. By the time the couple broke up less than six years later, Dick had written more than a dozen novels and was well on his way to eminence as one of the most influential of postwar American writers."

While the "events and emotions of that marriage turn up again and again in Dick's novels, transfigured into science fiction," the Times noted that "above all, Ms. Dick shows up in female characters. She inspired Juliana, the heroine of [The Man in the] High Castle, who has no trouble slashing a Nazi operative's throat, as well as a number of shrill, carping, unhappy wives in other books."

"I was a good--what do you call it?--muse," she said in a recent interview.

Gregg Rickman, a biographer of the author, said, "Anne sparked Phil to an incandescent level of achievement."

Her memoir, The Search for Philip K. Dick, was first published in 1995, and a revised edition appeared in 2010. The Times wrote that Anne R. Dick "was making plans in recent months to self-publish her first novel, Gravity Slide, which tackles the eternal Dick theme of the fluid nature of reality."


Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan


Notes

Image of the Day: Dealing with Death and Dying

Oblong Books & Music, Rhinebeck, N.Y., hosted a discussion on "Is There a Better Way to Deal with Death and Dying?" featuring Conari Press authors Marissa Moss (Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love) and Henry Fersko-Weiss (Caring for the Dying: The Doula Approach to a Meaningful Death). Photo: Debra Woodward


D.C.'s Capitol Hill Indies 'Champion One Another'

"While independent retail is struggling in D.C., it's worth celebrating the thriving literary scene on Capitol Hill, where bookstore owners not only compete but also champion one other," Washington City Paper reported.

"A bookstore is not like a pizza parlor, in that it's not unusual for customers to go straight from one to the next on an afternoon stroll," said Paul Cymrot, owner of used-bookstore Riverby Books, with locations on Capitol Hill and in Fredericksburg, Va. He said associates often refer customers to their bookstore neighbors. "You don't ever fill up."

East City Bookshop owner Laurie Gillman agreed, noting that she often recommends both Riverby and used bookstore Capitol Hill Books to customers looking for older titles. She and her staff occasionally do a little browsing themselves: "We can't help ourselves when it comes to books."

Morton "Jim" Toole, owner of Capitol Hill Books added: "They recommend me, I recommend them."


Charles Roberts Retires (Again)

After a 56-year career, Charles Roberts has retired again. He first retired in 2004 from Simon & Schuster, when his job as v-p, field sales director, was eliminated. This retirement didn't last long: after three months he started an author escort business in Houston and Austin, Tex. The business flourished and he added two associates. Also in 2004, he became a PGW telephone sales rep. After 10 years, he retired from Perseus but continued the author escort business. Two months ago, he decided to shutter that business as it "succumbed to Uber and its ilk." About his career, he says: "It was a hell of ride but all things end." He is now "pursuing other interests" and spending time with his family and traveling.


Personnel Changes at Scholastic Trade

At Scholastic Trade:

Lizette Serrano has been promoted to senior director of educational marketing and event strategy. She was previously director of education/library marketing and conventions.
 
Rachel Feld has been promoted to senior director of marketing. She was previously director of marketing.
 
Michelle Campbell has been promoted to marketing manager. She was previously assistant marketing manager.
 
Matthew Poulter has joined the company as marketing manager, educational marketing. He was previously at the Children's Book Council.
 
Shara Zaval has joined the company as marketing manager, picture books. She was previously U.S. publicity and marketing manager at Faber & Faber.
 
Devin MacDonald has been promoted to assistant marketing manager. She was previously senior coordinator.
 
Vaishali Nayak has been promoted to senior marketing coordinator. She was previously marketing coordinator.


DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to BookExpo 2017: Explore New York City by Foot

From historic neighborhoods and landmark buildings to green spaces and public promenades, these are the best places to really get to know New York City.

The release of DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to New York City (2017) includes five free, expertly curated audio walking tours.

The Lower East Side
New York City's vivid and varied ethnic flavor is perhaps most tangible on the Lower East Side, where Italian, Chinese, Jewish, and Dominican communities have established neighborhoods since the late 19th century. This makes for a lively area to explore on foot, where you can try a variety of delicacies.

Head to Houston Street for traditional Jewish eateries--here you’ll find Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery, Russ & Daughters and Katz's Delicatessen.

Meander through Little Italy and Nolita, which offer rustic Italian food, charming cafés and traditional salumerias.

Save time to explore Chinatown, a hive of activity--delivery cyclists weave, neon signs flash, and crowds bustle along the sidewalks.

Washington Square Park
photo: Jessica Chun

Greenwich Village and Soho
A walk through Greenwich Village is a walk through New York's artistic legacy. The village's quaint, leafy streets are lined with brownstones, once home to literary figures such as Mark Twain, E.E. Cummings, John Masefield and Edward Albee.

Fans of TV sitcom Friends might recognize the exterior of Monica's apartment on Grove Street (and Bedford Street), while No. 75.5 on Bedford Street is New York's narrowest home, at just 9.5 feet (2.9 meters) wide. Poet Edna St. Vincent lived here for a short time, as did actors John Barrymore and Cary Grant.

No. 18 Washington Square was the setting for Henry James's novel Washington Square. Though a lovely green space today, the park here was once a dueling ground and site for public hangings.

Fearless Girl
photo: Jessica Chun

The Waterfront
New York's formidable history is most present in Lower Manhattan, where Colonial churches and historic monuments stand in the shadows of the city's skyscrapers.

The poignant 9/11 Memorial Museum is one of the most important places to visit. The plaza here is a good area to linger and reflect in, shaded by 400 swamp oak trees.

Farther south in Battery Park, surrounded by statues and monuments, you can admire the views of the harbor. Stroll on to nearby Bowling Green, the city's oldest park, and the Charging Bull and the Fearless Girl.

Finally, South Street Seaport makes for a lovely exploration by foot. Negotiate the cobbled streets of New York's original dockyard, and step onto a historic ship.

Brooklyn Bridge
photo: Laura Hernandez

Brooklyn
With historic neighborhoods and picturesque parks, converted brick factories and trendy art galleries, Brooklyn is a must-see on foot.

Begin in Manhattan and walk across striking Brooklyn Bridge. This landmark has a promenade for pedestrians, which offers spectacular views of Manhattan--great for getting that perfect photo of the city skyline.

Brooklyn Heights is one of New York's most elegant and historic neighborhoods, and is not to be missed. Stroll through its leafy streets and admire the range of beautiful brownstones, built by the city's elites in the 1920s.

Grab an ice cream at Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory on Fulton Ferry Pier and stroll along Brooklyn Heights Promenade for more fabulous views of Lower Manhattan's skyscrapers and the Statue of Liberty.

The Guggenheim Museum
photo: Laura Hernandez

The Upper East Side
The Upper East Side is home to some of New York's most famous museums along the aptly named Museum Mile. Wander around the impressive Frick Collection, marvel at the artworks housed in the magnificent Metropolitan Museum of Art, and traverse the famous atrium of the Guggenheim.

A trip to New York isn't complete without a visit to Central Park. This calm refuge, which stretches for 2.5 miles (4 km) from 59th St to 110th St, will take days to explore fully. Take time to walk around Conservatory Water, climb the larger-than-life Hans Christian Andersen statue and visit Central Park Zoo.

Chelsea and the Garment District
Start at Chelsea Market for a bite to eat, before heading for the High Line. This disused, elevated railway has been transformed into a stunning, public promenade-cum-park, and offers beautiful green spaces and great views.

It might be just outside the Garment District, but ascending the Empire State Building is a must. Climb its 1,576 steps to the 86th-floor observatory for spectacular 360-degree views of the city.

Mt. Morris Historic District, Harlem
photo: Dorling Kindersley Ltd/Steven Greaves

Harlem
Harlem has been at the heart of African-American culture since the 1920s, when jazz musicians, poets, and activists came together during the Harlem Renaissance. Today, the neighborhood offers fabulous West African restaurants, a vibrant jazz scene, and some of the city's prettiest blocks.

Meander around Hamilton Heights Historic District, with its charming townhouses, once home to jazz musicians including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Cab Calloway, and visit the picturesque Columbia University campus, where college students mingle on the grounds between classes. End the day with a well-earned meal at Sylvia's, Harlem’s best-known soul food restaurant.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Thomas E. Ricks on Fresh Air

Today:
CBS This Morning: Jack Ewing, author of Faster, Higher, Farther: The Volkswagen Scandal (Norton, $27.95, 9780393254501).

Fresh Air: Thomas E. Ricks, author of Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom (Penguin Press, $28, 9781594206139).

MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews: David McCullough, author of The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781501174216).

Ellen repeat: Sheryl Sandberg, co-author of Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy (Knopf, $25.95, 9781524732684).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Matt Frazier, co-author of The No Meat Athlete Cookbook: Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes to Fuel Your Workouts—and the Rest of Your Life (The Experiment, $24.95, 9781615192663).

Tomorrow:
CBS This Morning: Leland Melvin, author of Chasing Space: An Astronaut's Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances (Amistad, $25.99, 9780062496720).

Harry: Daymond John, co-author of The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage (Crown Business, $17, 9781101903612).

Conan: Ben Falcone, author of Being a Dad Is Weird: Lessons in Fatherhood from My Family to Yours (Dey Street, $25.99, 9780062473622).


TV: Alias Grace

A "first look" is available for Sarah Polley's Alias Grace, the six-part miniseries based on Margaret Atwood's novel that is a co-production between Netflix and the CBC, IndieWire reported. Written/produced by Sarah Polley and directed by Mary Harron, the project stars Sarah Gadon, Kerr Logan, Paul Gross and Anna Paquin. Alias Grace will stream globally on Netflix outside of Canada in Fall 2017, debuting in Canada on CBC on September 25.


Books & Authors

Awards: Molson; Acorn Foundation Fiction

The Canadian Council for the Arts has awarded Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes and The Illegal, the CA$50,000 (about US$37,000) Molson Prize, which "recognizes two individuals each year--one in arts and one in social sciences--who have made outstanding contributions to Canada," for his distinguished career in the arts, CBC reported. The second honoree was Kent Roach from the University of Toronto for his work in the field of social sciences and humanities.

"The Molson Prize will serve as great encouragement and inspiration as I continue in my role as professor of creative writing at the University of Guelph," Hill said. "It will also help me focus on researching and writing a new novel about the thousands of African American soldiers who came up from the Deep South to build the Alaska Highway through northern B.C. and the Yukon during World War II."

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Catherine Chidgey won New Zealand's richest writing award, the NZ$50,000 (about US$34,630) Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize, for her novel The Wish Child, Booksellers NZ reported. The judges said the winning book "exposes and celebrates the power of words--so dangerous they must be cut out or shredded, so magical they can be wondered at and conjured with--Chidgey also exposes the fragility and strength of humanity... Compelling and memorable, you'll be caught by surprise by its plumbing of depths and sudden moments of grace, beauty and light."

Chidgey was one of four Ockham New Zealand Book Awards category winners. The others, each of whom received NZ$10,000 (about US$6,925), are Fits & Starts by Andrew Johnston (poetry), Can You Tolerate This? by Ashleigh Young (nonfiction) and A History of New Zealand Women by Barbara Brookes (illustrated nonfiction).


Book Review

Review: The Confusion of Languages

The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon (Putnam, $26 hardcover, 336p., 9780399158926, June 27, 2017)

In The Confusion of Languages, the suspenseful first novel from Siobhan Fallon (You Know When the Men Are Gone), the friendship of two soldiers' wives in post-Arab Spring Jordan strains under the weight of their diverging outlooks, with devastating consequences. In other circumstances, Cassie and Margaret might not have become friends; their differences seem extreme. But when the two Americans meet at the Jordanian embassy, where both their husbands are stationed, they forge a connection.

Cassie's marriage to Dan has soured over their inability to conceive. Her bitterness and suspicion has destroyed friendships with other embassy wives, but as Margaret's sponsor, she is determined to befriend and protect the younger woman. Margaret and Crick tied the knot because of her pregnancy with their baby son, Mather. While Cassie has spent two years in Jordan, following the embassy rulebook religiously and treating locals with suspicion bordering on paranoia, newly arrived Margaret brushes aside policies and warnings. Everyone takes naturally to her; she befriends servants and gate guards. She spent her teens and early 20s attending to her mysteriously ill mother, so she hungers for life and new experiences. When she leaves Mather with Cassie and goes to the police station alone after a minor traffic accident, Margaret doesn't return. Looking for an explanation, Cassie stumbles upon her friend's diary and begins to piece together the truth of the disappearance and her own part in it.

Fallon, who recently lived in Jordan and now resides in Abu Dhabi, vividly portrays life as an American expat in the Middle East. Cultural traditions of hospitality clash with religious expectations of modesty and male-female interactions. While Margaret runs unnecessary risks in her haste to embrace a foreign land, Cassie cheats herself out of authentic relationships through her obsession with safety. With a studied look at the thin line outsiders must walk, whether in someone else's country or someone else's living room, Fallon digs into the complications of friendship. Cassie envies Margaret's sexy husband and baby boy, as well as her ease at fitting in, but she also feels jealous of anyone that takes Margaret's attention from her. The Confusion of Languages examines the barriers that differing expectations place between individuals and cultures. Cerebral but still taut with suspense as Cassie unravels her friend's fate, this novel's sophisticated pacing and emotional core set it apart from the pack. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: Two American military wives bond in Jordan, but their disagreements on interacting with the country and its natives lead to confusion and disaster.


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