Eyeing Indies: Tim Federle's 'Favorite Amazon Prime Day Deal'
"My favorite Amazon Prime day deal is going to my local bookstore and making eye contact."
"My favorite Amazon Prime day deal is going to my local bookstore and making eye contact."
Jean Devine, the new owner of Garcia Street Books in Santa Fe, N.M., "is banking that an old formula, encouraging customers to browse, will help the independent bookstore survive," the New Mexican reported.
With a goal of making the shop "a place the community loves," Devine, who recently purchased the store from former co-owners Rick Palmer and Adam Gates, said, "What keeps us alive are the people who live here, whether they're full time or part time."
A St. Louis native, she moved to Santa Fe three years ago and her "decision to purchase Garcia Street Books came out of a long-held desire to own a bookstore," the New Mexican wrote, adding that the new owner "is optimistic about the viability of an independent bookstore in Santa Fe because of the creative people who live in the city."
"One customer said, 'When I come in the bookstore, it inspires me,' " she noted. "You don't really have a relationship with an online ordering service."
Frank Autunnale has been named chief financial officer at Independent Publishers Group, succeeding Cara Sample, who has left the company to pursue other opportunities. Regarding the appointment, IPG said: "With robust executive experience in top-level book publishing, digital media and distribution, Autunnale's transition to IPG poises the company for continued growth in the face of industry consolidation.... As the company expands its sales and marketing efforts in the academic, Spanish-language and general trade sectors, Autunnale’s strategic vision will strengthen IPG’s position as a primary partner for independent presses seeking extensive distribution in print and digital."
Early in his publishing career, Autunnale served as the director of financial planning & analysis for HarperCollins. He was appointed v-p, finance at Penguin Group (USA) in 2009 and at Hachette Book Group in 2015.
"Frank's vast publishing and distribution experiences are an asset on day one," said IPG CEO Joe Matthews. "We are thrilled to have such talent join the team."
Autunnale commented: "It is a great honor to have been offered this opportunity, and I am excited to join Joe Matthews and the IPG team to implement strategies to drive the company's continued growth and success."
Canongate publisher Jenny Todd is leaving the company after 12 years, the Bookseller reported. CEO Jamie Byng said, "I've spent more of my time running Canongate with Jenny as part of the company than not which makes the thought of her not being involved in our future a strange one. During her time at Canongate, Jenny has made countless inspired contributions, both to what we have published and how we have published, bringing her impeccable taste in books, her boundless creativity and her great experience to many areas of the business.... We all wish her well in her future endeavours and know that she will bring the same flair and creative energy wherever she goes next."
Todd said: "I am very sad to leave so many wonderful colleagues and writers, many of whom are also great friends. I wish them all every success in the future."
Kenneth Silverman, a specialist in Colonial American literature whose book The Life and Times of Cotton Mather, "a deeply researched, lively biography of the great Puritan preacher, won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Bancroft Prize in 1985," died July 7, the New York Times reported. He was 81. Silverman wrote other well-received biographies, "but it was his first effort in the genre that brought him his greatest acclaim."
Reviewing the book in the Times, Anatole Broyard noted that Silverman "has got hold of one of the most colorful men in American history, and he treats Mather with all the awe, sympathy and skepticism that he deserves.... It is a splendid day of judgment, in which Cotton Mather stands radiant in all his virtues and failings."
Silverman's other books include Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance; Lightning Man: The Accursed Life of Samuel F.B. Morse; Begin Again: A Biography of John Cage; and Houdini!!!: The Career of Ehrich Weiss : American Self-Liberator, Europe's Eclipsing Sensation, World's Handcuff King & Prison Breaker."
Bookseller Stephanie Douglas and Nathan Hill, author of The Nix (Knopf), during Hill's recent event at Village Books & Paper Dreams, Bellingham, Wash.
Watermark Books & Café is partnering with the Wichita, Kan., Police Department, on a program called "Building Bridges through Books," which was made possible through a grant from the Impact Literacy Initiative of the Wichita Community Foundation. KSNW-TV reported that the program launched yesterday, "and in the next few days, 14,000 Wichitans will receive a card in the mail inviting them to participate in the program and receive several free books directly from the officers' hands."
"Families will receive the card, and they can contact Watermark Books & Cafe to sign up. We will connect the families to the police officers. We have blanketed the city evenly throughout, so that the community officers will work to get the books delivered," said Watermark's Sarah Bagby, adding: "We will have a community gathering several weeks after the drop of the books. We will have it three times a year. We don't want to do it once. We want to create a conversation between the books, the police and the citizens."
"Unfortunately, most of the time, police contact is during a crisis," said Officer Charley Davidson, Wichita Police Department. "This is an opportunity to build bridges through books, for us to build a bridge with our community in connecting through these books and reading these books."
Several indie bookstores made this year's list of the "top 10 places to read and write in Chicago," as chosen by the Chicago Review of Books, which noted: "One of the first articles we published at the Chicago Review of Books was a list of Chicago's best places to read and write. A lot has changed since then, including new bookstores and literary institutions, so I figured it was time for an update."
Among the booksellers mentioned were Volumes Bookcafe ("it's become one of Chicago's literary epicenters), Curbside Books & Records (plenty of tables and chairs for reading and writing") and the Book Cellar ("one of the most popular places for authors and fans to gather").
Gregory Henry has joined Rare Bird Books as director of publicity. He formerly worked at Harcourt, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and HarperCollins.
Watch Me Disappear: A Novel by Janelle Brown (Spiegel & Grau).
Late Night with Seth Meyers repeat: Alan Alda, author of If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating (Random House, $28, 9780812989144).
Barry Jenkins will direct an adaptation of James Baldwin's novel If Beale Street Could Talk for Annapurna Pictures, "marking his first feature film since his hit Moonlight won this year's best picture Oscar," Variety reported. Jenkins, who has wanted to make the film for many years, wrote the screenplay and has been working with the Baldwin Estate.
"We are delighted to entrust Barry Jenkins with this adaptation," said Gloria Karefa-Smart, Baldwin's sister. "Barry is a sublimely conscious and gifted filmmaker, whose Medicine for Melancholy impressed us so greatly that we had to work with him."
Jenkins observed that Baldwin "is a man of and ahead of his time; his interrogations of the American consciousness have remained relevant to this day. To translate the power of Tish and Fonny's love to the screen in Baldwin's image is a dream I've long held dear. Working alongside the Baldwin Estate, I'm excited to finally make that dream come true."
Mary Steenburgen is joining Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda and Candice Bergen for the film Book Club, which "revolves around four lifelong friends who read 50 Shades of Grey in their monthly book club and have their lives changed forever," Deadline reported. The project marks the directorial debut of A Walk in the Woods writer-producer Bill Holderman and is based on an original script by Holderman and Erin Simms. It is in pre-production.
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden has announced that Denis Johnson will posthumously receive the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction September 2, during the 2017 National Book Festival. Johnson died in May. His widow, Cindy Johnson, will accept the prize.
The author, whose works include the National Book Award-winning Tree of Smoke, Jesus' Son, Train Dreams and The Laughing Monsters, was chosen based on the recommendation of a jury of distinguished authors and prominent literary critics from around the world. "Denis Johnson was a writer for our times," Hayden said. "In prose that fused grace with grit, he spun tale after tale about our walking wounded, the demons that haunt, the salvation we seek. We emerge from his imagined world with profound empathy, a different perspective--a little changed."
Hayden offered the prize to Johnson in March, and he enthusiastically accepted, writing: "The list of past awardees is daunting, and I'm honored to be in such company. My head's spinning from such great news!"
The annual Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction honors an American literary writer "whose body of work is distinguished not only for its mastery of the art but also for its originality of thought and imagination. The award seeks to commend strong, unique, enduring voices that--throughout long, consistently accomplished careers--have told us something revealing about the American experience." Previous winners include Marilynne Robinson, Louise Erdrich, E. L. Doctorow and Don DeLillo.
Gregory Scott Katsoulis is a writer and maternity photographer based in Cambridge, Mass. A former educator who has worked extensively with children of all ages across a range of subjects and programs, he has taught at the Exploration Summer Program hosted by Wellesley College and the Saturday Course at the Milton Academy. He's designed educational multimedia material for companies such as Simon & Schuster and Pearson. The YA science fiction novel All Rights Reserved (Harlequin Teen, August 29, 2017)--a Summer/Fall 2017 ABA Indies Introduce Pick--is his debut.
On your nightstand now:
On my actual, physical nightstand is The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery, Greenglass House by Kate Milford, Tales from Greece & Rome: Junior Classics (1918) by William Patten, a gas receipt from April, my phone charger and a glass-topped box of unread scrolls I have been waiting 23 years to open.
On my metaphorical nightstand is Nic Stone's debut, Dear Martin, M.T. Anderson's wonderfully scathing colonial dystopia with aliens, Landscape with Invisible Hand, and Maggie Stiefvater's All the Crooked Saints.
Favorite book when you were a child:
I'd be lying if I didn't say the original 1975 The Starfleet Technical Manual by Franz Joseph, which I adored because it made me feel like I could build my own starship.
Your top five authors:
Sorry, I can't rank authors. Even to list my "top" favorites would require numbers in the dozens. I do love Junot Díaz, Lynda Barry, Kurt Vonnegut, Annie Dillard, David Levithan, John Steinbeck and Oliver Sacks.
Book you've faked reading:
The Scarlet Letter. My English teacher, Mr. Plourde, was not fooled one bit.
Book you're an evangelist for:
Not that David Levithan's Every Day needs my evangelism but I'm so fond of that book. It is about a teen who wakes up every morning in a different body, living that person's life. I love a good concept and this one is not only handled beautifully, but with such heart and empathy that it made me rethink my own biases about gender.
Book you've bought for the cover:
My wife and I special ordered the U.K. edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at no small expense. Unlike the U.S. edition, it has a phoenix on the cover!
Book you hid from your parents:
As a teen, I surreptitiously watched reruns of Little House on the Prairie in my room, poised to change the channel at a moment's notice, fearing the ridicule I would face if I were caught. I was desperate to read Laura Ingalls Wilder's books, but having them in my home would have left physical evidence to be found of my crime against "manliness." I tried to sneak reading them in at the library, but sadly never got very far. The fear of being found out and my dyslexia sabotaged my concentration.
Book that changed your life:
For a brief time, Norton Juster was my college adviser. In our first meeting, he insisted I read Art and Visual Perception by Rudolf Arnheim. I started it and have literally never finished because I find it so inspiring. I never get very far before I feel an overwhelming urge to explore how his theories might affect my art.
Favorite line from a book:
"I would rather die than hate you."
By pointing out the radical beauty of this quote in The Wordy Shipmates, Sarah Vowell has allowed me to squeak it in here even though it is technically from Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Loving Your Enemies" sermon, not a book. I think about it a lot.
Five books you'll never part with:
The Starfleet Technical Manual (of course); my 50th anniversary copy of The Hobbit; Unearthing Atlantis by Charles R. Pellegrino; Full of Secrets, edited by David Lavery (a brilliant book of critical essays about the original run of David Lynch's Twin Peaks); and a handbound collection of Lynda Barry's comic strips that my wife got directly from the author herself.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
Solo by Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess (Blink, $17.99 hardcover, 464p., ages 14-up, 9780310761839, August 1, 2017)
Seventeen-year-old Blade Morrison is the son of a rich and famous rock star who is "too busy kissing his ego" to notice his son unless he's humiliating him in front of his entire graduating class. After screaming "I LOVE ROCK 'N ROLL" and crashing his motorcycle into the podium where Blade was about to give the salutatorian speech, Blade's dad, Rutherford, admits himself (yet again) to rehab. As Blade says, Rutherford has always "craved the spotlight,/ needed it like a drug,/ posing, posturing, profiling/ before millions,/ an electric prophet, or so he thinks." Blade's sister, Storm, is attempting to trace her own trajectory to fame. Their mother died 10 years ago, leaving the family unmoored and still heartbroken.
Even while benefiting from it, Blade scorns the privileged and paparazzi-pursued lifestyle he and his family have always led, wanting nothing more than to write his own songs and run away with his adored girlfriend, Chapel, "[t]he sweet arpeggio/ in my solo." After his calamitous graduation, dissatisfaction and discomfort with his life reach a peak:
"I have/ everything:/ the cars,/ the guitars,/ the mansion,/ the view,/ the girl./ But something's not right./ There's a vacancy/ inside the rooms/ of my soul./ That sounds way corny,/ like a bad love song./ I've always assumed/ my hope/ would end/ badly./ So why hope for anything/ when all the money/ in the world/ can't buy/ a happy ending."
When Blade's sister blows her top ("I'm sick/ of [Blade's] holier-than-thou-we're-all-bad-and-he's-a-saint/ attitude") and reveals an earth-shattering secret about him, Blade has finally had enough. Armed with nothing more than some searches about his newly mysterious heritage (and, presumably, a credit card), he hops a plane to Ghana. What follows is an epic hero's journey, interrupted by yet another unwelcome appearance by Rutherford and his stage crew and cameraman. Can Blade and his father ever loosen the "twisted... knot of [their] own making"?
Newbery Medal-winning author and poet Kwame Alexander (The Crossover; Out of Wonder; Booked) works again with Mary Rand Hess (Animal Ark) who, as an author, poet, screenwriter and editor, has ample experience with high-profile celebrities. The two have woven an elaborate saga of overindulgence, regrets, identity and redemption. The verse is eminently readable--teens won't even notice they're reading poetry after the first few pages--and the references to music and the Hollywood entertainment scene feel painfully authentic. Many of the short chapters are named for a thousand-page book Blade and his mother bought on the day she died unexpectedly, called Track by Track: The Greatest Songs Ever Written, and provide a poignant homage to the classic rock musicians they reference--Lenny Kravitz, Bob Dylan, Tina Turner--all of whom were in the musical pool Blade was steeped in throughout his life. At its heart, this is a story about finding one's truest self within and in spite of one's first identity. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor
Shelf Talker: Kwame Alexander's novel-in-verse explores the dark underside to the glittery world of being a rock-and-roll star's son.