Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Penguin Press: Winter by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Ecco Press: Varina by Charles Frazier

House of Anansi Press: The Break by Katherena Vermette

Algonquin Books: Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Small Walt by Elizabeth Verdick and Marc Rosenthal

News

Amazon Books to Open Store in Bethesda, Md.

Amazon plans to open an Amazon Books in Bethesda, Md., at the Bethesda Row mall, Bethesda Beat reported. A building permit was filed with the county on November 8 for a $1.5 million project that includes the renovation of the roughly 6,000-square-foot space. Later yesterday, Amazon confirmed that it will open in Bethesda. Amazon currently has another store under construction nearby, in the Georgetown section of D.C.

Earlier this year, Barnes & Noble announced it will close its Bethesda store at the corner of Woodmont and Bethesda avenues when the lease expires at the end of next month. Bethesda Beat said 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."

WJLA said it had spoken yesterday with B&N customers, who "had mixed reactions. Some are glad Amazon is coming, others say losing Barnes & Noble and getting Amazon is not a good trade."

Amazon has opened 13 Amazon Books book and electronics stores thus far and confirmed plans for Bethesda and two others but not Atlanta


Quirk Books: My Lady's Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris


Grand Opening: Longwood U.'s Downtown B&N Store

Longwood University's Barnes & Noble bookstore has completed its move to a new location at 200 South Main Street in Farmville, Va., and will host a grand opening this Friday, the Rotunda reported. The store had its soft opening October 30.

"We spent the last week of September through that day in the transition process. It was about 40 people (helping)," said store manager Amber Clark, adding that the bookstore rents its space from the building's owner, Walk2Campus. "We, Barnes & Noble College, worked with Walk2Campus, Longwood's Real Estate Foundation and Longwood University to finish this project. So there's four large entities involved. Anytime you have that many people involved, it can be a protracted process. Thankfully, everyone worked really well together."

Noting that Longwood chose the location to incorporate itself further into the community, Clark said, "They want the community to feel like they love Longwood and show the community that Longwood loves them."


Trinity University Press: Arte Kids - Bilingual Board Books


Cinco Puntos Press Launches El Paso Reading Series

Cinco Puntos Press, the independent publisher based in El Paso, Tex., has launched Mama Bravo's Book Club & Social Hour, a reading series featuring both Cinco Puntos Press authors and authors published by other houses. Cinco Puntos Press's marketing director and CFO John Byrd explained that the goal of the series is to cultivate an audience for local and touring authors in the area and to demonstrate the market for a general interest, independent bookstore in downtown El Paso.

Photo: Jorge Salgado, El Paso Inc.

(l.-r.) Bobby Byrd (Otherwise My Life Is Ordinary, Cinco Puntos Press), Eileen Myles (Afterglow (a dog memoir), Grove Atlantic) and Gris Muñoz (Coatlicue Girl, forthcoming from Pandora lobo Press). 

The series kicked off on November 7 with Grove/Atlantic author Eileen Myles reading from her book Afterglow (a dog memoir) at Blackbird Cantina in El Paso. According to Byrd, the event was a "strong success," with some 100 people in attendance and 40 copies of Afterglow sold. The next event in the Mama Bravo's series is scheduled for December 10; poet Benjamin Alire Sáenz will read from his collection The Last Cigarette on Earth at the Pershing Inn. A third event featuring Isabel Quintero reading from Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide is tentatively scheduled for March 2018.

Cinco Puntos Press has maintained a small storefront in its El Paso offices for years, Byrd said, and while he and his colleagues have thought about turning that retail space into a full-fledged bookstore that would carry a selection of Cinco Puntos books along with others, they don't want to shift too much of their time and energy away from publishing to run a larger store. They would prefer to find a business partner to run the bookstore, and the reading series is in part a way of showing the potential of such a store. Byrd noted that El Paso has two Barnes & Noble stores that are among the chain's best-performing stores, and though an independent bookstore opened in the city this year, it sells primarily used books and books for collectors.

"We hope to accomplish a lot with the reading series, but secretly one of my greatest desires for it is to cultivate a community of readers in El Paso," said Byrd.


Thomas Nelson: Perennials by Julie Cantrell


Obituary Note: Dolores Kendrick

Dolores Kendrick, "a teacher and poet who channeled the voices of female slaves in her writing and advocated for an expansive role of poetry in public life, organizing festivals and youth programs in her nearly two decades as Washington's poet laureate," died November 7, the Washington Post reported. She was 90 and had just completed the manuscript of Rainbow on Fire, a collection of new and selected poems.

Appointed to a three-year term as poet laureate in 1999, she served until her death. Kendrick "elevated her position," said Washington poet E. Ethelbert Miller. "Dolores could piss people off, insisting that if you were a writer, you get paid and you get treated a certain way," but she was also "the first lady of poetry" in the District.

She taught at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire for 21 years, and in her five books "of lyrical, frequently conversational poetry, she established herself as what Joanne Gabbin, founder of the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University, described as 'the poet's poet': a friend and favorite of African American writers such as Michael S. Harper, Rita Dove and James Baldwin, with whom she dined in Paris and hosted at Exeter," the Post wrote.

Her collections include The Women of Plums: Poems in the Voices of Slave Women (1989), which won the Anisfield-Wolfe Award; Through the Ceiling (1975); Now Is the Thing to Praise (1984); and Why the Woman Is Singing on the Corner: A Verse Narrative (2001).

"I don't believe poetry should be a solitary intellectual adventure," she told the Post in 2011. "It should be a relationship with people, it should forge a connection. Good poetry does not belong to the poet."


Notes

Image of the Day: Philosophy at Arcadia

Arcadia Books in Spring Green, Wis., hosted Michael Perry for a signing of his new book, Montaigne in Barn Boots: An Amateur Ambles Through Philosophy (HarperCollins). Pictured: (l.-r.) Katie McGrath, events manager; Maya Jensen, bookseller; Perry; John Christensen, manager; Arcadia Books owner James Bohnen.


Seasonally Appropriate Bookshop Chalkboard: Raven Books

Raven Books in Springfield, Ohio, shared a photo on Facebook yesterday of its latest chalkboard creation, noting: "We're back! And we're open! We are also NOT playing Christmas music! We hit the ground running this morning and we can't wait to keep the magic happening. See you soon, Ravenheads."

The sign reads: "Come in & visit the books! We promise we're not playing Christmas music yet."


Personnel Changes at Abingdon Press

Robin Glennon has been promoted to director of trade sales at Abingdon Press, according to ECPA's Rush to Press. She was formerly key accounts and digital sales manager and earlier worked at Ingram Content Group, Kidpower Inc., EMI Christian Music Group and Ingram Entertainment.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Steve Leder on CBS This Morning

Tomorrow:
CBS This Morning: Steve Leder, author of More Beautiful Than Before: How Suffering Transforms Us (Hay House, $17.99, 9781401953126).

Dr. Oz: Mandy Harvey, co-author of Sensing the Rhythm: Finding My Voice in a World Without Sound (Howard, $24, 9781501172250).

Comedy Central's the Opposition with Jordan Klepper: Sarah Lacy, author of A Uterus Is a Feature, Not a Bug: The Working Woman's Guide to Overthrowing the Patriarchy (HarperBusiness, $26.99, 9780062641816).


Amazon Nabs Global TV Rights to Lord of the Rings

Sauron wins?!

Amazon has acquired the global television rights to J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings novels, with a multi-season commitment. The Amazon Studios project will be produced in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate & Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment.

The deal "came with an upfront rights payment said to be in the $200 million-$250 million range," Deadline reported, adding that the payment "is just for the rights, before any costs for development, talent and production, a proposition whose finances industry observers called 'insane.' It is a payment that is made sight unseen as there is no concept, and there are no creative auspices attached to the possible series. On top of that, the budget for a fantasy series of that magnitude is likely to be $100 million-$150 million a season."

"The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen," said Sharon Tal Yguado, head of scripted series, Amazon Studios. "We are honored to be working with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line on this exciting collaboration for television and are thrilled to be taking the Lord of the Rings fans on a new epic journey in Middle Earth."

Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien Estate & Trust and HarperCollins, commented: "We are delighted that Amazon, with its longstanding commitment to literature, is the home of the first-ever multi-season television series for the Lord of the Rings. Sharon and the team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien's original writings."



Books & Authors

Awards: David Cohen Prize for Literature

British playwright Tom Stoppard won the £40,000 (about $52,435) David Cohen Prize for Literature, which recognizes a lifetime's achievement by writers in English who are citizens of the U.K. or Ireland.

Chair of judges Mark Lawson said: "Dramatists endure a test of whether their work has lasted that it is far more brutal than the measure for novelists and poets of books remaining in print or on syllabuses. For a play to be seen as great, it must endure frequent revivals, in which the text is stress-tested by successive generations of directors, actors, and audiences....

"Playwrights--however great--tend to win fewer literary prizes than other writers. Both the David Cohen Prize--and its Swedish literary equivalent, the Nobel--have gone to the theatre far less frequently than to other forms. This is because even the very best play script is unfinished--a blueprint for a live performance. So it is another mark of the literary merit of Tom Stoppard that those judges who met his plays mainly on the page were just as enthusiastic as those who had spent numerous evenings with them in the dark.... Two decades after Harold Pinter was an early winner of the David Cohen Prize, the award marks its Silver Jubilee by honoring a second giant of 20th century British drama."

Stoppard told the Guardian: "Winning a lifetime achievement award, one's first thought is: 'Surely not yet.' And one's second is: 'Just in time, mate'... Quite frankly, it has always meant a lot to me, the idea that one is writing for the future as well. I'm never convinced it will work out that way. We still don't know in the long run, it's impossible to say. History is full of the names of writers who at one time seemed to be permanently established and who slowly disappeared from view. I'll absolutely own up to writing for the present and for posterity--but as Lytton Strachey said: 'What has posterity ever done for me?' "


Book Review

Review: One Station Away

One Station Away by Olaf Olafsson (Ecco, $25.99 hardcover, 304p., 9780062677488, December 5, 2017)

Does a neuroscientist know how to communicate with those he considers close any better than the rest of us do? Judging from the many personal disconnects in the life of Magnus Conyngham, the narrator of Olaf Olafsson's brainy novel One Station Away, Olafsson seems to side with the rest of us. Born in Iceland, raised in England and living alone in New York City, Magnus works in a well-funded lab in Connecticut. His days are filled with coffee, commuting and navigating the egos of his department chair, his lab assistants and the chairs of the two European academic centers collaborating on his research project.

Although focused on his study of the brain function of comatose patients, Magnus is frequently preoccupied with his Buenos Aires-born, ballet dancer lover, Malena, and her sudden death from a motor neuron disease--a disease he failed to detect in his exuberant infatuation with her. In self-imposed exile from his parents in England, Magnus struggles with their persistent pull on his life. He suffers from their perceived indifference to him in childhood, while his mother pursued a career as a classical pianist and his flamboyant musicologist father ran a series of failed record label companies. Magnus hardly understands anyone around him--until he takes on a new research subject in a coma after a New Mexico motorcycle crash.

A Latina Jane Doe, she fails to show any MRI brain response to his rote questions until he begins to sit with her, talking, playing CDs of his mother's music and reading to her in Spanish from One Hundred Years of Solitude. Finally, she blinks, her scans light up and she is able to answer yes and no questions. Is it a scientific breakthrough, a sociable dialogue or a call for help?

A Time Warner executive born in Iceland, Olafsson (Restoration, Absolution, etc.) methodically immerses readers in the mind of the contemplative, sensitive and self-doubting Magnus. Olafsson's smooth and deliberate narrative gradually reveals the deceptive complexity of his characters. Magnus attempts to learn Spanish to better understand Malena--only to find her resenting his efforts to enter her culture and history. When his father releases dozens of CDs claiming to be of his mother playing the great concertos, the sudden Internet-driven praise for her talent undermines his assumption that she was second-rate. The scientific step forward he sought reveals the dangers of tapping a hopeless patient's brain as he realizes, "We had constructed a perfect machine for the sole purpose of enabling her to tell us that she wanted to die."

In quiet, well-paced prose, Olafsson tells a story that raises more questions than it answers. Can music connect us? Can science? Can love? Can language? Or are we doomed to miss each other? Even though his characters move in the professional worlds of the artist and scientist, they are as prone to detachment as the rest of us. As Magnus's father tells him: "It's not easy always being one station away." --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: True to its neuroscientist protagonist, One Station Away is a carefully measured novel of the search for personal connection in a world of uncertainty and self-doubt.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. Thirty Day Boyfriend by Whitney G.
2. The Peter Savage Novels Boxed Set by Dave Edlund
3. Inked Memories by Carrie Ann Ryan
4. The Demon Duke by Margaret Locke
5. Miss Fix-It by Emma Hart
6. Going Wild by C.M. Owens
7. American King by Sierra Simone
8. The Elf on the Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda B. Bell
9. Accidental Daddy by R.R. Banks
10. Trackers by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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