Shelf Awareness for Friday, March 9, 2018

St. Martin's Press: How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson

St. Martin's Press: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Katherine Tegen Books: Denis Ever After by Tony Abbott

Atlantic Monthly Press: The Temptation of Forgiveness: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery by Donna Leon

Clarion Books: I Got It! by David Wiesner

Liveright Publishing Corporation: The Honey Farm by Harriet Alida Lye

Ballantine Books: All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin


Avid Bookshop Withdraws from Book Fair in Response to Censorship, Discrimination

Avid Bookshop in Athens, Ga., has withdrawn from a book fair at an area private school after the school's administration requested that Richard Peck's middle-grade novel The Best Man, along with all other books featuring "objectionable" content, be removed from display. The school, Athens Academy, was responding to a parental complaint regarding Peck's book, which is about about a middle-schooler who's asked to be best man at a gay wedding.

Instead of hosting the final day of the book fair at Athens Academy, store owner Janet Geddis and her staff have decided to host an in-store book fair Friday until Sunday, with all of the books that Avid brought to Athens Academy on display. During the fair, Avid will donate 10% of all book sales from its children's, middle grade and young adult sections to the Athens LGBTQ Youth Group, a local organization that advocates for queer and trans children and teens.

"Complaints from parents unwilling to admit to their children that gay couples exist turned into a call to remove an entire section of our community from the book fair within minutes," wrote Caleb Zane Huett, manager of Avid's Five Points store, in a post on Avid's Facebook page. "We were told this was the 'path of least resistance,' but we believe it is our duty to ensure that the path of least resistance is not always at the expense of the marginalized."

Janet Geddis

During planning "well in advance of the book fair," Avid sent a list of books that would appear at the fair to the Athens Academy librarian, which was approved. Nevertheless, after a parent complained, the administration requested that The Best Man not only be removed from display but "completely hidden from view and placed back in a box so that no child could accidentally discover it."

The administration then asked to review all the other books Avid brought to the fair and remove any that were "objectionable." In response, Avid staff offered the administration the opportunity to put The Best Man "back with the other Georgia Book Award nominees and issue a public apology," which was refused. Geddis and her team then decided to withdraw from the fair.

Avid Bookshop is encouraging students and parents of Athens Academy to "visit us at our shop in Five Points and continue as normal," and inviting Athens residents to stop by the fair and support a good cause. The store has also compiled a short list of recommended titles, to be found on the Avid Facebook page.

"Much of our staff identifies as queer or LGBTQIA+, and Avid Bookshop's mission has always been one of inclusivity, kindness, and understanding," wrote Huett. "We were kids once, too, and for some of us these books could have made a huge difference."

Disney-Hyperion: Little Do We Know by Tamara Ireland Stone

Booked Children's Bookstore to Open in Evanston, Ill.

Booked, a children's bookstore, is opening this summer in Evanston, Ill. Bookselling This Week reported that the shop, owned by former teacher Chelsea Elward, "will offer a large selection of children's books accompanied by a small selection of books for adults, primarily the newest and hottest fiction and nonfiction titles to appeal to the commuters flowing through the two nearby train stations. Booked will also sell cards, book-related gifts like bookends, and Out of Print shirts and sweatshirts."

"My husband is from Minneapolis and we're always going up there to see his family, and I love bookstores in general," Elward said. "When I went into Wild Rumpus, as soon as I walked in, I literally turned to my family and said this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I wanted my own children's bookstore."

Elward connected with Wild Rumpus owner Collette Morgan, and received further career guidance from other booksellers, including Sarah Hollenbeck, co-owner of Women & Children First, and Suzy Takacs, owner of the Book Cellar, both in Chicago.

Raised in Evanston, Elward said she really wants Booked to serve as a family gathering place. "There are a lot of people in Evanston--over 70,000--but it's a very community-oriented city, just like Minneapolis, and that's the type of bookstore I want. I want it to be where people gather during the day--for moms and dads, kids, babies. It will be entertaining, but my mission is really [for the store] to be educational with fun attached to it, so everyone is learning while they're having fun."

The 1,000-square-foot Main Street storefront is "currently undergoing a major demolition and renovation project to make the space ADA accessible and fully permitted," BTW wrote. "After she gets the keys in June, Elward said she plans to take about a month to set up."

"It's just falling into place, which is how I know it's the right thing," she said. "I'm hoping for my magical bookstore in Evanston."

Soho Crime: Fall of Angels (Inspector Redfyre Mystery #1) by Barbara Cleverly

Mitzi Angel Returning to FSG

Mitzi Angel

Mitzi Angel will return to Farrar, Straus and Giroux as senior v-p and publisher later in 2018, the company announced today. From 2008 to 2015, Angel was in charge of FSG's Faber and Faber imprint, and mostly recently was publisher of Faber and Faber, Ltd., in London. As publisher of FSG, she will lead the company's editorial and marketing efforts and report to president Jonathan Galassi.

"I'm delighted to rejoin my friends and colleagues at FSG," said Angel, who began her career in publishing with Vintage and Fourth Estate. "They and the publishing house they work for, led by Jonathan Galassi, represent the best in publishing worldwide."

Over the years, Angel has worked with a host of high-profile authors including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Rachel Cusk, Ben Lerner and Yiyun Li.

"The very first time I met Mitzi, I was bowled over by her unique combination of sensibility, warmth, openness, and decision, and I knew she was meant to work with us," said Galassi. "She has been a beloved and deeply respected presence here, and I'm certain she will make a vital contribution to our work as we look to the future."

Crooked Lane Books: Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

Berkeley's Revolution Books Continues to Face Right-Wing Threats

On Saturday, March 3, Revolution Books in Berkeley, Calif., faced another in a long line of threats from white supremacists, Trump supporters and alt-right protesters dating back to September of last year. According to store manager Reiko Redmonde, a group wearing Make America Great Again hats and carrying American flags arrived at the store and explicitly threatened to "burn down your bookstore."

Redmonde reported that members of the group said they went to the store to "mark the anniversary of the first pro-Trump rally" in Berkeley last year. They also posted on social media claiming to be "warriors" fighting to "liberate Berkeley."

Revolution Books has faced right-wing threats since at least September 24 and 25 of 2017, during Milo Yiannopoulos's "free speech week," when some 40 white supremacists and Trump supporters gathered at the store. The group, which banged on the windows, threatened staff and customers, and tried to storm the store, had to be dispersed by police. Threats against the store have continued since.

Redmonde added that while staff members are "taking this vicious threat seriously, they are more committed than ever to the mission of the store."

Owlkids Books: A Fire Truck for Chuck by Annika Dunklee, illustrated by Cathon / Crackerjack Jack by Bowman Wilker, illustrated by Marie-Ève Tremblay

Waterstones Southampton Store Ravaged by Fire

The Waterstones bookstore on Above Bar Street in Southampton suffered extensive damage Tuesday afternoon after a fire ripped through the space, the Bookseller reported. A 39-year-old man is being questioned by police about the incident. A spokesperson for the retailer said: "We are glad to report that, thankfully, all customers and booksellers are safe and that no one was injured. The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing and the damage has not yet been fully assessed. It is evident, however, that the shop will be closed for a considerable time."

James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones, said: "I think the store has been pretty badly damaged. We have some of our property people going down there now. Clearly we are not going to be going back in there for some time, and when we will, it will need a serious refit. It is pretty devastating, but the most important thing is no one was hurt. Luckily we are a chain. It is one store of many. If it was an independent bookshop, it would have been someone's livelihood, but luckily we are not in that position. We will move staff to our other store in the city."

Amulet Books: Every Shiny Thing by Cordelia Jensen and Laurie Morrison

Online Fundraiser for Congressional Candidate Becky Anderson

Becky Anderson

To rally support in the children's book community for Becky Anderson, co-owner and manager of Anderson's Bookshops in Naperville, Aurora and Downers Grove, Ill., who is running for Congress, Anne Hoppe of Clarion and Susan Van Metre of Walker Books U.S. have created an online fundraiser that aims to help Anderson before her March 20 primary.

The fundraiser has gotten support from children's world people  Katherine Applegate, Andrea Beaty and Cece Bell and others. More information is available here.

Anderson announced her campaign last year. She's running as a Democrat in a district that Hillary Clinton carried by 7% in 2016 and that is currently represented by Republican Peter Roskam.

Oxmoor House: The Minimalist Kitchen: 100 Wholesome Recipes, Essential Tools, and Efficient Techniques by Melissa Coleman


Personnel Changes at Macmillan; Touchstone

At Macmillan:

Jennifer Gonzalez is being promoted to senior v-p, trade sales. She has been v-p, mass merchandise and children's sales.

Tom Stouras is being promoted to senior v-p, online and digital sales, sales operations and analysis. He has been v-p, supply chain and sales operations.


At Touchstone:

Kelsey Manning has been promoted to assistant director of marketing.

Isabel DaSilva has been promoted to marketing coordinator.

University of Chicago Press to Distribute Rutgers University Press

Effective July 1, the University of Chicago Press's Chicago Distribution Center will distribute the print books of Rutgers University Press

Micah Kleit, director of Rutgers University Press, commented: "Rutgers University Press has been growing and we feel CDC is a great partnership as we continue to grow."

CDC director Joseph D'Onofrio added: "Rutgers University Press has a stellar publishing program. We are pleased to welcome them to our esteemed group of university, academic, and scholarly press partners. We look forward to growing, working, and learning together for a long time to come, as we face the excitement and challenges of an ever-shifting publishing landscape."

The University of Chicago Press's CDC and BiblioVault provide print and digital services to more than 130 publishers, including university presses, academic and scholarly presses and art, architecture and museum and institutional publishers.

As of July 1, all backlist and forthcoming Rutgers University Press titles will ship from the Chicago Distribution Center:
Rutgers University Press
c/o Chicago Distribution Center
11030 South Langley
Chicago, Ill. 60628

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Siri Daly on Food Network's the Kitchen

Food Network's the Kitchen: Siri Daly, author of Siriously Delicious: 100 Nutritious (and Not So Nutritious) Simple Recipes for the Real Home Cook (Oxmoor House, $26.99, 9780848755805).

Movies: Christopher Robin

Disney released a teaser trailer for Christopher Robin, the studio's upcoming movie for Winnie the Pooh fans that "follows a beleaguered adult version of Pooh's child owner, Christopher Robin, as he learns to appreciate life's charms once again by reconnecting with his favorite childhood toy," Variety reported.

Directed by Marc Forster, the movie features "the entire Hundred Acre Wood crew," with Jim Cummings voicing Pooh, Ewan McGregor in the title role, Hayley Atwell as his wife, Evelyn, Chris O'Dowd as Tigger, Brad Garrett as Eeyore, Toby Jones as Owl, Nick Mohammed as Piglet, Peter Capaldi as Rabbit and Sophie Okonedo as Kanga.

Christopher Robin was written by Alex Ross Perry and Allison Schroeder, based on a story by Perry that featured A.A. Milne's characters. The movie hits theaters August 3.

Books & Authors

Awards: PEN/Faulkner Fiction, EBRD Literature Finalists

The five finalists for the 2018 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction are:

Hernan Diaz for In the Distance (Coffee House Press)
Samantha Hunt for The Dark Dark (FSG Originals)
Achy Obejas for The Tower of the Antilles (Akashic Books)
Joan Silber for Improvement (Counterpoint)
Jesmyn Ward for Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner)

The winner will be announced on April 4.


Three finalists have been named for the inaugural €20,000 (about $24,630) EBRD Literature Prize, which was launched by the British Council and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to champion "the art of translation as well as the extraordinary richness, depth and variety of arts and history in the countries in the Bank's region."

The prize honors "the best work of literary fiction translated from the original language into English and published by a U.K. publisher in the 18 months up to 15 November 2017." The money is equally divided between author and translator. The winner will be announced April 10 on the eve of the London Book Fair. The finalists are:

All the World's a Stage by Boris Akunin, translated by Andrew Bromfield from Russian
Belladonna by Daša Drndic, translated by Celia Hawkesworth from Croatian
Istanbul Istanbul by Burhan Sönmez, translated by Ümit Hussein from Turkish

Reading with… Joseph Knox

photo: Jay Brooks

Joseph Knox was born and raised in and around Stoke-on-Trent and Manchester, where he worked in bars and bookshops before moving to London. He runs, writes and reads compulsively. Sirens is his debut novel, just published by Crown.

On your nightstand now:

I can't commit to just one, so have spread myself between a novel, some short stories and some nonfiction. The novel is Jeff VanderMeer's pleasingly pulpy dystopian science fiction adventure, Annihilation. The short stories are Songs of a Dead Dreamer by Thomas Ligotti; they're unnerving modern horror fables which were apparently a big influence on True Detective. The nonfiction is I Lost It at the Movies by Pauline Kael. Her legendary film criticism is forensic, incisive and fun.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I used to read my dad's weirdo conspiracy books about Roswell and the Philadelphia Experiment when I was a kid. Perhaps that explains a lot.

Your top five authors:

Raymond Chandler
Raymond Carver
Charles Dickens
Joan Didion
Geoff Dyer

Book you've faked reading:

A lot of awful books in school. I was too busy with the good stuff.

Book you're an evangelist for:

But Beautiful by Geoff Dyer. A weird blend of fiction and nonfiction, these are short stories about legendary jazz artists. It's some of the most evocative, enjoyable writing I've read in years, a fascinating insight into the lives of artists in the margins of society, and just raucously enjoyable. I've bought so many copies for people, and recently received a first edition as a gift.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Snowman by Jo Nesbø when it was published in the U.K. eight years ago. Turned out to be a good decision.

Book you hid from your parents:

Plenty! But let's say the works of Henry Miller as an illustrative example.

Book that changed your life:

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, as a kid. I couldn't believe that what I thought of as a dusty old historical novel could be so overwhelmingly gripping and relatable.

Favorite line from a book:

Right now? Martin Amis, concerning if the artist requires heartbreak to create: "Whether you need it or not, you are certainly going to get."

Five books you'll never part with:

I just moved house and held onto literally thousands of books I could never part with, so the impossibility of this question is fresh in my mind.

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

The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I read it while ill and hallucinating, and it made the experience even richer, more menacing and involving. A distinctive experience that secured the book a permanent place in my heart and head.

Book Review

Review: Sociable

Sociable by Rebecca Harrington (Doubleday, $24.95 hardcover, 256p., 9780385542821, March 27, 2018)

It's tough being a millennial in New York City, trying to make rent and get a good journalism gig in the digital potpourri of newsfeeds. Just ask Elinor, the aspiring journalism grad protagonist of Rebecca Harrington's second novel, Sociable (after Penelope). Elinor works as a nanny to pay the bills and lives with her boyfriend, Mike, on a roll-up foam bed in a kitchenless basement apartment on 97th and First. She obsesses about her appearance, her relationship, her poverty, her feminism and her lack of a "writing" career. She considers herself "either an undiscovered gem or relatively fat"; in her mind "she was cool sort of, but not really. She didn't really look that cool."

Mike, too, is an aspiring journalist, stuck in a fact-checker job, but he's got his parents' financial help and a nationally prominent magazine columnist mom to grease the skids. He gets his break signing with the trendy long-form news website Memo Points Daily ("which looked exactly like BuzzFeed, which looked exactly like something called"). Elinor gets her chance at the even trendier, where she is a "viral trends editor." Her new boss, a downsized, middle-aged, Jersey newspaper guy, hires her with a shrug because "she could probably tweet and Snapchat and Instagram and make listicles." Welcome to the new journalism.

With an occasional "dear reader" authorial aside, Harrington casts her story in the mold of the old-school novels of Thackeray and Fielding, but she updates their quaint chapter intros and headings (e.g., "In which our hero...") with chapter-opening scorecards of Elinor's personal postings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Unlike Eliot's Prufrock who "measured out my life with coffee spoons," Elinor measures her life in likes, comments, thumbs-up emoji and retweets. When the self-centered Mike leaves her to concentrate on his writing, she tanks. He predictably ghosts her pleading texts. Worse, she moves to a cheaper place in Astoria, Queens--not only without a kitchen and private bath, but also absent any window or even a closet. Her best girlfriend has little sympathy. Only a work acquaintance gets it right: "That's so dick... insanely dick." And so, "Elinor's life hobbled on--a maimed animal plodding down a country road."

Harrington's got media-based youth culture down cold, with dialogue peppered with conversation-pausing likes and barhopping friends who are "nice girls. They're just very into their phones." Finally, Elinor finds some baby-step redemption when she posts a personal essay about her breakup and it goes viral. She even gets a brief cameo on a TV talk show about the perils of dating in the digital age. Maybe Mike really is the jerk her coworker thinks he is. Maybe Elinor really can make it in the new journalism. Maybe she's not overweight. Who knows? Harrington's diverting Sociable ends ambiguously with that ubiquitous social media scream: "OMG." --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: Writing listicles instead of real reporting, Elinor finds her life trending nowhere until she posts a personal essay from the heart that goes viral.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Dwell Time, House Stark & Airport Bookshops

"Winter is coming" is no longer a fictional warning from the pages of Game of Thrones for those of us who've just experienced our one millionth major "snow event" of 2018. House Stark didn't have to deal with more than 2,600 canceled flights and the stranding of who-knows-how-many passengers in A-B-C-D Concourses region-wide.

Ink by Hudson at TUS.

Yesterday, as I scanned the treeline outside my office for signs of White Walkers, I was also thinking about airport bookstores and "dwell time." A press release on my computer screen was headlined "Hudson Group Awarded 10-Year Contract Extension at Pittsburgh International Airport." It announced that "with over 10,900 sq. ft. in concession space, the contract includes the renovation of six stores." Among the brands represented is Ink by Hudson, the company's "latest bookstore concept featuring a contemporary style and indie-inspired ethos."

Eric Sprys, chief commercial officer of the Allegheny County Airport Authority, said PIT "is committed to providing passengers with an enhanced travel retail, food and beverage experience. Creating a sense of place is a major initiative as we move forward."

Dwell time is a phrase I first encountered last summer ("They're increasing dwell time"), and have since tucked safely away in my subconscious, most often recalling it when I find myself lingering in airport terminals or, more recently, sympathizing with others trapped there.

"One hour more at an airport is around $7 more spent per passenger," according to Julian Lukaszewicz, lecturer in aviation management at Buckinghamshire New University. Mental Floss noted a study that found "for every 10 minutes a passenger spends in the security line, they spend 30% less money on retail items. Last year, the TSA announced it would give $15,000 to the person who comes up with the best idea for speeding up security."

Barbara's Bookstore at ORD.

Hudson Group's bookish dwell time options also extend to joint airport relationships with several independent bookstores, among them Tattered Cover Book Store at DEN (where I've often spent money and quality time); Parnassus Books at BNA; Vroman's at LAX; BookWorks at ABQ; and the upcoming Elliott Bay Book Co. at Sea-Tac. Other concourse indies include Books Inc.'s Compass at SFO; Powell's Books at PDX; Books & Books at MIA; and Barbara's Bookstore at ORD.

"I've never had occasion to buy anything from an airport bookstore, and yet it gives me great comfort to know they're there," John Warner wrote in a 2016 Chicago Tribune piece ("There's something about airport bookstores"). "How many of you are this way? Maybe you get to the gate a bit early--I'm a two-hours-before-the-flight guy myself--and there, in the middle distance is a little Hudson's storefront. Though your shoulder aches already from your book-stuffed carry-on, you go and peruse, noting what intrigues, what you might turn toward if necessity strikes....

"While bookstores are important to me in the broader world, I think it is the opposite for many others. Being in an airport is one of the few times nonreaders may be confronted with the memory of how pleasurable reading can be. This proximity matters. Airport stores are mini-masterpieces of display, the most broadly enticing titles as prominent as possible. 'I've heard of that one,' someone might say. 'I should check it out.' "

Warner cited Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven, in which a group of survivors find shelter in an airport following a worldwide pandemic. "I remember thinking what a good idea that was, that there'd be enough books to last a long, long time." I know what he means. I felt the same way reading that novel. Call it dystopian dwell time.

On a hunch, I searched through some old travel-related blog posts and found a bookish dwell time moment from 2008. I'd been waiting at Philadelphia International Airport for a connecting flight to Atlanta, where I would be a panelist at a SIBA education session during the Great American Bargain Book Show (RIP).

Wandering around the terminal, I noticed a promotional sign at the entrance to a CNBC News shop: "Read Return. Buy it, read it, return it, to receive a 50% refund." I did not, as advised, ask the sales associate for additional information. It was, however, a distinctly Airport World moment in that peculiar dimension we inhabit--briefly, if we're lucky--after passing through security and until we emerge at baggage claim. Buy, fly, read, return. Two journeys for the price of, well, 1.5.

"The incongruity of preflight shopping might in some way be connected to the desire to maintain dignity in the face of what might be our end out there on the runway or in the skies," said author Alain de Botton, who, in 2009, was invited to be writer-in-residence at Terminal 5 in London's Heathrow Airport, an experience he chronicled in his aptly titled book, A Week at the Airport.

Noticing that the terminal's large WH Smith bookstore did not stock his books, de Botton writes that he nevertheless sought a recommendation from the shop's manager, explaining "that I was looking for the sort of books in which a genial voice expresses emotions that the reader has long felt but never before really understood; those that convey the secret, everyday things that society at large prefers to leave unsaid; those that make one feel somehow less alone and strange." Strangely resisting the temptation to handsell, the manager wondered if he might prefer a magazine instead.

That, I can say from experience, would never happen at Tattered Cover DEN, and I have the books to prove it.

--Robert Gray, contributing editor (Column archives at Fresh Eyes Now)

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