Also published on this date: Wednesday, May 23, 2018: Maximum Shelf: 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 23, 2018


Penguin Press: Win a collection of some of this fall's best nonfiction

Scholastic Focus: Scholastic is proud to introduce a new imprint of beautifully written and carefully researched MG and YA nonfiction—coming Fall 2018

Other Press: Something Great and Beautiful: A Novel of Love, Wall Street, and Focaccia by Enrico Pellegrini

Canongate Books: The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry

Katherine Tegen Books: Time Castaways #1: The Mona Lisa Key by Liesl Shurtliff

News

Philip Roth Dies at 85

Philip Roth

Philip Roth, "the prolific, protean, and often blackly comic novelist who was a pre-eminent figure in 20th century literature," died May 22, the New York Times reported. He was 85. During his long career, Roth "took on many guises--mainly versions of himself--in the exploration of what it means to be an American, a Jew, a writer, a man. He was a champion of Eastern European novelists like Ivan Klima and Bruno Schulz, and also a passionate student of American history and the American vernacular. And more than just about any other writer of his time he was tireless in his exploration of male sexuality," the Times wrote, calling him "the last of the great white males: the triumvirate of writers--Saul Bellow and John Updike were the others--who towered over American letters in the second half of the 20th century."

Although Roth was a perennial favorite for the Nobel Prize in Literature, it was one of the few honors that eluded him. He won two National Book Awards (the first one in 1960 for his debut story collection, Goodbye, Columbus), two National Book Critics Circle awards, three PEN/Faulkner Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and the Man Booker International Prize. In 2005 he became only the third living writer (after Bellow and Eudora Welty) to have his books enshrined in the Library of America. He received the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama in 2011.

Roth wrote more than 30 books, including Portnoy's Complaint, My Life as a Man, The Ghost Writer, Zuckerman Unbound, The Anatomy Lesson, The Counterlife, Operation Shylock, Sabbath's Theater, The Plot Against America, American Pastoral, The Human Stain and I Married a Communist.

In 2012, Roth officially announced that he was retiring as a writer. A Post-it note on his computer said, "The struggle with writing is done."

On Twitter, Blake Bailey, his biographer, observed: "Philip Roth died tonight, surrounded by lifelong friends who loved him dearly. A darling man and our greatest living writer."

Penguin Books UK posted: "We are saddened to hear of Philip Roth's passing. He was virtually without peer in American letters over the last sixty years and leaves behind a legacy of books--angry, hilarious, captivating and unique--that will be read for generations. Our condolences are with his family."

BBC books editor James Naughtie wrote that Roth's "heritage was extremely important, and in some ways he wrestled with it all his life. The question of identity, which is the question which, in the melting pot of America, is always going to be the one that a serious writer has to grapple with.... But in the end, you've just got to remember that here was a man who could write beautiful prose. That's what carried him through. His death puts an end to a whole era of American literature."


World Editions: You Have Me to Love by Jaap Robben, translated by David Doherty


Ribbon Cutting Set for Sidekicks Bookbar in Rock Springs, Wyo.

Sidekicks Bookbar will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 30 at 507 Broadway St., in Rock Springs, Wyo. Owned by Lisa Ryberg, Sidekicks had a soft opening last month. SweetwaterNOW reported that when the building first became available, Ryberg "was not completely certain of what she wanted to do with it, but she had an idea that kept developing as she worked on remodeling the space."

"Pretty soon it was too late to turn back," she said. Her original idea was a place to sell wine and charcuterie, but she decided that was not enough for a business. "I had really wanted that for a long time but I realized it just wasn't going to work."

Last summer, she and her fiancé, Clark Stith, visited a bookstore in Cody, and that visit sparked an idea. "It was small, but it had a great selection of books and I really liked being in there because I could see all the books. They were easily accessible.... I realized I could combine the two ideas of charcuterie and wine with a bookstore. I just knew it was a good idea."

Launching Sidekicks was "a big process. Everything was bigger than I expected," she said. "But you take it one step and you follow that step through. If you don't know something, you get taught it. You figure it out.... It really is a labor of love, and it took a lot of energy, emotion, and learning."

Ryberg expressed appreciation for how receptive and positive the community has been thus far: "We have all ages and all genres of people come in. I've had college students come in and sit and do homework. I've had retired people come in and have coffee. I've had military guys come in and just hang out. I've had couples, and sisters, and mothers and daughters visit. I've had all ages from millennials to retirees, so it just makes me feel like I hit the right core. They're all comfortable."


Disney-Hyperion: I Lost My Tooth! (Unlimited Squirrels) by Mo Willems


Binc, Macmillan Professional Development Scholarship Returns

The Macmillan Booksellers Professional Development Scholarship, a program launched last year by the Book Industry Charitable Foundation and Macmillan Publishers to provide professional development opportunities to booksellers from groups traditionally underrepresented in the industry, is returning for another year.

The scholarship will provide nine booksellers, one from each regional booksellers association, with up to $500 to attend a regional trade show. To be eligible for a scholarship, applicants must have worked in a bookstore for at least 90 days as a regular or part-time employee and must fall into one of the following categories: a person of color; someone who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer; or a person with disabilities. Applications will be open from June 1 until July 1, and booksellers will need to answer three short essay questions when they apply. Winners will be chosen by a panel of Binc board members, booksellers, bookstore owners and publishers.

"We were delighted by the response to the scholarships last year and are so pleased to be able to offer them again in 2018," said Monique Patterson, editorial director of St. Martin's Press, and Angus Killick, v-p and associate publisher of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. "Judging by the responses we received from last year's participants, this is a worthwhile and rewarding program, which opens up a valuable experience to booksellers who would otherwise find it out of reach."

Pam French, Binc's executive director, said: "The Binc Foundation exists to help booksellers thrive. By working with Macmillan Publishers to bring diverse voices to regional trade shows, we're enriching conversations and improving the story of the bookselling industry."

Booksellers can find more information here.


Mandevilla Press: Assassins by Mike Bond


Huangpu Bookstore Alliance Launches in Shanghai

Fifteen bookstores in downtown Shanghai have formed the Huangpu Bookstore Alliance to cross-promote each other by sharing resources and jointly holding events. Shine reported that the initiative "was hatched at the Shanghai Civilization Office, a government branch promoting social morality, and the first members of the alliance are all located in Huangpu District."

Among the businesses participating "are some of the most renowned and popular bookstores in the city, including Shanghai Book City, Shanghai Ancient Bookstore, Shanghai Foreign Languages Bookstore, Shanghai Joint Publishing Bookstore and Sinan Books, as well as some upcoming players in the industry," Shine wrote. There are 133 registered bookstores in the district. One of the long-term goals of the alliance is to hold summits on the bookstore industry and brand itself by organizing international book events comparable to the Shanghai Book Fair and the Shanghai International Literary Festival.

"All bookstores crave more high-quality cultural content to draw readers and eventually consumers, and the alliance will address this common need by breaking the walls of each and every one of them," said Ling Yun, general manager of Shanghai Book Co. and the first rotating head of the alliance. "The ultimate goal is to support sustainable development of all types of bookstores."


Kids' Next List E-Newsletter Delivered

On Thursday, the first part of the American Booksellers Association's Summer 2018 Kids' Next List was delivered to more than a third of a million of the country's best book readers, going to 402,749 customers of 119 participating bookstores. The second part will be published Thursday, June 21.

The e-newsletter, powered by Shelf Awareness, features summer Kids' Next List titles, with bookseller quotes and "buy now" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on the sending store's website. The newsletter, which is branded with each store's logo, also includes an interview (from Bookselling This Week) with the author whose book was chosen by booksellers as the number-one Kids' Next List pick, in this case Adrienne Young, author of Sky in the Deep (Wednesday Books).

For a sample of the newsletter, see this one from Oblong Books & Music, Millerton and Rhinebeck, N.Y.


Notes

Image of the Day: Colorado Children's Book Festival

Tattered Cover, Denver, partnered with OMG Bookfest--a "traveling circus of books" organized by Sarah Mylnowski and several other writers--to host the first Colorado Children's Book Festival. The event featured 19 authors, and drew more than 500 attendees. Pictured: authors Michael Buckley, Varian Johnson, Courtney Scheinmel and Stuart Gibbs.


Three Sisters Books Is 'Devoted to Downtown Shelbyville, Ind.'

One day in 2002, Carolyn Statler received a call from her sister, Mary Kay Pitts, who informed her that they, along with their other sister, Barbara Rogers, were going to open a bookstore in Shelbyville, Ind., "in honor of their mother, who was an avid reader, and because they all shared a passion for reading," the Shelbyville News reported. That was the genesis of Three Sisters Books & Gifts.

"Like a crazy person, I said, 'OK.' That was basically the end of the conversation," Statler recalled, adding: "Maybe there would have been a better (location), but this was still our dream. I don't think any of us had a moment's regret that this was the location we decided on. It's never going to be the downtown that we remember from 100 years ago but I think a vital downtown is still important to a city. Any part we've had in that has pleased us, certainly."

When the owner of a coffee shop next door later decided not to renew the lease, the three sisters expanded to create the Bookmark Coffee and Co. Rogers said the mission was to provide a "warm and inviting space where people feel comfortable to come."

She also noted that online and chain competition has not been a major concern: "You're always going to find them cheaper somewhere else so it's more about customer service than it is the price of the book. We have loyal customers that will buy regardless of the price. It's convenient, they want to get it here, they want to support us, and then it's not always true on all books that you're going to find it (cheaper) online."

Pitts died earlier this year; Statler and Rogers remain active in the community. "It's who we are and what we wanted to do," Rogers said. "It's important to us to be a part of the community."


9 Nonprofit & Collective Bookstores to 'Visit & Support'

In showcasing "9 nonprofit & collective bookstores that every book-lover needs to visit and support," Bustle wrote: "Any book-lover will tell you that independent bookstores are the foundation of our communities. But within the category of independent bookstores, there's another very special category of shops: the nonprofit and collectively-owned bookstores. The profits from their sales usually go towards keeping the shop open and freely available for events or towards a good cause. It's a win/win--you get more books, and you get to give back to your community."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Clapper on Tapper

Today:
The Lead with Jake Tapper: James R. Clapper, author of Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence (Viking, $30, 9780525558644). He will also appear on PBS TV's Newshour.

Hallmark Channel's Home & Family: Siri Daly, author of Siriously Delicious: 100 Nutritious (and Not so Nutritious) Simple Recipes for the Real Home Cook (Oxmoor House, $26.99, 9780848755805).

Fresh Air: Ronan Farrow, author of War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence (Norton, $27.95, 9780393652109).

Tomorrow:
Today Show: Sarah Wilson, author of First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety (Dey Street, $25.99, 9780062836786).

The View: Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, authors of The Confidence Code for Girls: Taking Risks, Messing Up, and Becoming Your Amazingly Imperfect, Totally Powerful Self (HarperCollins, $14.99, 9780062796981).

Conan: James Comey, author of A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership (Flatiron, $29.99, 9781250192455).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: David Sedaris, author of Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) (Back Bay, $17.99, 9780316154734).


Movies: Papillon; City of Lies

The first trailer is out for Papillon, a contemporary remake of the classic 1973 film that was based on the memoirs of convicted felon and fugitive Henri Charrière. Directed by Michael Noer (Northwest) from a script by Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners), the film stars Charlie Hunnam, Rami Malek, Yorick Van Wageningen, Roland Moller, Tommy Flanagan and Eve Hewson. It opens in theaters August 24.

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A trailer has been released for City of Lies, based on the novel by journalist Randall Sullivan and directed by Brad Furman (Runner Runner, The Lincoln Lawyer, The Infiltrator). IndieWire reported that Johnny Depp stars as L.A.P.D. detective Russell Poole, "who spent years trying to solve the death of Notorious B.I.G. Two decades after the murder, Poole teams up with a reporter desperate to save his career (Forest Whitaker) to not only try to solve the mystery behind the rapper's death but also to figure out the truth as to why it never got solved in the first place." City of Lies hits theaters September 7.



Books & Authors

Awards: Man Booker International; Miles Franklin Literary

Olga Tokarczuk accepting the Man Booker Award.

Polish author Olga Tokarczuk won the £50,000 (about $67,170) Man Booker International Prize, which celebrates the finest works of translated fiction from around the world, for her novel of linked fragments, Flights, translated by Jennifer Croft. The cash award is divided equally between author and translator, who also both receive £1,000 for being shortlisted.

Chair of judges Lisa Appignanesi commented: "Our deliberations were hardly easy, since our shortlist was such a strong one. But I'm very pleased to say that we decided on the great Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk as our winner: Tokarczuk is a writer of wonderful wit, imagination and literary panache. In Flights, brilliantly translated by Jennifer Croft, by a series of startling juxtapositions she flies us through a galaxy of departures and arrivals, stories and digressions, all the while exploring matters close to the contemporary and human predicament--where only plastic escapes mortality."

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This year's longlist has been announced for the AU$60,000 (about US$45,535) Miles Franklin Literary Award, which honors a novel "of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases," the Age reported. A shortlist will be unveiled June 17, and the winner named August 26 in Melbourne. The 2018 Miles Franklin longlisted titles are:

A Long Way from Home by Peter Carey
No More Boats by Felicity Castagna
The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser
The Crying Place by Lia Hills
The Last Garden by Eva Hornung
Some Tests by Wayne Macauley
Storyland by Catherine McKinnon
Border Districts by Gerald Murnane
From the Wreck by Jane Rawson
The Restorer by Michael Sala
Taboo by Kim Scott


Reading with... David Grinspoon

photo: Henry Throop

Dr. David Grinspoon is an astrobiologist involved in several NASA interplanetary missions. His new book, Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto (Picador, May 1, 2018), is co-authored with Alan Stern, the leader of the New Horizons mission to Pluto. In 2013, Grinspoon was appointed the inaugural Chair of Astrobiology at the Library of Congress. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Slate, Scientific American, the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times. He lectures widely, and appears frequently on television, radio and podcasts, including as a frequent guest on StarTalk Radio and host of the new spinoff StarTalk All Stars. Also a musician, he leads the House Band of the Universe. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and dog.

On your nightstand now:

Stories of Your Life by Ted Chiang. A wonderful collection of really smart and nicely written science fiction stories. I'm going through it slowly and savoring them. It's reminding me of the pleasure I got as a teenager from reading sci-fi which expanded my mind.

Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell by David Yaffe. My guilty reading pleasure is biographies and memoirs of musicians. Maybe they seem like alternate fantasy lives I could have lived because at various times I did consider the possibility of making music my main profession. All these heroic musicians from the '60s are now at an age ripe for summing up, so good books are coming out by or about many of my musical heroes. Joni definitely falls in this category, and I'm riveted by Yaffe's treatment of her life and art.

Celine by Peter Heller. Heller is a fantastic contemporary novelist from Denver. He renders landscapes and characters so vividly that they end up in my dreams. This newest novel is loosely based on his mother, who was a private detective based in New York, an unconventional and brave woman who heads west on an adventure through the lands he evokes so well.

The Aesthetic Brain: How We Evolved to Desire Beauty and Enjoy Art by Anjan Chatterjee. This one I haven't cracked open yet, but the topic fascinates me, and I found the reviews compelling enough to buy it. I'm always reading at least one nonfiction book, often at the intersection of science and culture.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov.

Your top five authors:

Carl Sagan, Robertson Davies, Doris Lessing, Octavia Butler, Stanislaw Lem.

Book you've faked reading:

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. He was, of course, completely heroic as a scientist and a person. But it didn't seem like too many people were thrilled with this book, although everyone bought it, as did I. I'm sure sometime at a party I've nodded my head knowingly when someone mentioned it, implying I've read it even though I never did.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Intelligent Life in the Universe by Carl Sagan and Iosif Shklovsky. This book, the unusual collaboration of two pioneering scientists who lived across the Iron Curtain and had never met each other, seems to contain nearly every good idea about life in the universe and is still surprisingly current even though it came out in 1966. It's also very well written, quirky and poetic in places.

Book you've bought for the cover:

In Advance of the Landing: Folk Concepts of Outer Space by Douglas Curran. A kitschy flying saucer glowing in the woods. Who could resist that?

Book you hid from your parents:

I don't remember a specific one, but I do remember that at one point my father told me I was reading too much science fiction and should branch out a little, so I might have become a little surreptitious about the sci-fi.

Book that changed your life:

The Lives of a Cell by Lewis Thomas. I think reading this as a teenager made me want to be a science writer. Each short essay is so accessible, thought provoking and elegant.

Favorite line from a book:

"There are photographs now of events on an unimaginable scale: the death of stars, the birth of galaxies, soup-stirrings near the dawn of Time. Bright crowds of suns gather in the wildernesses of the sky. Magellanic clouds of glory, heavenly Pisan towers set in a celestial Campo de Miracoli, lean across the frame. When we look at these images, there is yes, legitimate wonderment at our own lengthening reach and grasp. But it would be vain indeed to praise our puny handiwork--the mastery of the Hubble wielders, the computer enhancers, the colorizers, all the true-life-fantasist counterparts of Hollywood's techno-wizards and imagineers--when the universe is putting on so utterly unanswerable a show. Before the majesty of being, what is there to do but hang our heads?
This is irksome. This, naturally, pisses us off.
There is that within us which believes us worthy of the stars."
--Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet

Five books you'll never part with:

There are three trilogies that I read every few years and always go back to. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (ostensibly for young adults, but really for anyone who enjoys profound and captivating fantasy) and two by Canadian novelist Robertson Davies: the Deptford trilogy and the Cornish trilogy. To this I would add my copy of The Stars, Like Dust by Isaac Asimov, which he inscribed "To Old Lady Green Spoon" for my grandmother, who used to be his secretary. And my signed copy of Dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan.

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

The Cosmic Connection by Carl Sagan.


Book Review

Children's Review: Lions & Liars

Lions & Liars by Kate Beasley, illus. by Dan Santat (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16.99 hardcover, 304p., ages 8-12, 9780374302634, June 5, 2018)

Ten-year-old Frederick Frederickson is not the guy who wins games and walks around school like he owns the place. In fact, he's the opposite. He's "the one who missed the shot and lost the game for everyone else, the one who got laughed at, the one who walked through the school and stepped in spilled Kool-Aid that dried sticky to the bottom of his shoe so that every time he took a step he had to peel his foot off the floor with an embarrassing sque-e-e-e-lcha."

Frederick's friend Joel has a philosophy about people: some are lions, doing whatever they want and getting "all the meat"; some are gazelles, always chased by the lions; and some are fleas on meerkat butts. And, although Frederick's always been okay being a "loser," believing that he would one day transform, like Harry Potter becoming a wizard or the Ugly Duckling turning into a swan, he's beginning to worry. He suspects--and his so-called friends corroborate--that he's the flea.

The one bright spot in Frederick's life is the annual Labor Day cruise his family takes. Fancy drinks, midnight buffets, chocolate fountains, fresh ocean air... he can't wait. But this year, warnings of an impending hurricane put the kibosh on the trip. Frustrated and bloody-nosed from a dodgeball incident at school, Frederick bumbles through a series of poor choices that, combined with some bad luck, leave him--literally--up a creek without a paddle. Traveling rapidly downstream on a boat he accidentally stole, he tries to fend off despair as a huge alligator swims alongside him. The next morning, he awakens on a sandy bank on the grounds of Camp Omigoshee, where delinquent "boys are transformed," according to the camp propaganda. Mistaken for a notorious bad boy named Dashiell Blackwood, Frederick suddenly, magically, becomes the popular ringleader for his cabin group, a dangerous-seeming crew with nicknames like Ant Bite, Specs, the Professor and Nosebleed. Not surprisingly, the deception eventually goes terribly wrong, and Frederick/Dashiell once again is in a terrible predicament, this time with more wildlife and the aforementioned hurricane, which is now headed straight for Camp Omigoshee!

Like Holes for a slightly younger age group, Lions & Liars is a funny, slightly dark story about the assumptions we make about others and the self-fulfilling prophesies with which we curse ourselves. Kate Beasley (Gertie's Leap to Greatness) and Caldecott Award-winning artist Dan Santat (The Adventures of Beekle; Drawn Together; Sidekicks; After the Fall) team up in this funny, accessible (except for maybe the wildlife encounters) and thought-provoking novel, which will have readers rooting for the flea on the butt of the meerkat every time. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: A string of unlucky events leads 10-year-old Frederick to a disciplinary camp for boys, where he finds himself uncharacteristically the leader of the pack... until the hurricane comes.


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