Shelf Awareness for Monday, December 17, 2012


Carolrhoda Books: The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project by Lenore Appelhans

Grove Press: Solitary by Albert Woodfox

Tor Teen: Dark of the West (Glass Alliance #1) by Joanna Hathaway

Blizzard Entertainment: How to Reach 100 Million Fans!

Quotation of the Day

Judd Apatow: 'Buying Books Is as Good as Reading Them'

"I am honored to have been asked to recommend books because I love books. I mean, I love buying books. I can't say I read most of the books I buy. Recently I decided to believe that buying books is as good as reading them. I feel smarter as soon as I sign the credit-card receipt at my local independent bookseller."

--Filmmaker Judd Apatow (This Is 40), in a Wall Street Journal feature, "Twelve Months of Reading," that asked "50 of our friends to tell us what books they enjoyed in 2012."


 


Rare Bird Books, a Vireo Book: The Crown Lord by William Sirls


News

Bookstore: 'A Bank of the Human Condition'

After learning about the horrible tragedy in Newtown, Conn., Friday, author Tiffany Baker (The Gilly Salt Sisters) resisted her initial reaction ("to drive straight to my children's school, bring them home, line them up on the couch, and then throw my body over them. For the rest of time.") and instead went to her local bookstore, Book Passage, Corte Madera, Calif.

In a moving post on her blog, Baker wrote: "Book Passage is more than just a store. It's a longstanding community hub, a place to grab coffee and talk, a locus for lectures, classes, and clubs.... When I walked in, I was met by my good friend, Calvin, who manages events for the shop. He knows I have kids, and he, too, had heard about the shooting. He hugged me, and then we talked books, recipes, family, and discussed the merits and drawbacks of Christmas.

"I ran into Luisa, the daughter of a famous local writer and a family friend, who also works at the store, and who, like me, has young children. We shook our heads, our faces long and worried, and wondered what would happen if book people ran the world.

"Since I couldn't go snatch my kids out of school, I began snatching books off the shelves for them. That novel my oldest daughter's been asking for? In the basket. A book about trolls for my middle daughter? Yes. The Lego book of ideas? Why not? Books for my husband, a paperback for me, more books for the kids.

"Maybe it seems silly. Maybe it seems like I'm trying to buy my kids' affection, and, to be honest, I worried about that, but then I realized what was behind my book binge. When my kids got home from school, I knew I was going to have to tell them about the shooting. I just wanted to make sure that when faced with an unthinkable and awful story, they know there are a million other voices in this world, and that not all of them are evil.

"A bookstore--a good one, at least--is far more than just a retail establishment. It's a bank of the human condition. The shelves of Book Passage offer succor to the grieving, wonder to the jaded, advice to the confused. You can go in alone, and come out with an armful of company. If you are a regular, chances are you can walk in and someone there will be able to prescribe exactly what your spirit needs."
 


Graywolf Press: Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays by Eula Biss


Closings: Two B&N Stores in Irving, Tex.; Habitat Books

Two more Barnes & Noble stores are closing soon. According to the Dallas Morning News, B&Ns at MacArthur Park at Las Colinas and the Irving Mall, both in Irving, Tex., are closing at the end of the month.

Ryan Pafford, director of communications at the Irving-Las Colinas Chamber, told the paper that for the last three years, the Irving Mall store "has had free rent and that was going away this year. The store also hasn't been producing as well as they had hoped." The other store had low sales in the evening, he added.

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Habitat Books, Sausalito, Calif., will close on Saturday. Sharon Jones, who bought the store in 2005, had tried to sell Habitat but was unable to find a buyer. She is a former teacher and book publisher.

 


GLOW: Henry Holt & Company: Trust Exercise by Susan Choi


Holiday Hum: Booksellers Recommend

photo by Lindsey McGuirk/ NWBooklovers.org  

Holiday shoppers at Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, Wash., can rest assured that bookseller Jamil Zaidi is not just paying them lip service: he'll be gifting some of his  suggestions to his own family. Four of Zaidi's top titles "are all exceptional books" that should appeal to a wide array of readers.

One of his picks is Natural Histories: Extraordinary Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History Library, edited by Tom Baione, which features 40 essays on illustrated scientific tomes and their significance. The book--which Zaidi's sister will receive--comes packaged in a decorative box and includes 40 prints, each of which corresponds to an essay. "Pretty much everyone who opens up Natural Histories is awed by the beauty of the materials inside," said Zaidi.

For his mom and other narrative nonfiction buffs, Zaidi's choice is Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan. Sales have been boosted by the two events Elliott Bay hosted for the author, whose latest offers "a wonderful glimpse into the world of Edward Curtis, a peek into not only the artist's life and motivation, but also into the very times and peoples that he captured in his photographs," said Zaidi.

An Elliott Bay customer was startled to see the cover of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan glowing on her nightstand after she switched off the lights. Set in an unusual San Francisco bookshop, the "lively novel combines a love of the printed word and the advantages of technology in a clever adventure," Zaidi said. This one is going to his niece.

In the picture book I Need My Monster, written by Amanda Noll and illustrated by Howard McWilliam, a child discovers he can't sleep after the monster under his bed leaves on vacation. "Adults are amused and children gleefully skeptical about the possibilities of actually missing the monster from under one's bed," said Zaidi. I Need My Monster is earmarked for a special recipient: his son.

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Pat Frovarp and Gary Shulze with dog Shamus.
Photo: David Joles/ StarTribune.com

 

The unexpected is being embraced at Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis, Minn. For the first time, the top-selling gift titles this season have nothing to do with mystery. Instead they're picture books by local writers: Barbara DaCosta's Nighttime Ninja and Mary Logue's Sleep Like a Tiger. DaCosta and Logue were joined by five other YA and children's authors for the "Once Upon a Time at Once Upon a Crime" extravaganza at the store on December 1, with story readings, magic tricks and a puppet show.

Typically the store's holiday promotions have consisted of a single display of seasonal titles and adding a Santa hat to the sign--which features a prone body--above the front door. "The genre seems to take a break from major releases this time of year," owner Gary Shulze said. "I've always felt that this was a time more focused on cookbooks and coffee-table books--and of course children's picture books, which until now, we never carried much beyond Walter the Farting Dog."

The snowball effect started when DeCosta came by the store and inquired about having an author event. A few days later Logue stopped in, followed by Michael Dahl, the author of Hocus Pocus Hotel, and Anne Sawyer-Aitch, a puppeteer and the author of Nalah and the Pink Tiger. By the time the date was set for the joint event, three more scribes had signed on: David Housewright (Finders Keepers), Lance Zarimba (Oh No, My Brother Is Frankenstein's Monster) and Jess Lourey (The Toadhouse Trilogy: Book One). "How lucky we were to have all these local authors have new books and agree to converge on our store," said Shulze.

That's not to say crime and punishment isn't on the minds of any of the store's clientele. Twin Cities author Vince Flynn's latest thriller, The Last Man, has sold 200 copies and counting. Signed editions were made available through a limited number of retailers, including Once Upon a Crime, and customers snapped up multiple copies of the page turner for themselves and the thriller fans on their lists.

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Photo: LibraryThing.com  

At Horizon Books in Traverse City, Mich., a local author duo's collaboration, the children's picture book Chickadees at Night, is the leading holiday favorite. Written by Bill O. Smith and illustrated by Charles R. Murphy, the tale illuminates the whimsical world of these frisky, fun-loving birds that inhabit the U.S.'s 48 contiguous states.

"Chickadees have a pretty wild nightlife, as readers will find out," said events coordinator Jill Beauchamp. The store has sold 750 copies since the book made its debut in April, and the tally is expected to top 1,000 copies by Christmas.

Other staff holiday handsell favorites are also by Michigan authors: Travis City resident Jerry Dennis's The Windward Shore: A Winter on the Great Lakes and Gloria Whelan's Smudge and the Book of Mistakes: A Christmas Story. --Shannon McKenna Schmidt

 


Bloomsbury: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer


Notes

Open Random House

Chef Marcus Samuelsson was one of several authors who participated in last Friday's "Open House at Random House," an all-day event at Random's Manhattan offices where (for a $25 ticket) more than 100 readers were treated to a variety of conversations, from a literary discussion between Anna Quindlen and her editor, Kate Medina, to a lively presentation by Self editor-in-chief Lucy Danziger based on her forthcoming The Drop 10 Diet. Samuelsson was the first to sign at the event's pop-up bookstore run by Brooklyn's Word. "I wasn't sure what to expect," owner Christine Onorati said of the day's business, but she was pleasantly surprised by the brisk sales for all the appearing authors, as well as for other titles such as Nate Berkus's The Things That Matter and Peter Heller's The Dog Stars, which were featured in a lunchtime panel of gift recommendations. --Ron Hogan

 


Touring Literary Manhattan

"Is Manhattan's literary night life, along with its literary infrastructure (certain bars, hotels, restaurants and bookstores) fading away?" The answer is no, according to New York Times book critic Dwight Garner, who used the legendary Algonquin Hotel "as a launching pad to crisscross the island for a few days, looking to see what's left" and to "take in Manhattan as a literary tourist."

Among the initial stops on Garner's literary pilgrimage were the Nuyorican Poets Café ("Inside, it was warm and jubilant."), KGB Bar ("always worth a drop-in"), the Kettle of Fish bar ("It's the only place I saw someone drinking while actually working on a manuscript.") and the Library Hotel ("manages to be sleek and geeky at the same time").  

The following day, he visited some of Manhattan's bookstores, including Bauman Rare Books ("a temple of sorts, a place to feel a certain kind of awe"), 192 Books ("hardwood floors and a small but brilliantly curated selection of fiction and nonfiction"), Printed Matter ("punk spirit and a renegade vibe"), Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books ("in part for its name"), St. Mark's Bookshop ("You walk in here and you think: These are my people.") and the Strand ("It's worth flying in from London simply to browse the stacks.")

Garner's verdict: "By now I'd seen enough of literary Manhattan to agree with Woody Allen, who intoned at the beginning of Manhattan, his 1979 film: 'He adored New York City. He idolized it all out of proportion.' I was smitten all over again." Then Garner headed out "to hit a few more bars," beginning with Dalloway, which "channels the spirit of Virginia Woolf," followed by the White Horse Tavern and McSorley's Old Ale House.  
 


Personnel: Rafshoon to Head Festival; Hulsebosch Joins Hyperion

Philip Rafshoon, former owner of Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, Atlanta, Ga., which closed in January, is becoming program director of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival, effective January 1. He replaces YA author Terra Elan McVoy, who wants to dedicate more time to writing.

Rafshoon commented: "In a short seven years, the Decatur Book Festival has grown very quickly into one of the premier book festivals in the country and has helped showcase and enhance the great way of life in Decatur and the metropolitan Atlanta area. As a longtime supporter, I am thrilled to join this team as program director and use my experience to help grow the festival to even greater success and showcase the diverse literature and culture we provide to an ever-expanding audience."

The book festival will be held next year over Labor Day weekend, August 30-September 1.

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Effective today, Betsy Hulsebosch has joined Hyperion's publicity department as publicity manager. She has been a marketing consultant for Hyperion for the past few months.

 


Book Trailer of the Day: A Memory of Light

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Tor Books), the final book in the Wheel of Time series. The video, which focuses on the history of the series, includes appearances by Sanderson; Harriet McDougal, Robert Jordan's long-time editor and widow; author Patrick Rothfuss; mega-fan Jason Denzel; and Tor publisher Tom Doherty.

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Irene Gallo, art director for Tor Books, was on hand at Quad Graphics in Gettysburg, Pa., to witness the printing of A Memory of Light. On the publisher's blog, she featured a step-by-step photo tour of the final process, noting: "I've worked at Tor Books for nearly twenty years and I had never visited our bindery before.... I've been to our jacket printer, of course, but my job usually ends there. I had never been to the place where the guts of the books are printed, bound, and shipped. What better excuse to remedy that than to watch A Memory of Light--the final volume of a series that has been with me my entire career--go from rolls of clean white paper to shiny new hardcover books?"
 



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Matthew Guerrieri on NPR's Diane Rehm Show

Today on HLN's Dr. Drew: Susannah Cahalan, author of Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness (Free Press, $25, 9781451621372).

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Today on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Caitlin Moran, author of How to Be a Woman (Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780062124296).

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Tonight on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Anne Rice, author of The Wolf Gift (Knopf, $25.95, 9780307595119).

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Tomorrow on Current's War Room: David Nasaw, author of The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy (Penguin Press, $40, 9781594203763).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Matthew Guerrieri, author of The First Four Notes: Beethoven's Fifth and the Human Imagination (Knopf, $26.95, 9780307593283).

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Tomorrow on Katie: Michael Feinstein, author of The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs (Simon & Schuster, $45, 9781451645309).


Books & Authors

Reviewers' Choice: Fiction

We asked Shelf Awareness Pro reviewers to choose their favorite 2012 books--and they came up with a baker's dozen for fiction. Their choices for mysteries, SF and nonfiction will appear later this week (and the official Shelf Awareness Best Books will run in the December 28, 2012, issue of Shelf Awareness for Readers).

At Last by Edward St. Aubyn (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25; Picador, $15)
With ironic flair and sharp observation, Edward St. Aubyn masterfully concludes a cycle of novels spanning 20 years. Strip away all the money, and his fictional Melrose family--with its history of child abuse, rape, murder, addiction and bad marriage--still possesses a little something that touches almost everyone. –-Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain (Ecco, $14.95 paper)
On the face of it, this is the story of Bravo Squad, eight brave survivors of a horrendous firefight with Iraqi insurgents, selected to be celebrated at Texas Stadium on Thanksgiving Day as the Dallas Cowboys take the field. It is also an indelible portrait of kids who enlisted because they didn't have a better idea. This blustery interlude of back-slapping and bonhomie is more for their hosts than for them--and some of them know it. --Valerie Ryan, Cannon Beach Book Company, Ore.

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (Holt, $28)
Continuing where Wolf Hall left off, Mantel's dark and gorgeous depiction of Tudor intrigue follows the historical figure of Thomas Cromwell. Trapped in a game that could cost his life, Cromwell sets out to engineer the destruction of the enigmatic queen Anne Boleyn. --Ilana Teitelbaum, book reviewer at the Huffington Post

Canada by Richard Ford (Ecco, $27.99)
Prize-winner Richard Ford's Canada is a ruminative novel that tells the story of a young man's abrupt initiation into the mysteries of adult life. When 15-year-old Dell Parsons's parents are imprisoned after a bungled bank robbery, he flees across the border into Saskatchewan, into an even darker world. Dell's compelling narrative voice gives this bleak but strangely beautiful novel real power. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer

Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro (Knopf, $26.95)
In one of her strongest collections to date, women from a variety of eras struggle with questions of identity and love. Munro has also added a treat for her longtime readers: a handful of recollections from her own life. --Ilana Teitelbaum, book reviewer at the Huffington Post

The Heart Broke In by James Meek (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28)
James Meek's smart, generous look at contemporary morality is the kind of novel to press into the hands of someone who asks, "Why read fiction?" Set mainly in Britain, it offers an attractive cast of characters for whom the Big Questions--mortality, integrity, forgiveness and sexual fidelity--haven't disappeared, even if the source of ready answers has. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer

Juliet in August by Diane Warren (Amy Einhorn/Putnam, $25.95)
On a hot and blowy day in Juliet, a fine-looking Arab shows up on Lee Torgeson's property. He idly mounts the horse and starts out on a short ride that turns into a hundred mile meander through lives and stories, ruminations and reminiscences, seeing people and sorting out what's next. --Valerie Ryan, Cannon Beach Book Company, Ore.

The Listeners by Leni Zumas (Tin House, $15.95)
I started evangelizing for The Listeners before I finished reading it. Here, the singular Leni Zumas conducts her wildly inventive prose through narrator Quinn, a formerly successful musician who hasn't recovered from the adolescent trauma of her sister's violent death. Devastating, hilarious and truly original. --Hannah Calkins, blogger at Unpunished Vice

NW by Zadie Smith (Penguin Press, $26.95)
In NW, Zadie Smith stretches ordinary language into a lyrical representation of thought and motivation as she follows the lives of two young women and one man on their varied migrations through Northwest (NW) London. NW is a daring and beautifully-written novel of 21st-century identity, aspiration and heartbreak. --Holloway McCandless, blogger at Litagogo: A Guide to Free Literary Podcasts

The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson (Random House, $26)
Even at its funniest--and there's a lot of humor in Adam Johnson's novel about life in Kim Jong-Il's North Korea--there's a fatalistic strain to the proceedings. It sets an appropriately surreal tone for this stunning portrait of the reality-warping power totalitarian regimes have over their citizens. --Ron Hogan, founder of Beatrice.com

Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer (St. Martin's Press, $24.99)
Sunny Mann has the perfect husband, perfect hair and perfect life--except her husband is en route to founding a lunar colony, her hair is a wig and her perfect life is smothering her beautiful, imperfect son. Netzer artfully and lovingly chronicles Sunny's journey back to her true self. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger, Infinite Reads

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (Dial Press, $25)
In this fresh yet nostalgic debut novel, a 1980s teen who loses a beloved uncle to AIDS finds herself by befriending his grieving boyfriend. This bittersweet coming-of-age story gives a strong nod to the lasting power of art and family. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger, Infinite Reads

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers (Little, Brown, $24.99)
The Yellow Birds burns with the authenticity of serving in Iraq, from drops of Tabasco in a sleepy soldier's eyes to the omnipresence of dust to talismanic bargains with fate. A nearly lyrical portrait of young men before, during and after war that illuminates more than it strafes. --Holloway McCandless, blogger at Litagogo: A Guide to Free Literary Podcasts

 


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing December 25:

Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions by John C. Norcross, Kristin Loberg and Jonathon Norcross (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781451657616) presents a methodology for personal change.

What Management Is: How It Works and Why It's Everyone's Business by Joan Magretta and Nan Stone (Free Press, $26, 9780743203197) gives a range of management advice.

 


Book Review

Review: The Uninvited

The Uninvited by Liz Jensen (Bloomsbury, $25 hardcover, 9781608199921, January 8, 2013)

When adults say "children are the future," it's a hopeful acknowledgement that investing in their education and well-being will help them grow up to build a more prosperous, peaceful world. But in Liz Jensen's The Uninvited, "children are the future" is a warning--and a terrifying inevitability.

Jensen (The Rapture) is a well-regarded British novelist who's been straddling the shelf between genre and serious fiction. Her stories, often involving eco-disasters and dystopian scenarios, are fast-paced and tightly plotted, but her characters are complex and cerebral, and her prose is not only devoid of genre's tired clichés, it's smart, absorbing and truly inventive.

The Uninvited begins as a fairly conventional corporate thriller, albeit with an unusual narrator. Hesketh Lock is a brilliant anthropologist with Asperger's Syndrome, a "cross-culture sabotage analyst" at an international PR firm who's dispatched to investigate a bizarre series of cases of corporate sabotage. These cases converge with a second alarming phenomenon: children around the world are attacking and killing adults.

The increasingly apocalyptic plot (which includes demon possession, feral bands of violent children and a paradigm-shifting descent into global chaos) is less compelling than Hesketh's presence as a character. Rigidly logical, with an outsider's illuminating perspective, he has turned the perceived disadvantages of his condition into professional assets, using his scientific observation of human behavior to adapt his own--enabling him to have a romantic relationship with a woman, Kaitlin, and be a father to her young son, Freddy. But the relationship has come to an excruciating end, and Hesketh is grieving the loss of contact with Freddy, who is vulnerable to the logic-defying pandemic of violence infecting otherwise innocent children.

"My contract with the world holds that there are no secrets we can't unlock... because everything has a precedent," Hesketh says as he struggles both to save Freddy and to reconcile his current reality with the rational principles that govern his life. "But now this shadow-world--vivid, irrational, primitive--has begun to take a grip. Not just on those around me, but now, in a way that defies all I know--on me."

Jensen depicts Hesketh's interiority with sensitivity, insight and evident knowledge of Asperger's. Most impressively, her finely crafted prose doesn't suffer when filtered through what could be a potentially limited narrator; instead, the challenge elevates her writing and makes The Uninvited both a gripping thriller and a fascinating character study. --Hannah Calkins

Shelf Talker: A brilliant anthropologist with Asperger's confronts a nightmarish global phenomenon in Liz Jensen's smart, genre-bending thriller.

 


Deeper Understanding

'YA: What's Next?'

 The theme of the Publishing Perspectives day-long conference held on November 28 was "YA: What's Next?" But it could as easily have been called: "YA: Who's Buying it?"

Scholastic's Stacy Lellos, Larissa Faw of Youth Markets Alert, Mara Anastas from S&S and Ed Nawotka of Publishing Perspectives, moderator for "Digital Marketing for YA: Reaching Readers Beyond the Bookstore."  

Bowker's Carl Kulo presented highlights from the biannual study "Understanding the Children's Book Consumer in the Digital Age." Kulo was quick to point out that the term "YA" in the study refers to "the genre YA, not young adults as a demographic." In other words, Kulo explained, "Large portions of readers of YA were not teens." In fact, the study showed 55% of buyers of what publishers call "YA" are 18 or older; the largest segment is 30-44 years old. Of all YA books sold, 48% are purchased in a store; 36% are sold online. Most buy due to a personal recommendation (29%); 10% buy because of an in-store display; another 10% buy from the bestseller lists; and only 3% were sold due to social networks like Facebook and Twitter (19% of sales were attributed to "other").

Aimee Friedman (Scholastic), author Beth Kephart, Elizabeth Perle (Huffington Post), Dan Weiss (St. Martin's) and Andrew Losowsky, books editor for Huffington Post and moderator for "Drawing the Line: What's the Difference Between a YA and an Adult Book?"

 

So how do you get to teens? Scholastic's Stacy Lellos said, "You have to look for kids wherever they are." For Mara Anastas of Simon & Schuster, that meant partnering with Mobile Commons for texting campaigns. S&S's Pulse It teen online community now boasts 60,000 members. First they mailed out ARCs, then hosted an online discussion of the books. Lellos has used Good Reads, Facebook and Figment to spread the word. But, Lellos stressed, "It all starts with a good book."

How do publishers decide to label a title an adult book or a young adult book? "It's a marketing challenge, not an editorial challenge," argued St. Martin's Dan Weiss, who was the first (but not the last) to introduce the term "New Adult" into the day's discussion. Author and Scholastic editor Aimee Friedman agreed; she believes that authors cannot talk down to kids, quoting E.B. White: "Anybody who shifts gears when he writes for children is likely to wind up stripping his gears." Friedman cited Lev Grossman's recent New York Times article about adult members of his book club who read YA books, and his claim that the best YA books are defined by a precision of language. Novelist Beth Kephart (Small Damages) described YA books as possessing an "urgency" that stands in contrast to a book such as The Age of Miracles, which is shaped by the distance of its narrator. Kephart also attributed the blurring of lines to "an era of intense parenting," in which mother-daughter book clubs thrive.

Charlie Schroder (Charlie & Co.), Regina Weiner (Metaverse Mod Squad), Jake Katz (YPulse), Julie Hochheiser Ilkovich (Alloy) with Shelf Awareness's Jennifer M. Brown, moderator for "Reaching Teens: Thinking Out of the Box."  

Charlie Schroder, founder of Charlie & Co., underscored Kephart's point as she described how mothers and daughters shop together at stores like Forever 21. Jake Katz of YPulse said 86% of kids now say their parents are "like a best friend." Alloy's Julie Hochheiser Ilkovich described this generation as "self-involved but also socially aware and entrepreneurial." They are also drawn to an "immersive" experience, said Regina Weiner (Metaverse Mod Squad), that allows kids to enter the story through books, games and films. Schroder noted that, to today's teens, "curation is as valuable as co-creation." If you create something of value, that's one thing, but if you discover that thing of value and spread the word, that's just as valuable. So, Katz suggested, you want them as consumers at the front end of the process, but then to also leverage them as curators; it's about "inspiration not feedback."

Doris Janhsen (Oetinger Verlag), author and Scholastic editor David Levithan, Francine Lucidon (Voracious Reader Bookstore), author Eliot Schrefer with Dennis Abrams of Publishing Perspectives, moderator for "YA: What's Next?"  

Regarding labeling, Doris Janhsen of Germany's Oetinger Verlag dismissed the phrase "new adult" as an "absurd term." Scholastic's David Levithan chimed in, "In Judaism, we call them 13-year-olds." He added, "New adult is basically what we used to call 'chick lit.' " National Book Award finalist Eliot Schrefer (Endangered) said the category "promises the pleasures of YA fiction without restrictions of content." Francine Lucidon of the Voracious Reader Bookstore in Larchmont, N.Y., believes that YAs are always "looking for ways to connect to the world." She handsells Never Fall Down as "the real Hunger Games." Lucidon echoed Daniel Handler: "Perhaps we're asking all the wrong questions. What's happening right now?" Levithan, editor of The Hunger Games and The 39 Clues, followed up on her thought: "You don't know what's next, and that's the fun thing."

In many ways, this closing panel's discussion brought the audience back full circle to the themes of Beth Kephart's opening keynote. "The YA books of the future will give rise and shape to the generation whose job it has become to fix the mess we're in," said Kephart. Her words were a call to action for an audience who has the power to shape that future. She closed, "I'm thinking that politics aren't working so well, and that our planet and our children need us, and that our stories, meticulously made, can still be the cure." --Jennifer M. Brown
 


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