Shelf Awareness for Monday, July 8, 2013

Simon & Schuster: Fall Cooking With Simon Element

Tor Nightfire: Devils Kill Devils by Johnny Compton

Shadow Mountain: Highcliffe House (Proper Romance Regency) by Megan Walker

Simon & Schuster: Register for the Simon & Schuster Fall Preview!

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster: The Ministry of Time Kaliane Bradley

Quotation of the Day

Surviving Bookshops: 'A Pleasure to Be In'

"Clearly, the bookshops that will survive are the ones that are a pleasure to be in, where some expert knowledge is offered, and not the ones that just treat books as another commodity.... The bookselling trade will survive, but has diminished and will diminish further. What will disappear, I think, is the high street shop that offers no personal expertise to the customer. What will survive, here and there, is the friendly, efficient, informed bookshop. Their survival can be helped by a single decision by bookbuyers. If you can afford to, don't buy books at discount. Paying full price is what you have to do, if you don't want a high street consisting entirely of cafés and charity shops."

--Author Philip Hensher in his Independent column headlined: "As long as reading survives, so will bookshops."

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!


DIESEL's Larkspur Store Opens

The DIESEL bookstore in Larkspur, Calif., just north of San Francisco, had a soft opening late Friday afternoon and is now open for business. The store, DIESEL's fourth, is located at 2419 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur, Calif. 94939; 415-785-8177.

Graphic Universe (Tm): Hotelitor: Luxury-Class Defense and Hospitality Unit by Josh Hicks

W.H. Smith Experimenting with Franchise Model

W.H. Smith, the U.K. stationery and book retailer with most shops in downtown areas, train stations and airports, is experimenting with a franchise model for independent news agents called W.H. Smith Local, the Telegraph said.

The initial test is limited to three stores, the first of which has opened in southwest London. If successful, the program could increase Smith's network and reduce the costs of expansion in downtown areas.

Smith is also experimenting with a stationery format and Funky Pigeon, "designed to take on Paperchase and Zoodle."

GLOW: Workman Publishing: Atlas Obscura: Wild Life: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Living Wonders by Cara Giaimo, Joshua Foer, and Atlas Obscura

Marcus Books' Fate Still in Balance

The status of Marcus Books, San Francisco, Calif., "the oldest black bookstore in the nation," is still unsettled, reported.

Community groups have rallied to save the store and to try to persuade Nishan and Suhaila Sweis, the couple who bought Marcus Books' building in April, to sell it for the $1.6 million they paid plus a $50,000 profit. But the Sweises want $3.2 million.

So far, some 14,000 people have signed an online petition supporting the store. On June 16, store supporters demonstrated outside the Sweises' church, the St. Nicholas Orthodox Christian Church, with signs that read: "Pray the Sweises do the right thing: Save Marcus Books."

On July 2, several dozen Marcus Books supporters went to the Sweises' neighborhood in South San Francisco "to knock on their neighbors' doors and leave flyers." In addition, bookstore supporters "have also called for a boycott and an investigation of two cab companies, Royal and Big Dog, owned by the Sweis family."

Marcus Books' current troubles began when Blanche Richardson, daughter of Marcus Books founders Julian and Raye Richardson and manager of the Marcus Books in Oakland, filed for personal bankruptcy. A co-owner of the building, she could have been bought out by her sister, Karen Johnson, and Karen's husband, Greg Johnson, who operate Marcus Books in the same building. But the Johnsons were not able to do so, and the building was sold to the Sweises at a bankruptcy auction. (The family had taken out a $950,000 loan on the building in 2006, and monthly payments rose to about $10,000 a month by 2009.) The Johnsons were supposed to vacate the building by June 19, but have not done so. The Sweises asked to have the Johnsons evicted, but the bankruptcy court judge denied the motion.

Neither the Johnsons nor Marcus Books have filed for bankruptcy.

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

Three Booksellers Judging Three Percent's Awards

Three Percent, the University of Rochester's literature in translation-focused weblog, has chosen nine judges for the 2014 Best Translated Book Awards; they include three booksellers: Sarah Gerard of McNally Jackson, New York City, Stephen Sparks of Green Apple Books, San Francisco, Calif., and Jenn Witte of Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif., along with Shelf Awareness's own "soccer editor" and sales rep, George Carroll. Other judges are a translator, an author and several editors.

For the 2014 prize, all translated books published in the U.S. between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013 are eligible, and submissions are due by November 30.

Satantango by László Krasznahorkai and Wheel with a Single Spoke by Nichita Stanescu won this year's prizes for fiction and poetry, respectively.


Image of the Day: La Librairie de la Pomme Verte

In a nod to one of our favorite bookstores, in San Francisco, the French edition of My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop edited by Ronald Rice (Black Dog & Leventhal) is called La Librairie de la Pomme Verte et Autres Lieux Marveilleux (Green Apple Bookstore and Other Marvelous Places).

Happy 85th Birthday, Bennington Bookshop!

Congratulations to the Bennington Bookshop, Bennington, Vt., which is celebrating its 85th birthday this year "and proudly calls itself the oldest independent bookshop in the state," Bookselling This Week reported, noting that in 1979, owners Rick and Ellen Havlak "came into the business the way many booksellers do."

"It was one of those 'Wouldn't it be great if?' moments," said Rick. "A bookstore was always at the top of the list of what we wanted to do." They moved to their current location on Main St. in 1995.

Although the store offers cards, maps, calendars and puzzles, "We have tried desperately to remain just a bookstore," Rick noted, adding: "We are proud of our service to the Bennington community."

Cool Idea of the Day: Literary Legacy for Air Travelers

Philadelphia authors Beth Kephart (l.) and Diane McKinney Whetstone groove to "Paperback Writer," one of a soundtrack of famous songs about writers and books that played at the opening of Philadelphia's Literary Legacy at the Philadelphia International Airport (Terminal A East), in time for Independence Day.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, airport exhibitions director Leah Douglas collected nearly 3,000 books donated by the authors, their publishers, airport tenants and employees to give to the Free Library's summer reading program and to Philadelphia Reads, a nonprofit supporting children's literacy. Douglas worked with Philadelphia's Free Library to determine the 50 authors included in the exhibition, which requires an airplane ticket for viewing.

World Tour: 'Truly Novel Bookstores'

Stating that Amazon "may have everyone beat on convenience (and often, price), but there's something to be said for real-world browsing," the Wall Street Journal showcased some "truly novel bookstores" around the world "that are finding fresh and compelling ways to display and sell titles."

Family Book Shop: 'A Huge Gathering of Books'

Family Book Shop staffers Scott Sills, Lori Irwin, Cindy Raible and Savannah Johnson.

The latest bookstore profiled by Jon Mayes of Perseus Book Group on his blog, advanced reading copy, is the Family Book Shop, DeLand, Fla., a new and used bookstore that is for sale. "Never have I seen such a huge gathering of books, especially paperbacks (in which they specialize) under one roof," he wrote.

The owner is Cindy Raible, who bought the store from Judy Mathys, who founded it in 1976. (Mathys's granddaughter, Savannah, works at the store.)

Raible related: "I bought the bookstore with absolutely no previous business experience in September of 2009. I can't say it has been easy, but it has been enjoyable for me. I love learning about the customers--their lives, problems and stories. I feel like I have made a lot more friends in the last four years. And, of course, I love books. My grandfather taught me to read at age four with the original Grimm's Fairy Tales."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Brad Thor and Hidden Order

This morning on CBS This Morning: Charles Gasparino, author of Circle of Friends: The Massive Federal Crackdown on Insider Trading--and Why the Markets Always Work Against the Little Guy (HarperBusiness, $28.99, 9780062096067).


This morning on the Today Show: Pattie Mallette, author of Nowhere but Up: The Story of Justin Bieber's Mom (Revell, $21.99, 9780800721893).


Today on NPR's All Things Considered: Chuck Klosterman, author of I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined) (Scribner, $25, 9781439184493).


Today on NPR's Tell Me More: Kjerstin Gruys, author of Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall: How I Learned to Love My Body by Not Looking at It for a Year (Avery, $26, 9780399160172).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Simon Van Booy, author of The Illusion of Separateness: A Novel (Harper, $23.99, 9780062112248).


Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Brad Thor, author of Hidden Order: A Thriller (Emily Bestler/Atria, $27.99, 9781476717098). He will also appear on Imus in the Morning, Opie & Anthony, Glenn Beck Radio and Lou Dobbs Tonight.


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Mimi Spencer, co-author of The FastDiet Cookbook: 150 Delicious, Calorie-Controlled Meals to Make Your Fasting Days Easy (Atria, $25.99, 9781476749198).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Mary Louise Kelly, author of Anonymous Sources (Gallery, $26, 9781476715544).

On Stage: Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies

The cast has been announced for the Royal Shakespeare Company's productions of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, adapted by Mike Poulton from the novels by Hilary Mantel. The cast includes Ben Miles (Thomas Cromwell), Lucy Briers (Katherine of Aragon), Paul Jesson (Cardinal Wolsey) and Nathaniel Parker (Henry VIII). Playbill reported that Wolf Hall begins performances December 11 and Bring Up the Bodies December 19, before opening on a press day on January 8, 2014, for a run in rep through March 29. Both plays are directed by Jeremy Herrin.

"It's very exciting for me to see the characters from the Cromwell novels spring to life, ready for the stage this winter," Mantel observed. "I'm delighted we have secured such gifted actors for four of the major figures in the plays, and look forward to meeting the rest of the cast in the near future."

Movie Trailer: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

A new trailer has been released for the sequel to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, "loosely based" on the children's book by Judi and Ron Barrett, Indiewire reported, noting that "almost everyone is back from the first movie (including Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt and Neil Patrick Harris).... All in all, both the new trailer and the footage we were shown promises that Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs wasn't a fluke--that the franchise can continue to grow and expand, pushing out to even more unexpected (but equally hilarious) territory."

Books & Authors

Awards: National Medal of Arts & National Humanities Medal

On Wednesday, President Obama will award the National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal to 23 people, including the following writers:

National Medal of Arts
Ernest Gaines for his contributions as an author and teacher.
Tony Kushner for his contributions to American theater and film.

National Humanities Medal
Edward L. Ayers for his commitment to making our history as widely available and accessible as possible.
Jill Ker Conway for her contributions as a historian and trailblazing academic leader.
Frank Deford for transforming how we think about sports.
Joan Didion for her mastery of style in writing.
Robert Putnam for deepening our understanding of community in America.
Marilynne Robinson for her grace and intelligence in writing.
Kay Ryan for her contributions as a poet and educator.
Robert B. Silvers for offering critical perspectives on writing.
Natalie Zemon Davis for her insights into the study of history and her exacting eloquence in bringing the past into focus.
Anna Deavere Smith for her portrayal of authentic American voices.
Camilo José Vergara for his stark visual representation of American cities.

Book Review

Review: Brewster

Brewster by Mark Slouka (W.W. Norton, $25.95 hardcover, 9780393239751, August 5, 2013)

Was there a young man anywhere in the 1960s who didn't substitute his home town's name for that of Mobile in Bob Dylan's "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again?" In the case of 16-year-old Jon Mosher, that town is Brewster, N.Y--a blue-collar, small-minded place that he and his unlikely three best friends can't wait to escape. As he watches the "children of God... hitching backward up Route 22," he says of his town, "Woodstock may have been just across the river, but Brewster was a different world."

Replete with details of the music and anti-war freedom rhetoric of the era, Mark Slouka's Brewster epitomizes the coming-of-age novel. Jon's German-Jewish immigrant father owns the town's shoe store. After the childhood death of his older brother, his parents turn inward and leave the alienated Jon on his own to befriend Ray Cappicciano, the brawling son of an abusive alcoholic ex-cop; Frank Krapinski, a zealous Christian track teammate; and Karen Dorsey, a brainy beauty who chooses the pugnacious Ray over the introverted Jon. Together they navigate high school, smoke and drink beer, huddle in their bedrooms "listening to the Stones turned low, which doesn't work," and discuss Camus's The Stranger. ("This guy, Meursault, was... like a sack that's been filled up with certain things--just like all of us. When he couldn't take it anymore, he killed somebody.")

The tight foursome find strength in the shared challenges they face at home and their naïve dreams of escaping to a better future. However, just as Woodstock had its Altamont, the longed-for future of the four friends is darkened by a violent confrontation between Ray and his father that changes the fates of all of them.

Slouka (God's Fool; Lost Lake) has not only a true ear for the conversational ambivalence of the young in the tumultuous '60s of small-town America, but also a clear view of the fatalism such small-town life engenders. "You'll be OK," Jon's track coach counsels him when his dreams have come apart. Then "he looked down at his left hand like a woman looking at her manicure, thinking about how her marriage has died. 'That's the thing--[life] goes on. With or without you.'" Sometimes, Bob Dylan notwithstanding, Memphis is no better than Mobile.  --Bruce Jacobs

Shelf Talker: Slouka perfectly captures the voices and frustrations of four young friends in a small town during "the winter after the summer of love."

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