Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Forge: Remembrance by Rita Woods

St. Martin's Press: Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Quirk Books: Forking Good: An Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of the Good Place by Valya Dudycz Lupescu and Stephen H Segal, illustrated by Dingding Hu

DC Zoom: Green Lantern: Legacy by Minh Le, illustrated by Andie Tong

Workman Publishing: Halloween Titles by Various - Click here for more information!

Quotation of the Day

Forget Algorithms... Great Handselling 'Requires Soul'

Customers browsing by flashlight during a power outage at McLean & Eakin last week.

"When we recommend a book to a customer, we don't know exactly how it will be received. It's a bit like dropping off your child for their first day of school and wondering what the teacher will think about our parenting skills. We look into their eyes and ask them what they've read; we find out where they are from and try to glean any information we can. The questions we ask, and the conversations we have are personal. We are trying to assess in one minute or less what kind of a person we are talking to without invading their privacy. What should we send into their lives via our book suggestion? We aren't just finding out about their reading tastes, we are finding out about their substance and values. Is he or she introspective, adventurous, imaginative? Have they experienced grief recently, should we endorse something classic or contemporary, will they think fiction is trite? We send those books out into the world, and fret about whether or not they will be valued. A book can be so much more than a book. Sure, it's sentimental, but we take some of our books very seriously. Out of all of the books in the world, there is no way we could ever pick just the perfect book without meeting you, so each book below will only be special to you if you connect with it personally. We hope you do, and if not, tell us what you are like, and we will pick out something just for you... and we hazard to guess that is something an algorithm can never do. It requires soul."

--from an e-newsletter sent out by McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, Mich.

GP Putnam's Sons: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid


News

Unarrested Development: Actor Is Skylight Books Investor

"Which Arrested Development actor is a secret bookstore owner?" asked Jacket Copy before reporting that Jeffrey Tambor, who plays brothers George Bluth Sr. and Oscar Bluth on the comedy series, admitted on Twitter that he is a silent partner with a stake in Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif.:

Sunday night @jeffreytambor tweeted:

I am shouting
From rooftops
I am one of the owners
Of @skylightbooks
Sooooooooo Proud

Skylight co-owner and general manager Kerry Slattery, who was an acting student with Tambor at San Francisco State, said he had been "the first investor to come on board when she was trying to get the bookstore off the ground," Jacket Copy wrote.


800-CEO-READ is now Porchlight - Click here to learn more!


Westview Press Reorganizing

Citing a textbook publishing business "in transition, with disruptive new models for pricing, used book sales, rentals, and many other factors creating new opportunities and demanding rapid adjustments," Westview Press is reorganizing, said Bill Newlin, Avalon Group publisher.

In the press's offices in Boulder, Colo., publisher Cathleen Tetro will lead "an expanded marketing effort to develop new tools and strategies for online marketing and sales." She will also work closely with Avalon associate publisher Donna Galassi and marketing technology director Sarah Juckniess on a range of cross-imprint initiatives including metadata management, digital file distribution, and web development.

As part of the changes in marketing, effective August 14, Renee Legatt is joining Westview as associate sales and marketing director. She has been a senior digital solutions specialist at Wiley and earlier was an accounts manager for WileyPlus. Before that, she held editorial and marketing positions at Rowman and Littlefield.

Victoria Henson is being promoted to sales and marketing manager with the task of developing strategies for course adoption.

In the editorial department in Berkeley, Calif., acquisitions director Grace Fujimoto will now be responsible for managing the Westview acquisitions program in addition to Avalon Travel. She joined Avalon as an editor in 2000 and has managed Avalon's acquisitions department since 2006. She earlier worked for textbook publisher Brooks/Cole, now an imprint of Cengage.

Associate editorial director Toby Wahl, senior acquisitions editor Leanne Silverman and editorial assistant Brooke Smith are leaving Westview.


Kicks Books: Still Kicking After Sandy

Last October, Hurricane Sandy filled Kicks Books' warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn, with six feet of saltwater. The flood inundated the press's entire stock, along with owner Miriam Linna's collection of thousands of vintage paperbacks. To make matters worse, the warehouse had also contained more than 100,000 records belonging to the label Norton Records, which Linna founded with her husband. After Sandy, as Linna scrambled to get things back in order, writer and old friend Harlan Ellison called frequently.

"At the time I thought he was being kind of crazy," said Linna, recounting that Ellison repeatedly told her to recover her now waterlogged and ruined paperbacks. "I didn't really see the point, those books were destroyed, but I pulled them out of there."

Linna published the first of Kicks Books' "hip pocket paperbacks" in 2009. The book was Sweets and Other Stories, written by soul singer Andre Williams while he was in rehab. Williams needed a project to aid him in getting through the ordeal, and with support from Linna began to write fiction. To help him stay committed, Linna made Williams a promise. "I told him, if you end up writing a book, I'll publish it," Linna recounted. "He did write a book, and that became the first Kicks book."

Although Linna did not initially have plans to continue publishing, Kicks Books grew rapidly. This Planet Is Doomed, a collection of poetry by musician Sun Ra, and Save the Last Dance for Satan by poet and novelist Nick Tosches, followed in 2011. In 2012, Kicks published musician Kim Fowley's Lord of Garbage, along with two volumes of previously uncollected, early work from Harlan Ellison, Pulling a Train and Getting in the Wind.

"The idea behind the whole thing was to do a portable book you could put in your hip pocket. I didn't like the Kindle argument that they were more portable than regular books," explained Linna, a self-professed lover of the paperback. "Just when they said paperbacks were dead, I decided to put out some paperbacks."

Despite the devastation caused by Sandy, Kicks Books has managed to get back on its feet in less than a year. Linna's printer volunteered to reprint special Hurricane Sandy editions of the hip pocket paperbacks, and two new titles--Gone Man Squared by British Beat poet Royston Ellis and Benzedrine Highway by Charles Plymell--are coming out this summer. On July 13, Kicks Books hosted a rare Harlan Ellison reading at the La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles to celebrate the relaunch of the paperbacks.

Linna's next step is reminding bookshops and booksellers that Kicks Book is back. And now that the press is once more on stable ground, Linna can see the genius behind Ellison's relentless encouragement in the wake of the flood. "Going through that, rescuing all those books, was extremely therapeutic to me. Given the enormous concerns we had with the warehouse, it was kind of like psychological realignment."

Linna has no plans to let herself forget the damage that Sandy caused. As a reminder "from now until doomsday," all future Kicks Books titles will come back from the printer when the moon is full. Beyond the two immediately upcoming titles, Kicks Books does not have a defined publication schedule; Linna plans to publish only books that truly interest her and have some significance to musical or literary history.

"In the grand scheme of things, these books might not be the next big bestsellers, but that's not my concern," said Linna. "My concern is documenting history, and making sure it's preserved. These are all senior authors--the idea of having their books out and fresh for new audiences, while these guys are still around and able to enjoy it, is really important to me." --Alex Mutter


Notes

Image of the Day: Papertoy Monsters 'Museum'

Janet Geddis, owner of Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga., told us that one of her Avid Young Readers' Book Club members, Jack Toma, "has created an amazing project" based on the Papertoy Monsters: Make Your Very Own Amazing Papertoys! by Brian Castleforte (Workman).

His mother, Linda Bachman, said Jack "got this [Papertoy Monsters] after the last book club and absolutely loved it. I could hardly tear him away--as addictive as Mario brothers games on the Wii! I will be ordering a few extra copies to give to friends, but I can't recommend this enough to your other young patrons. Jack turned his creations into a museum and everyone who comes to our house loves it and wants the book. Thought you would enjoy the photo! Jack cut out the tags on each page and used them to label the monsters--and he cut out the story boxes for each and numbered and assembled them into a museum guide."

Geddis noted: "This was such an inspiring account of how an activity book can really allow for creative exploration and for hours of fun!"


Green Apple's New Mural

Green Apple co-owners Pete Mulvihill (l.) and Kevin Ryan (r.) flank Supervisor Eric Mar and artist Bryana Fleming.
Photo: Hilary Fleming

When it was announced at a neighborhood merchants association meeting a few months ago that there was money available for "neighborhood beautification," the three owners of Green Apple Books, San Francisco, Calif., came up with an artsy idea: Why not take Supervisor Eric Mar's office up on its offer to connect them with the San Francisco Arts Commission and find an artist to create an original mural for the store?

Last week, with Green Apple, the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Clement Street Merchant Association splitting the cost evenly, the store held a ribbon-cutting for a mural designed by local artist Bryana Fleming for the store.

Mar, a long-time resident of the Richmond neighborhood he represents on the board of supervisors, called Green Apple "my refuge" as a book reader and an anchor for other business in the area. "Green Apple is such a great force in keeping Clement Street unique and not overrun with chain stores."

As he cut the ribbon, Mar said that legislation in the works will give local merchants and associations even more of a voice in discussions when chain stores try to come into the city neighborhoods.

Fleming took her inspiration for the mural from Green Apple's name, which harkens to the story of Adam and Eve. The two-panel illustration shows the first couple inside a giant green apple built on bookcases. She used classic titles to fill the shelves and included a title called "Oliver's Adventures with Magnolia," which incorporates the names of Mulvihill's two children. --Bridget Kinsella


Cool Idea of the Day: Name Politics & Prose's Neighborhood

Politics & Prose of Washington, D.C., is asking customers and community members for suggestions to rename the neighborhood, the Washington City Paper reports.

The idea emerged while Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine, owners of Politics & Prose, were planning activities with a nearby French bistro. Unable to state simply which neighborhood the store is in, Graham and Muscatine thought of coming up with a name for the area. After a discussion with the area's Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, it became clear that the community at large needed to be involved.

Graham and Muscatine put an open call for suggestions on the Politics & Prose website; according to the Washington City Paper, some of the frontrunners so far are SoChe, NeConn, Connfess, Connecticut Park and Literary Alley.

Readers can send their suggestions to books@politics-prose.com.


Swoosh: Gerry Donaghy Leaving Powell's for Nike

Gerry Donaghy, new book purchasing supervisor at Powell's Books, Portland, Ore., is leaving the store in August for Nike, where he will be an inventory/demand planner. Powell's Kathi Kirby commented: "In Gerry's 17 years at Powell's, he has brought intelligence, skill and humor to the workplace and has been a key contributor to Powell's success. He is deservedly held in high regard both within Powell's and in the book industry at large. He will be sorely missed and is leaving with our best wishes."



Media and Movies

TV: Comic-Con's Game of Thrones Panel

"Still reeling from the events of Game of Thrones season three?" asked io9 in featuring the entire Game of Thrones panel from last weekend's Comic-Con in San Diego. One of the highlights occurs when moderator Elvis Mitchell called George R.R. Martin a "heartless bastard" for killing off so many great characters.

"I have many characters, so killing a few, there's always more," Martin replied. "I'm creating new characters. There's jobs, opportunities for actors and actresses. And I should say in my defense that David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] have turned it up to eleven. They've killed many characters that are still alive in the books, so I'll only take some of the bloodthirsty blame here."


Media Heat: David Gilbert on Fresh Air

This morning on Imus in the Morning: Bill O'Reilly, author of Keep It Pithy: Useful Observations in a Tough World (Crown Archetype, $21.99, 9780385346627).

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Today on NPR's Fresh Air: David Gilbert, author of & Sons (Random House, $27, 9780812993967).

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Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Shirley Jones, author of Shirley Jones: A Memoir (Gallery, $27, 9781476725956). She will also appear on Katie and Access Hollywood.

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Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Bunmi Laditan, author of The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting (Scribner, $19.99, 9781476733715).

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Tomorrow on NBC's Steve Harvey Show: Mimi Spencer and Sarah Schenker, authors of The FastDiet Cookbook: 150 Delicious, Calorie-Controlled Meals to Make Your Fasting Days Easy (Atria, $25.99, 9781476749198).


Books & Authors

Awards: Man Booker Longlist; New Zealand Post First Books

The longlist for the 2013 Man Booker Prize, announced today, consists of:

Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
Harvest by Jim Crace
The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris
The Kills by Richard House
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
Unexploded by Alison MacLeod
TransAtlantic by Colum McCann
Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan
The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín

Chair of the judges Robert Macfarlane told the Bookseller: "After we the put the list together, we tried to see what links them together, and all that linked them was how varied they are, in form, in tone, in length. I think they are all very contemporary--even the historical books look forward, and they are interested in disasters, whether financial or natural, and globalisation.... We don't think about the commercial impact when we choose, but one of the wonderful consequences of the prize is that it can bring people to novels they may not have seen. That a debut novel from a small Scottish publisher (The Marrying of Chani Kaufman) will now be seen by more people is wonderful."

The judges will announce a shortlist of six on September 10 and the winner on October 15.

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Winners were named for the New Zealand Society of Authors' best first book prizes, part of the New Zealand Post Book Awards. The winning debuts were Moa: The Life and Death of New Zealand's Legendary Bird by Quinn Berentson (nonfiction), Graft by Helen Heath (poetry) and I Got His Blood on Me by Lawrence Patchett (fiction). The category finalists in the New Zealand Post Book Awards will be announced this week, with winners named in Auckland August 28.


Book Review

Review: The Fields

The Fields by Kevin Maher (Reagan Arthur/Little, Brown, $26 hardcover, 9780316223560, August 13, 2013)

Kevin Maher's debut novel, The Fields, examines the paradox of life in 1980s Ireland--the overarching feeling of either being trapped on the island or thinking it the best place in the world.

The Finnegans--Mam and Dad, five daughters and one son, Jim--are, unlike many of their fellow countrymen, not poverty-stricken. There is enough to eat and drink, decent clothes and a telly. Fourteen-year-old Jim spends his days at school and riding his bike with his geeky friend Gary. They catch the eye of Mozzo and his posse, and trouble follows. Jim wants to spend time with the charismatic Mozzo but his Mam forbids it. Mozzo's girlfriend is Saidhbh (pronounced Sive) Donohue. Of course, Jim falls in love with her.

So far, it's an average coming-of-age tale, filled with Irish vernacular, good humor, singing and boys-will-be-boys shenanigans. Enter Father O'Culigeen. He is a slavering sex fiend who can't keep his hands off boys, forcing them to commit heinous acts while telling them that they are causing him to sin. He sets his sights on Jim and, telling his Mam that Jim needs to be an altar boy to sort him out, has his way with him before every Mass and whenever else possible. Jim goes from being a happy-go-lucky innocent to a withdrawn and confused adolescent.

O'Culigeen knows that Mozzo is leading Jim astray, so he arranges a job for Mozzo's mother, neatly moving him out of town and out of the way. What he doesn't foresee is that Saidhgh and Jim become more than casual friends, which is hard for anyone to credit since Saidhbh is a regal 18-year-old beauty and Jim still wears Spider-Man pajamas.

Saidhbh gets pregnant, and Jim has to figure out a way for her to have an abortion, which is illegal in Ireland. They decamp for London and stay with Jim's Aunty Grace, who has slightly misrepresented the grandeur of her living situation--but welcomes them anyway.

In an irresistible, lyrical and beautifully written combination of poignancy, deep sadness and great good humor, Kevin Maher explores and explains an Ireland firmly in the grip of the Catholic Church and still feeling the effects of the "Troubles" as well as a young man's leap into adulthood--all done with heart and an unerring sense of the struggles therein. --Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: A wondrous debut novel set in Ireland in the 1980s.


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