Shelf Awareness for Monday, October 28, 2013

Basic Books: What We Owe the Future by William Macaskill

Citadel Press: Tiny Buddha's Inner Strength Journal: Creative Prompts and Challenges to Help You Get Through Anything by Lori Deschene

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Baby-Changing Station by Rhett Miller, illustrated by Dan Santat

Candlewick Press (MA): The Patron Thief of Bread by Lindsay Eagar

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr): Don't Look Back: A Memoir of War, Survival, and My Journey from Sudan to America by Achut Deng and Keely Hutton

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: A Wilderness of Stars by Shea Ernshaw

Mandala Publishing: The Journey: Big Panda and Tiny Dragon by James Norbury

Simon & Schuster: Defend Banned Books


Let's Play Books to Open in Emmaus, Pa.

Let's Play Books, a children's bookstore, is scheduled to open before the holiday season in Emmaus, Pa. A soft opening is planned for no later than December 5, but the "goal date" is Small Business Saturday, November 30, according to the store's "Let's open a store" Facebook events page.

On her "Lets play in a book" Facebook page, owner Kirsten Yauch Hess--who used to be marketing and events manager at R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn.--described the bookstore's mission: "Through play, engage children's interest in story books, while fostering creativity, embracing diversity, and promoting stewardship for our shared world." She also called Let's Play Books "a business that focuses on engaging children to WANT to read, by giving a child a role in literature. Children learn differently, and engaging them in wanting to read is the first step towards life long learning."

Let's Play Books will be located at 376 Main St., a storefront formerly occupied by Cottage, "a popular Emmaus gift shop" that closed last March, the Emmaus Patch reported.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Before I Do by Sophie Cousens

New Publisher for Amazon's Trade Adult and Children's

Larry Kirshbaum isn't officially leaving Amazon Publishing until January, but Amazon has announced that Daphne Durham has been promoted to publisher of adult trade and children's businesses. She had been editor-in-chief and joined Amazon in 1999. She has worked in the books area the entire time, helping create Best Books of the Year and the Omnivoracious blog, among many other things. She is based in Seattle.

Disney-Hyperion: Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad

First U.S. Literary Cultural District in Works in Boston

A Boston group led by Grub Street, the creative writing center, is using a $42,500 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to develop a proposal for a literary cultural district in the city, which the Boston Globe said may be the country's first such district. The Boston Public Library, the Boston Athenaeum, the City of Boston, the Drum magazine and the Boston Book Festival are also involved.

"The challenge is to make the literary visible," Eve Bridburg, Grub Street's executive director, told the paper.

The district would likely include the Boston Public Library; the Athenaeum; Washington Street, former home of literary magazines and newspapers; Beacon Hill, once home to poets including Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes; and the Public Garden, with its Make Way for Ducklings sculpture. District activities could include walking tours, literary-related street art, interactive installations and promotions of literary exhibits.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: All I Want for Christmas by Maggie Knox

Toronto's Cookbook Store Building Sold

Six months after celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Cookbook Store, which "has been a major supporter of the Canadian food-publishing sector, while playing host to some of the world's biggest culinary names, including Julia Child, Martha Stewart and Anthony Bourdain," announced that its building is being sold to developers. In a statement, manager Alison Fryer and owner Josh Josephson said they are considering "a number of options to relocate the store."

Fryer told Quillblog that a banner advertising condominiums was being hung on the Yonge St. building last Friday. The change, however, does not herald the end of the store: "We have lots of irons in the fire," she said. "As a leader in the world of cookbooks, and culinary events for over 30 years, we will be building on our past successes as well as creating new initiatives in an exciting and vibrant new environment. We look forward to updating you all on these developments as we are able to release the information."

Obituary Notes: Robert D. Hale, Joseph Rosizk, Susan Bachrach

Robert D. Hale, author, bookseller and former American Booksellers Association officer and staffer, died on October 21. He was 85.

As noted by Bookselling This Week, Hale began his bookselling career in 1956 at Westwinds Bookshop in Duxbury, Mass. He worked for a time as a newspaper editor, then, in 1961, created a bookstore at Connecticut College. In 1969, he became general manager of Hathaway House Bookshop, part of Wellesley College. He joined the ABA board in 1974, was president from 1976 to 1978, and in 1978 left Hathaway House Bookshop to become associate executive director of ABA, a position he held for six years.

Hale was dean of the ABA Booksellers Schools, was editor of the fourth edition of the ABA's Manual on Bookselling and mentored many booksellers.

Judi Baxter, who owned Judi's Bookstore, Twin Falls, Idaho, for years and is a former president of the Association of Booksellers for Children, said of Hale: "Bob was my mentor, friend and one of the finest, funniest and passionate people I've had the privilege of knowing. His contributions to the ABA, children's books and the bigger book world cannot be measured. And his novel The Elm at the Edge of the Earth (Norton) remains one of my all time favorites."


Joseph Rosizk, former co-owner of Horizon Books and a Doubleday rep, died September 29, the Washington Post reported. He was 90.

Between 1962 and 1983, Rosizk co-owned Horizon, which once had six stores in Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia. He also was a Doubleday salesman for Doubleday from 1960 until he retired as Mid-Atlantic regional sales manager in 1979.


Susan Bachrach, co-founder and former co-owner of Moby Dickens Bookshop, Taos, N.Mex., died October 21 "after a lengthy debilitation," according to the Taos News. She was 79.

Bachrach and her late husband, Art Bachrach, founded Moby Dickens in 1984. Jay, Carolyn, Blake and Cole Moore bought the store last year. Bachrach was also a nurse practitioner.


Image of the Day: Zombies Walking

Vicki DeArmon (c.) of Copperfield's Books sends this desperate missive: "We had a major zombie outbreak in Sonoma County. I'm sending you this alert should you want to warn the rest of the country. We had hordes of 50-60 zombies this last weekend in Petaluma, Santa Rosa and Sebastopol. Terrifying. Why they congregate at bookstores, I have no idea. Is this a new type of evolving zombie, a zombie who reads?... I felt compelled to run ahead of the hordes and warn the citizenry of their doom and urge them to get out of town while they still had a chance.... I did get bit... I'm afraid I'm not long for this world. Carry on."  

Happy 50th Birthday, Black Bond Books!

Congratulations to Black Bond Books, which has 10 stores in British Columbia (including the Book Warehouse) and celebrated its 50th anniversary this past weekend with a "draw your discount" sale of up to 30% off purchases.

The Vancouver Sun has a detailed overview of the history of the store, which was founded by current owner Cathy Jesson's mother, Madeline--and was named after Cathy's grandmothers, Celia Black and Catherine Bond.

Black Bond had and continues to have a strong family emphasis. Cathy Jesson's late father headed marketing, her sister Vicky ran the Maple Ridge stores for a long time, her daughter Caitlin is in charge of the Book Warehouse--and mother Madeline is retired but still has "an active voice in the business."

The stores have less than 4,000 square feet of space and have about 20,000 titles. "While some genres such as romance have fallen out of favour in recent years," the Sun wrote, Jesson is "heartened by the fact that 'we're big readers out here' and by what she and her staff see as a resurgence in hard copy book reading in certain demographics, such as the preteen crowd, who are into collecting titles such as blockbusters Harry Potter and Twilight series along with current favourites such as Geronimo Stilton and Charlie Bone."

The Sun added: "While some of the stores have changed physical locations over the years, what has remained constant is a business ethic that focuses on knowing the community--and therefore what their customers want to read--and hiring the kind of people who share the passion and who, as many of the managers have, stay with Black Bond for years."

Aussie Booksellers Star in Dymocks' Ad Campaign

Featuring the tagline "Learn something new every day," Australian bookstore chain Dymocks "has launched its first major advertising push for several years featuring staff that are experts in particular genres to showcase the customer service that brings Australians into bookstores," the Australian reported. The campaign will run in print, TV, cinema, catalogues and retail, as well as social media and ongoing e-mail communications to customers.

"We cast across Australia to find real-life stories of people that work in our stores, people who are interested and crime, fantasy and so on," said Dymocks managing director Steve Cox. "Based on the feedback from our customers every single day, range is really important, people love browsing, they love the recommendations from our team and the advice and the service they receive."

Dymocks has some 70 stores in Australia, most of which are franchised.

'Naked Reading' Campaign Unveiled in China

Bookstores in Shanghai and Nanjing owned by Popular Holdings in Singapore have been criticized--and gotten a lot of free press--for their "naked reading" campaign, which features images of naked women promoting reading, with books partly concealing them. The tagline is "reading naked brings your soul closer to books." Want China Times said some have said the campaign is in poor taste and corrupts minors.

A store spokesperson in Nanjing said posters in the store are part of an effort to get people interested in reading and called the approach "positive and not pornographic."

One of Popular's Shanghai stores features a wall of 10 "naked reading" photos. An assistant store manager told Shanghai Daily that the campaign aims to promote the idea that "intellectual elements, instead of material, are the essence of life"--that a material life, like clothing, can be easily shed, but one can always enjoy reading, part of the intellectual life.

The Shanghai Daily said the idea for the campaign came the Outdoor Co-ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society in the U.S.--but that project seems like a different cup of tea.

Media and Movies

NPR on the Importance of Women and Children First

NPR yesterday reported on Women and Children First, Chicago, Ill., with comments from founders and owners Linda Bubon and Ann Christophersen, who have put the feminist bookstore up for sale. Author Sara Paretsky commented: "A store like Women and Children which will aggressively look for women--for women's voices--is, in a way, more important now because there is so much clamor out there in the blogosphere. It's hard for any one voice to be heard."

Media Heat: Chris Hadfield Launches on Fresh Air

This morning on CBS This Morning: Sergeant Morgan Jones and Damien Lewis, authors of The Embassy House: The Explosive Eyewitness Account of the Libyan Embassy Siege by the Soldier Who Was There (Threshold Editions, $27, 9781476751139).


This morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Dick Cheney and Jonathan Reiner, authors of Heart: An American Medical Odyssey (Scribner, $28, 9781476725390). They will also appear on CNN's the Lead With Jake Tapper and tomorrow on Hannity.


This morning on the Today Show: Tim Conway, co-author of What's So Funny?: My Hilarious Life (Howard Books, $25.99, 9781476726502). He will also appear tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends and tomorrow night on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.


Today on Fresh Air: Philip Shenon, author of A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination (Holt, $32, 9780805094206).


Today on ABC's the Chew: John Lithgow, author of Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781442467439).


Today on Fox Radio's Kilmeade & Friends: John Hannah, co-author of Offensive Conduct: My Life on the Line (Triumph Books, $26.95, 9781600788604).


Today on CBS's Arsenio Hall Show: Piers Morgan, author of Shooting Straight: Guns, Gays, God, and George Clooney (Gallery, $26, 9781476745053).


Tonight on the Daily Show: Nick Offerman, author of Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living (Dutton, $26.95, 9780525954217). He also appears tomorrow on the View.


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Pat Conroy, author of The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son (Nan A. Talese, $28.95, 9780385530903).


Tomorrow morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Allie Brosh, author of Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened (Touchstone, $17.99, 9781451666175).


Tomorrow on Fresh Air: Chris Hadfield, author of An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316253017).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Rebecca Eaton, author of Making Masterpiece: 25 Years Behind the Scenes at Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery! on PBS (Viking, $29.95, 9780670015351).


Tomorrow on the View: Corey Feldman, author of Coreyography: A Memoir (St. Martin's Press, $24.99, 9780312609337).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Billy Collins, author of Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems (Random House, $26, 9780679644057).

Movies: The Book Thief; Reaching for the Moon

The official international trailer has been released for The Book Thief, a Fox 2000 film based on Markus Zusak's bestselling novel, reported. The film, directed by Brian Percival directed and starring Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Sophie Nélisse and Ben Schnetzer, will be released domestically November 8.


A clip is now available from the film Reaching for the Moon, which offers a "peek into the true love story of poet Elizabeth Bishop and architect Lota de Macedo Soares," Buzzfeed reported.

Books & Authors

Awards: Swiss Book Prize Winner; T.S. Eliot Shortlist

Jens Steiner has won the 2013 Swiss Book Prize for his novel Carambole. Judges for the 30,000 franc (about $33,600) prize, the main literary award for the German-speaking part of Switzerland, lauded the novel's "great poetic power."


Finalists have been named for the £15,000 T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry. The winner will be announced January 12 in London. This year's shortlisted collections are:

Speak, Old Parrot by Dannie Abse
At the Time of Partition by Moniza Alvi
Red Doc by Anne Carson
Parallax by Sinéad Morrissey  
Division Street by Helen Mort
Ramayana: A Retelling by Daljit Nagra
The Water Stealer by Maurice Riordan
Hill of Doors by Robin Robertson
Drysalter by Michael Symmons Roberts
Bad Machine by George Szirtes

Concord Free Press's 'Generosity-Based' Business Model

When Stona Fitch published his novel Give + Take through the Concord Free Press in 2008, he didn't take the usual approach to getting it into readers' hands. Operating on what he calls a "generosity-based" model, Fitch gave copies of the book to anyone who asked for one, charging them nothing (and even covering the postage). All he asked in return was that recipients donate the money they would've spent to a charity of their choice, then, once they were done reading the novel, pass the book along to another reader.

It worked well enough that Concord has been able to publish books by several other authors  over the past five years, including Gregory Maguire (The Next Queen of Heaven) and Lucius Shepard (A Handbook of American Prayer). The authors retain the print rights, so if there's enough interest from another publisher, there's no obstacle to a commercial edition that can introduce the book to a larger audience. (Fitch eventually placed Give + Take at St. Martin's, and Maguire sold his novel to HarperCollins.)

With printers, publicists and other book professionals donating their services, Fitch has been able to produce small print runs--roughly 2,500 copies for each title--and continue to simply give it all away. Books are available through the website, and Concord sends copies to independent bookstores across the U.S. and Canada. How do customers react to discovering they can walk out of the store with a free book? "They're gobsmacked, I think is the proper word," said Erik Barnum, sales floor manager at Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vt., where Concord's books are displayed next to the cash register. "We get questioned a lot, as if there was something hinky about getting something for free." That initial suspicion is frequently overcome, though, as customers take the Concord book home along with their purchases.

Interior image from The Rockaways.

Now Concord is releasing its first art book, The Rockaways, a collection of photographs taken by Gilles Peress in the days immediately following Hurricane Sandy's passage through New York City a year ago. During a recent book launch at Brooklyn's powerHouse Arena, Peress described how he made his way out to the furthest edges of Queens after seeing reports online of the storm's impact there. "I was overwhelmed," he recalled, "[with] a sense of awe and fascination and horror.... What I saw was a landscape of total devastation." The stunning images have been printed on high-quality glossy paper--donated, along with access to cutting-edge digital printing technology, by Kodak. Before handing out the first 175 copies to the reception's attendees, Fitch urged them to consider making their donations to local relief efforts; the book lists a dozen such New York aid organizations. Where readers donate, though, is ultimately less important than the act of giving itself--which, over the course of Concord's seven previous titles, has resulted in more than $300,000 in reported charitable donations, according to a recent New York Times story (plus all the unreported ones).

Free copies of The Rockaways will be available at selected independent bookstores and on request through the Concord Free Press website beginning this Wednesday, October 30. --Ron Hogan

Book Review

Review: Hild

Hild by Nicola Griffith (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27 hardcover, 9780374280871, November 12, 2013)

With the historical epic Hild, Nicola Griffith creates an alternate reality, strange in its particulars yet utterly recognizable as human. Through the preternaturally observant eyes of Hild--a child when the novel begins--Griffith unfurls a vivid tapestry of nature and craft, belief and myth. Inspired by the life of St. Hilda of Whitby, Hild is an immersive experience, its exquisite language serving as a portal to a distant time and place.

In the seventh-century Northumbrian court of King Edwin, his niece Hild rises to prominence as a seer through the machinations of her mother, Breguswith. In truth, the girl's "prophecy" is shaped by her extraordinary intelligence and powers of observation, which enable her to see patterns in the intrigues and political machinations of those around her. But danger is constant, and Hild must continuously prove her usefulness to King Edwin--or die.

Complicating matters is Hild's knowledge that Cian, her foster brother, is in fact her half-brother--a lineage that, if revealed, could make him appear a threat to the throne. Hild's challenges increase in complexity as her strong sense of duty, combined with love and compassion, repeatedly come into conflict with the demands of survival in the court of the king. Seeing everything, Hild is perpetually a guardian of secret knowledge--others' secrets, and her own.

Griffith brings a remarkable sensuousness to the setting, beautifully evoking the lush physicality of the joys, hardships and sheer work involved in a life so intertwined with the vagaries of the natural world. The language is strung with unexpected gemlike turns of phrase: women ride in a wagon "like coddled eggs," their boots "the colour of owl breasts."

As a woman of power and influence, Hild stands out in her time, yet the women in this world possess strength and complexity. While everyone orbits the king, Breguswith operates so cannily from the shadows that her effects on the court may be the most profound of all. Perhaps most intriguing about the portrayal of women in Hild is the lifelong bond between pairs of women, called gemæcce, who spin and card together from childhood until death, through marriage, sickness and childbearing. The relationship between gemæcce is as significant in its own way as marriage.

Though it is the richness of historical detail that may be most overtly noticeable, Hild is above all a story of love and friendship--and how the preservation of those things demands sacrifice. --Ilana Teitelbaum

Shelf Talker: A richly detailed historical epic inspired by the life of St. Hilda of Whitby, who in the seventh century was influential in spreading Christianity in Britain.

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