Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, November 19, 2013

St. Martin's Press: Humans by Brandon Stanton

Andrews McMeel Publishing: Cat Ninja, Volume 1 by Matthew Cody, illustrated by Yehudi Mercado

Berkley Books: In the Garden of Spite: A Novel of the Black Widow of La Porte by Camilla Bruce

Candlewick Press (MA): Stink and the Hairy, Scary Spider by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Scholastic Press:  The Captive Kingdom (the Ascendance Series, Book 4) by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Disney-Hyperion: The Mirror Broken Wish (Mirror #1) by Julie C. Dao


Nihar Malaviya New Deputy COO at Penguin Random House


Nihar Malaviya has been named senior v-p, deputy chief operating officer at Penguin Random House. He was formerly senior v-p, director, strategy, analytics and program development for Random House.

In related moves, Chris Hart has been promoted to senior v-p, director, technology, and Sue Malone-Barber has been promoted to senior v-p, director, publishing operations, both reporting to Malaviya.

Berkley Books: Our Italian Summer by Jennifer Probst

Book House Raising Money for New, Renovated 'House'

After its landlord decided to tear down its historic building, the Book House moved this summer from Rock Hill, Mo., to an approximately 6,000-square-foot location in nearby Maplewood. But the building has been vacant for nearly two decades and needs extensive work. Owner Michelle Barron hopes to get roughly a third of the store up to code soon so she can at least open for business while gradually fixing up the rest of the building. But to open just the smaller portion of the store, Barron has to install an HVAC system, cover all walls and ceilings with fire-resistant drywall, install new lighting, replace the building's plumbing, put in new bathrooms, replace the electrical wiring, redo the stairs and remodel the store front. Not surprisingly, the bill has grown huge.

Unable to secure a Small Business loan, Barron has turned to other avenues to raise money. A Kickstarter campaign for $10,000, launched on November 8, with 18 days still to go, is more than 70% funded. On November 15, the store hosted a 30-author event and signing at a local brewery, with auctions and raffles, which drew more than 100 people and raised about $2,500. The store has set up book stalls at local farmers markets, and hopes to set up booths on its front lawn for Small Business Saturday.

Although the outlook for the Kickstarter campaign is good, it will not be enough to get the job done. Barron said that $10,000 is "just a drop in the bucket; $20,000 to $50,000 will get us open, and there will be more beyond that. This is going to be an ongoing thing, probably for several years."

On the bright side, Barron said that once completed, the new location should be an even bigger draw than the last. It's more than twice the size of the old location, and will get much more street traffic. Although the old building was an iconic destination in its own right, the new is not without its own charm. In the '50s, it housed a classic five and dime store, and still retains many of the "neat" art deco architectural features. And while the old location was relatively isolated, the new store is in an area full of art galleries, coffee shops and other small businesses.

"It's very exciting," said Barron, who spoke on the phone while dodging contractors as they worked on the new store. "When this is done, it will be the biggest indie in St. Louis. We'll be able to do things we can't do at the old location, if we can just get open." --Alex Mutter

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 08.10.20

German Union to Give Amazon a Strike for Christmas

Germany's service-sector union Verdi is planning a strike during the holiday season at Amazon's fulfillment centers in Leipzig and Bad Hersfeld, Focus magazine (via AFP) reported.

"At one hundred percent, we will go on strike during the season of Advent," said Heiner Reimann, Verdi's representative in the Bad Hersfeld facility.

Amazon responded that it was "well prepared" for the action. The union has been pushing for concessions from the online retailer since last spring.

BINC: Book Auction to Benefit BINC - Click Here!

Downsized BAM Store Reopens in Mobile, Ala.

photo: Pinebrook Shopping Center

Books-A-Million reopened its Mobile, Ala., store in the Pinebrook Shopping Center "under a new banner and inside a smaller space," reported, noting that the 17,000-square-foot location, about half its former size, is "sporting the BAM name as its banner" and features a number of upgrades. On Saturday, BAM will celebrate the reopening with a day of special events.

"We know that our customers will continue to enjoy the best in books, toys, tech in our newly decorated updated store layout," said BAM president and CEO Terrance Finley.

"We really didn't lose anything," added Richard Bennett, a manager at the store. He said the enhancements are in the "atmosphere and the layout" of the location.

University of California Press:  Republican Jesus: How the Right Has Rewritten the Gospels by Tony Keddie

Obituary Note: William Weaver

William Weaver, who "helped to bring the art of translation out of obscurity and give it a literary credence and recognition" and was "best known for rendering the robust Italian prose of Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose into nuanced English," died November 12, the Guardian reported. He was 90.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Little Threats by Emily Schultz


Image of the Day: O'Brien Honored for Military Writing

On Saturday, Tim O'Brien was presented with the $100,000 Pritzker Military Museum & Library's Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing at the Chicago Hilton. O'Brien, right, in his trademark cap, is the author of The Things They Carried and Going After Cacciato, among other books. Here, he signs a copy of Going After Cacciato for a Marine, one of the many active and retired military supporters of the Museum & Library in attendance.

Miami Book Fair International: Happy 30th Anniversary

The Miami Book Fair International, which began Sunday and has served as the template for so many consumer book fairs around the country, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The New York Times noted that in 1984, "when Eduardo J. Padrón, the president of Miami Dade College, asked Mitchell Kaplan, owner of the fledgling Books & Books shop in Coral Gables, to help him start a book fair in Miami's downtown area, the preferred ZIP code for prostitutes and vagrants, quixotic was a polite term for their vision."

Kaplan and Dr. Padrón "set out to engage the community as a whole. They made the fair affordable, which made it accessible.... They also introduced a street festival where adults and children could browse and mingle with writers downtown, and indoor readings at Miami Dade College and other locations," the Times noted.

"We wanted to create the largest tent possible, so all of Miami could fit under it," said Kaplan. "There are all kinds of people there; some are readers, some are not. Linguistically, socially, racially, it's all mixed and it's there, out on the street."

The Miami Herald noted that on Sunday, Dan Brown, this year's inaugural author, said, "I don't speak professionally very often, but when the Miami Book Fair asks you to celebrate their 30th anniversary, you don't say no."

"We all know what the knock on Miami is," Kaplan said in his opening remarks. "The Miami Book Fair has gone a long way toward changing that." The Miami Herald reported that "the boisterous crowd backed up that idea that Miami dwellers are passionate about books and those brave (or crazy) enough to write them."

Kaplan shared some of his favorite moments from the book fair with the South Florida Business Journal.

As part of its coverage, WLRN featured a look back at the history of the Miami Book Fair through a photo tour and an interview with Kaplan and executive director Alina Interian.

Cool Idea of the Day: Oblong Insider

Oblong Books & Music, with stores in Millerton and Rhinebeck, N.Y., has launched Oblong Insider, a new subscription program for YA book lovers through which subscribers will receive a new hardcover book "specially chosen for them each month, along with swag and info about the books and authors we love, and whatever's hottest in the YA world."

In its q&a for the new program, Oblong said it plans to "to choose books that are very new and perhaps a bit 'off the radar'--so hopefully these will all come as a delicious surprise and you'll get to know new titles and authors."

On the Menu: SoFAB's Culinary Library & Archive

"See rare cookbooks, Southern menus from around the world, chefs' notes and more at the new Culinary Library in New Orleans," Deep South magazine noted in its profile of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum's official Culinary Library & Archive, which was conceived when the museum's "cookbook collection was reduced to the consistency of macque choux after Hurricane Katrina."

The 2,000-book collection was gradually rebuilt ("Fortunately the books were not rare books. They were books that are replaceable," said museum president Liz Williams), but "once word got out that SoFAB was in need of local cookbooks, donations started pouring in. After Katrina, the museum's collection was used to give locals access to the traditional recipes they had lost. But as it grew to more than 9,000 books, it became apparent that the collection was in need of a new home," Deep South wrote. In partnership with the New Orleans Public Library, SoFAB's Culinary Library & Archive opened in October.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Shirley MacLaine on Katie

Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Nathan Myhrvold, author of The Photography of Modernist Cuisine (The Cooking Lab, $120, 9780982761021).


Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Scott Walker, author of Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge (Sentinel, $28.95, 9781595231079). He will also appear on NPR's Morning Edition, CNN's Piers Morgan, Mike Huckabee and Lou Dobbs.


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show, readers review Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain (Ecco, $14.99, 9780060885618).


Tomorrow on Katie: Shirley MacLaine, author of What If...: A Lifetime of Questions, Speculations, Reasonable Guesses, and a Few Things I Know for Sure (Atria, $23, 9781476728605).


Tomorrow on Access Hollywood: Randi Zuckerberg, author of Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives (HarperOne, $27.99, 9780062285140).

Also on Access Hollywood: Hill Harper, author of Letters to an Incarcerated Brother (Gotham, $27.50, 9781592407248). He will also appear on Arsenio Hall.

Movies: Heaven Is for Real Trailer

A trailer is out for Heaven Is for Real, based on the bestselling book Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent. The movie, directed by Randall Wallace, stars Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly and Connor Corum and is set for an April 16 release.

TV: Flowers in the Attic

The official trailer has been released for Lifetime Network's Flowers in the Attic, adapted from the novel by V.C. Andrews, reported. The cast includes Heather Graham, Ellen Burstyn, Kiernan Shipka, Mason Dye and Dylan Bruce. Flowers in the Attic premieres January 18.

Books & Authors

Awards: FT/Goldman Sachs; Specsavers National Book

Brad Stone's The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon won the £30,000 (about US$48,200) Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award, which recognizes the book that provides "the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues."


Finalists in 10 categories have been named fro the Specsavers National Book Awards, "which are designed to reflect the public's best-loved books of the year," the Bookseller reported. The winners will be announced December 11. Readers will be asked to vote for their favorite from each of the category winners for the Specsavers National Book of the Year Award, which will be named December 26.

Book Review

Review: The Trip to Echo Spring

The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking by Olivia Laing (Picador, $26 hardcover, 9781250039569, December 31, 2013)

Olivia Laing's The Trip to Echo Spring is about six authors whose lives meet at the juncture of creativity and alcoholism. While Laing (who walked along the river where Virginia Woolf killed herself for her previous book, To the River) acknowledges she had many alcoholic writers to choose from, the half dozen she selected justify and reward her nuanced attentions. Though F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams have been studied to the point of exhaustion, John Cheever, Raymond Carver and John Berryman have been less comprehensively examined.

Laing's exploration of these extraordinary men's lives has many facets. The Trip to Echo Spring, named for the bourbon favored by the maudlin Brick in Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, is partly literary criticism--and no lightweight in that department, showing serious attention to her subjects' works. Meanwhile, the level of biographical detail reveals Laing's interest in their intersections with one another in life as well as literature. There are hints of travelogue as Laing crisscrosses North America to visit the crucial locations in these writers' lives, from Hemingway's Key West to Fitzgerald and Berryman's St. Paul, Minn., to Port Angeles, Wash., where Raymond Carver finished his life.

The common themes Laing finds in the cities and the bars where these men drank themselves into misery, death, and art include swimming, fluidity and the cleansing properties of sea and stream. She delves into the biology and psychology of of alcoholism, with several forays into Alcoholics Anonymous, and finally touches on her own upbringing as the child of alcoholics. While she focuses on the relationship between writing and drinking, another key part of her journey is personal--but her history with drunks is only gradually revealed and never takes center stage.

All the disparate elements come together elegantly in Laing's quietly contemplative prose. She is sensitive to the struggles of these tortured men (among them several suicides) and deeply appreciative of their accomplishments, but also clear-headed about their shortcomings and their abusive treatment of others as well as themselves. A lovely piece of writing in its own right, The Trip to Echo Spring is a fine tribute to artists as well as a lament for their addiction. --Julia Jenkins

Shelf Talker: Laing's poetic ruminations on the alcoholism of six authors will charm readers of travel writing, biography and literary criticism.


Your Soul Remembers's Publisher: Rainbow Ridge Books

In our mention yesterday of Joanne DiMaggio's appearance last night on Coast to Coast for her new book, Your Soul Remembers, we omitted the publisher. The publisher is Rainbow Ridge Books. The book is distributed by Square One.

AuthorBuzz: Berrett-Koehler Publishers: Black Fatigue: How Racism Erodes the Mind, Body, and Spirit by Mary-Frances Winters
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