Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 9, 2014

Harper: To Be a Man: Stories by Nicole Krauss

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

Big Picture Press: Maps: Deluxe Edition by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinska

Candlewick Press: Evelyn del Rey Is Moving Away by Meg Medina, illustrated by Sonia Sanchez

Scholastic Press: Illegal: A Disappeared Novel, Volume 2 by Francisco X. Stork

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

Quotation of the Day

Foyles Lauded for 'Defiance of Discount'

"Foyles is making a heroic attempt to put curation back in to the heart of bookselling--inviting authors such as P.D. James and Sarah Waters to pick their favorite books to have on front-of-store tables, for example. It is commendable, too, that the store wants to emphasize the 'beauty' of the book as a physical item, as with the art books in the key space by the door. But the best, best bit in all of this is Foyles' defiance of discount. Books are precious objects that are sometimes--quite often--worth much more than the price of a cup of tea."

--Arifa Akbar on Foyles' new "bookshop of the future" in his Independent piece headlined "A Bookshop Is More than Its Discounts"

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


Urban Outfitters Opens Store with Bookshop

The new Urban Outfitters on Herald Square in New York City is an unintentional throwback to an earlier time in book retailing: the 57,000-square-foot "lifestyle destination," which has a hair salon, coffee bar and record shop, also has a bookshop, "complete with seating for browsing titles," CNBC reported.

The Urban Outfitters Herald Square opened on Saturday and is in the heart of an area where department stores--like nearby Macy's--had book departments that 60 and 70 years ago were the most powerful book retailing outlets in the country.

Peachtree Publishing Company: The Candy Mafia by Lavie Tidhar, illustrated by Daniel Duncan

BAM to Open New Store in Douglasville, Ga.

This fall, Books-A-Million will open a new 5,922-square-foot store in the Arbor Place Mall, Douglasville, Ga., which is about 20 miles west of Atlanta. Mall general manager Doug Meeks said, "We are excited to welcome BAM... We are committed to continually improving the shopping experience at Arbor Place and offer our shoppers new and distinctive retailers that provide a unique shopping environment, allowing us to continually rise above shopper expectations."

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 08.10.20

Obituary Note: Susan Spencer-Wendel

Susan Spencer-Wendel, a former newspaper reporter who wrote her bestselling 2013 memoir Until I Say Good-Bye: My Year of Living with Joy "about living life to the fullest after learning she had an incurable muscle-wasting disease--and wrote most of it on a smartphone with her right thumb," died last Wednesday, the New York Times reported.

University of California Press: A People's Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area, Volume 3 by Rachel Brahinsky, Alexander Tarr, Bruce Rinehart


Image of the Day: Exploring Diabetes with David Sedaris

A huge crowd showed up for David Sedaris's meet-and-greet/book signing at RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, N.H., yesterday afternoon. Here, some of the crowd display their paperbacks of Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls.

Milkweed Editions: The Shame by Makenna Goodman

Houston Booksellers 'Help You Express Your Independence'

"It's summer time and the reading is easy--especially for Houston book lovers familiar with the Bayou City's independent bookstore scene," Bayou City magazine noted in showcasing "some of our favorites to help you express your independence when lining your bookshelves." Highlighted indies included Brazos Bookstore, Murder by the Book and Blue Willow Bookshop.

"Each little gem that dots our city's literary landscape provides a unique personality and specialization to suit every reader's whim," Bayou City wrote. "In fact, its their mastery of the niche market that has kept these smaller booksellers' doors open and swinging, often for decades, even as the 'big box' bookstores seem to be closing shop."

University of California Press: The Koreas: The Birth of Two Nations Divided by Theodore Jun Yoo

Charting the 'History of Publisher Logos'

From the Facebook page for World Book Night USA: "Our designer minds were in sync with our bookish hearts! With Penguin Random House's new logo reveal earlier this week, we were curious about publishing logo history and evolution in the Big 5. So we researched. And researched some more... and this is what came out. Enjoy."

#BEA14: New Success Tracks for Women

At a panel sponsored by the Women's Media Group, Jane von Mehren, with the Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Agency, moderated a discussion about female career trajectories with four women executives that offered "a fascinating lens on the industry in a time of change."

L.-r: Libby McGuire, Tina C. Weiner, Jane Friedman, Jane von Mehren and Janet Goldstein

As is often the case when discussing careers, the word mentor came up, and Jane Friedman--who began her career as a Dictaphone typist at Knopf, eventually becoming CEO at HarperCollins and founding Open Road Integrated Media--noted that just that morning one of the greatest mentors in publishing, Oscar Dystel, had passed away. She also credited Tony Schulte, whom she knew at Knopf, with helping her learn to make quick decisions, accept some failure and move on.

"As women we dislike failure," said Friedman, "but if you have any ambition you have to be prepared to make mistakes and go forward."

Janet Goldstein, now executive director of National Geographic Books, spent two decades at Viking and HarperCollins. She acknowledged it might sound like a strange concept, but she suggested women think of their work lives as a brand. "People know the way you approach your work," she said. So when a new opportunity comes up--like publishing Barbara Kingsolver although Goldstein hadn't been a fiction editor before--women's expertise and ownership of their work would prevent them from being "siloed."

Libby McGuire, publisher of Ballantine Bantam Dell, who began her career as a marketing assistant, said she learned a great deal from watching others navigate the work/life equation early on. Even before she worked for Gina Centrello at Random House, McGuire--who had not yet had her family--admired the female executive for going home for dinner every evening.

Tina C. Weiner started her publishing career coding exam copy at Yale, learned the university press's entire catalogue and was eventually hired by the publisher's publicity director, who thought the young woman seemed "eager" to do the work. Now, as director of the Yale Publishing Course, Weiner said she wants people to think of taking the course at mid-career without mixing it up with the notion of mid-life. As one Yale lecturer explained, Weiner said, "you can take control of your career and you don't have to leave." Her best piece of advice for women in publishing is to be flexible.

While Friedman is pleased that women in publishing have called her a mentor, she said, what that really involves is having an open-door policy. "You're the future," she said. "I want to listen and help." Mentoring is a tradition that has proved to be a long one in publishing. "If I want a future in mentoring, I need the mentees," said Friedman. "Ask questions--no question is foolish." With new book formats--and Friedman noted that the book business has had multiple formats for a long time--she thinks "this is the new Golden Age of publishing." --Bridget Kinsella

SLJ's Day of Dialog

A sold-out crowd of librarians gathered for the annual SLJ Day of Dialog, held on May 28 at McGraw-Hill's offices in midtown Manhattan. The day's themes revolved around the craft of storytelling and the importance of diverse stories.

Keynote speaker Jacqueline Woodson with SLJ's Luann Toth.

Opening keynote speaker Jacqueline Woodson read from her forthcoming middle-grade memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming (Nancy Paulsen/Penguin). "Writing was the thing that, from a young age, I loved doing," Woodson said. "I wrote this book in verse because that's the way memory comes to me," she explained, "in moments, with lots of air around them." She thought of calling her book Black Girl Dreaming or American Girl Dreaming. "But 'brown' is so much of who I am," said Woodson, "and being African-American is so much of who I am. My grandmother was always saying, 'You're a pretty brown girl.' " Show Way was her first autobiographical story. Her grandmother, who helped raise her in South Carolina, would reel off the family's deep Southern names, and the author felt it was as if her grandmother had said, "Here's the license to tell these stories." Woodson said, "So much of our history was about not surviving, we were brought here in chains, to work until we died. We did not die. We became doctors and lawyers and writers and presidents."

(l-r.) Bob Staake, Raúl Colón, Molly Idle and Aaron Becker.

In the "Wordless Picture Books" panel, moderated by Simmons College's Cathryn Mercier, Aaron Becker said that in Quest (Candlewick), the second in his wordless Journey trilogy, "My goal was to convey complex action, emotion and possible resolution all at once." He purposefully painted a neutral look on the characters' faces so children can decide for themselves what the characters are experiencing. Raúl Colón recalled that as an asthmatic child, he would watch his friends playing outside while he was inside drawing. In his book Draw (Paula Wiseman/S&S), the child hero ends up going to Africa, and instead of hunting animals, he draws them. "You provide the visuals in your head as you read a story," Colón said. "Wordless picture books do the opposite. The child writes the story." Molly Idle, author and artist of the forthcoming Flora and the Penguin (Chronicle), agreed, adding, "Wordless books leave room for children to inhabit the story." Bob Staake (Bluebird, Schwartz & Wade/Random House), upped the ante: "Wordless books elevate the importance of the child. If you weren't here, the book would not survive. They get to own the story."

Moderator Allie Bruce, Bank Street College's children's librarian, introduced the "Diversity in Middle Grade Fiction" panel by reading a quote from Maya Angelou (who had died earlier that morning): "It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength." Bruce asked what she, as a white librarian, might be unwittingly doing to impede the discussion, and what she could do better. Kat Yeh (The Truth About Twinkie Pie, Little, Brown) suggested that librarians "not make assumptions about what kids want to read." She cited Grace Lin's proposal that instead of presenting Where the Mountain Meets the Moon as "a Chinese book by a Chinese author and artist," it could be called "a great adventure book." Coe Booth (Kinda Like Brothers, Scholastic) noted that bookstores only seem to display books by authors of color "when there's a reason." She said, "Why not on Valentine's Day? Black people fall in love." Kwame Alexander recalled one "awesome" letter he'd received in response to his book The Crossover (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) that asked, "Were you intentionally ambiguous about the race of your characters?" Alexander added, "We all love, smile, cry. If we can get past these labels, we can become more diverse people, as opposed to trying to find diverse books."

Kat Yeh; Coe Booth; Brenda Woods; moderator Raúl Gonzalez; Bank Street College children's librarian Allie Bruce; Kwame Alexander.

Raúl Gonzalez (illustrator of Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper; Chronicle) said that as someone who grew up in the border town of El Paso, Tex., he was "not necessarily thinking about race," but rather the things and the people that surrounded him as a boy. "I was searching for things I could relate to," Gonzalez said. "The Mexicans [on television] were all gangsters or maids. Low Riders is about dreamers, it shows kids that dreams are possible." Brenda Woods (The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond, Penguin) noted that, as an author of historical fiction, "rather than being racially driven, my books are historically based." She added, "We have the opportunity to move this generation beyond tolerance to a place where they can celebrate the lives of all human beings." Alexander added that at some point, the responsibility is on the reader also. "Are you reading race?" he posed. "As Baldwin said, 'Our stories are universal.' "

"Dad, where do novels come from?" began Garth Nix (Clariel, HarperCollins) in his lunchtime keynote speech. "When an author and an idea love each other very much...." He discussed the importance of writers learning to write by reading, "how to work that transfer from mind to mind." Just some of the books he cited as influential for his Abhorsen Cycle: The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley, The Weather Monger by Peter Dickinson, Ursula Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea and Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings, which taught him about "the personal cost of doing what must be done. Also, the proper use of semicolons." Nix closed with a story about how, as a young man, he met the author Irskine Henry, who wrote his favorite book, Return of the Elephant. As attendees eagerly scribbled the name of the writer, Nix admitted the man was a fiction, providing the perfect segue to the next panel: "Unreliable YA Narrators."

(l.-r.) Meg Wolitzer, Jody Lynn Anderson (The Vanishing Season, HarperCollins), Alaya Dawn Johnson, Barry Lyga, E. Lockhart

Brooklyn Public Library's Jennifer Thompson posed a two-part opening question: "How can you ever believe any narrator again? Do you concern yourself with the likability of the main character?" Barry Lyga (the I Hunt Killers series, Little, Brown) confessed, "I've never once worried about creating a likable character, as those of you who've read my books know. There's no such thing as a completely likable person." E. Lockhart (We Were Liars, Delacorte) asked, "Do they involve you?" She cited the money-hunting heroine of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. "Everything she does is despicable, but she invites you in." Meg Wolitzer (Belzhar, Dutton) harked back to the question that influenced the Gore vs. Bush campaign, " 'Who would you rather have a beer with?' The thing you remember about a book is not plot but character. If you have to relate to a character, you can't read Lolita. There are a lot of experiences that are outside your wheelhouse." Alaya Dawn Johnson (Love Is the Drug, Scholastic) said that Chime by Frannie Billingley features one of her favorites: "I like unreliable narrators who are unaware of why they're not reliable." Lockhart added that in Chime, "the narrator is also lying to herself." She stressed that secret-keeping and lying are an integral part of adolescence. Wolitzer admitted she loves rereading the stories of unreliable narrators. "We're like Candide," she said. "We're led along and trust that it's true." Lyga added, "In the modern era, all narrators are unreliable, it's just a question of how unreliable."

For the "Storied Lives" panel, Baltimore County Public Library's Paula Willey began by asking Lois Ehlert about the seeds of her picture-book memoir The Scraps Book (Beach Lane/S&S). "I thought it was time to talk about my house and my life," Ehlert said, "and to share some ideas with young people. If you feel creative, don't worry! I grew up always knowing I wanted to be an artist. I had no idea how, but the drive was there." Willey pointed out that on each page, there's a suggestion of what a kid could do. "Yes, I use scissors, paper, glue, let's see what you can do. Look, I made a poem!"

(l.-r.) Lois Ehlert, Chris Raschka, Peter Sís and Raina Telgemeier.

"Most American musicians know who Sun Ra is, most Americans do not," said Chris Raschka, explaining the impetus for his The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra (Candlewick). He started with Sun Ra's "Dreaming" and made the book as a song. Editor Liz Bicknell told him, "We'll publish it, but we have to know more about the man," according to Raschka. "He's worth studying," Raschka explained, "because he lived his life so much the way he wanted to."

Peter Sís said that, as a young man, The Little Prince gave him hope, as he was deciding whether to return to Prague after working on a project in Los Angeles. He revisited the book again and again, and it inspired his biography The Pilot and the Little Prince (Frances Foster/Macmillan). "My secret, that [Antoine de Saint-Exupéry] wrote The Little Prince in New York, was out--there it was at the Morgan Library's exhibit [this past spring]." Sís worked on the book for years, trying to contain such a big life in a picture-book format. "When I'm stuck, I sit for weeks and make little cross-hatches," he admitted. Raina Telgemeier said that only after publishing her first book, Smile, did she learn "you're not supposed to write [an autobiography] unless you've done something." Her new book, Sisters (Graphix/Scholastic), "is the road trip from Smile that only gets a passing mention." Telgemeier says, "I tell very personal specific stories, thinking this doesn't happen to anyone else, and then the letters come." --Jennifer M. Brown

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Hillary Hits the Book Tour Trail

Today on Katie: Sophia Amoruso, author of #GIRLBOSS (Portfolio, $26.95, 9780399169274).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison (Spiegel & Grau, $16, 9780385523394).


Today on Hannity: Oliver North, co-author of Counterfeit Lies (Threshold Editions, $26, 9781476714356). He will also appear tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends.


Today on Access Hollywood Live: Alison Sweeney, author of Scared Scriptless (Hyperion, $15, 9781401311056). She will also appear on the Queen Latifah Show.


Tonight on an ABC Primetime Special with Diane Sawyer: Hillary Rodham Clinton, author of Hard Choices (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781476751443). She will also appear tomorrow on Good Morning America, NPR's Morning Edition and NBC Nightly News.


Tonight on the Daily Show: Philip K. Howard, author of The Rule of Nobody: Saving America from Dead Laws and Broken Government (Norton, $23.95, 9780393082821).


Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Ric Edelman, author of The Truth About Retirement Plans and IRAs (Simon & Schuster, $15, 9781476739854).


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Laurel Braitman, author of Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781451627008). She will also appear on ABC's World News Tonight and Nightline.


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Kenneth Turan, author of Not to Be Missed: Fifty-four Favorites from a Lifetime of Film (PublicAffairs, $25.99, 9781586483968).


Tomorrow on the Talk: Lisa Robinson, author of There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll (Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594487149).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: John Waters, author of Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26, 9780374298630).


Tomorrow night on Late Night with Seth Meyers: Linda Fairstein, author of Terminal City (Dutton, $27.95, 9780525953883).

Movies: Americanah; The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet

Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave) will star in and produce an adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's novel Americanah. The Wrap reported that Nyong'o, "along with D2 Productions, Brad Pitt's company Plan B and Potboiler Productions, has secured the rights to develop the book into a feature film."

"It is such an honor to have the opportunity to bring Ms. Adichie's brilliant book to the screen. Page after page I was struck by Ifemelu and Obinze's stories, whose experiences as African immigrants are so specific and also so imminently relatable. It is a thrilling challenge to tell a truly international story so full of love, humor and heart," said Nyong'o.


A new clip from The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, adapted from Reif Larson's novel, "gives a good sense of the whimsical yet sweet tone" director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie, The City of Lost Children, Delicatessen) is "aiming for with his latest effort," Indiewire reported. The film, starring Kyle Catlett), Helena Bonham Carter, Callum Keith Rennie), Niamh Wilson and Jakob Davies, "hits U.K. cinemas on June 13. No U.S. release date yet, but check out the clip below as we wait for that slot to hopefully arrive soon."

TV: The Casual Vacancy

The cast for the BBC/HBO miniseries adaptation of J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy will include Michael Gambon, Keeley Hawes, Rory Kinnear, Monica Dolan, Julia McKenzie and Abigail Lawrie. Variety reported that the show "will comprise three one-hour parts, with production slated to begin July 7 in South West England." Additional cast members announced Friday were Monica Dolan, Simon McBurney, Richard Glover, Marie Critchley and Michelle Austin.

Books & Authors

Awards: Plutarch Biography; Griffin Poetry

Holding on Upside Down: The Life and Work of Marianne Moore by Linda Leavell (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) won the Plutarch Award for the best biography of 2013. Members of Biographers International Organization voted from a list of nominees selected by a committee of biographers.


Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire by Brenda Hillman and Red Doc> by Anne Carson were the International and Canadian winners respectively of this year's Griffin Poetry Prize, which honors first edition collections written in, or translated into, English and submitted from anywhere in the world. They each received $65,000. Brazilian poet and writer Adélia Prado was presented with the Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry's 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Book Review

Review: Mambo in Chinatown

Mambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok (Riverhead, $27.95 hardcover, 9781594632006, June 24, 2014)

Jean Kwok (Girl in Translation) draws on her experience as a professional ballroom dancer in this tale where familial obligation and the pursuit of passion conflict. New Yorker Charlie Wong, 22, is the backbone of her small family. Charlie's mother, a former soloist with the Beijing Ballet, passed away when Charlie was 14, so Charlie became a stand-in mom to her little sister and washes dishes at the restaurant where her father makes noodles to help him pay the bills. When she lands a new job as receptionist at a ballroom dance studio, Charlie hopes her fortunes might change. Thanks to her undiagnosed dyslexia, however, she fails miserably in her new role. Even so, her new employers are impressed by her warm personality and natural talent on the dance floor, so they offer her a position as instructor instead.

Soon Charlie is teaching classes and training for a competition with her handsome student Ryan. Just as her newly discovered passion for dance brings Charlie to life, though, her home life begins to fall apart. Her little sister suddenly loses the use of her legs due to a mysterious ailment and their father refuses to let a Western doctor examine her. His reverence for tradition also leaves Charlie certain he won't understand her new vocation, so she lies and says she works for a computer company. While the secrets she keeps from her father add up, Charlie also finds herself hiding the truth at work. She and Ryan are falling in love, but thanks to her studio's non-fraternization policy, acting on her feelings would mean sacrificing her new career.

Kwok has created a charming heroine into whose dance shoes readers can easily step. This down-to-earth dishwasher-turned-dancer doesn't let her upward mobility go to her head, and she respects her family's traditions. A great deal of conflict stems from her attempts to reconcile the Old World customs of her father's immigrant generation with the American values into which she was born. Still, Charlie faces many of the same dilemmas that plague modern young women: balancing the demands of family and career without sacrificing too much of either, choosing whether or not to pursue love when it may mean giving up a fulfilling work life. Kwok has a gift for conveying the passion and sensuality of ballroom dancing in her energetic prose, so after Charlie's story ends, readers may feel inspired to sign up for their own mambo lessons. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: A former ballroom dancer brings the passion of dance to life through the story of a young Chinese-American woman caught between tradition and her calling.

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