Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, June 10, 2014

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


Watchung Booksellers in N.J. Celebrates Expansion

On Friday, Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, N.J., celebrated the opening of its new Café Room, a 150-square-feet room next to the front of the store, in new space that it shares with the Tiny Elephant Café. (Owned by sisters Alison Meade and Dana Bashan, the Tiny Elephant just opened and has a kitchen and its own serving area.)

Margot Sage-EL in Watchung Booksellers' new Cafe Room with part of the original space in the background.

Besides several chairs and a counter with stools, the Café Room features what owner Margot Sage-EL calls "aspirational living books," including cooking, gardening, travel and travel writing, music and film and art. The moving of those sections opened up space in the original space and led to a reshuffling of areas. Fiction, which used to be the prominent section at the front of the store, is now in the center of the store, and more nonfiction is up front. "People think we have more books," Sage-EL said, "but it's just that now they can see them all."

The new space has a central table on casters, part of the striking fixtures in the room that were custom made by Tom Blake, that can be moved out of the way for events. The café is open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Friday and for brunch on weekends. The front of the store is now much brighter and airy, with a long wall of windows, and the back of the store also feels much more open.

Reaction has been very positive, with customers saying the new room is like "an extension of your living room or den," Sage-EL said. She added that "everyone is thanking us for doing it for them, which is really, really nice."

Berkley Books: Our Italian Summer by Jennifer Probst

Jennifer Crewe New Head of Columbia University Press

Jennifer Crewe has been appointed president and director of Columbia University Press, and is the first woman director of an Ivy League university press, Columbia University said.

Crewe has been interim director for the past nine months and has worked at the press for more than 30 years, starting as an acquisitions editor and more recently as editorial director.

Columbia University Provost John H. Coatsworth commented: "Jennifer's notable strengths as an editor and administrator, as well as her deep understanding of the Press's history, made her the clear choice of the faculty-led search committee. She has taken steps to increase the reach, visibility and effectiveness of the Press, developed new strategies to expand capacity and improve book schedules, and negotiated an agreement for the Press to distribute Woodrow Wilson Center books."

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 08.10.20

Copel Earns Lemony Snicket 'Noble Librarians' Recognition

Laurence Copel, youth outreach librarian and founder of the Lower Ninth Ward Street Library in New Orleans, is the inaugural recipient of the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity. On June 29, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) will present her with a $3,000 check, $1,000 travel expenses, a certificate and "an odd object from Handler's private collection" during the American Library Association's Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas.

photo: Mary Grace Rickard

"Copel is recognized for her extraordinary efforts to provide books to young readers of the Ninth Ward," said ALA president Barbara Stripling, adding that she "is a brilliant example of how librarians can serve as change agents. Her leadership and commitment show the vital role that librarians and libraries play in energizing and engaging the communities that they serve."
Known to the children in the Lower Ninth Ward as the Book Lady, Copel moved to New Orleans from New York City in 2010 and opened a library in her home through self-funding and small donations while living on $350 a week. She also converted her bicycle to a mobile book carrier allowing her to reach children and families that could not travel to her home. Despite many challenges, she has provided more than 7,000 books to children in need, "demonstrated remarkable dedication and perseverance to the cause of youth literacy and, in the process, ingenuity and spunk. Though overwhelmed and undermanned, she has refused to relent. Instead she has demonstrated a remarkable resilience and commitment to her cause," the ALA noted.  
"What especially struck me is that Copel is dealing not just with an adverse incident, but with continuing pervasive adversity," said award chair Eric Suess. "She has dedicated so much of her time and personal resources, as well as her tremendous affection for the children of the Ninth Ward. My hope is that she will continue to fight to place books in the hands of young readers."

BINC: Book Auction to Benefit BINC - Click Here!

Obituary Note: Frances Foster

Children's book editor Frances Foster died on Sunday after a long illness. She was 83.

In September 2012, when she was honored at the Eric Carle Awards in the "Mentor" category, Foster said that as she was coming up through the ranks, "who you were was how you mentored." She told an anecdotal gem about being sent as a young assistant to Roald Dahl, to tell him to "tone down his racist characterization of the Oompa-Loompas" (a story we first heard in Leonard S. Marcus's interview with her for the Horn Book). She didn't quite understand why she was chosen until she learned that "no one in the department was speaking to Roald Dahl at the time. I was a safe sacrifice." Foster edited Dahl for many years, she said, "until I, too, had the inevitable falling out."

Foster began her career in the 1950s as assistant to Alice Dalgliesh at Charles Scribner's Sons, where she stayed until 1961, then worked with William R. Scott and Margaret K. McElderry (until McElderry's famous dismissal by William Jovanovich at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich) before joining Knopf (where she worked with Dahl). She founded her imprint at Farrar, Straus & Giroux (now part of Macmillan) in 1996 and retired last year. Among the many talents she mentored during her career were Leo Lionni, Barbara McClintock, Philip Pullman, Louis Sachar and Peter Sís. Her books have garnered the Newbery Medal, Caldecott Honors and the National Book Award. Jon Yaged of Macmillan reports that there will be a memorial service for her in late summer or early fall.

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


Image of the Day: Pub Party for Ungoverned Children

Last Friday, the Bookworm of Edwards, Edwards, Colo., celebrated the publication of Ungoverned Children, its second collection of short stories written by Vail Valley students. The paperback was assembled by the store's marketing team and features 11 winning submissions from the bookshop's second annual children's writing contest. Some 100 copies were printed on the Tattered Cover's Espresso Book Machine. Here appearing with all the contest participants: judges Lindsay Eland (back row, second from left), Genevieve Coffey (back row, third from left), Suzanne Foster (back row, behind the child in the hat).

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

Bookstore Cookbook: From the Kitchen at Arcadia Books

And in another bookstore book story, this week Arcadia Books, Spring Green, Wis., is publishing a cookbook, From the Kitchen at Arcadia Books, with recipes and reflections by Jacki Singleton and "the whole crew at the Kitchen." The store calls it "a great way to take a little bit of us home with you."

"We say we feed every part of you," Singleton, who runs the kitchen and developed most of the recipes in the book, told the Wisconsin State Journal. "We feed the intellect and the spirit with the books and feed the body with the food." Recipes include soups, potato salad, rhubarb bars and "the kitchen's popular curried chicken salad."

James Bohnen, who founded the store in 2011, told the Journal that he and Singleton had originally seen the kitchen as a "grab-and-go" operation, but people wanted to "grab and stay."

"When Jacki and I first talked about it, we had some ideas of what it might be and I think the response of the town took us completely by surprise, in a pleasant way," Bohnen told the paper. "She's done the thing I hoped she'd do, create variety with things people like and things people don’t know they like 'til they try them."

Bohnen is longtime director of the American Players Theatre, and Singleton is a Theatre stage manager.

Cool Idea of the Day: The ShiresPress College Series

The Northshire Bookstore and Southern Vermont College have teamed up to offer students the opportunity to have their work published and printed in book form. The ShiresPress Series "will be a four-course curriculum, taken over all four years of college, at the end of which Northshire Bookstore will print five copies of each student's book and provide them with an ISBN and barcode, retail shelf exposure at both of Northshire's locations [Manchester Center, Vt., and Saratoga Springs, N.Y.], online listing of the book at Northshire's website and royalty fees for any sales of the book," the Bennington Banner reported.

Northshire Bookstore owner Chris Morrow and Southern Vermont College president Karen Gross. (photo: Susan Biggs/Southern Vermont College)

"We like it in large part because it democratizes publishing," said Northshire co-owner Chris Morrow, who made the announcement with SVC president Karen Gross. "Partnering around a book and getting students to publish books is exciting. This is Karen's initiative, and we're thrilled to be involved."

The required courses include a freshman year writing sequence, sophomore year course entitled "Foundations in Book Publishing," a senior year publishing practicum and one of several humanities electives.

"Books are a central part of education generally, but at SVC they take on a bigger role," said Gross, who told Inside Higher Ed she believes "the future of higher education requires that colleges partner not only with each other but also with businesses in their community."

Watermark's Sarah Bagby on PBS NewsHour

During his report from BookExpo America, PBS NewsHour correspondent Jeffrey Brown spoke with Sarah Bagby, owner of Watermark Books and Cafe, Wichita, Kan. She told him "success today requires a cafe, an appeal to local quality of life and a tough head for business." More from their exchange:

SB: I think, over the years, people realize that the bookstores that are in business and thriving in today's climate are real businesspeople.
JB: Yes.
SB: We are very strategic about the books we get behind. We buy our product at the lowest price we can, and then we do everything in the store to connect that product to our customer.
JB: So much for the romance of owning a small bookstore.
SB: Oh, my gosh. But it is--it's fun.

Personnel Changes at Basic Books

Carrie Majer has joined the Basic Books publicity department as senior publicist. She was formerly a senior publicist at Bloomsbury, where had worked for seven years. Before that, she worked for three years as a bookseller, manager and event coordinator at Oblong Books & Music, Rhinebeck, N.Y.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: John Waters on Fresh Air

Today on Fresh Air: John Waters, author of Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26, 9780374298630).


Tomorrow on the View: Amar'e Stoudemire, co-author of Cooking with Amar'e: 100 Easy Recipes for Pros and Rookies in the Kitchen (It Books, $27.99, 9780062325181). He will also appear on the Today Show.


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: David B. Agus, author of A Short Guide to a Long Life (Simon & Schuster, $17.95, 9781476730950).

Adaptation: Film to Book to Film

When Tommy Wiseau's low-budget film The Room "became infamous as one of the best bad movies of the twenty-first century," his co-star Greg Sestero wrote (with Tom Bissell) a making-of book called The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made. "Not only has Seth Rogen bought the rights to the book, but James Franco has already called dibs on directing--and probably on the Wiseau role," Word & Film reported, adding that "the plot thickened this weekend when Dave Franco (James' brother and a rising star in his own right) announced that he would play Sestero."

Books & Authors

Awards: Prince of Asturias Literature

John Banville won Spain's prestigious €50,000 (US$68,220) Prince of Asturias literature award, which rewards "individuals and organizations around the world who make a significant contribution to arts, sports, science and public affairs," the Telegraph reported. The judges praised Banville's "skill in developing the plot and his mastery of registers and expressive nuances, as well as for his reflections on the secrets of the human heart."

Book Review

Review: Angelica's Smile

Angelica's Smile by Andrea Camilleri, trans. by Stephen Sartarelli (Penguin, $16 trade paper, 9780143123767, June 24, 2014)

A man who collects Rolexes as a hobby awakens from being overcome with gas during the night to discover he has lost an entire gallery of art worth a fortune. This burglary opens Angelica's Smile, the 17th mystery in the Inspector Montalbano series, and the odd thing is that it duplicates a burglary that happened three nights before. In both cases, keys are cleverly extricated from a summer residence and used to rob the victims' homes in Vigàta, Sicily.

It's clear a mastermind is orchestrating these crimes, intentionally baiting the famous Inspector Salvo Montalbano, daring him to stop the string of similar burglaries. Known only as Mr Z, he lets his thugs keep all the spoils; he's only interested in the crimes as sport. One of the burglary victims is a gorgeous blonde who shares a name with the elusive beauty in the Italian Renaissance epic Orlando Furioso. In the poem, Angelica drives the hero so furioso he's ripping up trees. Poor Montalbano doesn't fare much better. Though he's certainly used to beautiful women throwing themselves at him, he usually remains faithful to his steady girlfriend and stays out of trouble. This time, the inspector is reciting love poetry and concealing evidence.

Otherwise, it's delightfully familiar territory for fans of this long-running series. Montalbano still wakes up to bleak thoughts of mortality in his home on the beach. His old housekeeper, Adelina, still leaves delicious gourmet meals in his refrigerator as her sons go in and out of prison. His girlfriend, Livia, is still jealous of other women, and her cooking has not improved. Officer Catarella is still screwing up phone messages at the police station. Prosecutor Tommaseo is just as accident-prone behind the wheel. As usual, the plot is crowded with colorful minor characters--doormen, thugs, inept drivers, restaurant cooks, key makers, plumbers and bank clerks--all with that extra-sharp Sicilian flavor.

Andrea Camilleri (Hunting Season) writes in a lean, economical, straightforward style that is deceptively simple, spiced with a Sicilian earthy frankness. Though Montalbano has marched grudgingly into modern times (he still refuses to drive over 45 mph), the inspector loves food and beautiful women as much as ever. The plot mechanics are dispensed with swiftly and forgettably; Montalbano's gruff, delightful presence provides the mystery's real pleasure. With the wisdom of a writer approaching 90 in full control of his powers, Camilleri can focus on what's important: his hero facing a brief, stolen opportunity to sample the pleasures of life. --Nick DiMartino, Nick's Picks, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

Shelf Talker: Camilleri's 17th Inspector Montalbano mystery finds his 58-year-old hero falling for a burglarized blonde who's as lovely--and unpredictable--as a Renaissance heroine.

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