Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Bloomsbury Publishing: The Road to Grantchester by James Runcie

DC Ink: Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia, illustrated by Gabriel Picolo

University of California Press: Essential Reading on Climate Change: Ocean Outbreak and A Sea of Glass by Drew Harvill

Other Press: The Helicopter Heist: A Novel Based on True Events by Jonas Bonnier, translated by Alice Menzies

Ballantine Books: The Swallows by Lisa Lutz

News

B&N to Close Queens, N.Y., Location

Barnes & Noble will close its store in the Fresh Meadows neighborhood of Queens, N.Y., in December because the company "could not reach a new lease agreement with the property owner," the Daily News reported. B&N still operates two stores in Queens, in Forest Hills and Bay Terrace.

"We had discussions with the property owner to try to structure a lease extension but were not able to come to an agreement," said David Deason, B&N v-p of development. The store opened 10 years ago.

"It's a big blow to the community," said Jim Gallagher, president of the Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association. "I wish they would find another location in Fresh Meadows."

Only last week, B&N announced it had to close its store in the Bronx for similar reasons. But after community protests and the intercession of Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr., the landlord agreed to extend B&N's lease for two years with no increase in rent.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Polite Society by Mahesh Rao


Rakuten Debuts New U.K. Website

In a move described by the company as a step "to accelerate the global expansion of its Internet services ecosystem," Rakuten, the Japanese corporation that owns Kobo, has launched a new U.K. website, which will "initially offer products from some of the U.K.'s most exciting merchants before expanding to include international merchants in the future."

Customers will be able to access digital services offered by Rakuten businesses, including Kobo and Wuaki, through a single account as of December, and in the future, customers will be able to buy from Rakuten marketplaces worldwide, the company said.

"With the launch of Rakuten.co.uk, we are making it easier for shoppers to discover what they want and empowering merchants to provide it," said Kenji Hirose, CEO of Rakuten Europe.


GLOW: Atria Books: Right After the Weather by Carol Anshaw


Amazon Opening Warehouses in Illinois; Will Collect Sales Tax

Amazon is opening several warehouses in Illinois near Chicago, the first of which should be operational next year, according to the Chicago Tribune. When the warehouse opens, Amazon will begin collecting sales tax; it is also receiving tax credits for the warehouses, but the newspaper doesn't know how much and an official release from Amazon and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Senator Dick Durbin about the warehouses doesn't mention the tax giveaway.

Illinois has long battled Amazon over collection of sales tax, and in 2011, it even passed an "Amazon Tax," a sales tax collection law aimed at the retailer. That law was struck down by the state's high court in October 2013.

In the official release, Durbin, the Senate Majority Whip, offered this statement: "It's been my pleasure to work closely with Amazon on my Marketplace Fairness Act and I couldn't be more pleased that the company has chosen to make this substantial investment in our state, announcing 1,000 jobs with good benefits right off the bat and an opportunity to expand in the future."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: First Cosmic Velocity by Zach Powers


HarperCollins Launches Global Podcast Network

HarperCollins has launched a new global podcast network, HarperCollins Presents, showcasing authors, editors and other creative types in conversations about books, culture, the arts, inspiration and the creative process. Current episodes feature Veronica Roth (Divergent), Wilbur Smith (Desert God: A Novel of Ancient Egypt) and David Baddiel (The Parent Agency). Upcoming segments will include Patricia Cornwell (Flesh and Blood: A Scarpetta Novel), Bernard Cornwell (The Pagan Lord), Garth Nix (Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen), David Cronenberg (Consumed) and Alexander McCall Smith (The Handsome Man's De Luxe Café: No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency).

"HarperCollins has proven adept at creating vibrant podcasts," said Nick Perrett, group director of strategy and digital for HarperCollins U.K. "With 1.4 million current SoundCloud subscribers across the U.S. and U.K. divisions, we feel a global network of podcasts will benefit both our authors and their fans. HarperCollins is a global company with global authors benefiting from a global direct-to-consumer approach--and HarperCollins Presents is a great addition to our strategy."

"Our authors are some of the most interesting people in the world," said Ana Maria Allessi, publisher of HarperAudio and v-p of digital innovation. "Now you can hear their voices and thoughts in addition to reading their words."

HarperCollins Presents is available on iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher.


Berkley Books: Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati


Obituary Note: John-Roger

John-Roger (born Roger Hinkins), "a self-anointed spiritual adviser and preacher of human potential" who founded the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness, died last Wednesday, the New York Times reported. He was 80. The Movement "for a time achieved an aura of glamour and attracted celebrity adherents while provoking along the way accusations that he was running a cult," the Times added.

John-Roger was the author or co-author of several books, including Spiritual Warrior: The Art of Spiritual Living, Living the Spiritual Principles of Health and Well-Being and Forgiveness: The Key to the Kingdom.


Notes

Image of the Day: Murder at the Bookstore

This past weekend, the Country Bookshelf in Bozeman, Mont., hosted its second annual Murder Mystery Party. This year's theme, "Murder at the Poetry Reading," brought in 50 investigators over two nights to solve crime, eat, drink and have a dastardly fun evening at the bookstore.

The evening's entertainment was written and directed by bookseller Kyle Butler, and the cast consisted of bookstore staff and friends of the bookstore, including volunteers from a local theater. Seven devious characters, each with a motive to hide, led the guests on a search to find a stolen sapphire and solve a shocking murder. Guests, including at least one local mystery author, interviewed suspects and collected clues. In photo: (l.) volunteer actor Trevor Haderlie and guest investigator Katie Hoffman.


Shakespeare & Company: 'A Destination, Far from Amazon'

Shakespeare and Company, "arguably the most famous independent bookstore in the world, occupies a prime piece of real estate facing the Seine in Paris, not far from the Latin Quarter, Place Saint-Michel, and Boulevard Saint-Germain. The river is just a stone's throw from the front door," wrote Bruce Handy in his detailed exploration for Vanity Fair of the history and cultural impact of the legendary bookshop that "is a destination, far from Amazon."

"It is definitely Dionysus's favorite bookstore," observed actor and author Ethan Hawke, who "has been a fan since he turned up in Paris alone at the age of 16 and crashed at the store for five or six nights after wandering over, curious, from Notre Dame," Handy noted. The first impression of Dave Eggers, who first visited as a backpacker in his 20s, was of "an absurd place--almost down to the last crooked corner and narrow staircase, [it was] the bookstore of my dreams." (Check out Jess Levitz's illustrated map of the bookshop)

Even Frank Sinatra was a fan, offering this advice to a former pit boss at the Sands in Las Vegas, "Eddie you must travel and when you do, go to Paris, go to the Shakespeare bookstore. I know the guy there.... Go see the guy George [Whitman]--he's a guy that lives with the books."

Handy observed that Shakespeare and Company "remains a singular place," where Whitman's daughter, Sylvia, and her partner, David Delannet, "have done a remarkable job of preserving the store's DNA while modernizing around the edges and adding revitalizing touches of their own, such as an irregular series of literary and arts festivals, a 10,000-euro prize for unpublished writers (financed in part by friends of the store), and a vital, ongoing series of readings, panels, plays, and other events, including an annual summer reading series with N.Y.U.'s Writers in Paris program. A publishing venture is in the works, to be launched with the aforementioned store history, as is a Shakespeare and Company café, a longtime dream of George's, possibly in a commercial space around the corner the store is buying. (His other longtime dream, of stocking the wishing well with baby seals, has been abandoned for now.) A new website will be rolled out this fall, and the paid staff--who now number 22, up from 7 when George died--have some witty ideas about curation and customizing books as a way to compete, on Shakespeare's terms, with Amazon."


Window Display of the Day: Penn Book Center

Congratulations to Penn Book Center, Philadelphia, Pa., which won an honorable mention for Window Display in Philadelphia's 2014 Storefront Challenge, a biennial event recognizing the best storefront improvements made during the previous two years. The competition is sponsored by Philadelphia's Commerce Department and the Community Design Collaborative. Penn Center's winning display was designed by students at Drexel University's Visual Marketing Program. The class designed two windows, one on children's books (see photo) and one on gardening. Penn Book Center owner Ashley Montague commented: "The students spent hours planning and installing the windows and worked with an incredibly small budget."


Booklynn #2: One Step at a Time

Rosen

Lynn Rosen updates us on the bookstore she is opening in suburban Philadelphia. Part 1 is available here.

My thanks to those of you who wrote to me after my first Booklynn post about my plans to open a new bookstore in Elkins Park. It was great to hear from you all! I already feel very warmly welcomed into the bookselling community.

It's been a month since my first "Booklynn" post, and I wish I had more to tell you. There have been small steps. For example, we are now, officially and according to the state of Pennsylvania, Open Book Philly LLC. We have postponed our opening date just a bit, to early November, to give us a little more time to raise the money for our opening inventory. We are still working on our crowdsourcing campaign. It seems one has to have a somewhat sophisticated video, not just me sitting in front of a static camera talking and being my charming self. (Btw, we've debated between Kickstarter and Indiegogo and we have selected Kickstarter, but I'd be interested to hear thoughts from readers.)

Because the space we are opening is so small, I underestimated what would be involved in opening the store. It may be a small space, but this is a big job, a big commitment, and there's a lot to do: insurance, buy stock, signage, gift wrap, an opening event, promotion--and lots more I'm sure I've forgotten! (Please tell me what it is!) Evan (my husband and partner in this endeavor) had gently suggested this was a bigger deal than I realized. Oh, how I hate to say this: you were right, honey! So we keep moving forward, learning much as we go along. I'm overwhelmed and nervous, frightened even, but I just keep repeating my new mantra to myself: one step at a time.

We had a bit of a setback too, albeit a small one. We bought some great bookshelves on Craigslist, rented a truck and brought them to the store. I was so excited about what we had found at such a good price. But there wasn't room for one of the units because Cynthia, our proprietress, had an art exhibit up that she would be taking down in a few days. As it turns out, there's a vacant shop next door, and I asked the landlord if we could keep our bookcase there for a short while. But when I went to pick it up, it was gone. Turns out he rented the space, hired some cleaning people, and told them to trash whatever they found in the store. So our bookcase was put in the dumpster! I'm sad. But back to Craigslist....

As I mentioned, we postponed opening day. We had debated having a soft opening, and we decided against that. We were concerned people might come in once, see that we didn't have much stock, and never come back. But now I'm starting to worry that even our "hard" opening might have the same effect. Because we are going to be small, really small.

Even though we will have limited space and a much more modest collection of books than most other indie bookstores, I think what we will have will be special. We will really know the books we sell--we can really get behind them, talk about most of them, because we have read them, or they have been reviewed by sources we trust, be those sources book reviewers or friends and neighbors. We won't carry many bestsellers, for we can't hope to compete against the discounting at Amazon or Costco, but we plan to bring books to readers' attention that they wouldn't have found without us. That's what I do now for the people who take my "Hot Off the Press" class, and that's what I plan to do for my customers.

I almost want to be a sort of reading consultant. I think of the scenario when you go into a stationery store to order invitations. They sit with you at a table, they bring out books of samples, and you talk about what you like and don't like, then you place an order. That's what I want to do with my customers: sit down at my table and talk to them, learn about what they like and don't like to read, and then come up with suggestions that are tailored to their interests. And if it isn't something I can pull off the shelf at that moment, I'll special order it and deliver it.

This week I have started to think that what Evan and I are opening is not so much a bookstore as something slightly different and hopefully, slightly new. It's a bookselling shop, but it's not quite a bookstore. I'll be a personal shopper for books, perhaps. We'll see what happens as this evolution continues. One step at a time.


Personnel Changes at Hachette, HarperCollins, Kensington, Rutgers

Michelle Aielli is joining Hachette Books as executive director of publicity. She has been publicity director of sister division Little, Brown, where she has worked for 10 years, earlier as publicity manager and publicist for James Patterson. She began her career at HarperCollins, before moving to Ballantine and Perseus.

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At HarperCollins Children's Books:
 
Nellie Kurtzman has joined the division as director of integrated marketing. She was formerly executive producer and co-founder of Kid & the Wolf, a video production company and earlier headed marketing at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and was director of digital and trade marketing at Disney Consumer Products

Cheryl Rozier has joined the division as director of integrated marketing, advertising and promotion. She formerly was advertising director for the adult and children's divisions at the Hachette Book Group.

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In the Kensington communications department:
 
Mala Bhattacharjee has joined the company as communications & marketing manager, Dafina & women's fiction. She formerly was features editor at RT Book Reviews.

Morgan Elwell has joined the company as communications & marketing manager, mystery & thrillers. She formerly produced TV programs in Virginia, including Virginia This Morning (CBS affiliate).

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Jeremy Grainger has joined Rutgers University Press as sales and marketing director. Previously, he was sales  and marketing manager at the Aperture Foundation and national account manager at Quarto Publishing Group US.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Diane von Furstenberg on Today

Today on Fresh Air and the Today Show: Amy Poehler, author of Yes Please (Dey Street Books, $28.99, 9780062268341).

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This morning on CBS This Morning: Michael Lewis, author of Liar's Poker (25th Anniversary Edition): Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street (Norton, $25.95, 9780393246100). Tomorrow night he will also be on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Diane von Furstenberg, author of The Woman I Wanted to Be (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781451651546). She will also appear on E! News.

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Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Dominique Ansel, author of Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781476764191).

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Tomorrow on the Chew: Tracy Pollan, co-author of The Pollan Family Table: The Best Recipes and Kitchen Wisdom for Delicious, Healthy Family Meals (Scribner, $30, 9781476746371). She will also appear on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live.

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Tomorrow on the View: Bethenny Frankel, author of Cookie Meets Peanut (Little, Brown, $17, 9780316368438).

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Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: readers review "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving.

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Tomorrow night on the Tonight Show: George Clinton, co-author of Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard on You?: A Memoir (Atria, $27, 9781476751078).

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Jill Lepore, author of The Secret History of Wonder Woman (Knopf, $29.95, 9780385354042).


Movies: The BFG; Mr. Pip

DreamWorks Studios has cast Mark Rylance (Wolf Hall) as the title character in The BFG, adapted from Roald Dahl's children's novel. Variety reported that director Steven Spielberg will begin shooting in early 2015 and the movie will open in U.S. theaters on July 1, 2016. Melissa Mathison (E.T.) has written the screenplay.

"As I witnessed on stage, Mark Rylance is a transformational actor," said Spielberg of the actor who has won Tony Awards for Boeing Boeing, Jerusalem and Twelfth Night, as well as Olivier Awards for Much Ado About Nothing and Jerusalem. "I am excited and thrilled that Mark will be making this journey with us to Giant Country. Everything about his career so far is about making the courageous choice and I'm honored he has chosen The BFG as his next big screen performance."

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In a new clip from Mr. Pip, adapted from the novel by Hugh Jones, Hugh Laurie (House) "shows a softer side," Indiewire noted. The film, directed by Andrew Adamson (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, Shrek), "tells the story of Mr. Watts, an Englishman in the tropical village in Bougainville, who reads Great Expectations by Charles Dickens to the children of the island, transporting their imaginations to a different world, all while a civil war draws closer." Mr. Pip opens in limited release and VOD on November 7.



Books & Authors

Awards: CWA Daggers; Red House Children's Book

Winners of the Specsavers Crime Writers' Association Dagger Awards were named at the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards in London. The Dagger winners are:

Goldsboro Gold Dagger: This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash
Ian Fleming Steel Dagger: An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris
John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger: The Axeman's Jazz by Ray Celestin

Harris and Denise Mina were inducted into the CWA Hall of Fame in recognition of their contributions to the genre. Peter May won the Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read of the Year for Entry Island, which was chosen by a group of independent publishing experts from the Awards Academy.

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Finalists have been named for the Red House Children's Book Award, a U.K. prize voted for entirely by kids. The winner will be honored in London February 21, 2015. The shortlisted titles are:

Books for Younger Readers
Baby Aliens Got My Teacher! by Pamela Butchart
The Bomber Dog by Megan Rix
Demon Dentist by David Walliams

Books for Older Readers
Noble Conflict by Malorie Blackman
The Prince of the Icemark by Stuart Hill
Split Second by Sophie McKenzie

Books for Younger Children
Dragon Loves Penguin by Debi Gliori
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
Go to Sleep or I Let Loose the Leopard by Stephen Cole
That Is Not a Good Idea! by Mo Willems


Book Review

Review: No Man's Land

No Man's Land: Preparing for War and Peace in Post-9/11 America by Elizabeth D. Samet (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25 hardcover, 9780374222772, November 4, 2014)

How does one prepare the future leaders of the U.S. Army when the long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are winding down and their "BOG:Dwell ratios" ("boots on the ground" vs. home station time) will lean more toward garrison than combat deployment? What skills will they need to lead soldiers facing the challenges of home-front assimilation instead of the dangers of war-zone battle? These questions led West Point English professor Elizabeth D. Samet (Soldier's Heart) to shift her focus from The Iliad's battle-hardened Achilles to The Odyssey's long-suffering returning hero, Odysseus. After a decade teaching plebes a war-centric syllabus of poetry, fiction and history, Samet assessed the future military landscape and revised her course selections to prepare her students for a "scenario in which they will end up fighting different wars in new places or in no place at all." She likens this future to World War I's "no man's land"--that stretch of emptiness between the combatants' front-line trenches. It is a place of neither war nor peace, yet one that neither side can ignore. The victor is the one who can prevail in no man's land.

Using personal insight and communications with her former students (both while stationed in war zones and when based back in the U.S.), in No Man's Land Samet provides a thoughtful, work-in-progress look at the practice of presenting the broad wisdom of the humanities to technology-driven, mission-focused soldiers. In addition to Homer, her revised curriculum includes the classics--Shakespeare, Plutarch and Ovid--as well as more contemporary works by Arthur Conan Doyle, Georges Simenon, Robert Pirsig and J.K. Rowling. Her classes incorporate not only post-World War II movies like The Blue Dahlia and Till the End of Time, but also current TV shows like Sons of Anarchy, which attracts soldiers with its military-like motorcycle club regalia, rules and camaraderie. The cadets even provide curriculum input, such as one's suggestion to study Led Zeppelin "because they had written the best music in the history of forever."

For Samet, teaching future army officers is an interactive, sometimes playful calling, but she never loses sight of its seriousness. She is sensitive to her pupils' ingrained belief that meaningful command comes with combat experience, not home-front assignments--that like Alexander the Great, "when your ambition is to conquer the world... turning around can only ever feel like a colossal failure." Perhaps the most difficult part of her attachment to her students comes when one is lost, like the captain killed on deployment just after e-mailing her that "life is good... except the whole Afghanistan thing." No Man's Land is a sensitive, thoughtful look at the education of America's future military leaders by a savvy, invested professor. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: As our recent long wars wind down, West Point English professor Elizabeth Samet reflects on how best to educate military leaders for a future of neither war nor peace.


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