Also published on this date: Wednesday, June 10, 2015: Maximum Shelf: Did You Ever Have a Family

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Little Brown and Company: The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother's Life in the Detroit Numbers by Bridgett M. Davis

Grove Press: The Heavens by Sandra Newman

Quirk Books: Giraffes on Horseback Salad: Salvador Dali, the Marx Brothers, and the Strangest Movie Never Made by Josh Frank, adapted with Tim Heidecker, illustrated by Manuela Pertega

Other Press: Wanderer by Sarah Léon, translated by John Cullen

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky: 8 Little Planets by Chris Ferrie, illustrated by Lizzy Doyle

Flatiron Books: Save Me from Dangerous Men (Nikki Griffin #1) by S.A. Lelchuk

Berkley Books: My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

News

Juan Felipe Herrera Named U.S. Poet Laureate

Juan Felipe Herrera has been named the 21st U.S. poet laureate by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, who said his poems "champion voices, traditions and histories, as well as a cultural perspective, which is a vital part of our larger American identity." Herrera, who is the first Mexican American hold the position, will begin his year-long tenure in September when he participates in the National Book Festival and reads from his work at the Library of Congress, the Washington Post reported. He will succeed Charles Wright.

Juan Felipe Herrera

"I'm looking forward to a whole new world--and a new me," he said. "The times now seem to be evolving with voices of color. All voices are important, and yet it seems that people of color have a lot to say, particularly if you look through the poetry of young people--a lot of questions and a lot of concerns about immigration and security issues, you name it, big questions. All this is swirling in the air."

Herrera has published several collections of poetry, including Half of the World in Light, which won the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award. His most recent book is Senegal Taxi. The Post noted that he "has also worked as an actor, playwright and musician, and he has published award-winning fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults." Herrera recently finished a two-year term as the poet laureate of California and teaches at the University of Washington.
 
Jennifer Benka, executive director of the Academy of American Poets, said Herrera "is someone who believes that poetry can make a difference in people's lives and communities. He will bring an enthusiasm and electricity to the role of poet laureate that is sure to spark new and wider interest in the art form among people of all ages."

For his part, Herrera said he is "here to encourage others to speak, to speak out and speak up and write with their voices and their family stories and their sense of humor and their deep concerns and their way of speaking their own languages. I want to encourage people to do that with this amazing medium called poetry.... Waking up is the biggest thing. I'm a political poet--let us say a human poet, a poet that's concerned with the plight of people who suffer. If words can be of assistance, then that's what I'm going to use."


Rare Bird Books, A Vireo Book: Easy for You to Say by Stuttering John Melendez


Foyles' Birmingham Store Will Be a 'Model Fit for the Future'

When Foyles opened its flagship Charing Cross Road store last June, the company described it as "the bookshop for the 21st century." Speaking Tuesday night at former CEO Sam Husain's retirement party, his successor, Paul Currie, said the company's new Birmingham store will be a model "fit for the future," the Bookseller reported.

"Customers today are presented with so many shopping choices, in store, online, click and collect," Currie said. "The terms of engagement have changed and smart retailers have recognized this. Surprisingly today's retailing is not all about price, it is more about availability, the richness of service and the quality of experience. Foyles will be adopting a more inclusive culture which bridges the physical and digital through a series of initiatives.... This will be showcased in our new Birmingham store that opens in September. Birmingham will be our model store of the future. At 4,000 square feet it will be an experiential destination where physical meets digital."


Graywolf Press: Scribe by Alyson Hagy


Library of the Year: Ferguson Municipal Public Library

photos: Library Journal

The Ferguson Municipal Public Library has been named 2015 Library of the Year by Library Journal and Gale, which noted that the "small suburban library rose above the chaos and stepped up to provide sanctuary and resources for all in a community in crisis, and remained steadfast to that call over months of duress. The library leadership's modest 'it's what we do' stance resonated worldwide through social media and news coverage. It placed libraries in the center of the solution, and created a model for other libraries in communities experiencing strife."

Last summer, after the shooting of unarmed teenager Mike Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., sparked demonstrations and civil unrest, Ferguson Library remained open and engaged with its community. Library director Scott Bonner, who earlier this year received the American Library Association's Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity, said, "We did everything we could think of for the people of Ferguson. I wanted to look back on this time and regret saying yes too much instead of saying no too much. We supported our community and welcomed every human being in Ferguson, which is exactly what libraries do. Libraries help you become a better you, and help your community become a better community. I feel like this is really a recognition of the vital, honest work that all libraries do across the country every days."

Monday, indie bookseller Left Bank Books in St. Louis posted on Facebook: "Congrats to our friends at the Ferguson Municipal Public Library for the much-deserved honor!"

The award will be presented during a reception June 28 at the American Library Association Annual Conference.


Yale University Press: The Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World by William D. Nordhaus


Chris Riddell Is New British Children's Laureate

Chris Riddell

Author and illustrator Chris Riddell has been named the ninth British children's laureate, succeeding Malorie Blackman. In his new role, he "will champion creativity and the importance of visual literacy, and will call upon everyone to enjoy the 'joy of doodling' by drawing every day. He will also, like other laureates before him, champion the role of libraries, particularly in schools," the Bookseller reported.

Riddell, who is currently working on the fourth book in his Ottoline series (Ottoline and the Purple Fox), has won the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration twice (in 2002 for Pirate Diary and 2004 for Jonathan Swift's Gulliver), and was given the Costa Children's Book Award in 2013 for Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse.


Soho Press: Insurrecto by Gina Apostol


Amazon to Open Fourth Dallas Fulfillment Center

Amazon will open a fourth Texas fulfillment center in Dallas, joining facilities already operating in Coppell, Haslet, and Schertz. Employees at the 500,000-square-foot Dallas warehouse will process smaller items, including books, electronics and consumer goods.

"Our growth in Texas has been a team effort between the amazing workforce in the state and the incredible support we have received from local communities," said Mike Roth, Amazon's v-p of North America operations.

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price added that the "announcement of this new facility demonstrates to me that Amazon plans to be a long-term partner, for the community and we are proud that they continue to invest in our economy.”

In April, Amazon asked the Dallas County Commissioners Court for a tax abatement on $17 million worth of equipment and inventory. 


Hampton Roads Publishing Company: Cannabis: A Beginner's Guide to Growing Marijuana by Danny Danko


G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss
by Rajeev Balasubramanyam

According to Susan Kamil, Random House executive v-p and publisher, Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss is "for readers of A Man Called Ove or The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, novels where one feels the central character will never overcome their own emotional shortcomings or burdens, but, miraculously do." Curmudgeonly Cambridge professor of Economics P.R. Chandrasekhar does not, at first, appear capable of miracles, or even of changing his mind. But he is--and he does, thanks to a run-in with a bicyclist and a doctor's charge to follow his bliss. Author Rajeev Balasubramanyam wields considerable humor, the perfect antidote to our polarized and exhausting present, while crafting a tender and thoughtful tale. This is an absolute gem of a book. --Stefanie Hargreaves, editor, Shelf Awareness for Readers

(Dial Press, $27 hardcover, 9780525511380, March 26, 2019)

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Notes

Image of the Day: Fodor's Frozen Freebies

To celebrate the start of summer and get travelers thinking about where to go on summer weekends, the Fodor's ice cream truck is handing out sweet treats this week: Monday and Tuesday in New York City and Wednesday and Thursday in Philadelphia. Fodor's is also picking an instant $1,000 winner each day, and one online winner will get $1,000, to use toward their next getaway. See fodors.com/getaway for info on how to enter and where to score free ice cream.


'Indie Bookstores Are Places Where Words Live'

Moon Palace Books is one of the bookshops featured in the Minneapolis Star Tribune's striking slide show of Brian Peterson's photogaphs headlined "Indie bookstores are places where words live."

"Push open the door," Laurie Hertzel wrote. "Maybe a bell jingles above your head. Walk inside. Sniff, look, listen: the smell of ink on paper, the glow of sunlight filtered through ivy creeping up old windows, the wooden floor creaking and maybe slightly at a slant. Maybe it is afternoon, and a couple of guys are playing chess on the sidewalk out front. Maybe it is evening, and someone is singing at an open mic. Maybe (almost certainly) there is an inviting nook in which to sit. Independent bookstores, once considered an endangered species, are on the rise--slowly, but on the rise--from 1,400 stores nationwide in 2009 to more than 1,600 last year. Minnesota has more than 50 indie bookstores, each doubling as a little neighborhood community center."


Simon & Schuster to Distribute Gallup Press

Effective January 1, Simon & Schuster will handle English-language sales and distribution in all territories worldwide for Gallup Press's new and backlist publishing in print and digital formats. In addition, S&S will handle sales of translated editions in select foreign language markets.

Founded in 2004 and a subsidiary of the polling, analytics and consultant company, Gallup Press has a catalogue of more than 30 books on topics such as leadership, strengths, education, jobs and well-being. Bestsellers include Strengths Based Leadership, How Full Is Your Bucket? and StrengthsFinder 2.0.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: DudeFood Guy on Talk

Tomorrow on CBS Sports Radio's Jim Rome Radio Show: Ben Mezrich, author of Once Upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs (Atria, $28, 9781476771892).

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Tomorrow on the Talk: Dan Churchill, author of DudeFood: A Guy's Guide to Cooking Kick-Ass Food (Simon & Schuster, $19.99, 9781476796895).


TV: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

HBO has put in development Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, based on David Shafer's comedic debut novel, with Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment executive producing, Deadline.com reported. Zev Borow (Chuck) will write and executive produce the half-hour comedy, with Shafer serving as a co-executive producer.


Movies: The Shack; Set Fire to the Stars; Band of Robbers

Graham Greene (Longmire) has joined Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer in Lionsgate's film adaptation of William Paul Young's bestselling novel, The Shack, Deadline.com reported. Stuart Hazeldine is directing. The cast also includes Radha Mitchell (Red Widow; London Is Falling) and Aviv Alush.

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Noting that there once was "a long-passed time when writers coming to America to carouse and experience culture therein was a major event," Indiewire introduced a clip from Set Fire to the Stars, which explores Welsh poet Dylan Thomas's trip to New York City in 1950. Co-written and directed Andy Goddard, the movie stars Celyn Jones and Elijah Wood. It opens June 12 in New York City.

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"Ever wonder what became of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer after the great Mark Twain finished writing about them?" asked Deadline.com in featuring a teaser trailer for Band of Robbers, "a modern telling of the classic American novels." The movie stars Kyle Gallner, Adam Nee and Melissa Benoist.



Books & Authors

Awards: Forward Poetry; Neustadt; Wales Book of the Year

Finalists have been named for the £10,000 (about $15,335) Forward Prize for Poetry and the £5,000 (about $7,665) Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection, which were founded "to celebrate excellence in poetry and widen its audience." Winners will be announced September 28. This year's shortlisted books are:

Best collection
From Elsewhere by Ciaran Carson
The Boys of Bluehill by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
One Thousand Things Worth Knowing by Paul Muldoon
Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
Due North by Peter Riley

First collection
Small Hands by Mona Arshi
Loop of Jade by Sarah Howe
Physical by Andrew McMillan
Blood Work by Matthew Siegel
An Aviary of Small Birds by Karen McCarthy Woolf

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World Literature Today announced the shortlist for the $50,000 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, which recognizes living authors in any genre for "distinguished and continuing literary achievement." This year's finalists are:

Can Xue (China)
Caryl Churchill (England)
Carolyn Forché (U.S.)
Aminatta Forna (Scotland/Sierra Leone)
Ann-Marie MacDonald (Canada)
Guadalupe Nettel (Mexico)
Don Paterson (Scotland)
Dubravka Ugresic (Croatia/the Netherlands)
Ghassan Zaqtan (Palestine)

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Patrick McGuiness won the main English-language prize at the Wales Book of the Year awards for Other People's Countries, the Bookseller reported. Judge Paul Henry commented: "It's a poet's prose at its best--perfectly paced, effortless in its devices. Tender, humorous, moving and, in places, profound, Other People's Countries reminds us how great writing approaches the essence of memory." McGuiness's novel took the creative nonfiction category prize before being named book of the year.

Other prize-winning English-language books included Tiffany Atkinson, who received the Roland Mathias Poetry Award for So Many Moving Parts, and Cynan Jones, who won the fiction category for The Dig. The Wales Arts Review people's choice prize went to Jonathan Edwards for his poetry collection My Family and Other Superheroes. Among the Welsh-language winners, Awstyn Anogia by Gareth F. Williams took the fiction category and was named book of the year. Category winners were awarded £2,000 (about $3,065) and a trophy, while the main award winner in each language received an additional £6,000 (about $9,200).


Book Brahmin: Jami Attenberg

photo: Michael Sharkey

Jami Attenberg is the author of a story collection, Instant Love, and the novels The Kept Man, The Melting Season and The Middlesteins--which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction. Her new novel is Saint Mazie, just published by Grand Central. She has contributed essays and criticism to the New York Times, Real Simple, Elle, the Washington Post and many other publications. Attenberg lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., where she fights crime in her spare time.

On your nightstand now:

After Birth by Elisa Albert. So dark and funny, and even though it's short, fewer than 200 pages, it feels monumental.

Favorite book when you were a child:

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle was one. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis was another. I liked to go to other places. I wanted to be anywhere but where I was.

Your top five authors:

I sort of like individual works rather than bodies of work, but if I had to choose: Grace Paley, Raymond Carver, Flannery O'Connor, Elena Ferrante, Margaret Atwood.

Book you've faked reading:

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Just Kids by Patti Smith. I try to encourage all my writing students to read it because I think it's about channeling pure creativity.

Book that changed your life:

A thousand of them! Recently? Bluets by Maggie Nelson. It's so bold. I read it when I was finishing the final third of Saint Mazie, and it made me feel free as a bird, like I could write whatever I wanted and it would be just fine.

Favorite line from a book:

"She thought I was too skinny. I am, but girls like it. If you're fat, they can see immediately that you'll never need their unique talent for warmth." --Grace Paley, "The Contest."

Which character you most relate to:

Probably some lonely man sitting at a kitchen table in a Carver story.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Every page was so delightful and honest and devastating. I wanted it to go on forever, and also I wanted the narrator to take a look at me and tell me what she thought of me.


Book Review

Children's Review: The Thing About Jellyfish

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin (Little, Brown, $17 hardcover, 352p., ages 8-12, 9780316380867, September 22, 2015)

Seventh-grade narrator Suzy Swanson will win readers' hearts as she silently struggles to come to terms with the death of her former best friend, Franny Jackson.

The fact that Franny drowned while on her summer vacation makes no sense to Suzy. Franny was a strong swimmer. Suzy met Franny when they both arrived for swimming lessons at age five. Franny could already swim underwater. Suzy toggles between her present--as a seventh-grader at Eugene Field Memorial Middle School--and her memories of meeting Franny, becoming best friends, and then it all going terribly awry as Franny develops a crush on Dylan Parker and starts sitting with Aubrey and Mollie at lunch, instead of with Suzy.

Debut author Ali Benjamin depicts the painful crumbling of Suzy's friendship with Franny, and her former best friend's escalating acts of cruelty. These incidents will hit home with readers because of their familiarity--not sitting at the lunch table as they always had, then making fun of the rituals they once shared, then shutting out Suzy entirely. It all comes to a head on the sixth-grade camping trip, when Suzy uses her eyes to plead with Franny to stop Dylan's torture of a frog, and Suzy sees there "something I've never seen before: a kind of deadness in your eyes."

Suzy is convinced that the Franny she remembers is in there somewhere, if she can only reawaken her. What she does to wake Franny up seems completely plausible in Suzy's mind--a mind obsessed with the friendship she has lost. But readers will see the larger picture; Franny has moved on from Suzy to boys and barrettes and "the right hair product." It is a year of a series of deaths for Suzy: the death of her parents' marriage, the death of her friendship with Franny, and, finally, the death of Franny herself. The author tells us these things early on, but it's the way Suzy insulates herself from these matters that will keep readers turning pages. Suzy moves from "constant-talking" to a selective muteness in the days following Franny's death. She feels certain that the Irukandji jellyfish is responsible for Franny's death. It's the only plausible explanation. In her pursuit to prove this, she finds a reason to keep going.

Benjamin shows readers that there are many ways to grieve, and, surrounded by people who love her, Suzy will get to the other side of her complex emotions. Suzy's ability to articulate the tectonic shifts in her world will help readers get through theirs, too. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: Seventh-grade narrator Suzy Swanson will win readers' hearts as she silently struggles to come to terms with her complex emotions over the death of her former best friend.


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