Also published on this date: Wednesday, July 22, 2015: Maximum Shelf: The Gap of Time

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Workman Publishing: Ejaculate Responsibly: A Whole New Way to Think about Abortion by Gabrielle Stanley Blair

Simon & Schuster: Defend Banned Books

Simon & Schuster: Defend Banned Books

Blackstone Publishing: River Woman, River Demon by Jennifer Givhan

Sourcebooks Explore: Black Boy, Black Boy by Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond, illustrated by Ken Daley


Page 158 Books Opens in Wake Forest, N.C.

After purchasing the Storyteller's Book Store in Wake Forest, N.C., this spring, Dave and Suzanne Lucey reopened it as Page 158 Books on July 1, the Wake Forest Weekly reported. "So far business has been great," Dave Lucey told Shelf Awareness. "Much better than we expected for what is traditionally a vacation month."

The Luceys came to own a bookstore in an unexpected way: one day in April, Suzanne dropped by the Storyteller's Book Store to organize an event for a local writers' forum called Writer's Night in the Forest. Drew Bridges, the owner of the Storyteller's, was 69 and looking to retire; while the two spoke, Suzanne mentioned in passing that she'd love to own a bookstore. A few days later, Bridges called and asked if Suzanne and her husband wanted to buy the bookstore. After several weeks of mentoring from Bridges, the Luceys officially took the reins.

The Luceys want to increase the number of book clubs at the store, host writing classes and seminars and expand the number of genres that the store currently stocks. They also intend to add a customer rewards program and discounts for teachers, senior citizens and members of the military. A grand opening celebration is planned for October.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: All I Want for Christmas by Maggie Knox

Former Bookseller Opening New Store in Florida

Cheryl Brooks at the new Books by the Beach.

Cheryl Brooks, who sold the Book Rack in Edgewater, Fla., in 2012, to go to school to become a certified medical electrologist, has so missed owning a bookstore that she is opening Books by the Beach in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., on August 1, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Brooks's mother, Cathy Plain, will help run the 2,000-square-foot store, which will carry new and "gently used" books. Brooks purchased the inventory of the Book Shelf in Ormond Beach, which closed in late June. The new Books by the Beach will have a sitting area and coffee station.

Eventually Brooks plans to open a second business, Thairapy Laser & Skin, next to the bookstore.

Disney-Hyperion: Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad

Vernissage for Rizzoli Bookstore in NYC

Last night Rizzoli Bookstore celebrated the imminent reopening of its iconic New York City bookstore, which had to leave West 57th Street last year and is reappearing at 1133 Broadway at 26th Street.

Rizzoli's Laura Donnini

Noting that the store will open to the public next Monday, July 27, but acknowledging there is still much work to be done, Laura Donnini, CEO of RCS Libri, the book publishing arm of RCS MediaGroup, Milan, said, "Indeed, we are late. We wondered if we should offer more espresso to the workers, but instead we're showing them the Italian way: we'll be ready at the last minute on Monday."

She emphasized the company's commitment to the printed book and traditional bookstores. "People who love books love to spend time browsing books, touching books, finding books." She said that the store offers "a discovery experience" based in large part on Rizzoli's "experienced and expert booksellers, helping and serving and surprising" customers.

The 5,000-square-foot space in the historic St. James Building offers "the classic architectural experience for which the former bookstore locations were celebrated, integrated into a new vision that matches today's tastes and the energy of its new location," as Rizzoli put it.

The new Rizzoli has an 18' × 34' glass façade that showcases the interior's 18-foot-high ceilings, a peaked skylight and an windowed salon entered via a red mullioned pivot door. Many of the fixtures from the 57th Street store were preserved and have been used in the new space, including its cherry wood bookcases and brass-and-iron chandeliers.

Diane von Furstenberg and Charles Miers, publisher, Rizzoli New York

The store has wallpaper custom designed by Fornasetti Milano and custom made by Cole & Son. The designs run as a frieze above the bookcases to the ceiling in all three grand rooms and feature motifs of Italian cities floating in the clouds, hot air balloons, zodiac figures and the classic Fornasetti collage of newspaper fragments overlaid with colorful butterflies.

Incidentally, the bookstore's staff includes Philip Turner, who's been helping get the store ready for the public and will work regularly once it opens officially. Turner will continue to operate Philip Turner Book Productions, his editorial and publishing consultancy. His job at Rizzoli is a nice coming home of sorts: his family owned Under Cover Books, which had several stores in and around Cleveland, Ohio. He worked there until the mid-1980s, when he moved to New York City. Since then, he's held senior editorial positions at Union Square Press; Carroll & Graf, Thunder's Mouth and Philip Turner Books at Avalon Publishing; Times Books; and Kodansha America.

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After 1,500 Miles, Chuck Robinson Has to End Biking Trip

Bad news from the Badlands: after riding almost 1,500 miles, Chuck Robinson, co-owner of Village Books, who had been biking from his home in Bellingham, Wash., to Galva, Ill., to attend his 50th high school reunion, has had to stop the planned 2,400-mile ride. Yesterday morning, while riding in Mandan, N.D., he was attacked by several dogs, fell and broke five ribs--and got some nasty abrasions. He and his wife, Dee, are continuing on to their reunions, but both are in the mobile home Dee has been driving.

Our hats (and bike helmets) are off to Chuck, who rode an amazing distance already and raised funds for several charitable groups, including BINC, the Book Industry Foundation. Read all about the trip--and yesterday's unfortunate accident--on his blog.

NPR's Alan Cheuse in Coma After Auto Accident

Alan Cheuse

Author and NPR book reviewer Alan Cheuse remains in a coma after having been seriously injured in a car accident as he was driving from the annual conference of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley to Santa Cruz, Calif., last week. He was transported to the hospital with broken ribs and a broken vertebrate in his neck. On Friday, however, he suffered an acute subdural hematoma, had emergency brain surgery, "and is now in an intense and critical recovery period. This will likely be a long period of time," according to the Caring Bridge page Cheuse's family created to share updates about his condition.

In a Monday post titled "Day 3 after the surgery," the family said that Cheuse "was taken off full sedation about 48 hours ago. He's still in a coma but appears very peaceful and as if in a deep sleep that is important for his brain to be able to heal. We are pleased to say that he's had some improvement in his response tests which the nurses conduct every hour and also even in his current state he's been moving his arms and legs on both sides which is good. Also one of the tests they do is lifting his eyelids to see how his eyes react to light. His right eye seems to have gone from a 'sluggish' reaction to tracking the light to 'brisk,' which is an improvement. He is stable and the doctor says that Dad is where he needs to be to have a reasonable chance of recovery. We are still in a critical period. A long road ahead of course but even still we are feeling as good as can be with this morning's report."

On Facebook, Amy Tan wrote: "Prayers for the Living is the latest novel of NPR book commentator Alan Cheuse. And right now Alan needs many of your prayers.... We know there are many friends, colleagues, fans, and NPR listeners who want to join in sending healing thoughts, prayers, and love."

Obituary Note: E.L. Doctorow

E.L. Doctorow

E.L. Doctorow, author of Ragtime, Billy Bathgate, World's Fair, The Book of Daniel and The March, among many other works, died yesterday. He was 84. He won the National Book Critics Award for Fiction three times, the PEN/Faulkner Award twice, the National Book Award, the National Humanities Award and other prizes and honors.

The New York Times called Doctorow "a leading figure in contemporary American letters" who "situated fictional characters in recognizable historical contexts, among identifiable historical figures and often within unconventional narrative forms....

"Subtly subversive in his fiction--less so in his left-wing political writing--he consistently upended expectations with a cocktail of fiction and fact, remixed in book after book; with clever and substantive manipulations of popular genres like the Western and the detective story, and with his myriad storytelling strategies. Deploying, in different books, the unreliable narrator, the stream-of-consciousness narrator, the omniscient narrator and multiple narrators, Mr. Doctorow was one of contemporary fiction's most restless experimenters....

"His protagonists lived in the seeming thrall of history but their tales, for the convenience--or, better, the purpose--of fiction, depicted alterations in accepted versions of the past. Not that he undermined the grand scheme of things; his interest was not of the what-if-things-had-gone-differently variety. Rather, a good part of Mr. Doctorow's achievement was in illustrating how the past informs the present, and how the present has evolved from the past."


Image of the Day: Lonely Planet's AIDS Walk

On Sunday, a team from the Lonely Planet office in Oakland, Calif., raised $2,530 for the AIDS Walk in San Francisco. This was Lonely Planet's ninth year in a row participating as a company. More than 20,000 people participated in the walk, raising more than $2.27 million. Pictured (l.-r.): Tom Curtis, Alex DeVera, Donovan Wheaton, Karen Finlay.

PubWest Offering Education Sessions for Pub Newbies

PubWest is offering two days of educational sessions this September to "develop new skills and techniques in book publishing professionals with one to five years experience in the field." The PUB501 conference will take place September 10-11 at the Chronicle Books offices in San Francisco.

The first day includes veteran panelists presenting an overview of publishing's four core functions, a lunch speaker who will offer a virtual tour of a book production facility, and intensive afternoon sessions focused on acquisitions, production/design and sales/marketing. The day ends with a plenary session at which real-life workplace problems will be presented and discussed. The second day, attendees will divide into "publishing houses," each of which will tackle the same tasks, from author proposal through contracting, production, marketing, sales and sub rights. PubWest staff will mentor each group, and at the close of the session, the group will assess each company's approach to creating a successful title.

Attendees can deduct 50% of their registration fees from registration for PubWest's 2016 Conference in Santa Fe, N.Mex. Attendees who have not been PubWest members will receive a free one-year membership. For more information and to register, visit

Cool Idea of the Day: Reading Aloud with Corgis

A pair of calming canines are helping kids wolf down books. Face in a Book bookstore, El Dorado Hills, Calif., lets young readers practice reading aloud to Tanner and Emma, a pair of licensed therapy corgis.

"They're not going to give you any negative feedback, they're going to look at you and be cute and soft and fuzzy and that's a great safe place for kids," said store owner Tina Ferguson. "Being able to be in a non-judgmental, safe environment has really helped them to open up to reading out loud, but also reading other types of books."

For the full story, and an adorable video, check out CBS Sacramento's website. The next Read to the Dogs event takes place Sunday, July 26, 10-11 a.m. Keep track of all future corgi visits on Face in a Book's events page.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ta-Nehisi Coates on the Daily Show

Tomorrow on Diane Rehm: Cyrus Copeland, author of Off the Radar: A Father's Secret, a Mother's Heroism, and a Son's Quest (Blue Rider Press, $27.95, 9780399158506).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau, $24, 9780812993547).


Tomorrow night on the Late Late Show with James Corden: Judd Apatow, author of Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy (Random House, $27, 9780812997576).

Books & Authors

Book Brahmin: Edward Carey

photo: Tom Langdon

Author and illustrator Edward Carey is finishing the final illustrations for the last volume of his Iremonger trilogy. The middle grade series began in 2014 with Heap House (just released in paperback by Overlook Press), set in a vast rubbish heap in Victorian London, and continues in the just published Foulsham (hardcover, Overlook), set in a condemned shanty town bordering on London, where objects come alive and some of the citizens are fake people made out of dirt. Carey has worked as a playwright in England, Romania and Lithuania, and with a shadow puppet master in Malaysia. He also illustrated his first two adult novels, Observatory Mansions and Alva & Irva, the Twins Who Saved a City.

On your nightstand now:

Mary Helen Specht's novel Migratory Animals. I saw her reading at my local bookstore; the book sounds wonderful. The Door by Magda Szabo. I met someone who met her and described to me how strange and beguiling she was--she convinced me that this book has to be read. Barbara Comyns's novel Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead. I just finished her novel The Vet's Daughter--set in London, it's about a neglected child who can levitate. I adored it absolutely. It's strange and sinister and written with the most perfect prose.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner. This was the first book I felt I inhabited. It felt personal to me. It terrified me and made me fall in love with fiction. I read it about once every two years, and it still terrifies me. When I read it as a child, I started drawing the creatures that hide inside the abandoned mines, and I think this may have started me off wanting to be a writer-illustrator. Garner is a druid-type figure and he brings English folklore alive and writhing right in front of you, making you sit up in bed.

Your top five authors:

Charles Dickens. Bruno Schulz. Carson McCullers. Shirley Jackson. Bohumil Hrabal.

Book you've faked reading:

I've tried to read The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil many times. I gallop through the first couple of hundred pages and cry, "This is the best thing ever written," and then I begin to slow, and get lost and more lost and end up throwing the book (the first volume) across the room but then rush to pick it up and apologize to it. I so want to read it, but I never succeed. I think there have been a couple of times when I've said to other people what a great book it is when I was reading the glorious beginning, but I have not necessarily fessed up to never arriving at the distant end (if it really has an end). The trouble with the man without qualities is he doesn't have any qualities. And if Musil can't finish it, why should I?

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Hilda books by Luke Pearson. They're sophisticated comic books about a young girl in an everyday city (at first the countryside) who hangs around with trolls, and hounds that live between the walls, and birds that talk and who are kings, and miniature cities and giants who tread on houses. The imagination is so glorious, the artwork so beautiful. It's funny and dark and inspired.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Oho by Rex and Laurence Whistler. Brothers, Rex did the illustrations; Laurence did the words. It's a book that can be read any way up--the faces change when they're turned upside down. Rex was a famous painter in his day; his murals are still in the Tate Gallery restaurant in London. Some people suppose he was the inspiration for the character Charles Ryder in Brideshead Revisited. He died in World War II. His brother Laurence was a poet and an extraordinary carver of glass--he carved the windows in the church of St. Nicholas in Moreton, Dorset, England, where he engraved every window over 30 years.

Book that changed your life:

From the Beast to the Blonde by Marina Warner. I read it first about two decades ago and suddenly the world seemed to make more sense. It's a book about fairy tales--where they came from and who told them. Fairy tales describe what a human is, and what a human needs. Warner unlocked these tales and imagination for me. After reading her book, I felt I had permission to write with exaggeration, and that there is great inspiration in ordinary everyday things, like shoes or hair, and that it was perfectly sensible to have 10-league boots, people spitting frogs and fathers who ate their children in a pie.

Favorite line from a book:

"Mr. Chadband is a large yellow man, with a fat smile, and a general appearance of having a good deal of train oil in his system." From Bleak House by Charles Dickens.

Which character you most relate to:

Mole in The Wind in the Willows. Nice enough fellow, perhaps. No Toad.

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

Jakob von Gunten by Robert Walser. I so love this book about a school for servants, a very mediocre school, where the students are immediately told they "will amount to nothing." It's funny, unique, very dark and very odd.

Books written by and illustrated by the same person that you most admire:

William Blake is the patron saint of all illustrator writers. More recently the people who most inspire me to keep on drawing or painting my own stories are Alasdair Gray, whose Lanark is a strange fantastic hymn to Glasgow. Bruno Schulz's two books of short stories, which thankfully are still published with his delicate pencil drawings that somehow survived the Holocaust, though he and a novel did not. Mervyn Peake, who illustrated his Gormenghast books, but the publishers (among them Graham Greene) wouldn't allow him to publish the books with illustrations at first (but now that's been rectified)--the first two of these books are just glorious baroque imagination. Tove Jansson's Moomintroll books: what a crazy land, what characters and art. And Beatrix Potter's world: these sweetly captured animals and their stories can actually be very dark indeed--my favorite is about the orbicular rat, Samuel Whiskers, and his skinny wife, Anna Maria, who try to bake Tom Kitten.

Awards: American Book Awards

Winners were announced for the American Book Awards, which are sponsored by the Before Columbus Foundation "to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America's diverse literary community." The honorees will be formally recognized October 25 at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco. This year's American Book Award winners are:

Rebel Music: Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture by Hisham Aidi (Vintage)
her beckoning hands by Arlene Biala (Word Poetry)
Forbidden City, USA: Chinese American Nightclubs, 1936-1970 by Arthur Dong (DeepFocus Productions)
An Indigenous People's History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (Beacon Press)
The Black Man of Happiness by Peter J. Harris (Black Man of Happiness Project)
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (Riverhead Books)
Transformation of the African American Intelligentsia, 1880–2012 by Martin Kilson (Harvard University Press)
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein (S&S)
The Moor's Account by Laila Lalami (Pantheon)
Los Duros by Manuel Luis Martinez (Floricanto Press)
from unincorporated territory [guma'] by Craig Santos Perez (Omnidawn)
The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light by Carlos Santana, with Ashley Kahn and Hal Miller (Little, Brown)
Southside Buddhist by Ira Sukrungruang (University of Tampa Press)
The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age by Astra Taylor (Holt)
Lifetime Achievement: Anne Waldman

Midwest Connections August Picks

From the Midwest Booksellers Association, three recent Midwest Connections Picks. Under this marketing program, the association and member stores promote booksellers' handselling favorites that have a strong Midwest regional appeal:

Kitchens of the Great Midwest: A Novel by J. Ryan Stradal (Pamela Dorman, $25, 9780525429142). "Don't miss this hotly anticipated debut about a young woman with a once-in-a-generation palate who becomes the iconic chef behind the country's most coveted dinner reservation."

If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don't! by Elise Parsley (Little, Brown, $17, 9780316376570). "This unforgettable introduction to a charismatic kid heroine also marks the dazzling debut of an extraordinary new artistic talent!"

Summerlong: A Novel by Dean Bakopoulos (Ecco, $26.99, 9780062321169). "The author of Please Don't Come Back from the Moon and My American Unhappiness delivers his breakout novel: a deft and hilarious exploration of the simmering tensions beneath the surface of a contented marriage which explode in the bedrooms and backyards of a small town over the course of a long, hot summer."

Book Review

YA Review: Symphony for the City of the Dead

Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad by M.T. Anderson (Candlewick, $25.99 hardcover, 464p., ages 14-up, 9780763668181, September 22, 2015)

In a remarkable feat of research, synthesis and storytelling, National Book Award winner M.T. Anderson (The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing) introduces Dmitri Shostakovich, the composer whose work is intimately entwined with the history of Russia from the Bolshevik Revolution through much of the Cold War.

In his first work of nonfiction for this age group, the author combines biography, history and musicology in a way that few teens will have encountered before. Shostakovich spent much of his life in Leningrad (called St. Petersburg at the time of his birth--and again today), surviving the collapse of Tsarist Russia, the arrival of Lenin, Stalin's Great Purge, World War II and the Cold War. Anderson guides readers through Russian history, the artistic movements of the early 20th century and Shostakovich's biography, pointing up important influences one upon another. The Siege of Leningrad occurs nearly halfway through the book, and makes devastating reading. Shostakovich was compelled to begin composing what he called "my Seventh Symphony" during its first months, even marking the score v.t., ("vozdushnaya trevoga, 'air-raid alarm' ") each time he ran for the bomb shelter.

The world premiere of Shostakovich's Leningrad Symphony on March 5, 1942, boosted morale throughout his country--and in the U.S., where his story softened the populace's attitude toward the Soviet Union and allowed Roosevelt to send crucial aid to Stalin. Anderson describes the sound and structure of classical music in ways that teen readers will understand; he captures how Shostakovich used music to communicate. Anderson also coaxes his audience to think critically. Many of the articles and speeches that Shostakovich delivered during his lifetime were written by others. Contemporary reports about the composer are largely hearsay. With perfect transparency, Anderson explains contradictions and influences, laying out his evidence both within the narrative and in more detailed source notes. He makes the research intriguing.

Anderson's faith in the intelligence and curiosity of young adults, in their willingness to dive into topics that some writers might consider too dark, too politically complicated or too far outside their realm of typical interest pays off. This is a long and complicated book, only sparsely illustrated with black-and-white photographs, but it culminates in a rich and moving understanding of the intersection of culture and history, and of the power of the arts to save a nation. --Angela Carstensen, school librarian

Shelf Talker: In this biography of Dmitri Shostakovich, M.T. Anderson orchestrates a masterful work of history in which the arts play a crucial role.

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