Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Harper: A Crooked Tree by Una Mannion

Algonquin Books: Let's Get Back to the Party by Zak Salih

Simon & Schuster: Unicorns Are the Worst! by Alex Willan

Candlewick Press: In the Half Room by Carson Ellis

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Kondo & Kezumi Visit Giant Island by David Goodner, illustrated by Andrea Tsurumi

Candlewick Press: A Polar Bear in the Snow by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Shawn Harris

Quotation of the Day

Guide to Kulchur: 'A Place to Learn You Can Go Anywhere'

RA Washington

"I want to find ways to synthesize what I learned over the course of 20-plus years trying to pursue art and ideas and social justice in a place with very limited resources for young people and people of color. I want to be able to create a place where you will learn through cultural currency that you can go anywhere you want."

--RA Washington, poet and co-founder of Guide to Kulchur, the Cleveland, Ohio, "book, magazine, and periodicals shop that doubles as a co-op workshop," in a feature story in Al Jazeera Magazine.

Sourcebooks Explore: No Reading Allowed: The Worst Read-Aloud Book Ever by Raj Haldar and Chris Carpenter, illustrated by Bryce Gladfelter


NYC Shakespeare & Co.'s Major Renovations

photo: DNAinfo/Shaye Weaver

The Shakespeare & Co. bookstore in New York City on Lexington Avenue at 68th Street is reopening soon after an extensive renovation that includes the installation of an Espresso Book Machine, DNAinfo reported.

The store was bought earlier this year by Dane Neller, founder of On Demand Books and CEO of Dean & Deluca. Shakespeare had been owned many years by Bill and Steve Kurland, with several locations, including its original store on Broadway on the Upper West Side.

The renovations include a new coffee shop, seating, a restroom and a section devoted to self-published authors. The bookstore will continue to carry textbooks for Hunter College and Marymount Manhattan College.

Soho Press: The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata by Gina Apostol

New NYC Arthouse Theater Will Have Bookstore

An arthouse cinema opening in New York City on the Lower East Side next year will include a bookstore, the New York Times reported. The Metrograph theater will have two screens, play 35 millimeter and digital films and have a restaurant and lounge in addition to the bookstore. IndieWire said the bookstore will be "cinema-dedicated." The theater will play "world-class independent, international, repertory films and exclusive premieres."

Metrograph's founder is Alexander Olch, a film director and designer of menswear accessories who owns a boutique one block from where the theater is being built in an old warehouse on Ludlow Street at Canal Street.

University of Minnesota Press: My Life in the Purple Kingdom by Brownmark and Cynthia M Uhrich

In Japan, Kinokuniya Buying Most of Murakami First Printing


In Japan, Kinokuniya is buying 90,000 copies of the 100,000 first printing of Haruki Murakami's new essay collection, Novelist as a Vocation, which will appear September 10, the Asahi Shimbun reported. The newspaper described the bookstore chain's move as a way of fighting "the emerging dominance of online retailers."

"The reality of the industry today is that it is becoming increasingly difficult for brick-and-mortar bookstores to purchase copies of high-profile new books," a Kinokuniya spokesperson told Asahi. "To rival online book retailers, bookstores across the country now need to join hands in efforts to reinvigorate the conventional book distribution market."

Kinokuniya said it will sell Novelist as a Vocation at its stores across Japan and will "distribute a portion of the copies to bookstores around Japan through wholesalers."

Storey Publishing: Wake Up Grateful: The Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted by Kristi Nelson

Ananth Padmanabhan New CEO of HarperCollins India

Ananth Padmanabhan

Ananth Padmanabhan has been named CEO of HarperCollins India. He was formerly senior v-p of sales at Penguin Random House and has 20 years of publishing experience. He will start in the beginning of October after outgoing CEO P.M. Sukumar leaves.

Charlie Redmayne, CEO of HarperCollins U.K., said, "I am delighted that Ananth is joining as CEO of HarperCollins India at this important time. He is an experienced publishing executive with a clear strategic mind and commercial acumen, which he combines with the energy needed to build on the brilliant work already done by our team in India. It is a time of real opportunity for HarperCollins India and I know that Ananth will do a terrific job in helping us grasp it firmly."

Rick Riordan Presents: City of the Plague God by Sarwat Chadda

Obituary Notes: Cynthia Macdonald; Merl Reagle

Poet Cynthia Macdonald died on August 3 at age 87. She had suffered from Alzheimer's for more than a decade.

Macdonald's "idiosyncratic blend of humor and the grotesque made her a distinctive voice on the American poetry scene," the New York Times wrote. Her works included Amputations, "(W) holes" and I Can't Remember. She was also a psychoanalyst and was co-founder and director of the creative writing program at the University of Houston.


Merl Reagle, longtime crossword creator for the Washington Post, died on Saturday. He was 65 and had a case of acute pancreatitis.

Reagle was one of the stars of the 2006 documentary film Wordplay, about crossword puzzles, puzzlers and constructors.

Speaking of Reagle, longtime friend Will Shortz, crossword puzzle editor of the New York Times, said, "Many of today's top constructors, in fact, got their inspiration from him. His puzzles were genuinely funnier than anybody else's, and he was an expert interlocker."

With his wife, Marie Haley, Reagle founded the Puzzleworks, distributed by IPG, and published three crossword books: Merl Reagle's 100th Anniversary Crossword Book, The Best of Merl Reagle's Sunday Crosswords: Big Book No. 1 and The Best of Merl Reagle's Sunday Crosswords: Big Book No. 2.


Image of the Day: Living Diversity on Kojo Nnamdi

A recent segment on Kojo Nnamdi's radio show centered on Lloyd Wolf's new book, Living Diversity: The Columbia Pike Documentary Project (University of Virginia Press). Michael Schaffer, editor of the Washingtonian, spoke with Audrey Singer, senior fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution; Takis Karantonis, executive director, Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization; and author/photographer Lloyd Wolf. This photo was taken by Duy Tran, whose work is also featured in the book. Pictured: (l.-r.) Michael Schaffer, Audrey Singer, Lloyd Wolf, Duy Tran and Takis Karantonis.

'Better Know a Bookseller': Papercuts J.P.

Noting that "the booksellers in these stores all over the world really help keep us alive," the 33 1/3 blog's "Better Know a Bookseller" series featured a q&a with staff at Papercuts J.P., Boston, Mass., including Kate Layte, owner and manager; Katie Eelman, media and events coordinator; and bookseller John Cleary. Among our favorite exchanges:
Describe your most memorable customer interaction.
John: Once, a teenager asked me to recommend a good fantasy author, and after establishing that he had read my first three or four suggestions, I handed him a China Miéville book, which he carefully considered but didn't buy. It always stings a little when I make an impassioned pitch for one of my favorite books and it ends up back on the shelf, but several weeks later he came back to purchase the book I recommended. When I see young people who are passionate about reading and enjoy books that are challenging and have depth, it gives me hope that maybe not everyone in the future will have smart devices grafted to their hands so they can consume a constant stream of tweets and posts by other people who don't read anything longer than 140 characters.
If an anonymous donor gave you $1 million to use expressly to invest in your store what would you do with it?
Kate: I would first wet my pants, then I would get my sh*t together, do lots more research, then buy one of the beautiful old Victorian houses in Jamaica Plain (well, probably just put a down payment, because real estate around here is out of control). I'd then ask the zoning committee for permission to convert it into a dreamlike bookstore with room for a bar. I would do my best to create an atmosphere, inspired by nature, that allows for neighbors, no longer strangers, to have real conversations about the things they've been learning from books or things that they are working through themselves. I'd want a space that truly allows for people to escape home and work and exist in that magical and necessary "third place" away from everything that makes us anxious. It would be a place that allows for real human bonds to form, ideas to be shared, and our worlds to expand.
Would you rather live in a world with no books or a world with no music?
Katie: I don't think it would be possible for a world to exist without music or without books (these things are created so organically). That said, if I had to choose which depraved world I'd prefer to live in, I'd choose to live without books so that I could participate in their re-birth and the help to get ancient stories on pages.

Spanish-language Bookstore Allá Going Strong in Santa Fe

Allá, a Spanish-language bookstore in Santa Fe, N.Mex., has reached the age of 35 despite owner Jim Dunlap's refusal to advertise or even create a website for the store, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. Dunlap, who is 77, opened Allá ("over there" in Spanish) in 1980 with some 1,000 books he had gathered while living in and traveling across Latin America. Over the years, Allá has expanded, with its inventory now encompassing some 65,000 titles as well as Latin American CDs, games, photographs and other assorted items. The store has also offered Spanish-language lessons, movie screenings and book signings.

Dunlap moved to Mexico City in 1963 after dropping out of George Washington University in Washington, D.C.. He became fluent in Spanish while living in Mexico and studied anthropology at the Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia. During that time, Dunlap told the Santa Fe New Mexican, he fell in love with Spanish-language literature and Latin American culture. In 1975, he left Mexico City and moved to Santa Fe.

When Dunlap opened Allá in 1980, he assumed that most of his customers would be local residents. But as it turned out, many of his best customers over the years have been college professors from out-of-state who teach courses in Latin American history or literature. In 1987, Dunlap began attending the Guadalajara International Book Fair. He's bought so many titles there over the years, in fact, that recently the organizers of the fair have even paid for his travel and hotel fare. At the moment, Dunlap has no immediate plans to put up a website for the store or give it a presence on social media, though his wife, Barbara Sommer, a professor of Latin American history at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pa., is considering it.

"I just wanted to read a book in Spanish," Dunlap told the New Mexican, when asked why he decided to open Allá in the first place.

Personnel Changes at Morrow, Crown

Effective August 31, Kate Gales Schafer is joining William Morrow as publicity manager. She was a senior publicist at Simon & Schuster and earlier worked at the Overlook Press and St. Martin's Press.


Liz Esman has joined Crown as senior publicist, Crown, Hogarth, Broadway Books and Tim Duggan Books. She was formerly a publicist at HarperCollins.

Morgan Carattini has been named publishing manager for Crown, Archetype, Hogarth, Broadway Books, Tim Duggan Books and Three Rivers Press. She was previously title manager for the Crown Publishing Group in the Penguin Random House sales force.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Richard Price on Fresh Air

Today on a repeat of Fresh Air: Richard Price, writing as Harry Brandt, author of The Whites (Holt, $28, 9780805093995).


Tomorrow on Diane Rehm: readers review Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (Harper, $27.99, 9780062409850).


Tomorrow on a repeat of the Meredith Vieira Show:

Jennie Garth, author of Deep Thoughts From a Hollywood Blonde (NAL, $14, 9780451240286)
Fredrik Eklund, co-author of The Sell: The Secrets of Selling Anything to Anyone (Avery, $26.95, 9781592409310).


Tomorrow on a repeat of Ellen: Diane Keaton, author of Let's Just Say It Wasn't Pretty (Random House, $26, 9780812994261).


Tomorrow on a repeat of the View: Gretchen Carlson, author of Getting Real (Viking, $28.95, 9780525427452).

Movies: Dante's Inferno; Black Mass

Warner Bros. "has purchased the original feature pitch" of Dante's Inferno from screenwriter Dwain Worrell, reported, adding that the "project has the studio excited by its scale and franchise potential." Gianni Nunnari's Hollywood Gang and Akiva Goldsman's Weed Road will produce it together.


A "trunk full of new images" and "a revealing new TV spot" have been released for Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp and based on the book Black Mass: Whitey Bulger, the FBI and a Devil's Deal by Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill, Indiewire reported. The cast includes Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Rory Cochrane, Jesse Plemons, Kevin Bacon, Dakota Johnson, Juno Temple, W. Earl Brown, Corey Stoll, Julianne Nicholson, Adam Scott and Peter Sarsgaard. Directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) from a script by Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth. Black Mass hits theaters September 18.

Books & Authors

Awards: Thurber Finalists; Cushman Winner

The finalists for the 2015 Thurber Prize for American Humor are:
Roz Chast for Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (Bloomsbury)
Annabelle Gurwitch for I See You Made An Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50 (Blue Rider Press)
Julie Schumacher for Dear Committee Members (Doubleday)

The award will be presented on September 28 at a ceremony at Carolines on Broadway in New York City. The host will be Henry Alford, a contributor to the New York Times, Vanity Fair and the New Yorker and author of several books, including Big Kiss and Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That?: A Modern Guide to Manners.


J.C. Kato of Land O' Lakes, Fla., has won the Karen and Philip Cushman Late Bloomer Award, given in conjunction with the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators to authors over the age of 50 who have not been traditionally published in the children's literature field. Kato won for her historical fiction middle grade manuscript, Finding Moon Rabbit, which tells the story of Koko Hayashi, a 10-year-old girl who doesn't follow rules and during World War II must survive with her mother and sister in a Wyoming internment camp, unearthing the truth that her father is a suspected traitor.

Karen Cushman said she chose Finding Moon Rabbit for the award "because the writing is strong, authentic, and sometimes even lyrical; Koko an intriguing and original character; the subject matter compelling and important."

Book Review

Review: Cries for Help, Various: Stories

Cries for Help, Various: Stories by Padgett Powell (Catapult, $16.95 trade paper, 9781936787319, September 8, 2015)

Fiction writer Padgett Powell is tough to categorize. His first novel, Edisto (1984), an American Book Award nominee, was a reasonably straightforward coming-of-age story often categorized as a "southern Catcher in the Rye." After that he shot off in several directions with short novels and stories of Dixie weirdness (Mrs. Hollingsworth's Men, You & Me), culminating in The Interrogative Mood--a novel (of sorts) consisting entirely of questions. For three decades he has taught at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and his work has been tossed in with that of other Southern writers on the edge, like Donald Barthelme, Harry Crews, Barry Hannah and John Kennedy Toole. Powell's story collection Cries for Help, Various contains a taste of his previous interests, characters, humor and existential ponderings. What he doesn't provide much of is plot--but that's okay, because the rest is tremendously entertaining.

In the opening story, "Horses," the narrator has somehow corralled 50 stolen horses in a 7-Eleven parking lot ("me and the herd and the hotdog wrappers") while cowboy poets drink coffee inside and plan to "reverse history" by giving the horses to Indians. When the good ole boy Sheriff appears with a jug of blackstrap molasses, events fly farther off the rails. One story imagines Janis Joplin in grade school with a discordantly eloquent Charles Dickens, "his cute boy knees and his difficult man mouth." As brief follow-ups to The Interrogative Mood, the stories "The Indicative Mood" and "The Imperative Mood" continue in the format of plotless sequences of disjunctive lines such as these, from the latter: "Throw rocks at children. Leap tall buildings, of course. Remain calm. Try to win." "Wagons, Ho!" dips into the story of Custer's arrogance right up to the end: "The music was about to stop playing for him and his band, but until it did his needle was in the groove." Powell also riffs on South American anacondas and parrots, salamanders cooking pancakes, Boris Yeltsin and a martial arts-trained Asian piano student.

Holding Nicholson Baker-like minutiae and wackiness together is the world-weary, Beckett-like existential angst of each protagonist. These aging guys (and the characters are mostly men) seem genuinely bewildered by their lives--but not despondent. One notes: "The real problem is that I have no ambition or desire for anything at all--not for the women, nor for work, not for barbecuing, not for life. If I have a problem, it is that I have no problem." Another in "Hoping Weakly" seems to sum up Powell's take on our absurd world: "I hope for something. It is not a strong hope.... I hope weakly for that which I see weakly. I'll be okay no matter what." When entering Powell's world, set aside algorithms and let his words take you away. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: Padgett Powell's Cries for Help, Various is a rich stew of language and humor exposing an absurd world of Southern crackpots, satire and existentialism.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The Arrangement Vol. 20 by H.M. Ward
2. Fourth Debt by Pepper Winters
3. First 100 Words by Roger Priddy
4. Souls Unfractured (Hades Hangmen: Volume 3) by Tillie Cole
5. Harte Series by Brooke Harris
6. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz  
7. Nashville Nights (Boxed Set 1-4) by Cheryl Douglas
8. Seaside Nights (Love in Bloom: Seaside Summers, Book 5) by Melissa Foster
9. Ghost-in-Law Boxset by Jana DeLeon
10. Tyrant (KING Book 2) by T.M. Frazier

[Many thanks to!]

Powered by: Xtenit