Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Grove Atlantic: The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah M. Broom

Feiwel & Friends: A Delayed Life: The True Story of the Librarian of Auschwitz by Dita Kraus

New Directions: Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming by László Krasznahorkai, translated by Ottilie Mulzet

Workman Publishing: Real Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A 28-Day Program to Realize the Power of Meditation (Second Edition, Revised) by Sharon Salzberg

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci, illustrated by Jim Rugg

Clarion Books: The Thief Knot: A Greenglass House Story by Kate Milford

Quotation of the Day

News

Sherman's Acquires Maine Coast Book Shop

Maine Coast Book Shop & Café, the 50-year-old bookstore in Damariscotta that was put up for sale last spring, has a new owner. The Lincoln County News reported that Jeff Curtis, owner of Sherman's Books & Stationery, which operates five stores along the Maine coast, plans to make Maine Coast Book Shop the sixth.

"Putting what amounts to my life's work into the hands of a new owner is a pretty emotional process," said Susan Porter, owner with her husband, Barnaby, "but because it's Jeff Curtis, I am very much relieved. And we are thrilled to know he will be honoring our name by running his strong team of six independent stores under the new name of Sherman's Maine Coast Book Shops."

Curtis commented: "Joining together, we look forward to bringing the best of the Maine Coast Book Shop to the other Sherman's stores and the best of Sherman's to the Maine Coast Book Shop to ultimately create the best of the best local, independent bookstores ever."

Noting that the acquisition of the bookstore will increase his company's annual sales by approximately 20%, Curtis added: "I feel strongly that a bookstore is the soul of a vibrant downtown, and we will do everything in our power to make sure the Maine Coast Book Shop and Cafe remains the social and cultural center of Damariscotta. We do not intend to make any significant changes."

Curtis will also acquire the Porters' interest in historic Lincoln Hall, a downtown landmark. The Porters will continue running the store through the Christmas season, with Curtis and his team assuming daily operations on January 1.


Soho Press: The Seep by Chana Porter


B&N Leaving D.C. to Indie Booksellers

Barnes & Noble will close its flagship location at 12th and E streets NW in Washington, D.C., at the end of the year, Washington City Paper reported. David Deason, v-p of development, said, "Despite our best efforts to come to an agreement with the property owner to extend the lease, they have decided to move forward with another tenant and the store will close at the end of December." Although he added that the Washington "community is extremely important to us," the closing marks the end of B&N's retail presence in the city, with the exception of bookstores on college campuses.

"Before you lament the decline of print, though, keep in mind that many indie bookstores appear to be doing okay, and people are still reading physical books," Washington City Paper noted.

The Washington Post agreed: "Now that's not to say D.C. is without any bookstores. The city is home to a number of renowned independent and used bookstores, including Politics & Prose in Cleveland Park, Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle, Carpe Librum in the downtown area and Capitol Hill Books.

"And book lovers have at least some reason to celebrate. Last year, Upshur Street Books, an independent bookstore that hosts many literary events, opened in Petworth."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Providence by Max Barry


Amazon's Seattle Bookstore Update: The Blueprints!

The plot thickens. GeekWire's ongoing mission to solve the mystery of Amazon's potential bricks-and-mortar store in Seattle's University Village took a new turn with the acquisition of Seattle planning department documents that "show what appear to be bookshelves around the edges of the store, with display tables and a sales area in the interior of the space... There's also evidence that it will be a very tech-centric bookstore, such as notes indicating the need to provide power for three different types of device charging cords."

Robert Sindelar, managing partner of Seattle's Third Place Books, told USA Today that several of the company's employees were contacted by Amazon about jobs via their LinkedIn pages a few months ago. "Their resumes and credentials are that they're tenured booksellers," he said, adding that although the booksellers were not given details when they responded, they suspected Amazon was hiring for some sort of retail bookstore.

"People say they're going to be selling what we're selling, so it's going to eat into our business," Sindelar observed. "But my core customer base isn't supporting us because they can't find books someplace else. People come here for the experience."


NYC: Brazenhead Books Is Back

Michael Seidenberg, who had to move from his Upper East Side apartment in New York City in July--and thus close down his speakeasy-like bookstore Brazenhead Books--has moved to a new apartment and set up shop again, according to the Guardian.

The paper wrote: "In the past couple of weeks, drawings and simple animations of actual red herrings, hiding clues about how to contact Seidenberg, have started appearing again on his personal Facebook page." Apparently he's already had some customers visit and intends to restart his poetry nights.

Brazenhead had been in its old location since 2008 and before that was a more traditional bookstore, which operated at several storefronts in Brooklyn and Manhattan going back to 1979.


For Sale: Misty Valley Books in Chester, Vt.

Lynne and Bill Reed, owners of Misty Valley Books, Chester, Vt., have put their bookstore on the market. At the New England Independent Booksellers Association Fall Conference last week, Bill was sporting a distinctive "Bookstore for Sale (We're retiring) Inquire other side" badge hanging on his back. The Reeds said that when the right buyer is found, they "intend to stray farther afield than they have been able to--happily--for the past 14 years."

Describing Misty Valley Books as "a small independent bookstore in a small Vermont village, but with a much larger reputation," the Reeds noted that it "has become a focus of the town for both locals and visitors. It sits in the well-maintained row of 19th century clapboard shops, inns and restaurants along the green in Chester, a town of about 3,000." The owners' house, which is in the same building as the bookstore, is also for sale.

Bill and Lynne Reed at NEIBA.

The Reeds have owned Misty Valley Books for about half of its 30-year history. They highlighted the bookstore's "cozy, friendly atmosphere for both adults and children; discerning selection of titles; language classes, poetry and current affairs seminars; and Magic Reading Carpets ('Sit on one with a good book, and it will take you places you have never been.')."

Misty Valley Books is also well-known for its signature author series Vermont Voices in November and New Voices, a debut authors weekend in January that was originally launched in 1995. Alumni of the New Voices series include Dennis Lehane, Jennifer Egan, Steve Almond, Claire Messud, Colum McCann, Arthur Golden, Dr. Eben Alexander, Gregory Maguire, Alex Berenson, Thomas Christopher Greene and some 150 other writers.

For more information, contact Bill and Lynne Reed at mvbooks@vermontel.net.


Obituary Note: Anna Pump

Chef and a cookbook author Anna Pump, "whose national reputation for deceptively simple gourmet fare emanated from her place of business, the Loaves & Fishes Foodstore, a humble-looking fixture of high-end living in the Hamptons on Long Island," died October 5, the New York Times reported. She was 81.

In 1985, with writer Gen LeRoy, Pump published The Loaves and Fishes Cookbook, "the first of several volumes of recipes and kitchen advice that earned her a following among cooks whose aspirations lean toward sophistication and away from fussiness and pretension," the Times noted. Her books also included Summer on a Plate and Country Weekend Entertaining.


Notes

Image of the Day: Laura Childs at Once Upon a Crime

Once Upon a Crime mystery bookstore in Minneapolis, Minn., hosted the release party for Parchment and Old Lace (Berkley Prime Crime) this past weekend. Pictured: author Laura Childs (l.) with owner Pat Frovarp.


Literati Bookstore & the 'Revival of Ann Arbor Book Culture'

In a post for Tin House magazine's Open Bar blog headlined "Literati and the Revival of Ann Arbor Book Culture," Santi Elijah Holley recounted some downtown bookselling history--including the original Borders store as well as longtime indie Shaman Drum--before focusing on the Literati Bookstore and owners Hilary and Michael Gustafson, who in 2012 "decided to return to their home state and pursue their dream of opening a new bookstore in downtown Ann Arbor."

Holley noted that "in the two-and-a-half years since Literati opened their doors, the excitement and encouragement from the public has not diminished. On each of my visits, the store was busy--not just with gawkers but with actual book-buying customers. Much of their success has to do with Hilary and Michael's shared vision, their careful attention to aesthetic and their small staff of veteran booksellers. Their success also has much to do with their level of community engagement, whether with their four book clubs, their signed first-editions club, or their author events, which, for a relatively new bookstore, is formidable."

"I view what we're doing here as just a continuation of the rich history of bookselling in Ann Arbor," Michael Gustafson said. "All the success and growth that we've experienced is because of the booksellers who've been here before."


Copperfield's Books 'Writing Its Own Story'

The story of Copperfield's Books, which has seven locations in Napa, Marin and Sonoma Counties in Northern California, "is one of survival and resurgence as the retailer prepares to open its eighth store in redeveloped downtown Novato by the end of the year," the Press Democrat reported, saying that the company is up 7% over last year.

"We feel, being in the North Bay for 34 years, we do have a tremendous following that we are very grateful for. I never take it for granted," said Paul Jaffe, Copperfield's president and co-owner with Barney Brown. "We have to continually find ways to partner with the community."


Personnel Changes at Kensington

At Kensington Publishing:

Adam Zacharius has been promoted to general manager.

Alexandra Nicolajsen has been promoted to director of social media and digital sales.

Vida Engstrand has been promoted to director of communications.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Frank Sinatra Jr. on Today

This morning on Imus in the Morning: Ray Kelly, author of Vigilance: My Life Serving America and Protecting Its Empire City (Hachette Books, $28, 9780316383813).

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Today on Fresh Air: Dan Ephron, author of Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel (Norton, $27.95, 9780393242096).

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Today on the View: Whoopi Goldberg, author of If Someone Says "You Complete Me," RUN!: Whoopi's Big Book of Relationships (Hachette Books, $26, 9780316302012). She will also be on Good Morning America tomorrow.

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Today on NPR's All Things Considered: Elvis Costello, author of Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink (Blue Rider Press, $30, 9780399167256).

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Today on Watch What Happens Live: Julie Andrews, co-author of The Very Fairy Princess: A Winter Wonderland Surprise (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $5.99, 9780316283069). She'll also be on Rachael Ray tomorrow.

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Today on Diane Rehm: Dick Van Dyke, author of Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging (Weinstein Books, $25.99, 9781602862968).

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Tonight on the Tonight Show: Michael Strahan, co-author of Wake Up Happy: The Dream Big, Win Big Guide to Transforming Your Life (Atria/37 INK, $26.99, 9781476775685). He will also appear on Entertainment Tonight.

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Tonight on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah: Richard Dawkins, author of Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science (Ecco, $27.99, 9780062288431).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Todd Gerelds, co-author of Woodlawn: One Hope. One Dream. One Way. (Howard, $16, 9781501118067). He will also appear on Fox & Friends.

Also on Today: Frank Sinatra Jr. discusses Sinatra 100 (Thames & Hudson, $60, 9780500517826).

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Tomorrow morning on Morning Joe: Rachael Ray, author of Everyone Is Italian on Sunday (Atria, $39.99, 9781476766072). She will also appear on the Talk.

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Tomorrow on the View: Joe Zee, co-author of That's What Fashion Is: Lessons and Stories from My Nonstop, Mostly Glamorous Life in Style (Thomas Dunne, $29.99, 9781250042941).

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Tomorrow on Fox Radio's Kilmeade & Friends: Jay Winik, author of 1944: FDR and the Year That Changed History (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781439114087).

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Tomorrow on Diane Rehm: readers review The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

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Tomorrow on Watch What Happens Live: Donna Karan, author of My Journey (Ballantine, $30, 9781101883495).


TV: The Shannara Chronicles

At New York Comic-Con, MTV screened a new trailer for The Shannara Chronicles, a 10-episode drama series based on the bestselling fantasy novel series by Terry Brooks, Deadline.com reported. The project stars John Rhys-Davies, Manu Bennett, Austin Butler, Poppy Drayton and Ivana Baquero and premieres January 5.


Books & Authors

Awards: German Book Prize; Samuel Johnson

Novelist, musician and poet Frank Witzel has won the German Book Prize for his novel Die Erfindung der Roten Armee Fraktion durch einen manisch-depressiven Teenager im Sommer 1969 (The Invention of the Red Army Faction by a Manic-Depressive Teenager in the Summer of 1969). The book is a coming-of-age story about a 13-year-old boy in West Germany, according to Deutsche Welle.

The judges praised the book as "a brilliant linguistic work of art that is a vast quarry of words and ideas--a hybrid compendium of pop, politics and paranoia."

The €25,000 (about $28,480) prize is organized by the Börsenverein, the German publishers, wholesalers and booksellers association.

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The shortlist has been announced for this year's £20,000 (about $30,700) Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction. The winner will be named November 2 in London. The six shortlisted titles are:

Ted Hughes: The Unauthorized Life by Jonathan Bate
Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane
The Four-Dimensional Human by Laurence Scott
Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently by Steve Silberman
The Unravelling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq by Emma Sky
This Divided Island by Samanth Subramanian


Book Review

Review: Food Whore

Food Whore: A Novel of Dining and Deceit by Jessica Tom (Morrow, $14.99 trade paper, 9780062387004, October 27, 2015)

In Jessica Tom's first novel, Food Whore, her experience as a restaurant reviewer for the Yale Daily News Magazine and her work with food truck, restaurant and culinary program initiatives is put to good use. The story revolves around Tia Monroe, who has moved to New York City to attend grad school at New York University and do an internship with one of the hottest food writers of the day. Tia's already had a brief taste of what fame feels like: one of her essays, on making a special kind of cookie, Dacquoise Drops, for her ailing grandfather, landed her a feature story in the New York Times. Then the internship falls through, and Tia finds herself working as a coat checker at Madison Park Tavern, a position that doesn't fit her true desires of being known for food writing. Through a twist of fate, Tia collides with Michael Stalz, a Times restaurant critic, who confides to her that he's lost his sense of taste. He decides to hire Tia to taste the food for him and become his ghostwriter.

Gourmet food descriptions--"The waiter returned with a pre-appetizer amuse-bouche, a soup spoon filled with diced radishes, shortbread crumbs, and a black pepper gastrique.... The flavors surged. The radishes had been pickled, articulating their peppery bite and giving them a sharpened edge. The shortbread grounded the bite with a bready, buttery mouthful and the black pepper-vinegar sauce finished it with an elegant and seductive wisp of sweet, salty, and spicy"--and the haute couture fashion scene of New York City are deliciously blended into a story of intrigue and double cross. Balancing her schoolwork with her job at the restaurant while hiding her secret identity as Staltz's taster leads Tia deeper and deeper into a world of power plays and sexy romps that make her question what is truly important for her to succeed.

Tom obviously knows her way around the kitchens and high-fashion stores of New York City--her writing has a knife-edged precision to it. She understands the complexity and psychology behind the creations her imaginary chefs produce, as well as the inner desires and fears women experience as they navigate the fine line between being true to themselves and projecting an air of power and sexiness to those who matter in the fine dining world. If book reviews gave out Michelin stars, Food Whore would rate three stars. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

Shelf Talker: An aspiring food writer agrees to be the secret taste tester for a New York Times restaurant critic and becomes deeply involved in the complex worlds of fashion and fine dining.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. The 20/20 Diet by Phil McGraw
2. Until Jax (Until Him) by Aurora Rose Reynolds
3. Firestorm (The Elemental Series: Volume 3) by Shannon Mayer
4. First 100 Words by Roger Priddy
5. Kill Shot (Code 11--KPD SWAT Book 6) by Lani Lynn Vale
6. Clarity: The Complete Series by Loretta Lost
7. Cape Cod Promises (Love on Rockwell Island, Book 2, Volume 2) by Bella Andre and Melissa Foster
8. Shopping for a CEO (Shopping for a Billionaire series Book 7, Volume 7) by Julia Kent
9. Beautiful Storm by Barbara Freethy
10. Sunset Point (Shelter Bay: Volume 10) by JoAnn Ross

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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