Also published on this date: Wednesday, October 14, 2015: Maximum Shelf: Eleanor

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Disney Lucasfilm Press: Star Wars: The High Republic Path of Deceit by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland

Ballantine Books: Central Places by Delia Cai

MIT Press: Rethinking Gender: An Illustrated Exploration by Louie Läuger

Holiday House: Owl and Penguin (I Like to Read Comics) by Vikram Madan; Noodleheads Take it Easy by Tedd Arnold, Martha Hamilton, and Mitch Weiss

Blackstone Publishing: Ezra Exposed by Amy E. Feldman

Clavis: Fall Preview


Founder Malcolm Margolin Retiring from Heyday Books

Malcolm Margolin

Malcolm Margolin, who founded independent, nonprofit California publisher Heyday Books more than 40 years ago, is retiring, LA Observed reported, noting that a search is currently underway for someone to carry on the work of the longtime publisher/executive director.

"For the right candidate, this presents an amazing opportunity to lead a nonprofit book publishing company in a period of growth," Heyday wrote. "It takes imagination and savvy to finance and publish books in today's marketplace, and Heyday's staff and board look to the next publisher/executive director to chart a bold and visionary course. She or he will be supported by our stellar brand, our deep and diverse backlist, and our passionate community of writers, readers, cultural leaders and publishing professionals."

Of his impending retirement, Margolin told KFPA radio in an interview: "I'm not 100% sure what it's going to be like. And I would love to keep my links to Heyday, depending on who's going to succeed me. I don't want to be the old guy that stands in there and says things aren't what they used to be. For the 40 years I ran Heyday, I could follow my own visions, and I want to give that to the next person."

Ebony Magazine Publishing: Black Hollywood: Reimagining Iconic Movie Moments by Carell Augustus

Salman Rushdie Defends Freedom of Expression

Salman Rushdie at Frankfurt.

"Limiting freedom of expression is not just censorship, it's an assault on human nature," said Salman Rushdie, author of Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights, during the opening press conference of the Frankfurt Book Fair yesterday. Juergen Boos, the director of the fair, and Heinrich Riethmueller, chairman of the Börsenverein, the German publishers, wholesalers and booksellers association, also spoke at the press conference. The subject of discussion was the importance of freedom of expression for both authors and the book industry, an issue put into sharp perspective last week when Iran announced that it would boycott the book fair due to Rushdie's presence as a guest speaker.

In his remarks, Boos acknowledged the Iranian boycott, saying he was not happy about it and he regretted that it took away an opportunity to exchange opinions with Iranian colleagues. But it was "non-negotiable," he said, that freedom of expression and freedom of opinion be protected. Added Boos: "Our ideas cannot be killed."

Rushdie, who has lived under the threat of an Iranian fatwa since 1989, recalled his first visit to the Frankfurt Book Fair in 1998. His surprise appearance at that year's opening ceremony was one of his first public appearances after the fatwa. That earlier visit, he remembered, "induced a great feeling of optimism" in him about the future of the book world, and made him see that publishing was both the "embodiment and guardian" of freedom of speech.

"I've always thought in a way we should not need to discuss freedom of speech in the West," said Rushdie. "This should be like the air we breathe." And yet, lamented Rushdie, despite the battle for free expression having been won in the West "a couple hundred years ago" by writers in the Enlightenment, people must continue to fight for it.

Threats of violence and actual violence against writers, publishers and translators have engendered a "not unjustified" fear in those in the book world. In Rushdie's estimation, publishing, which is a peaceful business, begins to feel like a war. "Publishers and writers are not warriors," said Rushdie. "But it falls to us to hold the line."

Violence, continued Rushdie, was not the only problem currently facing the world of words. He brought up the story of a planned seminar about free speech at a university in England, which saw two invited speakers blocked by the university's student union. People claiming to stand for the virtue of free speech, Rushdie said, had "demolished what they stand for." He also touched on the controversy surrounding incoming freshman at Duke University refusing to read Alison Bechdel's graphic novel Fun Home because they felt its content would offend their religious upbringing, as well as the broader push for the use of trigger warnings at institutions of higher education. Asserted Rushdie: "The idea that students should not be intellectually challenged at universities is the exact opposite of what universities are for."

But perhaps the most powerful attack against freedom of expression, said Rushdie, was the idea put forth in some non-Western countries that "freedom of expression is culturally specific" and that Western cultures may support it but that people in other parts of the world "reserve the right to reject it."

Copies of the German translation of Rushdie's newest book.

Freedom of expression, countered Rushdie, was not culturally specific but a "universal principle" based on human nature. Expression and speech is fundamental to all human beings. "We are language animals," said Rushdie, and not only language but narrative. "We are the storytelling animal." Humans understand their own lives through multiple layers, or a "concentric circle" of continuing narratives, with the narrative of the individual at the center, surrounded by the narratives of the family, the community, the city, the country, and so on.

"Through those narratives we understand ourselves," he said. "It happens wherever in the world we are."

Rushdie shied away from prescribing a societal role to all writers, but said that he was "unable to exclude public matters" from his work. As a child of the 1960s, he was left with the idea that people are "not helpless creatures in the grip of large forces, but by our choices and our deeds could affect the world in which we live."

He also rejected the notion of a "shared description of the world" between writer and reader. That assumption, he said, was the bedrock upon which the realist novel was built in the 19th century, but it was no longer true. Today, reality is "hotly contested," and all across the world there are "incompatible narratives fighting for the same patch of earth."

"We can't assume there is such a thing as uncontested realism," he said. "Fiction contests the world."

Rushdie noted that though writers are fragile things as individuals, their work can be immensely powerful. The poetry of Ovid outlasted the Roman empire, he said, and the poetry of Osip Mandelstam survived the Soviet Union, but the longevity of literature is little consolation to a writer being persecuted in the present. "We should protect writers as much as writing," he urged, and not "wait to be justified by some distant posterity."

Rushdie ended with a reminder that the main opponent of Enlightenment thinkers in the fight for free expression was not the state but the church. He can share these thoughts at a press conference, he said, because "writers in France 200 years ago defeated the power of the church." What we see today, he said, is the renewal of that same argument with different churches and different religions. And though it may be the same argument, it's "just as important to win it." --Alex Mutter

University of California Press: Dictee (Second Edition, Reissue, Restored);  Exilee and Temps Morts: Selected Works (First Edition, Reissue) by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

Archestratus Books: NYC's 'General Bookstore About Food'

"I always knew I wanted to have my own bookstore," said Paige Lipari, the owner of Archestratus Books, a new bookstore and cafe in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, N.Y. The store has the variety of sections--fiction, nonfiction, travel, graphic novels, business and more--associated with a general-interest bookstore, but what sets it apart is that these myriad sections are all united by one theme: food.

Archestratus' grand opening party (photo: Marcus Middleton)

Every novel that the store carries, Lipari explained, has some culinary theme, such as W. Somerset Maugham's Cakes and Ale or Jeanette Winterson's Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. In addition to conventional cookbooks, Lipari stocks titles on all manner of ethnic and regional cuisines, on meat and charcuterie. There is an economics section featuring books on how to cook things cheaply or quickly, and there are books on how to grow or even forage your own food. And the cafe, which takes up about a third of the 1,000-square-foot store, sells sweet and savory Sicilian pastries, along with coffee, tea, beer and wine.

"I solidified how to combine the things that I love about four years ago," continued Lipari. "I knew I would have a food bookstore--a general bookstore about food. And I knew that I was going to cook Sicilian because that's my heritage."

Before opening her own store, Lipari worked as a general bookseller at McNally Jackson Books in Manhattan. She began her work in the book world, in fact, at the Barnes & Noble store in Chelsea, before for moving to travel-themed bookstore Idlewild Books and then to Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, where she handled rare and antiquated books. For a time, Lipari was also the assistant editor of a literary magazine called A Public Space. And though Lipari has been cooking for most of her life, her love of food was transformed when she visited relatives in Sicily when she was a teenager.

"The first thing they did was put a plate of food in front of me," recalled Lipari. "The experience was life-changing. The way I kept them with me, the way I kept in touch emotionally with that country, was through Sicilian cooking. I became completely fascinated."

photo: Marcus Middleton

The store opened on Friday, October 2. It has an inventory of around 4,500 books, mostly new books, with some used and rare titles. At present, Archestratus Books has four staff members, all of whom split time between the bookstore and the cafe during a given shift. In part, Lipari said, that was a logistical decision.

"But there's also clearly a conversation going on between both sides of the store," she added. "I want everybody to be part of that."

The store also carries an array of pens and notebooks, along with a small selection of essential cooking items.

"Your sauté pans, your whisk, your knife--the very basic things that you need to just start cooking," said Lipari. And unusually for a bookstore, Lipari's store also has a small grocery section stocking basic essentials like salt, pepper, eggs, flour and milk.

Lipari has yet to host any events, but once she gets the day-to-day operations of the store in hand, she'd like to hold poetry readings and film screenings. She also hopes to find an offsite location for cooking classes, and though she has no concrete plans at the moment, would love to partner with other local businesses for events.

"There are partnership opportunities all over," remarked Lipari, who found her location somewhat serendipitously. She spent almost a full year looking for a location, without having Greenpoint specifically in mind.

"I wasn't on a search for Greenpoint. I was on a search for something I could afford," she added, laughing. But when she saw the spot on Huron street, she knew it was the right one. "It was so strange, because it seemed just right." --Alex Mutter

Blair: A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter by Carolyn Hays

Amazon: Money for Translations; Prime Now in Twin Cities

AmazonCrossing, the translation imprint of Amazon Publishing, said it will spend $10 million over the next five years to increase the number and diversity of its books in translation. According to the company, the money will go toward fees paid to translators as well as increasing the countries and languages represented on the imprint's list. A new website is up for authors, agents and publishers to suggest titles for translation.


Amazon has added Minneapolis and St. Paul to its list of cities qualifying for Prime Now service, which allows Amazon Prime members to order products and receive them in one or two hours. The Star Tribune reported that the "service is operating from a building Amazon is leasing at 763 Kasota Av. in southeast Minneapolis, city records show. The company hired several dozen people to run the hub."

Graphic Mundi - Psu Press: Hakim's Odyssey by Fabien Toulme and Hanna Chute

Obituary Notes: Bruce Luneau; William Taylor

Bruce Luneau, who owned Gibson's Bookstore in Concord, N.H., from 1961 to 1978, died October 10. He was 89. His obituary in the Concord Monitor noted that he "had a passion for literature, particularly the writings of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, and had an extensive library of their works." Gibson's Facebook page featured a 2012 photograph of Luneau with current owner Michael Herrmann and Jeff Haight, owner from 1978 to 1994.


William Taylor, "the 'grand old man' of New Zealand children's publishing, acclaimed author of richly comic novels for children and powerful fiction for young adults," died October 3, Booksellers NZ reported. He was 77. Friend and fellow author Tessa Duder said Taylor was one of the emerging writers of the 1980s who, along with Margaret Mahy and Maurice Gee, raised the country's children's fiction to a new level: "His was a unique comic voice, matched in New Zealand literature only by Mahy. Equally, he produced tough YA novels of unflinching realism, showing great sympathy for teenagers searching for a sense of self, often in terrible circumstances."


Image of the Day: And Then I Danced

On December 11, 1973, 19-year-old Mark Segal disrupted a live broadcast of the CBS Evening News when he sat on the desk directly between the camera and news anchor Walter Cronkite, yelling, "Gays protest CBS prejudice!" He was wrestled to the studio floor by stagehands on live national television. Some 42 years later, the New York launch party for Segal's And Then I Danced: Traveling the Road to LGBT Equality (Akashic) was held at the same building, which now houses NBC Studios. Pictured are Segal with original members of Gay Youth, the first organization to deal with the issues of gay and endangered LGBT teens, founded in 1969.

Happy 40th Birthday, Oblong Books & Music!

Suzanna & Dick Hermans

Congratulations to Oblong Books & Music, Millerton, N.Y., which celebrated its 40th anniversary yesterday. On Facebook, co-owner Dick Hermans and his daughter Suzanna, who runs Oblong's Rhinebeck store, posted:

"On this day in 1975, Dick Hermans & Holly Nelson opened Oblong Books & Records in Millerton. Forty years and a second location later, we are stronger than ever. Thank you to our devoted customers & the over 150 booksellers who have worked for us over the years--we would not be here without all of you."

SIBA's Bibb Pick: Quail Ridge Books & Music

Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, bookstore, shelf awarenessQuail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, N.C., was honored with the second annual Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Bibb Pick, which recognizes an indie bookstore that is "warm, welcoming, inclusive, knowledgeable, and always with a smile." The award was named in honor of the late bookseller and long-time SIBA staff member Matt Bibb. As this year's Bibb Pick, which was decided through votes cast by nearly 100 writers in attendance at the recent Fall Discovery Show, Quail Ridge receives:

  • A "Bibb podium," handcrafted by Doug Robinson of Eagle Eye Books in Decatur, Ga., and given to the store for its stellar author event programs.
  • Nearly 70 authors committed to some form of support to the store over the next year.
  • More than 20 authors will be linking their websites directly to the Quail Ridge Books website.
  • Fifteen authors have agreed to place the bookstore's name in a book.
  • Nearly 30 authors will be writing original content for QRB's newsletter/website.
  • Twenty writers have agreed to join QRB's Staff Picks, sharing what they are reading with the store regularly.
  • Thirteen authors have agreed to invest in QRB store swag and promote virtually or IRL their love of Quail Ridge Books.
  • Fourteen authors will support Quail Ridge's Indies First effort.

Tweet of the Day: Elliott Bay Book Co.

Posted recently by Seattle's Elliott Bay Book Co. (@ElliottBayBooks) on Twitter:

"Here's the difference between a real bookstore vs. a front for a website: we love this place, we love these books, and we love YOU."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Nicholas Sparks on Meredith Vieira

Tomorrow on Sirius XM's Opie & Anthony: Todd Gerelds, co-author of Woodlawn: One Hope. One Dream. One Way. (Howard, $16, 9781501118067).


Tomorrow on PBS Newshour: Elvis Costello, author of Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink (Blue Rider Press, $30, 9780399167256).


Tomorrow on Diane Rehm: John Danforth, author of The Relevance of Religion: How Faithful People Can Change Politics (Random House, $28, 9780812997903).


Tomorrow on the Meredith Vieira Show: Nicholas Sparks, author of See Me (Grand Central, $27, 9781455520619).


Tomorrow on Watch What Happens Live: Michael Strahan, co-author of Wake Up Happy: The Dream Big, Win Big Guide to Transforming Your Life (Atria/37 INK, $26.99, 9781476775685).


Tomorrow night on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, authors of Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel (Harper Perennial, $19.99, 9780062351425).

TV: The Skin Trade

Cinemax has put into development a TV series based on George R.R. Martin's 1988 novella The Skin Trade, reported. Martin will be one of the executive producers on the project, which will be written by Kalinda Vazquez (Once Upon a Time), who will also executive produce.

"I have always thought there was a TV series (or maybe a feature film) in Willie Flambeaux and Randi Wade," Martin wrote on his blog. "Those of you who know the story of Doorways, my ill-fated ABC pilot from the early 90s, may even recall that it was Skin Trade that I was actually trying to sell back in 1991, when I flew out to L.A. for a round of pitch meetings. So we're a few decades late..."

Movies: Secret in Their Eyes; P&P&Zombies

A new trailer/featurette has been released for Secret in Their Eyes, a film based on the book by Eduardo Sacheri (translated from the Spanish by John Cullen). Director and screenwriter Billy Ray (Captain Phillips, The Hunger Games) adapted the crime novel, which also inspired El secreto de sus ojos, the 2009 Oscar-winning Argentinian film. The project, which stars Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor, hits theaters November 20.

The initial trailer is out for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the movie adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's bestselling novel that "keeps the same dynamic of a love story between Elizabeth Bennet (Cinderella star Lily James) and Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley from Control), but of course then throws the undead into the mix," Indiewire noted. The movie co-stars Bella Heathcote, Charles Dance, Lena Headey, Matt Smith, Suki Waterhouse, Emma Greenwell, Aisling Loftus, Douglas Booth and Jack Huston.

Books & Authors

Awards: Man Booker Prize Winner

Marlon James won the £50,000 (US$76,315) Man Booker Prize for Fiction for A Brief History of Seven Killings, which was described by chair of judges Michael Wood as "an extraordinary book" that "we didn't actually have any difficulty deciding on--it was a unanimous decision, a little bit to our surprise." James, who currently lives in Minneapolis, Minn., is the first Jamaican-born writer to win the Booker.

Wood added: "This book is startling in its range of voices and registers, running from the patois of the street posse to The Book of Revelation. It is a representation of political times and places, from the CIA intervention in Jamaica to the early years of crack gangs in New York and Miami. It is a crime novel that moves beyond the world of crime and takes us deep into a recent history we know far too little about. It moves at a terrific pace and will come to be seen as a classic of our times."

Jonathan Ruppin, Web editor of Foyles bookshops, praised the novel for being "visceral and uncompromising... but it's also an ingeniously structured feat of storytelling that draws the reader in with its eye-catching use of language. For booksellers, it's truly heartening to see such ambition and originality recognized and rewarded, and readers have already been embracing it with great enthusiasm."

In his acceptance speech, James said it was "so surreal" to win and dedicated the prize to his late father, who had shaped his "literary sensibilities." He also noted that the "reggae singers Bob Marley and Peter Tosh were the first to recognize that the voice coming out our mouths was a legitimate voice for fiction and poetry."

Book Brahmin: Angela Lam

photo: Rose Turpin

Angela Lam is the author of the short story collection The Human Act and Other Stories and, as Angela Lam Turpin, three novels: Legs, Blood Moon Rising and Out of Balance. She studied journalism at Northwestern University and creative writing at Sonoma State University. Her memoir, Red Eggs and Good Luck (just released by She Writes Press), won the 2003 Mary Tanenbaum Award for creative nonfiction and the 2014 Memoir Discovery Contest.

On your nightstand now:

The Bible (always present), Two by Melissa Ann Pinney with an introduction by Ann Patchett (a collection of photographs and essays), Runner's World Complete Guide to Running (my exercise manual) and It's Not Me, It's You by Mhairi McFarlane (a new purchase).

Favorite book when you were a child:

My favorite book was The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

Your top five authors:

It's extremely hard to limit them to five, so I'll choose the ones I come back to again and again: L.M. Montgomery, Ernest Hemingway, Sophie Kinsella, Nick Hornby and Geoff Wood.

Book you've faked reading:

None. CliffsNotes didn't help me through high school or college.

Book you're an evangelist for:

It depends on what I've recently read. The last book I fell head over heels in love with was Dorothy Parker Drank Here by Ellen Meister.

Book you've bought for the cover:

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. The bright orange and gold cover lured me into a great story.

Book you hid from your parent:

Audrey Rose by Frank De Felitta. My mother forbade me to purchase it at TG&Y with my allowance, but I was able to check it out at the library and smuggle it between the covers of another book to read at night. Its adult themes were too much for my teenage self to comprehend, but I enjoyed the thrill of reading it nonetheless.

Book that changed your life:

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. The concept of determinism with its grim hold on reality eliminated my innocence and replaced my optimism with the probability that I, too, would lead an incredibly hard life as an adult. It unwittingly prepared me for being the parent of a severely disabled son.

Favorite line from a book:

"In the end, you have to choose whether or not to trust someone." --Shopaholic and Baby by Sophie Kinsella

Five books you'll never part with:

The Emily Trilogy (Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs and Emily's Quest) by L.M. Montgomery and Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series (if I had to choose only two it would be Confessions of a Shopaholic and Shopaholic Takes Manhattan).

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

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. It made me rediscover the fun of reading.

Book Review

YA Review: Calvin

Calvin by Martine Leavitt (Margaret Ferguson/FSG, $17.99 hardcover, 192p., ages 12-up, 9780374380731, November 17, 2015)

Seventeen-year-old Calvin's first baby gift was a stuffed tiger named Hobbes, his best friend is named Susie, and he was born the very same day Bill Watterson's last Calvin and Hobbes comic was published. It's little wonder, then, that he thinks he actually is the blond-haired Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes come to life. And that would also explain why Hobbes the tiger is actually talking to him in "a full-on voice that didn't seem to have anything to do with me." As supportive and dryly entertaining as Hobbes can be, Calvin hates that he talks to him, because that pretty much clinches the fact that he is mentally ill.

Canadian novelist and National Book Award finalist Martine Leavitt (Heck Superhero; Keturah and Lord Death; My Book of Life by Angel) skillfully reflects the daily agony of a funny, charming, creative, hyper-intelligent young man who just wants to be normal, not a guy with an imaginary tiger friend, not a guy who's diagnosed with schizophrenia. Calvin decides that if he can persuade Bill Watterson to write just one more Calvin and Hobbes comic--one with no Hobbes, and where Calvin is 17 and healthy--then he will be cured. Calvin is written as a very long, dialogue-filled letter from Calvin to Bill Watterson, and it is bittersweet, philosophical and utterly absorbing.

Doctor: We're going to run some tests on Monday to see what's going on in that brain of yours.
Me: A tiger. A tiger is what's going on.
Doctor: I don't want you to worry. I'm sure we can help.
Me: Don't worry? I'm not worried. Why should I be worried? Just give me a choice between this and being boiled in oil and I'll go from there.

Calvin's plan to get Bill Watterson to write that new Hobbes-free comic escalates in scope. He convinces himself that if he walks from his home in Leamington, Ontario, across the frozen top of Lake Erie to where Watterson lives, in Cleveland, Ohio--theoretically, a 17-hour hike--the cartoonist won't be able to refuse his request. Calvin's childhood (and only) friend, Susie, who in truth had been ignoring him for a year, decides to join him so that he has a better chance of surviving. They stockpile winter hiking gear at Campers Heaven and begin their long, dangerous trudge across the icy surface of Lake Erie.

Fortunately, Calvin likes snow: "Soon you realize the wind isn't flowing around you, over you, it's flowing through you, penetrating the electromagnetic field that gives you the illusion of being a solid entity, whipping straight through you, spinning your atoms like tops and leaving them dizzy and frosty and deeply impressed." But Lake Erie is not just a white, flat, wintery plain. Calvin (and Hobbes) and Susie encounter an ice-fishing village, abandoned cars, a conflicted poet on an unmapped reef and illuminated ice pillars called "snow goons." Their journey blurs into a dreamlike, profoundly romantic, odyssey. Battling the cold, exhaustion, thirst and hunger as they go, Calvin and Susie talk about beauty, the meaning of life, bullying, overpaid athletes, poverty, war, zebra mussels, injustice... and the possibility of changing the world. But to change the world they need to survive.

Leavitt's Calvin is a hopeful, exquisite and exciting exploration of the human mind--both well and sick--and the slippery nature of reality. (No previous knowledge of the Calvin and Hobbes comic required.) --Karin Snelson, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: National Book Award finalist Martine Leavitt tells the mesmerizing story of a schizophrenic boy named Calvin who talks to an imaginary tiger named Hobbes.

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