Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Little Brown and Company: Little Weirds by Jenny Slate

Other Press: Metropolitan Stories by Christine Coulson

Rick Riordan Presents: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1) by Kwame Mbalia

imon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Becoming Rbg: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Journey to Justice by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Whitney Gardner

Workman Publishing: Atlas Obscura, 2nd Edition: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders (Second Edition, Revised) by Joshua Foer, Ella Morton, Dylan Thuras

Magination Press: Snitchy Witch by Frank J. Sileo, illustrated by MacKenzie Haley

Sourcebooks Explore: Survivors of the Holocaust: True Stories of Six Extraordinary Children by Kath Shackleton, illustrated by Zane Wittingham

News

One Grand Books Opens in Narrowsburg, N.Y.

One Grand Books, which features 1,000 books curated by 100 notable people, from Tilda Swinton and Lena Dunham to Ta-Nahesi Coates and Alice Waters, has opened in Narrowsburg, N.Y., "overlooking the beautiful Delaware River," as owner Aaron Hicklin put it. The store asks the curators, who include designers, musicians, artists, actors, performers and directors, politicians, novelists, scientists and athletes, what 10 books could they not do without if they were stranded on a desert island.

Aaron Hicklin at One Grand (photo: Matthew J. Novak/NYT)

The editor-in-chief of Out magazine, Hicklin had opened One Grand this past summer as a temporary pop-up bookshop in Whisper Editions at 6 Fulton Street in Manhattan's South Street Seaport. The Narrowsburg location is a permanent location.

In a New York Times interview, Hicklin said architect Jon Buono designed the 550-square-foot store in a way that preserves the space's original pressed-tin ceiling and walls, and created an interior featuring white ash paneling with "a routed geometric pattern that evokes both stacked books on a shelf and the 1940s Sears & Roebuck asphalt siding on a nearby house."

Hicklin said each collection will have a limited run, and, as the Times wrote, "every two weeks an older set will be rotated out and a new one brought in (the store's website, meanwhile, will introduce a different list weekly)."

One Grand will also hold salons, in the store and on a barge on the river, featuring curators reading from their picks. The Times added, "Hicklin plans to man the store himself on weekends, offering up mince pies and cups of tea (including a rooibos blend called 'Little Dickens' from the Brooklyn-based purveyor Bellocq, as well as Yorkshire Gold from his native England)."


Starscape Books: Freeing Finch by Ginny Rorby


Curt Matthews Retiring from Chicago Review Press

Curt Matthews

Curt Matthews, co-founder and CEO of Chicago Review Press, Inc., is retiring at the end of this year. The Press is the parent company of Chicago Review Press Books, Triumph Books and Independent Publishers Group. Curt's son Joe Matthews, current IPG chief operations officer, will take the reins as CEO in January. The elder Matthews will stay on as chairman of the board during the transition period, and will keep an office in CRP headquarters.

"Joe has been with the company now for 10 years and has worn many hats," said Curt about his son. "He has a record of strong performance in sales and marketing, IT, operations and financial management. He has the energy and new ideas that can keep CRP, Inc., vital and growing for another 40 years."

Curt founded Chicago Review Press in 1976 with his wife Linda, who retired in 2014. They acquired IPG in 1987, Trafalgar Square Publishing in 2009, and a majority interest in Triumph Books in 2011. "It has been a wild ride," Curt said. "The publication of one book turned into a company that now supplies 56,000 titles to readers all around the English-speaking world."

For his retirement, Matthews is "hoping that it adds up to the wonderful long vacation my retired friends rave about."


GLOW: Farrar, Straus and Giroux BFYR: The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski


Amazon Bricks-und-Mortar Store in Germany?

Amazon's bookstore in Seattle.

Amazon is "not ruling out" opening a bricks-and-mortar bookstore in Germany, Ralf Kleber, head of Amazon in Germany, told the Tagesspiegel in a short interview.

"Opening stores was always an option," Kleber told the paper. "Berlin would be a top candidate for an Amazon store. In no other German city have we invested in so many areas or are we so widely represented or do we have so much planned." Noting that Amazon sells many printed books online, he added, "People will always buy offline, too. The customer should have the choice."


Blue Rider Press:  One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America by Gene Weingarten


UConn Co-op Makes Case Against Outsourcing

The UConn Co-op, Storrs, Conn., is the latest long-established, highly respected college bookstore to face the possibility of being outsourced.

In response to the University of Connecticut's announcement that it has put out an RFP for a bookstore operator, UConn Co-op board chair Timothy Dzurilla said, "We believe the UConn Co-op is the best choice." The UConn Co-op will submit a proposal to continue serving the community.

"Before 'locally-owned' was the trend, UConn led the way with a locally-owned bookstore," Dzurilla said. "Local ownership allows the Co-op to be more responsive to the needs of students, faculty and staff than a distant, profit-focused corporation. The UConn Co-op puts service, not profit, first."

The UConn Co-op is an independent, member-owned, non-profit cooperative that was founded in 1975 after a task force of faculty and students appointed by the university president at the time decided that a co-op was the best way to serve students--and replace the chain store that had operated for a short while. (Ironically, that store was Follett, one of the likely bidders on the RFP.)

The Co-op, it said, offers "students a variety of choices in how they can obtain their course books, including rentals, used books, e-books, physical books available throughout the semester, and Verba, a service that enables students to comparison price and shop. For students' convenience, the Co-op maintains a bricks and mortar bookstore at each regional and professional campus of the University of Connecticut as well as an online presence."

The stores also stock UConn gear, computers and the Co-op has a staff of computer technicians. It  hosts author events, works with student organizations, collaborates with faculty, departments, institutes and cultural centers, and serves schools and organizations off campus.

Two years ago the Co-op opened the 15,000-square-foot UConn Co-op Bookstore at Storrs Center in downtown Storrs. For a perspective on how the store has evolved in a rapidly changing world, see a July piece called "Bringing Readers and Authors Together for More Than 30 Years" in UConn Today, a look back at her career and the store by Suzy Staubach, who retired this year as manager of the UConn Co-op's general books division.

A university spokesperson told the Hartford Courant that the university began to consider outsourcing the bookstore after the Co-op board approached the school in January with concerns about "its financial difficulties, operating challenges and doubts about its long-term sustainability."

She elaborated: "They originally wanted UConn to take over the entity completely and transition its workers into UConn employees. In a time when the University has its own financial concerns, we couldn't afford to take over and heavily subsidize the Co-op, nor to add a large number of new state employees--and the costs that would entail--at a time when we were already laying off workers."

Bill Simpson, president and COO of the Co-op, told the Courant that the board had also proposed using student interns for some staff positions, but that in any case, since then the Co-op has taken what the paper called "aggressive action to improve the operation's financial picture, increasing revenues and cutting costs."

Noting that a decline in textbook sales and that the store's new location in downtown stores proved "a big economic hurdle," Simpson said that the store's sales have increased in part because of stocking more Husky gear and new products from North Face and selling Verizon phones.

Kelsey Barringham, a graduate student and vice-chair of the Co-op board, said the board wouldn't have approached the university to explain its financial problems if it had known "they would come back with, 'We are going to replace you if you can't do this on your own.' "

The university spokesperson said "high quality service and flexibility" will be key in considering who will operate the bookstore. "It's definitely not all about the bottom line." She added that the school is encouraging the Co-op to participate in the process and that "it could very well be that nothing changes."

The University of North Carolina has put out an RFP for the 100-year-old UNC Student Stores. Earlier this month, demonstrators protested against the possible outsourcing, according to the News Observer.


 Peachtree Publishing Company: Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws That Affect Us Today (Revised) by Cynthia Levinson and Sanford Levinso


Obituary Note: Helen Brann

Helen Brann, an acclaimed literary agent who began her career in 1963 working part-time for James Oliver Brown, moved to the Sterling Lord Agency in 1968 and launched the Helen Brann Agency in 1974, died November 30. She was 82. Her clients included Julian Barnes, Richard Brautigan, Gerald Clarke, Nora Johnson, Daniel Yergin, Ingrid Thoft, Chuck Scarborough, Rod McKuen, Barbara Leaming, William Wright, Stephen Sondheim, Robert B. Parker and Maya Angelou.


imon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Max & Ruby and Twin Trouble (Max and Ruby Adventure) BY Rosemary Wells


Notes

Image of the Day: The Grinch Rises at Phoenix


The Grinch was a popular character at Vermont's Phoenix Books this past weekend, with about 400 attendees at the store's Rutland event and 150-200 at the event in Essex. Attendees got to meet the Grinch, take photos with Seuss's meanest and greenest creation, and do crafts. The events also launched Phoenix Books' annual holiday food drive, which will continue through the end of December. Above, the Grinch with Phoenix booksellers, including store owner Mike DeSanto (far r.)


Bookstore Chalkboard of the Day: 'Book-Curling Time'

"December means book-curling time," Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich., posted on Facebook, along with a photo of its latest sidewalk chalkboard advice: "Baby it's cold outside. Curl up with a good book."


Cool Idea of the Day: Elevenses

Posted recently on the website for Blue Willow Books, Houston, Tex.: "Join us in our occasional series that we are calling Elevenses. It's the civilized British tradition of stopping at eleven a.m. for a cuppa' tea and a small bite to eat. It will be a way to drop in and meet visiting authors. Join us in welcoming for Kate Morton our first ever Elevenses. We hope to have many more in the future."


Personnel Changes at Algonquin

At Algonquin:

Jackie Burke is joining Algonquin as senior publicist, effective today, and will work in the New York office. She formerly worked in the Portfolio, Sentinel and Current imprints of Penguin Random House where she began her career in 2010.

Brooke Csuka has been promoted to publicist. She joined Algonquin in 2013 as associate publicist.

Lauren Moseley is being promoted to marketing manager. She joined Algonquin in 2011, serving in the publicity department for two years before becoming assistant marketing manager in 2013.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dwayne Betts on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Dwayne Betts, author of Bastards of the Reagan Era (Four Way, $15.95, 9781935536659).

Tomorrow:
Morning Joe: Christopher Buckley, author of The Relic Master: A Novel (Simon & Schuster, $26.95, 9781501125751).

Live with Kelly and Michael: Donald Trump, author of Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again (Threshold Editions, $25, 9781501137969).

Conan: Deepak Chopra, author of Super Genes: Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being (Harmony, $26, 9780804140133).

Late Late Show with James Corden: Tyler Oakley, author of Binge (Gallery, $24, 9781501117695).


TV: Big Little Lies

Shailene Woodley will join Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman in David E. Kelley's HBO project Big Little Lies, based on Liane Moriarty's 2014 novel, Variety reported. Witherspoon and Kidman are also serving as executive producers with Pacific Standard's Bruna Papandrea and Blossom Films' Per Saari. Kelley is also exec producing and writing an undetermined number of episodes of the television adaptation.



Books & Authors

Awards: Russian Booker; PEN Longlists

Alexander Snegirev has won the 1.5 million rubles (about $22,035) Russian Booker Prize for his novel Vera, according to Russia Beyond the Headlines. Literary critic and jury member Valeria Pustovaya said the work continues the tradition of great Russian epic historical novels: "It is executed in a modern way but discusses fundamental subjects."

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PEN America has announced the longlists for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. Other PEN America prize longlists will be announced each day this week through Thursday. The debut fiction and essay longlisted titles may be viewed here.


Book Review

Review: The Past

The Past by Tessa Hadley (Harper, $26.99 hardcover, 9780062270412, January 5, 2016)

The intricacies and hierarchies--often the competitive nature--of the family dynamic are central to the fiction of Tessa Hadley (Clever Girl). In her sixth novel, The Past, four middle-aged siblings reunite at the 200-year-old house they inherited from their grandparents, tucked amid the hills of the English countryside in Kington.

The house is "mottled with brown damp, there was no central heating and the roof leaked." It is situated near another cottage and a church, where the family's grandfather, a famous poet, was once minister. The siblings and their significant others have gathered for a three-week summer visit to decide whether to put the old place on the market. The house "seemed to be a vision of another world, its stillness pregnant with meaning, like a room seen in a mirror." But once the siblings convene, their old home, all it represented in the past, and how it relates to their lives in the present--along with simmering familial tensions--collide.

Harriet, the oldest--a nature lover, once a revolutionary and now working for social justice--is a shy loner in search of solitude. Alice, the middle sister, is a "frivolous," often scatterbrained, free spirit who brings along Kasim, a moody college freshman and the son of one of her old flames. Fran, the youngest, a pragmatic math teacher, travels with her two children: Ivy, an imaginative nine-year-old and Arthur, age six. Fran's husband, an actor, is a no-show. And Roland, a philosophy professor, arrives with his third wife, Pilar, an Argentinean lawyer, along with his 16-year-old daughter, Molly, from a prior marriage.

The seemingly restful setting proves otherwise as the group is besieged by rainy days, spotty wi-fi and the foibles and limitations of themselves and each other. Amid an unhurried plot, the two young children stumble upon a dead dog and a stash of pornography, Kasim tries to woo Molly, and they all eventually get on each other's nerves. Emotions and old rivalries flare as the sisters initially refuse to accept Pilar. Not everyone has a desire to revisit and romanticize the past or stir memories of the house; it was a refuge for the young siblings in 1968, when their mother, now deceased, left their philandering father.

Hadley's prose is descriptively rich. She elevates the mundane via her keen understanding of people and the emotional complexities of marriages and families--secrets, subtle deceptions and loyalties. By structuring the novel in three parts--a flashback from 1968, set between two sections steeped in the present--Hadley contrasts ideas about age and youth, the past and present, solace and aggravation, love and resentment. The idea that, in families, siblings emerge from the same roots and same place, but eventually splinter off in different directions is at the heart of this tender, understated novel. It examines how we never really escape the upheavals of the past; they seep into our being. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: Four adult siblings and their significant others reunite for three weeks in the English countryside to decide the fate of an inherited old house.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

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

1. The Elf on the Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda B. Bell
2. First 100 Words by Roger Priddy
3. Guinness World Records 2016 by Guinness World Records
4. Eighteen by JA Huss
5. The Healing Power of Sugar by C.L. Stone
6. Vegas Love by Jillian Dodd
7. The Lover's Surrender by J.C. Reed
8. First 100 Animals by Roger Priddy
9. Pretend You're Mine by Lucy Score
10. Back to Creative Writing School by Bridget Whelan

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]

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